Sometimes it feels like those broken nights will never let up. I struggled with my two and would have done anything for a good nights sleep. Both were breastfed and did’t properly sleep through until 8 months. Every now and again a catch up night would have made the world of difference. Night Nanny’s are becoming more and more popular, it’s not for everyone but I think it’s useful to think about how a bit more sleep can make a difference to how you are in yourself and how a good rest can make everything seem brighter and easier, which in turn has a positive effect on your baby.
This interview is with Elizabeth Stokes an experienced Night Nanny in the East Midlands.
Name of Business:
East Midlands Night Nanny & Babysitter
Your Name and Age:
Elizabeth Stokes, age 33
What does your business offer/what do you do?
Sleep deprivation is really hard to cope with and many new parents long for a night of unbroken sleep. Employing a Night Nanny to care for their baby/babies overnight enables parents to catch up on their sleep, leaving them refreshed & with more energy.
I have experience with: newborns, twins, prem babies, NG tube fed babies, reflux, colic, allergies, eczema, special/additional needs & administering medication.
What is a typical night like?
I usually start at 9 or 10pm and after a short handover I then care for the baby overnight whilst the parents sleep! If baby is formula fed, I do all of the feeds & care meaning Mum (& Dad!) are able to get a full nights sleep. If baby is breastfed, some Mums like to express for one or two feeds which I then give to baby in a bottle. If this isn’t possible, I wake Mum when baby needs feeding & do the winding/settling afterwards allowing Mum to go straight back to sleep. I usually stay until 7am and before I leave I can ensure that baby is fed & dressed if required, and that bottles & any feeding equipment is left washed & sterilised.
Sometimes families will book me to start earlier in the evening to allow Mum & Dad to have an evening out, and some will ask me to stay later in the morning to allow them to have a lie in.
Do you offer any other childcare services?
In addition to night nannying I also offer evening babysitting, proxy parenting (24hr care) and a wedding nanny service.
Which areas do you cover?
I cover most of the Midlands including Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.
Tell us about your family:
I live with my husband and little boy who was born January 2010. We live in the East Midlands, near to Nottingham & Derby and not too far from Leicester.
What did you do before becoming a night nanny?
I am a qualified teacher & prior to having my son I was teaching full time & night nannying on a very part time, ad-hoc basis. Since having my son I now teach part time and have increased the amount of night nannying that I do as this fits in best with family life.
I have taught & cared for children with a range of behavioural, academic & emotional difficulties including: Dyslexia, Autism, Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, BESD and Fragile X. I do a lot of evening babysitting & proxy parenting for families whose children have special needs.
What research did you do before launching ‘East Midlands Night Nanny’?
I spoke with other baby/birthing professionals in my area to find out about successful marketing strategies. I asked my current & previous clients their views about how best to market the services that I provide – all were very pleased to help and one of the Mums even started her own mini-marketing campaign on my behalf which was lovely of her!
What has worked well about your business?
I have met & worked with some great families and often stay in touch with them long after baby is sleeping through. A family might use me as a night nanny when their baby is young, then once baby is sleeping though instead of the relationship ending, I am often asked to do evening babysitting or even proxy parenting (24hr care) whilst the parents have a night or even a weekend away.
I spend a lot of time developing relationships with other local businesses – especially those relating to pregnancy, birth & babies. As a direct result of one of these relationships I have recently donated an evening of babysitting to a silent auction being organised to raise money for a cancer charity.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
Many people haven’t heard of night nannying & don’t know that such a service exists. A lot of the promotional work that I do is aimed at raising the profile of me as a night nanny & to inform people that you can hire someone to care for your baby though the night to enable you to sleep!
How do you fit in work with the family?
Quite often when I am night nannying my son (Oliver) doesn’t even realise that Mummy has been out of the house as I often leave for work after he has gone to bed and return in the morning before he gets up. My husband is able to be at home through the night to be there for Oliver, so it works very well for us as a family.