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Cuddles and Puddles: Careers That Involve Working With Babies
Baby cuddlers are the people who are specially trained in holding the infants and cuddling them. They are employed by neonatal nursing facilities, orphanages, nurseries, and even by parents who do not have enough time to spend with their newborns. Interestingly, there is no age limit to become a baby cuddler; they are mostly volunteers.
Babies are the most amazing creations of God. Working with them can be both, the most rewarding as well as the most challenging job. One needs to be extremely alert and sensitive while working with babies. This write-up is for those, who are ready to take up the challenge of working sensitively and respectfully with and for our society’s youngest members, and for those wanting to experience the sheer joy of working with fresh, developing minds.
Careers Involving Babies
Working with babies involve a lot of care and safety. Added to this, a special set of skills and qualifications are also necessary in order to be able to deal properly with the infants. The field of childcare has been growing since the last few years, owing to which, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of people working in it. There is a vast array of careers to choose from.
A nursery is a special facility, where the children are taken in and cared for, while their parents are out, working. With stressed lifestyles and long working hours, many parents choose to leave their children in the baby nursery. A nursery assistant is a person who is responsible for taking care of the needs of the babies in the nursery.
• To clean the place and to maintain safety and hygiene
• To cook meals for the babies
• To take them to the parks
• To aid in infant development by planning various games and activities according to their age
• To keep a track of the behavior and habits of each baby in the nursery, and reporting the same to the nursery coordinator
• To meet the parents, in order to inform them about the development of their babies
A certificate in childcare is the basic requirement to become a nursery assistant. Apart from this, the following skills are needed:
• Adequate knowledge of child development and early years learning
• Knowledge of infant health and hygiene
• Good communication skills
• Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment
• Ability to generate innovative ideas
• Patience, positive attitude, and a will to face challenges
• Good health record, both physical and mental
The average salary of a nursery assistant in the United States is about $15,000.
Today, many people require babysitters or nannies who can take care of their babies, when they are at work or have gone out of station. A babysitter is generally provided with all the baby essentials by the parents. All he/she has to do is to use the essentials effectively, and look after the baby properly. Generally, they go to the employer’s residence to care for the baby.
• To take care of the baby at employer’s house
• To bathe, dress, and feed the baby
• To take the baby to parks and small outings
• To discipline the child by being strict, but sensitive at the same time
• To maintain cleanliness and hygiene at home by performing mild housekeeping duties
• To teach personal cleanliness and hygiene to the babies
• To keep a track of the baby’s activities and behavior throughout the day, and report to his/her parents
• To keep the baby’s health record
• Submit reports of the work to the babysitting agency
The minimum qualification of a babysitter is that he/she should have a First Aid and CPR Certification. The other requisites are as under:
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
• Ability to control and supervise the children in the absence of their parents
• Proper knowledge of infant-related things such as bottle-feeding or diaper-changing
• Capability to handle emergency situations
• Ability to engage children in educational and social activities
• Ability to make quick and proper decisions
• Patience and optimistic attitude
• A good sense of humor
The average salary of a babysitter/nanny in the United States is about $23,000.
Daycare workers are the people who provide a safe, hygienic and a friendly environment for the babies in their care. Alongside care-giving, they have various child development and housekeeping duties as well.
• To plan and implement different activities, in order to meet the physical, social and psychological needs of the infants
• To feed them nutritious meals
• To maintain cleanliness in the facility and ensure safety at all times
• To cultivate discipline and a sense of cooperation in the infants
• To discourage any kind of violent or displeasing behavior
• To keep a close eye on the babies
• To cultivate self-esteem and confidence in the children
• To make schedules, so that proper timing can be maintained for every activity
• To communicate clearly and effectively, so that the infants are able to understand
• To plan outings and other socializing activities
• To keep the parents informed regarding their baby’s personal and social development
• To prepare and maintain detailed health records of the babies
At least an associate degree in early childhood education or a certificate in child development is the bare minimum requirement to become a daycare worker. Other essential skills include:
• Ability to make fast and appropriate decisions
• Ability to work in a team and to promote a similar atmosphere in the facility
• Problem-solving and supervising skills
• Time management and stress management skills
• Effective communication skills
• Proper and adequate understanding of various legislations, procedures, and policies to ensure safety of the babies
• Cultural awareness and sensitivity
• Patience and innovative mind
The average salary of a daycare worker in the United States is about $76,000.
