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Nanny vs. Night Nurse vs. Maternity Nurse: What's the Difference?

When it comes to caring for a newborn, parents may be overwhelmed by all the options available. The decision to hire a nanny, night nurse, or maternity nurse can be difficult. But it is important to understand the differences between these three options in order to make the best decision for your family. A nanny and night nurse are both caregivers who provide assistance with childcare, but there are important distinctions between the two. Maternity nurses are specialized nurses who provide medical care for the mother and baby before, during, and after pregnancy. All three types of professionals can be invaluable in helping new parents adjust to life with a newborn. Knowing the differences between a nanny, night nurse, and maternity nurse can help parents make the best choice for their family.

What is a Nanny?

A nanny is a childcare provider who often lives with the family and helps parent with tasks like feeding, bathing, dressing, and putting the child to bed. Nannies do not provide medical care, and they're not trained to deal with medical emergencies. A nanny can help with household chores, along with taking care of children, so parents can rest, have time for themselves or spend quality family time. Many parents prefer to hire a nanny because it enables them to work and have flexibility in their schedule.

Whereas a night nurse and maternity come into your home on a temporary basis (usually 3 to 6 months), a nanny's position is more permanent and she will become part of your family for the foreseeable future.

What is a Night Nurse?

A night nurse is a caregiver who comes to your home to care for a newborn at night. While there is some overlap, night nurses typically do not provide the same hands-on care that a nanny does. Night nurses often are able to provide more medical assistance than a nanny, including monitoring a newborn's vital signs, administering medications, and helping with nursing the baby.

A night nurse can be helpful in a family where there are multiples or other young children in the home, or when a newborn has special medical needs, is premature, or born during difficult circumstances, such as after a complicated delivery. While some night nurses have medical training and are able to perform medical tasks, others are not able to provide the same level of assistance as a maternity nurse.

As their name suggests, night nurses work 12-hour shifts during the night (usually 7pm to 7am). She will arrive at bed time, help with the bed time routine, and then stay all night, awake while the baby sleeps (so would need to be provided with a comfortable place to sit and read or relax). In this way they can help to regulate the child and get them into a healthy sleep pattern. If the baby wakes (or needs to be woken) during the night for a feed, the night nurse will do this and then either administer the feed herself or bring the baby to the breast-feeding mother, and then settle the baby down again afterwards.

Night nurses also typically do not provide care during the day, so parents would still need assistance with day-to-day tasks. Since night nurses work when parents are sleeping, they can be a great option for parents who need assistance at night, but not during the day. However, some night nurses provide assistance during the day, such as preparing bottles and helping with feedings.

What is a Maternity Nurse?

A maternity nurse is a specialised nurse who provides medical care for the mother and baby before, during, and after pregnancy. Maternity nurses are trained to monitor the health of the mother and baby, provide emotional support and education, and administer care as needed. A maternity nurse can be helpful for parents who have a complicated pregnancy, a sick newborn, or who want to receive one-on-one care from a medical professional.

The maternity nurse can come to the home or hospital and stay with the family as long as they are needed, and may provide care for longer than a traditional nurse who works in a hospital. Maternity nurses have special training in maternal-newborn healthcare and can administer some injections and medications, such as glucose tests. Maternity nurses may also help with household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, and provide emotional support during a difficult time. Maternity nurses can be very helpful in cases of complicated pregnancies, high-risk births, or infants with special needs.

How to Choose a Nanny, Night Nurse, or Maternity Nurse

Parents who are considering hiring a nanny, night nurse, or maternity nurse can discuss their needs and concerns with potential candidates or an agency. It is important to ask about experience and what previous clients have enjoyed most about their services. It is also important to be honest about your needs and expectations. A nanny, night nurse, and maternity nurse can all be beneficial for families with newborns, but there are differences between these care providers. Parents who are seeking assistance with child care can choose the option that best meets their needs.

We are here to help

At Good People we have qualified, professional nannies, night nurses and maternity nurses that are just waiting to be matched with your family. If you need help screening, interviewing and hiring help with your new baby, don't hesitate to contact us.

Good People is a domestic staffing agency specialising in introducing high quality household assistance. We provide a simple, fast and professional service to recruit trained and vetted staff who match your family values. To discuss what we can do for you, or to join the Good People Club, get in touch.

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