CAVEAT EMPTOR: “Let The Buyer Beware”

Some of you will have heard me speak of other people in my field of work: many capable, competent, qualified and caring people who do a great job. You may also have heard me speak of those I call Somewhat Less Qualified: people with five-minute internet “diplomas”, and those with no relevant qualifications at all: just the gift of the gab, plus or minus a well-timed publishing deal.

It is hard to find somebody who does what I do: actual Mothercraft Nurses are uncommon nowadays. The need for the care we provide has not. The gap has been partially filled by people whose websites give equal emphasis to generic mentions of what their philosophy might be and how much they charge for their services. It’s a business. Sure, many of these people are well meaning. Their websites tell me they succeeded in settling their own kids, their neighbours’ kids, so they thought hey, why don’t I do this while the kids are at school. That would be great, if the courses they paid a lot of money for placed more emphasis on science based, peer reviewed knowledge and less on how much to charge for a Phone Consultation (I do not charge a cent for a Phone Conversation. Never have, never will.)

Despite my tone, I am generally loath to poo-poo on the advice my clients have been given prior to us meeting: with three exceptions. Firstly, safety. Never compromise on safety. Secondly, I will always respectfully disagree with advice which is at odds with the baby’s developmental state. You cannot force a baby to do what he is not yet capable of doing. Thirdly: I will never, ever support “sleep training” that tries to force a baby into category two. I only condone methods that combine an awareness of what is developmentally appropriate with a gentle approach.

It is so important to be really aware of a few simple facts regarding babies:
1. They are not scaled down adults; their bodies and brains are immature and constantly growing.
2. This growth means change. What he did last week is not always an indication of what he will do this week.
3. All growth spurts, developmental leaps, etc come in “two-steps-forward, one-step-back” format. They rarely happen in one giant, simple “click”.
4. No matter how hard you try, you cannot “train” a baby who is not physically ready to do what you want him to do.

Babies are not puppies. They cannot be “trained”. Semantics, I hear you say. Perhaps. But when dealing with sleep deprived and anxious parents, I find that the language used is very important. So what do I do then, if it’s not sleep training? I teach my parent clients what I call responsive settling. In a nutshell:
1. Learn to know your baby. Get an understanding of where he is at developmentally.
2. Learn what is average, and what is normal for his stage, and remember the difference between the two:

3. All babies are individuals. Babies without a health issue or disability follow a fairly predictable path, but allow for your baby’s individuality along that path.
4. Don’t rush it! Your baby may not yet be capable of what you want him to do.
5. Find a qualified and experienced professional person to help you on your way: if they can’t expand on the points above without resorting to terms like “sleep training”, keep looking.

“Sleep training” is a big business now. Be careful to take a good look at the actual qualifications and experience of anyone you consider asking for help. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, and if they can’t explain their methodology to you in a way that makes both you and your baby feel at ease, then they are not the right fit for you and your family.


Baby and toddler care consultations

Many parents will have some difficulty with establishing breastfeeding, or with learning how to settle a new baby, or perhaps with their older baby’s sleeping, eating, teething, toilet training etc. Over the years, I have helped many families to find solutions to these and many other problems. Although most children follow a fairly predictable route of development, individual children – and individual families – do vary enormously. “Average” covers a lot of ground! Accordingly, I tailor my services to suit each family. Rather than dispensing generalized advice, I find that analysing the individual problem, and working as a team with the whole family, is a much more efficient solution.
First I visit the family at home for an initial consultation, to observe, to discuss problems and solutions with parents, and to meet the little one/s. What happens after the initial visit? This depends on the problem. I often find that just that one visit is enough to set things in motion. At my first visit I usually leave parents with some strategies which they can begin to implement themselves: how much, depends on the individual situation. I also provide followup care where required. For instance, if our example is a sleeping difficulty, a combination of day, evening and night followup visits may be involved.

Postnatal Overnight Care

Today’s healthcare system allows new parents very little time in hospital, and limited support while you’re there. In the past, Mothercraft Nurses were an integral part of hospital postnatal nursing care, teaching and supporting new parents. My postnatal overnight care service provides support, care and education for the new mother and baby, in the comfort of your own home.  This includes assistance with:

  • Breastfeeding and / or bottle feeding
  • Recovery from birth (including caesarean section delivery)
  • Helping parents to learn babycare skills, such as bathing, dressing and nappy changing
  • Settling techniques
  • Establishment of a routine to suit both you and your baby

Please note:
– If you are considering a postnatal booking, it is advisable to contact me reasonably early in your pregnancy, in order to ensure my availability. It is essential that you meet with me prior to the birth of your baby, to discuss all of your questions and needs. I encourage the attendance of your partner at this meeting.
– Please save your time, and mine, by not contacting me if you intend to follow popular self-help books (eg Gina Ford’s and Tizzie Hall’s books). I neither agree with nor approve of their philosophies.
– Cancellation policy: Postnatal overnight bookings of three or more nights per week, for two weeks or longer, require a holding deposit of $1000, which is not refundable in the event of cancellation less than two weeks before the commencement of the booking. Postnatal overnight bookings can be cancelled once they have begun, but a cancellation fee equal to two weeks’ fees is required.

Mummy Mentoring Program

“The original, and the best”…  Unlike similarly named programs now being advertised, this is a one-on-one, face-to-face, in-home program that I run for new parents. Originally offered to new Mums who do not have access to the support of family or friends locally, I provide this service to any new parent who, for one reason or another, needs regular and ongoing support. After meeting  for an initial consultation, we meet again either weekly, or every couple of weeks, to build on Mum’s (and Dad’s) brand new parenting skills, to discuss Baby’s development, perhaps to keep an eye on Baby’s feeding / weight gain, or to deal with an ongoing issue such as sibling rivalry, or postnatal depression. I am also available by phone and email to touch base with these families between visits. The initial visit is a regular four hour consultation. Follow-up visits are also usually four hours, for either four or eight weeks. I also offer a monthly follow-up option for those Mums who have already done either four or eight weeks.

Antenatal consultations

Hospital antenatal classes are an invaluable source of information about the birthing process. My antenatal consultations are all about what comes after that momentous event: parenthood, and a baby to care for! An antenatal consultation provides you with one on one time (or one on two, if your partner would like to be involved) to learn about the things that are important to you in preparation for the arrival of your baby. This can include parentcraft skills training (nappy changing, dressing, bathing, etc), help with organising what you need to buy, and information about breast and bottle feeding.

I also provide a Grandparent Refresher: this is a four hour session with grandparent/s to be (and parent/s to be if desired). While we have a laugh about how things have changed since our kids were born, we have hands-on practice (with my Dolly) with whatever skills you wish to refresh: basics such as holding, lifting, various wrapping methods, nappy and clothing changes, settling positions, etc. It’s a good chance to discuss SIDS and safe sleeping, immunization, and any other issues you might have in mind.

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Gift Certificates

Gift certificates are available for all consultations, postnatal overnight care and mummy mentoring packages.


This website is not intended as a medical guide, nor as a replacement for regular clinic visits with your midwife or maternal and child health nurse, but as a reference only.

The information presented here is intended to help you make decisions regarding your baby’s health and behaviour, and it is not a substitute for medical advice.

If there is any doubt about your baby’s health, you should consult a medical doctor immediately.


This website is made available with the express understanding that neither the authors nor the publisher shall be responsible or liable for any injuries resulting directly or indirectly from the information contained within this website.