From the moment you find out you're pregnant, your life becomes a whirlwind of changes. Most of these are happy changes, like planning for the future and welcoming your baby into the world, while other changes are a little bit more scary, like actually taking care of said baby.
While you probably planned ahead by reading books and prepping the nursery, there are so many things you just can't prepare for until they actually happen. It's a deliriously magical time, but one thing all new mothers (and mothers in general) know too well is sleepless nights. Being tired can affect your mood, productivity, health, and so much more, which is why night nurses are a great option for new moms who want some extra help. But what exactly do they do, and how do you know if you need one? Keep reading for all the information you need before you hire a night nurse.
1. What Exactly Is a Night Nurse?
A night nurse as a person who comes into your home to help care for your new baby in the middle of the night so you can get some much-needed rest. "This person helps new parents adjust to life with an infant by assisting in things like breastfeeding schedules, helping with any insecurities the parents might have, and establishing healthy routines for the new family," Alexandra Block, RN at Sutter Health in San Francisco, told POPSUGAR, adding that, in many cases, a night nurse will establish care with the family before the delivery and continue their care after the baby is born. Night nurses are particularly recommended for multiples like twins to give parents extra hands.
It's also worth nothing that hiring a night nurse can also be a crash course in raising a baby. They're often trained in child care, and their knowledge can help new parents learn things firsthand. This educational period can be highly beneficial for all involved.
2. How Do You Find One?
There are many agencies that offer night nurses, like Care.com, NannyPoppinz.com, Night Nannies, and Ellie Blu Agency, but talk to your doctor for recommendations first. They know your specifics and might be able to guide you in the right direction. Also, utilize your mommy groups and ask the ladies in your pregnancy yoga or Lamaze classes. Calling your insurance company might also provide some additional information on the matter.
3. How Much Do They Cost?
Like anything with child care, it can be costly. Rates can vary depending on needs, number of children, and the amount of experience of the caretaker. An average rounds out to about $200 to $300 per night, though some may charge hourly. The hourly rate usually falls around $15 to $40 per hour.
4. How Long Do You Need Them For?
This all depends on the needs of you and your baby. The average period to have a night nurse is a few weeks to a month, but there are a variety of factors that would cause you to keep one on for a longer period of time, such as illness. You can use them for however long you feel comfortable, but this usually is most useful while breastfeeding is happening and to get the family on track with their new schedules while also promoting positive sleep training.
5. Is There a Downside?
Breastfeeding or nightly skin-to-skin contact with your baby (as infants are very responsive to touch) is an extremely important bonding time. It can be difficult to give some of that up in favor of sleep. But on the flip side, more rest will also allow you to be more present with your baby during the day. And while it's always OK to ask for help, developing a dependency is never ideal. It's important to still be active and learn while you have the expertise of a night nurse with you.
6. How Do You Know If a Night Nurse Is For You?
Having a night nurse is a matter of preference. Everyone's needs, birthing stories, medical histories, and babies vary so much, so it depends on that and the comfort level of the parents. People prioritize different things when it comes to parenthood, and like anything in life, this new role gives people an opportunity to stretch their wings and grow, figuring out what works best for them.
Most importantly, it's important not to judge. If night nurses aren't for you, that's fine, but remember that you don't know another mother's struggles and what they may need medically. To that point, if you need one yourself, don't let the fear of judgment stop you from making the best decision for you and your family.