The idea that when one has a baby, sleep will be a long-lost art form is an outdated one. Sleeping when the baby sleeps is great when the baby is sleeping over the evening hours. So how does merging the idea that new parents can “sleep when the baby sleeps” AND retain the sleep that they themselves require to function at full throttle during the day? Why with overnight care with a postpartum doula!
Differences Between A Postpartum Doula and a Night Nanny
Care is care, and being cared for and feeling supported is the best feeling ever. The form of support received is differentiated by the classification of the role of the caretaker. From babysitters to doulas, and from nannies to nurses there’s a spectrum of care and support. Postpartum doulas and night nannies are often the most compared. The great thing about both of these caretaking roles is that they are trained and educated to provide care for an infant in the precious needed sleepy time.
A postpartum and infant care doula is versed in the entire postpartum realm from birth to 1 year old. This includes the birthing person, the partner, the baby & siblings, and the home’s overall serenity. This support occurs at all times of the day to adapt where the support is wanted the most. Postpartum doula support has been statistically proven to reduce the instances and onset of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Because postpartum doulas are knowledgeable in lactation, they are able to assist with feeding choices. A postpartum doula has the know-how of red flags and what’s normal in the recovery process of the birthing body to promote healthy healing.
A night nanny (aka newborn care specialist, aka “baby nurse”) has the primary role of overseeing the care of the baby. This includes overnight care and often live-in and long-term care. The focus of the night nanny is supporting safe and healthy sleep patterns over the wee hours of the night. This can be a benefit for a family that is looking for child care in the overnight realm.
How a Postpartum Doula Can Support Overnight Care
Deciding the best time of the evening to have your magic doula-fairy come to the home is the only thing the clients have to think about. A postpartum doula’s overnight support encompasses and encourages healthy restful sleep for the entire household. Upon arriving at the home, the doula catches up with the parents and discusses the days’ happenings and what are the goals and expectations for the overnight. The doulas’ presence allows for the parents to retreat, revive, and connect as a couple.
As the family bonds, the doula is in the sleeping space with the baby. While the baby sweetly slumbers, the doula keeps the environment quiet and uninterrupted. This is generally not the time for the doula to tinker around the home. The primary focus is sleep; for the baby and for the parents.
For the nursing individuals, the doula brings the baby to them, or they choose to come to where the baby is sleeping. After the feed, the doula burps, changes the diaper (if needed), swaddles the baby, and places the baby back into their safe sleep space. For the late-night parent, the doula keeps them company with conversation and companionship. For the anxious parent, the doula brings reassurance with their experience and expertise in overseeing the overnight time when their anxiety levels hit a high.
How Unbiased Nonjudgemental Support Benefits
Imagine being validated in wanting to offer bottles at bedtime and for those overnight feeds. Picture having personalized expert insight in the comfort of your home. Being relieved to be 100-percent yourself without feeling outside judgments. Our job as your postpartum doulas is to build confidence in YOU, support YOU, empower YOU, and be “YOUR person”. Your doula believes in the power that is inside of you and your abilities to parent in the way that feels instinctually best for you. Watching the “a-ha” moments shine through each shift that we have the privilege to support you through. The relationship of friendship forms organically through vulnerability and transparency. Naturally, being unbiased in how we relay information, and not showing judgment for the choices that are made, is a freeing ideal for parents in their walk through the parenthood journey.
Sleep deprivation is a torture tactic used by militaries across the globe. Just because sleep deprivation is an accepted part of parenting, it’s not a safe or healthy way to function. There is help, guidance, and support to build healthy sleep patterns from day one, and a postpartum doula can be a part of the solution.