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How Two Boston Nurses Founded NAPS to Support New Parents

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Carrie Sparkes

Carrie Sparkes

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been nursing one of my boys at 3am while obsessively scrolling through pages on google trying to answers to questions like “how loud is too loud for a sound machine”, “is gunk in a newborn’s eye normal” and even what “causes a baby’s pee to be pink”. I’ve seen some pretty terrifying answers, and I wish I knew about NAPS sooner! What an incredible resource for answering all of the questions you never know you’ll have until you’re living in that moment. But more than anything, what we need as moms is affirmation that we’re doing a good job. We need validation that what we’re doing is hard, but it’s normal. I’m so grateful to Jamie and Emily for building that community and affirmation for parents!

 

Watch + Listen to the whole conversation: 

 

When Jamie and Emily were labor and delivery nurses at Boston-area hospitals in their twenties, they would constantly hear from parents who would say, “If only I could take you home with us!” The thought of the first few nights at home was terrifying. This gave Jamie and Emily an idea- why not provide that support for new moms? That’s when NAPS was born. 9 years later, NAPS has evolved from providing overnight nursing care and in-home lactation consults to an all encompassing program that supports parents from pregnancy through the toddler years. Jamie and Emily founded NAPS to support women in a non-judgmental way that leaves them feeling confident and proud of the decisions they make for themselves and their families. 

Nurture by NAPS is an online learning platform with members-only content that guides you through every stage of pregnancy and parenting. It combines video how-to’s, live Q&As, in-depth care guides and a super popular ‘Ask a Nurse’ forum to help you thrive as a parent. Through Nurture by NAPS, you can get access to parenting experts and answers to nearly every question that arises from conception through preschool. As a Work Like a Mother listener, your first month is free using the code Nurture1monthfree.

Work LIke a Mother with Emily Silver and Jamie O'Day
Work LIke a Mother with Emily Silver and Jamie O'Day

How did you found Boston NAPS, now Nurture by NAPS? 

Well we founded Boston NAPS in 2011 and when we first opened, Jamie and I were working as labor and delivery nurses and when we would take care of patients in labor, they truly started asking us if they could have our phone numbers and if they could go home with us. And eventually we wondered, well why not? We talked about it a lot on the night shift, but we have no business degrees which is kind of entertaining. When we first started we didn’t have kids and now we have five kids between the two of us. When we started the business in 2011 it was basically our side hustle. There was a point after Emily and I both had our second kids when we were basically like it’s either time to like shit or get off the pot. Obviously, we made the decision to dive in head-first in and run the business full-time. And so that’s what we’ve been doing now for three years and let me tell you, it was the right decision.

 

How was your maternity leave? 

Emily: I have baseline anxiety and I really struggled after having my first with anxiety and potentially depression. I was so overwhelmed. I would usually go three or four nights in a row doing all the feeds trying to take care of the baby and then I was home all day with her alone because my husband was working. Then I would crash. When I had my second daughter, I was like- I’m not doing that again. I’m going to make sure that I stay on my medicine. I take a low dose of medicine for anxiety and I decided to stay on that when I was pregnant and increase it when I deliver. I went into the second pregnancy armed and ready. My anxiety was provoked by lack of sleep. So I did some nights on my own but I also let my husband take the baby once or twice a week for the night. I got better at asking for help from a place of anticipation rather than a place of desperation.

 

What advice do you have for your pre-mom selves? 

I would tell my pre-mom self it does not make you less worthy or less of a mom by asking for an accepting help. In fact, you’re a better mom, if you do those things because you are also prioritizing taking care of yourself. There is really something about working women in our culture now that we have to do it all.There’s this delusion that women can and should do it and it’s not realistic.

 

Bridget Garsh

Co-founder & COO

Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere.  NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.  

Read more from Bridget, follow her on IG, and check out her new series, Work Like a Mother

Bridget Garsh - NeighborSchools

About NeighborSchools

NeighborSchools help working parents find the best home daycares for busy lives and precious little ones. Now more than ever, child care options are scarce, crazy expensive, and, in many cases, really stuffy and corporate. NeighborSchools finally offers an alternative: fully licensed providers, with years of experience, caring for a small number of children, all right in the neighborhood. Every month thousands of working parents use NeighborSchools to learn about their options and find the right provider for them.

It’s completely free to browse daycares, see photos, read parent reviews, and try out MagicMatch, our fancy new technology that lets you see exactly which daycares have a spot for you.

Carrie Sparkes

Carrie Sparkes