The parenting expert

Leanne Kaye realized that ‘young people often have no one to speak to in English’ about childbirth and childcare.

parenting expert 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
parenting expert 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘Pregnant in the City” is the catchy name of just one of three websites created by immigrant Leanne Kaye, an expert on childbirth and early parenting who settled here in 2008.
The other two are “Night Nanny International” and “” and with all three, she feels the subjects of getting pregnant, giving birth, breast-feeding and raising the baby are well-covered.
“I realized that young people often have no one to speak to in English about all these things,” she says. “There are so many questions at times like this, and our aim is to be able to answer them all.”
In England she trained as a midwife, earning a degree in women’s health. She also gained much experience in nursing when she had to take care of her mother, who became seriously ill and died at the age of 48 of breast cancer. Her first job was in a London hospital where she acquired other medical skills, gave breast-feeding courses and found time to get married and have two sons.
Kaye and her husband decided to make aliya in 2008, and the plan was to give childbirth classes in Israel. The marriage did not last and today, the mother of three small boys, her work involves the whole gamut of early parenthood needs, juggling a busy workday with the needs of the children, who have to be picked up from school and delivered to after-school activities. She often works late, too – “I’m on call 24/7,” she says, frequently having to call a babysitter.
“Pregnant in the City” was born after a serendipitous meeting with Sharon Kastoriano, an acupuncturist and fertility expert. Each was working in her own role, Kaye as a childbirth educator and Kastoriano as an acupuncturist, and they recognized a need to provide their clients – many of whom were English-speaking new immigrants – with information about what is available in their new country. They felt that the birth experience would be a better one if they were properly informed, making it the empowering and enriching experience it should be.
Articles on the site provide vital information about the ins and outs of prenatal care in Israel, what tests are available by law, what the different hospitals offer. They recently added a buy and sell for baby products and are surprised at how well it is doing.
Kaye discovered through her childbirth classes in the UK that she has a talent for communicating, and her talks on the subject are always very popular.
She and Kastoriano give courses in Tel Aviv and Ra’anana that cover a wealth of information on childbirth preparation and early parenting.
The second website, Night Nanny International, is subtitled “Say goodbye to sleepless nights,” and is already enjoying huge success.
“I have a group of about 25 fully vetted professional trained nannies to call on,” explains Kaye. “As soon as they sign on I give them an intensive course, including first aid for newborns.”
She won’t take on just anyone, and usually relies on a gut feeling about a potential nanny.
“Some people may be very well-qualified, but they are just not personable,” she says. “If I don’t have a good feeling about someone I just don’t use them.”
Mothers of new babies who want the luxury of an undisturbed night’s sleep can buy a package from four nights to a whole month. Night nannies are constantly in touch with Kaye and can call her with any queries they might have – even in the middle of the night.
Finally, brings everything together, with the option of using social media and Skype consultations for clients to communicate with Kaye or her partner Kastoriano.
“I’m very busy,’ she says. “I have to be on the ball and know what’s happening all the time.”
Living in Israel is something she always knew would happen when she was growing up.
“Somehow I knew I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life in England,” she says. “And although it’s rather a shallow perspective, it’s so good to get away from the rain and live in a warm climate – it makes me feel more alive.”
She worries sometimes about when her boys grow up and have to go into the army, but reasons that if she brought them up loving Israel as she does, they would have come anyway.
She feels it’s thanks to the children that she has succeeded in what she set out to do.
“Without financial pressure, I wouldn’t have achieved what I did,” she says. “I have the feeling that, because I needed to provide for my children as a single mother, it gave me more drive to succeed as an entrepreneur.”
And living in Israel suits her personality.
“I really enjoy living in Israel – I like the openness and lack of reserve – and even before I came I felt Israeli already,” she says.
As for the future, she intends to expand her business and perhaps one day marry again.
“I don’t intend to be single for the rest of my life,” she says.