Personally, and professionally, I have learnt so much from the families I have worked with and all the babies and toddlers that I have been lucky to have cared for.
I started out as a Live in Nanny for 3 girls under 12 years old. My next position was caring for twin toddlers aged 16 months. I quickly realised that I had a passion for the younger age group. I decided to look for a new position with babies. I had previous experience caring for my niece full time, so my sister was able to return to work within 2 months after giving birth, so this work has a personal meaning to me.
Once I started my Maternity Nurse career I went straight in at the deep end as an opportunity to work with 3 month old (2 months premature) triplets was offered. Caring for the triplets alongside Mum, working both day and night, was a massive learning curve and deepened my passion further. I could not believe the amount of responsibility and trust the parents had given me in their time of need but also felt it was a positive personal reflection that they felt confident and reassured that their babies were safe with me. As you can imagine they were exhausted and needed a break. I was able to let them get the rest they needed but also offered all sorts of guidance and support for the days, weeks and months ahead. Finding out the difficulties they had faced for years to conceive and then delivering 8 weeks early was my first experience of, and opened my eyes to, just how different everyone’s journey can be.
Coming up to my 5th year my knowledge as a Maternity Nurse has grown beyond my expectations. It is a truly rewarding profession and parents really do rely on the advice and guidance I give them. For first-time parents I start with the basics. I instil the skills I have learnt along the way, like safe sleeping practice, my personal favourite products to use and products that are on the market I do not use and deem unsafe followed by the evidence stated on the Lullaby trust (a charity recommending ways for babies to sleep safely reducing the risk of SIDS) and any other evidence based research on the product.
As professionals we encourage parents to make confident decisions with the help and knowledge shared. We offer support and guidance in all aspects of newborn care, allowing Mums to rest and take care of herself so she is able to take care of her baby to the best of her ability once my temporary stay ends.
As I mentioned earlier, not every family has the same positive experience so being an emotional support is as equally as important both for Mum and Dad. Bonding between baby and parents and baby with siblings can be very hard. At times emotions can run high so being able to lend an ear without judgement and criticism can be a huge help in these moments.
The best parts of being a Maternity Nurse is seeing how the tiniest babies grow and develop huge personalities and watching them discover the world around them, nothing can compare to that experience. Working with parents who are also learning and working through their own traumas is incredible to see. Sharing one of the hardest moments in a person’s life takes it beyond being professional, it is having that personal approach creating a friendship that (in my case) has lasted years.
So what is it like to be a Maternity Nurse? – It is full of ups and downs, challenges and unforgettable moments but …….. It is Incredible!
~ Hannah Knight