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7 in-home baby care services with immeasurable benefits for new parents

Whether you need help with breastfeeding or are desperate to get more sleep at night, these baby care services come to you.

7 in-home baby care services with immeasurable benefits for new parents

When it comes to having a new baby, fewer adages are more true than “it takes a village.” While some new parents have close-by friends and relatives who can lend a helping hand, that’s not the case for everyone, making in-home baby care services essential for many.

Since there are a number of in-home baby care services to choose from (some very specific), figuring out exactly what you need, along with your budget, is important. Once you’ve narrowed down what’s best for your family, make your needs clear with the caregiver you hire. 

“Be open about your parenting priorities,” says Laura Erlich, a fertility and obstetric specialist and founder of Mother Nurture Wellness in Los Angeles. “If you are breastfeeding, be sure they’re on board with supporting you, or if you need support in other areas, be sure to make you choose someone who has the experience you need. If you are hoping for someone who will also do light housework, cooking or laundry, discuss those expectations up front. The key is finding someone with whom you feel comfortable and confident.”

From lactation consultants to overnight nannies, here are seven options for baby care at home.

1. Postpartum doula

A postpartum doula, according to Jennifer Mayer, founder of the doula collective, Baby Caravan, in New York City, is a “trained professional who works with families within the initial months following the birth of a baby.” 

Postpartum doulas are primarily educators and help parents learn all the ‘firsts’ that come along with welcoming a new baby,” she explains. “They help parents learn how to feed their baby, diaper and bathe their baby and learn how to use all the new infant gear. They can also provide infant care if the parents need a break.” 

“Postpartum doulas are primarily educators and help parents learn all the ‘firsts’ that come along with welcoming a new baby.” 

— JENNIFER MAYER, FOUNDER OF BABY CARAVAN

While many postpartum doulas, who typically work with families for about three months, are willing to help with household duties such as “meal prep, putting away groceries, cleaning dishes and running laundry,” their main job, Mayer notes, is to “serve as an ally and guide to new parents who are finding their sea legs in the transition of new parenthood.” 

Benefits:

  • Reduce stress for new parents. 
  • Help promote rest and healing during postpartum recovery.
  • Offer education.
  • Provide emotional support, encouragement and community resources when needed.
  • May handle light housework and baby laundry.
  • Can be cost-effective, as it’s short term.

Cost:

Postpartum doula rates vary, and location plays a big role, but many charge around $45 an hour. 

2. Lactation consultant 

The role of a lactation consultant is to provide support and education around breastfeeding. In many cases, postpartum doulas are also accredited lactation consultants.

“Lactation consultants work in a variety of settings — hospitals, private offices and at the home — and can make appropriate referrals to other health professionals and community support when needed,” Mayer says. “They provide breastfeeding and lactation care, and help lactating parents with things like getting a good latch, assessing milk transfer, support around infant weight gain, support around returning to work and managing milk supply.”

Benefits:

  • Can address and help solve breastfeeding difficulties.
  • Offer education and referrals to other support.
  • Can be cost-effective, as it’s short-term, and can offer savings on formula. 
  • Is often covered by insurance.

Cost:

Location plays a big role in rates for lactation consultants, but generally they charge between $25-$38 an hour.

3. Newborn care specialist

During the early newborn days, a newborn care specialist (NCS) can be a godsend. Experts in all things newborn, an NCS can help in everything from feeding, sleep schedules, bathing and diapering. Unlike a postpartum doula, whose role is to provide more support to new parents, a newborn care specialist focuses on the baby and educating the parents. They also may work during the day or overnight, depending on what you agree upon. 

“A newborn care specialist has extensive education and experience working with newborns and families both during the day and overnight and needs minimal supervision or guidance from parents in order to perform their job to the highest standard,” explains Tonya Sakowicz, founder of Newborn Care Solutions, which offers online and in-person newborn care training. “They understand newborn behavior and appearance and are usually quite educated and skilled in supporting family goals around feeding and sleep after the arrival of a new baby.” 

“[Newborn Care Specialists] understand newborn behavior and appearance and are usually quite educated and skilled in supporting family goals around feeding and sleep after the arrival of a new baby.”

— TONYA SAKOWICZ, FOUNDER OF NEWBORN CARE SOLUTIONS

It’s also worth noting that NCSs are sometimes referred to as “baby nurses” even when they’re not trained or licensed nurses — and they shouldn’t be. “The term ‘baby nurse’ is illegal to use unless you are also an R.N.,” Sakowicz points out. 

Benefits:

  • Provide care and education.
  • Reduce stress and “first time parent jitters.”
  • Can address and help with baby sleep issues.
  • Can help you get more sleep if they agree to work at night.
  • Can be cost-effective, as it’s short term.

Cost:

Location and experience dictate pay rates, but an NCS will generally make about $3-8 more per hour than the typical nanny rate, but rates can be higher. “A trained, certified NCS can see hourly ranges from $30 to upwards of $75,” says Kim Morgan, an elite certified newborn care specialist, parent educator and sleep coach in New York City

“Their rates can be influenced by their years of experience, certifications, as well as their location,” Morgan adds. “For example New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Seattle usually have a higher pay grade for someone who’s credentialed.” 

