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Want a Good Night’s Sleep- Maternity Nurses to the Rescu

Call it ‘evolution of mothers’ or what you want, but now maternity nurses, or strangers who mind your new born baby so that you// get a good night’s sleep, have arrived.

In the UK, maternity nurses can be had for the money, although hefty.

A fee of around 125 to 200 pounds, a day, will ensure your baby kept away from you except at feeding times, so you and your partner catch up on your beauty sleep.

A poll was conducted by one of UK’s largest childcare and nanny agency, Tinies.

Tinies reported a threefold increase in bookings for maternity nurses in the last year.

In 2005, the agency placed 125 maternity nurses with families across the UK. But last year that increased to 386 placements.

The nurses can provide 24-hour care to a new baby, giving night feeds, offering advice on breast-feeding, preparing bottles, establishing sleep routines and doing the baby's laundry. They usually stay with a family for between two and eight weeks, potentially costing thousands of pounds.

The poll revealed that out of 1,500 parents quizzed, 53 per cent would consider using a maternity nurse.

Six out of ten said they thought poor post-natal care from the health service was the main reason for the increased demand - some 42 per cent of parents said they felt under pressure to leave hospital early after their baby was born, leaving them without vital information on baby care.

Yet, alleged failings by the NHS were not the only reason why women would consider opting for the aid of a maternity nurse. The survey also found that 30 per cent of fathers did not get up in the night to deal with their crying baby in the first six weeks out of hospital, while 39 per cent did so less than ten times.

Lazy fathers, or those who needed a good night’s sleep in order to tackle the next day in office, were found more than ready to support the cost of a maternity nurse.

Says Oliv er Black, the director of Tinies:'There is no doubt that the midwife staffing crisis means that many new mothers and babies are not getting the help they need following the birth.

'Many new mothers find an experienced extra pair of hands is invaluable for helping with anything from breast feeding to getting the baby to sleep. The nurse can also offer emotional support and general advice.'

At the same time, community midwives who are NHS tools meant to teach young mothers baby tending -skills and who are now in shortage, speak in their defense. Says Mervi Jokinen, from the Royal College of Midwives: 'We agree there is pressure on the NHS and that this is impacting on maternity services. But these maternity nurses are not a replacement for midwives.

'What this growing demand is showing is that parents are lacking the skills they need and so have to take on this help.

'This is partly because midwives no longer have time to spend with parents as they once did', she opined.

Yet for young sleep-stressed parents with no family at hand to help, ‘changing times’ justifies the many pounds being dished out to maternity nurses.

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