What is the difference between a baby nurse and a doula?
- Baby nurses in general provide care for the baby only. A doula provides care for the whole family as dictated by the mother/father.
- Baby nurses usually are live-in 24/7. A Doula will come for a minimum of 4 hrs/day, allowing the family support and privacy. She can get a lot accomplished for the family in 4 hrs. We can come longer than 4 hrs, but we have found families rarely need more than 6 hours. Doulas can provide both day and night services.
- You provide the meals for the baby nurse. The doula provides meals for you.
- Baby nurses often do not have their own transportation. Doulas have their own transportation and can shop, run errands, and help take a mom and baby to doctor appointments if needed.
- Baby nurses often are not knowledgeable about breastfeeding. Doulas are well-trained in breastfeeding and can provide helpful guidance if problems or questions arise.
- Baby nurses do not care for siblings. Doulas care for siblings by providing meals, playtime, and rides to activities. This allows mom time to nap or nurse her baby relieving concern that her older child is not being cared for.
- Baby nurses care for the laundry of the baby. Doulas do laundry for the whole family.
Why should I reserve a doula from MothersCare rather than an independent doula?
- Doulas from MothersCare have been screened, trained and approved for suitability. When hiring an independent doula, it is up to the client to screen the doula, to know if she has been properly trained or if she will prove to be suitable before contracting with her.
- MothersCare provides a back-up doula when a doula is unable to go to her client for illness or other conflicts. When hiring an independent doula there can be difficulties with her ability to fulfill her assignment due to her illness, or that of her children.
- For a family that has met a doula but finds personality conflicts with a doula as the doula works with a family, MothersCare, will provide a different doula. When hiring an independent doula, often personality conflicts don’t appear at first meeting but may become evident once the doula begins working. A family then has to decide to continue with a doula who may not be a good fit for the family or going without the support.
What kind of training does MothersCare require of the doulas?
- Our doulas are experts in the “normal”. Doulas are trained to recognize what is normal or not in a newborn. Their training includes newborn care and feeding issues. A doula will also help a first-time mother develop confidence in her own ability to mother her baby and make decisions that are right for her.
- Our doulas have intensive training in breastfeeding which includes the process of breastfeeding, milk-production, latching and increasing or decreasing milk supply. Our doulas are trained by a consultant at Breastfeeding Resources, a group run by Dr. Tina Smillie, MD which specializes in lactation medicine.
- On-going yearly training classes are held for all doulas. Topics include those above as well as training by area professionals on preemie babies, car seat safety, postpartum depression, and the emotional needs of postpartum families.
How long do I need a doula?
- The needs of every family can vary considerably. We at MothersCare believe a woman needs a minimum of 2 weeks to be relieved of her normal household and childcare responsibilities. Doing so will give her a chance to heal, establish nursing, get to know her baby, and emotionally figure out how she will manage her life with a new baby.
- Postpartum support can come from supportive family members or from outside sources such as MothersCare but should be from people who ease the stress of the first few weeks by providing both physical and emotional support and encouragement.
What can I expect from my doula?
- You can expect her to be warm, nurturing and knowledgeable about newborns, breastfeeding, postpartum period, and sibling care.
- You can expect her to support you by doing practical things such as meal preparation and laundry for the whole family, light housework i.e. dishes, vacuuming, wiping of sink and mirror in bathroom, watering plants, etc.
- You can expect her to adjust to the needs of your family and only provide her opinion if asked.