I get this question a lot and decided to share some information. There are many differences between a night nurse, a baby nurse, night nanny, newborn care specialist, and a postpartum doula. First you should know that night nurses don’t generally hold a nursing license. Though they are referred to by the term, they haven’t actually been through nursing school and typically aren’t actually registered nurses. It was explained to be that in this case “nursing” is meant like “taking care of” not a medical nurse. You should also know that a postpartum doula is not the same thing as a birth doula. Postpartum doulas are trained/certified specifically for the time after you have a baby.
One challenge when writing about the differences is that not all night nurses, baby nurses, and night nannies have the same type of experience. Same with newborn care specialists because there are many different programs and some are very involved while others are more basic.
Night Nurse, Baby Nurse, Night Nanny, or Newborn Care Specialist Takes Care of your Baby for You
A night nurse is often called a “baby nurse.” In some states, the term “nurse” is not allowed to be used to define people in this line of work. So, another term for this position is a “newborn care specialist or night nanny.” Their area of focus is on caring for the baby directly.
A night nurse may hold your baby while you sleep, assist with feedings, bathing, swaddling and other normal needs that the baby may have. This newborn care specialist will take care of all of the basics, so that a mother doesn’t have to. She will directly feed and burp the newborn. She will change the newborns clothes and diapers. She will get baby to sleep so that the mother can rest. She might even help with sleep training.
Utilizing a night nurse, night nanny, baby nurse, or newborn care specialist might be best for you if you want someone else take care of your baby.
Postpartum Doulas - takes care of YOU and takes care of your baby With you (unless you are sleeping, or showering, or need some alone time then we will take care of baby for you)
Caring for a mother with a newborn is our priority. We are also well versed in caring for baby and whole family.
Postpartum doulas are trained and possibly certified in the needs of the mother, her partner, the infant, and the entire family. A postpartum doula’s goal is to care for the mother, offer education about newborns and newborn care, and care for the whole family. For example, a postpartum doula will educate the mother and others in the family about baby care and feeding. A postpartum doula will also take care of some household chores, like laundry, tidying up, and meal preparation. Most of all a postpartum doula care for the mother so she is better able to care for her new baby. A postpartum doula works with the family to help them gain skills and confidence.
She will also offer education about the physical and emotional recovery period after birth. In fact, a postpartum doula is trained to recognize signs of a rocky physical or emotional recovery and point the woman towards resources like lactation consultants, pediatricians, care providers, or community support. Postpartum doulas are wonderful at sharing resources to help connect our clients with the best resource available as soon as possible.
A postpartum doula will personalize services based on the family’s needs. We over both daytime, overnight, and 24/7 support depending on what clients need. You can expect your postpartum doula to help develop or maintain family routines, promote self-care and even accompany women on medical appointments if needed. She will also work to help enhance the bonds between all members within the family unit by helping to foster a sense of calm confidence.
Since postpartum doula work isn’t licensed by the state qualifications do vary. The After Baby Lady Postpartum Doula Services only works with doulas who are trained and/or certified by a reputable certifying organization. One of the most important parts of being a postpartum doula is following a scope of practice. Because we are non-medical we don’t offer medical advice, we don’t diagnose, or prescribe any treatments. This protects our clients and ourselves! We also don’t drive clients anywhere since that opens up issues with liability.
This might be best for you if you’d like to understand your baby’s cues, have support in your new role as a parent, get breastfeeding and bottlefeeding help, and have someone who care for the mother, baby, and whole family.
Want to hear what others think about working with our team of postpartum doulas? Check out our testimonials! Click Here!
If a postpartum doula sounds like the right fit for your family please Contact Us!
I'm often asked for resources about vitamin D for breastfeeding babies. Since I’m a postpartum doula, I don’t give medical advice, but I do pass along resources and encourage my clients to discuss them with their pediatrician.
A few years ago a study came out about maternal versus infant supplement of vitamin D which concludes, “Maternal vitamin D supplementation with 6400 IU/day safely supplies breast milk with adequate vitamin D to satisfy her nursing infant’s requirement and offers an alternate strategy to direct infant supplementation.” That was great news for my clients, since giving a newborn supplemental drops can be messy and easy to forget.
