‘Baby Nurse’ or Post Partum Doula
By Denise Bolds MSW CD(DONA)
December 29, 2018
As a birth doula of over 4 years, I have encountered many clients announce with pride: “I have hired a baby nurse to help me once the baby is here!” In my mind I am thinking my client must have been told at a prenatal visit that her unborn baby will be born with huge clinical needs that must be supported by a ‘baby nurse.’ I asked my client who laughed and said: “Oh no! My friend had one and recommended the service to me.”
This new Mom like so many others hear the term ‘Baby nurse’ and they all want one. They have no idea what a ‘baby nurse’ is. Here’s the scoop!
There are circumstances where a baby is born with intense medical conditions that require clinical support in the home such as special medications, oxygen, blood monitoring and recovering from surgeries. This is where a clinical, registered nurse who specializes in neonatal (newborn) care is a Baby Nurse.
The ‘baby nurse’ that many new parents hire are predominately women from the Caribbean who are skilled in caring for a new born. These ‘baby nurses’ are not of a clinical background, many are without any CPR training. ‘Baby nurses’ come from agencies that charge a bundle and they do not support the Mom, Dad or the home for that matter - just the baby. There is an alternative.
A post-partum doula is certified and is trained in supporting the family. They are CPR trained and will support the home with light meal prep, light house cleaning, breast-feeding support, belly binding, infant massage and more. The post-partum doula is also more affordable and flexible in hours. Why hire support that is only for the baby when a post-partum doula supports the baby and the family.
Remember, there are birth doulas and there are post-partum doulas. The birth doula supports prenatally and the labor/birth. The post-partum doula supports the newborn and the family with a variety of supports that include breastfeeding, belly binding, meal prep, house cleaning, overnight support and more. Both birth doulas and post partum doulas support breastfeeding! Many birth doulas provide placenta encapsulation services.
Do not be misled by the term ‘baby nurse.’ You are paying more for less support. Ask your birth doula if she/he/they can recommend any post-partum doulas. Bold Doula sure can!
Mourning During Labor
Denise Bolds, MSW CD(DONA) November 12, 2017
I am always fortunate to have amazing clients whom always teach me something new in my doula practice. Awhile ago, I had a client who was a VBAC getting ready to give birth to her second child. My client comes from an affluent lifestyle; her first born son is 2 and a half years old. Her VBAC successful, her birthing room was filled with family celebrating the birth; however the mother was not celebrating the birth of her beautiful baby girl. In fact, her demeanor was one of anticlimactic, bordering upon disinterest. It was evident something was amiss.
This mother was despondent over the change in her routine with her first born son now that her newborn daughter had made her arrival. For over two years this mother focused all of her mothering upon one child; there was a routine, a lap, a hug for her first born. With the birth of her second child, this mother did not process the addition of another child entering her life. Many parents of multiple children express anxiety over affection, routine and family structure.
This mother hired support so she could try and maintain the routines she and her firstborn had before her daughter was born. She became frustrated and anxious; she was the perfect candidate for mental health support from a provider who specializes in post-partum issues, including managing siblings. Luckily this mother was receptive to receiving the support.
Fast forward 18 months later. Another client, Kathleen was giving birth for the second time. Her first born son is two years old. During Kathleen’s labor, she began crying to the point where it evolved into hysterical sobbing. Kathleen’s hysteria had nothing to do with her labor, in fact, her hysteria was so pronounced, it shut down her labor.
I immediately stepped in to find out what was happening. John, Kathleen’s husband tried to console her to no avail. Before leaving the house, Kathleen forgot to kiss her sleeping son good bye. John did his best to rationalize with Kathleen; her sudden bleeding in her labor resulted in the couple rushing to the hospital with a potential emergency. Kathleen did not accept this reasoning; she continued to sob about how much she loves her son; she forgot to kiss him and touch him for the ‘last time.’
