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Demand for maternity nurses growing in the UAE

Dubai – The phenomenon is especially helpful for working mothers going back to work after maternity leave

by Sherouk Zakaria
Published: Sat 16 Sep 2017, 8:04 PMLast updated: Sun 17 Sep 2017, 9:59 AM

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.
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.
“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.”
sherouk@khaleejtimes.com

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