The services of a night nurse have proven to be the saving grace of parents who are sleep-deprived and living on the edge because of the lack of sleep. Usually parents of multiples (twins and certainly higher multiples, such as triplets, etc) hire a night nurse, who comes into the home a few nights a week (or even every day) to care for the babies at night, hence the term -night nurse’! Moms caring for a baby with special needs have also found that the night nurse allows her to rest properly during the evening and offer the best care during the daylight hours.

Besides the obvious advantages offered by the night nurse – a good night’s sleep – the services of this trained individual will also allow couples to spend quality time together with the assurance that their child (or children) is in the capable hands of a loving, kind and qualified caregiver. The nurse will work the expected 12 hour nursing shift, arriving at the home at 7pm and departing at 7am the following morning. During these 12 hours, couples can either choose to go out or choose to catch up on much-needed sleep.


How to arrange the services of a night nurse

Usually the night nurses are employed by agencies and these agencies will conduct all the relevant checks into the nurse’s qualifications and experience. There are also independent night nurses, who work independently, and in most cases, these night nurses work on a word of mouth basis or they make use of newspapers or magazines to advertise their services.

When using an agency, parents can ask for a particular type of nurse (for instance a nurse who has experience in caring for twins, or triplets or providing care for an infant with special needs).


The costs of a night nurse

The rates which are charged by a night nurse vary from area to area. Usually the rates are between R250 per night to as much as R500 per night. In certain circumstances, medical aids are willing to cover the cost (or a portion of the costs of a night nurse) – however it is recommended that each family contact their respective medical aid in this regard.


Things to consider when hiring a night nurse

Since the night nurse provides care in the home, it is necessary to provide a separate area for the nurse to carry out her nightly duties. It is no use hiring a night nurse if the baby (or babies) is not out of earshot- this will prevent parents from achieving a night of uninterrupted sleep.

The nurse will stay awake during the evening and may request that meals and beverages be provided – this may be an additional cost to take into account.

Transportation costs can also be another charge (over and above the hourly rate of the nurse)!

How often will you require the services of night nurse?

Many moms may feel that they prefer to be the primary caregiver, providing full-time, around-the-clock care for their infant (or infants) however, sleep deprivation can lead to feelings of anger, depression, etc. and it is often a good idea to accept help and spend the evening resting and recharging depleted batteries. Although moms with single babies are usually better able to cope with the day and night routine, a mom with twins or higher multiples is often worn out by the first month and is in desperate need of help! This is the same for a mom who is providing full time care for an infant with special needs.


To find a night nurse in your area, make use of  This website has a comprehensive listing of night nurses in areas across South Africa.

SAMBA (South African Multiple Births Association) will also be able to offer contact details of trusted night nurses who have experience in caring for multiples, please visit their website,


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