Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Tips for Visiting A New Baby


Now you probably want to go bother the severely exhausted parents and rub your germy nose all over the baby's delicious smelling head... I totally understand! I'm a doula, so I do the same thing ;)

Since your desires to meet this new little human MUST be quenched, let me at least give you some tips for making your visit as seamless as possible and increasing your chances of seeing the little bundle of poop again... do you babysit?

10 Tips for Visiting A New Baby:

1. SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT. Ask the parents for a convenient day and time for them and once you agree on a time, stick to it. If you have your own children, then plan a time when you can go without them. Unless you are a very close family member, the midwife, or the doula, plan your visit after the first week, preferably after the second week - the baby will still be adorable, I promise.

2. BE HEALTHY. Do not go visit a new baby when you are sick. PERIOD. Snot running down your face, diarrhea last night... cancel your visit and reschedule when you are healthy.  

3. BRING SOMETHING. Ask the parents if they need you to pick up anything, or, if they have a craving for any favorite meals. If they politely decline any thing you offer, then think of something to bring anyway. You can never go wrong with some essential groceries such as eggs, bread, and ice cream (that's essential, right!?), toilet paper, a gift card for the parents, or something that you know they like (sushi, burgers).

4. BE QUIET. Knock quietly (for sanity's sake, DO NOT ring the doorbell!). Keep your voice low for both the parents and baby's nerves (and headaches!).

 5. WASH YOUR HANDS. As soon as you arrive. Walk into the house and before touching anyone or anything, go wash your hands. 

6. BE PATIENT. Wait to hold the baby until you are offered and then give them back in a timely manner.

7. RESPECT THE BABY. Babies have bigger thoughts and abilities than we have previously been aware and it is past time for us to begin respecting them. Be considerate of your actions and the volume of your voice. It can do no harm to ask the baby if you can hold them, and to speak kindly and respectfully to them.

8.  DO SOMETHING HELPFUL. Clean a few dishes, change the toilet paper roll, take the dog for a walk... DO SOMETHING. If you ask what you can do, they'll probably pretend to be polite again and say "nothing", so then just go wash a few dishes. 

9. LISTEN. AND SAY NICE THINGS. If the mother wants to talk about the birth, then listen. Most importantly, DO NOT GIVE ADVICE unless you are asked for it. Essentially, only speak when spoken to unless you are saying things like "what a beautiful baby", "you are doing so well", or "I'd love to do something for you, what can I help with". Any opinions or unsolicited advice can be directed to the radio on the way home.

10. MAKE IT BRIEF. Do not over-stay your welcome. A visit should last 30-45 minutes... if you've reached an hour then you better be vacuuming, doing laundry and cleaning the litter box - then leaving! 

~Wisdom and Birth

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Doula Hangover

Being a doula entails the self-less act of supporting a woman throughout the entirety of her labor... and contrary to what you see in movies, labor IS NOT a quick event, sometimes lasting 24, 36, even 48 hours and doulas are there for most of it!

As doulas we often join the mother in early labor and we don't leave until a few hours after the baby is born.

So, as you can imagine, after countless hours of massaging, hip squeezing, kneeling, standing, walking... doulas are exhausted (to say the least) after providing labor support. 

Not to mention trying to remember to eat and stay hydrated is often overlooked or minimally attended to as we often put the mother's needs before our own. 

So not only is your body working hard for a full day (or more!), but it is doing so with less water and calories than typical. 

Somehow, though, the energy of the birth keeps you going for as long as you are needed... but once the birth is over and you are headed home, the extreme fatigue sets in. 

This is when your DOULA HANGOVER begins!

Truly, I don't think there are many positions that can boast working for 24, 36, or even 48 hours with a supportive smile on your face and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help a mother give birth!

Doulas are a special breed of incredible!

~Wisdom and Birth