Hiring Baby Care Help
Au pairs are sort of like foreign exchange students with skills. These young adults (between the ages of 18 and 26) often come from another country to stay with your family and provide full-time child care while learning about American culture. Their roles and responsibilities are similar to that of a nanny’s: tending to children’s needs, making meals, providing transportation, bathing, and laundry. “Au pairs are great because they can expose children to another language and culture,” says Sarah McNamara, senior director of operations and product at Au Pair Care, a San Francisco-based au pair placement agency. Au pairs stay with a family for a year with an option to extend for another 12 months. To find an au pair, contact one of the 14 au pair agencies approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Postpartum Doulas and Lactation Consultants
Two other specialists that new parents may hire are postpartum doulas and lactation consultants.
“The postpartum doula’s role is to provide education and support to new parents during the ‘fourth trimester’ or the baby’s first few months,” says Jessica English, a birth doula and public relations director for DONA International, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization for doulas. Postpartum doulas may assist with newborn care, family adjustment to a new baby, meal preparation, and light household tasks.
A lactation consultant promotes breastfeeding success. Lactation consultants help nursing moms figure out proper latch techniques and good breastfeeding positions and help fix breastfeeding problems.
The Interview Process
Placing your trust in someone else to care for and nurture your baby is no small task. Your interview and decision process may vary depending on the type of professional you want to hire. These questions can be a great starting point.
- Why did you become a newborn care specialist/baby nurse/nanny/au pair?
- What experience do you have caring for children, specifically newborns?
- How many children are you comfortable watching at one time?
- What type of family do you like to work for?
- What medical training do you have (first aid, infant CPR, and other skills)?
- Which, if any, household chores are you willing to do in addition to the ones directly related to the children?
- How would you describe yourself? What are your interests and hobbies?
- Are you willing to undergo a background check including a check of your driving record?
- Are you a take-charge kind of person or are you more comfortable when someone directs you?
- What will you do, or how will you handle it, if your way of doing things and the family’s are different?
- Can you provide us with referrals?