After Birth

Breast milk

There is no food better for a newborn than breast milk. Some gestational carriers are willing to express milk for the child while they are in the hospital. The colostrum (the first milk produced by a woman after birth) is golden in colour and very rich in important nutrients and antibodies. If your gestational carrier is willing, it is worth the trouble to provide her a breast pump and express the milk. Do not however, let your gestational carrier breastfeed. Breastfeeding creates oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates a bond between a woman and the breastfeeding child.

Breast milk banks are becoming increasingly common. For example, in Massachusetts the Mothers’ Milk Bank of New England operates a non-profit service that provides milk to babies who do not have access to a natural supply of breast milk. Even though the service is run as a charity, it is still expensive, with milk costing about $4.00 per ounce plus shipping.

Registering with a GP

You can find your nearest NHS general practitioner on the NHS website.

Maternity nurse

Some couples hire a maternity nurse for the first few weeks post birth. Especially for your first child, a maternity nurse can help you learn what you need to know during those first few critical weeks.

Some maternity nurses specialise in newborns. One of the authors hired one who had previous experience with over 50 newborn babies -- she had seen and experienced everything and was an invaluable resource in learning the things new parents need to know. One advantage of hiring a well qualified maternity nurse is that she will normally be able to get your newborn on a “schedule”, meaning that he will initially need only one nocturnal feed and eventually will be able to sleep uninterrupted through the night.

Maternity nurses normally work for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months and charge between £180 and £270 per day depending upon the level of experience. If you do hire one, we recommend hiring a more experienced nurse from a good specialist school such as Norland College. If you are on a budget, we recommend hiring a more experienced nurse for a shorter period of time. Most of the best nurses are booked at least 6 months in advance. Norland College has an agency that you can contact who (for a fee) will place one of their graduates with you.

Schools

If you happen to live in London, you may already know how crazy things are for admission to some of the most reputable schools. Some schools will only consider potential students on a "first come; first serve: basis. This means that for some schools a child may need to be registered from as early as one month of age! Getting onto wait lists normally involves visiting an individual school and then paying a registration fee ranging from about £50 to £100. Do this soon after birth to keep as many options open for your child!