Last week we shared Part 1 of our three-part series on the role of a Postpartum Doula. And today we are continuing on with the ABCs of a Postpartum Doula with Part 2!
J- Judgment Free Zone - There are so many different ways to parent and the needs of every family vary. Your doula will never question your choices and will always offer her support and expertise without judgment. We believe having a judgment-free doula is imperative. Read more about why here.
K- Kangaroo Care - Bonding is crucial for your baby and for you. Your doula is there to facilitate and encouraging different avenues of bonding. From skin-to-skin, to baby wearing, to bath time - there are lots of ways to enjoy your time with your baby. Bonus - it helps balance your mood and babies too!
L- Listening - To be frank, there are some postpartum visits where we just sit on the couch with some tea and listen. Pregnancy, birth, & postpartum are transformative moments in a person’s life and there is a lot of change in a very short period of time. Sometimes you’ll just need to talk things out and you will have a compassionate listener there to do so.
M- Mental Health - Postpartum Depression is taboo. It’s a scary thing for people to think about. It’s also only one piece of the wide spectrum of postpartum mood disorders. Not only does your doula know what signs to look for she can bring them to your attention and get you connected to resources and treatment. Postpartum mood disorders do not discriminate. No one is immune. And support is crucial. There is no shame in getting help and your doula will be there for you throughout the process. Additionally, some studies show that having postpartum help can reduce the risk of postpartum mood disorders.
N- Normalizing - Babies do random things. They make weird noises and breathe differently than we do, especially the first few days of life. If you’re new to this baby thing seeing some of these random things may cause panic or fear. But your doula has seen it all and will be there to remind you that it’s normal and nothing to be concerned about. If she cannot reassure you that it’s normal she will encourage you to reach out to your pediatrician.
O- Organization - Diapers, creams, wipes, onesies, socks, swaddles, clothes from 0 months to 3 years… so many baby things all in one small nursery! As an expert in baby care and pros at finding nursery solutions she can help organize things so they make sense and are quick to find in the dark at 2am. During her regular visits she’ll make sure that all of your supplies are stocked and alert you if anything needs to be purchased. She can even do a Target run for you!
P- Privacy - Our doulas do not and will not share personal information about any of our clients. Ever. Read more about our Privacy Pledge here.
Q- Quiet - Babies cry. Sometimes more than you might expect. Crying is a babies way of communicating but deciphering WHAT your baby is trying to communicate can be tricky at first. During your postpartum visits your doula can offer you some respite from the crying. She can take over care of your baby and send you to your bedroom with earplugs so you can sleep without interruption knowing full well that your baby is being beautifully cared for.
R- Reality - She won’t sugar coat stuff for you (unless that’s what you really need). She’ll tell you the truth about the realities of parenting and help you finds solutions for things that are challenging. And she’ll do it with grace and humor. Your doula will keep it real because we believe that you deserve to know the truth about parenting so you’re not blindsided by the unknown.
We’ll finish our series with Part 3 next week - stay tuned!
It’s no secret that we are all huge fans of babywearing here at Doulas of OC. There’s nothing sweeter than having an adorable baby snuggled into your chest and babywearing makes that possible and easy for parents to achieve day in and day out! Today we are joined by Neve Spicer at We The Parents, a parenting & lifestyle blog. Neve shares our love for babywearing and is providing more information on the scientific side behind this ancient parenting practice.
We work with a lot of expecting couples that are embarking on this journey for the first time and they usually have a lot of questions. Answering those questions is one of the best parts of our job, because we love helping educate people and connecting them to resources that they need. Most people these days know what a Birth Doula does or at the very least have heard the term. But more often not there are a lot of misconceptions about Postpartum Doulas. Many people think that a Postpartum Doula is there to help those with postpartum depression. Others might have heard that a Postpartum Doula is similar to a nanny. And while we do work with clients with postpartum depression and some of our Doulas have been nannies in the past, those definitions barely scratch the surface of what we do as Postpartum Doulas.
Remember the pre-parenting days when the days would get shorter, the nights crisper and the urge to get cozy would hit? When we didn’t spare a second thought about the end of daylight savings time except that we’d get an extra hour of sleep?! Those were the days!
Then your baby arrived and you started obsessing about sleep. If you’re like most new parents, you aren’t getting enough sleep, so the end of daylight savings time may be daunting. Why? Because your baby can’t tell time and doesn’t know that 6am is now actually 5am. All your baby knows is that she got the sleep she normally gets and is wide-eyed ready to take on the day! If you’re a seasoned parent you know that this can easily disrupt naps and bedtimes for days or even weeks to come as you struggle to get adjusted to the time change.
Well, you’re in luck! Co-owner and Mommywise Sleep Coach, Lauren, has some tips to help make this transition easy and to insure everyone gets great sleep!
Slow & Steady
If you’ve ever traveled to another time zone, you know how jarring the time change can be. Your brain knows that it’s not “time for bed”, but your internal clock is screaming for you to go to sleep! The end of daylight savings time can have the same affect. To ease the time leap, Lauren recommends gradually adjusting your baby’s sleep over the course of a week which eliminates the abruptness and helps him get used to the changes.
Starting about 4-5 days before daylight savings ends start your bedtime routine 10min later each day. If you normally start bath time at 6pm, start at 6:10. Once the time comes to turn back the clock, your baby will have adjusted to the routine being one hour later than usual, so that when she wakes up on Sunday morning she’ll be on track with the new time.
Every baby adjusts differently and some babies are more adaptable than others. If your baby is not as sensitive to schedule changes, different nap times or bedtimes, then you can probably shift things in 2-3 days by pushing everything back by 15-30mins each day. The concept is the same with just less time needed to adjust to the hour time change.
Keep it Dark
Black-out shades are one of those sleep tools that we swear by. If you don’t already have black-out shades in your baby’s room - GET THEM. Just like adults, your baby has a circadian rhythm or internal clock that responds to light and dark. Babies don’t fully develop this until 3-4 months of age, but it’s never too early to utilize the shades. A dark room assists in melatonin production (the “sleep” hormone) helping communicate to your baby’s body that it should stay asleep a little longer. These can be utilized for naps as well as bedtime.
Babies LOVE consistency and routine. Trust us on this. So, other than adjusting the nighttime time gradually, do your best to keep everything else the same. The same bedtime routine, the same timing between naps, etc. This will help reduce any confusion and keep your baby none the wiser!
be patient & FIX IT LATER
If your schedule as a family isn’t super structured and you don’t have a regular bed time, that’s ok. The time change may not affect you too much. But if it does, it’s important to be patient. If you find yourself reacting instead of avoiding, don’t stress. It may take a anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks for your baby to adjust to the time change and for things to get back on track. Make sure your baby’s last nap isn’t ending too late into the afternoon and try implementing some calming activities before bedtime to prep body and mind for falling asleep at a new bedtime. Know that within time your baby’s internal clock will adjust to this new change and things will go back to normal.
If things have completely gone of the rails it can never hurt to reach out for help from a sleep expert. Lauren provides live-in support to help babies sleep independently and peacefully. You can read more about her sleep training support and request more information here.
Experienced parents, what tactics have you used to adjust to the seasonal time changes? Share your wisdom in the comments below!