Parent Resources

Goodbye Baby Nurse, Hello Newborn Care Specialist


Written by Newborn Care Specialists: Alyssa Michael, Amanda King, and Lindsay Johnson

What is a Newborn Care Specialist?

A Newborn Care Specialist, also known as an NCS, is a professional postpartum care provider that generally supports families for the first 0-16 weeks after baby’s arrival, with some continuing to provide support for the first year of baby’s life. An NCS has taken in-depth training and education courses pertaining to newborns and infants, and has a specialized skill set to provide optimal care for their clients. To meet each family’s individual needs, an NCS may provide care during the day, overnight, 24/7, and travel support. Newborn Care Specialists educate and work alongside primary caregivers, stay up to date on evidence-based care techniques, and practice effective communication with other members of the household. 

Newborn Care Specialists will stay current on practices and recommendations from professional health organizations such as The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The World Health Organization (WHO), and The Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

The hourly rate for an NCS typically ranges from $25-$50+, but varies depending on multiple factors including location, expected duties, number of babies, experience, education, and qualifications.

What an NCS is not:

Newborn Care Specialists are not medical professionals. They cannot provide medical advice, medical care, or perform procedures, unless also licensed and qualified to do so

There has been some recent confusion with the terms “night nurse” and “baby nurse.” To officially document for families and other providers, the word nurse is heavily regulated in the United States, and no one should be calling themselves a nurse without the appropriate licensing and credentials. Please do not use this term in reference to having in-home, overnight childcare focused on the newborn.

NCS duties do not typically include errands, culinary work, household management duties, household maintenance duties, household yard duties, pet care, sibling care, and cleaning duties beyond the nursery. While there are some Newborn Care Specialists who may provide these services, they are not standard and should not be expected without prior agreement. 

What an NCS does:

A Newborn Care Specialist educates families on best practices such as swaddling basics, bathing, circumcision and umbilical cord care, safe sleep, and safe human milk and formula storage and preparation. An NCS possesses the ability to identify and troubleshoot parental concerns involving their newborn(s) and may suggest other professional resources. An NCS should be knowledgeable about common medical procedures and issues concerning newborns, and provide only evidence-based information. Newborn Care Specialists should also recognize when a family’s needs are beyond the scope of practice of the NCS, and may have a referral list of local specialized professionals, such as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Pediatric Dentist, or a local Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST).

Newborn Care Specialists assist in establishing healthy sleep habits by following AAP Safe Sleep Guidelines, and providing responsive care. An NCS has training and experience using effective soothing techniques geared toward newborns, and is equipped with a multitude of gentle sleep shaping practices which reduces the need to use extended-crying methods. 

An NCS supports each family’s individual feeding plan which may include preparing and feeding bottles, or bringing the baby to parents to feed. They can provide daytime routine building, if desired, by using their knowledge and overall awareness of baby’s development to create a customized plan. Newborn Care Specialists will engage babies in age-appropriate activities to help support their physical development, and language and social-emotional skills.

Newborn Care Specialists will perform other non-medical care pertaining to the baby including diapering, activity logs, washing and sterilizing bottles and pumping equipment, nursery stocking and organization, and baby’s laundry. 

What to look for in an NCS:

A professional Newborn Care Specialist has in-depth training specifically in newborn care. They actively seek new educational opportunities, and often have at least 1-2 years of experience working with babies under 6 months old. 

While certification is not required or regulated, it does display a certain level of commitment and professionalism. There are two third-party certifying bodies: Newborn Care Specialist Association (NCSA) and Council for Awards in Care, Health, and Education (CACHE). There is a difference between having a “certificate of completion or training” and being “certified” by the NCSA or CACHE.  

Most Newborn Care Specialists are also members of professional associations such as the Newborn Care Specialist Association (NCSA), International Nanny Association (INA), Childbirth and Postpartum Association (CAPPA), Doulas of North America (DONA), as well as others. 

Working with an NCS:

When a family chooses to work with an NCS, there are a few nuances that might not be common knowledge. Contract signing is often required, and an NCS may require a retainer as they frequently book out 6+ months in advance. While sleep is never guaranteed when providing overnight care, a flat sleeping surface may be required so the NCS may rest while the baby is sleeping. Some Newborn Care Specialists will provide awake care when requested, often at a higher hourly rate.

There are several ways to find an NCS, the most common are word-of-mouth referrals, personal advertising, and using an agency. There are different types of agencies, please look into how the agency operates and how they pay their care providers - not every agency is created equally. Also, please refer to local and federal tax laws to determine what type of employment classification the NCS falls under. 

In conclusion, a Newborn Care Specialist is an incredible asset to expanding families, and our goal in writing this is to help provide clarity and guidance about what an NCS is and is not, how they support families, and what to look for in an NCS. While we continue to grow and bring awareness and higher standards to this industry, please keep in mind that information changes rapidly. It’s always best to stay as up to date as possible on these topics in order to make the most well-informed decision for you and your family. 

