Frequently Asked Questions:
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.
How is a Doula Different from a Labor and Delivery Nurse?
If you have recently found out you are expecting, or even have known for a while now but are just now mentally preparing for delivery, you probably have a lot of questions. Even second- or third-time mothers often have concerns because there were aspects of their first delivery that t they don’t want to repeat. A very common question, especially for moms here in Connecticut, is whether or not to enlist the services of a Birthing Doula. After all, the nurses will do the same things anyway right? Actually no, a Doula is quite different from a Labor and Delivery nurse.
#1 A Doula is dedicated to you. While your nurse is assigned to all birthing mothers on the floor at the same time as you, your Doula is there only for you. The nurses on staff would like to provide support, but they often have little time to spend individually with a couple. The nurse’s role is to monitor the progress of the labor so she comes in and out of the labor room checking on the progress. The Doula’s personalized attention focuses on your needs and those of your partner. She provides continuous emotional, physical and informational support.
#2 Your Doula will be chosen by you. You cannot choose the nurse on rotation at the time period that you go into labor. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility you will not get along well with the nurse on staff but even when your nurse is great she cannot stay with you during labor. In a hospital setting you labor alone with your partner. You aren’t alone with a Labor Support Doula. She also allows your partner to get a bite to eat, or get a cup of coffee. Labor can be a long process!
#3 You and Your Doula will meet ahead of time. Up to five months before you go into labor, you will meet and decide who you will trust to be with you during your birth. Once you choose a your labor support doula you will begin to form a bond with your Doula. This will be much appreciated in the birthing room, as you won’t feel surrounded by strangers.
#4. Your Doula is your advocate. The nurses work for the hospital; the Doula works for you. She will know your birth plan and help you to achieve it. Your doula can help you understand the choices you have for pain relief. If you want a completely non-medicated birth, the Doula will help you to achieve that through various strategies for managing the labor. She does not interfere with the medical staff, but she helps you to know and understand if you have options and helps you to have the kind of birth you want. Everyone’s goal is the same – to have a healthy baby. Having a doula helps you with another option – to enjoy your birth!
#5 Your labor will be better! Studies have shown that a Doula’s presence can actually reduce the length of labor, lessen the mother’s chance at having a caesarean section, as well as lessen the need other medicines or interventions.
If you are an expecting mother in Connecticut and have further questions about whether you would like a Doula for your labor and delivery, please contact MothersCare Doula Services at 203-375-5719 or email us at [email protected].