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I'm the CEO of Let Mommy Sleep. My team and I are revolutionizing postpartum care in the US. AMA!

Denise Stern
Mar 7, 2018

I started Let Mommy Sleep from my bed (really!) in 2010 and now have franchises in 6 states and counting.  My team of Baby Nurses & Newborn Caregivers provides care to brand new families bringing home their new babies for the first time.

Our ulimate goals are aggregation of the newborn care space which is currently unregulated and making In-Home Postpartum Visits a standard of care in the US.

If you have questions about starting and growing your business, branding or newborn care...AMA!

www.letmommysleep.com

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Conversation (58)

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How do you see Let Mommy Sleep change in coming years?
Mar 8, 3:06AM EST0

Thank you for this question Pam. 

My goal with Let Mommy Sleep was always to bring baby nurse care, "to the people," meaning that a family could have control over what kind of care they want; they could do 1 night, a week- whatever they want.

When I started, finding a night nurse was something kind of foreign and you had to "know someone" or commit to certain timeframes etc. So, I hope to build on this and see Let Mommy Sleep serving more families through new franchise units and corporate partnerships. I wouldalso like Let Mommy Sleep continue to be a compassionate voice for new mothers and families in the larger national conversation around health care.

Thank you again. 

Mar 8, 7:52AM EST0
How would you describe your business life in one sentence and why?
Mar 7, 10:42PM EST0

Nice question! It would be this:

I couldn't be happier doing the job I've been called to do, but yet at the same time I'm constantly unhappy, wanting more progress and results.

Mar 8, 7:38AM EST0
If you could be or do anything, starting tomorrow, what would it be?
Mar 7, 10:22PM EST0

Oh hurray, this is an easy one! Thank you Sarah! :)

I would be the same me doing the same job of helping postpartum families just with a larger backing behind our work. 

On a personal note, I would also be a chef who knows how to cook really creative, healthy food. 

Mar 8, 7:43AM EST0
What that one thought that gets you out of bed in the morning to get going?
Mar 7, 4:55PM EST0

The thought that get's me out of bed is that there's just so much to DO! It's combination of excited/happy busy-ness with a dash of stress. :)

Mar 7, 5:53PM EST0
What style of books do you read, and what’s your favorite book?
Mar 7, 2:58PM EST0

I read constantly, but I actually can't remember the last time a read a book. I love to read an learn non-fiction on websites like "Wait But Why." 

My favorite book is Choke by Chuck Pahlianuk (the wuthor that also wrote Fight Club). Ilove when storytellers tell a beautiful simple story in an unexpected way.

What books do you recommend?  

Mar 7, 3:18PM EST0
Do you offer more of a way to show people how it is done or you do it for them or both?
Mar 7, 10:05AM EST0

Hi and thanks for the question! Do you mean when instructing about postpartum/newborn care? If so, yes to both. People learn by doing things themselves. We try to help parents be as confident as possible so we have them swaddle, change diapers etc. themselves after showing them!

Mar 7, 10:11AM EST0
Would you say your idea for this company stemmed from a personal experience?
Mar 7, 6:43AM EST0

Yes, 100% and thank you for asking this question.  

My son was 18 months old when my identical twins were born. I didn't know it but I had pretty advanced pre-eclampsia. This is a condition where blood pressure is very high to the point that there can be liver and kidney damage or stroke.  The "cure" for pre-eclampsia in my case was to take the babies out via emergency c-section, lots of meds and bedrest.  (Bedrest! With 2 newborns and a toddler! Ha!) My husband is self-employed so he needed to go back to work and even with my mom helping it was a pretty ridiculous and unhealthy situation.  My husband found an amazing woman to help us who to this day was an angel to our family.

So, my experience was exactly the kind of thing that many other families slog through and I wanted to help them.  It turns out there are a LOT of people in these situations - too sick to do it on their own but not sick enough for insurance to step in.

Mar 7, 8:40AM EST0
What are your corporate dreams in the US and the rest of the world?
Mar 6, 8:01PM EST0

Wow what a great question, thank you.

