Night nannies are popular in other parts of the world, and it seems New Zealanders are starting to see the light when it comes to this form of child care.
Although night-time care doesn't come cheap, a growing number of families are investing in a good night's sleep and the professional expertise that comes with a night nanny.
Here, we look at the services night nannies provide, and how they are helping little New Zealanders - and their parents - get a great sleep.
What does a night nanny do?
Night nannies are experienced child carers who generally arrive at 9pm and leave at 7am, though extra hours can be arranged.
As their name suggests, they care for newborns and babies through the night – feeding, settling and changing them, then bathing, dressing and sterilising bottles come morning. When it comes to older children, night nannies provide sleep-training and overnight babysitting for children up to the age of five.
As well as providing hands-on care to youngsters and giving tired parents a solid sleep, night nannies can also offer parents expert advice, like breastfeeding guidance or strategies for coping with post-natal depression and help establish a good night-time routine for their little one.
How much does a night nanny cost?
This depends on how many children are being cared for, how many nights a nanny is booked per week and how long the family requires their services.
As a guide, here are the fees charged by four high quality night nanny agencies:
- Night Nannies: From $195 for one baby, $230 for twins, plus a $15 booking fee and a one-off $165 agency fee. Extra hours start at $19.50 per hour.
- Nannies on Demand: Night nannies are $23 to $25 per hour, based on their qualifications, experience and number of children. Maternity nannies/nurses (day and night) are $25 to $30 per hour. So, the cost of a 9pm to 7am shift will be anywhere from $230 to $300.
- Rockmybaby: A daily agency fee of $25, an admin fee of $50, then $30 to $50 per hour for the night nanny.
- Karitane Nurses and Nannies: Night nannies cost $280 plus GST for a 10pm to 6am shift.
What kind of families use night nannies?
Any family can book a night nanny, but according to the general manager of Night Nannies Auckland, Anka Bartulovich, night nannies are often used by:
- Parents of twins
- Breadwinning mothers who need to get back to work to support the family
- Globetrotting young families who don't have the option of grandparent care
- Same-sex couples – especially those with two dads
Ms Bartulovich has told the NZ Herald that, 'Sleep is a commodity these days and people will pay for it – to invest in rest.'
She says that in New Zealand, night nannies are more commonly used by, 'The higher socio-economic groups', but there has also been a trend towards night nannies being given as baby shower gifts, especially by mothers-in-law.
For her part, Sarah Le Guennec, is philosophical about the cost. Ms Le Guennec is a mum of twins and told the NZ Herald that night nannying is, ‘Not for everyone, it's incredibly expensive. But I don't have siblings, my father's dead. I don't really have any other family support, so night nannies can be part of your tribe if that makes sense.'
She hires night nannies three times a week and has gone from one to two hours sleep to having 'rest guaranteed through the night' which makes her a very happy customer.
Ms Le Geunnec is not alone. A Rockmybaby salesperson said they have received a 'significant demand' for night nannies in recent years; Night Nannies Auckland has expanded their business; and many families now know that sweet dreams are made of professional, home-based child care.