It's baby season. According to the CDC more babies are born in the United States during the summer months, especially August. Though an exciting and sweet time for many, up to 20 % of women that are currently pregnant or newly postpartum experience depression and anxiety.
Multiple small studies have shown there is a definite connection between poor sleep and postpartum depression. Some have shown that difficulty sleeping in pregnancy increases risk for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Others have shown that promoting sleep with certain sleep aids during pregnancy helps reduce the rates of postpartum depression. And still others have shown that the severity of sleep interruption is directly correlated with the severity of reported depressive symptoms after childbirth.
While we are still trying to clarify if sleep disruption causes or is a result of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, it seems to be pretty clear that one disruption worsens the other. In my previous blog post on preventing relapse of postpartum depression and anxiety, I recommended women should sleep well. Oftentimes, though, moms struggle to sleep due to nighttime awakenings of their infant or other children, hormonal shifts and adjustment to their new or expanding role. Today's blog post offers one solution for women - hiring a night nursing service.
To explain the concept, I've invited Kristin T. Baker to come talk with us. Ms. Baker is President and Founder of Nurse and Nurture, the South's "premier newborn night nursing provider". After seeing parents' anxiety when it was time to be discharged from the hospital with their newborn, Kristin developed the brilliant idea to have registered nurses provide in-home nighttime infant care. Read on to learn more about her story and services.
Kristin, please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to start Nurse and Nurture.
"I am a Registered Nurse with over 15 years of experience working in both a Level III and Level II Neonatal ICU. I am also a wife and a mother to two young children. I moved to Atlanta after college and started my nursing career in the NICU at Northside Hospital Atlanta. Northside delivers approximately 17,000 babies each year and they have a 135- bed Level III NICU. It’s a big, busy place! I started Nurse and Nurture after being asked by so many parents, 'Will you please come home with us,' as their newborn was being discharged home from our NICU."
"We all know that parenthood is an incredibly amazing, exciting and special time in our lives, but it’s also tiring. I found that there weren’t any agencies that specialized in providing overnight care from licensed Registered Nurses. I did night nursing myself for almost an entire year before I realized that I was really onto something. In so many of the homes I was in, parents would say, 'I am so relieved you are a RN. We didn’t realize the term 'baby nurse' doesn’t mean someone is an actual Registered Nurse.' This is a real misconception and what became the premise of our business model. We only hire college-educated, state-licensed, CPR-certified, experienced Registered Nurses. We are proud to be celebrating our 10-year business anniversary. We pride ourselves on being the premier newborn night Nurse provider in the South."
What services do you provide?
"Nurse and Nurture is committed to providing the best possible care for every baby. Additionally, we want to support new parents and help make their life a little easier as they transition to their new role. Our Nurses offer lactation/formula support, circumcision care, diaper changing, swaddling, soothing, infant feeding, bottle prep, washing bottles or pump parts, and helping with the baby’s laundry."
How does Nurse and Nurture support moms in the postpartum period?
"Like I said previously, becoming a parent is an incredibly exciting, special and unique experience, but it can also be tiring, stressful and often overwhelming. We offer very individualized care, knowing that no two families or situations are exactly alike. Our Nurses allow parents to get the rest they need to re-energize and make lasting memories with their children."
What happens if there is an emergency with the baby during a nurse's shift?
"Our Registered Nurses are Infant CPR-certified, licensed and experienced. They are capable of handling an emergency. The Nurse will carefully monitor the baby, notify the parents immediately and the proper course of treatment will be determined (if necessary, call 911, start CPR, go to the emergency room)."
Where are you located?
"Nurse and Nurture services Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas."
How long can someone secure your services?
"We have no minimum requirements. We pride ourselves on offering very individualized care and we try to accommodate all client requests (short or long-term)."
What are your typical rates?
"We charge a one-time placement/registration fee of $250.00. Our rates vary depending on the number of babies (singleton, twins or triplets). Each client receives an itemized invoice each week. We accept all major credit cards."
How can people gift a family member or friend with your services?
"We certainly offer gift certificates if friends, neighbors, family members or co-workers want to chip in together for a gift certificate to be used when the expectant parents are ready."
Maintaining good, restorative sleep is important for all phases of life - and our overall physical and mental well-being. For women who have just given birth, or are still pregnant, it is imperative! If you struggle with sleep issues and are expecting, please see your Primary Care Physician/Provider (PCP) or OB/GYN and discuss your options. They may refer you to a specialist that can help. If you live in the South and are interested in infant night nursing for yourself or a loved one, please let us know or reach out to Nurse and Nurture! This baby season, give (or receive) the gift of sleep! It's worth it.
Resources & Links
Nurse and Nurture: Learn more and connect with Kristin T. Baker and her team! If you own a small business that supports the health and well-being of families, see how you can partner with Nurse and Nurture.
Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women's Mental Health: Articles citing the relationship between women's mental health, their reproductive life cycle, sleep and other factors.
National Sleep Foundation: Struggling with insomnia? Visit https://sleepfoundation.org for a wide-range of up-to-date sleep recommendations.
Master Your Sleep: Read this book by Atlanta psychiatrist, Dr. Tracey Marks. Learn proven methods for good sleep that do not rely solely on pharmaceuticals.
Postpartum Support International: Resources and community for women, and their families, going through perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Kristin Baker founded Nurse & Nurture in 2008 after she became concerned about the qualifications and level of in-home care for newborns. She felt she could start a company employing only the highest caliber of caregivers. Kristin graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Aside from her career in NICU nursing, she has also worked in healthcare recruiting, medical device training/support, and spent a year on the PGA tour as a traveling nanny. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys playing tennis and golf, exercising and traveling to Chicago, Cashiers, NC and Naples, FL to visit her family. She has two young children and a rescue dog named Piper.
*Photo and bio courtesy of nurseandnurture.com.
* If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911, go the nearest emergency room or call 1-800-273-TALK.