Postpartum Doula vs. Night Nurse: What's the Difference?
I do Postpartum Doula work regularly and often get asked if I’ll be a night nurse for new babies. I love spending the night snuggling up to a Newborn, but the main appeal of a postpartum doula isn’t the extra sleep you can get, or clean laundry folded during a daytime shift, it’s the resource that they themselves are. It seems funny to be particular about how the word Night Nurse is thrown around, but from clients who have hired both, I see a real difference in the outcome.
I always think of it like this: A quick fix, versus long lasting solutions.
Let’s jump in:
A Night Nurse, when she is truly a nurse, is a qualified medical professional, who is trained to know how to deal with any medical issues that may arise with a newborn and often has experience in the medical field. These professionals are available for hire for nights alone, and rarely do daytime shifts. This is an awesome answer for a mom who needs a night or two, here or there, but can be costly in the long run. As a student nurse myself, I totally understand the appeal of trusting a medical professional with your baby. That being said, many people who advertise themselves as night nurses, are really more like night nannies. They don’t have a real connection to the medical field, but they often do have lots of experience with newborns. It’s always a good idea to clarify what certification your Night Nurse has, before hiring them.
Postpartum Doulas are also highly trained professionals who require certification. They’ve been trained to help families adjust to the addition of a new baby and can help in a wider, more wholesome way. From helping by ticking menial tasks off your chores list, to answering questions on the norms of postpartum bleeding amounts for the mother, they are there to support you in whatever way you need. They can be hired for daytime shifts, where they’ll assist in meal planning, prepping and more, as well as night time shifts, where they will whisk the baby away to another room for the night to be seen again only for feedings, or in the morning; but the main goal is always having left the family with new knowledge.
As a Postpartum Doula I pay significant attention to details I see that can be easily changed or tweaked for the benefit of my clients. I make sure to review those tendencies with the families before I leave after a shift. If something worked for me overnight with calming their baby, I’ll show them exactly what I’ve done and how it can be replicated. If something in their household needs to be mainstreamed, like groceries, for example, I’ll teach them how to order online, save a list, and make the next times food order that much simpler. All the little things add up to a life that becomes much less stressful for a growing family.
I always see it as a win-win. While postpartum Doulas are also an investment, they offer both quick fix services, with the addition of a long term solution. Not only can we stay the night and give you some extra sleep, but we teach you how to get that extra sleep on the regular.
In the end of the day, you get more bang for your buck, so what do you have to lose?
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