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  • Writer's pictureDonna Ford

Newborn Care Specialist, Postpartum Doula & Night Nurse - What's the difference?

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Welcoming a new baby to your family is an exciting, joyful, and magical time. It can also be exhausting and overwhelming! Many parents look to professionals for help and guidance to get through those first important days or weeks at home with your bundle of joy.

But how do you know what type of professional you need? When researching, it can quickly become confusing; with terms like Postpartum Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, or Night Nurse flying around learning what each distinction means, and how these amazing professionals can benefit your family can be a lot to figure out. To help, we have outlined out what the differences are between each of these three designations is and how each expert plays a distinctive role in the care of a newborn and their family.

Newborn Care Specialists

The term “Newborn Care Specialist” came about in 2007 when Nanny Associations saw that it was necessary to have an appropriate referral term for people that focus on caring for newborns. Previously these individuals were called night nurses or baby nurses. However, most were not registered nurses and they lacked accreditation and could not perform the duties of a registered nurse. As such, using the term night nurse or baby nurse was both inappropriate and illegal.

In a nutshell, a Newborn Care Specialist helps to care for and nurture your baby while also providing advice and consultation around the needs of the infant, giving breastfeeding guidance, and swaddling instruction to the mother.

In most cases, the specialist works around the clock. They are supposed to maintain their presence for the child both during the day and at night. Usually, the specialist’s room is next to the babies, and in other cases, they have a bed inside the baby’s room to help with their daytime and nighttime needs.

Postpartum Doulas

A Postpartum Doula has a more holistic job description than a Newborn Care Specialist. They support the mother, father or partner along with the rest of the family after the delivery of the child. They guide families and provide non-medical support on an emotional, physical, and educational level.

The Postpartum Doula walks alongside the new parent(s) with the ultimate goal of educating and building confidence in caring for life’s most precious gift- their baby/ies. They give hands-on lessons on breast and bottle feeding and other essential newborn care basics. They also help parents understand their infant’s unique cues and suggest helpful newborn sleep and processes to make the transition to parenthood as easy as possible.

The main objective for the Postpartum Doula is to ensure that the parents feel supported, confident, and joyful in their parenthood journey with their infant. They can also help with light housekeeping and the preparation of meals around the house, as well as lay the foundation for family/home harmony.

Night Nurse

A “Night Nurse” is a term that is sometimes used to refer to a Newborn Care Specialist or Postpartum Doula or simply a Nanny that does overnight services. A “Night Nurse” may not have the level of accreditation of a Newborn Care Specialist, but they are experienced in taking care of feedings, changings, and tending to the newborn throughout the night to give parents a break.

It’s important to review the resumes of each infant provider to ensure they are qualified for the tasks required and that the individual is the right fit for your growing family.

All three specialists can make an incredible difference in how the first chapter of the newborn experience plays out. Having extra assistance and support from a seasoned and educated baby expert can transform the lives of both parents and children for the better. It’s essential this transition period be positive and productive as it helps everyone involved establish an ongoing routine while warmly welcoming a new child to the family.

To find out more about how a Postpartum Doula could help your family, Click Here

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