“Mothers often tell us they are not ready to leave hospital – they are worried about not being about to cope without the support of a team of health professionals,” Sharon says.
“In hospital, there is always a midwife to check on you, identify any issues and offer solutions.”
Once home, most new parents find themselves on their own so having a midwife visit you can play an important part in smoothing the transition home.
“I believe our role as midwives is to empower women and families to feel confident and become independent caring for their babies,” Sharon says.
“We work together with the families to achieve whatever they need from us.”
How this plays out in the home environment is different for each family; some families just need reassurance they are doing a great job, for others it may involve working out a breastfeeding plan or support and education on settling techniques and for others, it may be providing emotional support.
Midwives will check on the health and well-being of both the mother and baby, including maternal physical checks, weighing baby, breastfeeding support, emotional support, settling techniques, as well as answer any questions the parents may have.
As far as babies are concerned, they will be weighed, monitored for jaundice and elimination patterns and temperature are checked. The newborn screening test is conducted if needed.
If a home visiting midwife is at all concerned about the health of either the mother or baby, they will refer back to the appropriate health professional.
“I feel that our work in the home visiting setting is really important,” Sharon says.
“New mums and dads want to know they are doing the right thing but often it’s not until they get home, they realise there are lots of questions they haven’t asked.
“It is about building relationships of trust and partnering with the families to help them achieve a smooth transition to parenthood and to their home environment.”