Bringing your newborn home is a joyful time. But a few days or weeks in, the stress and exhaustion of having a baby that needs 24/7 care may catch up to you. Of course, you love your baby with all your heart. However, your own mental and physical health may be struggling.
Sometimes we need a helping hand. A night nurse, or doula, can help you achieve a restful night as well as guide you through those first few weeks at home.
What is a Night Nurse?
A night nurse is a newborn specialist you can hire for as many or as few nights as you need to care for your baby. Typically, a night nurse helps new parents adjust during those first few weeks at home. They help to care for your newborn, while you get the sleep you desperately need.
It’s important to note that night nurses may or may not have nurse training. However, they are trained and experienced in sleeping training, feeding, and caring for newborns and infants. Some may even have specialized education when it comes to premature babies or babies with medical conditions. Night nurses also go by many other names, including night nanny, overnight nanny, newborn specialist. At West End Mamas, all of our night nannies are trained doulas. You can hire them in advance or during the first few weeks or months of bringing your newborn home.
What Does a Night Nurse Do?
A night nurse can help with an array of tasks and chores associated with caring for your newborn. These may include:
- Helping with feeding, such as feeding your baby a bottle, bringing your baby to you for breastfeeding, or helping with the challenges associated with breastfeeding
- Encouraging proper sleep habits of your newborn and soothing them back to sleep
- Changing your baby
- Bathing your baby
- Swaddling your baby
- Performing your baby’s laundry and organizing it
- Addressing your baby’s health issues, such as diaper rash, umbilical cord care, and reflux
- Logging information to help you and your family develop set schedules for feeding, changing, and sleeping
Should You Hire a Night Nurse?
The decision to hire a night nurse (or night nanny or doula) comes down to you and your family’s needs. It’s a personal choice. If you find your health is beginning to take a hit or you are feeling overwhelmed, a night nurse might be the right decision. There are further many benefits associated with hiring a night nanny.
The Benefits of a Night Nurse (aka Night Nanny)
1. You have more energy during your day.
Typically, most families hire a night nurse/nanny for only the night. This means you are likely taking care of your baby throughout the day. Having more energy can help you enjoy this time and bond with your little one. You will also be less likely to miss out on all those firsts that your baby will inevitably have.
2. It might improve your relationship.
A newborn can place stress on your and your partner’s relationship. When you are both lacking sleep, it’s easy to become irritable and cranky with each other. You might snap at one another for no reason. However, a night nurse can allow you and your partner to rest — meaning you will be less likely to get into meaningless fights.
3. They can help you get the hang of things.
A night nurse comes with a ton of experience. If you are a new parent, they can help you get the lay of the land. For example, you might learn a thing or two about creating a set sleep and feeding schedule for your little one.
4. You can become a better parent overall.
Without a lack of sleep clouding your thoughts and reactions, you can be present both physically and emotionally during the day. This sets you up for a higher rate of success.
Finding the Right Overnight Nanny for You and Your Family
The best way to find a reliable overnight nanny or doula is through friend or family referrals — or your trusted mama village here at West End Mamas. Asking your nurses at the hospital where you gave birth can also help. However, you will want to check your potential candidate’s references and experience either way. Ensure they have CPR and first aid training and the proper credentials you require.
If you decide to keep your nanny or nurse on during the day, their rates may run between $350 to $700, while overnight costs on average $200. Prices may vary based on their training, experience, responsibilities, and credentials. The cost is something you will want to consider when making a decision about how often you require a night nurse and for how long.
Things to Keep in Mind
Many parents claim that an overnight newborn specialist has allowed them to enjoy their time as a new parent – or at least enjoy most of it with a level-head. If you think you might benefit from an overnight newborn specialist, West End Mamas has a team of trained doulas. A postpartum doula can support a new mama during those first weeks or months as a new parent. Get the help you need to be the parent you want to be. Click here to learn more about West End Mamas and our trained doulas.