the baby nurse...

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

What is a Baby Nurse?

Baby Nurses provide non-medical care for your baby, they are not typically a registered nurse, but a trained and experienced individual proficient in all aspects of newborn care. They are with you whether you need assistance at night, breastfeeding support, a sleep specialist or an extra set of hands.


Screening a Baby Nurse

  • Must be 20 years or older.
  • Must be legally able to work in the U.S.
  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check.
  • Must have at least 3 years of experience in their field.
  • Must have verifiable infant childcare references.
  • Must be certified as a Newborn Care Specialist (Baby Nurse).
  • Must be able to read, write and speak English fluently.
  • Must have a high school diploma, GED or higher education.
  • Must have CPR certification.
  • Must be a non-smoker.
  • Reference Check
  • Criminal Background Check

Can you meet the Baby Nurse before she starts the job?

Baby Nurses are happy to meet you if there is time between their assignments. However, if there is not an opportunity to meet her before she begins working, you can speak extensively with her over the phone and call her references before committing to that particular Baby Nurse.

When should I schedule my Baby Nurse?

It is best to schedule your Baby Nurse as soon as your doctor confirms your due date. We recommend booking as soon as possible, as Baby Nurse schedules fill up quickly.

How long should I hire my Baby Nurse?

Your Baby Nurse can be hired anywhere between 14 days to 6 months or longer, it depends on the needs of your family.

How will I know my Baby Nurse will be available for my due date?

Your Baby Nurse will be on call 2 weeks before and 1 week after your estimated due date, allowing flexibility on the start time.

What should I expect from my Baby Nurse?

  • Prepare, clean and sterilize feeding bottles
  • Provide consultations and assistance with mother’s breastfeeding
  • Change diapers and laundry for the baby’s bedding and clothing
  • Feed, burp and settle the newborn back to sleep
  • Bathe the baby and cleaning the umbilical cord
  • Document the baby’s natural sleep and wake habits in journal
  • Educate the parents on managing sleep and feeding schedules
  • Organize baby supplies and ensure that the nursery is tidy and clean
  • Establish a nurturing environment during the newborn’s waking hours
  • Provide general assistance and guidance to parents

How does a Baby Nurse benefit breastfeeding moms at night? 

Your Baby Nurse will bring the baby to the mom for all feedings. When mom is done feeding, the Baby Nurse will take the baby and care for its needs until the next feeding, allowing mom much needed rest.  You also have the option of pumping a bottle for night-time feedings.

How will the Baby Nurse put my baby on a schedule?

The Baby Nurse can put your baby on a schedule, if this is something you prefer. However, if you prefer to not work with a schedule, the Baby Nurse will fit into the plan that you want for your baby. When we are in the process matching you with a Baby Nurse, we will discuss the type of Baby Nurse that will be the best match for your family.

Do I need a private room for my Baby Nurse? 

It would be great to have a private bedroom for your Baby Nurse, but it is not required. Your Baby Nurse can share a room with your baby.

Am I expected to provide meals for my Baby Nurse? 

Parents are not expected to provide cook meals, but you are required to provide provisions for your Baby Nurse to prepare meals.

Can I ask my Baby Nurse to do housework?

Baby Nurse duties and responsibilities do not include housekeeping or pet care

When I am using 24h care, when does the Baby Nurse sleep?

The Baby Nurse will sleep when the baby is sleeping. She will also be allowed a 3 hour (flexible) break each 24-hour period, in which she can decide to sleep or leave the premises.

Can I have the Baby Nurse travel?

Yes. All expenses for the Baby Nurse’s food, travel, etc. are the responsibility of the family.

Does my Baby Nurse get any days off?

Yes. This varies depending on how many hours the Baby Nurse works each week.

Do I need to pay for my Baby Nurse travel expenses?

Your Baby Nurse may come from a different state, if they are the best match for your family. The client is monetarily responsible for round trip transportation for the Baby Nurse, if she is coming from another state. Some Baby Nurses will also travel to your home by taxi, metro rail or ferry and will request reimbursement for these fares.

How is the Baby Nurse paid? 

The family is responsible for paying the Baby Nurse directly at the end of each week, based on the amount of hours or days she has worked. Acceptable payments are cash or check only.

Should I tip my Baby Nurse?

Yes, tipping your Baby Nurse is customary, but not required. Between 10%-15% of the total job assignment is standard.

What is the salary range for a Baby Nurse?