While we know that vitamin D is important for growing babies, did you know that it is also important during pregnancy? If you are currently pregnant, especially if you live in a northern state like Michigan, it is important to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D3 in your prenatal supplements. As a postpartum doula, I serve the Metro Detroit area, so it’s important to me that my fellow Michiganders and my future clients are aware that for most of the year, we can’t get enough vitamin D into our bloodstream through sun exposure alone. We are too far north.
There are numerous reasons why adequate vitamin D is important during pregnancy. From improving pregnancy mood to increasing a pregnant mother’s chances of fighting off the flu, vitamin D levels matter. Now, researchers have found a new reason to make sure that our vitamin D levels are high enough during pregnancy.
A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that vitamin D-deficiency in expectant moms has a negative effect on the motor skill development and social development of their children that is noticeable by pre-school.
Researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Surrey found that when pregnant women had vitamin D levels lower than 50 nmol per liter of blood during pregnancy, their children were more likely to end up in the bottom 25th percentile in preschool developmental tests for gross and fine motor development. The researchers looked at data from more than 7,000 child-mother pairs and accounted for other variables. The study was done after earlier research in animal studies showed that neurocognitive delays were more common among vitamin D deficient animals’ offspring.
"The importance of vitamin D sufficiency should not be underestimated. It is well-known to be good for our musculoskeletal systems, but our research shows that if levels are low in expectant mothers, it can affect the development of their children in their early years of life,” Dr. Andrea Darling, lead author of the report wrote.
Many years ago, women were more inclined to consume cod liver oil, salmon, and sardines. If you are pregnant and haven’t thought about your vitamin D levels, I urge you to consider discussing testing and supplementing with your medical professional. If you know someone who is expecting, please pass this post along to them right away!
As new and expecting parents it can be challenging to stay up to date with the latest research. One of the benefits of working with a trained, and/or certified postpartum doula is that we do ongoing continuing education and pass that knowledge on to our clients. Since we are non-medical we don’t prescribe or diagnose but instead share information and resources so each client can make decisions that work best for their family.
If you are interested in learning more about working with my team in Metro Detroit, Michigan just fill out the contact form and I will send your more information. We are currently taking clients who are due in 2018.
What clients are saying about working with The After Baby Lady! Lisa S. from Birmingham, Michigan, shares, "Jill was my postpartum doula after the birth of my first son. Not really knowing what to expect or what kind of help I'd need, Jill was extremely flexible with her schedule. Also, as new mom, in the beginning I didn't always know what help I needed or how Jill could help me. Jill is so great in those situations because of her proactive attitude and many years of experience as a mom, she knows what you need even when you don't!"
As a postpartum doula, I’m here to help you communicate with the newborn you love. Hair tourniquet syndrome is almost certainly not going to happen to your child, but if it does, your baby will suffer less if you are aware of this condition.
It happens when a single strand of hair gets wrapped around an appendage like your baby’s toe and blocks the blood flow. It can also happen to fingers and genitalia. Scientists believe that it happens specifically when moist hair ends up wrapped around a digit. As the hair dries out, it shrinks and causes strangulation of the encircled toe, finger, or other appendage.
Sometimes caregivers can see a little swelling, but can’t see the hair. They assume there was a minor injury at first, but then quickly after, the finger becomes very swollen. It’s not the caregivers’ fault that they don’t realize it’s a hair constricting the blood flow. Even medical professionals miss the hair tourniquet syndrome diagnosis. According to research published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, when public health nurses were surveyed with a presentation of hair tourniquet syndrome, 45 percent of them said they would suspect that it was an injury that might suggest abuse! Meanwhile, 83 percent of child welfare workers said that they would suspect an injury suggestive of abuse! See, it doesn’t look like a hair is wrapped around a toe. The hair is beneath the swelling. It looks like a swollen toe and the infant is inconsolable!
