As Lily Kanadalft rightly says, babies don't come with a manual. Hiring a maternity nurse is not a particularly new trend in the UAE but its popularity has gone from strength to strength, especially with our current maternity leave laws. If you think hiring help might be the right option for your family, read on...
What was the catalyst for you to launch Malaak?
After having my first son Ryan I wasn’t prepared for the fact that babies don’t come with a manual. I had read every parenting book possible and joined all the parenting forums I could think of but I still wasn’t very confident that I could keep this little person alive. I realized that there was a gap in the region for postnatal support for moms and the dream of a one stop prenatal/postnatal support center started coming to life. I thought how amazing it would be to have one place to go to that could take care of you through your whole parenting journey from pregnancy, preparing you for birth, providing support for breastfeeding and sleep, as well as allocating a professional maternity nurse or babysitter to care for your little one when they arrive! This was the inspiration for Malaak, which means Angel in Arabic as I like to think of our team of maternity nurses, babysitters, lactation consultants, sleep trainers and midwife educators as guardian angels supporting families around the UAE through their beautiful parenting journey.
Tell us a bit about the rise of maternity nursing?
The demand for maternity nursing and professional babysitting care is on the rise for a number of reasons, firstly, a lot of parents here are expats and do not have the support of their family from back home, secondly, maternity leave in the UAE is still at 45 days which is challenging for moms returning back to work and leaving their little baby and lastly, parents are looking for expert quality care for their children. Our parents read a lot and they 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 a maternity nurse to share her expertise and experience can give parents the confidence to make the right decisions that work for their family throughout their parenting journey.
A Malaak nurse in action
What are the main benefits of having a maternity nurse?
I would say support, education and time. Having a maternity nurse gives you time to spend with your older child, time to spend with your spouse and loved ones, or even time to just recuperate after months of pregnancy.
Are your clientele mostly expats or Emiratis?
We have a very good mix of all nationalities of clients both expats and Emiratis.
What are some of the challenges new mums face when hiring a maternity nurse?
To be honest, the biggest challenge a mum faces when hiring a maternity nurse is letting them go after she has tried the service! Aside from getting very attached to the service as they get used to that expert support, peace of mind and enjoying the sleep that comes with having a professional caring for your child, the nurses become members of their family and of course it is a transition for everyone when they eventually move on.
What steps would you recommend anyone take before bringing a maternity nurse into their family?
First, parents need to agree if hiring a maternity nurse is the right thing for their family and if so, when is the right time to hire one (upon discharge from the hospital or when mum decides to return back to work for example). Once the parents have agreed that they would like to hire a maternity nurse it is best to start the booking process as early as possible. This way parents have the time to meet with our lead maternity nurse, discuss all their requirements, go through the different packages and then interview different childcare professionals to find the right fit for their family. It’s always very challenging to anticipate how much help you will need, how many hours, day or night but the earlier you start to think about it, share your requirements and plan ahead, the better. Every family is different and we spend the time to get to know our families and their requirements to ensure that we allocate the right person to fit the family and their needs.