  • 24 hour Baby Nurse – $225/day and up!
  • Overnight Baby Nurse – $15/hr and up!
  • These rates are for a single baby. Twins and Triplets will be additional cost.

Beauty and the Bump - Tips to care for your bump

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow


When you are pregnant there are always things that kind of surprise you. For some reason moms don’t want to discuss the challenges of the body changing. Instead they make it seem like everything is breezy, blissful, and easy. One thing I experienced that was a surprise was that as your belly grows it starts to itch like crazy. This is caused by the shift in hormones. 

Here are some of my tricks to make it better –

  • Switch from super hot baths or showers to warm
  • Use a fragrance free/gentle/natural body wash
  • Once a week exfoliate your belly with an all natural scrub 

Try this DIY scrub:

Lemon Salt Scrub – this an uplifting scent

What you need – 

Epsom Salts or Sea Salt 

Burt’s Bees Lemon Body Oil 

Zest of a Lemon

A jar – lots to choose from on

Directions –

Mix 2 Cups of the salt you choose with 1 Cup of the oil

Mix in Lemon Zest – use as little or as much as you like

Place in cute jar

Create a cute label

Finally massage your bump with an all natural moisturizing oil, coconut or almond oil are my favorites! And p.s. they both help with stretch marks...bonus.


effacement & dilation explained...

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

In the final weeks of pregnancy, an expectant mother’s body begins its natural preparation for labor and delivery. Among the early signs of labor are effacement and dilation, important changes that occur to the cervix and work together to make it possible for the baby to safely and smoothly come out of its mother’s uterus. 

What is Cervical Effacement? 

When a woman isn’t pregnant, and during most of a pregnancy as well, her cervix is long and thick. In actual measurements, a normal cervix is not really very long, just 3-5 centimeters (1-2”) in length. In the final weeks of pregnancy, as the lower part of the uterus gets ready for the baby to come out, the cervix starts to get shorter and thinner. This process is called effacement. As the cervix becomes more and more effaced, it gets shorter and shorter and increasingly “pulled up”, eventually seeming to become part of the lower uterus (the cervix itself almost seems to disappear). Effacement is also sometimes referred to as “ripening” or “thinning out.” 

As the due date nears, the baby’s head drops down and the mother’s uterus begins to contract; this, combined with effacement and dilation, can cause pressure and cramp-like pains. Women, especially those experiencing their first pregnancy, might think this means they’re going into active labor, but these “false labor” or Braxton Hicks contractions are just early signs that the process has begun! It usually takes several weeks for the cervix to become fully effaced. 

During the final weeks of pregnancy, your health care provider will examine the cervix and can report on these changes. Cervical effacement is measured in percentages – e.g., no changes means 0% effaced, when the cervix is half its normal thickness, it’s 50% effaced. When the cervix is 100% effaced, that means it’s completely thinned out, leaving just the opening at the bottom of the uterus for the baby to come out. 

Readying for Baby: Dilation

As the cervix effaces and thins out, it also begins to stretch and open. This is called dilation. This widening and opening makes it easier for the baby’s head and the rest of its body to pass through from the uterus into the vaginal canal for delivery. 

The degree of dilation is measured in centimeters. For most of your pregnancy, the cervix will be at zero centimeters, closed and not at all dilated, keeping the baby safe and growing inside. During active labor, your health care provider will measure the level of dilation. 

The progression of labor is measured by the advancing dilation of the expectant mother’s cervix. It’s generally estimated that the cervix will dilate one centimeter during each hour of labor, but this cannot be generalized for every woman or every pregnancy. 0-4 centimeters dilation is considered early labor, and it’s not uncommon for a woman to be up to 2 centimeters dilated several weeks before giving birth. Dilation of 4-7 centimeters occurs during active labor. 7-10 centimeters is the transition phase and when your cervix is at 10 centimeters it’s considered fully dilated and you’re ready to give birth! 

pregnancy in the heat of the summer...

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

With your belly getting bigger and bigger just as we head into summer, you may find yourself wondering if you’ll make it out alive. But don’t worry -- while it’s true that a summer pregnancy isn’t always easy, here are a few tricks to ease your hot-weather woes.

Summer Bummer #1: Dehydration Getting enough fluids is especially tough in the hot summer months. Ordinarily, you should try to drink two liters of clear liquids every day, but in the summer, you need to add eight ounces for every hour you spend in the heat, that’s basically the amount you’ll be sweating out.

Cool Fix: Icy concoctions
Since you’ll be constantly sipping, make your drink a fun one. Try out a mocktail: chilled seltzer with a splash of mango juice and lime. The mango is loaded with vitamin C and iron. Pretend you’re relaxing on a tropical beach!

