Do I need a night nanny, baby nurse or postpartum doula to help with my newborn?
It was only a couple years ago that postpartum doulas started becoming consistently more common in Tulsa. For the most part, doulas were associated with helping women in pregnancy and birth have a positive experience through education and support. Now, the term doula encompasses so much more than simply birth support, and extends to going into the family's home and helping the entire family adjust to life with a newborn.
In these last few months, Tulsa Family Doulas has been hired for, completed or will complete soon 842 hours of in-home postpartum doula support. That means for all of those blissful hours, the entire family is well-cared for. Postpartum doulas are trained to not only assist with basic newborn care, but to help ease the whole family into their new roles with the new baby.
Postpartum doula care can be similar in tasks to what a night nurse, night nanny, or even a newborn care specialist may provide, but a postpartum doulas' focus is entirely different. The postpartum doulas' focus is not on just providing respite for the mom and care for the baby. Her focus is on the entire family and how they are ALL recovering and recuperating from birth and the adaptation to a new baby into the home.
That care can look different depending on the dynamics and needs of each family. So, what is the difference between a night nanny, baby nurse or postpartum doula? Let's explore the role of the postpartum doula to learn more about her training, certification and support.
New Parent Physical and Emotional Care
Tulsa Family Doulas' postpartum doulas will make sure that the new parents are heard, nourished, comforted and supported. We are trained to know what is normal physical and emotional recovery from childbirth and are especially attentive when deviations from that normalcy are presented. This includes physically for both mom and baby and emotionally for the whole family.
We have a wonderful relationship with Susan Bachmann and Kimberly Thomas-Combs with Family Therapy and Renewal Center and have spoken in depth with them about our roles as both birth and postpartum doulas in supporting women with known or potential mood disorders or postpartum mood disorders. We know when to refer and when to sit, listen, affirm and comfort.
Sometimes being heard and seen is an effective balm to the soul of a new mom or dad. And we know sometimes appropriate care requires much more. We stand by your side while you are figuring out this new normal and help you walk the path of finding your groove in your new parental role (even if it isn't your first baby), cheering for you every step of the way.
Our postpartum doulas know how important it is to make sure that the big brother or sister is feeling especially cared for when adapting to life with a baby.
While some siblings may not be able to verbalize all of their feelings (or mercy sake, they very well MAY be able to), your postpartum doula will help make sure that you and any siblings get some one-on-one time together while the baby is being cared for, or that big brother or sister get undivided attention from the doula herself.
Did you know that just thinking about bathing a new slippery wiggly baby could bring such feelings of trepidation? What about cleaning the baby before the umbilical cord falls off? Is it normal for the baby to really make that much noise at night when they are sleeping? How often should my baby eat and how much is appropriate? What about swaddling blankets, diapers, infant carriers, clothes, hats, gas drops, fingernails, crying, burping and pooping?
The hospital or birth center doesn't give you an owner's manual when you leave with the baby. That's where we come in.
We listen to every question you have on appropriate newborn care and help you find the best solutions for your family. Family and friends opinions may come in abundance, but does what they do work for you and your baby? Our postpartum doulas are well-educated, opinion-free, judgment-free and are some of the best resources out there for hands-on learning with YOUR new baby.
Special Care for Special Babies
What about help for babies whose needs may demand a little more? Our certified postpartum doulas have experience in working with twins, NICU graduates, babies on apnea monitors, cleft lip and even have provided care for babies post-surgery.
Now, our care is not medical, like what a nurse would provide. Our care is peer-based. It is the same type of care that would be provided by a family member or friend in the same situation. Unfortunately, family members and friends aren't always available to provide the amount of care that is beneficial to the parents.
There is something about the needs of the mom and the baby when the sun goes down. It can oftentimes feel exceptionally solitary and bring on feelings of loneliness and helplessness when combined with the effects of fatigue. Sleep deprivation as a new mom is not something to be ignored. Lack of sleep can contribute to a whole host of problems including worsening postpartum baby blues or mood disorders.
Our postpartum doulas generally spend the first hour or so with the parents answering questions, providing education and teaching opportunities and giving hands-on instruction as a baby expert. We can talk through changes in the baby's routine, give assurance of the normalcy of the baby's needs and how to expertly meet those needs, and fill the new parents with confidence in their own innate abilities to provide everything that little human needs.
Consistently, our overnight care will always have the parents awakened by the morning light with the baby dressed and ready for the day with a freshly changed diaper (if not still blissfully snoozing), all bottles, pump equipment or even pacifiers are cleaned and sanitized, baby-related and household tasks are completed, bottles and baby necessities are prepped for the day, and there may even be breakfast cooking and coffee brewing.
