The night nurse solution

Growing up in Pretoria I, like many little girls, loved babies, so when I turned 12 my babysitting days started. At 18 I went to the US an au pair, then Malaysia and Spain, and eventually on to the UK where I took on more responsibility and became a nanny, which in the UK means taking over daily roles of the parents. After moving to Norway, I wanted more of a challenge and went back to the UK to become a qualified maternity nurse. I’m currently working as a night nurse in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

What is a night nurse?

It is not a medical qualification, rather mother and baby care post-birth. A maternity nurse's job is to make sure both mom and baby are well fed, well rested, and healthy, and most importantly, "assist to Make it Magical". Typically a maternity nurse works with one baby (or one family's twins, triplets etc.) for 3 months working 24/6, but it is not common practice here in SA; besides me, there is no one actually trained for it, and people don't know to look for it. So I've been using my qualification, knowledge and experience with babies to work as a night nurse.

I have two roles as a night nurse. One is to simply provide both mommy and daddy with a good nights' sleep, where I take over the night time routine of feeds etc, the second is to offer advice, tips and encouragement to new parents. Sometimes it’s both, sometimes just one or the other. I offer advice and teach how to establish good bed time, night time habits and routines.

One stop sleep shop!

Sometimes when asked what I do, my answer is simply "I sell sleep". A typical night with a new client starts off with me arriving at or just before baby's bedtime at night. I observe the routine, and then answer questions and make any suggestions I see necessary to stop bad habits before they are formed. That can include how baby is fed, when baby is fed, how often baby sleeps, before bed routine, room temperature, what baby sleeps in, dummies, and then what to do if baby wakes up and it's not time for the next feed. We talk about the daytime routine, and how that can affect night time sleep.

Empowering parents

I enjoy passing on my tried-and-tested knowledge off to new moms and dads so much, that I often say that I "work myself out of work". Parents want babies to sleep through the night, and although that is not really expected as they wake up for feeds during the first couple of months, they learn which bad habits to avoid, and often feel that they don't need me back after one night. Those that simply just need and love their sleep, call me back purely for someone capable to take over the night time routine, so that they can be fresh for the day care of their baby.

Twitter: @nightnurseSA

Would you consider using a night nurse for your baby?

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