7 most revealing questions for nanny interviews

There are hundreds of questions you could, and probably want to ask your potential nanny in an interview. But let’s face it, the baby needs a nappy change soon, the toddler can only do so many puzzles in a row, and those Deliciouslly Ella recipes sadly don’t cook on their own. Above all, your interview shouldn’t come across as one long interrogation. It’s a two way street – nannies choose families as much as families choose nannies.

So here is your life saver! Based on hundreds of interviews that we conduct through myTamarin Childcare Matchmaker, here are seven most effective questions to ask your prospective nanny (or any other type of child carer).

Finding the right nanny for your family is a lot of work
Finding the right nanny for your family is a lot of work

1. The icebreaker: Why did you become a nanny? What do you like most about your job (and what the least)?

This should be easy to start with. And if not, it’s telling too. But keep in mind that job interviews can be very stressful and nannies are no exceptions in this regard. So ease them into an interview, kindly and patiently. Ask follow up questions if needed.

This question should nevertheless encourage nannies to share their motivations, likes and dislikes. No one likes dealing with toddler tantrums. (Right?) Don’t expect nannies to like every single aspect of their jobs, though on balance it’s hopefully still their favourite job.

2. The obvious: Tell me about your last job. And the one before, etc. (The number and age of children, your hours and duties, your daily routine.) What did you like about this job, and what not? Why did you leave?

Try to get a good sense of how nannies structure their days, and whether that resonates with your parenting mantra, or alternatively whether you feel they could easily adjust to your preferred way of doing things.

Make sure you probe on dislikes as well as reasons for leaving. There is nothing wrong with leaving a job because it wasn’t right. It takes two to tango. As with romantic relationships, a good match is based on compatibility beyond just availability and geographic proximity. And this is why at myTamarin we match parents with nannies based on parenting style, character, values and beliefs.

3. The future: What are your dreams and hopes for the future in terms of your career, and life generally?

Who doesn’t like to dream?! Give your potential nanny an opportunity to share with you her ambitions, goals and plans. The other day, I loved hearing about one nanny’s plan to save money to start her own nursery. Without any pressure, the answers will reveal how committed nannies are to any particular kind of job and/or location.

4. The personal: Tell me about your own family. How did you grow up and/or how did you raise your family?

Family values are an important compatibility factor when considering a nanny
Family values are an important compatibility factor when considering a nanny

Your potential nanny will have an opportunity to share her family values, which may or may not resonate with you, as well as any constraints for working, for example if she has small children herself, or an elderly to look after.

A nanny once told me, “I grew up in a rather formal household with lots of help in our home. I feel much more comfortable working with people who grew up with help as well.” Fair enough.

5. The happy: What kind of families make you happy? What is most important for you to feel comfortable in a job?

This is nanny’s opportunity to share her expectations of you as her employer. And of course your opportunity to decide whether you can live up to those expectations, or not.

For example, you may work unpredictable hours and travel a lot for work. If nanny needs predictability and dislikes last-minute changes to her own working hours, be honest about your ability to deliver on this expectation.

6. The annoying: No one is perfect. What type of things that families do annoy you (the most)?

People like the opportunity to complain. And it’s a great chance for you to assess compatibility.

When I was hiring a nanny for our family, one nanny’s answer was “when family leave dirty dishes in the sink in the morning, and I have to put them into a dishwasher.” You can judge my housekeeping habits me as much as you want, but I knew immediately she wouldn’t be a good match for us.

Happy nanny = happy child = happy parents
Happy nanny = happy child = happy parents

7. The closing: What do you like doing in your free time?

End your interview with something positive! Give nannies one last chance to express themselves fully and tell you more about their lifestyles, values and beliefs.

Finally, be prepared to answer these, and similar questions yourself. Nannies choose families as much as families choose nannies.

Good luck!

 

Newborn help is the difference between post-natal depression and happy motherhood

A mum of two boys (12 and 9), Leilah was brought up in a large family with four siblings, and many more cousins. She’s always had so much love for children that she needed to channel her excess love outside of the family.

She started out as a social worker, hoping to make a positive difference. And she did. But then someone introduced her to maternity nursing and that was just the perfect fit for her: working with babies + helping mothers = making one big positive difference, for one family at a time!

Leilah found her calling as a maternity nurse and night nanny

Having gone through two c-sections herself, she knows very well what it means to need help. Her husband has always worked a lot, and most of her family is in her native Uganda. She was left to her own devices when her babies were born.

Leilah, how do you feel about helping other mothers when you didn’t have the help yourself?

