Weird Job: Help Tired Parents as a Night Nanny for Newborns
Do people call you “The Baby Whisperer”? Do you love newborns? Do babies stop crying right when you pick them up to hold them?
If so, you might enjoy a new and highly lucrative job that is becoming more and more popular: night nanny (or night nurse). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help parents with their newborns. You’ll stay with babies overnight and feed or comfort them when they cry.
While it might sound like a job you could only get in ritzy areas of Manhattan, middle-class parents across the country are embracing this trend as a way to ease their transition into parenthood.
Interested in becoming a night nanny? Here’s how to get started:
What It Takes to Be a Night Nanny
Even if you’ve been a babysitter for toddlers for 10 years, many parents look specifically for experience with newborns.
You must have an excellent grasp of newborns’ needs and be able to confidently handle an infant who is only a few days old. This includes being able to change diapers and outfits in addition to swaddling if the parent prefers.
Experience Handling Sterile Items
A night nanny is in charge of all overnight feedings, which means bottle-feeding an infant. If the baby is taking formula, you need to know how to mix it correctly and properly sterilize the bottles.
If the mother is pumping milk for her baby, a night nurse will be responsible for taking the milk from the mother, washing and cleaning pump parts, and putting them back by the mother’s door for the next feeding.
Taking care of a newborn is exhausting. You need to be able to wake up when you hear the baby crying and tend to him quickly.
If you are taking care of multiples, this is even more important because the longer one baby cries, the more likely it will wake the other one (or two, or three) up.
Compassion and Positivity
Many nannies have lost their jobs after parents overheard them on a baby monitor or camera, especially with the monitors parents can see on their cell phones. Assume these are installed in the nursery, whether you can see them or not.
Regardless of what happens, always be honest with parents about challenges or other happenings with their children. Make sure that you have a positive attitude, don’t get annoyed easily and are extremely patient.
While this is more of a recommended skill than a required skill, you’ll be more likely to secure jobs over other candidates if you are a nursing student or a nurse, specifically an NICU or a pediatric nurse.
How to Find Night Nanny Jobs
Use these sites to search for opportunities, but also to list your services and availability.
- Care.com. Many mothers use Care.com to search for babysitters, housekeepers and night nannies.
- Craigslist. Parents are more wary of finding someone to watch their children on Craigslist; however, it’s worthwhile to list your services in the “Jobs” section, just in case.
- Agencies: Childcare agencies screen candidates ahead of time so that they can quickly refer babysitters and nannies to families. Search online for a childcare agency near you by typing in “[your city] + nanny agency.”
Take extra time to present yourself well in your listing. Parents will be trusting you with their brand-new babies, and you need to convince them you’re reliable, competent and caring.
Include a photo. It shouldn’t be important, but it is. Parents want to look through photos and see who could potentially be taking care of their children.
Make sure you have excellent grammar. Parents want smart and put-together individuals taking care of their children. If your application is full of grammatical errors or mistakes, they will assume you have poor attention to detail.
List as many references as possible. Parents will call them, so make sure you list several people who will speak very highly of your services and experience.
Meet the Parents: Interview Tips
Be honest. If you have a certain obligation, a pet peeve, or are uncomfortable doing something, be honest in your interview. For example, don’t say you are comfortable washing out cloth diapers if the thought of them disgusts you.
I speak from experience: Do not compare multiples to single children. A big pet peeve of parents of multiples is when childcare providers assume multiples are the same as close siblings. Do not say you have experience with multiples because you used to take care of siblings who were 11 months apart. You will not get the job.
Similarly, do not speak about twins as if they are the same person with the same needs. Twin moms, myself included, are sensitive to these types of assumptions.
Communicate your ability to take direction. Parents, especially first-time parents, want things done a certain way. Even if you think you have more experience than they do, it’s very important you indicate that you’re willing to do exactly as they say when it comes to the care of their children.
How Much Do Night Nannies Make?
Compensation varies depending on your location and how often you help the family.
For example, Denise Acampora, a mother of twins, lives in an expensive part of Connecticut. She told me that she hired a night nanny for 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for $25 an hour.
Her night nanny made a full-time wage, but Denise said her services were more than worth it. Not only did her nanny help her with household chores, but because of her, Denise’s twins now sleep 11 hours every night!
Rachel Fike, a mom in Arizona, paid $100 a night for her nanny, who helped her from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Rather than using her services every night, Rachel explained that she hired the nanny to come once every other week to “recharge her batteries.”
Another mom, Kimberly Papac in California, found nighttime help in the form of a doula, who charged $32 an hour. Jennifer Soliman, a mom of multiples from North Carolina, paid her night nanny $23 an hour.
Hannah Birchman, a mom of six children under the age of five, pays her nanny $15 an hour to help with her triplets. However, she lives in more affordable Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Although compensation varies across the country, becoming a night nanny is a profitable job on its own, or one you could do on the side while working a full-time job during the day. As long as you know how to take care of a newborn and don’t mind a few weeks of fatigue, you can make a great income in short amount of time.
Your Turn: Are you good with newborns? Would you take advantage of your skills with babies to earn money as a night nanny?
Catherine Alford is a full time blogger, personal finance freelance writer, and mom of newborn twins. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, Budget Blonde.