Differences between Maternity Nurses, Postnatal Doula & Nanny

What is the difference between a Maternity Nurse. a Doula and a Nanny ? We give a brief outline of each of these roles and what you can expect when you employ these helping hands.

Having paid help is often seen as a luxury although in the case of multiples. this could be viewed as a necessity ! It's very important to get the right start for your babies in the first 3 weeks and families with premature babies. twins. triplets. and quadruplets may need help for a longer period of time.

Maternity Nurses

A Maternity Nurse is an experienced newborn and infant specialist who will come into your home. providing the physical and emotional support in those first few weeks home. For twin pregnancy and multiple births. it would be advisable to get a Maternity Nurse that has experience with twins or triplets. Their role is to assist the entire family with the everyday care of their new twin babies (or triplets). She will work with you to establish the twins sleeping and feeding routines to fit your families" needs. Your Maternity Nurse is there to make sure everyone is getting the much needed rest they deserve and her goal is to leave the family with everyone transitioned into their new role as parents.

Some of the responsibilities include:
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Initiating a schedule for sleeping. meals. nap and play-time
  • Keeping a daily journal of babies' schedules. medications and development
  • Feeding babies (may include shopping for food and other baby related items)
  • Sterilizing. cleaning and preparing bottles
  • Bathing babies and keeping the bathroom tidy
  • Maintaining all supplies / restocking baby care items
  • Laundering babies' clothing and bedding. changing bed linen
  • Keeping the nursery and playroom tidy
  • Keeping age appropriate toys safe and in good working order
  • Running baby related errands as directed
  • Transporting babies to activities and appointments

A typical schedule for a Maternity Nurse.

A Maternity Nurse usually works full time. usually in 12 hour shifts. day or night or work 4-24 hour shifts. either 5 or 7 days a week. to help the family get the much needed rest that they deserve. Most families request they work overnight shifts so that the family can receive the rest that they deserve. The Maternity Nurse will work with you to set a schedule for the babies that will best fit your needs.



Postpartum Doulas change from day to day as the needs of the family changes. Postnatal Doulas do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. They share information about baby care with the mother as well as teach siblings and parents to mother the mother and they help with breastfeeding education. Postpartum Doulas make sure the mother is fed. well hydrated and comfortable.


The new mother may feel anxious and overwhelmed. The skills you've learned in parenting classes. such as bathing and feeding may be forgotten. Caring for a new life is a tremendous responsibility and caring for twins. triplets or more can be daunting as well as incredibly challenging.
  • Providing gentle education and reassurance to help you gain confidence. Provide you with the opportunity to de-brief and talk about the birth itself and your emotions. and most especially some mothering for yourself.
  • Reducing your chance of maternal postpartum depression and/or a shorter duration for the mother to cope with Postpartum if and when it does occur.
  • Reducing maternal exhaustion. frustration. and apprehension during early weeks. Helping you to get rest so you can heal. providing you with nourishing food and drink and allowing you to relinquish the practical chores to someone else
  • Dad back to work sooner with less anxiety.
  • Greater understanding of a newborn's emotional. physical. and behavioural needs.
  • Easier bonding due to more confidence.
  • Some of the responsibilities include but not limited to:
  • Breastfeeding Support
  • Bottle preparation
  • Nappy changing
  • Bathing and Dressing
  • Meal Preparation
  • Household help or occasional errands
  • Help with older siblings
  • Educate the family

Differences between Maternity Nurses and Post natal Doula.


One of the main differences between the postpartum doula and the Maternity nurse is the intended focus.

The Maternity nurse will focus more on the care of the baby and not necessarily on the mother. This person is a non-medically trained newborn care specialist who’s main focus is on the newborn child. The responsibilities of the Maternity Nurse are feeding, bathing, changing the infant, washing/cleaning/sterilizing bottles, in addition to sleep training, initiating a schedule for sleeping, meals, nap and play time, advising and providing any requested consultation on infant needs, swaddling, breastfeeding guidance, cord and circumcision care and nursery organization.

A Post Natal Doula is a person who provides support for the mother and the rest of the family. A big part of the doula’s job is to “mother the mother” and help the new mother recover after birth. There is a lot of focus on education- helping with breastfeeding and bottle feeding support, establishing newborn procedures and routine, tips etc…- The postpartum doula aims to make the mother comfortable and confident in her new role, and to empower the parents to care for their new baby themselves. The doula can also provide some light house keeping, errand running and meal preparation. can relieve the parents of caring for their newborn and allow for down time for parents.

In terms of work day, the commitment of hours a Maternity nurse offers is typically longer then the postpartum doula. Many times the baby nurse lives in with the family after birth. This can range from a week to several months. It is also more common for NCS to do over night stays and will typically work 12 hour or 24/7 shifts.