An Overnight Postpartum Doula vs. A Night Nurse

baby in a gray knit hat yawning laying next to a white teddy bear

Postpartum doulas and night nurses are two different types of professionals who support families after the birth of their child.

Although they both provide support during the postpartum period, their roles and responsibilities differ significantly.

Postpartum doulas are trained professionals who provide physical, emotional, and informational support to families once they welcome their little ones home. Your doula will assist with tasks such as newborn care, breastfeeding support, emotional support, household chores, and meal preparation. These shifts can occur during the day so that mom gets time for self care such as a shower or a nap, as well as a listening ear to help her process the emotions and overwhelm that can happen as you adjust to life with a newborn. In addition, a postpartum doula offers overnight support so that families can get the restorative sleep they need knowing their newborn is in competent, capable hands throughout the night.

A night nurse, sometimes called a newborn care specialist generally provide overnight care for the newborn. Their primary focus is on caring for the infant. Their role is to make sure the baby is well-fed, clean, and comfortable throughout the night. Some provide support with breastfeeding; but the primary focus is to care for the baby while the parents get some rest.

While both professionals provide support throughout the night, the type of support they offer is quite different. A postpartum doula’s focus is on THE ENTIRE FAMILY, including both parents and the baby; while a night nurse is focused on the baby’s care.

When it comes to developing healthy sleep habits, postpartum doulas provide education and support to help parents establish a routine that works for the family. This will include understanding sleep cues, appropriate wake windows, understanding sleep cycles, full feeds, etc. In addition, your doula will help you understand and develop strategies for soothing the baby when they wake up during the night. They provide education on safe sleep practice and help create a healthy sleep environment for their baby.

Your postpartum doula will also help with feeding support and education. She can help families understand the basics of feeding, including proper latch techniques and positioning, as well as provide support for any challenges that arise. Your doula can help support you through pumping and bottle feeding as well. Your doula will also support a formula-fed baby with non-judgmental support and encouragement. Your doula respects your choices and works with you to provide optimal care for your newborn.

The biggest difference between a night nurse and a doula is how supported the entire family is. A postpartum doula provides support and education, as well as hands-on infant care to help families establish a routine that works for them while providing time for restorative sleep and self care. A night nurse’s primary focus is ensuring that the baby is well-fed and comfortable throughout the night.

photo of Laura Pasyanos sitting on a couch

Laura Pasyanos, Owner & Founder

Laura is the founder & owner of Southern Doula Services. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her work as a doula and agency owner.

Her passion for newborns and maternal health is evident in the compassionate and personalized care she and her team of doulas provide to families during this special time.

Reach out today to book your free Care Consultation.


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