In Honor of World Doula Week

One of the questions I see come up a lot in discussion groups is what “other” trainings should I consider that will enhance my career or my services to clients?

In this discussion, my goal is to address one particular training “exchange” that I feel is beneficial in so many ways.  I have shared these feelings before on discussion boards and with our students, but World Doula Week is a great opportunity to share it more publicly. 

Many people feel that newborn care specialist and postpartum doula roles often seem very similar and the lines are a bit blurred about what each role entails.  The reality is, that is a true observation.  But each role also has a nuance that differentiates it.  In the simplest of terms, the newborn care specialist generally focuses more on direct care of the newborn and then on the new parent or family.  A postpartum doula focuses more on the new parent or family first and steps in to provide support and direct care as the new parent focuses more on the care of their newborn.  The roles have many similarities and many people even feel they are interchangeable.

And just like the roles having similarities, and yet a different focus, so do the trainings.  

Newborn care specialist training emphasizes the care of and medical concerns of a new baby (keeping in mind, of course, that NCS are not medical professionals and their role is to report observations and concerns, but never to diagnose) while also being a support to the postpartum parent.  The training touches on the postpartum parent and things to keep in mind, but the real focus of a good NCS training is the newborn.  So the majority of the training is all about that.  A distinction with Newborn Care Solutions training in particular is that in order to take the Foundational course, you already need to have a solid understanding of basic newborn care and that you are already a childcare or postpartum professional.  That already present basic understanding of the core components of newborn care instead allows the course to focus more in depth on many things that are specific to that time period in a newborn's life, what could be a concern or not, and how to set everyone up for success. 

Postpartum doula training also covers newborns, and a good training will spend a lot of time on it, but the focus is different.  It is on the immediate care and learning of all the basics of newborns, which is of course, necessary.   Because postpartum doula training generally does not require the prerequisite knowledge and experience with babies, it is absolutely critical stuff to cover.  Any training I have encountered does a great job of covering that.  They also spend a great deal of time and deeply cover supporting and communicating with the postpartum parent/family.  Much more time than newborn care specialist training does because of the difference in focus.  This allows them to truly focus on the parent and provide the new family with quality care. 

So what do they have to do with one another? In the simplest of terms, they compliment each other in a beautiful way!  Sure, there is some overlap, and each speciality is going to know some of the things taught in the other course, but the reality is our belief at Newborn Care Solutions is that all NCS can benefit from postpartum doula training and all postpartum doulas can benefit from newborn care specialist training.  Of course, we also believe that ongoing education is never a waste, but a great investment of both your time and money.  In the end, it is truly our clients who benefit the most.   

If you are an NCS interested in postpartum doula training, check out Jodi Congdon with or seek out a trainer in your area.  

If you are seeking another avenue to support new parents, we loved the New Parent Educator training we took and you can find more about that from Laura Nance at
And of course, if you are a doula seeking ongoing education or a broader knowledge base around newborns, check out our CAPPA Approved trainings at


Cowritten by Tonya Sakowicz from Newborn Care Solutions® and Jodi Congdon from Hip to Heart

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