I know too well how important the newborn help is, and now I can make the early days experience better for someone else. Newborn help is so important, it can mean the difference between PND (post-natal depression) and happy motherhood. The lack of sleep in mothers is grossly underestimated. Lack of sleep quickly leads to some form of a depression, and low milk supply, which in turn upsets mothers even more. I get my joy through a positive impact on one mother at a time. I share my love, I reassure then, and ultimate I help build their confidence. That’s my reward.

Do you see much difference between first-time mums and experienced mums?

Yes, and no. The second-time mums are surely more confident, but they too are exhausted – and sometimes more so because of the older sibling – and they too need all the help they can get.

What do mums need the most in the early days?

Mums need rest, first and foremost. They need time to heal, to regain their energy. The next step is to get their baby into a good routine that works for both mum and baby.

Leilah brings calmness to each family so that mums can rest in piece and quiet

What’s the most common “sin” parents commit with their babies?

They hold their baby for too long. I know, I know… When, if not when they are babies, parents are supposed to hold their children?! I’m not crazy; it really is in the best interest of both parents and their babies to teach them good sleeping habits from the very beginning. Like adults, babies need their own space too, and should learn how to self-soothe and self-settle as early as possible. You see, if they always need to be held and rocked to fall asleep (and stay asleep!), that’s simply too exhausting for parents, and also not good for the babies. If babies are being help they rarely get to sleep deeply, which is so important for their immune system and overall development. But don’t get me wrong – I’m all for an occasional snuggle!

What is your position on breastfeeding v. formula feeding?

We need to respect mother’s choice. As long as a baby is full, settled, and growing normally there is no need for formula milk. Formula is thicker and takes longer to digest though, hence can “stretch” baby feeds a bit further apart.

What is your typical working schedule?

I mostly do nights, up to six nights a week. I like to take Sundays off to go to church, but I sometimes make an exception when parents are in a really dire situation, or around the holiday period when a lot of nurses go away or have their own family plans. But parents still need help!

At what time in baby’s life would you suggest parents get help from a night nanny or maternity nurse?

Ideally, as soon as the baby is born. It’s best to invest early on so that parents enjoy the benefits of help from the get go, and before any bad habits develop (e.g. having to hold baby to sleep). If bad habits do form, that’s not a problem, it just takes longer to break them.

But a lot of people have family visiting early on. Aren’t grandparents enough of a help?

Yes, but… (smile). I’m all for family help. But let’s face it, at the end of the day, most grandparents are visitors who make parents, especially mothers even more tired. (There are exceptions though, and those grandparents should be beyond celebrated!!)

Grandparents are invaluable in the early days, but mums often need more help

Which are your favourite baby products?

I swear by the large muslin squares from Aden+Anais. They are so soft and versatile. Just make sure you get the large ones. I also love coconut oil from Nutiva. It’s great for nappy rash, baby massage and cradle cap.

What do you like doing in your free time?

I love spending time at home, with my family and my two boys who are growing up too fast. I like going out for dinners – Chinese, Mexican and Indian (but not too spicy) are my favourite.

What are your hopes for the future?

Happy mothers and happy babies! And as much as I’d love to help all of them, I hope to have the opportunity to help at least a few of them.

If you’d like to book Leilah, or another night nanny to help you during the early days, fill out our matching request. myTamarin match parents with child carers based on their parenting style, character and personal values, recognising the importance and intimacy of any such relationship.

Doing Digital Mums the Right Way

We are so honoured to be hosting our amazing Digital Mum on our blog today. Read about how Becky propelled myTamarin to new heights!

Hello, my name’s Becky. I’m a Digital Mums student on the Social Media Marketing Associate Programme. On this programme, we get to work with a business and yep, you guessed it, I was lucky enough to be placed with myTamarin.

Becky is a #DigitalMum who ran a social media campaign for @myTamarin
Follow Becky @marieagnesseager and connect on LinkedIn

My who?

Well, if you’re reading this you know who myTamarin are of course. But, we Digital Mums students aren’t given anything other than our Programme Partner’s contact name and business name at the start. So, when I received my eagerly-awaited email from Digital Mums letting me know who my Programme Partner was going to be:

“myTamarin?” I thought. “A monkey sanctuary? A restaurant… maybe…?”

A quick Google search led me to myTamarin’s beautiful Instagram feed and I was instantly hooked. I absolutely loved the heart-warming concept of ‘parenting together’ just as tamarin monkeys do.

myTamarin's inspiring and heart-warming story appeals to mums and mums-to-be
myTamarin’s inspiring and heart-warming story appeals to mums and mums-to-be

What I’ve been doing with myTamarin

After a 6-month course of lessons and assignments, the Programme Partners generously allow us Digital Mums students to take over their social channels to put into practice everything we’ve learned so far. For the last 8 weeks, I’ve been running a live campaign.