Summer Bummer #2: Swelling Edema can be worse in summer, causing your calves, ankles, and feet to become one wide, bloated mass. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Cool Fix: Kick up your heels!
To help reduce swelling, make an effort to keep your legs up whenever you can -- even in the office, for an extra-relaxing way to lounge, try a comfy hanging seat

Summer Bummer #3: Extreme heat Obvious but true: It’s steaming. You’re huge. It stinks.

Cool Fix: Get wet
Water is a mama-to-be’s best friend, so don't shy away from the pool! An afternoon dip will not only lower your body temp, the buoyancy will also ease the stress on your squished organs, and splashing around provides a great low-impact workout. Plus, you’ll have the chance to really show off that belly! Go on -- be brave and bare your bump!

Summer Bummer #4: Sticky sweat Okay, so the summer may have you chafing a bit. But the best thing about a summer pregnancy: lightweight and comfy maternity clothes!

Cool Fix: Breathable maternity wear
For maximum cuteness and comfort, go for loose, light-colored clothes. This helps keep you from overheating and allows sweat -- especially beneath and between your boobs -- to evaporate, preventing nasty rashes. 

Summer Bummer #5: Boredom The simplest way to keep your body temp on track? “Stay indoors in an air-conditioned home,”  But how’s a girl to keep her sanity when she’s hanging out on the couch in the living room all day?

Cool Fix: Fun summer rentals
Beat the heat with a few belly laughs courtesy of some baby-focused DVD favorites. Your, er, “condition” might have you looking at a couple of ’80s and ’90s classics in a whole new light. Remember Junior? How about Father of the Bride Part IILook Who’s Talking and Nine Monthsare great for a chuckle too. Renting (rather than hitting the theaters) will give you the freedom to pause the flick and walk around to ease your aches (or pee every 10 minutes).

signs of labour...

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

Different women feel oncoming labor differently. Some feel no symptoms until they are right in the beginning of labor. Others have many symptoms such as cramping for weeks before labor actually begins. During labor four major changes occur:

  • Ripening- the softening of the cervix
  • Effacement- the thinning out of the cervix
  • Dilatation-the opening of the cervix
  • Station- the movement of the baby’s head onto the ischial spines

Labor Facts -

  • Only five percent of women actually deliver on their due dates. The typical range for delivery is two weeks before to two weeks after the actual due date.
  • The average length of a first labor is 14 to 17 hours. Subsequent labors generally last 6 to 8 hours.
  • The position of the baby can effect the length of labor.

Prelude to Labor

Before labor actually begins, many women experience some of the following:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions - These “practice” contractions (sometimes felt throughout the second half of pregnancy) tend to be irregular and are focused in the abdomen, as opposed to beginning in the back. They generally cause no changes in the cervix. Many women find that walking may give some relief.
  • Lightening - Lightening, or “dropping,” occurs when the presenting part of the baby moves down into the pelvis. This often relieves shortness of breath, but can increase pelvic pressure and frequency of urination. In first time pregnancies, lightening may occur several weeks of just a few hours before the onset of labor. In subsequent pregnancies, lightening does not generally occur until just before labor begins.
  • Weight loss - After all of those weeks and months of gaining weight, many women lose two or three pounds before labor even begins.
  • Bursts of energy - Many women experience a burst of energy before the onset of labor. Often referred to as “nesting,” many women find themselves cleaning and preparing their homes for the arrival of the new baby.
  • Activity of baby - The baby may become slightly less active as labor approaches. You should still feel the baby move several times an hour - if you don’t, call your health care provider immediately.
  • Changes in the cervix - Particularly for women who have already had a baby, the cervix may begin to change weeks before labor begins.
  • Increased vaginal discharge - Discharge may become thicker and may even be blood tinged.

Signs of Labor

  • Contractions - In true labor, contractions will become very regular and will often start in the back and work their way toward the front. They will become progressively stronger and closer together. While walking often stops Braxton Hicks contractions, it will often make real contractions stronger. Time your contractions from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next.
  • Rupture of membranes - Also known as “water breaking,” this may be experienced as either a gush of fluid or a slow trickle. Call your health care provider immediately, and be prepared to tell him/her the color of the fluid, the time of rupture, and the movement of the baby.
  • Bloody show - As the cervix readies itself for labor, the mucous in the cervix will often emerge from the vagina.
  • Effacement and Dilation - The cervix must thin out (effacement) and dilate (enlarge) in order to deliver the baby. The cervic must be 10 centimeters dilated in order for the woman to push.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Before you go into true labor, you may experience what is known as Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor. These are labor-like contractions, often felt for many weeks, that help to prepare your cervix for true labor by thinning, softening, and sometimes even opening your cervix slightly. The contractions often occur more frequently as you get closer to your due date and in the afternoon, evening, after you have exercised, or at other times when you are tired. These contractions can range from mild, when you can’t even feel them, to severe, where they can be quite painful.

