Working nights with a new baby

  1. Hi everyone -
    I may be faced with the prospect of changing to nights (7p-7a). I'll have a newborn soon and am trying to conceive of life on the night shift while newly returned from maternity leave. I've read the advice on black out curtains and the importance of ensuring that everyone in the house understands the imperative of allowing me to sleep during daytime hours, but hoping for some comments on how functional nights have been for those new moms who either have or are working nights. How did it go/how is it going?

    I ask because I may have the chance to stress to my director that nights would create undue hardship and I'm wondering if I should go that route.

    Thank you in advance for your input.
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    About mgalla

    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 7; Likes: 1


  3. by   tryingtohaveitall
    Undue hardship? Hmm, considering the millions of people who do or have worked nights with a newborn, not sure that'll fly. Honestly, sometimes it's easier to work nights with a baby. If you are breast feeding, you don't miss as many meals. I would highly recommend having someone watch the baby while you sleep though.
  4. by   NicuGal
    I don't think they will buy that, it isn't an undue hardship, you are doing what hundreds of us have done, had a family and worked off hours. Will you have help during the day or are you going to mostly work weekends? Sleep when baby does, especially if you are breast feeding. The good thing about working nights, despite being tired, is that baby doesn't have to go to daycare.
  5. by   ccweisbard
    I have worked nights for one baby and days for the other. Really it was no different.... I loved working the nights and wish I still could, unfortunately it is the toddler that really makes night shift difficult.... Mainly when they start sleeping less and less during the day. Also might shift was less stress so it helped with my home life!! Undue hardship?? Hardly!!!
  6. by   Caffeine_IV
    Day or night. Working and having a newborn isn't easy. I went back to working night shift when my baby was 10 weeks. Working nights allowed me more instances to pump.

    The sleep was/is hard because of having to pump and suplly issues but if I wasn't breastfeeding I think it may have been easier.

    I cannot compare the two because I've only ever worked nights.
  7. by   dah doh
    I've done both and neither is easy. It depends on your support system and how it gets utilized so you can sleep.
  8. by   beeker
    I am pregnant and on night shift. When my baby comes I want to switch to days or I am looking for another job. I have no family in the area. It is just me and my husband and my main reason for leaving nights is that I don't want to pay for 2 days of daycare to work 1 shift. On days, I Could just utilize daycare while at work. For nights, I would need someone to watch the baby while I sleep before and after a shift. I don't want my baby in daycare more than necessary.
  9. by   RNperdiem
    Whatever shift you choose, life with a newborn means there is not a lot of difference between nights and days, especially if your baby is not a long sleeper.
  10. by   kmarie724
    I worked nocs when I went back to work after my first baby. If I had to go back to work again that night, I would sleep at my mom's house and she would watch the baby and wake me up when she needed to nurse. If I didn't have to go back to work the next night, I would go home and sleep when the baby slept. I don't think it matters if you work days or nights, you'll still be tired because you'll be up with the baby either way. I was working evening when I went back to work with my second baby, and I was just as tired, I didn't get home from work until midnight, would be up with the baby during the night and then my older dtr would be ready to get up at 7 am.
  11. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from tryingtohaveitall
    Undue hardship? Hmm, considering the millions of people who do or have worked nights with a newborn, not sure that'll fly. Honestly, sometimes it's easier to work nights with a baby. If you are breast feeding, you don't miss as many meals. I would highly recommend having someone watch the baby while you sleep though.
    I agree that going the "undue hardship" won't be bought by your employer. Nor will it make you any friends among your coworkers who have to rearrange their own lives for work: just because they don't have newborns doesn't mean that night shift isn't hard for them too.

    If you do end up on nights, I also agree with hiring someone to watch the child while you sleep--it's actually a pretty common practice. Or drop back to part-time so you have fewer days to deal with. Or consider shifting your schedule to weekend nights--that way, your SO/family can be there during the day to help you out.
  12. by   hiddencatRN
    I'll be working weekend nights after the baby comes. My husband is a paramedic so he works rotating shifts and every other weekend. We're going to hire a babysitter to sleep over with the baby the weekends he works and figure out the finer details as we go along. The benefits of my job are only working two days but getting the weekend program AND night shift bonuses: I'll make more working two nights a week than I'd make working ft without committing to work every weekend. There are a ton of moms at workwho do night shift. Some have partners that work M-F 9-5, but some also have shift working partners or are single moms. It must work out for them because they're all long term night shifters.
  13. by   mgalla
    Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate all the input. My use of the "undue hardship" phrase was overstated - that's how I'm thinking it might feel to me, but I wouldn't use that phrase with an employer. One of my primary concerns is that my support system needs some bolstering: mother died, no family near enough to help on a regular basis and husband travels extensively. I have concerns about what working weekends and evenings would do to my marriage, given those would be the only times we'd have to see one another. I just have a hard time seeing how that schedule would work in my life, not that others don't manage it successfully. Regardless, I greatly appreciate the input and will have to give this more thought. Thank you!!
  14. by   rhudo
    When I worked night shift, I was out of sync for days. Nothing flowed right in my system. I would work a 12, sleep for 6, get up and lay around, sleep a little more, and then return to work. Most over nurses were envious I could sleep for 6 straight hours a day. This was with a newborn and two small other children and on weekend option. My husband ( also a nurse) worked days so we didn't need daycare. My parents also helped out greatly. Honestly though, I couldn't get my biorhythm down to adjust to night shift. I would frequently pick up 8s during the week on 3rd for extra $. Despite adequate sleep, overwhelmingly helpful support system, and a family schedule flow, I simply couldn't do night shift. I worked nights 10 years prior, but I was much younger. I attempted the aforementioned schedule for 8 moths with no relief. I eventually switched to second shift, 3-4 days per week. That was much better. We rearranged schedules and just tolerated not seeing each other much.
    So, I know I'm rambling and not directly answering your question. I would encourage you to break out a pen and paper with all the pros and cons for an "off" schedule. It works for some nurses and not for others. The greatest lesson I learned was my career and family must work together.
    Best wishes and Congrats! on the baby.