What is a postpartum doula anyway? Can't I just hire a nanny or a baby nurse to make it less expensive? These are both questions I hear alot from families who have just made the leap into needing assistance at home right after having a baby. Ultimately each family is different in their needs throughout the postpartum period. Some familes do well with support from families and friends who come to hold the baby, feed the baby, or even tidy up for the mom, (hang on to those friends!)
However, many families find out quickly that many visitors like to offer support with good intentions, but that may not be the most helpful for mom. Lets face it, if I'm home with a set of 8 week old twins, haven't slept or showered, and can't remember the last time I did laundry, I need someone who will come hlep me do laundry, silently watch my little ones without intergecting and changing the routine I've worked so hard to establish, and also let me eat and take a shower. That can be a tall order to ask of a family member or friend!
A postpartum doula, on the other hand, can help support not only this mom, but also this entire family. Postpartum doulas are trained birthing professionals who have extensive training with care for mom and baby (or babies) to help facilitate a smooth transition home. This can be done a number of ways, but most efficiently we achieve this through continuous support with light cooking, cleaning, organizing, baby care, help with breastfeeding, help with positioning, structuring sleep and feeding times to maximize down time for mom and dad, as well as many other strategies.
So how is this different from a nanny? A trained nanny will help you care for your infant or child the way you inform them to, and may perform light to minimal household tasks if agreed upon first. A nanny cannot help with you birthing/postpartum issues like bleeding, incision issues for mommas with c-sections, breastfeeding support, not to mention suggest baby care routines to make your life easier!
We strongly recommend the use of a nanny when timing is appropriate and you are trying to go back to work, gain some much needed alone tie with your partner, or are in need of childcare, but also work hard to educate people on the difference between a nanny and a postpartum doula. We hope that is information has been helpful if you are searching for a birth or postpartum worker to help support your familiy. In the event we have left you with unanswered questions, please give us a jingle on the phone. We would love to talk with you about how Portland Doula Collaborative can help facilitate a smotth transition home for you and your new addition(s)!
Mary, Alison, and Jenny
Portland Doula Collaborative