I am the eldest of six children and my youngest sister is ten years my junior, so I grew up in a home where it seemed that there were always babies and young children around. I helped my mother look after my younger siblings, so caring for babies and children came naturally to me from a very early age!
When I was seventeen, I attended a Doctor Barnado’s residential nursery training college in Kent to train for my National Nursery Examining Board Diploma. I began my training in the 1960s, before the Abortion Act and before the Pill was widely used and therefore a number of babies were brought into the unit to be placed for adoption. I also spent time in St Thomas’ Hospital maternity unit; so much of my life was immersed in newborn babies which I loved.
Having completed my training, I went to London to take up my first job as a maternity nurse, looking after babies for twenty-four hours a day.
I married a farmer and we had three children of our own. Whilst raising my own children, I also helped and advised friends with their newborns. Demand feeding was becoming popular at that time and I could see that friends’ babies weren’t settled and they were struggling with sleeping and feeding problems. This confirmed my deep feeling that babies and young children actually need a loving, but flexible routine and structure in their lives from an early age.
I returned to work as a nanny and maternity nurse and have now gained many years experience in this field!
I continue to work as a maternity nurse and also now run a Baby and Childcare Consultancy business called ‘Rachel’s Babies’. I have written three books ‘The Baby Book – How to Enjoy Year One’, ‘The Toddler Book – How to Enjoy Your Growing Child’ and ‘Sleep Solutions – Quiet Nights for You and Your Child’. I also speak at many different events around the country and overseas as well as running ante-natal baby courses.