The Benefits of Night Nannies
A night nanny can be an enormous benefit to new parents. Motherhood Center specializes in providing night nannies, baby doulas, nannies, and babysitters for all types of families in the Houston area, whether they are first-time parents or adding new additions to their household.
We get many questions about night nanny services so we interviewed the head of our night nanny department and asked her about what duties night nannies perform for families with newborns and what qualifications and experience to look for when you are seeking to hire one.
Night Nanny Q&A
What exactly is a night nanny? What are the differences between a night nanny, baby doula, postpartum doula, night nurse, overnight nurse and newborn care specialist?
Night nannies are fully trained professionals with extensive experience in caring for newborn babies or infants. Like regular nannies, they come into your home to provide extra support, but specifically for the overnight hours when new parents may be sleep-deprived and struggling. They help with feeding, winding, and settling babies, making sure they stay awake for a good feeding and that best practices for parents are reinforced. Duties could include sterilizing bottles, preparing milk or formula, changing diapers, and settling the baby to sleep.
Night nannies are there to help with the exhaustion that can come with bringing home a newborn, helping parents get better sleep and babies to stay on schedule with feedings and naps. Most newborns need to eat three to four times per night, and most do not sleep through the night, so night nannies are there to help soothe babies and keep the whole family on track.
Night nannies have always been around, but have come into higher demand with a lack of parental leave, especially for women in the workforce. A night nanny should be nonjudgmental, patient, caring, and knowledgeable about newborn care. There are many synonymous terms for night nannies, but Motherhood Center provides high-quality care for families and their babies regardless of terminology. If you would like to learn the differences in caregiver types, please take a look at our dictionary of caregivers.
Is there a typical family that hires a night nanny?
For example, double-income families, SAHMS, single parents, C-section moms, parents of preemies, multiples, or special needs babies?
We serve clients from all walks of life. Some parents plan ahead of time, knowing they would like help. It may be that this is their second child and they learned from the first time around. There is no stereotypical family that hires a night nanny.
Double-income households, single parents, and parents with no family support nearby have called upon us for support. We often have received last-minute calls from parents that need guidance on the care of their premature baby, or after an unplanned C-section that requires extra physical support for the mother to recover. Many of our clients are first-time parents who are simply overwhelmed, need guidance, and could use the extra sleep.
What might a 24-hour period look like for a new parent who has hired a night nanny?
Are there set hours? And who sets those hours?
A parent who has hired a night nanny will wake up well-rested and have more time to prepare for the day. They will be able to continue a family routine smoothly because both parent and baby have rested during the night. We are always listening to each of our client’s needs, as they may vary from one week to the next.
Our experienced nannies can step in to assist with whatever you need, whether it requires 24-hour coverage, strictly day or nighttime shifts, or a combination of both. Baby nannies work to educate parents on newborn care, allow them to rest more, show them how to bathe the baby, help with breastfeeding and creating a sleep routine, or even prepare family meals. Truly, each day can be very different based on a family’s unique needs.
When do most new parents bring in a night nanny?
When the baby comes home? Prior to the parents returning to work? And how long does the night nanny stay with the family?
Most families decide to bring in a night nanny once parents and baby are home from the hospital. A night nanny can stay with the family anywhere from two to 12 weeks or even longer once the parents return back to work. Some families may use night nannies for as long as six months. Every family’s needs are different, and some new parents find it comforting to have a second set of eyes on the baby overnight.
What should new parents look for in a night nanny in terms of personal characteristics, experience, and professional qualifications?
Just like with any professional relationship, it’s important for parents to feel compatible with their caregivers. A new mom or dad should look for a night nanny who listens and understands their family’s expectations and goals.
Parents should observe how the caregiver interacts with the baby and communicates with them. A night nanny should have knowledge of proper infant care, a CPR certification, and have the initiative to continue with further education to ensure she is up to date with recommended techniques. Night nannies registered with Motherhood Center have been hand-selected by founder and president Gabriela Gerhart, and have undergone a rigorous screening and interview process.
Let’s discuss some main areas of newborn care and new motherhood a night nanny can help with — overnight care, household help, education and training, and emotional and physical nurturing.
Overnight care —
The primary task for night nannies is to make sure parents and baby are getting their much-needed sleep. Waking every two to three hours to feed a baby can be exhausting, and a night nanny is there to ease the process.
A night nanny can help a new mom or dad by making sure the baby’s diaper is changed and completing any baby-related tasks, including bringing baby to mom when they need to be fed or handling the feedings herself to allow the mom or dad extra rest. When parents and babies are well-rested, the parents will have the energy to bond with their babies during the day.
Don’t forget, night nannies are not expected to stay awake their entire shift, so you will need a place for your night nanny to rest periodically between chores and feedings.
Household help —
A caregiver should always be productive and proactive. There is always something to do while baby and mom or dad are napping. This could include light chores such as baby laundry, reorganizing, tidying up the kitchen, running errands, washing bottles or pump attachments, or making mom a snack. Our night nannies always try to go the extra mile for our families to ease the stress of light household chores.
It’s always helpful to discuss your concerns and expectations with your night nanny before she begins her work. You may already have a log of feedings and naps to share with her, or questions to ask about particular challenges as a new parent.
It’s also important to talk about your household routine, such as mealtimes and whether you plan to include the night nanny or take them alone or with your partner. Even if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry—your night nanny will have a lot of experience and many ideas on how to get you and your baby into a healthful, restful routine.
Education and training —
Motherhood can have a steep learning curve. A night nanny is a source of educational guidance. They are knowledgeable in various breastfeeding and bottle-feeding techniques. They are there to demonstrate swaddling styles, how to clean and bathe baby, and to provide examples of how to establish a good nighttime routine for the whole family.
Emotional & physical support —
A night nanny can offer emotional and physical support with things like postpartum depression and anxiety, C-section care, postpartum health, and sleep deprivation. A night nanny’s physical support can range from simply changing a diaper to letting mom rest or taking care of the baby so mom can have time to get ready for the day.
Recovering after birth (whether it was an induction, C-section, or natural birth) is as crucial as getting the baby adjusted to their new home. Night nannies also provide emotional support by listening to parents as they speak about their concerns and their activities during the day. Night nannies can also be one of the first to spot the signs of postpartum depression or anxiety, and they can suggest resources that can help new mothers through this time period.
Let’s talk a little bit about the night nanny services at Motherhood Center.
Motherhood Center prides itself on having wonderful and nurturing caregivers. We always try to be as flexible as possible regarding our clients’ needs. Whenever they need daytime or nighttime help, we are there to assist in education as well as in providing emotional and physical support.
We adjust our services based on what each family needs. We offer eight hours of minimum care during the night and six hours minimum care during the day with no minimum nights of the week. Our approach is to provide unbiased and nonjudgmental nurturing support for the whole family. We have provided exceptional care to thousands of Houston families based on their individual needs.
Our goal is always to empower new mothers, and night nannies can help get you on track with a smooth routine that helps you feel more rested, invigorated, and in control, so you can enjoy your bonding time with baby. If you are looking for a night nanny and would like to speak further, please give us a call at 713-963-8880 Visit us
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