Many clients ask us what the difference is between a night nurse and a postpartum doula or even call The Chicago Doulas looking for a night nurse or night nanny. We only offer postpartum doula support here at The Chicago Doulas, and we are proud to call it by that name for a variety of reasons.
BUT FIRST, LET’S BREAK DOWN THE DIFFERENCES IN TRAINING BETWEEN NIGHT NURSES AND POSTPARTUM DOULAS.
Despite the term “night nurse” or “baby nurse” most night nurses and baby nurses are not actually registered nurses (RNs). They don’t hold a license to practice nursing, and they never attended nursing school. Some night nurses or baby nurses are also being called “newborn care specialists.” Regardless, the focus and training of this person is on your baby just as the name suggests. She may hold your baby while you sleep at night, offer suggestions about swaddling, bathing, and other aspects of newborn care, and assist with feedings or baby laundry.
Postpartum doulas are trained in exactly that–postpartum. What comes to mind when you think of postpartum? I think of a woman’s physical recovery from childbirth, the emotional adjustment of her and her partner to parenting, postpartum mood changes, the baby’s transition to life outside the womb, breastfeeding and formula feeding, infant care, and developmental milestones. How long does postpartum last? A LONG time–six to twelve months after giving birth! That means that postpartum doulas are skilled in not only baby care but in the entire major life transition of giving birth and all of the changes the first year afterward brings for the mother-infant dyad and the people supporting them.
SO HOW DOES ALL OF THAT LOOK LOGISTICALLY?
When you hire a postpartum doula, you hire someone who is professionally trained to care for the mother, her partner, siblings, and even other family members living in the household, not just the infant. The postpartum doula brings a wealth of knowledge about baby care, feeding, and sleep but also:
- Helps you to understand normal postpartum physical and emotional recovery and recognize deviations from it
- Offers unbiased, non-judgmental support that enables you and your partner to confidently discover your parenting values and philosophies
- Personalizes resources, recommendations, and advice to your family’s needs
- Alleviates stress and anxiety in you and your partner by developing or maintaining household routines, accompanying you to medical appointments, and promoting your self-care
- Enhances the bond between you, your partner, and your baby by instilling confidence, a sense of calm, and opportunities for empowered decision-making