In the U.S., more newborns arrive in August than any other month. If you’re one of the new moms or lucky moms-to-be, chances are you’re considering hiring a newborn care specialist (also known as a baby nurse) to help you with your infant. We’re sure you have a lot of questions! We can help.
What is a newborn care specialist?
A newborn care specialist helps parents in the first few weeks or months immediately following an infant’s birth. She is an experienced nanny with training in newborn care, but typically is not a registered nurse. Most baby nurses complete comprehensive coursework to keep up with current industry philosophies and standards; course topics include premature and full-term infant care, bathing, swaddling and soothing, formulas and breastfeeding, issues and ailments, natural remedies, and sleep training, among others.
What does a newborn care specialist do?
In many cases, baby nurses work 24-hour shifts. They will typically stay with a family anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. Your baby nurse will teach you how to care for your newborn, including bathing techniques, feeding, diapering, dressing, how best to get your baby on a regular sleep schedule, and even how to do your baby’s laundry. A newborn care specialist is also able to give breastfeeding advice, should the mother request it.
A good baby nurse will be as hands-on or -off as you would like, so make your expectations known to anyone you’re interested in hiring. Some mothers want their baby nurse to take care of all the messier aspects of infant care (feeding, bathing, diapering, among other things) so they can focus on bonding with the child; other mothers only want their newborn care specialist to teach/supervise and provide backup assistance with the infant when they themselves are resting. Every family’s needs are different, and a well-trained baby nurse will be able to adapt quickly and easily to any given family situation.
Why should you enlist the help of a baby nurse or newborn care specialist?
A baby nurse specialist can help ease the transition into parenthood and speed up the learning process, especially for first-time or working parents. New parents often underestimate the toll a new baby can take on their personal health.
The baby nurse can get up with the baby for nighttime feedings while the mother rests. If the mother is breastfeeding, the nurse can get up with her, help her to position the baby, and put the baby to bed so the mother can get back to sleep quickly. By helping to support both the newborn and the recovering mom, the baby nurse also relieves some of the pressure and stress a new father may feel.
In the past, extended family members such as mothers or grandmothers would often help a new mother with her baby. However, in the present day, fewer new parents live near or with their extended families, and many young couples are starting families in smaller apartments. It is not always easy or advisable to invite family members into your home for extended stays—and it’s certainly more stressful to get your mother to follow your instructions than a professional trained in modern infant care!
How do you find a well-trained newborn care specialist or qualified baby nurse?
The best way to make sure your baby nurse is trained, experienced, and holds excellent, verifiable references is to use a reputable domestic staffing agency. Top agencies will perform comprehensive background checks, verify every reference, and oftentimes require their newborn care specialists to have completed a minimum amount on-the-job training of recent cases. The Nanny Authority requires our baby nurse candidates to have completed at least ten cases in the last few years; we can assure you that any newborn care specialist we provide is not only qualified but also checked for recent references. Don’t let the stress of caring for your infant overwhelm you—start your baby nurse search today!