What kind of postpartum care will you need after the birth of your newborn?
Have you thought about what your life will look after the birth of your newborn? Do you think having some kind of postpartum support will help you transition into parenting? Here, you will hopefully be able to determine what kind of care you and your newborn need.
First, lets get to know the word “postpartum”
Definition of Postpartum
“A postpartum period or postnatal period is the period beginning immediately after the birth of a child and extending for about six weeks. Less frequently used are the terms puerperium or puerperal period. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the postnatal period as the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of the mother and newborn.”
Postpartum does not mean the same thing as Postpartum Depression
Unfortunately, when you search the word “postpartum”, it defaults to “postpartum depression”.
We are all well aware of labor/birth doulas. Dare I say, we are even almost main stream now? Even being mentioned on popular TV shows and by actors in Hollywood.
When will we start talking about Postpartum Doulas? (“World Health Organization (WHO) describes the postnatal period as the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of the mother and newborn”). Let that sink in for minute.
You have a newborn. Now what?
The frustrating thing for families, is that they are not sure what it is that they need. Too often our roles are misunderstood.
Lets break down the different types of care you can receive after the birth of your baby and the role these caregivers play in your healing, recovery and positive parenting journey.
- Postpartum Doula
Postpartum Doulas mother the new mother first, then extend their care to the newborn and rest of the family. The focus is on the mothers physical and emotional well being. They offer education on bathing, soothing, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, household help, errand running, sibling help, meal preparation, generally in the first 12 weeks or 4th Trimester. They do not take over care for the baby, baby sit, or offer medical advice. Postpartum Doulas have professional training that includes learning the signs of perinatal mood disorders, evidenced based information on infant feeding, safe sleep and can help access local resources when a situation may be beyond the Postpartum Doulas scope of practice.
- Newborn Nanny and Night Nanny
A newborn/night nanny’s role differs in that they do take over the care for the baby for the most part. Most newborn or night nanny’s have had some kind of training by an agency that offers night nanny services. Night Nannies may offer other services such as household help, but the main focus is feeding, changing, bathing, and putting baby to bed. Some night nanny’s start with the family as soon as the baby is born and some come in weeks later to help with sleep training.
- Baby Nurse
A baby nurse is just that. A nurse. Most likely a “baby nurse” is or was a certified nurse at one time and has experience working with infants. Like the night nanny, their care focuses on the baby. Baby Nurses may or may not offer other services such as household help.
Can they all be one in the same? No, but a Night Nanny or Newborn Nanny might also be a Postpartum Doula. Like me. Do Postpartum Doulas work overnights? Yes, some do. Can a Baby Nurse also be a trained Postpartum Doula? Yes. It’s up the hired caregiver to be upfront with their role, training and scope of practice. http://www.cappa.net/postpartum-doula
When looking into postpartum support options, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. All Postpartum caregivers offer different prices, packages and hours of availability. Be proactive and start looking for the care that fits your families needs before your newborn arrives. Many families wait until after the birth and it can be difficult to find last minute care. Are you wanting immediate hands on support and education? Breastfeeding instruction? Are you worried about sleep? These services listed above can range from $18-$40 an hour. I suggest you meet with a few different Postpartum caregivers and see who/what will work best for you.
I hope this helps you decide what kind of support you are looking for. Whatever that may be, get support. Postpartum care is paramount to having a restful, joyful, 4th trimester. http://americanpregnancy.org/planning/post-partum-doula/
Here is another blog that may be helpful for dads! http://birthblessingdoula.com/6-ways-doulas-can-encourage-dads/