Mater helping new mums

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

In the lead up to the opening of the new Mater Mothers’ Hospitals, more than 80 Brisbane mums eager to be a part of an innovative new program (known as the “Ward Nannies”) came for the program’s first information session at Mater Volunteer Services.

This was just the start of what is now one of the most popular volunteer programs at Mater Health Services.

The Ward Nanny program was designed to bridge the gap between clinical care and practical advice, in-line with the hospitals’ commitment to delivering a new era in midwifery and obstetric care.

Through the deployment of Ward Nannies (volunteers who can utilise their own experience to support new parents during their hospital stay including bathing babies, settling techniques and baby massage) new parents will be equipped with the necessary skills to care for their new baby when they return home as a family for the first time.

Mater Mothers’ Hospitals Women’s Health Service Director, Mish Hill said the Ward Nanny program offers an enhanced level of support to women and their families as they begin their journey through parenthood.

Ward Nannies complement the health care provided by Mater by equipping mums and dads with the knowledge and confidence they need to fulfil the basic needs of their new baby.

The volunteer program also responds to community needs by supporting new mums who may be isolated from their extended family and by helping to reduce stress levels when they return home.

Mish Hill,
Mater Mothers’ Hospitals Women’s Health Service Director

The Ward Nannies work alongside Mater’s exceptional team of midwives, and registered and enrolled nurses in flexible four hour shifts.

My day by Kate Naughton

It’s 8.30 am and I’ve got four hours to make a difference.

I don’t need to change the world. Just fold the baby clothes, so the linen trolley is tidy. Just hold a baby so that a mum who’s had a rough night can have a sleep, so her day will be easier. Just say the right thing when a new mum is on the verge of tears, or a new grandma thinks she’s forgotten it all, or a new dad needs encouragement. These words come from having had the privilege of giving birth to my four beautiful babies at Mater. They are the words of the midwives and other hospital staff that meant so much to me.

Today, it’s my first patient discharge—escorting Mum, Dad and their new baby Ivy to their car. I bring the trolley to Room 1004. We load up all the flowers and presents, their suitcase and Bounty Bag. I take a photo of the new family.

Sitting with Mum in the hospital foyer while Dad gets the car, we watch as a heavily pregnant woman is escorted to the delivery suite, as flowers and balloons are delivered, as customers attend the ladies auxiliary stall and as people come and go from the coffee shop. It is very busy. I notice a tear on Mum’s cheek. I tell her how I fondly remember leaving the Mater with my little Alice. How my husband drove the car home at 20km per hour with our precious new cargo. How we got home, put the capsule containing our sleeping infant in the nursery and then both looked at each other and said, “What now?” I told her how I felt like I was playing “dress ups” as I hung out the first load of baby clothes and how now that Alice is a teenager, I still feel like a beginner so much of the time. She smiles.

As I wave the car off, I take a moment to look around. I am in the Aubigny forecourt—the heart of Mater’s South Brisbane campus. Some of the Sisters of Mercy are leaving the Convent Chapel. These women, who have dedicated their lives to the service of others, are the embodiment of the spirit of Catherine McAuley.

As I take the trolley back to Ward 10, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so special.

Kate Naughton,
Ward Nanny

Filed under: Mothers'
    Ward Nanny Kate Naughton with newborn Lily-Mae Shannon.Ward Nanny Kate Naughton with newborn Lily-Mae Shannon.Ward Nanny Kate Naughton with newborn Lily-Mae Shannon.

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