When families come to us looking for infant caregivers, they often ask us to explain the difference between a nanny and a babynurse (also known as a newborn care specialist). In short, a babynurse is a very specialized type of nanny. Many nannies have experience with infants, but this does not make them babynurses. A newborn care specialist typically has completed coursework on all aspects of newborn care and has a great deal of experience and training in caring for infants specifically.
Ideally, a family will hire a babynurse during the first few months of an infant’s life. Because many newborn care specialists work 24-hour shifts, they can be particularly helpful for sleep-training the infant and getting him or her on a feeding schedule. The babynurse can also help the mother adjust to life with her new baby by assisting her or answering any questions that may arise.
Most babynurses will work with a family for a few weeks to a few months, at most. In contrast, a nanny is typically a long-term fixture in a household, serving the same family for years at a time and being a constant figure in the lives of the children as they grow. Nannies also tend to work shorter hours than babynurses; a full-time nanny will work an average of 8-12 hours a day, depending on the needs of their employers.
Oftentimes, families will hire both a nanny and a babynurse, or hire a nanny toward the end of the babynurse’s contract, so the babynurse can get the nanny up to speed on the infant’s development.
Which type of caregiver a family hires truly does depend on their needs. Some parents feel calmer when they have 24-hour assistance, but others are comfortable with the baby’s nightly routine and only need assistance during the daytime. For mothers who love being the sole caregiver during the day but want to get better sleep at night, a night nurse might be a good option. A night nurse is a specific type of babynurse who works a shorter shift (typically 8-12 hours) and takes care of all the infant’s overnight needs, so the parents can get enough rest.
A good nanny agency can help you parse through your family’s childcare requirements and suggest the best option for your needs. At the Nanny Authority, we work exclusively with childcare professionals and our placement counselors are experts in the field of pairing families with their perfect caregivers. We even have a babynurse specialist, who is an expert in finding and placing the most qualified newborn care specialists around the country. If your family is in the market for a new nanny or babynurse, contact us today!