what to discuss on a first overnight

What to Discuss on a First Overnight

It’s happening! Your first overnight with your Newborn Care Specialist or Postpartum Doula has arrived. Whether you have been waiting for this day for months, or you locked in last-minute support, your first overnight newborn care shift is an exciting milestone. You may be wondering what to discuss on a first overnight and how to best prepare to begin working with your overnight newborn caregiver. In this blog post, we’ll cover the essentials so you can begin your working relationship on track for success.

1. Baby’s Routine and Care Instructions

You may be wondering – what routine?! It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have any kind of routine yet with your newborn. That’s what we’re here for!

However, if there are any particulars you want us to know about regarding your baby’s care, it’s important to discuss them on the first overnight. For example, if your baby was recently circumcised, please let your NCS/PPD know what specific aftercare your doctor has prescribed.

When discussing your baby’s care, you and your NCS/PPD will discuss the last time your baby ate and when they will need to eat again. For example, for the first few weeks after birth your pediatrician may have advised to wake your baby to feed if they have gone longer than 3-3.5 hours.

It’s important to make a plan for feedings, such as will your caregiver bring your baby to you to nurse, or will they bottle feed your newborn? If bottle feeding, let them know where to find formula and/or expressed breastmilk.

If you’re pumping, now is a good time to go over a plan so you can maximize your rest during the night. For example your NCS/PPD can make sure your pump parts are clean and ready to use, and you can place a basket or tray outside your bedroom door to place expressed milk when you’re finished pumping. You can then send your caregiver a text message to let them know that you’re finished, and they can put the milk away and wash your pump parts so they’re ready for next time.

Lastly, don’t forget to make a plan for the end of the shift. How can your caregiver help to maximize your rest, even after they head home? For example, would you like them to bring your baby back into a bassinet in your bedroom, or would you prefer that they make sure your baby monitor is turned on as they head out?

2. Nursery Tour

There’s no need for a full house tour – your NCS/PPD is ready to jump right into action and take over baby care so you can rest. A brief tour of the nursery, kitchen, and rest room are helpful so your caregiver can get oriented and know to find everything they need.

Your NCS/PPD will need to know where to find essential baby items such as:

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • swaddle blankets
  • pacifiers
  • products such as diaper cream or petroleum jelly for circumcision care [let your caregiver know any specific products you’d like them to use]
  • spare baby clothes
  • sound machine
  • spare sheets for the bassinet or crib
  • bottles, if applicable
  • formula or expressed breastmilk

Please also ensure to show your caregiver where they can rest [bed, couch, aerobed, cot] near your baby, so they can promptly meet your baby’s needs. This is also a good time to let your caregiver know how you would like any bottles or pump parts to be washed and sanitized, if you have a particular preference.

3. Communication

Everyone has their own communication style. You might prefer a verbal check-in with your NCS/PPD at the beginning and ending of each of their overnight shifts. Or, you might prefer a text message with written logs from the evening. You might use a baby tracking app, and could use this time to connect your NCS/PPD so they can track your baby’s feedings, diapers, and sleep times alongside you. Your first night is a good time to establish your communication needs and preferences.

This is also a good time to go over any household logistics or preferences, such overnight lighting preferences or security alarms to know about. Don’t forget to discuss emergency plans, such as in case of a fire or health emergency.

4. Goals

What are your goals for working with a Newborn Care Specialist or Postpartum Doula? For example, are you hoping for support around breastfeeding and the immediate postpartum recovery period? Or are you aiming to get your baby into a consistent nighttime routine?

While your needs and goals may shift and evolve over time, it’s helpful for your caregiver to know your primary aims so that they can best support you. If you’d like to share anything about your personal parenting philosophy or style, experiences with older children [if applicable], or cultural or religious beliefs, please do so.

Get Some Rest!

While you may have been looking forward to your NCS/PPD’s first overnight shift with much anticipation, now that it’s finally here, it may feel too good to be true. Rest assured that your baby is in excellent hands. You are welcome to check in and ask questions at any point. Now that you’ve discussed all the essentials, you’ve set the stage for a positive and productive working relationship built on mutual respect and open communication. Now, head to bed – you deserve a great night’s sleep!