Should You Hire a Baby Nurse or a Postpartum Doula to Help With Your Newborn?

Taking care of a newborn is a daunting task for many new moms.  Between having to get up during the night, feeding the baby during the day, and having to go to work, moms are overwhelmed.  Hiring a postpartum doula or baby nurse can help take care of the baby is a great way to take a load off the mom and let her take a breather from the stresses as a new mother.

What is the difference between the duties of a postpartum doula and a baby nurse?

Both a postpartum doula and baby nurses are newborn care professionals who aid the new mom in a variety of baby care tasks.  Both are capable of performing tasks such as changing diapers, bathing the baby, changing baby's clothes, and using garments to swaddle the baby.  That is the extent of what a baby nurse does.  However, the job of a postpartum doula extends beyond.  For example doulas provide breastfeeding education and encourage mother to baby bonding through skin contact.  A postpartum doula is also trained to recognize signs of mood disorders which may afflict the mother during the postpartum period.  Finally, postpartum doulas involve the partner and older siblings in order to ease everyone's concerns about the new baby in the family.

Postpartum doula training vs. baby nurse training

Baby nurses receive training through a one time class which teaches them the essentials of newborn care.  Postpartum doula training includes a certification curriculum which incorporates classes, training literature, and training workshops.  Doula training is more extensive than baby nurse training.  Because of that, it is more expensive and takes a longer time to complete.  When hiring a doula, look for one that has been certified from an international recognized certification organization such as CAPPA or DONA to ensure a high quality of care for your newborn baby.  Baby nurses can be certified as a newborn care specialist as well; however, their certification is not internationally recognized.

Questions to ask when hiring a doula

There are several important questions you must consider before hiring a doula.  Two obvious questions are how much the fee is and if she has any references for you to verify.  Additionally, it is important to ask about her training and whether or not she has been certified as a postpartum doula. Furthermore, depending on your needs, you may want to inquire about the type of post-labor support she provides and her philosophy on childcare and support for the mother.  Finally, it is critical to ask the exact time period when she can provide support as well as her contact information in case there is an emergency.