New parents are told over and over again how hard it will be to raise a baby. It’s true that it takes a village! If you are a new parent, you might be considering childcare options to help you give your new little one the best care possible. Two great options to consider are a baby nurse and an infant nanny, although there are distinct differences in the roles they play in a family’s life. What’s the difference between a baby nurse and a nanny? Here is a comparison of a baby nurse vs. an infant nanny to help you choose the best childcare professional for your family’s unique situation.
What is a baby nurse? A baby nurse, sometimes known as a Newborn Care Specialist or night nurse, is a professional who specializes in the care of newborns. Baby nurses typically stay with a family for a few weeks or months after a child is born, with the goal to “work themselves out of a job”. These household professionals are skilled in sleep conditioning and sleep trained, feedings throughout the day and night, bathing, diapering, and stimulating the growing brains of new babies. They are also prepared to educate new parents on all things baby care and postpartum healing. Baby nurses often live-in with families and provide 24/7 care during the tender early weeks of life. They take significant stress out of the lives of new parents by being not just an extra set of hands, but by providing reassurance and education for new parents. Baby nurses are there to help parents gradually adjust to having a new baby in the home, slowly building their confidence in their new roles, while their baby also adjusts to their brand new world.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Baby Nurse
What does a baby nurse do? A baby nurse works to ease the burden of new parenting, providing hands-on newborn care and parental education. Their work is tailored to the family’s unique needs. Some example baby roles and responsibilities include:
- Sleep conditioning and sleep training
- Bottle feedings and/or bringing baby to mom to nurse
- Breastfeeding education and guidance
- Bathing baby and teaching parents how to bathe their baby
- Stimulating the growing brains of new babies
- New parent education and demonstration (i.e. how to burp or swaddle a baby)
- Baby-related household tasks such as washing bottles, taking out diaper trash, folding baby laundry, etc.
Many baby nurses provide live-in 24/7 care, but not all parents want that level of care. Some baby nurses are option to shift work such as overnight newborn care shifts or daytime newborn care shifts.
Qualities and Qualifications of a Baby Nurse
There is no one standard qualification to become a baby nurse. Some baby nurses are trained Newborn Care Specialists, but not all have formal training. When considering and interviewing baby nurses, it’s important to discuss their training and experience.
- Experienced with newborn care in the home setting
- Calm demeanor
- Clean background check
- Skilled in newborn and infant care
- Knowledgeable about infant development
- Knowledgeable about infant sleep
- Able to work long hours with broken sleep
- Training and education relevant to newborn care and/or child development
Is a Baby Nurse a Registered Nurse?
It’s important to note that a baby nurse is not necessarily a medical professional such as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). In fact, most baby nurses are NOT trained to provide medical care. Parents with high needs medical babies will want to work with an individual who has undergone formal nursing training and licensure. Parents of healthy babies may feel comfortable with a baby nurse without medical training, who is an expert in caring for healthy babies.
What is an infant nanny? An infant nanny is a professional childcare provider who specializes in the care of infants and young children. Nannies can live-in or live offsite and commute to work with specified hours. Unlike a baby nurse, a nanny provides longterm childcare services. An infant nanny may have additional training and education related to newborn and infant care. Infant nannies may specialize in providing childcare for babies up to a year old, or they may be open to longer term contracts as well.
Roles and Responsibilities of an Infant Nanny
What does an infant nanny do? The roles and responsibilities of an infant nanny will be tailored to the family’s unique needs, however typical infant nanny duties include:
- Childcare services for infants and young children
- Bottle feeding infants
- Baby food meal prep
- Bathing, diapering, and changing infants
- Playing with babies and promoting infant development
- Possibly providing transportation to and from activities such as attending library story time
- Possibly continuing to work with families past the infancy stage
- Possibly also providing care for older siblings
Qualities and Qualifications of an Infant Nanny
There is no one recognized credential to become an infant nanny, though there are many options for continuing education for nannies who want to develop their knowledge of infant development and care. Some qualities and qualifications of nannies include:
- Experienced childcare provider
- Focused experienced with newborns and infants
- Clean background check
- Knowledgeable about infant care and development
- Additional training on newborn care, infant care, and/or early childhood development
Similarities Between a Baby Nurse and an Infant Nanny
What are the similarities between a baby nurse vs. infant nanny?
- Both are experienced in working with young children and coordinating care with families
- Both specialize in what children need at various early stages of life and work around parents’ schedules, needs, and goals to ensure those needs are met
- Both possess many of the same characteristics, such as being patient, caring, detail-oriented, responsible, and engaging
Differences Between a Baby Nurse and an Infant Nanny
What are the differences between a baby nurse vs infant nanny?
- A baby nurse is specifically experienced in the care of newborns (birth through 12 weeks of age) and typically stays with a family for a few weeks or months after a child is born, while an infant nanny is a professional childcare provider who specializes in the care of infants and young children and typically works with a family longterm
- A baby nurse is typically on-call 24 hours a day to tend to a baby’s needs, while an infant nanny more likely works specific hours and can live in or live offsite
- A baby nurse is there to help parents gradually adjust to having a new baby in the home, while an infant nanny provides childcare services and less focus on parent education
In conclusion, both a baby nurse and an infant nanny are experienced in working with young children and coordinating care with families. They specialize in what children need at various early stages of life and work with parents to create ideal schedules and routines. However, the distinct differences are that a baby nurse typically works with families of very young infants, while an infant nanny typically plans to work with a family into toddlerhood and beyond.
The roles that baby nurses and infant nanny play in a family’s life are similar in that they both aim to lighten the burden of parenting for new families. However, baby nurses have more focus on new parent education and their aim is for parents to build their confidence in their parenting skills, while an infant nanny provides reprieve and care for young children while parents are working or way.
Hire Infant Childcare Support
When considering childcare options, it is important to choose the best childcare professional for your family’s unique situation. If you are considering hiring a baby nurse or an infant nanny, discuss your unique needs and situation with potential hires to ensure a seamless transition and continuity of care.