Commonly known as baby nurse, a newborn specialist is a person who takes care of the baby during the critical first months of its birth. A newborn specialist provides his/her professional assistance at the baby’s house.
• To feed, dress and to bathe the infant
• To wash, clean and sterilize the feeding bottles
• To change the baby’s diapers and maintain hygiene
• To provide proper and adequate meal to the baby
• To help the mother while breastfeeding
• To care for the baby through the night, so that the parents can get some rest
• To counsel the parents on various parenting issues
Many private agencies provide certifications to the newborn specialists. Also, CPR certification is a necessary prerequisite. Additional skills include:
• Proper knowledge of child development
• Attentive, alert and focused
• Adequate knowledge of baby basics
• Punctuality and high tolerance level
• Good observation skills
• Good communication skills
• Sensitivity and friendliness
• Basic housekeeping skills
The average salary of a newborn specialist in the United States is about $73,000.
Neonatal nurses work both, within the community and in the maternity/children’s hospitals. Alongside caring for the healthy babies, they are responsible to care for those newborn babies, who are either born prematurely, or have certain health problems such as infections, cardiac malformations, and so on.
• To regularly change the baby’s diapers, especially as the baby is born with certain ailments
• To feed and cuddle the baby from time to time
• To constantly monitor the condition of the baby
• To administer the medications that the baby receives
• To support the parents and family of a newborn, who is ill
• To communicate and interact with the parents and to encourage them to participate actively in their baby’s treatment
• To look after the prematurely born infants, kept in incubators
One needs to be a registered and a licensed nurse (with at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing) or a midwife, in order to be able to work in the field of neonatal nursing. At least six months of relevant experience is often preferred. Other required skills include:
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
• Sensitivity towards the feelings of parents and other members of the family
• An in-depth understanding of psychological as well as physiological needs of the baby
• Punctuality, patience and ability to face new challenges every day
• Ability to work in a team
• Quick and apt decision-making skills
• Focused and attentive
• Competent to work in a highly technical area
• Optimistic outlook
The average salary of a neonatal nurse in the United States is about $75,000.
Obstetricians are physicians who deal with the delivery and complications arising before, during and after the delivery. So, if you are looking for careers working with infants, then being an obstetrician is a good option for you. To get this job, you must have the relevant degree or diploma in this stream.
• To take care of the women during their pregnancy
• To make sure that the patient delivers a healthy child
• To make routine checks and see if there are any complications
• To perform ultrasounds and prepare birth plans
• To review the development of the fetus from time to time
• To diagnose signs of abnormalities of the fetus and future risks
• To make regular hospital rounds
• To do actual deliveries, either naturally or through Cesarean section
• To make medical histories and notes for each and every patient for future reference
An advanced degree and a specialized training in obstetrics are the bare minimum qualifications required to become a professional obstetrician. A formal certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) is a must. Following are the additional skills which are needed:
• Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
• High level of sensitivity towards the needs of the patients
• Punctual and service-oriented
• Quick decision-making ability
• Positive attitude
• Attention to detail and good concentration
• Ability and will to face challenges
• Good communication skills
• Ability to work in a team
The average salary of an obstetrician in the United States is about $94,000.
Pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in diseases and ailments concerned with babies and children. It is one of the best careers in medicine that is closely associated with children. Pediatrician works in a hospital setting or private clinics, or a personal consultancy setting.
