The International Nanny Association (INA) provides information, resources, and continuing education for all aspects of in-home care for children, including a very special niche service devoted to caring for newborns and supporting new parents. A Newborn Care Specialist (NCS) is a highly and specially trained individual who focuses on the complete care of babies in the first 3-4 months of life. An NCS often has extensive training involving optimal sleep habits for newborns, caring for multiples, and promotes best practices for the health and safety of a newborn.
The term “Newborn Care Specialist” (NCS) was coined in 2007 when industry leaders, who were gathered at an INA conference, saw the need to have an appropriate and cohesive term to describe someone who focused on the care of newborns. The previous term used by most of the industry was “night nurse” or “baby nurse,” and as most of the women who fall into the category of Newborn Care Specialist were not Registered Nurses, that term was not only inappropriate, but also illegal. The term NCS gave the industry a truly definitive title that describes the extensive knowledge and training that these professionals have in caring for newborns, and helped bring NCS under the umbrella of in-home providers that the INA represents. As the need for continuing education grew, INA became the first organization to offer NCS workshops in a conference setting. In 2010, the NCS Committee was formed and the INA began offering a full track of newborn care workshops at the annual conference in 2011. INA is committed to leading the way in continuing education for NCS and dedicated to maintaining the high professional standards it has set for its members.
An NCS is generally hired to care for newborns either overnight or around the clock, and works independently with minimal guidance from parents. They are familiar with all of the “normal” appearances and behaviors of a newborn, and can help families determine when something is outside of that range of normal in order for parents to have peace of mind that their newborn is developing appropriately. An NCS often has extensive knowledge in caring for multiples or premature infants, and is well versed in establishing good eating and sleeping habits to set the optimal stage for sleep conditioning, with the goal of getting the newborn to sleep through the night and take age appropriate naps as soon as is healthy and possible for that individual newborn. An NCS is also well versed in supporting family values and understands the importance of a child having healthy, educated, and empowered parents. An NCS will understand the value of and will support a breastfeeding/chestfeeding parent, and will also understand and support without judgment a parent who chooses to formula feed, no matter the reason. They will also have a basic understanding of Postpartum Mood Disorders, and can help keep the entire family healthy by knowing when to suggest outside help. The most recent information on optimal newborn care is something that the NCS keeps up with, and those resources are shared with families in order for parents to make educated decisions based on current research and what works best for their family dynamic and values. The NCS is willing to mentor others and be mentored whenever it is appropriate, and fully understands the scope of practice they should work within at all times.