Frequently Asked Questions
Set out below are a selection of the most frequently asked questions. We think we've covered everything, however, if there's a question you feel we haven't answered here, we would be delighted to consider adding it to our already long list below.
When should I start looking for a Maternity Nurse?
Many clients contact us at 6–8 weeks’ gestation, while others wait until 12 weeks, when the pregnancy has progressed further and they know whether they are expecting a single baby, twins or triplets.
We would always encourage you to register early to ensure a good selection of Maternity Nurses. Do also consider that if your baby is due in November or December and your anticipated booking covers any part of the Christmas period, it is best to book early to avoid disappointment as there are always fewer maternity nurses working at this time.
At the early stages of your pregnancy you may be unsure how long you wish to book for, however, during the course of your conversations with your Maternally Yours consultant and prospective Maternity Nurses, this will become clear based on your lifestyle and expectations.
How do we work out a sensible start date?
Your Maternity Nurse will guide you on this but if this is for your first baby, we would suggest 5–7 days from your due date.
You can of course book a date that you feel comfortable with and our suggestion is only a guideline. Most Maternity Nurses are flexible and happy to bring the booking forward by a few days or a week subject to availability.
How long should I book a Maternity Nurse for?
This depends entirely on your lifestyle and expectations. We appreciate that it is difficult to anticipate how long will suit you, especially if you are a first time mother, but we recommend 6-12 weeks if you can. The absolute minimum is two weeks as this will get you through the most intense period upon discharge from hospital.
Some clients choose to book a Maternity Nurse for 16 weeks then employ a nanny to take over. If this is your plan and it is your first baby, it is important that the nanny has young baby experience. Our sister agency, Imperial Nannies, can assist you with the nanny hiring process.
You may also consider booking a Maternity Nurse who lives in 24/6 for the first 4 weeks, then changes to a 'nights only' booking thus enabling you to care for your baby during the day.
Set out below is a general guide to a full-term baby's development. For ease, we refer to baby in the masculine context below.
The first two weeks are all about the new parents adapting to their new baby and parenthood! The Maternity Nurse will reassure and teach you how care for your baby, while encouraging you to feed as much as possible as the focus will getting your baby back to his birth weight. Your Maternity Nurse will ensure you rest, eat sensibly for post-partum recovery and drink plenty of fluids to produce milk. She will also teach you the right feeding position for baby to 'latch on' if you are breastfeeding, as this is crucial to nursing success. On the other hand, if you wish to bottle feed, she will teach you all you need to know for trouble-free feeding to ensure baby is comfortable, that the teat size is correct and he doesn't gulp air at the beginning or end of his feeds. You will be taught the basics of how to feed, wind, change, swaddle, bath and how to care for the umbilical cord.
Your baby, during this period, will mostly sleep, feed and poop, and this will pass in a blur! If you book a Maternity Nurse for the minimum of 2 weeks, before you know it, it will be time for her to leave and many clients at this stage try to extend a further 4-6 weeks which is sometimes possible. As long as your baby has regained his birth weight and you are well, your Community Midwife will sign you off.
If breastfeeding, your milk supply should now be established, and depending on baby's weight, he will be encouraged to feed every 3 hours. He will go through growth spurts and will be hungrier than usual, so the feeding routine will be adjusted accordingly. This can be a challenging time for both mother and baby, but thankfully these growth spurts will last no longer than 48 hours, after which he will be his happy, settled self once again. At 4 weeks some babies can develop milk spots (baby acne), and this is also the time when reflux, either acid or silent, can develop.
At this stage, your baby will be happy to feed every 3 hours and on a really good schedule during the day. He can have a 'dream feed' at 11pm or he can be left to wake up during the night. Every family is different and your Maternity Nurse can guide you to help you make the decision. He may start to smile at this stage and will be happy to spend time alone on his playmat or babygym which has two arches with soft toys that dangle overhead. The introduction of tummy time (laying baby on his tummy) will encourage his neck and back muscles to strengthen. Some babies will be tracking with their eyes, will be smiling at parents and will be interested in brightly coloured objects.
Baby will be happy and smiling and will lay in his pram/moses basket for longer periods of time looking at his toys and overhead mobile. Tummy time will be increased gradually. A 4-hourly feeding pattern will be introduced with him going longer between feeds. Winding will be easier, and in fact, he will be learning to wind himself as he is gently brought upright during feeding time. He will probably only need one feed at night as he will be feeding well throughout the day. You will be feeling more like your old self by 8 weeks!
