If you’ve been lucky enough to have the experience of being a new mum, you’ll pretty quickly understand why sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique – after even a few nights of just a couple of snatched hours of shut-eye, you’ll be bleary, teary and in need of help, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of! We’ve got the round-up of the best night nurse, maternity nurse and pui yuet services in town…
Maternity nurses are in high demand — Melinda Jurecka, one of our maternity nurses listed below, recommends that mums need to get their super-organised hats on and start looking for a maternity nurse at least 6 months in advance – they get booked up quickly, plus it takes time to find and meet with the right maternity nurse for you. Make sure you meet with them personally so you know that you’ll feel comfortable with them and know that you share similar childcare ideas, as they’re likely to become a very important part of your life… and in some cases will even live with you!
Edith Lemardelee, another of the maternity nurses whose details you will find below, also advises all new mums to pick carefully and exercise their caution, as many ladies coming to HK to work as maternity or night nurses may not have the appropriate work visas – so make sure you check all the documents carefully.
‘Pui yuets’, the traditional Chinese kind of maternity nurse who live-in with you during the confinement period and cook special nutritional soups and brews to nurse mamas back to full fitness, generally come from local backgrounds and may only speak Chinese. However, some will probably speak enough English to get by and don’t listen to the horror stories you may have heard about them trying to force pork knuckle down you – again, meet the women personally and find someone you know you’ll be happy with!
Here are the contact details of some agencies, services and individuals who offer maternity/night nurses and ‘pui yuet’ in Hong Kong.
Homeasy Maternity Service
Homeasy provide post-natal services for mothers and newborn babies including: preparing nutritious stews, soups and drinks, guiding mothers how to feed babies, identifying specific needs based on your baby’s cries, support and advice for any of your post-natal problems, baby-feeding, changing nappies, bathing, dressing and making up milk bottles.
You will be sent a list of suitable maternity nurses and their rates by email or fax and from there, choose which to interview in person; further down the road, Homeasy can also provide babysitters and maids (at a discount if you’re already a member) for your family too!
How much: 6 hours (Monday-Saturday) starts from $8000 per month; 8-10 hours (Monday-Saturday) starts from $9000 per month; in-house 24-hour carer $20,000 per month
Where: Head office is at Room 1103, Yue Shing Comercial Building, 15-16 Queen Victoria Street, Central, Hong Kong. Other branches are in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Tsuen Wan (see full addresses here).
Contact details: Call 2776 2900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In Safe Hands
Another company that comes with good recommendations and a solid reputation. In Safe Hands’ maternity nurses work on average 5-6 days/nights per week and offer help, guidance and support including: encouragement and help with breast feeding, ensuring baby weight gain, preparation and sterilization of milk bottles, night feeds, sleep training, help getting your baby into a routine, common newborn problems and illnesses and general advice and support. They also offer a consultancy service, where you can simply call an experience maternity nurse for advice, feeding or sleeping issues.
They also offer nannies, assistants and babysitters.
How much: Charges vary, contact them for more information.
Contact details: Call owner Sue Beer on 2323 2676 or 9820 3363, or fill out the enquiry form on their website here
The Nanny Experts
The Nanny Experts provide maternity nurses who are on call 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, and can also either be hired for day or night shifts (usually 10 hours). Their duties include: advice about breast or bottle feeding, sleep training, bathing and changing the baby, developing mums’ confidence, integrating the new arrival into the family, helping with post-natal depression, relieving parents’ tiredness and concerns and general advice and support for both mother and child. Some of their nurses even specialise in caring for twins and triplets.
You will be provided with CVs for suitable candidates, who will be interviewed first by The Nanny Experts then by you personally, plus references and a follow-up service to make sure you are happy with your maternity nurse. They can also provide professional nannies, midwives, baby-sitters and tutors, and are members of The International Nanny Association (INA).
How much: Day or night care start at $180 per hour, $250 for twins or triplets. Special packages can be arranged for 24-hour live-in care. Agency fees apply. There is also a replacement policy.
Contact details: Chat live with them on their website here, call 6295 6051 or email email@example.com.
Second Nurture Nannies
Second Nurture Nannies provide Western 24-hour live-in maternity nurses that contribute to the total care of both mother and baby in the exhausting weeks after childbirth. They can help establish feeding and sleeping routines, integrate the newborn into family life, provide help, support and guidance in all aspects of the baby’s daily routine and get up during the night to feed and change the baby – ensuring you get some precious shut-eye!
Give Second Nurture Nannies a list of your requirements, preferences and any additional info that may help and they’ll cook up a list of suitable candidates, who you can then interview personally. They also offer regular nannies (who will help with feeding, washing and cleaning), nanny shares between two families and babysitters.
How much: Live-in maternity nurses start from $2000 per 24-hour period; live-in nannies start from $25,000 per month; agency fees apply
Contact details: Email firstname.lastname@example.org; call or email directors Lara Stace and Narelle Trunks on 9759 3703, email@example.com or 9031 8482, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edith has over 17 years experience working in childcare and is available as a maternity/night nurse. She’s French – one of the only ones in Hong Kong – but her English is perfect too!
Contact details: Call or email Edith at 91701626, email@example.com
Bamboos is a Hong Kong-based private medical group that offers 24-hour nursing services, including maternity nurses, all of whom are registered under Hong Kong’s Nursing Council.
How much: Rates vary
Where: 1F, Bamboos Centre, 52 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Contact details: Call 2575 5893, 2575 5839 or 6300 9229; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Care30 provides the traditional ‘pui yuet’ style of maternity nurse, who live in with you for 24-hours a day in the first month after childbirth and cook up nutritional stews and soups for mothers.
How much: 6 hours a day, $9800 per month; 8 hours a day, $12,000 per month; 9 hours a day, $13,000 per month; 24-hour care $22,000 a month
Contact details: Call Karmen Lam on 81073030 or Angel Lee on 98120909
E-Mother (in Chinese)
E-Mother also specialises in ‘pui yuet’ maternity nurses.
How much: Contact them for details or enquire here
Where: 702 Wah Ying Cheong Central Building, 158-164 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong
Contact details: Phone 3583 2543
Other ports of call
Matilda International Hospital (41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak, Hong Kong, 2849 0111) can refer you to local agencies or individual maternity nurses as part of their post-natal care.
Hong Kong Sanatorium (No.2 Village Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong, 2572 0211) also offers private nurses, either to cover day (8am-8pm) or night (8pm-8am) shifts.
It may also be worth trying any of Hong Kong’s private (full list here) or public (full list here) hospitals to see if they can provide any assistance or advice, especially as part of their post-natal services if you gave birth there.
We have also been told that The Methodist Church (36 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2528 0186, www.methodist.org.hk) can also provide a list of maternity nurses as part of their social services division. The website is all in Chinese so it might be best to enquire in person (or bring along a friend!).
You could also try to contact the Community Advice Bureau (2815 5444, www.cab.org.hk) for help. The forums at www.GeoBaby.com also have several threads on the subject of maternity nurses, and can offer personal recommendations.