From reality shows and sitcoms to status symbols of the uber-wealthy, it’s not surprising that there have been some misconceptions about nannies and the community that they serve. If you’re curious about what goes on in the Nanny-dom universe, this article will offer some insight. 

Below we’ll look at the types of nanny services available and how they can support your family’s child care needs.

Note: For the purposes of this article, the word nanny is being used interchangeably with the word “manny” which is sometimes used to refer to a male caregiver or male nanny.

What are nanny services?

A brief history

Nanny is one of many names used to describe the special field of child care that’s been around since Biblical times and Greek ancient history. Other names include nursemaid, governess, au pair, as well as Nounou, Baba, Baomu, Daee, and Ninera.

Before women were allowed to work for pay, the first nannies were paid through food and living accommodations; however, as early as the 1800s the first nanny agencies formed to support the growing industry. (Source)

The nanny care movement continued to gain momentum and eventually saw the launch of the International Nanny Association in 1985, by Dr. Deborah Davis who wanted to “help legitimize and professionalize the nanny profession.” Today it is estimated that almost 170,000 nannies work in the U.S.

What’s the difference between a nanny and a babysitter? 


While there are always exceptions, generally, nannies have received specialized training, certifications, or related degrees. Working as a nanny is often a career choice that can include services like cleaning, cooking, and other household duties associated with a child’s care. 

Babysitters, on the other hand, are a less formal childcare option where the service provider is not integrated into the family’s day-to-day activities and the requirements for the position are often not as stringent. 

Time commitment

While both nannies and babysitters can become trusted sources of childcare, the time commitments are different. Nannies tend to work on a full-time or part-time, set schedule, whereas babysitters are generally on-call for specific occasions. 

What are the different types of nannies?

All nannies are not created equal. They may have similar foundational skill sets like CPR training, time-management skills, and childcare experience, but nannies can also be divided into additional categories like these:

Au-pairAccording to the Cultural Care Au Pair website,

An au pair is a young adult from overseas who lives with your family on a legal visa for up to two years and provides childcare in exchange for a weekly stipend, room and board, and an opportunity to become part of an American family.

Part-time nanny – as the name indicates, a part-time nanny works for a limited number of hours or days per week. (The IRS defines part-time work as “regularly scheduled work between 16-32 hours per week). 

Full-time nanny – like part-time nannies, a full-time position would include a minimum of 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month

Live-in nanny – stays in the home with the family to provide services.

Live-out nanny – has their own residence and goes to work in the home of the family.

Night nanny – a nanny who specializes in overnight child care. They are often hired to provide parents with support after a newborn arrives so they can get the rest they need.

Newborn care specialist – a night nanny who is specifically trained to help a newborn get used to living outside of the mom’s belly. Night nannies often specialize in sleep training which helps to integrate the baby into family routines by getting them on a good sleep schedule.

Travel nanny – a nanny who accompanies a family on trips. This can be one already working for a household or one hired for travel only.

Can I afford nanny services?

Nannies come in all price ranges and levels. Pricing often reflects their level of experience, specializations, number of children the family has, location, and duties required. 

How can nanny services help my family?

Nanny services are not a good fit for every family; however, many families find that having support from a professional caregiver offers “breathing room” and an extra pair of eyes and hands to keep busy families running more smoothly. 

If you are looking for a nanny that specializes in nighttime care for your newborn or young child, Night Owl Nanny Care offers services to help get babies’ schedules on track and sleepy parents the rest they need. Contact us today to learn more.