A summary of the campaign

Our campaign was to raise brand awareness by reaching out to pregnant ladies and new mums to position the business as a friendly community and definitely not just ‘another childcare agency’.

Guided by my Digital Mums mentor, we agreed the channels best suited to our brand awareness goal and to engage with our specific target audience are Instagram and Twitter.

Zarja had already made a wonderful start to building a strong presence on Instagram and has curated the all-important consistent and inspirational feed of beautiful images.

Good aesthetics are an important element of Instagram strategy
Good aesthetics are an important element of Instagram strategy

Twitter is the network for daily conversation, inspiration, collaboration and information. myTamarin had no previous presence on Twitter at all, so it was an exciting prospect to start from scratch.

It’s a content-led campaign, with the overall theme of Zarja’s personal experiences of early motherhood to tell the brand’s story, which we believe resonates with many mums of new-borns.

To the brand as a credible and trusted resource, I curated and shared content that our target audience would be interested in, such as: pregnancy fitness and nutrition; preparing for birth; nurturing relationships during pregnancy and early parenthood; places to go / things to do for parents in London; tips and information on breastfeeding, baby sleep, weaning; post-natal depression etc.

C’mon, cut to the chase!

Ok, so here are my five top tips based on my own observations and experience with social media for a small business since immersing myself in it for 6.5 months:

  • It takes a lot more than a few clever posts over 6 weeks to make a real impact. Social media is all about community and building an engaged and relevant community takes a while. It’s a never-ending journey of discovery and learning. Patience is a virtue.
  • K.I.S.S. D’know you this acronym? ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. You don’t have to be too clever on social and it doesn’t have to be perfect. People buy from people – be yourself, be authentic and if you can be appropriately witty, all the better.
  • Engage, engage and engage some more. It’s all about the comments. Likes on their own aren’t enough. Find you voice and be brave – invite conversations, join conversations, share conversations. The more you do this, the easier it becomes and before you know it, your community is building. Relevant Tweet chats and Twitter Hours are not only fun but also a great way to network and build a community.
  • Remember your manners. Sharing great content is a major part of any social media strategy. Now, my mum brought me up with impeccable manners, which has served me well in all areas of my life. And it’s critical for social media too. When I share someone else’s content, I tag the @author as well as the @source publication and it pays off – they thank me for my share by retweeting or @mentioning me right back. Do this with key influencers in your industry and your @name is then shared with all their followers too. Bingo! (Thanks Mum!)
  • Content is king. I’m aware this is a somewhat ‘grass roots’ kind of statement as there are many different factors, such as exploiting loopholes in the platforms’ algorithms and other such useful hacks but I just wanted to end on this note: from the 8 weeks of my campaign, my most popular Instagram post by far in terms of engagement and organic reach was this one by @official_twinmum:
Best performing photo of Becky's campaign for @myTamarin
Best performing photo of Becky’s campaign for @myTamarin

It’s not beautifully shot, it hasn’t got the best composition or styling but it made people smile and importantly, it was relevant and trending. The 142 likes and 24 comments weren’t due to a captivating caption, the content of the image caught attention and enticed people to engage. The more they engage with your posts, the more people Instagram will show them to. Orange babies’ bottoms for #nationalpumpkinday Gotta love it!

So that’s it from me other than I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Zarja for being such a great Programme Partner. I have learned so much from working on myTamarin’s channels and I’m grateful for her consistently warm, encouraging feedback and constructive criticism (and especially for the tips and hacks that don’t come with the course ;). You rock Zarja!

PS: Tamarins are monkeys who parent in family groups, and they inspired Zarja to found myTamarin. Come on, take a peek at how it all started and read myTamarin story.

Night nanny + breastfeeding: an unexpectedly effective combo

Many mums ask us whether it makes sense to hire a night nanny if they are breastfeeding?

The short answer is “yes”.

A slightly longer answer is “absolutely yes”!

And here is the longer, fully lived-through answer… (Spoiler alert! The answer is still the same.)

While I was preparing for the birth of our second son, my husband was encouraging me to get a night nurse. Of course, I loved the idea of sleeping through the night! But how, I wondered, could this possibly work?!

