As a new parent there are many different types of postpartum support available to you. The main types of providers include a Baby Nurse or Newborn Care Specialist, a Nanny and a Postpartum Doula. The difference lies in more than just the name, however. Although all of the professionals do provide support after baby is born, they all have completely different responsibilities and goals when it comes to caring for mom and baby.
Baby Nurse/ Newborn Care Specialist – Responsibilities include only the needs of the baby. A “baby nurse” in most states must be a Registered Nurse. Newborn Care Specialists may have specialized training in newborn needs and care. This professional may be experience in sleep training and putting baby on a feeding or sleeping schedule. This professional will also be very knowledgeable in normal newborn appearance and behavior. Useful for moms who want quality care for baby so they can get some sleep.
Nanny – Generally, an employee of the family in that they may complete tasks asked of them. This professional may have specialize training in caring for children newborn to school-age. Responsibilities include care of baby and/or other children in addition to some household chores such as meal prep and light cleaning. Useful for non-first time moms who need extra support with older children.
Postpartum Doula – Responsibilities include supporting postpartum recovery for both mom and family. A postpartum doula will have experience working with postpartum moms and usually will have specialized training in providing emotional and practical support, newborn care education and breastfeeding support. A postpartum doula may prepare nourishing food and drink for mom. complete light household tasks, accompany mom out of the house for the first time with baby or simply keep and eye on baby so mom can shower. Useful for first-time moms, moms who need breastfeeding support, and moms with little to no family support.
Now these are just general descriptions of what each type of care provider entails. Remember that each care provider is also an individual and has a unique journey. When interviewing care providers ask about their education and experience. Ask about their philosophy on birth and postpartum and decide if their response resonates with you. Go with your gut when it come to choosing a care provider, this person will be in your home and will become like family.