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Postpartum Doula Care: The Night Shift

By the Welcome Baby Care Doulas

Perhaps our most popular but also most misunderstood service is the overnight doula shift.  Often seen as a luxury, an intrusion, or something exclusively designed for bottle fed babies, the OVNT (as we doulas shorthand it) is more than meets the (bleary) eye.

For a breastfeeding family, a doula does everything other than nurse, so that the new mother’s only concerns are a few restful feeds interspersed with deep sleep.  Her doula will diaper, burp, rock, walk, and soothe.  Believe it or not, at least two extra hours of sound sleep can be achieved by absolving the new parents of those tasks—if only for one night.

While a doula will have a restful period which encourages a natural night pattern for the postpartum family, she will also do two to three hours of household chores; allowing the family to wake up not only refreshed, but relieved to see the laundry folded, the fruit washed and cut, the dishes clean and put away.

Sleep and service are valuable, but the night shift means even more to some new parents.  Worries and fears loom larger at night than they do in the light of day.  Sometimes, it’s nice to ask—at 3AM—the ever popular, however simple, question:  Is this normal? 

When it comes to new baby and new parents, nothing’s news to a postpartum doula.  It is very hard to rattle us, alarm us, or even stump us.  On the night shift, we are a night light of sorts.  We make things a little less scary and we illuminate what is right before you, so that you can clearly see.

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