I breastfed my first baby and I remembered two things clearly:

  • First, how desperately tired I was! Hence, a night nanny would make sense.
  • And second, how many times he woke up each night to feed – too many!! Initially (and for a long time thereafter), it was six times a night. Hence, a night nanny simply would not fit into my breastfeeding world. (Also, between you and me my plan was to catch up on ‘Orange is the New Black’ during those night feeds.)
Babies like to breastfeed all night long
Babies like to breastfeeding all night long

So, I did the maths. Assuming baby goes to sleep at 7pm and – by some miracle promised by the likes of Gina Ford, Baby Whisperer and Rachel Waddilove – sleeps until 7am, that is 12 hours of potential rest foe me! (Right. I knew better – this was a fairyland.)

With my firstborn, each feed took me about an hour; and then another half an hour to settle him back to sleep afterwards. That is six hours of feeding, plus three hours of re-settling, or nine hours of awake time for me, each night.

After I factored in my own re-settle time, I was left with at most two hours of rest. How on earth, would it make sense to have a night nanny at home for the entire night, to sleep two hours? Nonsense!

However, the fact that I slept only two hours a night was exactly the reason why I – as well as my baby, and the rest of my family — ultimately benefited tremendously from a night nurse. And all the while I was breastfeeding exclusively.

Babies often doze off while breastfeeding
Babies often doze off while breastfeeding

Here are the key benefits of hiring a night nanny, also called a night nurse, or – as I like to call them – Angels of the night.

Six benefits of hiring a night nanny for *your baby*

  • You baby will feed fewer times a night. Night nannies can read baby cues much better than us mums. Babies don’t wake for hunger only. In fact, more often than not, they wake up because they have tummy pain or simply because they don’t know how to fall back asleep. Now, for us breastfeeding mums the easiest way to get them back to sleep seems to be putting them on the breast and letting them use us as a human dummy. But (!) as we all know that’s a very short-term fix. In contrast, a night nanny will try to first settle the baby back to sleep, and very often she will succeed. (If she can’t it’s because baby is genuinely hungry.) Hence, the result is fewer night feeds (and more sleep!) for both of you.
  • Your baby will finish their night feeds faster. Especially during the night, babies tend to doze off on a breast. They end up sleeping on us more so than feeding. A night nurse, however, will make sure that your baby sucks only as long as she actually feeds. By looking at you and the baby, she has the knowledge and experience to know when they are finished.
  • Your baby will settle back to sleep more easily. Night nannies seem to have a ‘special power’ to teach your baby to fall asleep, and stay asleep. I didn’t know this until I had my first baby but babies actually need to be taught how to sleep! The most important skill for babies is the ability to fall asleep on their own, not needing your breast for comfort.
  • Your baby will be sleeping better and more. As a result of this gentle training by an experienced night nurse, your baby will be sleeping longer and more soundly. Remember those magical 12 hours between 7pm and 7am? With the help of a night nanny your baby will be making the most of this period, guaranteed!
  • Your baby will be stronger and healthier. Did you know that sleep is the second most important factor for baby development, after food? Sleep is unfortunately often neglected yet it is while sleeping that your baby grows and strengthens.
  • Your baby will be in a better mood during the days. This is no rocket science. It works the same way as for us adults!
Sleep is incredibly important for baby development and immune system
Sleep is incredibly important for baby development and immune system

Six benefits of night nannies for *you*

  • You will be waking up feeling refreshed and energetic. (Yaaayy!!)
  • You will be enjoying time with your baby much more. (Sweet!)
  • You will have more quality time for the rest of the family, work or social commitments. (Finally!)
  • You will be assured that your baby is getting enough quality sleep which is so important for their development. (Thank goodness!)
  • Your immune system (and hence your baby’s) will be stronger. (Bring it on!)
  • Your milk supply will improve. Wait, what? It’s true, the more you rest, the more (quality) milk your body can produce. Check out our favourite breastfeeding source: KellyMom.com
Mamas need good sleep to boos their immune system and milk supply
Mamas need good sleep to boos their immune system and milk supply

So to answer your question, ‘does it make sense to hire a night nanny while breastfeeding?’ Absolutely.

Stay tuned for more tips around the logistics of breastfeeding with a night nanny, and different arrangements you can make to get the best out of their help.

Fact: Majority of myTamarin mums who hire a night nurse breastfeed. They breastfeed more than the UK average. myTamarin can support you, your baby and your family – come take a look!

From luxury swimwear to nappies – the story of Suzanne, one of myTamarin’s most loved night nannies

A mum of three grown up girls, Suzanne is just the type of night nanny every mum dreams about. Affectionate and warm, professional and knowledgeable, yet also very flexible and supportive of all mothers!

One day a few years ago, after a long day at her swimwear company inspired by classic aesthetics, now run by her daughter Hadley, Suzanne walked past the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. She felt she needed a change in her life.

