Virtual nanny services – postnatal support on Zoom

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From pregnancy to birth and beyond, becoming a parent in 2020 comes with a myriad of additional pressures. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, prenatal appointments are currently being canceled and being assisted alone – a rule applicable until the “active labor” stage of childbirth, when a mother’s biological partner can only join her for a few hours. The loneliness continues thereafter, with visits from family and friends banned in hospitals and – during the lockdown – at home. Professional postnatal appointments with visiting physicians are not what they used to be, either. Indeed, The Guardian reports that in the first UK-wide lockdown, only one in 10 parents with children under two saw a face-to-face health visitor. Beyond the frustration for mothers, they believe that a generation of babies born during this time “may be at risk” because they and their parents are not properly supported in the weeks and months following birth.

All this, I myself experienced recently, a reality very different from when I became a mother for the first time in 2016. Too bad for the second time, it’s easy.

But regardless of the pandemic and extensive government services, modern parenting is difficult enough. Gone are the days when we called on “a village to raise a child”, as the African proverb says.

The last century gave birth to the “nuclear family” (like ours), where mom and dad do it alone. “Never in history were parents expected to take care of their babies on their own,” writes pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp in The happiest baby in the neighborhood. Where parents sought help from family, friends and neighbors with household chores or childcare (and reciprocated later), now asking – or paying – for help is fraught with guilt. In Dr. Karp’s opinion, this is all wrong.

“Honestly, you’re supposed to have five nannies! He said, and that this is neither an extravagance nor a sign of failure. Essentially, “this is the bare minimum of help new parents have received since the beginning of time,” but while seeking help may be wise, not weak, it can seem nearly impossible in 2020. Well , for those who can afford it, the world of virtual childcare may be the answer.

How do virtual nanny services work?

More affordable than in-person offers, and ultimately more accessible, virtual nanny services are a business success story of today’s Zoomification. One of the best nanny agencies in London myTamarin didn’t see it coming, but their services easily made the transition online. Providing access to postnatal experts including breastfeeding specialists, maternity nurses and sleep coaches, they can reach more parents anytime, anywhere.

“Now people are much more open to receiving and consuming advice virtually,” Founder and CEO Zarja Cibej tells me. Often, she has found that it can empower parents beyond working with a nanny in person, explaining that “they are quicker to gain self-confidence when they are practical.” Of course, a baby expert on a video call can’t literally soothe your baby to fall asleep or help her latch on better, but they can provide you with the practical ways to do so.

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Desperate to understand why my three-week-old couldn’t nap beyond 20 minutes straight, newborn sleep clinician Dawn Tame became our virtual nanny via regular video calls for six weeks. Not only did she come up with various plans to help link her sleep cycles (heavily guided by research and analysis of our baby’s personality type), she became my sounding board for every question I would otherwise have. played on google to answer. From understanding the sleepy signals and “wake-up windows” at the heart of our problem to broader help on effective winding, she had practical advice, as well as help with something I would have overlooked – managing my. anxiety with a self-care strategy. I would not hesitate to work with her again in the face of future obstacles.

Indeed, as Cibej puts it, “the service grows with you and your baby” and the flexible packages offer various options anytime – from check-in here and there, to specialist daily support when needed (think regressions sleep, break dependence on pacifiers, navigate between teething, weaning …). But virtual programs don’t have to be stand-alone – aside from blockages and social distancing measures, they can work with internal services as well.

Of course, freelance nannies were embracing the digital custom already before the Zoom boom of 2020. Instagram is home to countless specialty accounts promising to solve parental nightmares – most often bad sleep. Many of these baby counseling services offer access to educational resources (downloadable or via webinars) and all kinds of troubleshooting tips, but generally even the paid content won’t be tailor-made. Yet many swear by the plans communicated through popular accounts like Take babies Cara. Led by a certified pediatric sleep consultant and neonatal nurse offering online baby sleep courses, the page has over a million followers on Instagram alone.

Other accounts offer a mix of free support for everyone and access to personalized plans. Take Amelia Peacock (aka Millie Poppins), a London-based nanny – or ‘baby care specialist’ – who, in addition to her traditional hands-on work, offers online courses and one-on-one coaching packages. After a first Zoom meeting, I had two weeks of text support from Peacock, to help cement a routine for my four month old son. A smooth transition from breastfeeding to sleep has become a goal, and I’m equipped with a three-phase plan to help us get there. Its philosophy is also to prioritize the well-being of mothers as much as to encourage better habits for babies.

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Coaching women to help them thrive as new moms is something that is becoming increasingly important to Peacock’s business. Even before this year, she noticed a worrying lack of support for mothers with regards to their emotional well-being and mental health, she tells me.

“Creating varying levels of online support, gentle counseling and a safe and reassuring space for mothers has always been my plan, but the pandemic has really fueled this. Being able to virtually connect with mothers, who are completely overwhelmed, and recognize them, guide them and encourage them has been the most rewarding part of 2020 for me.

Peacock’s gentle approach will resonate with a lot, especially in these turbulent times. And for those looking for more stringent sleep trainers or some other form of specialist support, Instagram is likely to draw your attention to a suitable person. For those who are overwhelmed with the avenues to follow, an agency may be the best option – not only are professionals selected to be qualified for a specific job, but finding the perfect partnership is their specialty. Resonance, rapport and trust are essential for an effective nanny-family match, whether in person or online.

So while the confinements or simply the constructions of modern life have left us without the help of an extended family (or, unimaginably, a “village”), it is on-demand assistance – and it can come without a hefty price tag. Safe, convenient and with the potential to dramatically improve the lives of new parents under always stressful circumstances, virtual nanny services seem set to stay. For my part, I am very grateful.

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