Sometimes, no one thinks to remove socks when their baby won’t stop crying. Fingers are exposed for longer durations of the day, but socks often hide the little toes. According to a paper published in Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, one cause of hair getting wrapped around toes leading to this painful condition might be washing baby socks without turning them inside out.
That’s why I’m writing this blog post. It’s not to scare you. This condition is very rare, but it does happen, and there may be a way to reduce the chances that it can happen to a baby you love. The preventative method is so simple. Besides keeping an eye on loose hairs within in your baby’s grasp or on the baby’s clothing, the researchers now suggest that all caregivers be informed about hair tourniquet syndrome and that risks can be reduced by turning socks inside out before laundering.
Additionally, research indicates that postpartum mothers, like my clients in the Metro Detroit area, should be aware that after pregnancy, women may experience some hair loss. I’d suggest you check to make sure that there are no stray hairs entangled between the fingers and toes. Any mittens, socks or footed pajamas should be turned inside out before being washed.
Maybe the age-old infant bonding game of the 10 little piggies every day serves multiple purposes, whether we knew it or not! Please pass this blog post along to anyone you know with a new baby and let us know if this has ever happened to a little one you know!
As postpartum doulas our goal isn't ever to worry parents but to help keep them educated about their wonderful new babies. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of hiring a postpartum doula read our FAQ's and contact us to set up a free consultation.
I’ve been teaching about caring for newborn babies at Babies R Us for more than four years! Both at their Sterling Heights, and Auburn Hills locations. In that time, I’ve seen expecting parents become more and more savvy about caring for their little ones, and I’m asked really great questions every month! One of the concepts that I’ve always taught has become more mainstream - it’s skin to skin time between parents and their babies (also known as Kangaroo Care).
Skin to skin time is one of, if not the most powerful way to lower a newborn’s stress levels and increase bonding. I’ve heard other experts share, “Touch is a baby’s first language,” and I wholeheartedly agree! One of the best ways to get to know your new baby is to hold them close and spend time together. All you need for skin to skin time is a bare chest, and a naked baby in only a diaper.
New research has confirmed that newborns experience lasting effects from the way they are touched during their earliest postnatal experiences. These new scientific findings provide strong supporting evidence to explain the biological purpose behind why mothers often report to their doulas, “Right after birth, I felt the strongest desire to keep my baby near me.”
Of course, midwives, doulas and other birth advocates have strongly supported immediate skin-to-skin care and early breastfeeding whenever possible.
All around the modern world, obstetricians have begun recognizing the importance of skin-to-skin care as well. “All babies need a period of skin to skin cuddling after the birth to adjust to the outside world,” advisory literature from Birmingham Women’s Hospital states, but this latest research is so noteworthy, that it needs to be spread around.
Nathalie Maitre of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and her colleagues measured the brain responses of 125 infants, including premature infants, in order to determine the importance of gentle touch on a newborn’s sensory development.
This study and its implications are welcomed by the gentle birth, gentle parenting and doula community. Parents have a right to know what they discovered. According to Science Daily, the latest findings have “particular implications for the care received by the 15 million infants born prematurely each year, who often must spend extended periods of time in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).”
For this new research, the team used a soft EEG to examine infants’ brain responses to gentle touch. The new research showed that babies respond to touch more readily when they are allowed gentle contact with adults in the early neonatal period. Babies who endured more painful medical procedures were heartbreakingly less likely to respond to gentle touch later during the remainder of their measured infancy … even if the babies were given pain medications and sugar to alleviate the discomfort of the procedures before undergoing them!
“Building on these results, we showed that, when controlling for prematurity and analgesics, supportive experiences (e.g., breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care) are associated with stronger brain responses, whereas painful experiences (e.g., skin punctures, tube insertions) are associated with reduced brain responses to the same touch stimuli. Our results shed crucial insights into the mechanisms through which common early perinatal experiences may shape the somatosensory scaffolding of later perceptual, cognitive, and social development.”
Maitre said that gentle touch is so important to a neonate that, "When parents cannot do this, hospitals may want to consider occupational and physical therapists to provide a carefully planned touch experience, sometimes missing from a hospital setting."
