10 Undeniable Benefits of Hiring a Night Nanny

Out of all the challenges that accompany bringing a new baby into the world, lack of sleep — and the fear that precedes it — consistently tops the list for new parents. “Coming home with a new baby is the most exciting and terrifying time of a person’s life,” says Laura Erlich, a fertility and obstetric specialist and owner of Mother Nurture Wellness in Los Angeles. “The great unknowns of who the baby will be and how to meet their needs can feel overwhelming. But among the biggest worries I hear my patients convey is the fear of lost sleep.”

And the worry, according to Erlich, is with “good reason.” “Sleep deprivation is incredibly challenging, and when you add in the needs of a newborn, feeding and childbirth recovery, the stressors can really pile up.”

“… Among the biggest worries I hear my patients convey is the fear of lost sleep.”

— LAURA ERLICH, FERTILITY AND OBSTETRIC SPECIALIST / OWNER OF MOTHER NURTURE WELLNESS

The early newborn days are tough, there’s no two ways about it, but one way to help with the jarring transition is to hire a night nanny. With their help, here’s what you can expect during those initial groggy weeks and months.  

1. More uninterrupted sleep

The umbrella benefit of hiring a night nanny is to get more sleep (which, as we all know, affects about a zillion other things — more to come on this). “Babies typically wake in the middle of the night during the first months of arriving home, and after that, sleep regression can occur, which means your baby will get up after two to three hours,” explains Dr. Monte Swarup, an OB-GYN in Chandler, Arizona, and founder of HPD Rx. “Night nannies are trained to assist your baby to get back to sleep and soothe them when they wake.”

“Night nannies are trained to assist your baby to get back to sleep and soothe them when they wake.”

— DR. MONTE SWARUP, OB-GYN / FOUNDER OF HPD RX

2. Improved mental health

Need we even say it? Sleep deprivation makes everything — including mental health — worse. “It has been clearly documented that lack of sleep is detrimental to physical and emotional well-being,” says Tonya Sakowicz, a Master newborn care specialist® and owner and director of education for Newborn Care Solutions. “New parents are absolutely no exception and having support — particularly at night — has been shown to reduce rates of postpartum mood disorders.” 

While there are a number of variables at play when it comes to postpartum mood disorders such as postpartum depression, studies have shown — consistently — that lack of sleep can exacerbate these issues for both parents or even increase the likelihood of a mood disorder developing in the first place. 

3. Faster postpartum recovery or transition after adoption or surrogacy

“For those who have come into parenting through the physical birthing process, it has been likened to a marathon,” says Sakowicz. “Whether you’ve given birth vaginally or via C-section, which is major surgery, an extensive recovery period is required. Expecting a new parent to be up within hours of giving birth, providing exemplary care, is unreasonable and can have profound negative effects on the new parent.” One 2017 study noted that poor sleep after surgery was linked to “increased sensitivity to pain” and “poor recovery.”

“A night nanny can allow new parents precious time to rest and allow their body to begin to heal,” she continues. “Even parenting accomplished through adoption or surrogacy is a huge emotional and physical process and families benefit from additional support during this time period.”

“A night nanny can allow new parents precious time to rest and allow their body to begin to heal.”

— TONYA SAKOWICZ, MASTER NEWBORN CARE SPECIALIST® / OWNER OF NEWBORN CARE SOLUTIONS®

4. Smoother night feedings and diaper changes

Being snapped out of a deep sleep at 2:37 a.m. is disorienting to say the least, and worse yet, once you’re up with baby for a bit, it can be hard to get back to sleep. That’s where a night nanny can really help.

“A night nanny can bottle-feed your baby or, if you breastfeed, they can bring your baby to you when it’s feeding time and then put them down so you can have a restful night,” says Swarup. “Additionally, they’ll change baby’s diaper and rock them back to sleep.”

5. Reduced household stress

Since night nannies assist with nighttime duties, they generally take care of bottles or breast pump parts that are used the previous evening. A valuable service a night nanny can assist with includes sterilizing and cleaning your baby’s bottles,” Swarup says. “Additionally, keeping your baby’s clothing, sheets and blankets clean is an important task your night nanny can help with — and it can be a big relief to tired, new parents.” 

6. Reduced relationship stress

As the old saying goes: We often hurt the ones we love — which is why new parents are typically at each other’s throats. Catching a bit more shut-eye with the help of a night nanny may help cut down on partner snippiness (to put it nicely).

“My husband and I were beyond exhausted after the birth of our second — he never slept!” says mom of two Heather Snyder of Seattle. “We eventually couldn’t take it, and we hired a night nanny. It was such a smart decision. Not only were we more alert during the day, we weren’t snapping at each other nearly as much. We were able to enjoy each other’s company again, even throughout the hectic newborn days.”  

7. Help transitioning back to work

The U.S. isn’t exactly known for its stellar parental leave packages, leaving many moms and dads heading back into the office, albeit bleary-eyed, about 12 weeks after the birth of a child. While night nannies don’t help with daytime child care, they can help by leaving you more alert the next day.

“Since many new parents have to or choose to return to work quickly after the arrival of their new baby, having overnight support to take on many of the tasks can allow them to get back to their professions with excellence,” Sakowicz says. “Let’s face it: Returning to work has enough challenges — if being so sleep deprived you don’t know your own name can be avoided, then the value of overnight support is amazing.”

“Since many new parents have to or choose to return to work quickly after the arrival of their new baby, having overnight support to take on many of the tasks can allow them to get back to their professions with excellence.”

— TONYA SAKOWICZ, MASTER NEWBORN CARE SPECIALIST® / OWNER OF NEWBORN CARE SOLUTIONS®

8. Improved relationship with other children

Another benefit of hiring a night nanny, according to Snyder, was the effect it had on her relationship with her eldest child. “When I was able to get more sleep at night, I had more patience with my older daughter,” she says. “I was even able to get up a little early to make sure we had some one-on-one time.”  

9. A smoother transition overall

Whether it’s your first or fifth baby, every child — and their routine — takes some getting used to. Hiring a nighttime nanny, who’s likely worked with countless families and is dedicated to overnight caregiving, can really help during this transition. 

“Getting settled into a new routine with your newborn takes practice,” notes Swarup. “A night nanny brings real experience that will alleviate the stress in transitioning from being pregnant to having a newborn in your home. With their experience, [night nannies] also will be able to provide advice on breastfeeding, along with other infant questions you may have. Having such a resource can make for a more stable environment, which, in turn, can reduce overall stress.” 

10. Support for people who don’t live near family

Not everyone lives near family members (and even if they do, help isn’t guaranteed). A night nanny can provide needed support for new moms and dads during the early throes of parenthood — a time during which everyone needs a mini “squad” who can help pitch in. 

“We have all heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and this adage is never more true than in those first tender days and weeks,” Erlich says. “For those lucky enough to be surrounded by a community that can help, the challenges of caring for a newborn can be made infinitely easier. For those with the more common circumstances of having little help, hiring an experienced newborn nanny is a wonderful way to ease some of the stress.”

Originally published by Care.com

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