Today, new moms often don’t have extended family living close enough to come and stay with them after giving birth, and even when family is close, busy schedules can get in the way of friends and family providing consistent help for more than just a few days. Thankfully there are many short-term care options for new moms and dads.
Here’s a list of 4 ways new parents can get the help and support they need:
1. Newborn Care Specialist For years, Baby Nurses were the caregiving professionals that helped affluent mothers care for their infants from the day they returned home from the hospital. Baby Nurses often stayed until the baby was one to three months old and a full charge nanny was hired. These caregivers were trained and registered nurses, often retired from jobs in hospital neonatal units. Over the last decade, Newborn Care Specialists have stepped up and filled many of these positions and made in-home newborn care more accessible and affordable to new moms.
Newborn Care Specialists have gone through an in-depth training program and have extensive experience working with newborns and infants. They often have experience with premature babies and multiples as well. Their job is to provide hands-on care to the baby, including things like feeding, diapering, bathing, dressing and cuddling the baby. They also help parents establish routines and handle any special needs the baby may have.
Many Newborn Care Specialists have their own businesses and book directly with family clients. They are often booked months in advance and rely on word of mouth to find moms to be who are in need. Other Newborn Care Specialists work through traditional nanny placement agencies. The agency is responsible for fully screening the caregiver, which includes confirming their education and experience and making sure they have exceptional references.
2. Postpartum Doula This caregiver provides support and care for the new mother and the family for the first three to six weeks after the birth. Unlike a Newborn Care Specialist, a postpartum doula isn’t focused on the hands-on care of the baby. She helps with baby care, but her focus is helping the mother. This includes things like offering tips and techniques for successful breast feeding, sterilizing and preparing bottles, doing light housekeeping, simple meal preparation, helping the siblings adjust to the new baby, setting up routines, and being a listening ear to the new mom. The Postpartum Doula is often described as a stand in beloved auntie.
3. Night Nanny Sometimes the biggest need of a new mom (and dad!) is a good night’s sleep. A night nanny is a caregiver with some training and extensive experience with infants. She works the overnight shift and provides hands-on care to the baby from evening to morning. Her duties might include the night time bath, infant massage, rocking the baby to sleep, and night time feedings and diaper changes. A night nanny often comes on board once the mom goes back to work and needs to get uninterrupted sleep. She can stay for just a week or two or until the baby gets on a regular sleep schedule and begins to sleep through the night.
Night nannies can be hired through a traditional nanny placement agency or an online nanny job site. If a parent hires on her own, it’s essential to make sure the nanny has relevant and current infant experience and training in infant safety, infant CPR and first aid.
4. Temporary Nanny Often a new mom has plenty of help when she first comes home with the baby and doesn’t need help caring for the baby during maternity leave. However, when she’s ready to go back to work there it’s not unusual to find that there isn’t an opening in the family or day care facility she’s interested in or it will be another few months until her baby is old enough to attend. In those cases, a traditional nanny doesn’t work. However, a short-term nanny is the perfect bridge between in home care and group care.
Most nanny agencies offer temporary and back-up care placements. Also, online job sites offer a wide variety of potential candidates. Since it’s a temporary position, nannies that wouldn’t be a great long term match might be the perfect short-term match. Although the nanny is only going to be caring for the baby for a short time, parents should screen the nanny the same way they’d screen for a long term position.
Consider these options. They could be a God-send and save you some sanity and a few winks of shut-eye.