On a whim, she decided to walk in and offer to volunteer. They must have felt the same positive energy that I was overwhelmed with the first time I met Suzanne, and they immediately matched her with babies. Since then a Friday has not gone by without Suzanne helping new mothers with breastfeeding at the postnatal ward. And she hasn’t looked back!

Suzanne, what keeps you going to the postnatal ward week after week?

I’m always amazed by how much little things, a little advice, or a little hint can change one mum’s life. You know, all mums, and especially first-time mums are so vulnerable in those early days after birth. And they really need support, because breastfeeding isn’t easy. Proper latching is so important, yet so hard to achieve for so many mums and their babies. And a little bit of help, just a little adjustment can go such a long way, and can mean the difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding. Of course, mums should be supported in any choice they make when it comes to feeding their babies, but if they are keen to breastfeed, I’m there to help them.

We don’t often see fashion entrepreneurs change their careers for night nursing. What exactly was your path from luxury swimwear to nappies?

Well, I was a Montessori teacher for many years before I started the swimwear business. And even before I had my own children I always enjoyed helping others with babies. I guess I’ve always had a strong passion for babies and children. After I started volunteering with the hospital, I’ve trained to become a birth doula. Birth doulas provide continuous support, for women and couples, through pregnancy, labour and birth and the immediate postnatal time. From there it was a natural transition to help mothers not only at birth, but also during the first few months, especially at nights.

So what exactly do you do during the nights? Do you ever sleep??

[Smile] I do. I need to. I have to be fresh and alert during the nights I work. If I’ve worked the night before, I shut down everything when I get home and sleep for at least four hours every morning. Otherwise I’ll take a longer nap in the afternoon. I’ve been working with two sets of twins lately, and you know, between feeding one, settling one back to sleep, feeding the second, settling the second, and sterilising bottles, there is almost time for the next round, because they feed every three hours. So that leaves me with perhaps two hours of sleep a night. But that’s all right, it’s a night job and I love my job!

Wait, isn’t your job to get the babies sleep through the night?

My first priority is baby’s safety and health. For the first three to four weeks babies shouldn’t have gaps between feeds that are longer than three hours, maybe four. Once they start feeding well during the day, it’s okay to stretch them for a little longer, say five hours between feeds, and then go gradually from there.

What’s your approach to baby routine?

I’m led by babies. However, I think it’s important to establish the evening routine as early as possible so that babies start differentiating between days and nights. I suggest a nice bath at 6pm, followed by a feed, and then putting them down in a dark room. During the days they can nap in light rooms, but not during the nights. They need to start learning the difference between days and nights.

What’s the most common mistake you see mums make?

They leave their baby on a breast for too long. If a newborn baby is on a breast for an hour, it means that they are either not latching properly and hence hungry, or seeking comfort. After 30 minutes, or maximum 45 minutes mums should stop breastfeeding, and if needed keep the baby on their chest for comfort. Of course, it’s much easier for me to notice when babies are sucking for comfort only, because I’ve seen so many, and I’m not as emotionally involved as a mother is. And that is why and how I can help them – I relieve them so that they too can get some much deserved rest.

The other thing I see quite often is that parents are so excited about any longer stretches of sleep, that they don’t feed the baby frequently enough. Especially during the first few weeks, assuming normal birth weight, it’s important that they feed every 3-4 hours at a minimum.

Which are your favourite baby products?

I love coconut oil by Absolute Aroma. It’s so good for dry skin and cradle cap. Some people use olive oil, but I find it too heavy. I also swear by Sudocream for nappy rash.

What should mums prepare for their baby before the birth?

Not much! The only thing that needs to be sorted beforehand, really, is sleeping arrangement, i.e. where the baby will sleep and what they will sleep in. So, a Moses basket or a cot, and a few sleep suits. I had never bought anything for my babies before birth because I’m too superstitious!

I also strongly recommend reading the “Breastfeeding Made Easy: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Using the Miskin Method.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d love to work as a night nanny for as long as I can. I’m really enjoying working with babies and mums, and I like the flexibility of the job. I can travel when I need to.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love theatre and ballet! Swan Lake is my favourite.

If you’d like to book Suzanne, or another night nanny to help you during the early days, fill out myTamarin matching request.

Welcome to the family and our #FindYourTamarin competition

Your chance to win a gift for you and a gift for your baby!

This October, we want to share the love by giving away two beautiful gifts; one for mama and one for baby. We’re partnering with the creative and talented jewellery designer Sara Hartley, who specialises in producing the finest hand-crafted pieces; and Whisbear® The Humming Bear, the innovative sensory bear designed by two mummies and inspired by their own babies.

The prizes

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of our partners, we’re giving you a chance to win a Sara Hartley gift voucher to the value of £75 AND a Whisbear® The Humming Bear worth £50.