• To diagnose and treat the various illnesses pertaining to children
• To communicate with the patients and their parents and try to understand the problem
• To perform laboratory work and tests wherever necessary, in order to determine and identify the cause of the illness
• To check the patients from time to time and to prescribe proper medications
• To undertake regular visits and hospital rounds and to maintain all the paperwork that is required
• To maintain a separate health chart of each patient
• To ensure that the illnesses do not recur in the future
• To advice the parents on the kind of health care their baby needs
A bachelor’s degree in medicine and a specialization in pediatrics is the minimum qualification required. A pediatrician also needs to have a license to practice pediatric medicine. Additional skills which a professional pediatrician requires are:
• Excellent analytical skills
• Critical thinking ability
• Good listening skills and attention to detail
• Sensitivity towards the needs of the children
• Problem-solving and decision-making skills
• Social awareness and positive approach
• Ability to communicate well with the kids
• Ability of inductive reasoning
The average salary of a pediatrician in the United States is about $116,000.
Autism is a neural disorder, wherein an individual has troubles with effective social interactions and with communicating with others. Autism specialists are people who function as behavioral consultants for children with autism. In case of the newborn babies, their main role is to assess if a child, 18 months or older, shows any signs of the disorder, and if so, make plans to deal with the same.
• To detect signs of autism in a child
• To speak to the parents if the child displays any signs of the disorder
• To chalk out plans for a child in order to deal with his/her autism symptoms
• To build a positive and a cooperative environment around the child, so that he/she feels comfortable
• To interact with the child on a daily basis so as to ease to some extent, the difficulties in communication that he/she faces
• To plan activities such as games, etc. with the child
• To encourage the parents and family to take active part in the baby’s treatment
• To make reports and charts with respect to the child’s progress
• To come up with innovative ideas, so as to expose the child to more and more social interactions
A certified autism specialist has to have a master’s degree and at least two years of relevant work experience. Added to this, he/she needs to be registered with the International Institute of Education. The following skills are also required:
• In-depth knowledge of the procedures and tools of early childhood assessment
• Good oral and written communication and interpersonal skills
• Knowledge of child development
• Patience and positive outlook
• Knowledge of all the autism-related laws, policies, and procedures
• Analytical and inductive skills
• Sensitivity and social awareness
• Attention to detail and focus on work
• Punctuality and ability to deal with emergencies
The average salary of an autism specialist in the United States is about $38,000.
Infant massage therapy helps a baby relax and to get a sound sleep. It also positively affects the infant hormones that aid in controlling the stress levels. According to a research, infant massage therapy also facilitates better growth and development of the premature babies.
• To create a calm environment and to select a warm and a serene place for the massage
• To check for any underlying health issues before giving the massage to the infant
• In case of a premature infant, to consult a doctor regarding the appropriateness of the therapy
• To make use of suitable oils, etc. for the massage
• To check if the baby has any sort of allergies or sensitive skin, before applying the massage oils and other products
• To use proper massage techniques, especially in case of premature and unhealthy babies
• To ensure that the baby is comfortable during the massage
• To instruct the parents on the massaging techniques
A certificate in massage therapy or a special certification in infant massage therapy is the minimum requirement to become an infant massage therapist. However, some people also have associate degrees in massage therapy. Infant massage therapists generally work in pediatric/maternity hospitals, or as freelancers. A valid license is needed for the practice. The basic skills of an infant massage therapist are as under:
• Knowledge of the needs of the infants
• Good observation skills
• Knowledge of the various infant massage products and their effects on the infants’ health
• Good communication skills
• Pleasant attitude and patience
• Alertness and sensitivity
• Social attitude
The average salary of an infant massage therapist in the United States is about $59,000.
An infant teacher is a person who essentially works towards educating infants and toddlers. Their basic duty is to aid the infants in their overall social and physical development. They also instruct the infants in basic language skills. They generally function from nurseries and other related settings.