My corporate dream is to aggregate the newborn and baby nurse industry in the US. Right now it's a bit of a wild west with no agreed upon set of standards.  

Believe it or not, there's no oversight for things like having caregivers be vaccinated or basic safety. 

The way I'd like to do this is by continuing to franchise so that Let Mommy Sleep standards are the norm.

I'd also like to establish a meaningful licensure for caregivers. Not just a "You passed my class! You're certified!" cert, but one that means accountability to the board of nursing or other 3rd party.  We have been awarded a loal governement contract in newborn care training which I hope is our first step in nationwide licensure.

Striving for the corporate dream means that we get to make the postpartum phase safer for parents and newborns and we get to help newborn care providers, which are overwhelmingly women, have an established career in caregiving. 

Interestingly, this is a dream that's unqiue to the US; we're catching up to much of the rest of the world!

Last edited @ Mar 7, 9:32AM EST.
Mar 6, 10:27PM EST0
What advice do you have for mothers that are expecting?
Mar 6, 4:35PM EST0

This sounds cliche but please be kind to yourself and understand that it's completely normal to feel like things are out of control and messy. 

Our whole lives we strive to be organized, meet deadlines and Get Things Done. Then all of a sudden this baby drops in and turns everything upside down!

My second piece of advice is more practical - I think it's a good idea for expecting moms to understand what will happen during and after childbirth. What interventions may happen, what meds they might need and what physical and mental changes are normal in the postpartum phase and when it's appropriate to call a doctor.  

Thank you for this question!

Mar 6, 10:13PM EST0
What is there in place as a government system for postpartum visits in the US?
Mar 6, 3:33PM EST0

Thanks for this question.  There are pockets of government funded postpartum visits for families with specifc economic need, but nothing close to a system.  

Newborns with health insurance are usually taken to the pediatrician 3-5 days after birth and then periodically in the first year.  Mother's however  see their physician 6 weeks after birth and Dad's and mom's partner never see a doc. Again, this is all based on insurance.

We know that postpartum depression & anxiety are common and treatable, and that basic SIDS and infant safety can be taught, so In Home Visits after baby arrives would help families tremendously.

Mar 6, 4:46PM EST0
What do you look out for in the caregivers that work with you?
Mar 6, 12:47PM EST0

Hi Pimark and thanks for the question!

The first thing is experience because there's just no substitute for being comfortable caring for babies and communicating with parents. I think almost 100% of our job is to help famileis feel comfortable so a caregiver who is experienced and confident is crucial. 

Clinical licensure from their state's board of nursing is also vital, as is someone who truly has a love for helpign new families. 

Mar 6, 3:55PM EST0
How much do you charge for the service you offer?
Mar 6, 11:10AM EST0

Thanks for this question!

It varies a little by region but generally a 2 hour Postpartum Teaching Visit, where an RN comes to the home after baby is born is $200.  

Overnight care ranges from $32-$45 per hour. The range depends on single babies vs. twins and what level of care is needed.

Mar 6, 11:18AM EST0
Your company name is quite unique, how did you come about it?
Mar 6, 10:39AM EST0

Thanks for this question- I appreciate it because the name is very close to me. 

It took me about 2 seconds to come up the name. Me and my husband were in bed and I was completely exhausted;  my twin daughters were about a month old and my son was 18 months old. 

I told my husband that I was going to start an overnight care business and he kind of jokingly said, "Well if you're going to do this, you have to name it something thatmakes people trust you. Like 'Angel Caregivers' or 'Nurturing Care.'" 

I cut him off and was like, "Nope. Let's cut to the chase. It's going to be called 'Let Mommy Sleep.' "  We both really started laughing and I knew that would always be the name.  

People usually chuckle when they hear it and that's the response I wanted. 

Mar 6, 11:15AM EST0
Is there a specific role that the fathers play that makes your work easier? If no, what do you think should be done about it?
Mar 6, 10:20AM EST0

First off- what a nice and thoughtful question, thank you for asking it.