This is a really nice stage where baby is settling into his 4 hourly feeding schedule. He will have a 90 minute sleep in the morning after his first feed, a 2 or 3 hour sleep at lunchtime and a short nap in the afternoon before his bath and bedtime. A small feed will be offered if he wakes up during the night. In between feeding and sleep time, he will be stimulated and happy in his cot with a baby mobile or playing under his baby play gym and will enjoy the attention he gets from family and friends. First immunisations will be given at 8 weeks and do have ifant paracetamol at hand if your doctor recommends it.
Your baby will be on what is now a firmly established 4 hourly feeding pattern. The morning sleep will be reduced to 1 hour, a long sleep will be taken after lunch and a short nap before his bath/bedtime. Some, but not all babies, will be sleeping through from 10/11pm until 7/8am. To ensure they keep to their schedule, babies will need to be engaged and played with during their waking times to ensure they don't drift off! He will enjoy being read stories, spending time under his baby play gym with toys suspended above him, and listening to songs and music being played.
At 12 weeks your baby will probably be sleeping through the night on a very established 7am to 7pm routine before teething causes disturbed nights' sleep which starts from 4-5 months. The second stage of immunisations will be given at 12 weeks, and again, do have infant paracetamol at hand if your doctor recommends it.
Please remember every baby progresses individually and we can only give a general guide on full-term babies.
A pre-term baby, that is a baby who is born at less than 38 weeks gestation, is less physically mature than a baby born at 38+ weeks. Your Maternity Nurse will look at the date your baby was due and his gestational age to calculate your baby's 'adjusted' age. It is important to correct a premature baby's age to accurately assess his expected developmental abilities and to give him time to catch up.
Will my Maternity Nurse be able to bring her start date forward if my baby arrives early?
If your booked Maternity Nurse isn’t working in another booking, she will be happy to join you earlier than booked. If however, she is working, we will find you a suitable 'at short notice' Maternity Nurse to cover this short period until she can start. When faced with an urgent request, we pull out all stops to find a suitable Maternity Nurse and wish to assure all mothers that we always find a workable solution.
We would recommend you discuss your due date with your Maternity Nurse and the start date options. Some clients are happy to book from their due date and pay 50% of the Maternity Nurses fees while she is ‘in waiting’. If you have planned an elective C-Section, you will have a pretty good idea of your arriving home date.
I'm planning to breastfeed, but what will happen if it doesn't go to plan?
Maternity Nurses will respect and support every mother's feeding plans. She will encourage you by showing you the correct feeding positions for your baby and how to get your baby to ‘latch on’. Some mothers take to breastfeeding very easily while others find the first few days challenging and uncomfortable. Your Maternity Nurse will support you, ensure you are eating, resting and drinking sufficient fluids to produce milk and recover from the birth.
Please note if you are planning to breastfeed you should discuss with your Maternity Nurse the possibility of giving your baby expressed milk during the night for one or two feeds. However, if you wish to feed your baby throughout the night, she can bring baby to you at the appointed hour to be fed and will settle him which will allow you to go straight back to sleep.
Those mothers who plan to breastfeed, but for one reason or another change to mixed or formula feeding, will also be supported by their maternity nurse who can also recommend their preferred formula. This is the mother’s personal choice and will always be respected.
What fees will be payable?
There are two fees to pay:
- The weekly booking fee that we charge upon confirmation of the booking
- The maternity nurse’s fee, paid to her on a weekly basis
You will be pleased to learn we do not charge a registration fee to start the selection process and only charge our agency fee once the booking has been confirmed by both you and your maternity nurse (please see our Terms and Conditions of Business. Once paid, we will advise the maternity nurse of your commitment and the relevant dates in her diary will allocated to your family. Your maternity nurse will charge her weekly fee and may request a deposit, which will be offset against her final booked week. In general, maternity nurses are paid one week in arrears, either by bank transfer or by cheque.
Will we be employing the Maternity Nurse?<
No. Your maternity nurse will be self-employed and responsible for her own tax and National Insurance contributions. You will pay her a gross rate and reimburse any expenses that you have agreed.
What do we need to provide for the maternity nurse?
For a short booking a live-in maternity nurse will be happy to sleep in the baby’s nursery on a put-up bed or sofa bed. For longer bookings, howeverm, a separate bedroom and bath/shower room is preferable. Maternity Nurses are never expected to sleep on a mattress. The client will be required to provide full board whether she prepares her own meals or not.
If she works days only, lunch and beverages are required. If she works nights only, a bed will be required as she will sleep when she can. Please discuss this at interview.
Is it the norm to reimburse travel expenses?
We ask clients to reimburse reasonable travel expenses to interview at the beginning and at the end of the booking. Where possible, tickets for travel should be booked in advance to reduce cost.
Will our maternity nurse provide a contract and will we be required to pay a deposit?
All maternity nurses are self-employed and therefore contract their services to the client as opposed to being employed and the client issuing their own contract of employment. It is sensible that they provide a contract so that both parties are committed to the booking.
