I help tired moms take care of their newborns at night on top of my day job. It's hard but rewarding work.

During my younger years, I aspired to become a doctor. In 2011, I relocated from Arizona to Chicago and enrolled in pre-med college courses. However, I soon realized that this path wasn't right for me. This led me to discover occupational therapy, and I began interning at a clinic in 2012. Since then, I've remained at the same clinic and achieved certification as an occupational therapist in 2019. Currently, I serve as the clinic lead, overseeing physical therapy, social work, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. My specialty lies in working with children with autism. Additionally, I work as a night nanny on the side.

Jessica Hall
Hall said it was rewarding to help parents who were struggling with balancing their newborns and going back to work. Courtesy of Jessica Hall

I was working in occupational therapy and nannying on the side when, in 2020, I came across Let Mommy Sleep, a night nanny service for parents.

Lots of clients reach out because they need assistance with their kids at night; perhaps their child isn't sleeping through the night, and they're back at work, or they need help with sleep training. Many parents need help at night when they have to go back to work.

I needed to know about pediatrics and child development for my occupational therapy training. Seeing how they interact with their family at night is helpful for my day job. I started taking on cases as a night nurse with Let Mommy Sleep in 2022.

I love being busy. I worked in my day job from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. When I got home, I'd have dinner and speak to friends and family. Then, I'd go to sleep for two hours before my shift as a night nanny. I did night nanny shifts two or three times a week, though sometimes I did it five times a week.

Most of my cases were between 30 minutes to an hour away. My shifts were from 10 p.m. to 6 or 7 a.m. I'd take care of the dishes and laundry, make sure the babies were fed, and check on the parents.

Then I'd go home, sleep for two hours, and head to work again. I'd have to be very structured with my time to make it work. Sometimes, I'd have to turn down fun things to make sure I was getting enough sleep in my week.

I'd get paid between $22 and $26 an hour as a night nanny.

I worked with a lot of moms who felt they didn't have the time to look after themselves or that their own care was trivial. It was important for me to make sure they did things that helped them feel good about their day, such as taking a shower, getting out of bed and being able to hold their baby, or any daily activities they did before they had kids.

It was a privilege to see babies learn to roll over, crawl, or walk. Even at night, I got to know them and their personalities.

I worked with one family for a year. They had two babies, and they already had two children. Both of the parents sometimes worked night shifts. Both of the babies would vomit up their milk and cry through the night. Some of those nights were very long. Their mom would want to help out, and I'd have to encourage her to take a nap. She'd have to get up at 5 a.m. to get her other kids ready for school.

After we got the babies sleep-trained, their mom was so excited that she could get a couple of hours of sleep.

It was hard but rewarding. I decided to take a break this year. Now, I take on clients on a case-by-case basis.

I decided to start my own in-home service, Sensory Sitters, to help families with children with special needs.

In Illinois, respite is expensive, and there's a long waiting list for state-subsidized vouchers.

A lot of families have caregiver burnout. I'm there to give parents a break. Right now, it's just me, but I'm looking to expand my business.

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