How much would you pay for your baby to get a good night’s sleep?

After a year in which sleep has been more difficult than ever to manage thanks to the pandemic and the problems it has brought, World Sleep Day has rarely seemed so important.

But how much would you pay for a decent night’s sleep? According to research conducted a few years ago in the US, the average American would be willing to spend $290 (approx.

For people with very young children, however, the option of a sleep-focused hotel stay might not be viable — and even if they did, they would eventually have to return home and deal with the baby issue that won’t commit.

Maybe these poor souls need the services of a night nanny. For a fee, a trained Night Nanny can come to your home and accommodate your baby and stay there until morning to deal with waking or disturbances.

You’ll feed, swaddle, swaddle and soothe the baby – meanwhile the parents sleep – well, like babies. In line with current Covid restrictions, the night maid will keep distance from all household members except the baby, carry out temperature checks and change outerwear on arrival.

Much like staying in a sleek (and preferably soundproof) hotel room, however, this service sometimes seems to offer little more than a respite from the deeper problems of insomnia, rather than a long-term solution – in which case, you might want the services of a professional Take advantage of a baby sleep consultant.

Having worked with children for over 22 years, Jo-Anne Dietrich, a board-certified infant, baby sleep counselor and early years NNEB practitioner, saw firsthand the problems families experience when a child is a poor sleeper or is difficult to soothe. It inspired her to start Happy Nights, a consulting firm aimed at guiding parents and children through the often tricky waters of bedtime and sleep.

“Having a baby or child that keeps you up at night can affect parental confidence and the whole family’s well-being,” she says.

“A good sleep routine not only improves behavior and supports growth and development, but also improves relationships between partners and between parents and children.”

British agency Night Nannies was founded in 1999 and offers parents options ranging from prenatal preparation to breastfeeding advice. However, by far one of the agency’s most important tasks is to help parents and children develop good sleeping habits.

“Sleep is a huge concern for so many families,” says Cate*, who worked with babies and children for over 30 years prior to Night Nannies. She sees her role as “empowering parents and sharing knowledge that makes parenting a more joyful experience.”

Jo-Anne, too, says her role is to support and encourage her, not to “train” a child to sleep. “We take a very holistic approach,” she says.

“It’s about finding solutions that work for the family. It is also a matter of understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all approach: every baby and child is different, and the reasons why one does not sleep are different than the others.”

An example, she says, could be that the child drinks or snacks too much during the day to have a good supper and then wakes up hungry. Alternatively, the parents, who may have had difficulties during the pregnancy, may be projecting their fears onto the child.

Much of the help she gives to families can be done via phone calls and email if the families prefer. “Outside of lockdowns, I can be present to observe bedtime or nap routines if the family is OK with it,” she says.

“Many of the other insights I use to create a sleep schedule come from discussion and a detailed questionnaire.”

Their prices range from £89 for an ‘Early Foundations’ pack, which offers colic and reflux support and advice on calming a fussy baby, to £310 for an in-depth look at your child’s existing sleep habits and three weeks of follow-up care and Contact.

For Josie*, cost was no longer an issue when she called Night Nannies, whose individual prices vary by region but require a one-off registration of £120 with the agency, followed by a charge of around £230 per night.

“People assume that when you have your second child, you should know what you’re doing, but in fact, a lot of the sleep problems with our second stemmed from our desire not to disturb our firstborn,” she says. “By the time he was nine months old we had unknowingly built a rod for our own backs and when my return to work was on the horizon I was distraught.”

Their night nanny, who was engaged before lockdown in 2020, stayed with them a total of five nights and when she left their son was a completely different child, says Josie. “We never had problems with his sleep again. In fact, I recently had my third child and told the nanny to expect a call from me in about six months.”

“Yes, it’s a big investment, but it’s totally worth it. You honestly can’t quantify the value of a good night’s sleep.”

The best sleeping tips for babies and toddlers

  1. Set up a routine so kids have sleep cues they can recognize and act on. This may be bath time, a particular lullaby, or a specific place they can associate with sleep – for example, the cot rather than the stroller.
  2. Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold. 16 – 20 degrees is ideal.
  3. Small babies can sometimes wake themselves up through their startle reflex. This can be avoided by wrapping them in a light covering and keeping their arms and legs close enough to the body to mimic their position in the womb.
  4. Always put your baby to sleep on their back – never on their stomach or side
  5. Expose your child to plenty of natural light throughout the day as this will help regulate their body clock and encourage sleep when it gets dark. How much would you pay for your baby to get a good night’s sleep?

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