New parents are often overwhelmed and worried that they don't have a clue what they're doing. While most parents adjust fairly quickly to the responsibilities associated with caring for their newborn, other parents need a bit more help. That's where newborn specialists come in. They are specifically trained to teach new parents skills as well as provide quality care for newborn babies.
A newborn specialist is more commonly referred to as a baby nurse. A baby nurse is a non-medically trained person who specializes in the care of newborn babies, though some baby nurses do have a medical nursing background. Baby nurses have extensive experience caring for newborn babies and they're well versed in each of the aspects necessary to feed, diaper, clothe and care for brand new babies. A baby nurse also has teaching capabilities that allow her to provide parent education and resources to help parents learn how to properly care for their new baby.
The primary duty of a newborn specialist or baby nurse is to provide care to a newborn infant. At the same time, the baby nurse will teach parents how to take over that care at a future date. Most work the night shift so they're responsible for feeding, burping and changing a newborn while the new parents get a full night's rest. Newborn specialists often teach new moms how to breastfeed and offer tips to make the nursing process easier and more successful, and will keep logs of your baby's habits, including eating, sleeping, urinating and defecating. Many help bathe your newborn, teach you how to care for the umbilical cord stump or circumcision site, prepare and sterilize bottles, do your baby's laundry and help you maintain a neat and tidy nursery. There are also specially trained baby nurses that can help you care for twins, triplets or a premature infant.
How to Hire One
Ask your obstetrician to recommend baby nurse agencies to help you find the perfect person to help you with your newborn. Most agencies allow you to go through profiles so you can narrow you search and choose two or three candidates that you're interested in. Before you hire a baby nurse, you'll also be able to meet with each of your candidates to get a better feel for how well she would fit into your family.
Go through a reputable agency and don't hire someone who claims to be a newborn specialist or baby nurse, but doesn't have the credentials to prove it. Reputable agencies run background checks on each of their candidates and require proof of training and expertise. Most baby nurses are with your family for a minimum of five days, but the average stay is about two weeks. You can, however, request your baby nurse to stay longer if you need additional help or if you're unsure that you're ready to be on your own. Some families employ their baby nurse for up to 10 months or until the baby is sleep-trained.