Hi, sweet friends! OK, I’m just going to get right into it…
I shared our decision to hire a night nanny on my Instagram Stories last week, and the response was overwhelming.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to talk about it. I knew that I wanted to share that we have a night nanny this time around, but I was afraid. I didn’t know what the response would be. I didn’t know if I would get messages, shaming me for not spending as much time as I could with my last baby. I didn’t know if I would be judged.
Well, I should have known better.
You guys came through big time with messages of support and love. Why did I have any doubt?
I just can’t get enough of that sweet face. (During appropriate wakeful hours.)
I’ll start at the beginning.
If you’ve been around here for awhile, you are familiar with my story of Postpartum Anxiety. (If not, you can read more about it here.) I struggled with it after the birth of my first babe. I was extremely sleep-deprived, which I have no doubt contributed to my struggles.
Since then, I’ve become set on making a sleep a priority, not only for myself, but for my entire family. There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is the most effective form of torture. If you’ve had a baby and been the sole caregiver and feeder (meaning breastfeeding a baby who won’t take a bottle), you know exactly what I mean. Those first few months make the few sleepless all nighters in college look like child’s play.
(A quick note – I’ve never expected my husband to wake up with the baby. He often works late into the night in his home office, only to get up early in the morning to head to the office. And actually, my goal for him is to get him to sleep MORE, not less.)
When I got pregnant with my second baby, I made sure my mom could come and help. Since we don’t have family nearby, we were so thankful she was able to take a few months off of work to help me get through the fourth trimester. It was still tough, but I had some support during the night and it was so helpful.
This time around, I didn’t expect my mom to take that time off. I knew it was hard on her, and I didn’t want her to go through that again.
But, I also knew I couldn’t do it alone. I couldn’t be up with the baby all night and then be “on” with my girls during the day. I also know that so many moms do that, while also working full time jobs. And to them, I say: YOU ROCK. I am in absolute awe. For real.
But, I know my limits. And propelled by the fear of postpartum anxiety striking again, I know when to say, I NEED HELP.
So, when I got pregnant the third time last December, I immediately began the conversation with my husband. Which, honestly, surprised both me and him. I had never considered hiring a night nanny before. Because I didn’t have to. But this time, I needed to figure something out.
We were both wary of having a stranger in our home at night, taking care of our boy. But as we met and interviewed a few nannies, we slowly got used to the idea.
It was a long road to get here, but now 6 weeks after the birth of our baby boy and we are SO glad that we took the leap and hired a night nanny. I can’t tell you the peace of mind it gives me knowing that I have help at night. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.
When I talked about it last week, you guys had a lot of questions…
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR NIGHT NANNY?
This was by far the most asked question. Many of our friends in the area have used night nannies, so I knew that getting a referral was the way to go. I asked one of my close mama friends if she liked her night nanny, and she couldn’t say enough good. So, I reached out to the agency she used. We are using Sweet Dreams Infant Care and have been very impressed.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
A quick online search shows that cost varies. There are two options: a night nanny and a night nurse. Since our boy didn’t have a medical need for a nurse (thank God), we opted for a night nanny. It’s $35/hour.
WHEN DOES SHE COME?
Again, this just depends on what you need. Since I like to go to bed early and get up early, I chose to have her come 9pm-5am, Sunday – Thursday. I didn’t feel like I wanted help 7 nights a week (why? I’m not sure.). And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dread the weekends a littttttle bit lately.
DO YOU STILL BREASTFEED THE BABY DURING THE NIGHT?
Yes. This is a totally personal choice. I could pump and they would give the baby a bottle, but then I’d still have to get up to pump. I’d much rather nurse my sweet babe than wake up to pump. Also since this is my last baby, I really want to soak it up and don’t want to give up that middle of the night nursing session just yet.
OK, SO THEN WHAT DOES SHE DO?
A lot of people asked this, and I feel like their babies must have been great sleepers. Ha. She does all of the other stuff that babies need during the night. She’ll change his diaper, hold him upright after I nurse him to make sure to get out the burbs, give him his pacifier if he’s fussy and walk him around if he just can’t get comfortable. To give you an idea, here are her notes from a few nights ago:
HOW DOES SHE WAKE YOU UP AND WHERE DO YOU NURSE THE BABY?
Because we have our 5 year old in bed with us at night (NOT by choice, but one sleep problem at a time, please), I knew I didn’t want to nurse the baby in bed. So when it’s time to nurse, she will crack my door open and whisper to wake me up. Then, I get up and go to nurse him in his nursery. I like it because then I’m awake enough to make sure he’s nice and full. She will go downstairs while I nurse him and I text her when I’m done.
WHERE DOES THE BABY SLEEP?
For the first 6 weeks, he slept in the 4moms playard in our family room. Since he was being watched, I felt comfortable having him sleep in the Dock-A-Tot in the playard. He loves to sleep with his arms up, so this swaddle has been awesome.
I just last night moved him to the crib. It was becoming obvious that the noise and lights in the family room were starting to distract him. The night was rough, but I know it will get better. He’s no longer in the Dock-A-Tot, but is still swaddled.
WHAT DOES SHE DO WHILE THE BABY IS SLEEPING?
This is why I love Sweet Dreams: they don’t allow sleeping. A lot of night nannies sleep while the baby sleeps, but I feel way more comfortable knowing that she’s awake and can tend to him when he needs it. She will do the dishes (amazing) and do his laundry. Some nights there is more downtime, and then she watches Friends on her iPad, which I’m totally on board with. 🙂
HOW LONG WILL YOU HAVE HER?
This was something that we struggled with as we were getting ready to sign the contract. How do we know how long we will need her? We decided to start with 2 months. Well, we have already extended it to 3 months. I don’t think we’ll extend it longer than that.
I hope this helps if you’re trying to decide whether or not to hire a night nanny! Please feel free to leave a comment below with your experience or if you have any questions…
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