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Night Nannies: Wrong on So Many Levels
Just when you thought you heard it all, news comes of more insane child rearing practices by some of the most wealthy (financially, not relationally) in our society.

It turns out that some New Yorkers are hiring night nannies to do the evening shift and get up with crying babies, when both parents have high pressure jobs.

Their nanny works from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. six nights a week. “She swaddles the baby and sings to him and that’s the whole point for us — she has a lot more energy and patience at that point in the day than my husband or I do,” Ms. Roche said. “We are wiped out.”

Night nannies are often treated like heroes, said Barbara Kline, president of White House Nannies in Bethesda, Md. “Suddenly you have a six-pound bundle of chaos, an incredible amount of upheaval in the household, and in swoops this person who can calm the baby and get them to eat and sleep,” she said.

As might be expected, help doesn’t come cheap. A week’s worth of night-nanny services can cost well over a thousand dollars, with nannies earning about $15 to $40 an hour, depending on their experience, the number of babies and the babies’ health. Ms. Seveney says overnight nannies usually spend 6 to 10 weeks with a family with one newborn, and anywhere from two to four months for twins.

I can understand a night nanny if you had triplets or quadruplets. You would need it just to sleep. But my youngest child barely slept for her first six months, and we managed, albeit it was tough.

I think she needed me in the middle of the night to feel secure.

But there's more to it than that. She had to be taught to sleep through the night. She had to be taught to soothe herself. All babies do. And when you're the one who is missing the sleep, you have the incentive to do that.

If I got up with Katie to nurse her, I wouldn't talk to her very much. I'd keep the lights off. I wouldn't make it fun. In the daytime I'd throw on the lights and the music, start a running conversation, tickle her, and do everything I can to let her know THIS IS DAYTIME. YOU SHOULD BE AWAKE NOW.

And eventually it worked. But with a night nanny, where's the incentive to train the child? How can a child have any relationship that's real with his or her parents if it's not even the parents getting up in the middle of the night?

Obviously these moms aren't nursing, either. I loved the solitude with my children, just nursing and humming to them and praying over them, in the dark. Sometimes I did get overtired, but I still loved them. How could you miss out on that?

If you didn't want to care for your kids, then don't have kids. It's as simple as that.

H/T Joanne Jacobs.

In my book Reality Check, a collection of 85 of my favourite columns, I recount my experiences with teaching Katie how to sleep. Read more about that book here! And it's on for super special this summer only!

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At 2:41 PM , Blogger Tracey said…

Night pathetic...if you don't have time or the energy because of your day time job....don't have the child...what next....Soccer Mom Nannies, Car pool nannies, clothes shopping nannies, First step nannies, Christmas presant opening angers one who would do anything to have a little one keeping her up ALL night!


At 4:03 PM , Anonymous Heather said…

The seems crazy to me. I have a 1 year old who has never slept well and still gets up at least once a night. But I never once thought about hiring somebody to get up with her at night. Even when I was exhausted after taking care of a toddler and an infant all day and my daughter only wanted me at night. Sure I was tired, still am most days, but that is what I signed up for when we decided to have another baby. She was sick for the first week of her life and I couldn't even hold her for the first few days, so I cherished all the time I could get with her.

In 10 years(maybe even less) these children will want nothing to do with their parents, and the parents won't understand why, cherish your children now because eventually they will grow up.


At 4:13 PM , Blogger Org Junkie said…

Yep I couldn't agree more. I trained all my kids to sleep through the night by 8 weeks old. It's hard but definitely doable.


At 6:06 PM , Blogger Catherine R. said…

This is so weird. Needless to say these people have day-nannies too. When do they actually spend time with their kids? And if they fired the nannies and actually stayed home, they'd probably end up saving money. But oh yeah, I forgot, a "real" job is more meaningful use of one's time than the demeaning task of caring for one's children.


At 8:10 AM , Blogger The Heerens said…

We battled several years of fertility and while yes it is exhausting to get up night after night, I loved every minute of it knowing our prayers had been answered. Night sad for those poor children.


At 6:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I am a co owner of Night Nannies in Australia and although we do have the client you mention above most of our clients either have Postnatal depression and really need the help or other illness caused by child birth. The service assists and works with them. We bring the baby or babies to the parent for feeds and assist them as needed to help them recover. We also offer Sleep Guidance over a 2 night period helping new parents gain the skill & confidence exchanging our extensive experience with settling and routine guidance. So as you can see the service is not just for the rich. Theres always two sides to a story.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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