A day with a newborn doesn't have to be hectic and tiring, as it is often depicted. New moms can be confident, efficient, and prepared, if they have the right help! That's where a postpartum doula comes in. But what does a postpartum doula really do? Well, lets take a look at an average day.
8:00 AM: My husband wakes me up as he leaves for work. Geez I'm tired.. The baby was up probably a million times last night. It seems like no matter what he is just not content. I remember that the doula is coming by at 9 and feel much better. I guess I should take advantage of the sleep while I can!
9:00 AM I wake up to a soft knock on the door. Yay! The doula is here! I roll out of bed and answer the door in my PJ's. My doula wont judge me, and I know that. I tell her about our broken sleep last night and she lets me know the baby is going through a growth spurt. Oh duh! that's why he's eating 24/7. I feel so much better now that my doula has assured me my baby is acting normally and it will soon go away. The doula says I should go take a shower and she will take care of the baby.
10:00 AM I take a hot, long, relaxing shower. I even take time to shave my legs, which hasn't happened since probably the second trimester. My belly was so big I couldn't reach! I go into the kitchen and am greeted by the smell of bacon. Now this is how I want to start everyday! On the table, there is a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon waiting for me. The doula has the baby in the sling and he is happy and content. The dishwasher is unloaded and I hear the laundry going. How does she do it?
10:15 AM I gobble up my breakfast while the doula sets me up a nursing area. She grabbed some water, a snack, the TV remote, phone charger, and the book I'm reading. I get settled on the couch and she hands me the baby who is starting to get hungry. We talk about my plans and goals for the day. She explains that her goal is to work herself out of a job. She is going to lay the foundation and equip us to be the best parents we can. We set a goal of one chore per day, to keep me feeling accomplished and productive, and one outing a week, to keep me sane. She notices that I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders while I'm nursing and helps to correct my position. Wow! That's much more comfortable!
10:45 AM We talk a little bit about my labor and delivery and my postpartum doula listens as I admit I really wasn't all that happy with the birth. She doesn't tell me "well you have a healthy baby!" Or "You should have done this or that." She just listens and holds space for me to work through my feelings. As the baby finishes up, we hear a large PBBBBBHHHTTTT. Oh great.. another poopy diaper. My doula offers to change the diaper which I happily accept. I changed 4 poopy diapers yesterday and am glad for a break.
11:00 AM The doula returns with my baby, he is in a new outfit. She explains that he got some poop on his clothes and the changing table, but how in the world did she change him without any screaming?? And why isn't she covered in poop? I always manage to get it all over myself. She sets up a blanket for tummy time and shows me how to get on the ground and talk to him, so he likes it more. While I admire my happy, clean, and cute baby, she throws the poopy stuff in the washer.
11:30 AM Time for a little nap. The doula shows me a trick for swaddling the baby and settles us into bed as she goes to make us some lunch.
12:30 PM My husband arrives home for lunch just as we are getting up. We sit down to eat as the doula takes the baby so I can enjoy a hot meal with two hands for once. This is so nice, I never want her to leave! When we finish, the baby starts to get hungry. My husband really wants to give him a bottle of pumped milk. I'm a little nervous about nipple confusion and bottle preference, but the doula let's me know she will teach us the proper way to bottle feed, so that our breastfeeding relationship isn't compromised. I relax as she instructs my husband on how to pace bottle feed and the baby happily drinks his bottle. My husband kisses me goodbye and is back to work.
1:00 PM The doulas shift is coming to a close but I'm feeling confident and relaxed. She reminds me of my chore goal for today and I'm able to get it done quickly and easily as the baby naps in the swing. This parenting thing is easy! Why was I so nervous? My doula lets me know she does overnight care as well, which could really help during the growth spurt. She says she will bring the baby to me when he is hungry, then when he is done nursing she will take him back to the nursery to change his diaper and get him back to sleep. I never even have to leave my bed! I schedule her to come over tomorrow night. Sounds like just what I need! As the doula leaves I realize that I feel renewed, and energized. I'm ready to tackle the rest of the day.
To schedule a shift with a postpartum doula, contact Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Miranda is a birth and postpartum doula serving the central Oklahoma area.