Why would you want to hire a baby nurse?
I was fortunate enough to be able to hire a baby nurse to help us for the first few weeks after my second son was born. I knew I had to have a secondary surgery during my scheduled C-section, so anticipated being almost useless to my husband, toddler and dog during that time. I developed an umbilical hernia due to my diastasis recti and it needed to be repaired. This meant two incision sites instead of one. As hard as it was for me to come to this decision and accept that getting much needed help is what we truly needed given the circumstances, hiring our baby nurse ended up being one of our greatest decisions.
What is a baby nurse?
A baby nurse is an experienced person who helps new parents care for their newborn(s) with feedings, night time diaper changes, making sure I was awake to feed him, bathing, and general bottle cleaning. She is not a registered nurse, but has years of experience to make her a professional newborn caretaker. She was a saint and my healing process was certainly expedited because of her presence
She was a gift of a second set of hands and also allowed us to spend alone time with our toddler who needed our attention during this time of transition.
Did I mention we also moved into a new house, switched our toddlers school, did potty training and transitioned his crib to a toddler bed all around the time our second son was born? Safe to say he needed our love and support.
On her last evening with us, I asked our baby nurse if I could interview her and share her responses with our Bumpdate community. She agreed but asked that her identity remain anonymous. I hope her answers and expertise help an expecting parent out there! I still have her words in my head as my husband and I round up the troops for our night time routine. She always emphasized the importance of the night time routine.
8 Questions Answered by a Baby Nurse
Q: What’s the most important thing new parents should know?
A: “Getting enough sleep is vital.”
Personal reflection: This is still something I struggle with. As a breastfeeding mom, I am 99.9% responsible for all of my baby’s feedings during the day and night. I was, and am still bad at, letting others help. I rarely pump and even more rarely ask others to help bottle feed him. I was like this with my first son too. This means when the baby is awake, so am I. Sleep deprivation definitely makes it hard to be on my A-game for my family. I need to get better at asking for help so I can get enough sleep.
Q: What is the number one thing new parents struggle with the most?
A: “Keeping schedules and routines.”
Personal reflection: This is definitely true! My brain is constantly doing mom math counting wake window lengths, nap lengths, and trying to figure out whether more daytime sleep equals more nighttime sleep. Why is this so confusing?! I do, however, recommend Moms on Call for guidance. I asked my baby nurse to read their 0-6 month book and she said she agreed with every word! I was so grateful that she took the time to read it and give feedback because it meant that we were a united team and had the same general approach to parenting.
Q: What is a good bath time routine?
A: “Give a bath every night at the same time for all of your children, including the newborn. This helps them to associate it with bedtime. I recommend doing it at 7pm or 8pm.”
Personal reflection: This is our holy grail. We try to stick by this as best we can. I feed our baby then my husband bathes him while I hang with our toddler for some pre-bath snuggles. I continue feeding our baby after he’s ready for bed while my husband does our toddler bath and puts him to sleep. My husband is the bath guy. I put the baby to sleep and remain on standby for any wake ups! Every night certainly isn’t perfect and occasionally we go off script for various reasons, but we really do our best to keep to this so our children have a sense of predictability and expectations. They know when bath time starts, it’s the beginning of winding down and we are approaching bedtime.
Q: What’s your advice for parents bringing home a baby when they have older children?
A: “Make sure your older kids get the same attention they were previously getting and not to feel left out. Try to include them in everything.”
Personal reflection: From the moment our toddler met our baby, it was clear he was going to be sensitive to the amount of attention he was receiving from us versus the baby. He is old enough to specifically ask one of us to put the baby down or hand him to the other parent when he needs us. Tantrums certainly ensued for the first 2 months, we now however are almost at the 4 month mark and we are all learning our roles and how to better navigate spending time with each child. Our toddler helps put the baby’s pacifier in, brings him toys, sings songs to him, and loves to tell me to feed the baby when he’s hungry. Letting him have active involvement and some idea of control over the situation has definitely helped.
Q: What is your advice for new parents who disagree on something related to the new baby?
A: “To ask the pediatrician because they’re knowledgeable.”
Personal reflection: I think this is a great idea in that an outside perspective is often helpful. Though disagreements aren’t always about medical concerns so asking other seasoned parents for their opinions can be very useful too.
Q: What are the main things we should remember to do after you leave?
A: “Always remember the diaper bag when you leave! Try to keep the routine.”
Personal reflection: We forget the diaper bag often. It’s become harder to remember “everything” now that there are two so I found that a car caddy or organizer you can strap to the seat is a real game changer. The things I keep stocked in it are the essentials — diaper wipes, diapers, a change of clothes for the baby because we are in blow out season, snacks for our toddler, a few toys for entertainment and activities like sticker books.
Q: How do you keep a sleepy baby awake for a feed?
A: “Undress them, use a wet rag on the back of their neck, tickle their feet.”
Personal reflection: Both of our babies were very sleepy in the beginning. It was very hard to keep them awake for feedings during the newborn stage, especially in the middle of the night. As a breastfeeding mom, I always appreciated when someone would help me keep them up by implementing these strategies, changing diapers, undressing and tickling them. It’s hard to want to do this when the baby is so cozied up and snuggly, but it’s true! These things help!
Q: What is your best hack for diaper rash?
A: “Use butt paste and Vaseline at the same time.”
Personal reflection: This works!
For another blog written by Tyler Sylk, read “Pregnant with Diastasis Recti, a Hernia and an Active Toddler.”