What’s the difference between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse or night nanny? A postpartum doula is a non-medical support person whose primary function is to support the parents and make their transition to parenthood smooth and successful. She will provide care for the baby while parents are resting, showering, etc., but will not stay alone with the baby or take over their care. Baby nurses and night nannies are skilled in baby care, and may or may not have RN or other medical credentials. They specialize in baby care only, while postpartum doulas have the skills and training to take care of the whole family and ensure that the parents have the skills and confidence (as well as rest and nutrition) to be the best parents they can be.
My family/friends said they’re going to help out when baby comes. Why bother with a postpartum doula? If you’re lucky enough to have family nearby to help, that’s awesome! It’s going to be great to see your precious bundle bond with Grandma. There are a few things that postpartum doulas bring to the table that are extra special. One is completely up-to-date knowledge of all things baby. A postpartum doula will know about the latest recommended, evidence-backed care practices, products, and parenting “hacks.” Another is completely non-judgmental, unbiased support for you and your parenting decisions. New parents don’t have to entertain the doula or have the house (or themselves!) presentable for her. In fact, the doula can help the family set boundaries for visitors and make sure you have time to bond peacefully as a new family.
Why is there a 4-hour minimum for your service? Four hours per visit is the perfect amount of time for me to make sure all of the parents’ needs are being met, without rushing. It allows me to take care of anything around the house that needs attention, and ensures that parents can get a nap if they need one (which they usually do!). It also allows me to observe at least one of Baby’s sleep/wake cycles, so I can answer questions about the family routine.
Can the doula stay with the baby while I go to the store/doctor’s appointment/meet a friend for coffee? Postpartum doulas don’t stay alone with the baby other than perhaps allowing the parent a quick breath of fresh air while they walk around the block a few times. This is because a postpartum doula’s main focus is to take care of new parents, and I want to make sure you’re completely confident in your abilities even when I’m not there. But I’d love to hold the baby while you make some inquiries into a babysitter or nanny! I’d also be more than happy to accompany you to your appointment or errand– actually, leaving the house with a newborn can be really daunting, so it would be great for me to support you through the intricacies of baby-wrangling!
Isn’t the postpartum period supposed to be hard? I’m sure I’ll survive… Imagine how great it would be to not only survive the postpartum period, but actually enjoy it! That’s what my main goal is as your postpartum doula. I want you to be able to rest on clean sheets while you cuddle and bond with your family. I want you to be able to enjoy a delicious meal instead of wolfing down a protein bar while feeding baby. I want you to feel like you’re making choices that are right for your family, without judgment or opinions that don’t serve your best interest. I want your memories from this period of your life to be positive and full of love.