Postpartum Doula Support – It’s A Thing!

Picture of Mind Body Baby
Mind Body Baby

We are pleased to present a guest blog from Kristin “Kay” Vorce. Kristin is a certified postpartum doula and a certified infant and child sleep consultant with Gold Coast Doulas. You can connect with her at https://www.goldcoastdoulas.com/kay/      

The delicate postpartum months are a beautiful time, but they are not easy. Frequent night waking, emotional rollercoasters, and the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a brand-new baby can leave new parents feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. 

When I share with others that I am an overnight postpartum doula, more often than not I’m met with a look of astonishment followed by something along the lines of, “Wait that’s a thing?! How exactly does that work?” 

Let me walk you through some of the frequently asked questions I get about being an overnight doula, and show you how an overnight postpartum doula provides priceless help during the long overnight hours. 

What exactly is an overnight postpartum doula?

A postpartum doula is a trained professional who offers physical, emotional, and educational support to families during the postpartum period, largely considered to be the first year of a baby’s life. An overnight doula specializes in providing care during the night, allowing parents to catch up on much-needed rest. The role extends beyond just providing newborn care while the parents catch up on sleep, we create a nurturing environment to foster confidence and reassurance for parents navigating the many complexities that come with a new baby. 

Why should I hire a postpartum doula for overnight help?

Where do I even start?! The benefits are often described as “priceless,” since it’s hard to put a price on quality of life. A new mother’s hormones are changing rapidly after birth. Her body is physically recovering, and there may have even been some birth trauma. When you add in the additional factor of sleep deprivation, it’s no surprise that mothers can begin to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. When a trusted doula comes in at night to help, the parents are able to relax and sleep knowing their baby is getting expert care.

An overnight postpartum doula can also be someone to talk to who won’t judge you, and will empathize and listen to what you’re going through. I had a client who loved to talk during her overnight breastfeeding sessions. She later described these times as some of the most special in her postpartum period, and they were special to me too. 

As most of us can intuitively understand, an increasingly recognized contributing factor for postpartum depression and anxiety is lack of sleep. Parents of babies who wake frequently overnight or who are challenging to soothe are faced with an exhaustion cycle that can feel endless. New parents who are well rested often feel better able to handle the ups and downs that come with having a new baby. 

An overnight doula can also help with infant sleep shaping, as well as provide resources for age-appropriate daily routines. 

How does overnight doula support differ from daytime doula support?

A daytime doula provides emotional and physical support as well as parent education and empowerment during the day. This looks different for every family, but a daytime doula completes light household tasks such as folding laundry, washing dishes, and preparing meals. They also help with baby care and sibling care. They provide a listening ear for mom and share relevant community and online resources. 

An overnight doula assists a family overnight with infant care and guidance, emotional support, feeding support, and overnight parent respite. That usually looks like mom and dad sleeping soundly while your doula provides expert baby care! 

What does a typical overnight as a postpartum doula look like?

A typical night often starts with talking to the parents about how the day was and getting any necessary information to make it a safe and successful night for everyone. I prep bottles, and wash bottles and pump parts. I feed the baby according to the parent’s preference. I change diapers and soothe fussiness . I take notes overnight for parents to read in the morning. If they wish, I provide any relevant tips and recommendations. 

Of all the families I’ve worked with overnight, no two have had the exact same needs. Just like no two people are exactly alike, neither are any two families. An overnight doula is trained to be adaptable and is often described as having a “superpower” to intuitively know what’s going to be the most helpful to the family overnight. 

How long do families use an overnight doula?

This varies from family to family. Some families use overnight doula support a few times a week for a couple weeks, and some families go longer or until the baby establishes a more predictable sleeping routine. Some families use an overnight doula 7 nights a week. Even one night a week can be beneficial! An overnight postpartum doula is trained to work with your baby through the first year of life. 

Can overnight doulas work with families with multiples?

Yes! Twin parents know the sleep struggles that go along with having double (or triple!) the fun. Some overnight postpartum doulas have specific training or experience working with multiples, and know all the tips and tricks for this unique situation. They can help with getting multiples on the same eating and sleeping schedule overnight, along with providing expert infant care while the parents get some much-needed restorative sleep overnight. As most parents of multiples know, more than one is a whole different ball game, and having overnight support can be a complete game-changer!

I would love to talk with you more about how an overnight postpartum doula can provide you with invaluable support, and help you have the most satisfying postpartum period possible.If you are interested in learning more about hiring an overnight postpartum doula, please visit www.goldcoastdoulas.com to get in touch and learn more about our services.

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