A mother of two, I didn’t know there was so much I didn’t know about newborns. Earlier this month I completed the Holistic Newborn Care Specialist taught by Nancy Hamm. Her training is the only holistic newborn care specialist in the country. The class was filled with a plethora of information that I am still wrapping my head around.
What is a Newborn Care Specialist?
“A Newborn Care Specialist is an individual trained and skilled in newborn care. They provide unique expertise in all aspects of newborn care, parental education and support. Their job is to help nurture and care for newborns while providing guidance and education for the parents.“http://ncsainfo.com/faq
What do NCSs do?
While the primary role of a Newborn Care Specialist is to provide “assistance and education after the parents bring the baby home from the hospital.” This help includes “scheduling, feeding, sleep training, help with breastfeeding”, and a lot more. We work typically 8-12 hour shifts at night or 24 hour shifts with a long break in between. Some of the things NCSs do include:
- Educating and supporting parents
- Create a smooth transition for the family when bringing baby or babies home
- Troubleshoot potential issues of concern with the newborn baby and offer the parents professional options to resolve them (Note: Unless an NCS is also a nurse we never provide medical advice, only suggestions based on experience or recommendations, parents must make their own decisions about their baby and do your own research!)
- Maintain a thorough log of infant feeding and sleep patterns, for this I like to use the App BabyConnect. It allows me to keep track of baby throughout the night and also if I can get parents on board to use it, I can see just how baby’s day went before I even come in to my shift.
- Assist the family with any feeding issues they including formula feeding and facilitation of breastfeeding. Side note: There is so much to unpack on the nutritional value (or lack of) American made formula, this will certainly be a blog post for another day.
NCS’s Provide care for the newborn baby and perform some or all of the following tasks:
- • Diapering, Nancy recommended Bamboo and 7th Generation as the best natural disposable diapers
• Changing baby
• Bathing baby
• Circumcision Care
• Bottle Preparation (Breastmilk & Formula)
• Bottle Cleaning and Sterilization
• Organization & Maintenance of Nursery, some NCSs are hired on early before baby is even born to put the nursery together, what a dream! I can’t wait to do this one day. Neither of my kids had their own bedrooms.
• Create a regular feeding schedule, basically baby should eat every 2 hours during the day and every 3 during the night until they have gained sufficient weight then they can be allowed to sleep as much as they want at night and let them wake up naturally.
• Assist in establishing healthy sleep habits, an NCS sleep conditions baby, sleep training occurs after 4-6 months.
• Maintain a thorough log of eating, sleeping and behavioral patterns; again, I use it for my ow kids and when I did some day nannying as well. I love that you can write messages to the parents, include pictures of baby, time feedings, pumps, sleep and even list out things that you run out of. Also as a professional it is a great way to keep track of your hours as it has a “Sign In” and “Sign Out” function. It’s important to put your phone on airplane mode while you are near baby. Also, customize to emit the less blue light possible by changing the settings to nighttime in the app, this will help keep baby asleep at night.
• Take over complete care of newborn at night to provide parents time to sleep; that’s right while parents rest, unless mom is breastfeeding, an newborn care specialist will care for baby through the night so no more chronic lack of sleep for parents in those first few weeks. As for me, I usually get some rest between feedings, changing and make up for the rest when I am off my shift. For 24 hour shifts, there is a 4 hour break where a newborn care specialist can rest/eat/shower/go out to shop, do whatever they want really since its a break.
For someone likes me who adores babies, I could not believe there is such a career where you would be paid to care for little angels and get paid. I had considered upon graduating from UCLA to go back and do a Masters Entry Level nursing program to be a neonatal nurse practitioner but after volunteering at CHOC Children’s Hospital for over 3 years, I realized nurses don’t often get to spend too much time with the babies because they are so busy charting. I love volunteering and will most likely continue but as for my time, I want to invest it doing things I absolutely LOVE and for me that is being a doula and a holistic newborn care specialist.