Nurses General Nursing


HI! I have just accepted a prn night shift position 7p-7a. I have a 4 year old and a 3 month old. I worked days before my baby was born so this will be my first time to work nights. I am not sure how days can be much better for me at this point, because we don't get to sleep around here until 11pm and i get up about 2 times a night on average. It will take me at least an hour to get to work,so if i worked days, i would have to get up at the latest 4:15 am. I am not moving too well in the mornings these days. Since i have accepted the night shift position, my husband said that he would give it a try,since he is the one who would have to get up with the baby. They will pay me 28 dollars per hour and i plan on working only 2 nights per week. Is there anyone out there that has done this before? If so, how did it work out? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am curious to see if i can handle it.

Best of luck!! I did nights for only a few months but do remember what it was like for those first few shifts. I think the most important thing is that you take your sleep time very seriously and defintely have arrangements for someone to take care of your baby while you sleep. If you try to just wing it between her naps, you won't have much success and you'll go nuts. Also, you may want arrange your window coverings to block all possible light before your first shift. A dark quiet room is really important!

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control.

Also, wear sunglasses as you leave the hospital-the sunlight can reset your "clock", and you'll have a harder time sleeping. I agree about getting a babysitter. Maybe work one Fri or Sat, so your husband can do daycare, too. People who don't work nights DON'T understand about sleeping during the day, don't take phone calls or answer the door, and don't let the kids in to "see Mommy". You may have more trouble w/your older child trying to wake you up. Good Luck.

Specializes in ER.

White noise in the bedroom will help you, a fan usually helps for me. You need to mentally check out of responsibility as well, which is harder than you think with the world bustling by, and your kids and husband up. Keep the room cool, and a drink available so you don't need to leave the room and get caught up in the day with your family. Once you get up you won't be able to go back to sleep, and I found that when I first took a night job that I would wake with a headache every day- a humidifier, drinking extra water, and Motrin helps. Sleepytime tea and a novel helps me get back to sleep, and on really hyper days a Benadryl. It took me 6 months to be able to have a really good sleep during the day, and you really need to be able to mentally leave all your responsibilities and the "to do list" the same way you did at night.

I worked nights for 10yrs, started when my daughter was 3yrs old. I did both 5-8hr shifts and 3-12hour shifts ....before that I did 2-8hr shifts/always spaced like tues then fri or sat night. The reason for that was as a previous post said sat/sun am SOMEONE will usually get up with the kids AKA husband or Grama maybe could help, you come home get them breakfast etc grandparents pick them up for'll get you a break. Organization, that skill alone will save your life, tote bag always packed with basics for infant and little sib, for whether it's you or someone else caring for them it's all ready except perishables. Spend the money on things like zip lock bags/juice boxes save on maybe shared babysitting with a friend/family member etc. IE you watch her kids one day she watches yours one day. A fellow nurse taught me a trick for days I was going home and staying up it went like this...go home 7am ish(or8am whenever you get out)shower/make your bed/get dressed(comfortable clothes but not pj's) the point is fresh ready for the day, you can trick your body...pretend you are STARTING the day. You only have to do this till after lunch. At my house by 1-2pm it was mandatory "quiet time" almost always my daughter slept but if not lying on your bed reading/colour forms/dolls/stuffed animals in other words toys and play that was safe while I slept. Granted safety issues need to be addressed thru the WHOLE house aka locked doors/gates/outlet plugs, whatever is needed depending on your floor plan.I was in a small ranch, bedrooms right next to each other, mesh gate with her room totally baby proofed worked for us. Hubby came in the door at 4pm...his turn started. I always left instructions for what needed to go in oven or already had something in crock can see where those organization skills came in. Now let me also say that his being a team player was paramount in the plan working. He'd come home change his clothes, get the daughter go outside/play etc till approx 5:30-6pm then we'd have dinner. When I did 12hrs of course you are going out the door so you either eat early together before you go or take something with you and leave the rest for the family if Daddy can handle the little ones. All the other points in previous posts are excellent and will help you through this. Try and make your money work for you, what I mean is if your paying a sitter to watch your kids that hourly cost 3-4dollars per hour or more comes out of your profit$28- 5(lets go there) leaves $23 do you drive far-your time costs money, travel 1hr to work and 1hr back and you've used 2hrs of YOUR time AKA UNPAID time now your out $56. I believe in calculating how much it costs to work and in another column multiply $28 by 24hrs(2-12hrs) then you'll see your profit....then ask is it worth leaving my two babies or can I get CLEAR profit another way ....Best of luck to you!

Specializes in CV-ICU.

Working nights will also depend on your kids personality; I worked nights when my son (first born) was under 3 months until he was 2. My daughter was a totally different kid altogether- nasty scream and didn't sleep more than 3-4 hours EVER! (She's 18 now and has never slept through the night!) Both kids are ADHD, but my son would be awake but quiet, not the daughter. The other thing is you can never catch up on lost sleep- you can sleep ahead (that is, you can sleep for 10-12 hours before working, but staying up all day after working 12 hours will make you more prone to get sick. If I was working 2 12 hour shifts per week, it was healthier for me to work them in a row rather than spread out (Tues. and Fri) because both my body and the family will adjust better to that schedule. If you try to constantly flip your wake-sleep schedule, you will end up sick all of the time and it won't be worth it to you, your family, or the job. I work nights with several young moms now, and their success with working nights does depend on how helpful their husbands are in helping out; even good hubbies do "forget" that we are awake all night and need to sleep when they are home. Good luck.

Wow, good luck, I too do this and only work two nights a week, the first day I work I dont sleep much before work only take naps with my son, then when I come home in the morning either the father of my child watches him if he doesnt work or my parents, so i can get some sleep. Then the next day after I come home from work I sometimes dont sleep at all and then sleep at nite, or if I have someone to watch my baby I will sleep a few hours. Plus I always turn off my phone and darken the room as much asa possible good luck!

It is imperitive that everyone respects your sleep time. Otherwise, your immune system will suffer and you will find yourself getting ill a lot, or cranky, etc. So the kids have to be someone else's responsibilty while you sleep and while you work. It is very hard to work this shift but I have friends who have been doing it for years. I have watched their kids grow up, and they are as well adjusted as any other.

I work nights but my kids are older than yours...14 & 16 y/o. My first night back is always the toughest since I slept the night before and have a hard time sleeping the day of. After that first night, it's not AS bad...I just come in and get to sleep when I first get home. Honestly, I can't make myself sleep as many hours those days as when I sleep at night for some reason. I have my room darkened as if it was nighttime, so that's not the problem. Also, I don't have any phones turned on upstairs and cannot hear anything that goes on anywhere else in the house because of where my room is located.

A bit of advice I can give in addition to what the others have said is that if you drink coffee (or anything else with caffeine), cut yourself off by a certain time. Otherwise, you may either have a hard time going to sleep OR you may find yourself falling asleep only to wake up again to go to the bathroom OR both.

Good luck!

I tried it and I couldn't do it when my son was a newborn. It is very hard to get adequate rest no matter what shift you do when the baby is still getting you up twice a shift.

I would suggest if you want to try it, do 2 nights consecutively. But I honestly think you'd be better off doing 12 hour days on the weekend. Some places are bring back the Baylor programs, work 2 12's, get paid for 3 with full bennies. This way, hubby can do all the child care and you won't have any cost for that. Otherwise, in the summer, I would hire a teenager, or mother's helper to watch the kids while you get a decent bit of sleep, you'll need at least 5 - 6 hours to recover logical thought.

Best wishes. It isn't easy being a working mommy.

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