Doula? Baby Nurse? How Do I Choose?

What’s the difference between a Baby Nurse and a Postpartum Doula? If you’re considering professional help for your family, how do you choose?

Let’s compare the two so you can better understand the type of help each professional can provide:

  1. Baby Nurse: this is someone who has been trained in newborn care and primarily takes care of the baby. Their knowledge base usually includes sleep, feeding, diapering, bathing, comfort, infant CPR, etc. Nurses often move in with a family and can provide round-the-clock care for the first week or two postpartum. Some nurses have other specialized training in multiples care and lactation counseling.
  2. Doula: this provider comes with a similar skill set as a baby nurse but is trained with a slightly different approach: “to mother the mother so that she can mother her baby.”  Traditionally, postpartum doulas worked during daytime hours, helping a mom build her confidence as she learned to care for her little one. Nowadays, many doulas offer overnight services as well. Doulas are also trained to help with sibling care and meal prep. They encourage moms to stay hydrated, take in adequate nutrition, and get enough rest.

There is a lot of cross-over between the two, so it’s best to keep the following in mind when making a decision about who will best meet your preferences:

  • Make sure to check references.
  • Some nurses and doulas are self-employed; others are affiliated with agencies. Anyone you interview should agree to a background check.
  • Ask about special training and/or certifications they’ve earned.
  • Not every professional is willing/able to provide every service you seek; make sure to be clear about your needs upfront (aka don’t assume everyone will watch your toddler or perform light housekeeping tasks).
  • Make time in your 3rd trimester for interviews. It could take a while to meet the right person, and reputable providers book up quickly.

Check out national resources and local resources to learn more about Baby Nurses and Doulas!

If you’re considering banking your babies’ Cord Blood and Tissue or would like to learn more, download our Free Information Packet on Cord Blood and Tissue Banking.