After 9 months of hearing about how you are never going to sleep again, just the title of this post might be a little jarring. Isn't lack of sleep just par for the course when you have a baby? Well, no. It doesn't have to be. There's a secret that many Calgary parents have been keeping and it means they're sleeping through the night (or waking only to feed their baby and then going directly back to sleep), resting throughout the day, keeping their homes and family running efficiently, and even showering and eating a balanced diet. What is this secret mommy magic?
Now you may have heard about doulas throughout your pregnancy or even as you were preparing to become pregnant. When most people think about doulas, they envision wild hippie homebirth-loving women that yell at doctors for suggesting epidurals and smudge the delivery room with their underarm hair flowing freely from a paisley dress. Okay, so maybe I went a little far there, but it's a stereotype. The real secret is that doulas are for all types of birth and there are also doulas who have specialized training and expertise in postnatal care. They're called postpartum doulas.
Postpartum doulas are professionals that help new families navigate the first days, weeks, and months after a baby arrives. They perform tasks like meal preparation, laundry, bottle washing and making, infant care, light housekeeping and some can even walk your dog. What they also do is provide support. They help you find information about infant care, teach you tricks to make caring for your baby easier. Postpartum doulas are a shoulder to cry on and a neutral ear to listen when you need someone to talk to. They'll make a pot of tea, hold the baby while you shower, and even keep your toddler happily engaged while you nap. Imagine a knowledgeable and experienced BFF with the time to care for you around the clock post birth, without any personal opinions about what's best. Practically too good to be true, and you haven't even heard the best part!
Postpartum doulas do it all night long!
Yep! All that cool stuff I mentioned above; you can hire a postpartum doula to overnight. Many of the families I have worked with choose to have a postpartum doula come to help at night when their baby is not ready to sleep train.
Overnight doulas help calm the bedtime chaos. They can care for baby so you can enjoy your toddler’s bedtime routine, they’ll help your family settle in before they do a quick clean up, wash the bottles, fill the fridge with fresh ones, and a few hours later, can even feed baby and get baby back to sleep (in most cases without making a sound). If you're breastfeeding, they can bring baby to you for feeds, and you can get back to sleep while they do the burping and changing. Before they leave in the morning, they can get breakfast prepared. Like postpartum fairy godmothers.
So, if you’re counting the days until you can start the sleep training process and/or your baby is not yet developmentally ready to sleep all night without a feed, a Calgary postpartum doula may be the answer. If you’re planning to sleep train when your baby is older, I suggest you have any care providers follow a routine of sleep, feed, play, repeat. You can share my top 3 newborn sleep secrets with your postpartum doula, too.
If you’re looking for a postpartum doula in the Calgary area, check out the Calgary Doula Association.