my newborn baby won't sleep – and other things a postpartum doula can help with

Oh my gosh, when they said “sleep when the baby sleeps” they didn’t know that you can’t because you’re off Googling “my newborn baby won’t sleep”! And using that logic, if you are supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, exactly when, tell me when, are you supposed to eat?  Unless you have 4 arms or a husband who doesn’t mind spoon feeding you while you nurse, its pretty challenging to eat while the baby eats (until you get the hang of it that is!)

The first few days your newborn baby is home is supposed to be a wondrous time of unicorns farting rainbows, is it not?

Sometimes it is and if you are lucky enough to have a great system of family and friends to help, its pretty awesome.  But for most parents, after a few days the visitors go home and reality sets in “exactly how do I take care of my newborn baby?

my newborn baby won't sleep

A postpartum doula can help be the unicorn, but instead of doing it for you, she’ll teach you how to fart those rainbows yourself. All joking aside, this type of doula has the sole purpose of “mothering the mother” providing physical, emotional, & educational support after baby is born. She’s not usually a nurse (a postpartum doula doesn’t do anything medical) and she’s not a nanny (she’s more like your mentor than your employee.) But many things can overlap.  Because her goal is to help give you confidence as a parent, she may help with light household chores, watch baby while you rest or shower, demonstrate various newborn care techniques, and even help you with breastfeeding questions.

While grandmas, best friends, and sisters are irreplaceable, sometimes its nice to just have a totally new perspective. Someone who is specializes in helping mom with her newborn baby. And if you have other kids already, she can help you during this adjustment period to care for yourself and other children. Some postpartum doulas, like myself, offer virtual services online or via phone and text if you don’t need someone there in person. Enjoy this time, she won’t be a newborn baby for long.

I'm pregnant, now what? A Postpartum Planning Guide.

postpartum plan

If you are like many women, especially first time moms, you probably have spent a lot of time gearing up for your baby’s birth.  You’ve probably read a book, or two, or the entire internet and you’ve taken your lamaze or childbirth education class. You created a baby registry with all sorts of fabulous items from a new-fangled car seat, to a ducky bath thermometer,  baby carrier, and of course a few onesies with bunnies on them (well, perhaps not with bunnies…) You have a safe crib or bassinet, a cute nursery theme, and have delicately washed and folded all sorts of tiny baby clothes. You have daycare lined up for when you go back to work, or paternity leave figured out so dad can stay home at least a few days after the baby arrives. But, do you actually have a postpartum plan for when you bring baby home?

Make a Birth Plan then Make a Postpartum Plan

Uh, yes, you actually DO need to have a plan!  I have found that in my experience, moms put a lot of time into creating a labor/birth plan, then make a mental game plan for when baby arrives, but don’t really take the time to think about what exactly they will do after they give birth.

Things to include in your postpartum plan

  • After Birth While At Hospital
  • Healing & Perineum Care
  • On the Way Home
  • Back at Home
  • Physical Support (dayshift/nightshift)
  • Emotional Support
  • Meals (include suggestions for visitors to bring)
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Visitors vs Guests (include a list of things your visitors can do to help out)

Here are a few things to think about and consider

Will you have your mom or a friend there to help you transition from the hospital to the car and then from the car to your house?  No seriously think about this, dad will be carrying the car seat, the nurses will help haul out your flowers & balloons, you’ll be proudly toting a flashy new diaper bag.  You may want to consider having an extra hand to assist, especially if you have other big siblings that’ll be “helping” you.

Are you headed straight home from the hospital? One friend of mine stopped for dinner on her way home, I had to stop by Walmart to buy a couple preemie sized outfits for my daughter because she was much smaller than we expected. If your doctor needed to prescribe any meds that you didn’t get at the hospital, you may need to stop a the pharmacy, are you prepared to figure out how to unlatch that car seat to carry baby in?

Your friends and family love you dearly & they want to visit the baby probably more than they want to visit you (sorry mama!) Do you want visitors the first day? Would you rather have them come another day? Its hard when you get unexpected, well-meaning visitors. Make a little sign or note for your door that says something like “shhh, we are resting, no visitors today” and hopefully they will respect that and not have any hurt feelings.

So, you have your mom to help you for a few days and hubby got a week of leave… then what? Who will help you with the older kids? Do you feel safe with baby alone? I had one mom who didn’t have anyone come to help the first few days because she preferred the privacy, but when her husband had to go into work 2 days after the baby was born she lacked a lot of confidence and needed more emotional support than she anticipated.

Hopefully those will help to get you started in your thinking of a postpartum plan. If you spent an hour (or two or five) typing up a beautiful birth plan with details on vaccinations, circumcision, and what to do if you need a c-section, you owe it to yourself to put an effort into your postpartum plan as well. Would you like some help creating your plan?  I’m available to help you create a vision & plan for both your birth and postpartum period.

 

birth support during a c-section delivery

Does a woman having a scheduled C-section even need childbirth education or a doula? I would like to propose the notion that she may actually need it even more. My experience tells me that most scheduled C-sections I hear of are not first time moms. They are a “repeat” C-Section because during mom’s first birth something happened during her delivery that resulted in a cesarean. I will go even further and say of these moms, the unscheduled operative delivery was usually not under ideal circumstances for them either physically or emotionally.

do i need a doula for my repeat c-section

This leaves many women traumatized (some even with PTSD) and they are either told, just assumed, or are doctored into planning their subsequent delivery via C-section. Many, many moms had such a negative experience with their previous birth (that ended in the C-Section) that they gladly accept the choice to schedule the birth of their next child.

c-section delivery & vbac delivery

My son who was born via c-section delivery, meeting his sister, who was VBAC.

