live-in vs live-out newborn care

Live-In 24/7 Care vs. Live-Out Newborn Care: What’s the Difference?

You’re having a baby – congratulations! Everyone and their mother is telling you how crucial having help will be with a newborn. But what kind of professional newborn care is right for your family?

Two distinct options are live in 24/7 newborn care vs. live-out newborn care. In this post, we’ll dive into the differences between these two options to help you plan for the support that best suits your family’s unique needs and goals.

What is 24/7 newborn care?

Imagine having around the clock expert care in the weeks after you first bring your baby home. A professional newborn caregiver such as a Newborn Care Specialist or Postpartum Doula lives with you in your home and is available night and day to care for your baby, offer guidance, and help your whole family adjust to life with a new addition.

This service is referred to as 24/7 newborn care, 24/7 baby care, or live-in newborn care. Live-in care offers the most robust and comprehensive level of support for new and growing families. Hiring a caregiver to live in with your family during this season offers an unparalleled level of care and peace of mind. Read more about the benefits of 24/7 newborn care here.

24/7 newborn care may be right for your family if:

  • You want the highest level of continuity of care. With live-in support, there’s no need to update your caregiver before each shift. You don’t need to worry about logistics like your caregiver getting stuck in traffic on their way to your home. When working with one continuous specialist, you have the opportunity to form deep and meaningful relationships throughout your time together.
  • You want support both at night and during daytime hours. Live-in newborn care shifts are typically 16-20 hours per day, with caregivers taking 1-2 daily breaks to catch up on rest. This leaves plenty of time for both overnight and daytime support, so parents don’t have to choose between getting good sleep vs. more interactive support.
  • You have a separate accommodations in your home for a live-in caregiver. To accommodate a live-in caregiver, families must generally provide a private bedroom for the Newborn Care Specialist or Postpartum Doula.
  • You want access to the industry’s most experienced and sought after candidates. Many of the most experienced newborn caregivers exclusively travel and provide live-in care. Hiring 24/7 baby care means you have access to a wide, nationwide pool of candidates as opposed to being limitied to caregivers who live within commuting distance of your home.

24/7 newborn care might NOT be a good fit for your family if:

  • You don’t have space in your home. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, some live-in caregivers might be open to a creative solution [like clearing out the nursery for her to rest during off time]. But in general, particularly for longer contracts, live-in caregivers require a private room during their time with families.
  • You don’t need or want full time care. If you want only overnight sleep support or only daytime interactive care, live-out postpartum care may be a better fit for your family.
  • Your budget doesn’t allow for longterm support. Live-in care comes with additional costs such as travel expenses and a daily food stipend. Longer live-in shifts mean a higher price tag. If your budget would only allow for a brief live-in contract, you may prefer to book live-out care.

What is live-out newborn care?

Live-out newborn care is a common choice for parents who don’t need or want around-the-clock care. Live-out shifts are typically booked in 4+ hour increments during the day or 8+ hour increments at night. For parents who want both overnight and daytime live-out care, “mega shifts” up to 16-18 hours in length can be a great option.

Live-out newborn care may be right for your family if:

  • You are comfortable with part-time or noncontinuous care. You may want care 1-7 nights or days a week, with your caregiver commuting to you each shift.
  • You want support either at night or during daytime hours. While booking nights and daytime shifts is possible with live-out, it’s more likely to need multiple caregivers.
  • Your budget is better suited to live-out care. Spacing out shifts with a live-out caregiver comes with a lower price tag than around-the-clock care.
  • You have access to qualified candidates in your area. You live in an area with a large pool of experienced caregivers who are within commuting distance of your home. [We have teams in MA, CT, RI, NH, ME, VT, NY/NJ, FL, AZ, and IL].

Live-out newborn care might NOT be a good fit for your family if:

  • You want around the clock care. While not impossible, it can be challenging to find a caregiver who is open to longterm 7 days a week live-out care with long hours.
  • You don’t have a separate accommodations in your home for a live-in caregiver. Live-out caregivers need only a flat resting surface in the same room as the baby [for example a bed in the nursery or a couch in the living room].
  • You don’t need or want full time care. If you want only overnight sleep support or only daytime interactive care, live-out postpartum care may be a better fit for your family.

Newborn Care Specialist Duties

Live-in vs. live-out newborn care care can also determine the roles and responsibilities your caregiver will take on during your work together. Since a live-in caregiver would work both daytime and overnight hours, they can offer a broader range of services vs. a live-out caretaker who is working only at night or only during the day.

Daytime Newborn Care Specialist Duties:

  • Soothing and comforting infant
  • Changing diapers
  • Restocking the changing station [diapers, wipes]
  • Bathing newborn
  • Dressing newborn
  • Feeding [bottle feeding, bringing baby to mom to nurse]
  • Cleaning bottles and sanitizing bottles
  • Infant’s laundry 
  • Maintaining a daily log tracking feeding times, number of ounces, diaper changes, etc. 
  • Informing and teaching the clients where applicable 
  • Sleep conditioning and creating a workable schedule where applicable. 

Some daytime caregivers are also open to limited household tasks such as loading or unloading the dishwasher, basic food prep [cutting up fruit, assembling a sandwich], or nursery organization as time allows.

Overnight Newborn Care Specialist Duties:

  • Soothing and comforting infant 
  • Changing diapers
  • Feeding [bottle feeding, bringing baby to mom to nurse] 
  • Lactation support where applicable [helping ensure a comfortable latch, breastfeeding education]
  • Dressing newborn when applicable
  • Cleaning and sterilizing bottle and pump parts that were used throughout the night
  • Preparing new bottles with breastmilk or formula 
  • Pumping support [cleaning pump parts, pumping education, proper breastmilk storage]
  • Maintain a nightly log that tracks feeding times, number of ounces, diaper changes, etc
  • Bathing [only on assignments that start 1 hour prior to newborn’s bedtime]
  • Informing and teaching the clients where applicable 
  • Restocking the changing station [diapers, wipes]
  • Sleep conditioning and creating a workable schedule where applicable

If sleep conditioning is a goal, caregivers need to be with your baby for the majority of nights [4+ nights a week] for a developmentally appropriate duration [6+ weeks] in order to best help babies settle into consistent nighttime routines.

How to Book Live-In vs. Live-Out Newborn Care

Due to the one-on-one nature of this work, Newborn Care Specialists and Postpartum Doulas do tend to book out in advance [often 3-6+ months out]. We recommend families reach out to book services as soon as they have a confident understanding of their scheduling preferences and goals. Both live-in and live-out caregivers are in demand, though it may be particularly important to book live-in care early as 24/7 newborn caregivers are often the most highly experienced and sought after candidates.

Regardless, it’s never to late to inquire! Since babies arrive on their own time, last-minute bookings may occasionally be available when a caregiver has a gap in their calendar.

Contact us to start a conversation on which type of support is best for your growing family.