Know The Difference – Night Nurse vs. Postpartum Doula

You’ve given birth to your new beautiful baby. You’re exhausted, ecstatic, and so full of love all at the same time. You’ve taken your first steps into parenthood and survived the first few days with your sweet newborn baby, maybe catching a few extra hours of shuteye thanks to the hospital nursery. 

As you pack up your belongings and get your baby ready for their big trip back home, the nerves start to kick in. Those butterflies of excitement, fear, uncertainty, and overall nervousness every new parent experiences start to flap around in your belly harder as you approach your first night at home with your baby. You wake up and check their breathing, in awe of the fact that they’re really, finally here. 

And then your baby wakes up… and you feel like they may never go back to sleep again.

Thankfully, there are resources available for new parents to utilize while adjusting to your new lives with your newborn. How do you know which support service is right for you?

Night Nurse/Night Nanny

When most new parents think of where they need support, the wee hours of the morning typically come to mind. Hiring a Night Nurse or Night Nanny may be a helpful solution to the ever-elusive shut eye new parents struggle to get.  

Night Nurses* or Night Nannies are hired with the specific intent to help care for your baby during overnights, allowing parents to get some of that elusive life elixir called sleep. Some benefits to this form of support include: 

  • Knowledge and reassurance that your baby will be cared for throughout the night while you recuperate for the next day. 
  • Uninterrupted sleep and a full night’s rest, leaving you more refreshed in the morning. 
  • Someone trained to take care of your baby’s every need will be attending to your baby and only your baby. That includes diapering, feeding, burping, and the like. 
  • Some may provide light housekeeping duties such as laundry, tidying, and dishes as requested. 

*One thing to keep in mind when thinking about if someone who calls themselves a Night Nurse is the term “Nurse” can often be misleading. Night Nurses are not typically licensed medical providers, such as an RN or LPN, so if you are looking for someone who may be able to provide specialized medical care, you will want to check into the credentials of the candidate before hiring them. Night Nurse and Night Nanny are typically an interchangeable term as far as services go. 

These trained professionals are a great choice for new parents if you’re looking for an extra set of hands to help with care for your baby for the first few weeks or through difficult sleeping patterns. Night Nurses/Night Nannies can be viewed as a basic care assistant, tending to your baby’s basic needs when you aren’t in the room. It is a great service for parents who truly just need a little extra help. However, if you’re looking for a more holistic approach to parenthood and comprehensive care of your new family, you may want to consider a Postpartum Doula. 

Postpartum Doula

Postpartum Doulas are a resource and support for new families, trained to give support to the entire family throughout the new life transition. Postpartum Doulas, while definitely utilized for nighttime needs, provide services during the day for the family as well that include more than just basic care tasks for your baby. 

While there are certain services most doulas do provide once you bring your baby home, the possibilities for doula support can be tailored to what you and your family need. Postpartum Doulas can do all of the things that Night Nurses/Night Nannies do as well as: 

  • Maternal postnatal care, including breast/chestfeeding support, and screening for postpartum mood disorders. 
  • Comfort measures for recovery (ice packing, bathing – anything to make the recovery smoother) 
  • Partner involvement and education throughout services.  
  • Assistance and education with baby care such as soothing techniques, baby-wearing, and more. 
  • Meal preparation and education around postpartum nutrition needs.
  • Light housekeeping such as tidying, dishes, vacuuming, lifting items, and potentially sibling care as needed. 
  • Networking and connections to community partners, other parents, and resources as needed. 

Hiring a Postpartum Doula is a decision that, like most things surrounding the new baby in your life, takes thorough consideration and time to make sure it’s a good fit. Our doulas here at New Life Doulas are trained in all of the above and more, and are ready to work with you to meet your postpartum needs. 

Contact us today to discuss services offered and how we can help! New Life Doulas are ready to help you feel confident and knowledgeable throughout your fourth trimester no matter what your needs may be.