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A day in the life of a 24/7 night nurse is full of beautiful, hard-earned moments.
An hour before sunrise, the baby wakes for a feeding. The night nurse, resting on a daybed next to the bassinet, gets up to warm a bottle of breastmilk. She changes the baby’s diaper, feeds her, burps her, then coaxes her back to sleep.
When she’s settled in her bassinet, the night nurse notes the baby’s activity in the log book. She slips out to the kitchen with the baby monitor to wash the three bottles from the night. Her phone pings. It’s a text message from the baby’s mother. “Milk and pump parts are on the tray. Thank you!”
She texts back, “Perfect, grabbing them now. The baby fed at 4:30 and was back to sleep by 5:15. I’ll bring her to you when she wakes, get some more rest.”
The 24/7 night nurse tiptoes down the hall. Outside the parents’ bedroom door, two bottles of freshly pumped breastmilk and the pump flanges are waiting on a tray, which she takes back to the kitchen. She portions out the breastmilk for later feedings, washes the bottles and pump parts, and runs the bottle sanitizer.
The baby grunts and kicks on the monitor. The night nurse watches, observing, as the newborn settles back down to sleep on her own. The night nurse smiles, wipes down the kitchen counter, and quietly empties the dishwasher.
It’s 7am now, and the night nurse sets to work to get the home organized for the day. She heads to the living room to tidy up, setting out burp cloths and swaddle blankets within easy reach. She restocks the diaper caddy and checks the diaper pail. The baby starts to fuss on the monitor. This time, her eyes are open.
The 24/7 night nurse heads to the nursery and opens the blackout curtains. “Good morning, sweet girl,” she coos to the baby. She unwraps her from her swaddle blanket, changes her diaper and dresses her in a new onesie. “Let’s go see your mama,” she says to the bright-eyed newborn in her arms.
The night nurse knocks softly then enters the parents’ bedroom. “Good morning,” she whispers. “I have a happy little girl for you.”
The new mother sits up in bed, stretching. She yawns and smiles. “Thank you,” she says, reaching out her arms. “Hi baby!” She takes her daughter in her arms to nurse. As she latches on, the mother winces.
“Still a bit sore?” The night nurse asks. The mother nods with a furrowed brow. The night nurse adjusts the pillows, supporting the mother’s arms. “Let’s try again with that trick we talked about yesterday.” The mother nods and unlatches the baby, who opens her mouth and grunts in frustration. “It’s okay, little one,” says the night nurse. “Open wide!”
The mother waits until the baby’s mouth is wide open, then pulls her quickly to her breast and relaxes into the pillows. “Much better,” she says with a sigh of relief.
The 24/7 night nurse takes the mother’s empty glass to the kitchen to fill it with water, then returns. She sets the glass on the end table and asks, “Is there anything I can get you?”
“No, thank you. You head to sleep, you must be tired. Thanks so much for taking over last night, I haven’t slept that hard in weeks.”
Even a 24/7 night nurse needs to sleep – a bit! She heads to the guest room, draws the curtains and turns on her white noise machine. She sets her alarm for 4.5 hours later, then nods off quickly.
At 12:30pm, the night nurse’s alarm sounds. She gets out of bed and takes a quick shower, then dresses and heads downstairs. The new parents are sitting in the living room. The new father is burping the baby, and the new mother is looking something up on her phone. She looks up and smiles at the night nurse. “Any chance you know of a good chiropractor? My low back is killing me since having her.”
“Absolutely,” replies the night nurse. “I’ll email you my favorites now.”
The afternoon passes quickly as the baby needs to be fed, changed, and put back to sleep often. The night nurse answers questions about breastfeeding, newborn care, and developmental milestones. The new parents discuss the baby’s emerging personality and the sleep rhythm she’s developing.
The 24/7 night nurse points out subtle behaviors that show when the baby is ready to interact or needs to nap. She helps the parents perfect their swaddling technique, and gives pointers on different burping positions. In between, she runs a load of baby laundry and returns it to the nursery, folded.
“You’re a baby whisperer!” The new father says. “I don’t know how we would do this without you.”
As the evening unfolds, it’s witching hour for the baby. The 24/7 night nurse demonstrates how to use a stretchy wrap baby carrier. The baby settles in the wrap, and the night nurse pops a frozen casserole in the oven. Afterward, the night nurse sets the baby down for one last nap of the day, then heads to the guest room for a short break herself. The parents take the hands-free opportunity to eat dinner, make some phone calls and shower.
At 8pm, the night nurse helps the new parents bathe their baby. The parents are amazed at how calm the baby is during her bath, with the night nurse’s confident techniques and expert tips on keeping the baby warm and comfortable throughout. Afterward, cozy and swaddled, the baby nurses and is put to sleep in her bassinet.
The parents head to bed themselves, and the night nurse takes the baby monitor. She does one last sweep of the house to tidy up the living areas. She washes and runs a load of bottles through the sanitizer, and prepares bottles of pumped breastmilk for the night. She takes the dirty diapers to the bin outside, and smiles up at the stars just beginning to appear in the night sky.
A day in the life of the 24/7 night nurse has just begun – again. She returns to the house, washes her hands and changes into her favorite yoga pants. Bottles in hand, she tiptoes to the nursery just as the baby begins to stir.