The Selection Process
Do I need to interview at home?
Yes, most definitely. It is important to show the shortlisted candidate(s) the set up and environment whether the booking is live-in or live-out. Your chosen maternity nurse will know exactly what she needs to do her job efficiently and will discuss this with you as you walk around what will be her working area. This is also an opportunity to discuss any equipment purchased so far and she can also offer practical advice at this time.
What questions should I ask the maternity nurse?
We have provided a list of questions which cover all possible topics to discuss. Maternity nurses will be quite used to being asked anything and everything so do ask her to clarify any topic or issue you choose.
Can we set up a trial for the maternity nurse?
If your baby has already arrived and you are considering booking a maternity nurse, you can book a trial day/24 hour session or week, however, for this we will charge our 2 week minimum booking fee and the maternity nurse will charge for the session she books with you.
Will the maternity nurse provide a contract for us to sign?
Yes it is standard practice for the maternity nurse to have the details of the booking in writing which is a contract between her and the client.
We have taken up references and chosen the maternity nurse so what is the next step?
Once you have confirmed when you would like your booking to start and for how long, and the maternity nurse has accepted, the next step is to confirm the details with your consultant so she can make the final arrangements. She will confirm the booking in writing to both you and the maternity nurse before issuing our invoice which, upon payment, secures the booking. The maternity nurse will send you her contract and request her deposit to be paid. She will keep in touch with you and with us to stay up-to-date with your due date.
Do you have a maternity nurse who will look after twins/triplets?
We have Maternity Nurses who specialise in multiples and, whether you have twins or triplets on the way, you will only need one multiple specialist who can do it all. They do, however, charge a higher rate and this will be specified on the Maternity Nurse’s Profile. We would highly recommend your specialist lives in so you are fully supported during this very busy and demanding time unless you have a Nanny who is already employed who can assist you when your Maternity Nurse isn’t on duty.
Do any of your maternity nurses work 7 days per week?
Some clients request a 7 day schedule for the first week or two especially if they have had a multiple pregnancy. Some Maternity Nurses will work through 24/7 for the first two weeks before settling down to a 24/6 or 24/5 routine. Please be assured that your Maternity Nurse will prepare you for her time off and will leave you with everything in order along with a written schedule (and sterilised bottles/equipment if you are using them) so that you feel confident when she is off duty. The Maternity Nurse’s day(s) off will give you time to enjoy being alone with your baby and will prepare you for her departure.
I'm planning a natural birth but what how does it work if I have a C-section and can't drive for 6 weeks?
Whether your C-Section is elective and planned in advance or is an emergency, you will take longer to recover than mothers who give birth naturally. You will probably be discharged from hospital on the fifth day post-partum and you will need to take it easy with lots of rest. You will be advised not to lift anything heavier than your baby and not legally allowed to drive for 6 weeks. Short walks are advised only while your abdominal area is healing and you won’t be very active initially. If you overdo things, your abdomen will feel very uncomfortable as though you have had a very strenuous core workout.
Some of our maternity nurses are happy to drive either their own car or the family's car while others will not drive at all. If you would prefer a driver do discuss this with your consultant. In the event the maternity nurse drives the family car, please allow time to add her to your insurance policy.
Do you have a maternity nurse who will travel with us to Europe/overseas during the booking?
We have a selection of maternity nurses who will travel overseas with the family during their booking and recommend you make this requirement known at the outset to avoid any inconvenience. Medical insurance to the country of stay will be required as will any necessary visas all of which must be paid for by the client.
If I want to go away with my husband for a short break, can I leave my baby with the maternity nurse?
This would be absolutely fine as our maternity nurses are used to working on a sole charge basis. Do please discuss this at interview, or even the fact that you are thinking you might wish to book a trip, so that all is clear from the outset.
Will my maternity nurse work over the Christmas season?
This is family time not only for you but also the maternity nurse. Most of our ladies use this time to take a break, however, we do have some who will work during this time. They are in short supply though and best to book early to avoid disappointment. The rate of pay over the bank Holidays and indeed, other Bank Holidays throughout the year is 1½ times their normal 24 hour daily rate.
We are a high profile family and don't want to reveal our identity when we register for fear of attracting candidates because of who we are.
Firstly, we would like to assure you that in the event you don't wish us to disclose your name when discussing your position with potential candidates, we will withhold that information. Some clients are very open about their identity and others wish not to be. As the placing agency, it is important that we are informed, as the high profile client's lifestyle will dictate the type of candidates we will select for your consideration.
The Maternity Nurse's Approach
Are maternity nurses flexible?