Sara Hartley jewellery is a London-based jewellery designer balancing being a mum of two and running her own business. Her elegant range of jewellery is based on the idea of the continuation of life (the life cycle). She takes her inspiration from the natural world around her to create simplistic forms, streamlined, tactile and modern shapes that have been translated into a stunningly elegant range of jewellery.

Whisbear® the Humming Bear is an innovative, sensory sleep aid created by two mothers, who also happen to be sisters. Based on their own experience, they have designed a product aimed to help newborns with a smooth transition from a prenatal to a postnatal life by recreating soothing sounds of the womb. Whisbear®  The Humming Bear has won the hearts of thousands mothers, fathers and carers from all over the world.

Read on for your chance to win. Terms & conditions apply.

#FindYourTamarin

myTamarin was inspired by tamarins. Tamarins are monkeys that parent in family groups; they help each other while the infants are small. We believe that every parent deserves their own tamarin group – every parent should get the help they need to enjoy their family fully. And every baby deserves to have rested and fully-present parents. A maternity nurse of a night nanny will give you and your baby the best possible start. We would love you have you join our family.

How to enter

It’s super-easy to enter! Look out for our competition posts on Instagram with the hashtag #FindYourTamarin, and give it a ‘like’. For extra chances to win and to share the love, @tag a friend in the comments and retweet the #FindYourTamarin post on Twitter

Terms & Conditions

Sara Hartley – gift voucher is valid until 15 December 2017.

  1. Instagram entrants need to Like the Competition promotional post featuring the hashtag #FindYourTamarin . For an additional entry entrants need to @tag a friend in the comments
  2. Twitter entrants will need to retweet the Competition promotional post featuring the hashtag #FindYourTamarin
  3. The Competition opens on Wednesday 4 October 2017 and closes at midnight, Sunday 22 October.
  4. Entrants can enter at any point between these dates.
  5. There is no limit to the number of times the Entrant can enter the Competition during the duration it is open.
  6. The winner will be selected at random from all entries across Twitter and Instagram combined
  7. The Competition is only open to UK residents aged 21 or over, excluding employees and agents of myTamarin and anyone professionally connected with the administration of the Competition
  8. Automated or bulk entries from third parties will be disqualified
  9. We reserve the right to exclude serial competition entrants who have entered more than 4 competitions in the last month
  10. The prize for winning the Competition will be a £75.00 gift voucher from Sara Hartley Jewellery and a Whisbear® The Humming Bear
  11. The Prizes are as stated and they cannot be sold or exchanged for cash, goods or services
  12. The overall Prize winner will be drawn and informed privately (via a private message on whichever platform you won the prize through) during the week commencing 23 October 2017 and announced publicly on Monday 30 October 2017
  13. You must provide accurate contact details on notification.
  14. All entrants consent to their names and comments being used for promotional purposes without additional compensation or prior notice to the winners. Copyright in all material submitted as entries rests with the promoter.
  15. We will not pass on your personal details to any other organisation without your permission, except for the purpose of awarding the Prize if necessary
  16. The Ccompetition will be run and prizes will be awarded at myTamarin’s sole discretion. myTamarin’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
  17. We reserve the right to refuse entry into the Competition
  18. We reserve the right to change the Competition rules from time to time. If we do so, we will always have the most up to date terms and conditions on this page
  19. Except in the case of death or personal injury arising from its negligence, or in respect of fraud, and so far as is permitted by law, myTamarin and its associated companies and agents and distributors exclude responsibility and all liabilities, whether direct or indirect, arising from: any postponement or cancellation of the Competition; any changes to, supply of or use of the Prize; and any act or default of any supplier, which are beyond myTamarin’s reasonable control.
  20. myTamarin does not accept responsibility for any liability arising from technical incompatibility, problems relating to the internet, or technical difficulties of any kind
  21. myTamarin shall not be liable, whether in tort, contract, misrepresentation or otherwise for loss of profits, loss of anticipated savings, loss of goods, loss of use, loss or corruption of data or information, or any special, indirect, consequential or pure economic loss, costs, damages, charges or expenses
  22. You agree to indemnify myTamarin against all liabilities, claims and expenses that may arise from any breach of your agreement with myTamarin.
  23. The Competition and these Terms and Conditions are governed by English Law. England & Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these Terms and Conditions

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The Insider’s Guide to C-Sections and Must-Have Products

I planned for a natural birth. I researched birth centres at local hospitals, meticulously. I practiced prenatal yoga, regularly. I selected soothing birth music, carefully.

