Recently, I had some questions regarding what an overnight postpartum doula shift looks like. I thought the easiest way to answer that would be to write out a typical shift from a client’s point of view!
You look at the clock. 9 pm. Only 1 hour left until your overnight postpartum doula arrives. It’s been a day, and you are exhausted. Baby is still in your arms and has been most of the day. Your partner has tried to take him several times since getting home from work, but he’s just wanted to nurse all evening. Time passes and you hear a quiet knock at the door. You open the door and there she is! She smiles warmly as she comes in and takes off her shoes and hangs up her coat. As she walks to the sink to wash her hands, she asks you how the day was. While you unload your day, she quietly nods and listens. It’s such a relief to have someone else to talk to! She asks if you have any questions, and you remember to ask her about why he’s been nursing non-stop the last few evenings. She explains about cluster feeding and growth spurts and suddenly you feel a huge relief. You were starting to be worried about your supply and that it wasn’t enough.
She asks if you’d like her to take the baby now, or if you’d like to breastfeed him again first. You tell her he just finished nursing prior to her arrival and attempt to place him into her capable hands. He stirs, but she quickly settles him back down. She suggests a warm shower to wash off the day and you agree. You head off to your shower and step under the warm water. Ahhh. The stress of the day washes away down the drain. When you get out, you pop your head out of the room and see your doula has magically managed to lay your baby down in his bed and has begun to fold the laundry mountain on your couch. You head off to bed with your partner and exhausted, you both quickly fall asleep.
A few hours later, you hear a quiet knock on the door. Your doula is there with your baby and she quietly tells you he’s ready to nurse again. While you nurse him (in bed), she brings up a cool glass of water and a small snack. How does she always know just what you need?! When he finishes, she takes him to burp, change (of course he pooped), and soothe him back to sleep. You quickly fall asleep again.
A couple of hours later, you hear another quiet knock. He is ready to nurse again. You nurse him, but he is having trouble latching and you start crying, overwhelmed. Your doula is right there. She calmly sits and puts her hand on your arm. She doesn’t say a word, but somehow her presence is enough. Once you’ve calmed down, she suggests a different hold to help him latch , and lo and behold, it works! Once he finishes, she takes him again and you fall back asleep.
A few hours later, and there’s once again a quiet knock. Your doula tells you it is 6 am. She asks if you’d like her to bring you your baby, or lay him in his co-sleeper beside you. You ask her to lay him down, so she does. Then she leaves, and returns with a tray with some water, toast, and fresh fruit. She sets it beside you and quietly leaves, tells you she will see you again. You hear the door latch and lock as you eat a piece of toast. Then you fall back asleep.
A little bit later you awake to the smell of coffee. Your doula had set the timer on the coffee pot and it has just finished brewing. Baby is also awake, so you pick him up and get up to enjoy a cup of coffee. When you get downstairs, you look around. The laundry mountain is neatly folded into laundry baskets, and the baby’s items and towels have been put away. The kitchen is clean,and last night’s supper dishes are nowhere to be seen. In the crock pot is a bubbling soup that you and your partner will eat for lunch. When you open the fridge, you see cut up fruit and veggies for easy snacking. You can’t believe that your overnight postpartum doula managed to do all that while having baby duty. With the exception of waking just for a couple of nighttime feedings, you slept soundly and through the night. You feel refreshed and ready for the day.
Would you like more information on how our signature overnight care can help you get the sleep you need to thrive in the early postpartum period? Send me a message and we can chat about how an overnight postpartum doula can help you get more sleep!