4. Night nanny

According to Morgan, a night nanny or overnight nanny is “essentially a regular nanny working at night, providing care for the baby while the parents sleep.” They provide nighttime care, following the parents’ instructions. “Unlike an NCS, who provides both care and education, night nannies don’t provide additional duties,” she adds. 

Overnight nannies can be beneficial to both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding parents, according to Sakowicz. “Depending on what the parents have directed them to do, night nannies should either prepare a bottle and feed the baby or bring the baby to the parent for nursing,” she explains. “Once the baby has eaten, it is the night nanny’s job to care for the baby while the parents sleep.” 

“Night nannies should either prepare a bottle and feed the baby or bring the baby to the parent for nursing. Once the baby has eaten, it is the night nanny’s job to care for the baby while the parents sleep.”

— TONYA SAKOWICZ, FOUNDER OF NEWBORN CARE SOLUTIONS

Night nannies don’t need (but they may have) special certifications, and generally, they’re with families for about three months. Some transition into full-time nannies for the family.

Benefits: 

  • Help parents get more sleep.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Can be tailored to your specific nighttime needs. 
  • May handle washing bottles or breast pump parts used at night.
  • Can be cost-effective, as it’s short term.

Cost:

“Rates vary depending on location,” says Morgan. “Their pay mostly mimics their daytime rate or may be a few dollars higher, generally falling between $25 and $30 an hour.” 

Find a night nanny.

5. Daytime, live-out nanny

Nannies are generally with families for much longer periods of time than the other positions, and their duties often change and grow with the family that’s employing them. Additionally, a nanny is often hired to care for more than one child.

Oftentimes, a nanny begins working with a family after parents complete any parental leave they are taking, and after a newborn care specialist or postpartum doula concludes their services with a family,” explains Mayer. “A nanny can work with a family for a few months, or many years, depending on the needs of the family.”

“Oftentimes, a nanny begins working with a family after parents complete any parental leave they are taking, and after a newborn care specialist or postpartum doula concludes their services with a family.”

— JENNIFER MAYER, FOUNDER OF BABY CARAVAN

Benefits:

  • Provide individualized attention and care.
  • Offer convenience and stress reduction. 
  • Can be tailored to your family’s specific tasks and needs.
  • Can be longer term child care.
  • Can include care for older kids, planning daily schedules and engaging activities. 
  • May take on light housekeeping and pet care (for extra pay).

Cost:

Use our babysitting rates calculator to get an idea of nanny rates in your area. Other factors to consider when determining a nanny rate are experience, number of children and duties. 

Also, consider hiring a part-time nanny if you don’t need full-time coverage. 

Find a nanny.

6. Live-in nanny

While live-in nannies generally perform the same duties as live-out nannies. However, because they reside in the home, they’re often able to work non-traditional hours or fill in gaps for busy families who often travel for work or who don’t keep 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours.

However! Live-in nannies aren’t “on call” 24/7. “The hours can vary for live-in nannies, but most work in the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. range,” explains Olivia Fountain, operations manager at the domestic staffing agency, Household Staffing. “If they work extra hours, they need to be paid.” 

Benefits:

  • Offer greater flexibility.
  • Provide individualized attention, longer term care and consistency. 
  • Can be tailored to your family’s specific needs and schedules.
  • Can include care for older kids, planning daily schedules and engaging activities. 
  • May take on light housekeeping and pet care (for extra pay).

Cost:

The pay for live-in nannies is similar to live-out nannies, with room and board almost always included above their usual hourly rate. 

Find a live-in nanny.

7. Household assistant

For the family who needs it all, a household assistant (or family assistant) can help manage the overall running of the house and child care. “Household assistants manage their employer’s schedules, logistics and provide child care,” explains Elizabeth Malson, executive director of the U.S. Nanny Association. “They manage weekly schedules, schedule and attend doctor appointments and pick up the dry cleaning, as well as help plan meals, grocery shop, prepare meals and provide pet care for the family.”

“Household assistants manage their employer’s schedules, logistics and provide child care. They manage weekly schedules, schedule and attend doctor appointments and pick up the dry cleaning, as well as help plan meals, grocery shop, prepare meals and provide pet care for the family.”

— ELIZABETH MALSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, U.S. NANNY ASSOCIATION

According to Malson, household assistants are often “committed to the role as their primary employment and have the maturity to work unsupervised while remaining responsible for several children and an allocated budget.” An existing live-out or live-in nanny may agree to take on this role.

Benefits:

  • Serious convenience.
  • Individualized care for kids and home.
  • Long-term. 
  • Care for older children.
  • Can be tailored to your family’s specific tasks and needs.
  • Reduces overall house-related stress. 

Cost:

Since many household assistants are nannies first and foremost, families should find the right nanny rate for their area and go up from there, based on the job duties. 

Finding the right in-home baby care is highly personal, and you may not know exactly what you need until you actually need it. Whatever you choose, the goal should be resting, recovering and adjusting to your new life. 

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