Nanny vs Postpartum Doula
So many new moms, after a couple weeks (or days, or hours) at home with their new baby, look around at their blessed new life and realize that they need help with it. Generally, this equates to "I need help with the new baby." A quick internet search for "help with a baby" shows that the top option would be nanny services. Night nurses come up as another option. Nannies and night nurses are fantastic! Who wouldn't want extra help with the baby? And yet, let's not forget one little thing.
You. Just. Had. A. Baby.
You, mom. Who is taking care of you?
This sweet baby needs to be fed every 2-3 hours, needs to be changed just as often, needs to sleep and grow and needs round the clock care. All the while, you, mom are figuring out how to breastfeed, care for your cesarean scar or perineum, your hormones are ever shifting, you're recovering from birth, trying to stay nourished, trying to stay hydrated, and trying to get some rest. Or take a shower. If you're lucky.
This is the period of time where you and your baby would benefit most from a postpartum doula. Your postpartum doula will care for you as well as help you care for your baby, both physically and emotionally. She affirms you and your baby as a unit and gives you confidence as a mother. Her expertise is in protecting the sensitive period after birth where you and baby are learning how to do life together.
A postpartum doula can help with babies in many ways. She aids with breastfeeding, she knows how to swaddle, use different types of diapers, help with baby wearing, mix formula, hold babies in comforting positions, care for older siblings, help them to adjust to a new sibling and troubleshoot what's bothering fussy babies.
Your postpartum doula also helps you with recovery. She knows how to help with sore nipples, positioning the baby for a consistent latch, navigating the baby blues, making sure you are hydrated and well nourished and she understands the hormone balancing act that is occurring in the days and weeks after having a baby. Postpartum doulas will also do the practical side of running the house by doing laundry, dishes and cleaning. She provides emotional and physical support to you during this challenging (but short!) season of life. A postpartum doula is the support you need for both of you.
A nanny or night nurse, on the other hand, is the most benefit to mothers after they have come out of the postpartum phase. Once you and your baby have bonded, adjusted to life together, stabilized, and have developed something that may be mistaken for a routine, hire a nanny. Nannies are knowledgeable about baby and child care. They are great for helping mom to get a break and to be productive at her tasks by lifting some of the childcare duties. Every mother could use a helper and nannies are trained to do just that.
Good for you, new mom, for seeking help and support during a an immensely confusing, challenging and rewarding time in your life. Just know what type of support is going to benefit you the most, and when.