• To maintain a friendly relationship with each child and to give equal preference to all the infants
• To encourage the infant’s parents to actively participate in the process of imparting early education
• To cultivate and promote a healthy child-parent as well as teacher-student relationship
• To enthusiastically greet the infants and their parents each morning, and to see them off in the evening with equal zeal
• To talk, sing and read frequently to the infants
• To plan and organize each day’s activities for the infants
• To make a short-term schedule and to see that they adhere to it
• To pay attention to the individual needs and necessities of the infants with respect to food, comfort, and so on
• To respond quickly to the infants’ calls of distress
• To conduct assessments from time to time to determine the development of cognitive, motor, perceptual, emotional, social and language skills of the infants
• To submit a detailed report on the growth and development of each infant to the nursery director from time to time
• To keep the parents informed regarding their child’s progress
• To ensure that each child is physically safe throughout the day
• To keenly observe the children for any signs of injury, abuse, illness, neglect, special needs (such as autism or dyslexia), and so on
• To promote cooperative attitude and to ensure a healthy and a hygienic environment
• To attend all the staff meetings, parent-teacher meetings and training opportunities
To become an infant teacher, at least a bachelor’s degree in child development or early childhood education is required. Some people also have an associate degree or equivalent in early childhood education. Further, at least two years of relevant experience is preferred. Some of the basic skills needed to be an infant teacher include the following:
• Ability to communicate effectively and efficiently with the infants as well as with their parents and the other staff members
• Ability to show extreme patience when dealing with the kids
• Good time management skills
• Positive attitude and polite mannerisms
• Attention to detail, punctuality and sincerity
• Knowledge of the needs of infants, their mood swings, etc.
• Good observation skills
• Excellent team-working and decision-making skills
• Ability to provide a quality learning experience to the infants
• Maintaining effective working relationships with the children and their parents
The average salary of an infant teacher in the United States is about $25,000.
The early intervention specialists work to support and help the infants with special needs or certain developmental difficulties. They either work in a community or provide their services even at an infant’s home. They are often members of a professional team and offer a variety of services to the infants as well as to their parents.
• To meet the clients at their preferred location and discuss their problem
• To try and judge the capabilities and the problems of the infant by observing him/her
• To arrange for the various support services for the clients such as child care, parenting classes, special needs educator, and so on
• To help the infants to face problems such as disability, etc. by exposing them to a friendly social environment
• To encourage parents to support their baby through his/her difficult times
• To arrange various medical and psychiatric tests for the baby
• To create and maintain records of case histories of all the clients
• To promote healthy child-parent relationships
An early intervention specialist needs at least a bachelor’s degree with majors in early childhood special education, and/or physical therapy, and/or speech therapy, and/or occupational therapy. Prior experience in the field is considered as an asset. Following are some of the key skills required:
• Adequate knowledge of all the essential therapies and methods that are involved in diagnosis and treatment of children
• Ability to handle emergencies and act fast
• Knowledge about physical and psychological needs of the infants
• Patience, punctuality and positive attitude
• Ability to control anger
• Good communication and interpersonal skills
• Knowledge of the legal procedures and formalities related to children with special needs
• Good social and professional contacts
The average salary of an early intervention specialist in the United States is about $46,000.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, all the professions mentioned above, apart from nurses and doctors, come under the category of childcare workers. The jobs in this category are expected to rise by about 20% by 2020.
Orphanages and Adoption Centers
There are many underprivileged children who are abandoned soon after they are born. Orphanages are social organizations that admit such destitute babies and look after them. If you are looking for a noble job working with children then this is one of the options for careers that can offer a lot of job satisfaction to you. There are various positions in the orphanages and other similar social organizations that you can apply for, such as that of a social worker, child care provider, child counselor, etc. If you are a social worker, then your responsibility is to complete all the legal formalities of admitting the baby in the orphanage and creating his or her identity. Childcare providers oversee the arrangements made for children, and the child counselor talks to children about their troubles and worries, organizes recreational activities, and gives them emotional support.
Similarly, there are numerous adoption centers that help the destitute babies get their new foster parents. This is one of the great careers in the field of social work as well. Social workers are generally appointed as mediators between foster parents and biological parents or the organization. The job of the social worker, here, is completing all the legal formalities along with adoption formalities (doing the detailed paperwork, background check and filling out all the forms for adoption), looking for ideal parents for the baby, making sure that the baby goes into the right hands, taking a follow-up after adoption, etc. Some orphanages also function as adoption centers. To get a job in the social sector you must have a degree, post graduation degree, or a diploma in social work or relevant field.
There are immense opportunities if you decide to work with babies. Whichever career option you choose, it is surely going to be a rewarding and a satisfying experience with new challenges to face every single day.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. The salaries are subject to change and might differ from region to region.