Remember, this research follows an earlier publication from Oxford University that disclosed that, although doctors once believed that babies’ brains were too underdeveloped to feel pain, MRI scans revealed that newborns’ brains “light up” on an MRI in much the same way adult brains do when exposed to mild pain.
Postpartum doulas see firsthand the importance of skin-to-skin care and gentle touch, but it’s exciting when science swoops in and validates our experiences. My favorite postpartum shifts are with new parents snuggle up in a cozy spot for some skin-to-skin time with their baby or twins, or triplets and I get some laundry done, organize the nursery, make a yummy snack for them, and keep their water bottle nice and full. I really do have the best career in the world. I get to nurture families so they have more time for bonding and relaxation.
If you’d like to learn more about working with The After Baby Lady Postpartum Doula Services as your postpartum doula please contact us soon! Our calendar tends to fill up quickly, and we are most often hired during pregnancy so you’ll know you have the support you want after birth.
Happy New Year!
One of my recent clients gave me a wonderful Christmas gift, a testimonial! I don't know if there is anything better than hearing from someone you've worked with and having them say beautiful things about the time you spent together. Even her husband shared his thoughts! He said that hiring a postpartum doula and a wedding planner is similar. We both try to decrease your stress, and increase your enjoyment! Great analogy!
I love to share what my clients say about working with me. Since not everyone is familiar with working with a postpartum doula, I think it is best to hear from clients who have worked with me about their experience.
Mary in Royal Oak shares,
"A good friend of mine recommended Jill to my husband and I. At first I was skeptical because I thought that maybe having a postpartum doula meant that I, "couldn't handle" being a new mom.
Thank you so much Mary for sharing your experience with me! I love that your husband compares hiring a wedding planner, with hiring a postpartum doula! I am so glad to know that he went from thinking that hiring me was an "extra expense" to sharing what I do with others. Give him a big high five from me.
You perfectly explained so many of my goals as a postpartum doula.
I wonder what else postpartum doulas and wedding planners have in common? If you think of something, share it in the comments!
If you would like to read about products my clients loved in 2015 read Top 5 Favorite Products for Parents with New Babies!
Mary shared a beautiful photo of her and her baby taken by Courtney Sprague Photography.
Clinton Township family
One of my favorite parts of being a postpartum doula is that my job changes with every family I support. This wonderful family in Clinton Township was grateful for the information I could share, and my availability both in person and via text or email. Having access to evidence based information and knowing which professional to turn through my postpartum doula services was important to them. Not everyone knows that this is a valuable part of hiring a postpartum doula! Offering access to the latest research and the best professionals in the area is so helpful to new parents.
I want to thank Irina for taking the time to share her thoughts about working with me. She shares,
Jill Reiter was a fantastic postpartum doula for us and we highly, highly recommend her services! We had our first child last September and she was there for us during this very exciting, challenging, stressful, and wonderful time of our life.
As always, it is my pleasure to support parents as they navigate the early days and weeks of parenting.
To read more from parents around Metro Detroit, Michigan about working with me as their postpartum doula, CLICK HERE.
Do you want to hire The After Baby Lady to support you in the early days of parenting? Let's connect!
Niki Collis Photography took this gorgeous photo and the family gave me permission to share it. To work with Niki Collis check out her website!
Royal Oak, Michigan, Mom Shares about the Early Days of Parenting
Each client I work with is very special to me. New mothers choose me to be a part of their support system and I am so grateful to be a part of their early days of parenting!
Lesley hired me as her postpartum doula while she was still pregnant. That makes the interview so much easier! When you interview me during pregnancy, I am available to offer suggestions about common questions parents have about what to do to get ready for their baby.
Royal Oak, Michigan is such a great place to work, and I am so glad I got to spend more time there while working with Lesley and her family.
I love to work with families all over Metro Detroit, from Birmingham, Michigan, to Detroit, Michigan, and over to Chesterfield, Michigan. I live in Shelby Twp, Michigan, and so traveling to Rochester Hills, Michigan, was an easy hop, skip, and jump away.
From the first interview with this wonderful family I felt we would be a great fit working together. They agreed and hired me, as their postpartum doula, to support them after the birth of their second baby.
