DE­MAND FOR MA­TER­NITY NURSES GROW­ING IN UAE

Khaleej Times - - HEALTH MATTERS - Sh­er­ouk Zakaria sh­er­ouk@khalee­j­times.com

dubai — In a quick-paced life that re­quires new mums to work, there has been an in­creas­ing trend of re­ly­ing on ma­ter­nity nurses in the coun­try.

As peo­ple are be­com­ing more aware of post­na­tal ser­vices avail­able in the coun­try, it has become a norm among fam­i­lies to em­ploy a child­care ex­pert to sup­port them at home.

Lily Kan­dalaft, who es­tab­lished Malaak Mama & Baby Care, the UAE’s first ma­ter­nity nurs­ing agency, said ma­ter­nity nurses are pro­fes­sion­als who can as­sist through the whole par­ent­ing jour­ney from preg­nancy, birth prepa­ra­tions, breast­feed­ing and sleep.

The trained pro­fes­sion­als have a de­gree in nurs­ing and hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence in hos­pi­tals car­ing for new­born babies and han­dling emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

“Par­ents are look­ing for a pro­fes­sional to dis­cuss their par­ent­ing ques­tions with the ideal rou­tine, co-sleep­ing pros and cons, breast­feed­ing tech­niques, baby proof­ing, wean­ing tips etc. So hav­ing an ex­pert at home to share her ex­pe­ri­ence can give par­ents the con­fi­dence to make the right de­ci­sions that work for their fam­ily through­out their par­ent­ing jour­ney,” said Kan­dalaft.

Kan­dalaft said the main ben­e­fits of hav­ing an ex­pert at home is the sup­port and ed­u­ca­tion they pro­vide and the peace of mind so new moth­ers can have time for them­selves and the fam­ily.

“Hav­ing the right amount of sleep and peace of mind that your child is be­ing looked af­ter by an ex­pert helps you gain con­fi­dence in par­ent­ing and you become present in the mo­ment and ac­tu­ally en­joy ev­ery mile­stone,” said Kan­dalaft.

The phe­nom­e­non is es­pe­cially help­ful for work­ing moth­ers as the 45-day ma­ter­nity leave in the UAE can be chal­leng­ing for mums re­turn­ing back to work and leav­ing their lit­tle baby. She said that par­ents are look­ing for ex­pert qual­ity care for their chil­dren and to have that peace of mind as they re­turn to work.

And with the ma­jor­ity of par­ents be­ing ex­pats, they do not have the sup­port of their fam­ily when hav­ing a new­born child. She es­ti­mates that ap­prox­i­mately 50 per cent of her clients are fam­i­lies with both par­ents in de­mand­ing, high pro­file jobs. For them hir­ing a ma­ter­nity nurse en­ables the mother to re­turn to work as soon as she chooses.

As a new mother her­self, Kan­dalaft said she had plenty of ques­tions when she re­ceived her first son Ryan.

The ma­ter­nity nurse helped me set­tle the baby into the right feed­ing and sleep­ing rou­tine .... I could could spend time with my el­dest son and still get time for my­self,” Hala Khal­louf, a mother

“I had read ev­ery par­ent­ing book pos­si­ble and joined par­ent­ing fo­rums, but I still wasn’t con­fi­dent that I could keep this lit­tle per­son alive,” she said.

Moth­ers re­port pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences

Hala Khal­louf hired a ma­ter­nity nurse for four months to help care for her new­born as she has an older child with spe­cial needs. Spend­ing a lot of time tak­ing the older child to doc­tor’s ap­point­ments, she needed her new baby to have ex­pert care at home.

“The ma­ter­nity nurse helped me set­tle the baby into the right feed­ing and sleep­ing rou­tine...I was a happy mother as I could fi­nally get some sleep and could spend time with my el­dest son and still get time for my­self,” said Khal­louf. She added while most moth­ers rely on do­mes­tic helpers in this part of the world, hav­ing a ma­ter­nity nurse is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

“These nurses have a bach­e­lors in nurs­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence in hos­pi­tals with young new­born babies. I felt more com­fort­able re­ly­ing on some­one who would know what to do in an emer­gency,” said Khal­louf.

Echo­ing sim­i­lar thoughts, was a mother, re­fused to be named, who hired a ma­ter­nity nurse for a few months of 12 hours shift as she re­turned to work soon af­ter hav­ing her first child.

She noted the pres­ence of pre­na­tal classes in Dubai, but felt the need to have a pro­fes­sional ma­ter­nity nurse that would give prac­ti­cal ad­vice on the spot. “The ma­ter­nity nurse did just that. She pro­vided a holis­tic ser­vice show­ing me var­i­ous bathing, feed­ing, lac­ta­tion, wind­ing and even pump­ing tech­niques, un­til we achieved a rou­tine that was com­fort­able for both my baby and my­self.

“Above all, she let me have an ex­tra few hours of rest, with the knowl­edge that my baby was in safe hands,” said the mother.

She added that the pro­fes­sional was par­tic­u­larly help­ful as she was in­formed in child de­vel­op­ment and thus, kept the mother up­dated with lat­est stud­ies in ma­ter­nity.

“It is an in­valu­able sup­port for new mums and ex­ist­ing par­ents who have the added stress of jug­gling older kids. The ex­pe­ri­ence em­pow­ers moth­ers and leaves chil­dren in safe hands.”

Hav­ing an ex­pert at home to share her ex­pe­ri­ence can give par­ents the con­fi­dence to make the right de­ci­sions that work for their fam­ily through­out their par­ent­ing jour­ney.” Lily Kan­dalaft, founder, Malaak Mama & Baby Care

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