My first days were easy for me. I just drank milk and slept. My dad was working hard, he was in charge of the house and other things, I had a busy time while mom and I spend time together and rest. My sister Emily was a lost with oma and opa, so we could sleep a bit more. The kraamzorg woman was very nice and helpful.
The maternity care, kraamzorg, in the Netherlands is totally unique. No other country in the world has this kind of maternity care, where a professional maternity nurse looks after a mother and her new born baby during the first days after birth. The nurse will show you how to care for your newborn baby, eg how to breastfeed properly, and how to bathe him.
The nurse will look after older children and make sure that meals are prepared, take care of laundry and light household cleaning. If you have visitors she will help arrange a time which doesn’t interrupt with your own or baby’s rest, she will prepare refreshments or even politely turn guests away if you’re feeling too tired ! If you have a home birth she will also be there after the birth to help clean up.
Usually she will be there to help you 3-6 hours per day.You are entitled to maternity care during the first 8 days after the birth of your baby. After that period you should be able to look after your baby yourself. ‘Kraamzorg’ is not to be confused with ‘thuiszorg’ (meaning ‘home care’), which are local organisations providing professional care in your home. The thuiszorg shops are the place to go for some things you may need to hire, eg breast pump (industrial strength, really makes you feel like a diary cow), special stilts to raise the height of your bed (required for home birth), etc.
While the maternity nurse is looking after you she will keep a special diary for you called a kraamdossier to make notes about you and your baby’s health and progress. This book is used for reference by your doctor, district midwife, consultatieburo etc. When the nurse is due to leave she will inform the district nurse at the consultatieburo, who will then be responsible for giving you help, support and guidance in looking after your baby.