Some ways to tell if you are feeling Braxton Hicks contractions are to:

  • Time your contractions- False labor contractions are often irregular and don’t get close together as time goes on. True labor contractions come at regular intervals and get closer together. They last from 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Try to move around. False labor contractions often stop when you walk, rest, or change position. Real labor contractions do not stop as you move around.
  • Notice the strength of the contractions- False labor contractions do not increase in intensity. True labor contractions steadily get stronger.
  • Note the place of the pain- Pain from false labor contractions are usually only felt in the front while true labor contractions often start in the back and move to the front.

If you begin to feel contractions, time them for one full hour and write down how they feel. Don’t hesitate to go to the hospital if you really can’t tell if you are in labor. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor’s office or the hospital:

  • You have symptoms of labor before you are 37 weeks
  • You feel your water break even though you have no contractions
  • You have vaginal bleeding
  • You have constant severe pain
  • You have a fever or chills
  • You feel your baby moving less

maternity planning tips

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

From the minute you announce your pregnancy, you’ll be bombarded with advice. But what really works? Here are some of buddha & bodhi’s best tips for mums-to-be.

Vitamins… take a supplement of folic acid daily along with a prenatal vitamin. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. You should also take vitamin D daily to help your baby grow strong bones.

Bananas… cure leg cramps with a banana, especially before going to bed! The potassium they contain is thought to help. 

Your teeth & gums… during pregnancy, your gums may become inflamed and bleed more easily, so be extra vigilant with your oral health, brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste and visiting the dentist

Keep a healthy glow… during pregnancy your skin will be drier and possibly more sensitive, so use more oil-based products. They’ll be richer and more nutritious for your skin.

PreNatal Yoga… helps you bond with your baby, teaches you how to rest, relieves anxiety, encourages confidence, opens up hips for childbirth, teaches balance, relieves aches & pains, builds strength
centers and calms your breath

Don’t stress… relax and enjoy the experience. Try not to read too many pregnancy books. Overloading on advice can create confusion and worry, leading to stress.

Heartburn… If you’re suffering from heartburn, eat an apple, keep one by your bed in case you awake with heartburn.

Acupuncture… many pregnancy problems, including sickness, constipation, back pain, insomnia and anxiety, can be successfully treated using acupuncture. Fine needles are inserted into the skin to create a stimulus that encourages the body’s own healing response. It’s safe, reliable and relatively painless. Even if you’re skeptical about alternative therapies, there’s lots of clinical evidence that it works. However, always consult a qualified practitioner experienced in treating mums-to-be

Bump band… invest in a bump band – a stretchy band that allows you to wear your “usual” clothes for a lot longer. It disguises unbuttoned trousers, extends the life of non-maternity tops and also gives you a bit of support. 

Unwind & nest… finish work a few weeks before your baby is due, so you have time to relax before the birth, to have some time to yourself and get ready for the baby’s arrival. 

Bounce on a ball… a birthing ball provides soft, but firm, support that helps your baby engage in a good position. It’s comfy to sit on, relieves pressure on your joints, improves your posture and even helps tone your muscles.


the doula

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

a doula is a labor support person who gives emotional and physical comfort to laboring women. They do not perform clinical tasks such as heart rate checks or vaginal exams but use massage, aromatherapy, positioning suggestions to help the labor progress as well as possible. A doula joins a laboring woman either at her home or in the hospital or birth center and remains with her until a few hours after the birth. Most doulas also offer several prenatal visits, phone support and one postpartum meeting to ensure the mother is doing well, informed and supported. The terms of a labor/birth doulas responsibilities are decided between the doula and the family. In addition to emotional, physical and informational support, doulas work as advocates of their client’s wishes helping them to communicate their wishes.  A doula is a support person who does not deliver the baby. Since she doesn’t have these responsibilities, or other patients to attend to, she can give her complete and total attention to being by a woman’s side for the entire length of her labor providing continuous emotional and physical support.

women supported by a doula during labor have been shown to have...

