ARTICLE – WHAT IS A MOTHERCRAFT NURSE? THE FAIRY GODMOTHER OF FEEDING AND SLEEPING
Resolve your baby's feeding and sleeping issues with the help of a Mothercraft Nurse – it's good for the whole family!
"My baby is 3 months old. I rock him for over an hour to get him to sleep and then he only sleeps for 30 minutes. I've read books and tried everything I see on Facebook forums and hear at Mother's Group. No one else seems to be having all these problems. I'm starting to wonder if it's me and I'm just not a very good mother…"
In the last 20 years of looking after the fitness and wellbeing of pregnant women and new mums I have heard this 1000 times or more – intelligent, resourceful, successful, loving women at the end of their rope, questioning their ability as mums. It is ironic that they feel so alone, for it seems to be a common situation.
I made it my mission to find out what help is out there. Not another well-meaning book or self-appointed sleep guru, but real help, for all my clients – and any other mums and dads who are struggling and looking for answers.
I found The Mothercraft Nurse and I'm going to name her The Fairy Godmother of new families.
Mothercraft Nurses could be referred to as the expert trouble shooters of early parenthood. As I discovered, they literally save the day for new parents when they don't know where else to turn. One mum told me a call to Mothercraft for Babies "improved the quality of our life, we are very grateful". Another client of Mothercraft Nurse Beth Barclay said "she truly cares and provides a service I haven't come across before".
I had to know more. What unique quality was it that enabled Mothercraft Nurses to turn around family life in those early months, when all else had failed.
My research tells me that Registered Mothercraft Nurses are nurses with additional specialist training in postnatal care for mothers and babies from 0 to 4 years. This means their Tresillian or Karitane training (baby sleeping and feeding education) is underpinned by an extensive medical knowledge that allows them to assess how mum, baby and even dad are doing, both physically and mentally. As another happy client of Beth Barclay's told me "she provided much needed help with sleep and settling issues when we couldn't see straight from sleep deprivation. Always sensible, always kind and oh so patient. She makes sure the whole family is considered when providing support".
Initially a Mothercraft nurse gathers a detailed history about baby's eating and sleeping – the what, whens and how longs, as well as general information about the family. This provides a snap shot of daily life and a starting point.Mothercraft Nurses can then identify underlying patterns and sometimes medical issues that must be addressed for feeding, sleeping and behavioural problems to be resolved. Sometimes the problem is simple – bub is thirsty. Sometimes the problem is more complicated – bub has an intolerance/allergy or gut issue. Being part of a Paediatric Specialist network allows Mothercraft Nurses to refer on and ensure parents and their bubs get the right help, quickly.
Most of the time the issue lies somewhere in the middle and the Mothercraft Nurse maps out a detailed 24 hour integrative plan of action. The plan is solution focused and for real life. It is also not a one size fits all, but individualised to take account of work schedules, school drop off and pick up, parenting style and any other relevant family dynamics.
But there lies the problem say mums who are not in the know, "there is no way I could get us to an appointment at the moment". Others say "yeah it sounds great but there is no service like Mothercraft for Babies near me"… I am very happy to be able report neither of these scenarios is an issue. Mothercraft Nurses can come to your home, or to make it even easier for you do a phone/video consultation – and there is no judgement if you are still in your pyjamas. This flexibility also makes it easier for husbands and partners to be involved which can be invaluable. They too can be tired, worried and struggling with the transition to parenthood. Why not learn and implement the new parenting tools given, together.
For those who are struggling and feel they may need a Fairy Godmother… I mean… Mothercraft Nurse in their life, I will end with these reassuring words from Beth, "true postnatal care is about mums, dads and babies and Mothercraft Nurses will go the extra mile to see the big picture and support you as a family".