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Professional Nanny to Mother
Making the leap from Professional Nanny to Mother of my own child, was a far bigger leap than I had anticipated.
Instinctively I knew that I needed to protect myself as I had never had a baby before - supporting a mother is completely different to becoming a mother.
As a Nanny I actually felt like I knew so much, however, becoming a mother made me learn SO much! I joined the NCT, mostly for the group of mums that I would meet. They have been the biggest support to me as I could just be Laura, a first time mummy like them all. There was no judgement.
The transition from Nanny/ maternity nurse to mummy was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy but it was a much bigger challenge than i could have imagined.
In my work, i would support new mothers all around the world to care for their new baby. I would have the baby overnight, taking them to the mother if breastfeeding, or doing the night feeds so mum could sleep. There was usually a chef to cook the meals and a housekeeper to help with the laundry.
I would make sure the house/ nursery was well organised and have the bottles/pump all sterilised ready when mum needed. Snacks and fresh water would be ready for mum when she sat down to feed, and often a little note just to say how amazing she was doing! Everything I needed for the baby was provided and I was paid very well for my work. I had regular breaks and days off and made sure that I looked after myself.
Becoming a mum… Wow what a rollercoaster! Firstly, the love almost knocked me flying. I really thought I was prepared as I had loved all my ‘babies’ like my own. However, this was different. The huge urge to protect, feed and nurture this little being who I had grown inside me for 42 weeks.. it was all encompassing.
This intense love was incredible but also made me feel vulnerable and anxious as I just wanted to be the best I could be. Breastfeeding was a big challenge, even though I had helped so many mums to feed, and immediately I felt like a failure to my boy when things didn't go to plan.
The emotion, hormones and sleep deprivation ignited a horrible dark fog that was really scary. Luckily I have an amazing partner and wonderful supportive family who were there for me when ever I needed. I had to introduce formula to Nico at one month as his weight gain from breastfeeding was just not enough.
I used to sob whilst making up the bottles remembering all the mums I had supported having so much milk. I found expressing so challenging but I did manage to continue to feed, he just had to feed ALL THE TIME. I felt judged for this, even by some of my closest friends and only really felt happy in my bubble at home.
It turned out that Nico had undiagnosed 100% tongue tie for seven weeks. It brings tears to my eyes just writing about it - I KNEW something was wrong- he had foaming poo, urate crystals in his nappy and very poor weight gain. With the hormones and lack of sleep, Laura Poppins was no longer there and exhausted, anxious mummy Laura was here. I was so cross for not diagnosing this myself, but had asked so many professionals to check in the early weeks.
The lactation consultant was amazed that I had managed to feed Nico at all - I just wanted to breastfeed so much as it really was the connection that Nico was MY BOY.
Nico is now approaching six months and those newborn days feel a world ago.. he is now ready for food, his own room and is desperately trying to crawl! I know its cliche, but if you are reading this with your new baby, enjoy your baby bubble as it flies by!
It is only now that I feel my previous experience as a nanny and maternity nurse is actually helping me. In the early days, my knowledge actually felt like it made things harder as I knew so much, yet in that newborn haze I felt like I knew NOTHING. It was just the strangest feeling, like Laura Poppins had left and there was no way of contacting her. I remember speaking to a friend on the phone and she said go and look in the mirror and ask Laura what she would do.
My biggest tips for those early weeks;
Be kind and gentle with yourself
Read the book ‘Self care for new mums’ - its a little purple bible!
If you are planning to breastfeed, book in with a Lactation Consultant who is able to diagnose and treat tongue tie if needed - the earlier its treated the better.
Create a bubble at home - if anything ever gets too much, go back to your little sanctuary and do skin to skin.
Try and limit visitors, and if you do have visitors very early, remember they don’t have to hold baby. I felt like I didn’t want Nico out of sight in that first seven weeks!
Ask for help - if people offer to bring you food/ do some hoovering say yes!
Follow your new mummy instincts - I know it feels like they are not there sometimes but its just sleep deprivation.. you know your baby like no one else.