Start Learning New Parenting Basics: Pregnancy, Newborn Care & Sleep Training

Newborn Care Specialist or Traditional Nanny: Knowing the Difference

March 14, 2024

Cynthia Unuigbe, MD

MD, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

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Newborn Care Specialist
As new parents navigate the world of childcare, they often come across the terms "Newborn Care Specialist" and "Traditional Nanny." While both roles involve caring for infants, there are significant differences between the two. In this article, we will differentiate the distinct responsibilities, qualifications, and benefits of each profession to help you decide when choosing childcare for your newborn.

Newborn Care Specialist

A Newborn Care Specialist (NCS), also known as a Baby Nurse, Night Nurse, or Overnight Newborn Care Specialist, is a trained professional  who specializes in caring for newborns; they are usually contracted prior to delivery or right after the baby is born and hired for the first few months of an infant's life. Here are some key points to understand about a Newborn Care Specialist.


  • Providing round-the-clock care for newborns, including feeding, newborn scheduling, helping breastfeeding mothers with lactating techniques, and nursery organization, amongst other specific obligations.
  • Educating parents on infant care, breastfeeding support, and creating a nurturing environment for the baby.
  • Assisting with establishing healthy sleep routines and managing postpartum recovery for the mother.
  • Monitoring the baby's development and alerting parents to any potential issues or concerns.


  • Completion of specialized training programs in newborn care, which is all encompassing as their training involves lactation support, baby care and postpartum support.
  • Certification from reputable organizations such as Sleep & Cradle® Academy.
  • Demonstrated experience in working with newborns and supporting families during the postpartum period with verifiable references.
  • CPR and first aid certification for infants and children.
  • Clean Background Check
  • Up to Date Vaccination


  • Expertise in newborn care technique.
  • Allows mothers the time to recovery from the physiological stress posed by pregnancy.
  • Availability for overnight shifts and flexible scheduling to accommodate the needs of new parents.
  • Emotional support and guidance for parents during the challenging postpartum period.

Traditional Nanny

A Traditional Nanny is a professional caregiver who typically provides childcare for infants, toddlers, or older children in a family's home. Here are some key distinctions to note about Traditional Nannies.


  • Engaging children in age-appropriate activities, outings, and educational play.
  • Managing children's daily routines, including meals, naps, and school schedules.
  • Building a strong bond with the children and fostering their emotional, social, and cognitive development.
  • Collaborating with parents to maintain a consistent caregiving approach and communication.
  • Household chores


  • May or may not have formal training.
  • Previous experience in childcare, early childhood education, or related fields.
  • May or may not have CPR and first aid certification for children.
  • Clean background check.
  • Strong communication skills, reliability, and a genuine passion for working with children.


  • Long-term childcare support for families with multiple children or varying schedules.
  • Assistance with household tasks related to childcare, such as meal preparation, laundry, and organizing children's activities.
  • Continuity and stability in the children's daily routines and caregiver relationships.

NCS vs Traditional Nanny FAQ

Q: What qualifications should I look for when hiring a NCS?

A: A Newborn Care Specialist typically has specialized training and certifications focused on newborn care, including newborn scheduling, lactation support, and understanding of newborn health and developmental milestones.

Q: Can a Traditional Nanny also provide care for a newborn?

A: While a Traditional Nanny can care for children of various ages, including newborns, they may not have specific training in newborn care, as these infant specialists are highly skilled and experienced in caring for newborns and providing emotional support to parents postpartum. Their expertise usually spans a broader range of childcare responsibilities and household chores. 

Q: How do the daily responsibilities of a Newborn Care Specialist differ from those of a Traditional Nanny?

A: A Newborn Care Specialist focuses solely on the newborn, offering round-the-clock services that include establishing sleep routines, providing postpartum support, and educating parents. In contrast, a Traditional Nanny may have responsibilities for older children housekeeping and meal preparation.

Q: When should I consider hiring a Newborn Care Specialist?

A: Consider hiring these experts prior to your due date if you require expert care specifically for your newborn, particularly in the first few months after birth, to help with doing all the heavy lifting so you can recover fully from the physiological stress posed by pregnancy and focus on your well-being as well as showing up in the best version of yourself for your newborn.

Q: What is the typical duration of employment for a NCS compared to a Traditional Nanny?

A: They are  often hired for a temporary period, usually for the initial few months. On the other hand, a Traditional Nanny may be employed on a more long-term basis, staying with a family for years as the child grows.


Hiring a NCS or a Traditional Nanny depends on your family's specific needs, preferences, and budget. They offer specialized expertise in infant care during the crucial early months, while Traditional Nannies provide comprehensive childcare support for families with older children. By understanding the differences between these roles, you can make an informed choice that best suits your family's unique childcare requirements. Choosing the right caregiver for your child is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration and research. Remember to seek recommendations, conduct interviews, and trust your instincts when selecting the best caregiver for your newborn.   Lastly, if you need a newborn care specialist, look no further than Sleep & Cradle®. Our mission is to equip parents with the tools, knowledge, and skills to architect the positive sleep habits their babies develop and restore sleep to parents struggling with sleep deprivation.

Cynthia Unuigbe, MD

MD, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

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