BY ISABELLA BOUSQUETTE
Kayla Loschky, RN, BSN, GBP and Jeri Ford, RN BSN, CPN own and operate Baby Whisperers, a search service dedicated to matching new parents with registered baby nurses.
Baby Nurses: What They Are and How to Find Them
The process of finding the right baby nurse is kind of like the process of looking for hand sanitizer in the middle of a pandemic: stressful and complicated. You might know what you want, but you have no idea where to find it.
Kayla Loschky and Jeri Ford’s business is a remedy to that problem (the baby nurse problem, not the hand sanitizer). They founded Baby Whisperers with the goal of making a family’s search for a baby nurse more clean cut and straightforward.
Loschky and Ford run almost like an eHarmony of baby nurse services. They interview families. They interview nurses. And then they pair them up based on expectations, personality types and whether they’re looking for part-time or live-in work. The process is smooth and easy, and unlike eHarmony, you never have to rank your top five romantic comedies.
Loschky and Ford met while they were both pediatric graduate nurses working at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. When Loschky was hired as a private baby nurse, she gushed to Ford about how much she loved the job. Together they realized there was a market for a respected and official baby nurse selection service.
They also had something unique going for them: most people hired as “baby nurses” aren’t technically Registered Nurses (RNs). They might be experienced nannies or newborn care specialists, but they lack the official medical training of an RN. Loschky and Ford, on the other hand, (and all the nurses they work with) are full Registered Pediatric Nurses.
Being an RN isn’t technically a requirement for baby nursing. However, Loschky explains that families find comfort knowing that their baby nurses “are more well-rounded in the variety of experience they have and thus able to give better care and education.” She adds, “Our nurses can provide holistic care while also being able to act quickly and responsively in emergencies.”
Loschky and Ford agree that there’s been a lot of confusion over the role of baby nurses. Ford attributes it to the fact that “there are many different types of help and assistance for babies and kids within the home. It is easier for most people to just say “baby nurse” because that is all they know.”
The Baby Whisperers offer a range of different services designed to cater to the needs of each family. Ford says, that for the most part, their nurses “do everything from teaching basic newborn care to assessing and looking for potential issues.” They can also advise on “sleep training techniques, feeding cues, importance of routine, when to call the doctor, safety measures, lactation management, rest breaks [and] tummy time.”
Still, perhaps “Parent Whisperers” would’ve been another apt name for Loschky and Ford’s company. Ford explains that her ultimate goal as a nurse is always to “empower [the] parents.”
“A new mother and father are always worried that they know nothing about babies,” Loschky says. Now, during a worldwide health crisis, those anxieties are only amplified. That’s why, she adds “it is a wonderful bonus to have a medical expert already in the home. Many clinics and offices are limiting in-person checkups and therefore having a baby nurse in the home can help identify potential issues before your pediatrician could.”
Loschky describes her most recent job in Los Angeles as an example of the apprehension most new parents feel. She says, “The mother thanked me countless times throughout my stay with them. She was a first-time mom and was so scared to hold her baby, change him (diaper and clothes), and put him in the car seat.” She adds, “I did a lot of teaching and showed her how to safely do all of the newborn care he needed.”
Ford agrees that the transition from hospital to home postpartum isn’t a smooth one for many families. It’s partially because, she says, “The education at the hospital is nowhere near enough.” She adds, ”Many families are left tired and nervous immediately after birth, and it can put a real strain on the family dynamic.”
Ford explains that those first few weeks at home can truly set the tone for parenthood and babyhood alike. She says, “We have seen first-hand how education and recuperation in the home can dramatically change the parent’s experiences with their newborn. This also helps the baby live a happier life.” For Ford, that is one of the things that makes this career so distinctly rewarding.
Nevertheless, the life of a live-in traveling baby nurse of course comes with a particular set of challenges. Loschky explains that the most difficult part of it all is “learning the family’s unique style of adjusting to newborn life and what they expect.” However, this is also what motivates her to be so meticulous about matching nurses to families.
Loschky and Ford’s first step is to conduct a phone interview with parents interested in Baby Whisperers. Then they search for the most qualified nurses and verify their credentials. (These are usually nurses that Loschky and Ford know personally or have worked with). Baby Whisperers then set up an interview between the family and the nurse to discuss expectations and payment (a live-in nurse can cost between $400 and $700 a day whereas a part-time nurse might charge between $30 and $40 per hour). If all goes well, Loschy and Ford draw up a contract for both parties. They work with families and nurses all over the U.S.
Loschky says of the COVID-19 crisis, “Thankfully, our business is almost totally virtually operated, so not much has changed.” Her job has always been about transitions: the transition “from womb to world,” the transition from couple to parents, the transition from pregnancy to a family. Now, as the world is on the brink of a once-in-a-generation transition from the coronavirus, Loschky and Ford haven’t missed a beat.
Their job requires them to be cautious and calm at the same time. They soothe irrational fears and validate rational concerns. They provide solace and reason in equal measure. That’s exactly the type of spirit they’ve learned to appreciate during the pandemic.
So as the world copes with the aftermath of coronavirus and slowly begins healing, Loschky and Ford will be doing what they’ve done all along: “Helping a family feel empowered and….[building] confidence that will span the rest of their lives, not just the couple weeks we spend with them.”
Baby Whisperers travel throughout the country including New York and can be reached here!
This story first appeared on newyorkfamily.com.