Here at Neverland Nannies, because we specialize in placing Newborn Care Specialists (NCSs), also known as “Baby Nurses,” we are often asked, “What is the difference between a Postpartum Doula and a Newborn Care Specialist?”
The first biggest difference between a NCS and a Postpartum Doula is that typically, a NCS will focus exclusively on the baby, meaning, she performs duties that relate only to the baby; whereas postpartum Doulas often will approach their services with more of a whole-home/whole-family approach. According to DONA International, “Unlike a baby nurse, a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family. The doula is as available to the father and older children as to the mother and the baby. Treating the family as a unit….”
A very important factor to consider when conducting your research on NCSs and Postpartum Doulas is that a Postpartum Doula and “…Newborn Care Specialist’s work experience has greater importance than the level of her degree” (CPMC.org). This is why, at NN, we require a minimum of six years of in-home, professional experience for all our Newborn Care Specialist and Postpartum Doulas. This is to say that verifying multiple references over the course of six years is our number one priority when selecting a candidate for a family. However, many of our Newborn Care Specialists and Doulas have more than ten years of experience.
The second biggest difference between NCSs and Postpartum Doulas is that because there is a licensing process for Doulas (Postpartum, Birthing, etc), this allows them to acquire insurance to cover their practice. Conversely, there is no licensing for NCSs, so, although they can be “certified” by any number of agencies, they will most likely not be carrying insurance.
Although different, there are also several similarities between NCSs and Postpartum Doulas. Firstly, unless the Newborn Care Specialist or Postpartum Doula is also a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner, she will not perform medical procedures like checking glucose levels or taking blood pressure. Secondly, many NCSs and Postpartum Doulas hold the same certifications. Many of their similar certifications include, but are not limited to:
- Postpartum Doula Training
- Infant and Child CPR
- Lactation Consultant Training
- Sleep Training Courses
- Childbirth Education Courses
- Infant Massage Course
- Umbilical Cord Care Training
Both a NCS and Postpartum Doula will handle nighttime feedings so the family can catch up on some much-needed sleep and will also help with light nursery cleaning and baby laundry.
Both are considered independent care workers who set their own rules, parameters and hours and typically work a maximum of 12 weeks, (sometimes referred to as the “fourth trimester”), at which point they will try to “wean” the family off of their services to help them transition into a more independent and self-sufficient role.
Although a referral is an acceptable way to find yourself a Postpartum Doula or NCS, the way to assure that you are inviting someone into your home to care for your most prized possession who is honest, reliable, trustworthy and knowledgeable is to use a reputable agency.