Caring for children started very young for me. When I was fourteen years old my little sister was born, and for her first four years of life, I played a very prominent role in her care and upbringing. During this time I learned so much about how to safely and effectively care for newborns and toddlers. Little did I know that this would lay the foundation for a career I didn’t even know existed.
Gaining Wide-Ranging Experience
Over the years I found joy in babysitting children from birth to thirteen years old, working at a daycare center, and volunteering at local schools. As I expanded, I had an array of clientele from Washington, DC to Fort Lee, VA, and I used Sittercity.com to find a lot of those families.
I had done just about every position; nanny for toddlers, preschool teacher, part-time nanny for school-age children, infant teacher in a daycare, and much more. Subconsciously, I knew that my favorite age group to care for was newborn babies, but I didn’t know that I could specialize and solely focus on that age group.
Discovering A New Path
One day I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a woman who was talking about how she educated parents, took care of newborns, and called herself a Newborn Care Specialist. I was intrigued and reached out to her to learn more! She educated me on what she did and how I could get trained and get started right away.
Why Being An NCS is For Me
After our talk, I knew that I wanted to get started as soon as I could! Yes, newborns are the best little cuddlers, but that’s not why I wanted to work with them. As someone who is passionate about teaching and educating others, I knew that my knowledge and skills could help parents transition into parenthood (or adding in a new baby) much smoother. All my skills are utilized and maximized in this position versus when I worked with other age groups in the past. Typically when I joined a team of teachers at a school or a family as a nanny they already had a flow, they already knew exactly what they needed or required of me and I worked to meet those expectations. As a Newborn Care Specialist, families look to me as their guide and support.
Fulfillment In Taking The Lead
A lot of families I’ve worked with were either new parents or adding a new baby or babies but want to do things differently than they did with their first. They trusted me, followed my lead, and ultimately looked to me to help them with the transition—which fills my cup. Of course, I give them tools and encourage them to take what they need and leave the rest, but I genuinely love the blank slate that we start with on day one.
As a Newborn Care Specialist, I work overnight, during the day, and 24/7 with some families. The majority of the time, overnight support is the most sought-after service because the newborn stage can be the toughest for parents—especially navigating overnights and the continuous wakings to feed. When I work overnights, parents are able to maximize their sleep and have someone to talk to or help to guide them during breastfeeding sessions. This allows me to help them set healthy sleep habits from the start which result in a baby sleeping through the night once I leave. All of my skills are truly utilized and maximized in this position versus other child care positions.
If you’re passionate about working with children and families, it’s vital to figure out what area of the industry you love, trust yourself to explore, and do what you love wholeheartedly. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out (I certainly tried a few different avenues before becoming a Newborn Care Specialist). My advice is to not be scared to explore different areas of the industry, network and meet other providers, lean on the community for advice and guidance, trust your individual strengths, and know what you bring to the table.
Shaniqua Briggs Dubose is a Newborn Care Specialist, Infant Sleep Consultant, and Full Spectrum Doula (fertility, birth, and postpartum). With over 17 years of serving families in the child care and family education field, she has a wide array of knowledge and skills. The diversity in her profile makes her a well-rounded professional equipped to provide attentive, supportive, loving assistance to new and expanding families.