How Can We Help You? (Part 4 of 4)

When you are pregnant with your second do you think “How will I ever love this baby as much as I love my first?” Do you wonder “Will my firstborn be sad, or mad upon his or her baby sibling’s arrival?” Or how about “How will I ever handle TWO (or three??) children at the same time?”

Don’t worry!!! You are NOT alone. Almost all “second” time moms have these thoughts, and feelings. And it IS an adjustment, but The Baby Mavens can help you with that too, of course. ūüôā

We OFTEN times are hired by the pregnant mom of a two year old who isn’t quite sure what she needs help with when her second child arrives, but she is certain she will need help of some sort! And watching your firstborn become a big brother, or big sister is often times an experience you don’t want to miss! Wait until the very first time your older “baby” shares his most priced toy with HIS “baby”, your heart will just melt.

Sometimes the evening is a more challenging time of day for moms juggling a new baby and a toddler, or older child. There is dinner to be made, and sometimes homework to be done, and well- that baby probably wants to eat right smack dab in the middle of it all! Having a Maven there to help could look a little like this:

It’s 4pm, I arrive to a screaming toddler (he wanted the orange cup for a snack, not the red one), a crying baby in mom’s arms, and mom looking like she is on the verge too. I bend down to my buddy’s level and in a quiet voice remind him to just use his words and ask for the orange cup, he snuffles a little and says “pwease I have owange cup?” I quickly trade the offended cup out, and make a quick bottle for the baby. Then I grab said crying infant from mom, and ask “How about you have a break for a few? Can I make you a cup of tea?” She replies: “I just want a shower.” So I send Mom off to the bathroom, and shuffle the toddler into the family room with me and the baby. I settle the baby in for the bottle, and manage to read the toddler a few stories while we cuddle on the couch. The baby falls asleep, so I put her down in the nearby Pack n’ Play, and get some crayons and coloring books out for my little friend.

While he is coloring quietly, I sneak over to the kitchen and quickly throw the dishes in the sink in the dishwasher and wash the bottle. I notice there is a casserole on the counter, with directions from a friend. So I turn on the oven, and make Mom a cup of tea. When she emerges from the shower, she notices that things are a little cleaner and a little quieter so I encourage her to have a rest, which of course she graciously accepts! I peek in on the baby and her big brother, baby is sound asleep and brother is still quietly coloring away. So I sit next to him on the couch and fold a basket of laundry that was left there. I put the casserole in the oven, and get some plates and silverware out for the toddler. I know they will feed him first but that mom will wait for dad to come home to eat with him.

Just as I am sitting Big Brother down for dinner, the baby starts to make some noise and Mom comes out. She sits and nurses the baby, and we catch up for a few minutes. Then she passes the baby to me and she sits with her oldest while he eats. I take the baby over to the sink for a quick bath, and get her all snuggled up in her jammies. Mom then takes her big boy in the other room for a bath. I pop the baby in the Moby that I brought, and clean up from dinner, putting two plates aside to heat up when Dad comes home. I then take a peak at the hampers in the baby’s room, and in her brother’s, and quickly throw any dirty laundry in the washing machine. Mom and Big Brother come out of the bathroom, and head to his room for his books and bed. I bend down so that he can give his baby sister a kiss on the top of her head, and he gives me a quick hug too! (How sweet?!?!)

Mom comes out a little while later, and finds the baby swaddled in her bassinet. Dinner is just about ready, and she has a few more minutes to relax before Dad comes in. I tell her “Put your feet up and throw on that show you have been watching on Netflix! Have a great night, and see you on Thursday!”

When I leave a shift feeling like Mom has gotten to have a little break, and her babies were well cared for I totally feel a little like I should be wearing a cape! ūüôā Just call us Super Doulas!

*laurie

How Can We Help You? (Part 1 of 4)

Parents often ask us what a typical shift looks like, or how specifically we can help them during their 4th trimester. ¬†We can’t really answer this question, because every family is unique, and every day in every family is different. ¬†Today I would like to share with you a recent “Typical shift” which I had. Watch for further posts in the series, too. Maybe one of these makes sense for you or your family? Maybe you envision something entirely different? How can we help you?