We are all about early intervention at LMS- getting to parents and babies before typical health issues become problems. So, I really appeciate your asking this question, because Dads, partners and family members are that "first defense" in supporting mothers and each other.  Being informed on what's normal and when to call a doctor in the postpartum phase is a specific way father's can help.  

We don't think twice about calling the pediatrician 100 times a day if we have questions about baby (which is of course FINE) but when it comes to ourselves, we brush it off.

For example, bleeding is common after childbirth, but knowing how much is *too much* or what other post-birth complications look like is something dads and family members can become familiar with before baby arrives. Being prepared helps everyone. 

Also after the birth of a new baby depression in Dads and partners, called PaternalPostNatal Depression is not uncommon. With intervention though, it's completely treatable so it's good for Dads and partners to know the signs before baby arrives for their own health, and consequently the well being of their families.

Mar 6, 12:15PM EST0
What are the unique things that have stood out for you since you started your company?
Mar 6, 9:45AM EST0

I really had no idea just how many of us need a helping hand.

Oftentimes when people think about a baby nurse, they associate it with the rich and famous as a luxury service.  In reality however, most people use the service because they don't have another choice. They don't have family to help, they themselves have medical issues or any of a million other reasons. 

Mar 6, 7:26PM EST0
What are your financial projections for the next two years?
Mar 6, 9:26AM EST0

I know it sounds ridiculous being an AMA but this is the one question I'm not allowed to get specific about due to FTC rules regarding franchises.  

I can tell you that by Googling my company it's not hard to find financial info and that we have grown each year since 2010.  Thank you for asking- I know it's a question people are curious about. 

Mar 6, 12:22PM EST0
What are the means you employ in the marketing of your services?
Mar 6, 8:36AM EST0

Hi Katnderi! 

We really want to educate our families instead of advertise so there are 3 way we market:

1. Content marketing- we contribute educational content to local and national publications and media. 

2. We let health providers know that the service exists - oftentimes new parents will call us because they don't have anyone else to help so we want to be listed as a resource in health facilities.

3. Outreach - we do a lot of free parent workshops, youtube videos and consults. We enjoy this and it's a great way to connect with families. 

Mar 6, 7:32PM EST0
Do you partner with local hospitals for referrals?
Mar 6, 7:39AM EST0

We do. Our largest partnership is here in the Washington DC area where INOVA Health offers our services at a discount to their employees.

Many of our staff also work in hospitals and health facilities so it's a nice, natural partnership for us. 

The goal is for hospitals and insurers to find a way to offer postpartum visits as a value added service. A 2 hour postpartum visit is a great way to cut down on hospital readmissions, help moms who are nursing and instruct parents on safety and care.

Thank you for this question!

Mar 6, 7:41PM EST0
Have you encountered any problem with any of your clients? If you have, how did you handle it?
Mar 6, 6:20AM EST0

My team is incredible. They really are the most nurturing, kind and professional staff, so when there is a rare mishap such as a scheduling error or miscommunication, I feel like our families are very understanding because they see that we're really trying to do ou best for them.

There was one time when a Nurse accidentally stained a baby's glider. In that instance we swung into action by paying movers to remove the old glider, ordered a new one and gave the family a free night of service.  We try to overdeliver with all we do.

Mar 6, 8:05PM EST0
What services do you offer? Do you offer some medical care too?
Mar 6, 5:43AM EST0

Thanks for this question!

We have 2 basic services which are:

In Home Postpartum Visits, where an RN visits the family for about 2 hours  during their first few days home from the hospital. The Nurse is there to educate, perform health assessments and answer all the parents' questions.

Our other service is overngiht care where we are in the home typically between 10p-7a caring for the babies and also educating parents as much as they want. 

We don't offer medical care but there are instances such as when twins are on apnea monitors or one of the parents has a medical issue, where oru care is appropriate. These are times when someone is sick enough to need help but insurance doesn't deem them "sick enough" to have care covered by insurance. 

Mar 6, 8:16PM EST0
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