When I had my first baby, I was really anxious about not sleeping, had never changed a diaper and felt like a second set of hands would help make the transition a little bit smoother. Because of that, I hired a night nurse who lived with us for three months. With my second baby, I chose not to have a nurse. So which did I prefer? Based on my experience, keywords “my experience” here are my thoughts…
Having a night nurse can be a real luxury or a colossal waste of money. The truth is, it depends on a handful of factors.
Factor #1: New mom anxiety
With a first baby, a nurse is incredibly helpful for all of the unknowns and all of the firsts. First diaper, first bath, first umbilical cord stump, first rash, first witching hour, first everything. They are experienced veterans who have seen it all, and as a result, have the magic touch.
Factor #2: Formula-fed vs. breastfed
When it comes to getting more sleep with a nurse, there are SO many factors. The biggest being a formula-fed baby vs. a breastfed baby. If your baby is formula-fed, a nurse can feed your baby throughout the night which means you can get right back to your regularly scheduled sleeping habits. IMO, this is very much worth every penny.
On the flip side, if you’re breastfeeding, you can’t sleep through the night with or without a nurse. During the first few months, you have to either feed your baby on the breast or pump. Either way, you’re up, and if you don’t feed or pump, you’ll get engorged and your milk supply will decrease.
When I had a nurse with my first, as a breastfeeding mom whose baby fed every 3 or so hours, the nurse would bring me the baby to feed for two of the feedings and for one feed a night I would pump and she gave the baby a bottle. Truth was, the pumping didn’t save me any sleep. It took just as long.
Factor #3: Colic/easy to put back down
I thought the extra sleep I was getting from the nurse was from not having to swaddle, burp, diaper and get the baby back down which leads to the next big factor: whether or not your baby has colic, gets decent stretches of sleep and/or goes back down easily.
For me, once our nurse left, I learned that my daughter went right back to sleep after a feed. She was so full and happy, there was never any fuss. And I really really loved having her next to me in a bassinet. It felt strange that my baby who had been with me for nine months was now sleeping down the hall.
So with my second, with all the above being considered, I decided not to hire a nurse and I’ve loved and preferred it. I’ve loved having Adeline next to me since the day she came home. I prefer not sharing my space with a stranger during this time (including worrying about their comfort and satisfaction in our home – every meal included). And I am not getting any less sleep than if I had a nurse. She, knock on wood, goes right back down after feeds.
So, again, to sum it up, I think a nurse is really worth it when you’re a first time mom feeling a little insecure, when you have a formula-fed baby, when your baby has colic, when your baby isn’t a great sleeper and/or if your baby is hard to get down after a feed. If you don’t fall into any of those boxes, you’re pretty much paying someone to sleep over and walk your baby down the hall every few hours to wake you up for feeds.
I hope this was helpful! Again, this was my experience and I realize a nurse sounds like a huge luxury but I’m hoping this article helps you realize that it may actually not be worth it depending on your circumstance.