We are often asked this question! They can be flexible regarding their days off, duties and hours, however, this should be discussed at interview. Our Maternity Nurses can adapt to different lifestyles and households according to each client’s needs, however, if they have a family to go home to at the weekend, its doubtful she will change this aspect of her routine.
Can my maternity nurse recommend products that she finds are the best in her experience?
All maternity nurses will have their preferred products and can guide you on which work and which are a waste of money. They will have their preferred nappy cream, nappies, bottles, dummies and even pram! She will always want to use the most superior of products based on their quality and will see through trends and clever marketing some companies manage.
Do Maternity Nurses take time off at the weekend?
It really does depend on the maternity nurse and her lifestyle. A maternity nurse who is married may work a 5 or 5.5 day week and see her husband at the weekend. We do have maternity nurses who will take their day(s) off during the week which allows you some baby- free time with your husband. Please discuss your ideal schedule with your consultant and she will provide profiles of maternity nurses who will work around your requirements.
Will the maternity nurse need time off during the day?
This varies from one maternity nurse to another which will be discussed at interview. You can appreciate that from 12 midnight until 8am if your maternity nurse has been feeding 3 hourly (1am, 4am 7am), she has slept 5 hours or less and will need to catch up. Taking 2-3 hours out during the day will help her achieve this and prepare her for the next night of feeding.
You've explained the duties she will do, what duties will she not do?
Our Maternity Nurses are baby specialists and will not:
- Cook for the entire family
- Hoover and clean the house
- Launder the family's clothes or bedding
- Walk the dog unless she is walking your baby and is happy to include your dog!
- Take older siblings to school or be responsible for them
- And while not a duty, we would like to state she will not sleep on a mattress on the floor
We must stress that many duties will depend on the individual maternity nurse and also on how settled the baby is at night.
Remember Maternity Nurses are new born baby specialists and not housekeeper/cook/nannies. You cannot expect her to feed your baby through the night, take care of your baby’s needs and then do your housework. If you seek such a person we would suggest you research the doula option who can be described as all-rounders, although not the same calibre as a maternity nurse.
During The Booking
My maternity nurse thinks my baby has reflux/another condition. What should I do?
Colic and reflux are very common conditions and our maternity nurses are experienced at identifying these conditions. They will teach you how to make your baby comfortable and ease the discomfort he/she will feel. For other suspected conditions, we recommend you seek the advice of your GP or paediatrician.
Why does my Maternity Nurse prefer to have set visiting times?
Your family and friends will be eager to see you at home if they don't manage to visit you in hospital and, aside from your family, it is important you don't feel under pressure to receive more visits than you are up to. In all the excitement you can forget you've just given birth and ignore your levels of fatigue. It is sensible to arrange your visits around your baby's routine and not to overdo things so that milk production is plentiful and you continue to recover.
Your maternity nurse will expect all visitors to wash their hands, be in good health and not to be swathed in scent as your baby is vulnerable and sensitive at this time. Don’t let this worry you, she only has your interests and your baby's health to heart.
If, during the booking, I wish to extend or reduce the booking, how should I go about it?
If you wish to extend the booking, please call your consultant for an update on your maternity nurse’s availability. If she is free and is happy to extend, we will confirm this in writing and will invoice you for the additional weeks. In the event you wish to reduce the booking during the placement, please check your Maternity Nurse’s contract. We will refund any weeks booked not worked but will retain a 50% administration fee.
Help! I didn't book a maternity nurse and my baby is 2 weeks old and I'm soooo very exhausted from sleep deprivation!
Firstly, don’t panic! We are here and will do our best to find you a maternity nurse at short notice. We are can fulfil what we call an ‘Immediate Booking' as some mothers prefer not to book a maternity nurse and then after a few days change their mind either because circumstances have changed or they are very tired and worn out and need to sleep for a week or find the time to get dressed! Please be assured we will work flat out to help you! Call us now on 020 7795 6299 or if you are reading this out of hours, please fill in our short form and we will respond as soon as we reopen.
Before you go, a quick recap…
Please keep us up to date on your due date as it can change as your pregnancy progresses.
Please ring the available maternity nurses as soon as you can as their availability can change from day to day. This is our number one gripe from clients as they don’t realise how quickly they can be snapped up!
Please be advised that you will be expected to pay your maternity nurse from the date she is booked. If she is ‘in-waiting’ she will charge 50% of her fee; once she starts the booking her full fee will be payable. If you are not happy with this arrangement, we would suggest a slightly later booking.
We charge a fee based on the number of weeks (or part thereof) booked (please see our Terms and Conditions of Business). We would advise you to carefully plan the length of time you wish the maternity nurse to stay with you.
And finally, if you do manage to find your ideal maternity nurse through different avenues, we would be most grateful if you could send us a quick email to call off our search.