Hiring a Baby Nurse for Your Newborn
Experts explain what to look for when you're in the market for a baby nurse, nanny, or doula.
Let me start by saying I loved our first baby nurse, Vaneesha, until I met
our second baby nurse, Veronica. It's not that I am fickle, it's that as a
first-time mother I had absolutely no idea what a baby nurse (let alone a newborn) did.
Vaneesha slept all day as I hobbled around the apartment trying to calm my
seemingly inconsolable son and avoid waking her. At night, she let him sleep
in his stroller and as a result, he developed a flat spot on his head. She fed
him every time he cried, didn't attempt to differentiate between night and day,
and bathed him whenever she felt like it -- sometimes at 4 a.m. All this for
$1,400 a week.
When Vaneesha's stint was over, my sister insisted I hire Veronica for two
weeks to get me on a schedule. Veronica quickly helped me get Teddy into a
manageable routine which included a regular bath time, scheduled feedings (not
just a la carte offerings), long walks in the park, naps, and a bedtime. It
made all the difference.
But hindsight is always 20/20.
Here's what I wish I knew then about how to hire, train, and treat
Approximate cost: Roughly $200 a day, but varies
Time frame: birth to 3 months.
Baby nurses are not usually registered nurses (RN). They are newborn-care
"A baby nurse has experience handling a baby from the day it is born until
about 3 months," explains Douglas Kozinn, the president of Absolute Best Care,
an agency specializing in the placement of nurses and nannies.
"It's a short-term, round-the-clock job," he says. "Baby nurses should sleep
when the baby sleeps and develop sleep patterns around the newborn," he tells
The average family may use a baby nurse for three to four weeks. "If money
is not an issue, the baby nurse may stay as long as 10 months." I've asked
around and the longest I have heard of is 2.5 years. (That person is my idol
and a multimillionaire.)
But cost is usually an obstacle. Baby nurses cost about $200 a day and
according to Kozinn, this amount is twice as high on the West Coast.