All parents recall exactly how they felt when bringing their newborn home from the hospital for the first time. I remember placing Jake in his carseat on the living room floor and just staring at him. My husband sat down and stared. Even our cat Misty sniffed and stared. You feel amazed, exhilarated, and most of all...scared! Now imagine having the security of a nurse nearby or even in your home the first few weeks to answer your endless questions and to help establish crucial routines like sleep schedules.
Boston NAPS is a new service that provides prenatal, newborn, and postpartum guidance for new parents. It was founded by two registered nurses (RN), Emily Silver RN, BSN, CLC, and Jamie O'Day, RN, BSN, CLC, both with extensive experience in pediatrics and labor and delivery. Says Silver, "We saw the lack of postpartum support in the city and the need for home visits to new mothers by a registered nurse. In other countries, mothers get almost a year off from work, visits from a nurse, and breastfeeding support. We wanted a way for parents to feel more equipped. Thus, Boston NAPS was born. We hired experienced RNs and worked with Boston area families to help them transition from the hospital to home after delivery."
Silver took the time to answer several questions I had about this unique business.
Q: You offer a wide range of services. The sleep training sounds wonderful! What does this entail?
A: One of our popular requests is to come over and help families get a good night’s sleep! In addition to providing support to families with newborns overnight, we offer sleep training once the baby is age-appropriate. We tell our families to not impose a sleep schedule on a newborn but to wait until they are about 3-4 months old to sleep train. Newborns need to feed every few hours and this is a time when you should respond promptly to their cries and soothe and comfort them.
We offer a Baby Boot Camp package where the nurse helps to establish a bedtime routine that is consistently done every night, which helps parents to reinforce their baby's biological rhythm. We work with parents on giving the baby a warm bath, reading a bedtime story, feeding the baby, and practicing swaddling and soothing techniques. Over time, with a consistent schedule, most babies find their way into their own sleep schedule if the routine remains the same. This includes putting the baby to bed at the same time each night, staying consistent with your naps during the day, and waking up in the morning around the same time. Our nurses help parents teach the baby to not only fall asleep, but stay asleep through the night.
There are various sleep training methods and what we find most important is choosing one that both parents are comfortable with. If parents are not comfortable with sleep training or the process of sleep training, when the nurse leaves, they are less likely to be successful. For sleep training, we have a nurse come over three nights in a row, then leave for a night and return the next night to see the family's progress. We always check with the baby's pediatrician to make sure it is an appropriate time and that the baby is ready for sleep training before choosing a method and beginnings the process.
Q: How does your pricing work (a la carte, program packaging, etc.)? Does insurance cover these visits?
A: Boston NAPS is a private duty nursing company and we do not work with insurance companies. We offer a flat hourly rate for an RN to come to your home. We do not charge more for a day shift versus night shift, and we do not charge more for twins. With program packaging, you can bundle our various packages with hourly nursing services to receive a discounted rate. For example if our clients take our prenatal class, we offer a discounted hourly nursing rate after delivery. The more you bundle, the lower you can make your rate.
We don’t replace a pediatrician, but one of the great benefits of working with an RN is that we put a privacy waiver in place that enables us to speak to the pediatrician to problem-solve and troubleshoot any issues for your little one.
Q: What radius does your services cover?
A: Many of our families come from the immediate Boston area and surrounding towns. As of now, we have not set boundaries. As long as we can get a nurse to go, we’ll be there! We’ve been as far south as the Cape, up north near Newburyport, and west towards Southborough. Our radius now only includes Massachusetts as our RNs are licensed here but we’re working on adding New Hampshire.
And some questions from new moms...
Ericka: Is there a right time to start transitioning an infant to a crib? My son Ryan will sleep for three hours but always wakes up. Should I just keep practicing tough love (and lose my sleep) or wait a little longer?
It depends on the baby’s age. As far as a newborn going to a crib, there is no “right time.” The baby should sleep in a place that is most comfortable for the parents. Many mothers keep their baby in a bassinet by their bed for the first few months because newborns wake up every few hours to feed. If your newborn is waking up every three hours, you should feed and comfort them. As the baby turns four months or more, many mothers will put the baby into a crib because they are sleeping through the night for longer stretches and not waking up as much to feed. The questions to ask yourself are: Is the baby waking up because he is hungry? Is he waking up more because he is in a new space? Talk to your pediatrician to see how you should respond based on your baby's age.
Camille: Do you have any special recommendations for teething? It has affected my son Arthur's eating habits so that he refuses most foods and will only drink his milk.
Poor Arthur! Teething is not a comfortable time for our little babies. Your baby is teething if he begins to chew on solid objects, is drooling more, and is more irritable. If you look inside your baby’s mouth, you may notice sore and tender gums. Providing massage, pressure and coolness to the gums helps to relieve his discomfort. We recommend putting a washcloth or pacifier in the freezer for the baby to suck or chew on. Make sure the temperature is cool but not too cold. The coolness provides comfort against the gums that are sore from new teeth coming in. You can also use your clean finger to massage baby's gums. If you want to try a product, offer a teething ring. Babies like to chew on the firm rubber.
It sounds like your son prefers his milk! I would definitely offer a bottle if this does the trick, but avoid too much milk or juice as this can contribute to tooth decay. Cool water inside the bottle will help provide comfort, and sucking and chewing on the bottle provides pressure for comfort. If your baby is eating solid foods at this point, you can offer something that is peeled or chilled to gnaw on, such as a carrot. If your baby is drooling excessively, make sure to keep drying the drool to avoid skin irritation. For especially cranky babies that cannot be calmed with our tricks, our NAPS nurses touch base with the pediatrician to see if Tylenol is appropriate.
Check out Boston NAPS' Facebook page and blog for more great advice. Emily and Jamie have also kindly offered to answer any of your baby questions here—feel free to submit a question below in the comments section and they will get back to you!