SHIFT A:

Daytime support for  first-time new mom with a 10-day old baby girl.  

9:00 am – Arrive and “check in”, asking mom how she is feeling after her C-Section, and how baby is doing. ¬†Find that mom is healing fairly well and that mom and baby seem to have established a pretty good nursing relationship. Mom is both anxious and tired, but not overly so. I ask mom how I can best support her over the next 4 hours. “I am not sure. How does this work? I guess do whatever you think needs to get done. I don’t usually get off the couch because she nurses a lot.”

9:30 РMom and baby are settled on the couch, nursing and watching the Today Show. I make mom a cup of tea, then start washing some of the adorable outfits baby received for her Naming Ceremony over the weekend. I sit with mom while the laundry is going and we discuss some of her anxieties.  Baby has not yet had a bath, so perhaps I will be able to help with that before the shift is over.

10:00 – “Do you have a dinner plan?” I ask, “Maybe I can get something started for you?” Mom says ok, maybe I can make some type of soup on this dreary winter day. After rummaging around the fridge and pantry, I declare that it’s a Vegetable Barley Kind of Day! Mom thinks that’s a great idea and texts her wife to please bring some some crusty sourdough bread and a salad, which will go perfectly with the soup at dinnertime.

11:00 РBaby is nursing like a champ. Again. I get mom another cup of tea and we talk about baby wearing.  Mom has used the Moby successfully but is hesitant to try the Ergo.  Baby is under 8 pounds so she would need to use the Infant Insert.  We will try that the next time I come.

12:00 РBy  now the laundry is done and folded and the soup is simmering away in the Crock Pot.  I make mom a turkey sandwich and cut up some melon for her.  I offer to hold the baby so she can eat and mom happily agrees. (YAY! I get some baby snuggles!) 

12:30 РMom decides that her wife would be disappointed to miss out on the first bath, so we postpone that.  A better use of my time is for me to keep snuggling the wee one while mom gets a nice hot shower for herself.

1:00 – Mom is all showered, the kitchen is tidied up, baby’s laundry is put away in the nursery. ¬†I hand mom her water bottle & a freshly diapered girl who is ready to nurse. I head out the door, feeling satisfied that the rest of the day should go smoothly for mom.

So there you have it – 4 hours of a typical or maybe not-so-typical shift of a postpartum doula. How can we help you?

*Lauren

Game Changer

I am fairly¬†certain I came out of the womb shouting orders. I probably told my mom how to breastfeed, and the nurses how to change my diaper. Yea, I am THAT bossy. ¬†I¬†recognize this flaw in myself, and it is something that I have struggled with and worked on quite a bit over the years. When my dearest friends have babies and come to me for advice, I tell them “You HAVE to get this, and you MUST do that, and you SHOULD do it this way.” Sometimes, this is just¬†what they need, and often times I am sure it is not!¬†

And then. This past weekend, I attended my Postpartum Doula workshop, another (and now I think of it as the MOST important) piece to certification with DONA International. This workshop was a game changer for me, it was that life altering. I walked in thinking “I already know so much about babies, I have worked with lots and lots of infants, and lots and lots of different babies and moms.” Well, I learned how to calm my soul and quiet my racing mouth. I learned, how to be a Doula. And being a Doula is so much more than babies. So much more.¬†

Probably what stuck with me the most is that “You should always be working yourself out of a job.” This mentality is SO very different than working as a nanny, as a nanny¬†you want to stay with the family for as long as you can! But TRUE doula work means encouraging, teaching, and supporting Mom [and Dad], helping, educating, and¬†supporting, assisting, complimenting and SUPPORTING. As a doula, I hope to help Mom and her family feel so confident in the job of taking care of baby that they don’t need me anymore. I’ve helped Mom¬†recover and heal (and rest!) from the birth. There is a huge need for this work out there, in the U.S we have high¬†expectations for Mom following her giving birth, we often forget that SHE needs some care and¬†attention as well. This is truly¬†such beautiful work, and I cannot WAIT to be fully immersed in it!

*laurie