What is a Newborn Care Specialist and do you need one?
July 14, 2022
Is a Newborn Care Specialist the same as a night nurse?
The term Night Nurse feels very familiar to some, but it is an outdated term, and in most states it is in fact illegal to refer to yourself as a nurse unless you are an RN, LPN or LVN. The correct term to use in the US, as adopted by the International Nanny Association over 12 years ago, is Newborn Care Specialist, also known as an NCS.
What does a Newborn Care Specialist do?
A Newborn Care Specialist usually starts with a family on the day they bring baby home from the hospital or the day of home birth and stays typically for up to 3-4 months to guide and educate new parents and offer hands-on care to the newborn(s) to help establish feeding, routine, and healthy sleep habits. Most often, a Newborn Care Specialist will handle the overnight care so that a new parent can rest and recover from birth or adapt to new parenthood if the baby is adopted or via surrogate. If required, an NCS will offer around-the-clock or daytime support as well.
Is there a difference between a Newborn Care Specialist and a night nanny?
A Newborn Care Specialist is explicitly trained in all aspects of newborn care and will have many years of experience with families during the first few months with a newborn. They will be able to help parents feel confident in their care of their precious newborn and will be familiar with common issues such as reflux and have proven solutions and resources to help. A Night Nanny works typically under the direct guidance of the parents, they may or may not have any formal education in the care of newborns, and this is often an add on to their daytime work.
What qualifications should parents look for when hiring a Newborn Care Specialist?
I would urge parents only to hire a newborn care specialist that comes with a great resume of experience and references. They should be highly trained with a reputable newborn care specialist training academy and ideally have ongoing training certificates in sleep conditioning, feeding issues, care of multiples (twins & triplets), premature babies, etc. The Newborn Care Specialist Association (NCSA) has been providing certification to NCS’s since 2006. NCSA Certification is a one-stop verification for families that an NCS has the required training, hours of experience, CPR certificate and background checks so families can rely on the ease of knowing they are hiring a newborn care specialist who is entirely up to date with their knowledge and experience
What are the benefits of hiring a Newborn Care Specialist?
The most significant benefit of hiring a newborn care specialist is sleep! Having peace of mind that a qualified newborn care specialist is handling the overnight hours, having an extra set of hands during bath time and knowing there is additional support should any issues arise, allows new parents to get more and better sleep. Even a nursing parent only has to wake to nurse and can then go right back to sleep while the NCS settles the baby. New parents who have quality postpartum support tend to heal faster (if they have given birth) and have lower rates of postpartum mood disorders. They also can use their awake time to focus on their newborn as the baby laundry, nursery organizing, bottle and pumping parts washing, have been done overnight by the newborn care specialist.
What are the drawbacks, besides the expense of having a newborn care specialist?
The only drawback I can think of is not getting the right newborn care specialist. Whether your baby has been delivered after hours of labor or by C Section, arrived by surrogate or adoption this is a time of change and can be a very sensitive time in your life involving extreme emotions. It is so vital that the person you invite into your home to help during this time is the right fit for you. The person your good friend recommended because they were a great help to them might not be the right fit for you for reasons you are unable to explain. An experienced newborn care specialist will understand the importance of this and will be happy to spend time with you during your selection process, answering any and all questions you have so trust your gut instinct when choosing.
What can parents expect to pay for a newborn care specialist?
This will vary depending on where you live and if you have a single newborn, twins or triplets. A newborn care specialist tends to be more expensive than a regular day nanny, about 25-30% more in most markets. Rates in the US are typically $20 per hour up to about $45 per hour, with some anomaly markets seeing as high as $65-$75 per hour. These rates, even within the same market, are highly variable based on the background of the newborn care specialist and the demand for their services. However, I have client families who still tell me, years later, that the money they paid for my services was absolutely one of the best things they did for themselves and their children.