What is a night nurse and do I need one for my baby?

So you finished your baby registry, had your baby shower and packed your hospital bag. All of your energy is focused on preparing for birth. You’ve taken a great childbirth class and you and your partner have discussed your birth plan/preferences. You’ve never even heard of a night nurse.

Before you know it, you’re in the hospital in labor! Your baby arrives healthy and you are over the moon. You didn’t know just how much you would love them. 

Your new family arrives home after sleeping in an uncomfortable hospital room and you’re excited for your own bed. Except you don’t get to sleep in it for longer than 30 minutes at a time because baby seems to be hungry or crying all day!

This is where a night nurse can save you. 

Pregnant person searching for a night nurse

What is a night nurse?

A night nurse goes by many names: newborn care specialist, infant specialist, or even a night nanny. 

A night nurse is not necessarily a registered nurse. However, I always recommend that families choose someone who is a registered nurse. We have training in emergency management for infants. We also have skills to help us assess if baby is sick or something doesn’t seem right. 

And although the word “night” can be in the name, we can serve you any time of day!

Our main responsibility is to take care of baby while you and your partner rest. This does not mean you won’t see us or hear us at all during the time that we are there (unless that’s your preference). We care for baby in the space you prefer and we adhere to whatever feeding plan you choose. 

A night nurse is different than a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula has taken a specific training course and focuses equally on mom’s and baby’s recovery and health. They are often skilled in massage, meal prep, emotional counseling, sibling support and so many other areas. 

How do night nurses feed baby?

You might be curious how babies get fed if night nurses are with them. As I mentioned before, we will stick to your family’s feeding plan.

For breastfeeding families, typically I wake up the breastfeeding/chestfeeding parent if baby is showing hunger cues and 2-3 hours has elapsed since the last feed. 

For bottle feeding families, I ask families to show me where the milk or formula powder is stored. I also ask what water source they prefer and if baby likes the milk warmed.

I always clean any supplies I have used and even sterilize them if the family prefers.

Night nurse caring for baby in nursery

What are the benefits of hiring a night nurse?

One benefit of using a night nurse is that we are knowledgeable in reading baby’s cues. We know what hunger looks like and we know when crying might just mean the baby wants to be held or have a diaper change. 

Many times, babies cry after their feeds and new parents think they are still hungry. But the baby might be having  a little bit of reflux and just need some more burping. Or they might need some help falling asleep.

The biggest overall benefit of having a night nurse is that parents can get some rest. Rest usually means sleep! But it can mean some alone time as well. 

You do not have to feel guilty about what you are doing during the time the night nurse is with your baby. Many parents feel that they should always want to be with their baby. They believe wanting to be alone is wrong. But I am here to debunk that myth. Taking time to yourself will help you enjoy time with your baby so much more. Just a few hours of a night nurse’s assistance can help you feel recharged and be extremely beneficial to your mental health. 

What is a typical night nurse schedule?

Most night nurses I know work in 4, 6, or 8 hour increments and charge an hourly rate. If you have booked a night nurse for multiple days or a week, they may charge a discounted weekly rate. 

Since a newborn does not recognize daytime and nighttime, night nurses can be beneficial at any time of day. 

Keep in mind, if you hire a night nurse for true overnight hours (approximately 10pm-6am), they might charge an increased price. 

How do I choose a night nurse?

First and foremost, choosing someone who is available at the times you need is most important. Since it is usually hard to predict an exact day or time of birth, it’s beneficial to talk to a night nurse about a month or two before your due date so you can tell them you’re interested in their services and they can reserve time for you. 

Second, choose someone who is CPR trained and who knows what to do in the event that baby chokes. I luckily have never had to use these skills while night nursing. Because I teach CPR and have performed it in my role as a hospital nurse, I am always confident that I could handle an emergency. 

Furthermore, you want someone who is skilled in babies. I am a NICU nurse and have been since 2016. My career is all about reading babies’ cues and supporting parents. I am an expert swaddler, shusher and I’m not afraid to dance around or rock baby until I find the movement they like!

It is very smart to meet or talk to a night nurse before their first night with you and baby. Background checks are a good idea as well. Personality is an important factor to consider when choosing a nurse. You want to trust and feel comfortable with the person in your home.

Night nurse consoling baby

What is the difference between your night nursing services and your postpartum hourly services?

I offer two distinct services – night nursing and postpartum hourly support.

My postpartum hourly support is centered more on educating parents. During these visits, I use my skills as a certified breastfeeding counselor and as a bottle feeding expert. I show parents how to feed and have them practice while I observe. I teach parents how to swaddle with hands-on demonstrations. I share my secrets on how to console baby when they are upset. I point out baby’s different cues and behaviors and try to interpret them for families. 

Often these visits are shorter (around 2-4 hours) and they occur earlier in the postpartum period while new parents are still getting adjusted. First time parents greatly benefit from this service, especially if they have not been around babies in a while. 

Some services that are included in my postpartum hourly support but not in night nursing: breast pump flange fitting, weighted feeds for breastfeeding, bath time support and education, CPR education and practice and sleep consulting.

As I stated above, the purpose of my night nursing services is for parents to rest. There is less of me talking and more of me just hanging out with baby!

What areas do I serve?

I am based out of Haddonfield, New Jersey. I do night nursing in Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties in New Jersey. I also serve Philadelphia. 

For postpartum hourly support, I serve the same areas but can also do virtual consults as well. My virtual postpartum hourly sessions end up being an hour or two where parents can ask me all the questions on their minds and I can help them set realistic expectations and make a plan for the first week or two home with baby. I can also help them research in-person resources that they may not even know existed but that could help their parenting and postpartum journey. 

If you live within 5 miles of my home, I offer discounts for my night nursing and postpartum hourly support. These neighborhoods include but are not limited to: Haddonfield, Haddon Township, Haddon Heights, Collingswood, Audubon, Barrington, Oaklyn, Pennsauken, Camden, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Voorhees, Bellmawr and more!

What are the next steps to book a night nurse?

If you’re interested in finding out more about my services and availability, book a discovery call with me here. If I do not live in your area, I have colleagues around the country who would be happy to help you. I can get you in touch with them right away!

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