Meet Abi Thompson, a Happy Nest maternity nurse, Baby and Toddler Show ‘Sleep Expert’ and seriously inspiring influencer within the newborn care sector. Abi joins us for ‘a day in the life’ as we chat all things parenting, 3am sessions with newborn triplets, and personal and business growth and philosophies.
A Day In The Life Of Maternity Nurse Abi Thompson
Tell us about how you came to be a maternity nurse
Becoming a mother inspired me to pursue my passion for working with babies and families. And before that I’d previously worked with families as a breastfeeding support worker, and also as a phlebotomist in special care baby units. I studied through MNT training to gain my qualifications, but to be honest – the real training is the first-hand real life experience. Something you can’t learn in a classroom is how to ‘fit’ into a family – you need to be unobtrusive, proactive, reassuring, confident, professional yet friendly ….all at the same time!
What do you love most about working with babies, particularly the newborns?
I just love working young babies and their families. My job gives me an amazing opportunity to support families during an incredibly intense and often stressful period in their lives. My job can be massively diverse – from a sleep consultancy role with a 10 month old, to nights for newborn triplets – I love the diversity. I love being able to find ways to support each family in a way they find unobtrusive and helpful. Most of all I love making a difference!
What's an average ‘day in the life’ (or even, your regular night in the life) of a maternity nurse…
I’m not only a maternity nurse, but also a sleep expert so both are incorporated into my daily life. Currently, my day starts at 11pm with newborn premature triplets… I take over all care of the babies during the night and also make sure everything is prepared for the day ahead. I’ll often arrive a bit early to let the parents discuss how the day has gone and anything else they may want to ask about routines and the babies. It’s just me and the triplets through the night, and I handover back to the parents at 7 am. During the day I visit with families who contract my sleep consultancy services. I work to set parents and families up with a sleep plan to resolve their issues. I then find a couple of hours to catch up on some much needed sleep myself! I love finding ways to support each family in a way they find unobtrusive & helpful. @babysoundasleep #maternitynurse Click To Tweet
Sounds like you've loads of experience with multiples! Is that a particular speciality?
Oh yes, I’ve worked with numerous sets of twins and even triplets – so I guess you could say I’ve a huge amount of experience with multiples. Most people generally comment on my ability to remain calm, no matter what the situation and this makes a huge difference. [We definitely agree, staying calm is gold when it comes to multiples, especially for our Happy Nest maternity nurses.] Babies really pick up on how the adults around them are feeling, and a stressed caregiver will result in a stressed baby. I’m also very organised and a huge fan of always being one step ahead.
So you're a natural then, do you come from a large family yourself?
Yes, I think I’ve always been around families with lots of children – maybe that’s why I’m so calm with multiples. I had lots of friends with large families, and my siblings are also much older than me. So I had nieces and nephews at a young age, and I also had my children very young. Whilst starting a family so young might not have been the ideal situation, it has turned out to be the making of me and I couldn’t be more proud of both my family and my career.
And for a bit of fun, what’s your favourite childhood game?
As it turns out, I’m quite competitive! So at the moment my family are enjoying regular games of Monopoly, and we’re loving the fun family time together.
What's your approach when it comes to helping parents?
I generally do take on a bit of guidance or mentoring role with parents, especially first time parents. But I do pride myself on my ability (hone through years of experience) to judge each situation before making a decision. I work very flexibly, and I’m happy to guide or be guided, by parents who have their own ideas. I believe in the power of being able to make your own informed choice. In my role, it’s always important to remember that whilst I might be caring for the babies, they aren’t my own children. So whilst I’m more than happy to guide and teach, ultimately the style of parenting is dictated by the parents.
Do you subscribe to a particular baby guide or parenting book yourself?
I found there’s often useful little snippets to be found in all of the varying baby guide books. But they’re all so different and it can be quite confusing and overwhelming for some parents when trying to get an idea about what the should be doing. I try and take little bits here and there but I usually just follow my own natural style and go along with the parents wishes.
From your experience, do you feel maternity nurses receive enough recognition for their role in caring for newborns and supporting new mums?
It’s hard to receive full recognition within a role when it’s not familiar to everyone. Some still don’t properly understand the role of a maternity nurse and the extent of the services that are available to new mums and young families. It’s also a tough business to crack. I’ve worked 130 hour weeks (quite regularly), just to make sure I’m constantly pushing my experience and learning. Like with anything – you only get as good as you give. Recently I had a fellow professional tell me I was the best in my business and that felt huge, it was worth all the sleepless nights and 130 hour weeks.
An Expert Happy Nest Maternity Nurse
What's your most memorable career experience so far?
There are so many – you make a million memories every week when working with such precious babies. I’ve had parents tell me how they genuinely feel I have saved their life. I’ve also had a very poorly baby whilst parents were away who was diagnosed with meningitis; my swift action was commended by the hospital staff. The situation was incredibly stressful but the parents trusted me and my decisions 100%.
What would you most like to achieve in the next 12 months?
I’d like to continue along the same path I’ve been forging – to continue to take new bookings to be able to offer more support for families. I’m also really enjoying networking with affiliate businesses to add value to my clients. I had a professional #maternitynurse tell me I was the best in my biz. That felt huge. Worth the sleepless nights & 130 hour weeks. @babysoundasleep Click To Tweet
What’s the best piece of advice you've received, and how has it influenced your philosophy towards both your personal growth and career?
That you never stop learning. Each contract teaches me something new. I’m constantly evolving professionally – from networking opportunities, to how to best help a family. I will never decide that I don’t need to learn anything new, no one can ever know it all.
>>> For more from ‘a day in the life’, meet celebrity nanny Philippa Christian.
If you’d like to get in touch with Abi, or another Happy Nest maternity nurse, you can contact us at Happy Nest.
A private Happy Nest maternity nurse provides support on an almost 24 hour basis and is there to help establish routines and enable mum to rest and recuperate. Happy Nest maternity nurses can be arranged in advance and at short notice for flexible arrangements. Do you need support?