What is a Maternity Nurse?
A maternity nurse is an experienced infant care provider who usually lives with a family and provides 24 hour on-call service after the birth of a baby.
A maternity nurse usually works six days per week, though individual arrangements may also be made by a private family and their maternity nurse. Some maternity nurses may also consider themselves day nurses, in which case they would only be available to assist a family during the day, and some maternity nurses may consider themselves night nurses, in which case they would work mostly at nights.
Despite the name a maternity nurse is not necessarily a trained nurse, midwife or health visitor though many maternity nurses have had one of these past careers.
What Does A Maternity Nurse Do?Each maternity nurse and the family who has hired her will work out the exact role that she will fulfill following the birth of a baby. However, the general role of a maternity nurse is to provide support and assistance to a mother following a birth. This often means feeding the baby, especially bottle feeds during the night, as well as bathing, dressing and otherwise caring for the baby.
Maternity nurses can be a great comfort to mothers who do not have family close by to help them, and to mothers have just brought home multiples and need extra assistance. However, maternity nurses are not housekeepers or personal assistants and should not be treated as such.
Though maternity nurses will often deal with a baby's laundry, nappies and bottles, they are not employed to clean for the whole family, nor are they employed to look after older siblings. Some maternity nurses may make meals for a mother who is recovering from birth but they should not be expected to then cook for the entire family as well.
Where Does A Maternity Nurse Live?Unless they are only day nurses or only night nurses, maternity nurses live with a family while they are employed by them. Maternity nurses usually sleep in the same room as the baby so that they are available for night time bottle feeds, to bring babies to mothers for night breast feeds and to soothe babies and get them into a routine. While maternity nurses may relax in the family's home during her day off, the fact that she is not working and off duty should be respected.
How Much Is A Maternity Nurse Paid?Typical wages for maternity nurses will vary according to location of the family, availability of the nurse and duties of the nurse. However, it is not unheard of for experienced maternity nurses to earn upwards of £600 per week.
If a maternity nurse has been booked but a baby is late, she should be paid for her time. While this fee may not be the whole wage, it should be close to half. Many maternity nurses will have this fee written into their contracts to ensure that they receive adequate compensation.
How Is A Maternity Nurse Found?Good maternity nurses book up months in advance, so getting to them as early as possible is a good idea. Many maternity nurses work through an agency so investigating local options is a good place to start. Local mothers will also probably have information on good maternity nurses, so tapping this pool of information is smart. Also, midwives and other health care professionals may be able to recommend maternity nurses so don't forget to ask during an appointment.
A maternity nurse can be an invaluable source of support and assistance following the birth of a baby. Mothers interested in hiring a maternity nurse should begin their searches as early as possible in their pregnancy to avoid disappointment.