Students in the same Elite Newborn Care Specialist (NCS) program, Alyssa, Amanda, and Lindsay, came to the conclusion that the market currently lacks a clear definition of what an NCS actually is. Even worse, they realized that families are often misinformed about expectations and are misled to work with self-titled “baby-nurses” or “night-nurses.”  Together they hope to share factual information about the Newborn Care Specialist industry.

If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, please never hesitate to reach out to any of us.

Alyssa Michael, Advanced NCS

The Joyful Baby Company LLC

Amanda King, Adv. CNCS 

Sweet Lullabies LLC

Lindsay Johnson, CACHE Certified NCS

All Baby Newborn Care, LLC



February 17, 2023

Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your newborn! Bringing home a new baby can be both exciting and overwhelming, so it’s important to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible for the big day. Here are 10 tips for getting ready for bringing home a newborn:

Being prepared for bringing home a newborn is key to having a positive experience. Use these tips to help you get ready for the big day and enjoy this special time with your little one!


June 11, 2022

“Having children is like joining a cult- everyone tells you it’s going to be amazing- the best thing you’ll ever do, until you have a child then the narrative changes to ‘Oh yeah, this sucks, Welcome to Hell’.” - quote from a client.

As a Newborn Care Specialist, New Parent Educator, and Professional Nanny with 15 years of childcare experience, one of my favorite things to do is help parents find their groove after baby comes home. Here are a couple tips for life with a newborn that I’ve learned and implemented throughout my years working and serving families across the United States. 

Prep ahead of time!

Have “nests” around the house somewhere close to where parents/caregivers and baby will be spending time with everything needed for feeding and changing. Examples include: access to a fridge or mini-fridge, pump parts, clean bottles, formula, water, burp cloths, whatever feeding looks like for your family, diapers, wipes, creams, extra change of clothes (for baby and parents), anything you’ll need for changing baby’s diaper, especially if things get messy! Think of the nest as a mini family station. 

Prepping water bottles and small, easy to hold snacks ahead of time will be a life-saver. I find this to be true especially when working overnights or needing to be awake during those hours. Middle of the night munchies are real, and there’s nothing worse than wanting a little something to eat or drink and not having it on hand. Grab the tastiest snacks and biggest water bottles around and keep them near baby nests, bedside-table, any and everywhere. Proper nutrition and hydration are so important! 

Take the nights in shifts!

In order to prevent sleep problems and exhaustion, each parent will need *at least* one 4-hour stretch of undisturbed sleep. My fiancé and I, even though we don’t have human children yet (shout-out to Snoopy, woof-woof!), have talked extensively about how we’ll handle the newborn phase. The best idea we've come up with is to take the nights in shifts: One parent sleeps undisturbed while the other is “on”. After a predetermined time, the other parent is “on” and will wake when the baby does until morning. The families I’ve worked with who implement “shifts” love this method! Parents are able to sleep, be rested and functioning humans the next day! It also allows for both parents to share the responsibility of overnight care. 

I always tell parents that the newborn stage is like the Wild Wild West: there is no rhyme or reason to newborn patterns those first 6-8 weeks. Some days, the plan goes out the window, and that’s okay! Take a breath, regroup, and adjust accordingly. Remember: What works for one family might not work for another; every baby and family is different! Sometimes it sucks, but it won’t last forever! So soak up all the baby snuggles you can, they’re only “newborn” for so long! Wishing you and your family all the best in this wonderful journey called “Parenthood”!


February 05, 2023

The importance of establishing a routine for a newborn cannot be overstated. Routines help babies learn to understand expectations, become familiar with their environment, and provide a sense of security and comfort. By providing a consistent routine, parents can help their baby learn more quickly and foster an environment of support and love.

A routine helps a baby learn to understand expectations, as they become accustomed to certain activities occurring within a specific timeframe. A baby is likely to pick up on the consistency of the routine and will be more likely to show signs of anticipation when they know what is coming. This understanding of expectations will help them to grow and develop, as they will understand when it is time to eat, sleep, and play.

Familiarity is also important for a newborn, as routines can provide a sense of comfort and stability. If a baby knows what to expect in their environment, they can become more comfortable and secure. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, as they gain confidence in their ability to predict their environment.

Finally, routines can provide a sense of connection and love between the parents and their baby. Knowing what to expect and having a sense of security can help a baby feel secure in their relationship with their parents. The familiarity of the routine can also help parents to bond with their baby, as they can become familiar with different cues and signals that the baby gives off.

Overall, routines are an important part of the development of a newborn. Establishing a routine can help a baby to understand expectations, become comfortable in their environment, and build a connection with their parents. By providing a consistent routine, parents can provide a safe and secure environment for their baby to grow and thrive.