Over on Twitter last week we launched a little fun project called #BabySleep A-Z. It’s simple to join in- just tweet me your baby sleep related themes, questions and tips that correspond with that day’s letter. We’re on F today, and each week I intend to write up the discussions that arise. So today’s post is linked to #BabySleep A-Z… D is for doula.
Have you ever considered using a postnatal doula to help you out after baby arrives? Of course, the role of a doula is a lot more complex than just assisting with sleep, but often this can be the main issue that parents feel they’re struggling to cope with. And when you have other children too, the idea of a helping hand starts to appeal even more. If you’re wondering about what services a postpartum doula can offer, read on…
What does a postpartum doula do?
Just as an antenatal doula assists with the birth of your baby, a postpartum doula offers assistance to families in the first few weeks after birth. This can be in any way that you and your family specifies so it’s important to have a good relationship with whoever you choose to take on the role. Some postpartum doulas help to care for older siblings, run chores, make dinners, and generally keep the house ticking over while you care for the new baby. Other times, your postpartum doula might help by caring for you and your baby as you make the transition into parent and child.
How can a doula help with sleep?
Some doulas can assist with your baby’s sleep, in various ways. She may just be on hand to care for baby while you grab a shower, or she may help to soothe baby to sleep while you rest. It all depends on the relationship that you build with her, and what you are both comfortable with her doing.
Why use a doula?
If you don’t have family close by to pitch in and help, a doula could be the perfect solution to making life that little bit easier in the early weeks. Sometimes it can help to have someone on hand who is able to support and guide you. Its not for everyone, and maybe you feel you’d prefer to go it alone. Which is fine! But for those who do decide to go for a doula, it can be a solution that works very well.
How to choose a doula
Ask around. Did any of your friends or family use a doula that they would recommend? Can your doctor recommend someone? There is also the online doula locator that can help you too. Spend some time ahead of the birth getting to know potential candidates and make sure that the whole family are in agreement before you take anyone on. It might help to ask a few questions. Ask about:
- Training and previous experience
- Fee sand what services. It’s a good idea to be clear on what she will and won’t do, eg: cooking and cleaning etc.
- whether or not her schedule flexible, and if she can refer to you someone else if she isn’t available when baby arrives.
- references from other families.
Make sure you spend some time with your doula before you take her on. When you set up interviews, keep in mind how you feel about her in general- is she warm and caring? Do you get on well with her? Does she seem to know what she’s talking about? Is she confident? These are all questions that are essential to ask- after all, you’re trusting her with your family at a very important time, so you need to be sure.
Have you used a postpartum doula?