Let the night nanny do it

Wealthy two-career couples can hire a night nanny to get up at 2 am with a crying baby, reports the New York Times.

Anie Roche of Los Altos, Calif., hired a night nanny through Craigslist last November after she had her second child. Both Ms. Roche and her husband have high-pressure jobs: he is an executive at a semiconductor company in Silicon Valley and she is a partner at a law firm in Palo Alto.

Their nanny works from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. six nights a week. “She swaddles the baby and sings to him and that’s the whole point for us — she has a lot more energy and patience at that point in the day than my husband or I do,” Ms. Roche said. “We are wiped out.”

I assume they have a day nanny as well to handle the hours when they’re at work.

“A week’s worth of night-nanny services can cost well over a thousand dollars,” reports the Times. Nannies earn $15 to $40 an hour; twins and sick babies cost more. One agency operator says night nannies average six to 10 weeks working for a one-baby family, two to four months for twins.

I loved getting up at 2 a.m. with my daughter. It was just the two of us in the rocking chair while the rest of the world slept.

About Joanne


  1. I always have to wonder when I read things like this: why did they have kids? And after the 10 weeks or whatever and the nanny’s gone, what happens to the poor kid the first time he wakes up in the middle of the night, crying for her, and wiped-out (angry?) mom or dad shows up?

  2. Seriously? $40 per hour and the baby will be asleep most of the time. What a great job! What bizarre parents.

  3. I don’t know if this example speaks to the practices of high flying American couples as much as it speaks to the traditional practices of the upper class in India. Anie Roche’s bio says she went to university in Bombay, so I’m assuming she is Indian. I think there is a much greater acceptance and use of this type of care there, compared to the US.

  4. Margo/Mom says:

    Nothing really new except the price-tag. At one time, it was not so uncommon to have Grandma move in to help out for the first weeks (and this when stay at home moms were the rule). Some folks must have those kind of bucks. Maybe now teachers who are fed up will have someplace to go.

  5. I wish I could say I’m shocked. I know a single mom, an extremely well-heeled person in the financial world, who adopted a baby girl a few years back and hired round the clock help. She outsourced her parenting and rarely sees the kid. Money doesn’t buy sense.

  6. hardlyb says:

    Isn’t this what rich English and American parents did at least until WWI?

    Our first kid had colic, and for a few months she cried from 8:30pm until 1:30am every day (you could almost set your watch by it). My wife and I alternated sitting up holding her, which was the only thing that seemed to help, and we became lifetime Blockbuster Gold members, because we rented over 250 movies that year. I’m too old to do that again, but at the time (even thought I was working crazy hours at a startup), I liked my nights with her. I think that these parents who can’t be bothered to get up at night are giving up more than they are getting, and I hope that it’s not a permanent arrangement for them.

  7. Stacy in NJ says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. Well rested parents are probably better able to enjoy their time with their baby. Of course, the trade-off is they lose that precious bonding time that many parents, including JJ, enjoy during those night feedings. But, a night nanny doesn’t necessarily preclude that bonding.

    As a homeschooling family, we enjoy a wonderfully close relationship, in part because we bond during our time spent together. My sons enjoy a very close friendship. Few parents, I think, would want to admit that their relationship with their children are “less” because they choose to send them to public/private schools. They balance their needs, wants and abilites just like the parents who use night nanny.

  8. We’ve been doing foster care for nine months now. We’ve had five children come into our house. One of the children had an attachment disorder. He’s much better now. It seems that being up at three in the morning helps the child to bond. The parents are foolish to miss the bonding time.

  9. Mrs. Davis says:



    Winston Churchill’s nanny, Mrs. Everest, was engaged by the Randolph Churchills very soon after Winston was born in 1874. The depth of his love for Mrs. Everest and hers for him is shown in this passage from his My Early Life.

    I travelled up to London to see her. She lived with her sister’s family in North London. She knew she was in danger, but her only anxiety was for me. There had been a heavy shower of rain. My jacket was wet. When she felt it with her hands she was greatly alarmed for fear I should catch cold. The jacket had to be taken off and thoroughly dried before she was calm again. Her only desire was to see my brother Jack, and this unhappily could not be arranged. I set out for London to get a good specialist; and the two doctors consulted together upon the case, which was one of peritonitis. I had to return to Aldershot by the midnight train for a very early morning parade. As soon as it was over I returned to her bedside. She still knew me, but she gradually became unconscious. Death came very easily to her. She had lived such an innocent and loving life of service to others and held such a simple faith, that she had no fears at all, and did not seem to mind very much. She had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived.

    He kept a picture of her in his bedroom until the day he died. So it was that when the man some called the ‘Greatest Man of the Age,’ lay dying in 1965 at the age of ninety, there was but one picture that stood at his bedside. It was the picture of his beloved nanny, gone to be with her Lord some seventy years before.

    And of his monther, wikipedia writes:

    As was the custom of the day, she played a limited role in her sons’ upbringing, relying largely upon nannies such as Winston’s beloved Mrs. (Elizabeth) Everest. Winston completely worshipped (sic) his mother, writing her numerous letters during his time away from home at school, begging her to visit him, which she rarely did. However, after he became an adult, she and he became good friends and strong allies, to the point where Winston regarded her almost as a political mentor, more as a sister than as a mother.

    Thank you, Jennie and Randolph for the genes. Thank you Mrs. Everest for the upbringing.

  10. Margo/Mom says:

    Mrs. D, great illustration. And Henry C–it takes far more than a night nanny to bring on RAD. It takes fundamental neglect and basic abuse. But, the results are, as you have experienced, profound and devastating. Keep up the great work.

  11. I know a few families who hired night nannies. All of them had multiples including one family with triplets (!) and none had family living close by to help out. I can’t say that I really blame them for bringing in a hired professional in that kind of a situation…