What Is a Night Nanny and How Do You Become One?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 February 2023

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Nannies can be an important addition to a family, providing much-needed childcare for parents who need a rest. Night nannies help parents take care of newborns during the night-time hours, so parents can sleep through the night and feel rested the next day. Understanding the duties of a night nanny and the skills required by the profession can help you decide if becoming a night nanny is the best career path for you. In this article, we answer the question, 'what is a night nanny?' and explore the various skills for night nannies, duties of a night nanny and how to become a night nanny.

What is a night nanny?

A night nanny is a childcare professional who provides childcare for families during the night-time hours. These hours are typically between 9 pm and 7 am. A night nanny takes care of newborns primarily, but may tend to other children as necessary. Nannies help parents rest and provide feeding, nappy changing, comforting and other childcare services. Night nannies can work for an agency or as independent professionals.

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What are the duties of a night nanny?

Night nannies have many duties in their childcare role. These can include:

Nappy changing

Night nannies stay awake to change nappies or soiled clothing. Nannies address all toiletry issues with the newborn or toddler and maintain a clean, sanitary space for the child to sleep. Nappy changing may also include administering nappy rash creams or powder, disposing of soiled nappies, washing soiled clothes and bedding and helping the child return to sleep. Night nannies may also help with toilet training in older children.

Feeding

Night nannies also help feed newborns during the night. The nanny may prepare the baby's formula and feed them. They ensure the baby receives the correct amount of formula in accordance with the parents' wishes and helps the baby back to sleep. Night nannies can also assist breastfeeding mums, providing gentle support and encouragement and bringing the baby to the bedroom for feeding times. They return the baby to bed so the parent doesn't have to get up or leave the bedroom.

Comforting and nurturing

Night nannies also provide comfort for newborns through the night. This includes swaddling, comforting the baby with gentle music, touch or words and providing a comfortable sleeping arrangement for the baby. Night nannies also ensure the baby doesn't roll over or have anything that could be potentially harmful to them while they sleep, such as soft blankets or pillows. They help nurture the baby when they get upset and act as a temporary guardian over the baby during the night.

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Acquiring supplies

Some night nannies obtain additional supplies on behalf of the baby's parents. For example, if a baby's nappies run out, the nanny might make a short trip to the store to acquire more. This helps ensure the parents have the supplies they need and the nanny doesn't have to wake the parents. Some parents also have an agreement with the night nanny to make nightly or weekly grocery or supply trips during the night so the parents can focus on other things during the day.

Communicating with parents

The night nanny communicates with the baby's parents to learn about the baby's needs and to report any changes. For example, if a baby has a fever, the nanny tells the parents so they can take the baby to a physician. Communication between parents and nannies is important because it helps both parties understand the baby's needs and any changes that might develop during the nanny's care of the child.

How do night nanny services work?

Night nanny services can differ depending on the provider, but generally work the same way. A parent or parents request the services of a night nanny and typically have an initial meeting or interview with the provider. The service helps determine the needs of the parents and matches them with an appropriate provider. If the parents approve of the provider, they fill out several forms like an application, child needs sheet and other documents. The nanny typically begins work once the parents finish the paperwork and set a start date. Most nanny services charge hourly and invoice monthly.

What skills do night nannies possess?

Night nannies have professional skills that allow them to care for children, including newborns. Here are some skills nannies usually possess:

  • First aid: Nannies typically maintain a first aid certification that allows them to address minor injuries and assess a child's condition. First aid certifications are often a requirement for nannies to work for an agency, and parents might prefer nannies to hold a certification.

  • CPR: CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is the act of performing chest compressions should a person stop breathing. Many nannies hold a CPR certification along with their first aid certifications for the possibility of a cardiac incident.

  • Childcare skills: Nannies possess childcare skills such as nappy changing, personal hygiene, washing, cleaning and feeding. These skills often come from personal experience or training programs through the employment agency.

  • Interpersonal skills: Night nannies typically work closely with the parents of the child they're monitoring, which requires good interpersonal skills. They communicate with parents, listen to the needs of the parents and understand the parents' position and the need for a night nanny.

  • Patience: Night nannies typically have patience. Children can sometimes be challenging, especially if they frequently wake up during the night or need special attention for mental or physical health needs.

  • Compassion: Night nannies show compassion for both the parents and the child. This skill helps the nanny bond with the child and understand its needs while forming a relationship with the parents that can help solidify the nanny's position.

  • Some medical knowledge: Some nannies have basic medical knowledge or may be registered nurses. Medical knowledge isn't a requirement to be a nanny, but it can be helpful in certain situations where immediate medical attention is necessary.

  • Multi-tasking: Nannies often perform several duties simultaneously when caring for a child. This requires good coordination, organisation and the ability to multi-task effectively and complete tasks.

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How to become a night nanny

If you want to become a night nanny, there are specific steps to follow to ensure you get the right education and training. Here are four steps you can take to pursue a night nanny career:

1. Earn CPR and first aid certifications

Most nannies hold CPR or first aid certifications or both. Some programs offer a single certification for each discipline, which can save you time and money. Earning a first aid and CPR certification can make you a more competitive job candidate and may increase parental trust in your abilities. You can typically earn first aid and CPR credentials through local hospital programs, The Red Cross, local universities or private institutions. Most courses only take a few hours to complete and you can earn your certificate on the same day. Program costs vary, so research local programs for good deals.

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2. Gain childcare experience

Childcare experience is crucial to pursuing a career as a nanny because you're taking care of children. Children have different needs depending on their environment, health and parental preferences. Gaining experience helps you learn general childcare and more specific childcare in unique situations. For example, you might learn to care for a child with a condition like autism. Consider applying for positions at daycare centres or other childcare facilities to gain experience for your resume and expand your childcare skills. Some childcare centres offer entry-level positions with no prior experience necessary.

3. Apply for nanny positions

After you gain a few years of childcare experience at a care centre, you can try applying for local nanny positions. You can apply to nanny agencies, where you receive training on professionalism, childcare and customer service. Agencies also provide a network of available families that can offer you work. An agency can be a great way to start your nanny career and make connections in the industry while you gain the skills necessary to become a full-time childcare provider. Agencies can also offer professional development training opportunities to increase your skills and competitive advantage in the industry.

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4. Consider becoming an independent nanny

Independent nannies typically have greater flexibility than agency nannies and work for families under their own contracts. Independent nannies choose which families to work for, which days they're available and what their hourly wage is for childcare services. Consider becoming an independent nanny if you want to earn higher wages and create your own professional network of clients. Independent nannies also have the option to travel to different areas of the country and work if they choose.

Salary for a night nanny

Night nannies typically earn a similar salary to day nannies. You also have the option to switch between night work and daytime work. A typical nanny earns around $59,173 per year. Earning additional experience and CPR or first aid certifications may allow you to pursue opportunities for higher wages.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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