Kristen in Rochester Hills, Michigan is an amazing mother, and I am so appreciative of the time she took to share her thoughts about hiring me as her postpartum doula,
Thank you so much Kristen! I love that you mentioned that I was focused on caring for you.
Moms are my top priority as a postpartum doula. I believe, and have seen in practice many times, the value in caring for a mother. As a mother myself, I know that when I have my needs met, it is much easier to care for my family. I love that in my work as a postpartum doula, I get to offer that support to other women.
To read more about what other families think about working with Jill Reiter, The After Baby Lady, click here.
To learn about the benefits of hiring a certified postpartum doula, read this.
I love when parents spend time preparing for their baby arrive while pregnant. Heather and her husband contacted me early on in her pregnancy and we did our first interview via Skype! I love making the process of meeting me and discussing my services as easy as possible on potential clients and I was happy to offer them the Skype interview. Eventually we met in person and brainstormed some ideas where their baby might sleep, ideas for clothes and supplies to have on hand for their new baby and more. One of the benefits of hiring me during pregnancy is all the time we have to plan and prepare!
Heather took some time to write me a lovely testimonial. Thank you so much Heather!
"When we had our first baby Jill was our postpartum doula.
We met up with her prior to our baby being born, and quickly discovered she was an encyclopedia of useful information relating to babies and postpartum care, for the baby as well as the mom.
She helped us learn how to take care of a baby, from feeding to changing to soothing techniques.
She eased our anxieties when we had questions, and helped us build confidence in our ability to take care of our new baby.
We can't imagine what it would be like to go through this learning process without a postpartum doula like Jill."
I love this sweet photo of their sweet baby. I'm so grateful they allowed me to share her smile with all of you!
Learn more about my services by clicking here.
I created this list to help new parents and expecting parents understand how a postpartum doula can solve some of their common worries.
“How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?”
Breastfeeding Support and Knowledge – Most hospitals provide wonderful lactation care. After you return home, I will help make sure your latch and positioning are optimal for successful breastfeeding. Even when things are going well with breastfeeding clients have questions and I am happy answer them so you feel confident that breastfeeding is off to a good start.
“I don’t know much about newborns, how do I best take care of my new baby?”
Newborn Care and Education – Newborns are very different from older babies. I will support you to parent the way you want while increasing your understanding of the unique characteristics of a newborn.
“My baby is crying! What should I do?”
Soothing Techniques – Many new parents want to feel confident soothing their baby/babies. I will help you learn how to parent with confidence so if baby is unhappy you know how to respond.
“How do I get stuff done and keep my baby happy at the same time?
Babywearing – I can demonstrate and suggest options for babywearing. There are numerous benefits to parents and babies by using a wrap, sling, or carrier. Using this tool parents will be able to easily integrate baby into their life and wearing your baby helps their digestion and can increase sleep!
“I need sleep and a shower!”
Support – I will expertly care for your baby so you can get some rest. I also offers overnight care to help you get as much rest as possible, and I will share her tips and tricks so when I'm not there you can handle it on your own.
“We could use some help with baby laundry, and organization.”
Tidying up – I am happy to help make your life easier by throwing in a load or two of laundry, putting dishes in the dishwasher, tidying up, and I can give you suggestions on how to organize baby clothes, and gear.
“Everything is so different now, when will I feel like being a parent is normal?”
Listening – I have worked with many parents to help them feel more confident and trust their parenting skills. Consider that becoming a parent is like any new job and having a mentor like me makes the transition so much easier.
“I will have to go back to work, or leave my baby with another care provider eventually. How do I pump and bottle feed my baby?”
Bottle Feeding and Pumping Information – I can answer questions about bottles and help you with pumping. I can also teach you some bottle-feeding techniques that mimic breastfeeding so you can optimize your feeding time with baby (whether you are using formula or breastmilk).
What were your top worries when you were a new parent? Share them in the comments so I can address them in a future blog post!
Want more tips from me? Watch this quick video A Simple Strategy to get More Sleep After Baby Arrives.
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446