Many kinds of support are available to help the new family with their baby. This will help you understand who does what!
What is a Doula? The word “doula” comes from a Greek word that means “servant to a woman.” Our doulas are professionally trained “postpartum” doulas who provide education and support for the mother, father, baby and extended family during the first three months of the baby’s new life with them. Her expertise and experience includes support for feeding and caring for newborns (onesies, multiples, preemies). She educates parents on how to interpret and respond to a baby’s needs, teaches soothing techniques, helps parents understand baby sleep needs and problems, and helps integrate the new little one into the existing family with siblings. She promotes transitioning everyone into a peaceful home. (There are also “birth doulas” who attend the laboring mother during delivery.)
A baby nanny provides care at home for the baby (or babies) when parents have to return to work.
A baby nurse cares for the infant and can be either a trained nurse or a layperson with experience with babies. Typically they provide only baby care and do not offer baby care education or mother care, nor are they trained to help with breastfeeding or other special needs of the mother.
A night nurse is much like the baby nurse, in that she provides overnight care for a baby while the parents sleep. She is usually not trained to provide any other kind of support to the mother or family other than overnight baby sitting. Sometimes this person will have nanny training or simply experience with her own children or some other training in child care. Her services are most helpful for babies who have passed through the newborn stage, after about 3 to 4 months.
A mother’s helper generally provides housework help and childcare for older children during the postpartum period.