Different Types of Newborn Care Specialists

Are you expecting a baby? You know you’ll want support with your newborn, but what type of professional should you hire? There are several types of newborn and postpartum professionals, such as: a Newborn Care Specialists, postpartum doulas, newborn nannys, baby nurses, night nurses, or registered baby nurses. Parents looking for postpartum and newborn care support often have many questions when starting the newborn care hiring process. What are the different types of newborn care professionals? What’s the difference between a newborn care specialist and a newborn nanny? Do I need a postpartum doula? Let’s explore the answers to these questions and more.

Newborn Care Specialist

A Newborn Care Specialist is a professional caregiver trained in all aspects of newborn care. Their role is to support families in the early weeks and months postpartum. Newborn care specialists are experts in all things newborn care, such as:

  • umbilical cord care
  • diapering
  • bathing
  • bottle feeding and preparing formula or expressed breastmilk
  • breastfeeding support
  • sleep support
  • soothing
  • swaddling
  • burping
  • newborn care education and demonstration

Newborn Care Specialists work in the home with families, usually with parents present. Their focus is on the baby and getting them into a good routine, though they can also typically help with light household tasks such as washing bottles or pump parts. An NCS may provide daytime, overnight, or live-in 24/7 care. A common contract with a NCS would last from birth – as soon as parents arrive home from the hospital – and about 3-4 months postpartum. Families might book an NCS part-time, full time, or around the clock. The Newborn Care Specialist credential is backed by the Newborn Care Specialist Association.

Newborn Nanny

A newborn nanny is trained and prepared to care for a newborn while the parents are away. They are a good fit for families who may need to return to work or other obligations during the newborn phase. Newborn nannies are nannies who have additional experience and/or training in caring for very young babies. Unlike an NCS, they may be able to stay on with a family past the newborn phase, through infancy, toddlerhood, or beyond. Some newborn nannies will only work with infants up to age one, while others are comfortable staying on with families for many years. Some nannies may have experience with newborns, but no additional newborn specific trainings or credentials. Families who want to hire a longterm caregiver starting during the newborn phase might consider hiring a newborn nanny. A newborn nanny also might be a better fit for families who would like help with household tasks or errands in addition to direct newborn care.

Baby Nurse

“Baby Nurse” is a bit of an antiquated term. It’s a catch-all term that people tend to use to refer to anyone who works with babies in the home. It often refers to someone who performs the general role of a Newborn Care Specialist, without the credentials. Though “baby nurse” can also be a way people refer to newborn nannies, night nurses or actual registered nurses.

Night Nurse

“Night nurse” is another antiquated term. Similar to “baby nurse,” people typically use the term “night nurse” to refer to anyone who works with babies overnight. However, it’s not encouraged to use the term “night nurse” since it can be confusing. Not everyone who works with babies overnight is an actual nurse. Many overnight newborn caregivers are not registered or licensed nurses, but are instead Newborn Care Specialists or postpartum doulas.

Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula’s role is similar to that of a Newborn Care Specialist, with a slight difference in focus. While a Newborn Care Specialist is prepared to provide direct newborn care and education to the parents, a postpartum doula’s focus is on the whole family as a unit. A postpartum doula might not expect to provide direct newborn care, or only if the parents are resting or showering. A postpartum doula may have more training in breastfeeding support, babywearing, or postpartum healing. They may also be more equipped to recognize signs or postpartum mood disorders and when to refer parents to a specialist. Like an NCS, they can also work during the day or overnight, but a postpartum doula is less apt to offer 25/7 live-in care. There are many training and certifying organizations for postpartum doulas, such as CAPPA or DONA.

Baby Registered Nurse

A Registered Nurse holds a degree in nursing and is credentially on the national and state level as a Registered Nurse. An RN is trained and equipped to provide medical care to patients of various ages and statuses. A baby Registered Nurse is an RN with additional pediatric or neonatal training and experience. Some RN’s provide in-home care similar to that of a Newborn Care Specialist, with the additional ability to perform medical tasks such as dispense medication, operate oxygen tanks or monitors, or feed a baby using a g-tube. An RN is a good fit for families whose babies have high medical needs, or those who want the added assurance of a medical professional keeping an eye out for their little one.

What type of newborn care specialist is right for you?

We hope that this post clarified which type of newborn care professional is right for your family. If you’re looking for professional newborn care support, reach out to us to start the process! We can help you find the perfect caregiver for your family during the newborn phase and beyond.

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