Filipina ‘baby whisperer’ flourishes in New York
NEW YORK CITY — Ruby Sibal, 40, a native of Iloilo City, used to be a floral designer, entrepreneur, certified make-up artist and event organizer in the Philippines. She never thought she would become a nanny, a housekeeper and a home-call masseuse to Filipino women who were also working two jobs in metropolitan New York.
Now, Sibal is more than any of those callings. She’s known as a newborn-care expert, new-parent coach, baby-care consultant and the founder and CEO of Beyond Baby Care LLC in New York City.
Her expertise in baby care, including infant massage, is cited in Mamaviews.com, the well-known newborn/baby care website in the United States.
Sibal comes from a family of florists and flower garden owners in the Philippines. She went to Penn Foster Career Diplomas program to further her studies, but financial challenges made her change her mind.
Sibal’s career shift was accidental. While doing on-call jobs as a baby sitter, a friend introduced her to formal baby nursing. Sibal has natural ways of soothing babies, even newborns; thus, she found the work both challenging and exciting.
“It was a fulfilling and at the same time very challenging job (due to lack of sleep) since it mostly requires 24-hour shifts. But I was excited and accepted the challenge and told myself, I will make this my profession,” Sibal says.
She took a certification to become a newborn care specialist (NCS). She also took infant massage classes and a comprehensive breastfeeding class under Sheri Bayles, a world-renowned baby care specialist and author.
Sibal also has a certification as Happiest Baby Educator. In New York State, nannies and baby care specialists are given trainings and certification to ensure that the public is provided with experts. In some states, baby nurses are not allowed to practice unless they are certified nurses.
“Being passionate and self-taught no doubt is how most people started with their careers. But I always believe that to open more opportunities and gain more credibility in whatever I do, being professionally trained and certified would take my passion and career to a higher level,” Sibal explains.
Sibal’s clients are all praises of her, dubbing her as the Mary Poppins of the baby nurses. Sibal’s clients range from pediatricians, first time parents, women who have delicate pregnancies or had C-sections, and others who want to have someone assist them in caring for their delicate infants.
With close to a decade of practice under her belt, she takes care of babies on the East Coast sometimes even as far a Chicago. She attends to babies for up to three months, thus, some clients consider her a part of their family.
Sibal is very popular at Mamaviews.com because of her expertise. One client wrote, “Ruby Sibal, the founder of Beyond Baby Care was my consultant when my baby turned five weeks old. She came highly recommend by my sister well before the birth of my son. My sister calls Ruby ‘The Baby Whisperer,’ and I agree!”
Sibal is also called “Mary Poppins,” a classic musical about a well-loved nanny because of her calming demeanor and dedication towards her job. For Sibal, it is more than a call of duty, but a passion. She loves her profession.
She says a baby nurse should be educated, certified, have hands-on experience, continuing education, concern for the wellbeing of the family as a whole and have good social skills. The nurse should be passionate, compassionate and know that at the end of the day the parents still have the last say.
Ironically, she says that in the Philippines, she was not a hands-on mom because she had a nanny for her two kids. Her work had required her to travel frequently.
Sibal is booked in way in advance due to the number of clients who want her service. She has to decline an average of eight clients a month. Many clients who choose to give birth again hire her. She has become popular through the recommendations and high ratings given by satisfied clients.
Holding an immigrant status, Sibal founded Beyond Baby Care LLC in February 2015. The company is a newborn-care service, which provides a well-rounded, comprehensive training program to aspiring newborn-care specialists or baby nurses. It was the result of a client’s advice to “clone herself.”
Sibal gives trainings and workshops to potential baby nurses. The applicants undergo internship to make sure that they are highly qualified to handle almost any newborn-care situations. Applicants learn aspects of newborn-care, parental guidance, education and support, care for postpartum phase, infant first aid and CPR and safety and up-to-date flu and pertussis vaccines. Each program has a maximum of 12 students, mostly Hispanics and Filipinos.
Sibal plans to expand her operations to the Philippines.
“I plan to collaborate with local government and private agencies in the Philippines to introduce and eventually conduct trainings and conferences. And ultimately write a book about the profession,” she says.