Except for that my baby never turned. He remained in the upright position. He was breach. His head was against my ribs, and he wouldn’t budge.

Doctors suggested trying external version. They gave me an injection to relax my muscles, then grabbed the baby through my belly and tried to turn him. Two strong male doctors gave it a good try. He wouldn’t move an inch.

I didn’t give up. My playlist was ready, and the picture of giving a natural birth, in a pool full of warm water, with no medications or any other artificial help whatsoever simply wouldn’t leave my head. Speaking of my head, I read that headstands encourage babies to turn around, so I spent about 30 minutes every night up-side-down. The additional blood in my brain certainly didn’t help me sleep, and annoyingly also had no effect on my baby’s position.

Some babies don't turn until the very end of pregnancy
Some babies don’t turn until the very end of pregnancy

I tried reflexology. I tried acupuncture. But he still wouldn’t give in. He was determined to come out legs first.

I was scheduled for a c-section, and while many mothers-to-be report feelings of failure when faced with the reality of a non-natural birth, I was determined not to give up. While continuing the headstands, I researched the option of giving birth to a breach baby. After all, the midwives from “Call the Midwife” made it look like it was no different than the head-first birth!

Except for (!) that the midwives and doctors of today don’t have any experience facilitating breach births, making any such attempt nearly a suicide mission. I was told.

I finally gave in after they promised that one c-section doesn’t prevent me from having a natural birth with any other baby. And surely the statistics would play in my favour with my second baby since only about 5% of them remain breach. At least those were my surgeon’s famous last words.

Baby born via a C-section
Baby born with c-section making a big entrance into the world

My second baby did turn. But my first c-section didn’t go as planned. Any next baby would need to be delivered via another c-section, my doctor told me as soon as they placed my first-born on my chest. Presumably so that the rush of love I experienced at that moment protected her from a punch into her face!

Sigh.

At least I didn’t have to bother with the headstands during the second pregnancy. Instead, I did even more research on products that make your life easier if your baby doesn’t want to come out the natural way.

Products that made my c-sections more bearable

This is a mini guide to what your hospital bag should include when you’re heading for, or ending up with a c-section – and that your “natural birth” bag wouldn’t already contain.

Clothing

Knickers: you need special underwear to hug the area of your scar. These are not sexy, but they do make you feel more comfortable and secure, with the added benefit of making your belly look slimmer. My favourite are from Mothercare.

For healthy digestion

Probiotics: you will likely be on antibiotics after the birth. It is therefore super important to support your immune system with probiotics. I used OptiBac and recommend starting the course a few days before your (scheduled) delivery.

Peppermint: unfortunately you will have trapped air in your belly after the surgery. I found this pain really hard to manage and would do everything to minimise it. Peppermint does wonders – try these peppermint capsules from Lindens and drink a lot of peppermint tea.

Peppermint is surprisingly helpful in aiding digestion, during pregnancy and after birth
Peppermint is surprisingly helpful in aiding digestion, during pregnancy and after birth

Fybogel fiber supplement: constipation, I’m afraid, is also unavoidable with a caesarean, and Fybogel hi-fibre saved me. I suggest taking them as soon as you can start eating post birth. Don’t wait until you get constipated. (It’s really hard and painful to push with a wound.)

For pain / healing

Arnica: is known to help with any wound healing. I used Nelsons Arnicare.

Painkillers: you should take as much as they will suggest in the hospital. Don’t try to be brave and take less. In order to heal faster, it’s really important to move around a lot and you’ll be much more mobile (and happier!) with painkillers. For after the hospital discharge, they normally suggest a combination of over-the-counter Ibuprufen and Paracetamol.

For the scar

Both Argan oil and Rosehip oil are supposed to be very good for scar treatment. I found Argan has a better texture for the scar area. I recommend massaging your lower belly before the surgery already so that your skin is better prepared. And you can start using it again after the surgery as soon as the wound is closed. I used Artnaturals.

Argan or rosehip oil help with post c-section scar healing
Argan or rosehip oil help with post c-section scar healing

Silicon: finally, I used silicon sheets from ScarAway. I was really sceptical about these, but they do work very nicely.

Good luck with your c-section and let us know your favourite products and other coping mechanisms that helped you through the journey!

PS: You may need more help after birth if you end up with a c-section. A night nanny or maternity nurse could provide invaluable support during the recovery time.   

How to Explain Night Nanny to Your Mum

I had been lying on our bathroom floor, hugging the toilet instead of my 5-week old baby, when my husband finally put a stop to my guilt-driven resistance to any help whatsoever. If my mum could do it, and if mothers for centuries could look after their babies without any paid help, why shouldn’t I?

