15The Main Job
A night nurse’s main job is to spend the night with the baby to give the mother a chance to rest. She handles the baby’s nighttime feedings, soothes the baby to sleep and tends to its needs until the mother wakes up. In general, a night nurse does
not sleep at night, because she is hired when the baby’s sleep is too irregular to handle. Usually, she handles all the night tasks for consecutive hours in which the mother is asleep.
It is expected for babies to sleep more through the night as they grow up. This is why the night nurse handles the night shift in which the baby wakes up more often. Newborns are unable to distinguish day from night, which is why they might be up and alert even if they are kept in a dimly-lit room at night. So, if the baby wakes up and stays up, a night nurse offers the supervision the baby needs, even when it is not feeding.