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For new and expecting parents, navigating the jungle of family support professionals can be overwhelming. Who does what? What does my family need? We are here to help you navigate the many different types of Caregivers and help you understand the differences of each type of Caregiver. But, we really want to reinforce that no matter what they are called, Caregivers are there to care for you and your family.

We have been in the business of ‘new families’ for almost two decades, and we have found and placed the right professionals with wonderful families during that time. We want to make this a stress-free process, so our goal is to help you understand the different roles each Caregiver plays in the childcare industry.

A Dictionary of Caregivers

Labor Doula – a labor doula, also known as a birth companion or birth supporter, is a non- medical, but highly trained person who assists a woman before and during childbirth, as well as her partner and family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support. A Labor Doula can help with the birth plan and uses the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labor.

Baby Nurse – A baby nurse, also known as a night nurse, postpartum doula or newborn care specialist, is a caregiver that is trained and skilled in newborn care. While the term nurse is widely used, these types of caregivers are not providing medical care, nor are they registered nurses. The responsibilities of a baby nurse, postpartum nurse or newborn care specialist, encompass the needs of the baby and mom, as well as of the family. A baby nurse is there with your family for a few days, a week or even months, depending on your needs. They require a room and meals and will stay with you 24/7 during the time they are helping you settle in with your new baby.

Newborn Care Specialist – A newborn care specialist, also known as a baby nurse, is a newer term for a caregiver who specializes in helping parents care for their newborns during the day time and/or night time. They will help the parents develop healthy eating, sleeping, and care routines for the baby, as well as allow the new parents to rest. A newborn care specialist typically works 6 to 24 hour shifts and are responsible for all the tasks related to baby care.

Postpartum Doula – A postpartum doula is an in-home caregiver who is available for daytime or night time assignments. They help parents understand babies’ needs, helping them with the transition into motherhood/fatherhood. They take care of the newborn, mom, and the whole family by providing educational, emotional and physical support to new parents. Unless there are issues, postpartum mood disorders, multiple newborns, or a baby with special needs, a postpartum doula typically works only within the first 12 weeks after birth or the Fourth Trimester.

Night Nanny – A night nanny is a caregiver who helps the parents with the baby at night. They may be hired for a week, months, or just a few nights a week. It’s imperative that your night nanny has experience with newborns, although most of the time, a night nanny does not provide sleep training for the baby, advice, education, breastfeeding support, or scheduling help. They will typically feed, burp, change diapers, and bathe the baby as needed at night.

Nanny – A nanny is a person, usually with special training and experience in early childhood development, employed to care for children in a household on a daily part-time or full-time basis. Nannies may live in or out of the house, depending on their circumstances and those of their employers. The duties of a Nanny might include loving and nurturing infants and toddler care, coming up with exciting and engaging child developmental activities for the child, scheduling and encouraging playdates, helping with homework and driving to and from after school activities.

Lactation Consultant – A lactation consultant is a professional breastfeeding specialist who helps moms and dads gain knowledge about breastfeeding basics and how to get off to the best possible start. They teach breastfeeding techniques, such as latching on and different ways to hold the baby during feedings. They also provide customized individual consultations, in-home, hospital, and Motherhood Center visits. Some insurance companies cover the expenses of having lactation consultant.

Babysitter – a babysitter is a person hired to take care of children while parents are temporarily away, or on an “as needed” basis. Usually after school or during an evening event, such as a date night. This can also be a person who helps with daily household tasks, school drop-off and pick-ups, bath time, and helping during dinner time. A babysitter provides temporary custodial care, keeping child safe and entertained while the parents are away or temporarily unavailable.

Sleep Trainer – A sleep trainer, also known as a sleep coach is a person that helps your baby or toddler learn how to sleep through the night, and take regular, consistent naps. A Sleep Trainer has expertise in guiding older babies to sleep through the night by implementing consistent sleep methods in a calm manner so that your baby understands what is expected. They also guide parents in how to help their child learn to fall asleep without assistance and will tailor strategies to your specific needs.

Whatever description or term you use for an in-home infant care provider, the care and focus should be on Mom, Dad, and baby. Although it might seem confusing and hard to differentiate what might be best for your needs, at Motherhood Center in Houston, we have provided a village of support to help you find just what you are looking for. Whether you are looking for a Doula, a Night Nanny, a Lactation Consultant or even a babysitter, Motherhood Center can meet your needs with our highly qualified and trained staff. Let us help you make this transition easier as you grow into a family. For more information on any of professional placement services, please contact us.

To download our infographic, please click here.

Caregiver Infographic