But the truth was – I simply couldn’t. Three bouts of mastitis and three rounds of antibiotics, coupled with (oh-so-cliche – but so true!) sleepless nights led to a major case of gastroenteritis, and hence the move to the bathroom. Despite my life-long suspicion of medical profession (yes, you guessed it – I don’t think my self-sufficient self needs any help), I begged my husband to call an ambulance as I was sure death was near. (I’m not exaggerating.) But my husband was too busy looking after our 2-year old, jealousy-possessed, but otherwise very cool toddler.

Fast forward, I survived. But not without help. My baby needed me, and I needed help to look after him. Here, I’ll say it again, *I* needed help. If I wanted to be a good mum to my baby (and my toddler), I needed to accept help. And with no family nearby, I needed paid help.

Newborns are so cute and also often restless

My first baby taught me that sleep was incredibly important – for him *and* me. It was sleep that gave me the energy to play with him during the days. It was sleep that kept my immune system strong to protect us both. It was sleep that kept my milk production up. (Yes, I’m a breastfeeding addict too.) It was sleep that helped me stay (sort of) sane during those early days. And so I knew that the help I needed was for the nights.

Until then, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of a night nanny at all. Now, I strongly believe that every mum (and her baby!) deserves a night nanny. Strike “deserve” – mums should be entitled to a night nurse, like they are to a health visitor.

If like me, you aren’t familiar with night nannies, I’ve pulled together the key facts about these angels of nights.

 What exactly is a night nanny?

A night nanny or a night nurse is a childcare professional who is specialised in helping parents with babies during the nights. Nothing prepares parents for the incredible fatigue and drop in energy following lack of sleep. However hiring a night nanny may be the answer – not just as a short-term fix, but also a longer-term investment in family well-being.

myTamarin Night nannies
Night nanny will help get the baby into a better, healthier routine

What exactly does a night nanny do?

Night nanny usually arrives around 9pm (although some are happy to start earlier or later), and stay until around 7am (however, some will leave earlier or stay longer depending on family needs). During that time, they take sole charge of looking after the baby – feeding, changing, settling, and teaching baby good sleep habits. Depending on whether the baby is breast- or formula-fed, she brings the baby to her mother every time the baby is due for a feed, or feeds the baby expressed / formula milk through a bottle.

How long do parents hire a night nanny for?

A night nanny helps with babies from newborn until about six months, although many parents use them well beyond the half-year mark. They may be hired for a few weeks, or several months. Some parents hire them for a couple of nights a week to catch up on rest, while others use them during weeknights, especially if they are working and/or one of the parents is travelling.

Is a night nanny a baby sitter?

No. A night nanny is more qualified and more experienced, looking after babies throughout the entire night, and helping parents get babies into better routines, and ultimately longer sleep.

How is a night nanny different from a maternity nurse?

A night nanny helps the family during the nights only and is typically a ‘live-out’, whereas a maternity nurse looks after baby during the days as well and is typically a ‘live-in’.

 Who can benefit from hiring a night nanny?

Literally everyone can benefit from hiring a night nanny, because there are many benefits:

  • Parents get some much needed and well deserved rest;
  • Parents regain their strength and energy to really enjoy their baby during the day;
  • Baby gets a longer and better sleep too, which is incredibly important for baby’s development (only food is more important for them to grow healthily);
  • Baby gets into a better routine, wakes up fewer times a night, and is in better mood during the days (not to mention that parents need to wake up fewer times too!);
  • And much more…
Happy baby, happy mum
Longer stretches of sleep are incredibly important for baby’s development

Especially families with no relatives nearby, first-time parents, parents of colicky babies, babies with reflux or special needs babies, parents with active toddlers, parents of twins or triplets, parents with demanding job and families where one parent is travelling extensively find the investment into a night nanny hugely beneficial.

How much does a night nanny cost?

In the UK, night nurse fees vary from about £120 to £150 a night for single babies (excluding any placement fees), depending on night nanny’s level of experience as well as how many hours she works. Typical hourly rates are between £13 and £16 an hour gross.    

Is a night nanny worth it?

Well, you know my answer! A night nanny is worth much more than a new bag of baby clothes or the Nth baby activity that you’re doing to keep yourself awake. I would go as far as to say that night help in early days is more beneficial to you and your baby than private birth facilities!

Regardless of whether you consider hiring a night nanny a luxury or a necessity for your family, keep in mind that more rest at night will help you be a better parent, and give your best to your baby during the day. At the same time, better sleeping habits will help your baby develop their full potential. And it is very hard to put a price on that.

At myTamarin we help you find a night nanny that matches your parenting style, personality, preferences, values and beliefs.