I LOVE MY JOB: Babies are Jan Andrada Lane’s business

An RN in the Philippines, a newborn care specialist in the U.S. with 13 years of experience.

By Cristina DC Pastor

Babies are her business. Twins are her specialty.

Jan Andrada Lane is a “newborn care specialist” known to many by the outdated term “baby nurse.” It’s a term that triggers uncomfortable reactions from some RNs who feel they are not legitimate nurses and the term diminishes the prestige of their profession. Jan just shrugs it off such remarks.

For more than a dozen years, Jan, 56, has been working for wealthy couples taking care of their newborn infants. These are couples who delegate the chores of waking up at an ungodly hour when the baby cries, feeding the baby, and putting him or her back to sleep. Working parents are her typical employers. Sometimes, the mother is stay-at-home and still hires women like Jan because she’s a first-time mom who doesn’t know how to deal with fussy babies or she can be a spoiled socialite who just doesn’t want to be bothered.

“There’s this thin line. Sometimes, we are mistaken as a nanny, a sitter, a doula, or a lactation nurse,” Jan said when interviewed by The FilAm. “Basically, we assist and guide mothers how to breastfeed properly so they can effectively care for their babies. Then the routine follows until we are able to reach our goal to sleep-train the baby.”

Her primary objective as a newborn care specialist is to enforce sleep training for the child. She works on the baby’s ideal weight and makes sure food intake is regulated. A crying baby does not necessarily mean a hungry baby, she said, and feeding may not be the solution to make her quiet. Some mothers act by instinct thinking that her bawling baby needs milk even if there may be other reasons, such as they are wet, they are feeling hot or they have dirty diaper. The trained newborn care specialist can tell the difference.

“Kailangan experienced,” she said. “Babies can be non-stop eaters, they are insatiable. Their stomachs expand,” she said. “A baby who is not sleep-trained shows erratic behavior because there is no discipline. A disciplined baby makes for a happy family.”

First client

Jan’s first client is a highly paid fashion model in New York City who hired her to care of her baby daughter. The new mom found her through her agency.

“That’s the beauty of being part of an agency, I get to meet diverse clients,” she said.

Caring for twins is Jan’s forte. Courtesy of Jan Andrada

At her best recollection, she has cared for hundreds of babies over 13 years. Sometimes she is a stay-in carer, other times she works twelve hours and goes to her home to Virginia which she shares with her husband John. The pay is nothing to scoff at: Based on the internet its $40 to $45 per hour but because she specializes in twins, the pay can be more. (Jan has twin daughters)

“It doesn’t matter how wealthy a client is, the main focus is the love and care they have for their children,” she said. “I see that every child grows with love and care in their families. Most of the time the parents are not around and they just want someone to be there for their children.”

Jan did not dive into the field unsure of what to do. She is a Registered Nurse in the Philippines, a graduate of St. Louis University in Baguio City . She could have been an RN but opted to be a newborn care specialist which she is enjoying as the stress level is not that high.

“I am enjoying this job,” she declared.

While many of her clients are nice to work with, she occasionally meets one or two who make her job “difficult.” There is one who insists on burping her child her own way contrary to how a newborn care specialist was trained to do. There is another who refused to give her a portable cot so she could sleep near the baby. When the mom refuses her request, “I openly discuss the problem with the concerned parent and suggest solutions. But if there is no meeting of the minds, I suggest for a replacement or sometimes they also look for one then I turn over or endorse properly to make sure the baby’s routine is consistent as how it was started.”

She feels newborn care specialists should unionize so that grievances are settled between them and their employers in an amicable manner. So far, there is little interest in organizing among her peers but she is confident it will happen.

Lack of sleep is the biggest challenge. Because she is up all night with her energy focused on the baby, Jan loses out on her nightly rest. That’s why after a week’s work she sleeps all day not to be roused for any reason.

“Bawi ng tulog,” she said.

‘I love my job’ is a new segment of The FilAm featuring Filipinos who have rare and unique occupations. If you know someone, please pitch us a story at thefilamny@gmail.com.

© The FilAm 2024

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