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Why moms are hiring nurses to care for newborns at home

Posted August 11

Mothers can count on sleep deprivation in the weeks, or even months, that follow the birth of a baby.

Rather than just deal with it, some mothers are taking advantage of a rather pricey solution to sleep through the unpredictable schedule of feeding, changing and comforting their newborn.

According to the New York Post, mothers are hiring night nurses for short stints right after a baby's birth to take over feeding and monitoring duties. "Some work 24 hours a day, but many new parents choose the night nurse-only option," the article stated.

The service has become essential for moms who can afford the minimum $150 for an eight-hour shift, which comes to about $2,100 for two weeks.

A blog post by Carolyn Robertson on Baby Center says that although she found the idea of a night nurse appealing, "I'm not likely to find that kind of change stuffed between the couch cushions," she said.

Robertson added that besides the cost, she felt guilty turning her baby over to a night nurse.

"If I have hired help for my kid while I'm right there, that seems to imply that I'm not capable of caring for her myself," she wrote.

However, according to WebMd, mothers with newborns fail to get a sufficient amount of sleep. This can lead to sleep deprivation with associated behaviors like driving infants around drowsy.

WebMd offered other cost-free solutions for mothers to get more sleep while their child is in the newborn phase:

  • Say no to extra responsibilities. Mothers may feel guilt about not spending enough time with their older children when raising a newborn, but their newborn is their central focus for a while.
  • Say yes to help. Some mothers are hesitant to ask for or accept help, "but whether it is a family member, friend, or babysitter, accept help, so you can get a few hours of sleep," Margaret Park, an assistant sleep specialist at Rush University Medical Center, told WebMd. "People think of sleep as a luxury, but it is a medical requirement."
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps. While it is tempting to catch up on a Netflix series or clean the house while your baby is napping, it is important to take advantage of this time "because once your baby is up, you have to be up too," Park said.
Night nurses and the WebMd recommendations can benefit fathers, too.

NPR reported on a 2013 study that found "of 21 mother-father pairs enjoying their first infant experience … fathers actually got less sleep than the mothers and experienced more confirmed sleepiness."

NPR noted a separate 2012 study that found that even though new fathers "got less than six hours of sleep a night — interrupted sleep, at that — they still worked 'long hours.'"

Email: mmcnulty@deseretnews.com

Twitter: megchristine5

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