I remembered my client of 18 months prior; I knew what Kathleen was experiencing; she needed validation if we were going to move forward in the current birth. I went to Kathleen and I explained that I understood how she was feeling; I validated her, I saved space for her to mourn the loss of having an only child. I validated this mother’s anxiety with a simple statement: “Your lap and your heart are big enough for two.” Kathleen is an only child. She hugged me breathing a sigh relief. I was able to identify what Kathleen could not immediately express.
As doulas, we are on the front line witnessing what our clients experience. As part of prenatal support having a conversation about parenting multiple children and having a resource of mental health specializing in maternal health is very beneficial. Having this topic as part of the doula prenatal intake is something to consider in empowering your client and the family.
Here are some tips for the client and the growing family:
Have a sibling visit at the hospital.
Have a gift for the older child.
Have a ‘celebration’ of the newborn’s birthday.
Have the eldest child be a helper to the newborn sibling.
At home, set aside ‘Mommy & Me’ time with the oldest child while the newborn is with dad/mommy/partner.
Find a job in the home that the eldest sibling and Mommy can do together like setting the table for dinner or getting the mail from the mailbox.
Identifying and saving space for our clients when they cannot fully understand their own feelings brings trust and empowerment that affects the family as a unit. Many parents experience anxiety of having enough emotional resources, time and energy in parenting multiple children. This can be especially evident if the parents themselves are from single child families.
Kathleen and John used some of my suggestions from above; Kathleen is both empowered and confident in her motherhood of her two boys. Post partum, she sent me a lovely thank you gift and card commemorating the space I held for her in her labor where she mourned before giving birth.
Selecting a Pediatrician
Denise Bolds, MSW CD(DONA) August 31, 2017
A pediatrician is a medical doctor specializing in children and their diseases. The pediatrician is one of the most important components of successful parenting. Newborns, infants, children, adolescents and teens with their parents interact with the pediatrician very closely, providing, education, advocacy and resources as well as medical knowledge. The pediatrician has a contribution to how parents parent their children and how children grow up embracing the value of their health.
New parents may have never encountered a pediatrician as an adult. They either fondly remember their pediatrician or forgot them. Many parent-to-be get referrals of pediatricians from family and friends. First, make sure the pediatrician is board certified and accepts you/your partner/spouse’s health coverage. Try to have one close to home if possible.
As new parents, you have the right to interview pediatricians and pediatric practices. Here’s some suggested questions to use when interviewing pediatric provider prospects:
1. How large is the practice? Do you want the pediatrician to be of the same gender as your newborn? This can be helpful when your newborn becomes an adolescent.
2. What is the on-call procedure for this practice?
3. Is this pediatric provider immunization friendly? Are they willing to spread out immunizations for your baby?
4. Is the practice open to working with new parents? You will have questions - many of them. Can this practice work with you both or find your queries bothersome?
5. What is the waiting room procedure like? Will your newborn be in the same waiting room as a sick child? Can you & your newborn be put directly in an exam room or wait in the lobby/car until it’s your turn and you are called on your call phone to come in?
6. Is there a well waiting room and a sick waiting room or just one for everyone?
7. Where does the pediatrician have hospital admitting privileges? Is your health insurance accepted there?
8. Is this pediatric practice breastfeeding friendly? Do they have an IBCLC (breastfeeding expert) on staff?
9. Can they recognize a lip tie or tongue tie? This is helpful if you are having challenges in breastfeeding.
10. Are there any fees for forms or copies from this practice?
11. Is this pediatric practice diverse? Do they have same-sex, interracial families they support?
12. What are the office hours? Any late night or Saturday appointments?
Remember! Pediatricians get reviews too! Check them out on line!
I remain deeply grateful to Dr. Peter Gergely of Gergely Pediatrics, Garrison NY for over 20 years of excellent care for my son and empowering me as a single parent!
Copyright Denise "Bold Doula" Bolds © All rights reserved.