You have a just had a baby. You are exhausted to a level you never knew possible. Your body is literally broken, and all you want is for your newborn to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. Every time that you collapse back into bed (I say collapse because there is nothing graceful or lady-like about the way you re-enter bed at this point), you take a deep sigh of relief. Just as you are about to enter the deep, blissful darkness of sleep, you hear the faint murmur of a fussy baby on the monitor. You do not move a muscle and think, ‘no, no, no, please fall back to sleep.’ And, as those words form in your beyond tired, slow and hazy mind, the baby’s murmur turns into a soft and escalating yelp, that then becomes a more consistent cry, until it is a full blown scream.
If you are anything like me, you turn over to look at your husband who is sleeping peacefully without a care in the world, somehow not able to hear your baby’s angry noises on the monitor, and you feel resentful that he does not naturally wake up at the drop of a pin in your baby’s room. You consider screaming at him, but instead you pull off the covers, throw on your robe and trudge into your nursery to see what is the matter… Food? Diaper? Pacifier? De-swaddled? Reflux? The list of possible problems is finite, but you know that your baby requires attention before you get to go back to the bed you just left.
So, what can you do? Do you have any choices? You certainly cannot give the baby back… Not that you were actually considering that… Well, at least not seriously! Here are some options:
- You can kick your husband and force him out of bed. Take it from me, though, this gets old after the 3rd or 4th time when he does not respond and simply grunts back at you. And by the time he does wake up, your toddler and the neighbors are also awake because of the baby.
- You can leave your baby screaming and turn off the monitor. The guilt sets in pretty quickly, though, so you likely will not be able to fall back asleep at all.
- You can push through, put on your robe and hope / pray that the next night is going to be different.
- You can hire a night nurse.
Night nurses are a common part of many Charlotte families. They are individuals who come to your house for the evening hours, stay in the room with the baby and help him/her to sleep better. Most ‘sleep train’ the baby and also serve as a source of comfort for the child in the night hours. If you are breastfeeding, you wake up and pump while the nurse gives your baby a bottle of breast milk. If you are using formula, you give the nurse bottled water and powder to keep in the nursery with her. Either way, you sleep through the night and the nurse stays up with your child. As good as it sounds, night nurses are not for everyone. Below are some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether hiring a night nurse is right for you.
Night nurses are trained professionals who can teach your baby to sleep. Yes, sleeping is something babies have to learn how to do.
Night nurses know a lot more about training a baby to sleep than you do. Whether they tilt the crib because the baby is dealing with reflux, or ‘dream feed’ the baby to ‘stretch’ him/her past a certain period of time or swaddle the baby in a different way, they have experience with many more baby-sleeping techniques than you likely do.
You get to sleep.
You get to sleep… did I say that I already?
They are expensive. Night nurses for one child range between $150 and $170 per night and are more per night if you have multiples. Some companies also require a minimum number of nights per week and total number of weeks.
You have to be comfortable with someone else being in your home. Everyone that I have talked to that has hired a night nurse has been very comfortable and fully trusted the person they hired. However, it is a foreign and uncomfortable concept for many.
One or two nights a week can be a tease because you will want the nurse to come every night so that you can sleep!
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In the end, whether or not you hire a night nurse likely comes down to a decision of finances and how difficult of a baby you have. Some babies sleep from day 1. Others do not sleep until their first birthday, if then. Asking for and finding help is an essential part of being a good mother. Whether that help comes in the form of a night nurse is for you to decide. There is no shame in hiring someone if you can, and there is no reason to judge another person if you cannot or do not want to.
If you want more information about night nurse services for your newborn, you can contact Jackie Campbell at Infant Sleep Solutions (704) 819-9276 or Jeannette Gregory with Divine Sleep at (704) 606-7621.
From one parent of a new born to another…. Good luck!
Rebecca Glavin, MBA, MSW, LCSWA is a therapist in Charlotte who specializes in working with women with infertility, body image and self-esteem concerns as well as eating disorders. Rebecca also works with women who struggle with infertility, women who have miscarried, and women who have terminated a pregnancy. Rebecca lives in the Cotswold area with her husband and two daughters. To learn more about Rebecca, visit her website HERE, or find her profile and information on the Psychology Today website here.