Are Postpartum Doulas and Night Nurses the Same Thing?

Are Postpartum Doulas and Night Nurses the Same Thing?

As professional postpartum doulas, who help new parents navigate life with infants and save the day (night) with overnight shifts so they can catch up on sleep, there is just one tiny thing that gets under our skin:

being referred to as night nurses or night nannies.

Postpartum doulas are still not widely known in the mainstream public, but whether from TV, books, or tradition passed down through history, almost everyone is aware of the concept of the “night nurse” or “night nanny” – the person who cares for a new baby at night so the parents can rest. It’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s comfortable to keep using those terms.

However, there are some key differences between a postpartum doula and a night nurse/nanny, so let’s break those down a little bit.

What is a Night Nurse?

A night nurse is technically a registered nurse who works night shifts, but in popular culture as already mentioned, many people also associate this term with a lay person who cares for a baby at night. All throughout history, wealthy women used to have a “baby nurse” who performed this task, and this is probably where the cultural awareness of the term comes in. A person advertising themselves as a night nurse to provide overnight infant care may not actually have any sort of formal training or professional credentials, much less a nursing license. As postpartum doulas, it’s actually illegal for us to refer to ourselves as “night nurses”, unless we actually hold that license!

What is a Night Nanny?

Again, a night nanny is a lay person who takes care of a baby at night. They may do nannying and babysitting jobs during the day as well, or work in some other form of childcare, and expand into offering overnight shifts as well. A night nanny may have personal experience with children and childcare, but does not necessarily hold any professional training or credentials under her belt. A night nanny may work solo, by neighborhood word of mouth, without the formal business structure that a caregiver advertising as a night nurse may have.

The Postpartum Doula Difference

Do we take care of babies overnight as a profession? You bet we do. We also take our careers – and our name – as postpartum doulas very seriously. We are so much more than overnight babysitters. Our postpartum doulas receive specifically targeted intensive training to support the entire family unit through the transition to welcoming a new baby. Family dynamics, postpartum depression and anxiety, siblings, household management, infant care and sleep strategies, and the most up-to-date knowledge on infant skills and development are all areas of expertise for us.

In addition, each postpartum doula must strive toward certification and carry insurance, first aid training, and infant CPR certification. She must possess the demeanor required to support all families with true warmth, compassion, professionalism, and nonjudgmental attitude.

Choosing a postpartum doula means true reliability for your family. Because we strive to provide an inclusive, high-quality working environment, attracting only the best doulas and paying generous rates, we are able to retain the best talent who will show up on time, every time, pay attention to detail, and fit in seamlessly with your family’s lifestyle.

Are you looking for a night nanny or night nurse in Annapolis? Spoiler alert: you’re really looking for a postpartum doula! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you enjoy smooth, ordered days with your infant, and blissful respite at night.