7 secrets of a night nurse

Newborn babies make their parents both incredibly joyful and ridiculously tired. Sleepless nights can be especially hard on parents, but help is available in the form of a night nurse or night nanny.


Four hundred Chicagoland families have had that help from Our Joy Infant Care, which provides nighttime care of babies. Now its founder and president, Margaret Sefah, shares some of the secrets of a night nurse.


A baby’s daytime schedule has a big impact on the ability to sleep at night.


“Many families are keeping babies up longer than they should during the day,” Sefah explains. “The babies get overtired and then find it hard to go to sleep.”


While the staff at Our Joy works at night, they monitor a baby’s daytime schedule and work with families so that they know when to put a baby to sleep during the day, too.


Books are not always helpful.


There are so many books on caring for babies, and Sefah notes that they all say something different. Babies are not all alike.


Sefah suggests getting to know your own child, and you’ll soon be able to write a book on just your baby. A night nurse has the experience to try different techniques and can help parents learn what works best for their child.


Start a nighttime routine early.


“Babies are super smart. We always advise that if the baby is of normal weight and has no health issues, you should start with good routine from day one,” Sefah says. “Whatever you teach the baby from the beginning is important.”


Babies should sleep in cribs.


One problem Sefah consistently sees is that babies are not used to sleeping in their cribs. A crib is where babies sleep best, she says.


Too many chefs in the nursery can be a problem.


Having lots of support from family and friends is wonderful, but can occasionally become confusing for the baby.


“Many different people helping can lead to issues, as they all have different ways of doing things at different times, so it is hard to get baby on schedule,” Sefah says.


Having a night nurse can help to get everyone helping with the baby on the same page and establish consistency.


Give babies bottles at night, even if mom is breastfeeding.


Moms will inevitably need to be away from their babies at some point and the babies will need to know how to take a bottle.


“We advise nursing moms to breastfeed most of the day and let the night nurse do the bottle,” says Sefah. She recommends introducing a bottle after breastfeeding exclusively for about two weeks. The night nurse can wake a mom to pump if she wants.


Rested parents are happier parents.


Exhaustion takes a serious toll on parents.


Many of Sefah’s clients were just looking forward to getting some sleep and were surprised at how the night nurse changed both their nights and days. “They are much happier during the day. Super happy,” Sefah says of her clients.


Sefah says families are often surprised to learn that a night nurse can be affordable. Our Joy’s rates range from $20 to $30 per hour depending on the number of babies. The longer you use the services, the less you pay. Parents do not need to provide a separate room for the night nurse since they typically stay in the room with the baby. They can also help with family laundry and dishes.


Night nurses are available to travel to Chicago, its suburbs and nearby Indiana communities. For more information, email info@ourjoyinfantcare.com or call (312) 502-0214.


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