Welcoming a newborn into the world is an exciting and momentous time for parents. However, it can also be overwhelming! Learning to care for a newborn on top of balancing all of life’s regular responsibilities is a huge undertaking. That’s where a Newborn Care Specialist comes in. A NCS is a trained professional who provides specialized care for newborns and their parents. They are experts in all aspects of newborn care (typically defined as birth through 12 weeks). A NCS can help parents navigate the earliest weeks and months of their baby’s life, building a strong foundation that carries forward for years to come. But what does a Newborn Care Specialist do? Read on to learn more!
NCS Daytime and Overnight Duties
Newborn care specialists can work during the day or night, depending on the needs of the family. Some families hire a NCS only at night, while others prefer help during the day. Many Newborn Care Specialists specialize in providing 24/7 live-in care for the duration of the newborn period, serving as a constant guide for parents as they build confidence in their new roles.
During the day, a NCS may help with the following:
- Newborn care education
- Bottle preparation for the baby (expressed breastmilk or formula)
- Bottle feeding
- Breastfeeding support i.e. helping Mom learn to latch baby comfortably or recognizing common breastfeeding issues early on
- Monitoring the baby’s nutritional intake
- Sleep conditioning and helping the baby establish healthy sleep patterns
- Establishing routines for sleeping, meals, naps, and playtime
- Umbilical care
- Circumcision care
- Sponge and tub bath
- Dressing baby
- Burping techniques
- Soothing techniques
- Infant massage
- Nursery organization
- Light household tasks i.e. folding baby laundry, washing bottles, changing crib sheets
- Light meal prep i.e. cutting up fruit, assembling a sandwich, reheating frozen meals
At night, a NCS can provide the following services:
- Complete care of the newborn at night if bottle feeding
- Bringing baby to mom to nurse if breastfeeding
- Sleep conditioning and building positive sleep associations
- Maintaining the baby’s log of eating, sleeping, and behavioral patterns
- Washing and sterilizing bottles, pump parts and/or pacifiers
24/7 Live-In Care
Many families choose to hire a live-in Newborn Care Specialist. This is a wonderful option for parents who want thorough support and continuity of care throughout the first weeks and months of life with their baby. The NCS can stay with the family anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the family’s needs.
During this time, the NCS can provide hands-on care to the newborn(s) to help establish feeding, routines, and healthy sleep habits. 24/7 live-in Newborn Care Specialists can provide moment-to-moment newborn care education, guiding parents through developmental milestones and challenges. They can accompany parents to pediatrician or lactation appointments, provide reprieve for parents to practice self-care, or travel with family to visit relatives or second homes. Most often, a live-in 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. During the day, the NCS will need some time to rest (agreed-upon beforehand), but is also available to perform typical daytime NCS duties around the home.
How Long to Use a Newborn Care Specialist
The length of time a family uses a Newborn Care Specialist can vary depending on their needs. Some families may only need support for a few weeks, while others may desire a NCS’s guidance for several months. Many factors play into this, such as when parents will return to work or travel, presence/age of any siblings, and the family’s level of community support from friends and relatives.
Most NCS’s have a minimum and possibly maximum duration of contract that they offer to families. If you’re unsure how long to hire a NCS for, take time to consider your family’s unique needs and budget. Most experienced parents will assure first-timers that there really isn’t a time when an extra set of skilled hands isn’t needed around the house with young children. It’s always helpful to have an expert around! However, the goal of a NCS isn’t typically to stay on with a family past infancy. A common sentiment among Newborn Care Specialists is that a job feels complete when new parents are confident in caring for their baby, and the baby is sleeping and eating well. Standard contract lengths are approximately 12-16 weeks, though families may choose shorter or longer durations as well. The frequency of care can range from just a couple of visits per week to full-time live-in or live-out care. It’s important to discuss your needs with the NCS before hiring them to ensure that they can meet your family’s needs.
When to Hire a Newborn Care Specialist
The best time to hire a Newborn Care Specialist is well before your baby arrives. Starting your search in the second trimester works well in most situations. This will allow the NCS to help establish healthy routines and sleep patterns from the beginning. It will also ensure that you can relax into your pregnancy, knowing that expert support is lined up for you as soon as your baby arrives.
Newborn Care Specialists can book up quite far in advance! When you hire a NCS prenatally, they will block off their calendar to be available for you when your baby is born. Since timing of birth is be unpredictable, discuss this ahead of time with the NCS to ensure they can be available to start with you within a reasonable timeframe after you arrive home from the hospital (often 1-3 days). If you want to ensure your NCS will be available to start with you the moment you come home with your newborn, you may need to pay an additional on-call fee.
However if you’re late to the game in hiring a Newborn Care Specialist, try not to stress! Plenty of parents don’t realize that they’ll need NCS support until late in pregnancy or after their baby is born. While this isn’t ideal, it’s not impossible to hire a last-minute Newborn Care Specialist. You will likely have to search harder for a NCS who is available, since the industry’s best NCS’s tend to be booked for many months in advance. However it’s never too late to hire a Newborn Care Specialist, and they can still provide valuable support even if you’ve been home with your baby for a few weeks or months.
How to Hire a Newborn Care Specialist
If you’re interested in hiring a Newborn Care Specialist, there are a few things you should consider. Here are some tips for hiring a Newborn Care Specialist:
- Look for a qualified professional: A NCS should have specialized training and experience in newborn care. Look for someone who has completed a reputable program such as an accredited training program through the NCSA.
- Conduct an interview: Before hiring a Newborn Care Specialist, conduct an interview to get to know them and ensure that they are a good fit for your family. You want to work with someone who is professional and knowledgeable, but also someone who you “click” with right off the bat.
- Check references: Ask for references from previous clients and follow up with them to get an idea of the NCS’s expertise, philosophy and work ethic.
- Discuss your needs: Be clear about your needs and expectations with the NCS before hiring them. If you’re unsure about your exact needs, like how long you want to hire a NCS, be honest! An experienced NCS will be happy to discuss what different durations or types of care could look like for your family.
- Agree on terms: Once you’ve found a NCS that you’re comfortable with, agree on the terms of the contract, including the length of time they will be working with your family and their compensation. A contract is essential for both parties to ensure availability and quality of care.
Hire a Newborn Care Specialist Today
A Newborn Care Specialist can provide valuable support and guidance to new parents during the first few months of their baby’s life. During a season of huge lifestyle changes, shifting priorities, and unknowns, a NCS is a guiding light to help families settle comfortably into life as a newly expanded unit. They can help establish healthy sleep patterns, provide hands-on care, and educate parents on all aspects of caring for their little one.
If you’re considering hiring a Newborn Care Specialist, Nanny Poppins Agency can help! We work with the industry’s leading experts to match you with a NCS to support your family during this special season of life. Contact us to learn more and start the process to hire a Newborn Care Specialist today.