Debating whether or not to hire a baby nurse? Depending on who you ask, they’re either life-saving superheroes or an unnecessary luxury. As with all parenting decisions, it’s a personal choice that no one can make for you. Particularly if you’re a first time mom or recovering from a C-section, a baby nurse can be super helpful in showing you the ropes and letting you rest. But for many parents, it’s a steep price to have a total stranger parent your child (spoiler alert: you’ll have to do it eventually). Again, no right answer.
If you’re curious as to what a baby nurse entails, from cost to job description, check out our handy baby nurse decoder:
OK so what’s a baby nurse?
According to the New York Nanny Center, a baby nurse is “a non-medical professional who comes into the home when the baby comes home from the hospital.” They help parents with the everyday care of a newborn and offer overnight and daytime care. We’re talking 24/7 help. Some baby nurses have additional training in home aide or CPR. Other nurses have expertise in lactation, first aid and/or early childhood development.
What does a baby nurse do?
A baby nurse will do everything for your newborn, from organizing their clothing to changing diapers, bathing and feeding. They’ll teach you to care for your baby and, depending on how long they stay, can help get your baby on a general sleeping and feeding schedule. Some baby nurses also cook and help out with household chores like laundry and tidying up, but some only do so for the baby, so discuss expectations up front.
What is the typical length of stay for a baby nurse?
Again, totally your call. Some baby nurses will stay one week, and some stay up to six months. A typical stay lasts somewhere between two and 12 weeks, depending on the parents, budget, baby and the relationship.
When does the baby nurse sleep?
They’ll sleep when your baby is sleeping. Discuss what feels appropriate, but generally you should allow a nurse between four and five hours off during each 24 hour period.
Where will she sleep?
If you’re seeking 24-hour care, you’ll need to provide them with some sort of bed, whether freestanding or a pullout couch. They can sleep in the room with the baby or in a separate room, depending on your preferences and space.
Should I be paying for their meals?
Yes. If they’re staying 24 hours, you should provide them with meals, and feel free to ask if they have any preferences (oat milk vs almond milk, etc). Also discuss whether they’d like to bring some of their own meals, and if that’s OK. Be sure to review all kitchen arrangements in advance.
Will the baby nurse put my baby on a schedule?
They can certainly try, if that’s something that’s important to you. Just know that newborns don’t generally develop a true schedule until they’re a little older, so don’t expect your two-week-old to be feeding every four hours and sleeping 12 hours. If you prefer not to work with a schedule, your baby nurse should work with your preferences. Again, something else to discuss up front.
Can I have the baby nurse come with us on vacay?
Why not? As long as they’re down. Just remember that expenses for them like food, travel, etc. is your responsibility.
How will I pay the baby nurse?
Most likely you’ll pay them at the end of each week. Discuss payment preferences in advance.
Do baby nurses work on holidays?
Some will work on holidays. This needs to be discussed prior to hire and they should probably get time-and-a-half for working Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s…you know the drill.
Do I need to pay taxes on my baby nurse?
Check with your accountant and figure out what works for all parties involved. But yes, you probably should.
OK, what are they going to cost me?
There’s always a range, but the below is what’s considered current industry standards. Feel free to determine your own rate, as long as it works for all parties:
• Night nurse only: 10-12 hours per night: $250-$300
• 24 hour Care: $300-$400 per day
• Hourly Day Time Care: $20-$35 per hour