There are a number of legitimate medical reasons for a mom to NEED to schedule a C-Section. Now,  will give my biased opinion that I don’t believe most moms have a solid evidence-based reason from their provider to have major abdominal surgery (hint, simply having a previous C-Section doesn’t usually REALLY exclude you from having a natural birth later on…) Regardless of WHY one may schedule a c-section, a doula can be a valuable asset to her birth team.

  • For moms who did have a positive experience with their first birth, a doula can be there to add additional support & encouragement to help mom have another great birth.
  • For moms who plan to have a medically necessary first cesarean, childbirth education is still important to understand how the normal birth process works, what to expect during and after operative delivery, and immediate postpartum planning.
  • For moms who had a difficult delivery or unplanned belly birth delivery, a doula can help provide the additional emotional support that may be needed. Most doulas are very welcoming to assisting moms with birth processing, which basically just means taking the time to listen to your worries, concerns, or dissatisfaction. She may even have suggestions and resources available to help you feel more confident about future births.
  • For moms who hope to have a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) a doula is the birth expert who can help you navigate your options.  Your medical provider is the only one who can make recommendations for your health, but your doula can help you understand what those recommendations mean and how to negotiate them so that you are able to have a normal delivery. This doesn’t mean having a doula will result in a VBAC, but it generally will result in a mom who feels more confident and satisfied with her birth.

Did you have a doula at your c-section delivery? Send me a comment with your experience.

[ccf_form id=”775″]

Mrs Tush Do You Like to Push?

free pushing poem

mrs tush do you like to push dr seuss pushing poem

Often we doulas are required to be a very creative bunch. Figuring out the best ways to support mom, guiding dad on what he can do to help her, and all the other tools in our bag of tricks during labor and birth.  Well, sometimes we need to get a little creative outside of birth too.

Today’s post is brought to you by Katie Murrey of Mamatoto Doula Services in Fargo. She recently composed this adorable Dr Seuss pushing poem and read it at our local birth circle group, which of course was on the topic of pushing. I thank her so much for using her talents to create this amazing piece of birth poetry. You can find Katie on Facebook and inquire about her many other talents as well.

 

Download PDF Version

 

Mrs Tush Do You Like to Push – Dr Seuss Pushing Poem by Katie Murrey

 

Do I Need a Doula QUIZ

doula quiz

Are you try to decide whether or not you should have a doula attend your birth? The first thing to know is that doulas are for ANY woman who wants support, not just crunchy-granola hippie types. In Fargo-Moorhead, we have a number of doulas that are part of the Doulas of the Red River Valley collaborative. We support moms in both hospital and home settings and anything from natural birth to surgical birth and even home water birth (its not just for mermaids!) Its our job and passion to help guide you to have the best experience possible. So go ahead and take this doula quiz to see if one might be right for you.

do I need a doula quiz

[qzzr quiz=”67471″ width=”1+

00%” height=”auto” redirect=”true” offset=”0″]

Dayspring Doula strives to help parents develop the mindset, confidence, and support system needed to achieve their best birth. I provide individual, personalized birthing education and am committed to being a dependable resource for my clients.  I am a birth & postpartum doula also providing childbirth planning & education. Your partner & advocate to have the experience YOU want http://dayspringdoula.com/ Also check out http://fargochildbirth.com to see available childbirth education classes or http://doulasrrv.org to see other doulas available in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Doula FAQ

Doula FAQ

Why Hire a Doula?

A doula is part of a support system to mom during childbirth.  Most often there is a reduction in extra medical necessities like labor inducing drugs, and pain medications. You can have confidence in your doula to advocate for you and your partner in times that you may not clearly understand what is happening.

Do doulas attend hospital births?

Yes! We attend both home and hospital births. At a hospital birth, we can come to your home to support you in the beginning of the birth process, and will go to the hospital with you when you are ready. In the case of a planned home birth, we join you in your home when the birth process begins. And if your planned home birth needs to transfer to the hospital, we will also follow you there and continue to provide support.

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

A midwife is a medically trained care-provider who will take care of the health of the mother and baby as a doctor or obstetrician would. A doula is a non-medical professional specifically trained to care for the mother’s emotional needs and physical comfort. Doulas do not measure blood pressure or fetal heart rates, or perform any form of medical interventions. Doulas do provide non-medical pain-relieving techniques, such as massage and birthing positions to support a woman through the birth process and thus, reduce the need for medications.

Will a doula take over for my hubby at the birth?

A doula’s primary job is to support the mother in any way she can. For many women, that means helping the partner be very involved, deepening their connection, and their trust in each other through the birth process. A doula does not replace a partner’s role, but rather works as a team with him, suggesting ways to better support the birthing woman through massage, and other comfort techniques. Many partner’s are very thankful for a doula through the birth process because she can help him be useful at all times, or take over so he can rest or eat!

what does a doula do

What is a doula?

birth doula

what does a doula do

If you’ve done a search on Google for “what does a doula do” you’ve certainly come across a LOT of information!  There are loads of great resources out there including on DONA (Doulas of North America) and AmericanPregnancy.org

I highly recommend that you not only consider “what is a doula” and “what does a doula do?” but also “WHY do I NEED a doula?”  At the end of the day, it comes down to better infant outcomes and higher maternal satisfaction. And really, what better reasons do you need than healthier babies and happier moms?!

As part of the doula services I offer for birth, I provide continuous care during labor and delivery. I do not replace your birth partner, mom, and especially do not replace dad. Because I have had specialized training to support women during birth combined with my experience working with a variety of moms in many situations, I can help you have a confident & dignified birth and help you to work towards the birth experience you hope to have.