    ▪    50% reduction in Cesarean rate

    ▪    25% shorter labor

    ▪    60% reduction in epidural requests

    ▪    40% reduction in Pitocin use

    ▪    30% reduction in analgesic use

    ▪    30% reduction in forceps delivery

six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas experienced...           

    ▪    less anxiety and depression

    ▪    more confidence with the baby

long-term benefits of using a doula...

    ▪    improved breastfeeding

    ▪    increased time spent with baby 

    ▪    positive maternal connection of baby's personality, health & maternal competence

    ▪    decreased postpartum depression



the baby registry

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

as an expecting new parent, you have a ton of choices to make about what's best for your baby and you can be sure that your mom, sister, best friend, neighbor and baby store salesperson are all going to tell you what they think. But what you choose for your child is up to you, so here are some suggestions to make the overwhelming task of registering a bit easier...

reach out to mothers you know/trust and ask them what their must haves were and by process of elimination you'll be able to determine what items are highlighted (swaddle blankets, baby carriers, monitors, strollers, cribs) versus what is just propaganda (wipe warmers, newborn clothing/shoes, sleep positioners, exersaucers)...

register for items that would be useful down the road as your baby grows

ask for items that are for mum day, meal delivery etc. 

babies don't need that much stuff and you don't need clutter, rather what your new bundle does need is quite simple: sleep
over and over, forever and ever.

the birth plan

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

I often think that it is strange that a couple will go to great lengths to plan the perfect holiday, they will spend time together looking at brochures or checking out destinations and hotels online, they will read reviews, check out all the facilities available to them, plan what sports equipment they may need and possibly even buy some new clothes and all of this is often done months before the event. Then they sit back relaxed, happy and confident that they have done absolutely everything they can to make sure that they will have a fantastic time and they look forward to the approaching holiday without any fear that anything could go wrong, after all it’s totally planned! Seems sensible to me and probably to you as well but if so much care is spent on planning a holiday why would the same couple just drift into the birth of their baby without any planning whatsoever, it just doesn’t make any sense?

This is why writing a birth plan is so important, you only get one chance of giving birth to your baby and yes I know that all births do not go exactly to plan but 95% of births can be managed naturally and without any medical intervention if the mother is prepared, confident and approaches the birth of her baby without fear. By writing a birth plan it gives you the opportunity to research and become totally informed of all the different options that are available to you. A birth plan is an important tool for you to convey all of your preferences to your midwife or doctor in an easy straight forward manner. Don’t get me wrong if you haven’t got a birth plan they will still take care of you but you will be on the ‘medical treadmill’ where everything will be pretty much generic to every unplanned birth in that establishment and that is where you end up thinking, I should have requested……..

If you are armed with a birth plan that you have researched and written with your partner you both enter the birth of your child in a different frame of mind; it will give you confidence because you know if option ‘a’ is not available to you then option ‘b’ is a pretty good alternative. A birth plan will just prompt you into thinking about all the things that will make your birth a happy memory for you.

prenatal yoga benefits...

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

helps you bond with your baby
teaches you how to rest 
relieves anxiety 
encourages confidence
opens up hips for childbirth
teaches balance
relieves aches & pains
builds strength
centers and calms your breath

ohm shanti Xxx

tips on creating a nursery room that is fun and stylish, but also one that's functional for baby & mom

by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

so five things first…

space size & configuration…
knowing the actual size of your space will alleviate challenges ahead
plan from here where to place the larger pieces, ideally the crib & changing table should be close to one another 
make sure that you know where heating/cooling vents are as you don’t want to have the baby nearby
don’t block electrical outlets, you’ll need them so make them accessible but safe using baby proof covers

the nursery room will serve many purposes, so keep in mind it will grow as your child grows 
opt for decor that will easily transition from baby to toddler

storage space…
make it convenient by using vertical storage such as hanging closet organizers for clothing, baskets for toys and a diaper organizer for baby’s essentials during diaper changing moments

invest in multi-functional furniture…
a crib that turns into a toddler bed 
a changing table that can be placed on a dresser & eventually removed
a bookshelf that can hold blankets and such which transitions into holding books & toys

simple but stylish…
start with a theme, but try to keep color tones neutral adding splashes of color or wall art
choose something timeless such as heirlooms or keepsakes to help personalize the space, framed artwork & photos are great touches


by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow

Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom...


by Dia Hollenbeck Minkow


the girl who's always been there 

for everyone else,

needs someone to be there...

                                           for her