Our postpartum doulas are proficient at overnight support and care of a newborn and new mom. This can look different for each family we serve:
For those exclusively breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can stay in another room with the baby (remember all those loud nighttime baby noises?) and bring the baby to mom for the feedings. We can help decipher whether or not the babies just making noise during in their sleep with with a regular sleep pattern or we can decipher through the baby's cues when the baby is, in fact, ready for another feed.
Then, mom is brought a snack and water while she is feeding her baby. She has someone with her during the feedings to help with troubleshooting or even just comfort and companionship, because sometimes those bleary-eyed feedings in the middle of the night are overwhelming. The postpartum doula then does the diaper changes and puts the baby back to sleep while the the mom goes right back to sleep after the feed knowing her baby is well-cared for.
If the mom is exclusively pumping or just wanting to express her breastmilk for the baby to consume at night, then our doulas can provide that care as well. We can assure that pump equipment and bottles are appropriately cleaned and sanitized prior to and after use, brought to mom if she is pumping during the evening hours, and that the baby is fed, changed and put back to sleep while mom is able to sleep as much as possible.
Complete overnight care
Our doulas also have extensive experience in providing complete overnight care for the baby. This means when we arrive at our client's house in the evening, we are brought up to date on priorities, tasks and schedules and then say goodnight to the sleepy mom and dad. The doula then provides one-on-one care for the baby for the entire evening while mom and dad get continuous, uninterrupted, healing sleep.
Now there may be some people that say that the baby should be spending the night beside mom and the baby should be able to give the cues to the mom herself. Absolutely, in an ideal environment, and in an ideal scenario, that would be fantastic and the perfect way to welcome your baby, learn from your baby, and transition to life with your baby.
However, there is absolutely nothing wrong in asking for help at night. In fact, it is encouraged in almost every other area of newborn care. If you have the opportunity to give yourself the gift of rest and the unconditional support from an encouraging, confident professional, then start saving money now and give yourself that precious gift.
Many people focus on the birth so much and then leave the vulnerable postpartum time for the new family as something that will just happen easily within their "babymoon" time together.
But not but not having an ideal support scenario for mom and baby can actually increase risk of postpartum mood disorders. We want you to understand that there is care available for you. Moms, it is okay to ask for help and we are here to help you.
Adoptive and Surrogacy Families
Are you growing your family through adoption or with a surrogate? Our postpartum doulas understand the dynamics of these precious relationships and have experience in working with adoption agencies and surrogacy agencies in setting up care for the new family after the baby is born.
While there may not be the same physical recovery from childbirth when the relationship includes a birth mom or surrogate, the emotional adaptation to life with a baby is the same. Our postpartum doulas help provide daytime and overnight support with newborn education and care, assistance with bonding of the new baby, troubleshooting baby tasks and providing much-needed source of stability, especially for international families that have traveled to Oklahoma for the birth of their baby.
Meal Planning and Preparation
Nourishment of the new mom is one of our biggest priorities. Appropriate nutrition can help aid in healing from birth and, who are we kidding, food tastes so good when made with care and love. We care about how you will feed yourself and your family and can help prep freezer meals for crockpots, make sure you are consuming nourishing meals, bake up some extra special chocolate chip cookies, and even make sure some quiche or breakfast casserole is ready for you for the next morning's breakfast.
Light Household Tasks
Are dishes, laundry and tidying up preventing you from sleeping when the baby sleeps or resting and enjoying your baby? Our postpartum doulas can come in and take care of the little household tasks that are weighing you down and keeping you from just sitting and staring at your new baby and relishing in the fact that there is a whole new person in your life!
Now, we aren't going to scrub your toilets or deep clean your carpets, but can absolutely refer you to some fantastic house cleaners for that help.
You Are Not Meant to Mother Alone
The day of your baby's birth is a very important day that you will remember for the rest of your life. You will also remember how you felt those first few weeks with your baby for the rest of your life. We want you to be able to look back and remember the special sweet moments during this time and not the moments of extreme fatigue or feelings of inadequacy.
We are not meant to mother alone and receiving that type of support is something our society fails at miserably. The extreme expectations for the new mom to be able to cope and deal with the demands of a newborn while smiling and without complaint is not generally the reality.
You can have someone help you, to walk alongside you and help you find your way in parenting your baby. Let Tulsa Family Doulas' insured, certified and professional postpartum doulas provide you with that care.