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Newborn Care Specialists: Who Are We? What Do We Even Do? Do You Even Need One?

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

A Newborn Care Specialist (NCS), also referred to as a night nanny or baby nurse is a trained professional that provides unique expertise in all aspects of newborn care and parent support and education. They work one on one with parents as soon as the baby(ies) comes home from the hospital, which is considered the fourth trimester aka the first 3 months of a baby’s life. Transitioning into parenthood or adding another child(ren) to the home is a big adjustment, and Newborn Care Specialists are there to help. 

When do NCS work? Typically, NCS work with families overnight for a minimum or 8 hours, but they can also provide temporary daytime care and 24/7 care. In addition, some NCS who would like to continue care with a family may decide to convert to a full time nanny and stay around long term as the baby grows. 

What’s the difference between an NCS and a Baby Nurse? When you are looking for care it is important to know what you are looking for. Even though NCS and Baby Nurse are commonly interchanged, I want to break down the biggest difference. A Baby Nurse is supposed to be a Registered Nurse (RN) that provides in-home care during this time. Parent’s typically hire an RN in cases where baby(ies) are premature and/or they are discharged with breathing machines and medication to be administered. NOW, I am fully aware that others use Baby Nurse very frequently, but in my studies I learned that it is illegal to call yourself a nurse if you didn’t go to nursing school.

What’s the difference between a NCS and a Postpartum Doula? I wanted to touch on this as well, when it comes to the work of a NCS and a Postpartum Doula sometimes their jobs are interchanged or parents hire the wrong person due to misunderstanding. A PD’s role is to focus on the birthing parent and their health/recovery after birth and while focusing on the mother, they can be asked by the parents to care for the baby(ies) in order to give her time to heal. Whereas, a NCS’s focus is on the baby(ies). Some NCS may also give some support, but typically they do not run errands, cook, and provide light housework like a PD would. 

What’s the difference between an NCS and a Nanny? When it comes to the difference between an NCS and a Nanny, typically NCS have specific training geared toward the newborn phase (from birth-3/4 months old) whereas, a lot of nannies have training but most of it is geared towards infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and beyond. Side note: If you have an NCS for the first few months and a nanny afterwards then most NCS are open to training the Nanny on scheduling, soothing, etc. before their departure. 

When to hire an NCS? When it comes to hiring a NCS you can hire them months before your due date or after baby(ies) are born. What I will say is if you are hiring someone like me, who works on my own, try to book as early as you can. Since I’m only one person I can get booked pretty quickly and then won’t have availability on short notice. This is just an example, so always check even if it is short notice. On the other hand, if you are booking through an agency, you will have a larger pool of NCS that can be available more short term.

How long does an NCS work with a family? Normally, a NCS stays with a family for about 2 to12 weeks, but if more or less care is needed, they stay for a longer or shorter period of time. This should be discussed with your prospective NCS.

Sooo....Do you even need a Newborn Care Specialist?: In my opinion, YES of course you do lol. To have someone that can help you smoothly transition into life with a new baby, or someone to help you create healthy sleep habits for your baby that will set a foundation for good sleep for months and years to come, or someone to run all your questions by and get research based answers, or a trusted "baby whisperer" to care for your baby while you get a good nights rest.

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