Postpartum Doula or Night Nanny or Baby Nurse?

In the wee hours of Postpartum exhaustion, you might have Googled, “Help me at night with my newborn!!!!” to see results for Night Nannies and Baby Nurses and Doulas. So what are they and how exactly do they differ from Postpartum Doulas?

To put it simply, a Night Nanny can be anyone who is paid to come over at night to help with a newborn. This person may have many years of experience and be quite adept at offering tips and tricks. They might even know how to gasp sleep train! However, Night Nannies do not need to carry any certification, which means if there is an emergency situation, they might not be trained to help. Because of this, not every Night Nanny might be qualified to put a mind at ease.

A Baby Nurse is a bit more evasive. In big cities like Boston and LA, you can find someone to come into your home as a Newborn Care Specialist. Perhaps they worked as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at some point. With the title nurse, they should be medically able to monitor baby and mom, which can set many new families at ease. With that being said, not everyone titled “Baby Nurse” is an actual nurse! Some agencies call their contractors Baby Nurses when they are really just Night Nannies. If you see on an Agency website that a Baby Nurse can stay with a family for an extended period of time, night and day, they might actually be a nanny.

A Postpartum Doula is trained and certified to come into your home after the baby is born to help establish care routines like bath time, bedtime, and feeding. We can help mom and dads get sleep by watching the baby in the wee-hours of the night. We can identify feeding issues, mood disorders, and get parents to the right medically trained care professionals. A Postpartum Doula does not stay with families for an extended period of time like a nanny, though they do prefer to be booked in multi-hour increments. Postpartum doulas typically have a different focus than Nannies. We prefer to cultivate an environment where parents can bond with babies, as opposed to coming into the home and taking over the newborn care, which means we prioritize parents well being as much as baby's. It is these qualities that makes Postpartum doulas in high demand these days!

No matter who you are looking for to help, you want to ask your potential care professional the right questions. Below is a really good start!

What is their experience?

Are they doula certified through an agency that is reputable?

Are they CPR certified?

Do they ask questions to learn your expectations and needs?

Gut Check- Do you feel relieved and safe?

ProDoula has an excellent and more specific explanation of what Postpartum Doulas do on their blog. You can read it here!

We’re looking out for you, mamas and papas!

Fed is best, but how do I know if my baby is getting enough?

One of the hardest parts of having a newborn is being able to tell whether or not baby has eaten enough.

Bottle feeding makes it easier for parents to see how many ounces baby has gotten, but in the first few days of establishing a milk supply (if you decide to breastfeed), it’s so important to feed from the breast. Doing so tells the body how much milk to make.

It is, therefore, important to feed often. You can’t feed your baby too much from the breast! With that being said, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily and oftentimes, mamas don’t know if their baby is getting enough (wouldn’t it be nice if bellies had measuring cups in them?!).

At first, a newborn needs only 1-3 ounces of breastmilk every 2-3 hours during the day, and to go no longer than 4 hours at night without eating. For formula, babies eat around 3 ounces and can sometimes sleep longer stretches because formula take longer to metabolize. As a rule, babies really shouldn’t go longer than 4 hours without eating the first few weeks of life until they gain back their birth weight.

The info-graph below has a few cues to look out for when trying to figure out if baby has eaten enough—it’s ALL about the output!

Kellymom was a great resource to me for all of my new mom feeding questions, mostly surrounding breastfeeding. You can visit her here.

newborns gotta eat!

newborns gotta eat!