How Hard Could It Be?

When I had my first baby, it was the first time I had ever seen a newborn in person. I’d changed maybe two diapers, ever. In short, I was clueless.

My husband, John, helped his mom run her in-home daycare when he was younger. As far as I was concerned, he would be a diaper changing pro! The rest of the stuff like holding a baby, or soothing them, well, he’d probably remember it. Like riding a bike or something, right? Never mind the fact that he was a child when he did all this (seriously, what was I thinking?)

I had family in town. My own mother, in fact, lived just a few minutes away. And this was her first grandchild, so of course she’d be over all the time and would help fill in any blanks.

So Rex came out, we all got cleaned up and tucked into bed to rest, and suddenly, my husband and I were alone with a brand new baby.

I remember thinking it was a little bit ridiculous that we were expected to be able to take care of this baby without any practice or formal knowledge, completely responsible for someone else’s WHOLE LIFE. I mean, sure, people have been doing this since the beginning of time, but WE had never done it before!

I’m pretty good at rolling with whatever comes my way, so we jumped right in.

John was great at helping with diapers. We might have eaten more take-out than I cared to, but that was ok. My mom was happy to spend her free time with her first grandbaby. But she had to work, too. And eventually, John had to return to work.

Nights were relatively easy – John was home, even if I did feel bad waking him up to help me when I felt overwhelmed, knowing he had to work in the morning. Sometimes I woke him up on purpose, just because I was so irritated at being woken up yet again, and hey, this is his kid, too. (I love you, dear!)

Days were another story.

I was tired but unable to nap

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is impossible when you feel compelled to clean house and get the chores caught up. Or shower. Or eat.

I was bored out of my mind

Babies don’t make great conversationalists. Who knew?

I was jealous

My husband got to actually go spend time outside the house talking with other adults, even if they were just coworkers, and the only other place he went was work.

I was jealous that other people were able to take care of themselves, their children, and their homes, apparently without breaking a sweat.

I suddenly didn’t feel comfortable or confident

It took more energy than I ever thought just to pack the baby up and get him into the car, and nursing in public or dealing with a crying baby in public was just too much, so I never went anywhere. I used to be a smart, career-minded woman, an organized go-getter. How had this small person reduced me to this? Why didn’t anyone warn me?

I needed a postpartum doula. If only I had known there was such a thing.

Magical postpartum doula fairy
The postpartum doulas you hire won’t have wings, but you’ll swear they have magic sleeping baby fairy dust.

Abby says postpartum doulas are like a fairy godmother, and I have to agree.

Postpartum doulas are the women who have seen it all, so they are great troubleshooters when things aren’t going well.

They are the ones who let you sleep (or shower!) while they magically take care of the baby AND get some of your chores checked off, or get dinner started so your husband can relax, too.

The wonderful postpartum doulas I know are also the best listeners. You’d be amazed at how easy they are to talk to – so understanding, so loving and caring, and somehow they always leave you feeling content and refreshed. That’s way more than I can say for some of the friends and relatives that visited after Rex was born!

Postpartum doulas are more popular now than ever, and for good reason. Doulas of Memphis offers some of the very best doulas in the area, and they are worth their weight in gold.

Scheduling a consultation is quick and easy, and you’ll be so glad you did it.

Give the gift of sleep

Sleep. The #1 item on the wish list of new moms everywhere.

Maybe coffee is a close second, but sleep is a commodity that’s hard to come by when you are doing the up-and-down nighttime song and dance that is having a newborn in the house.

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Family is gone. Dad’s back at work. Now it’s you and this baby who hasn’t gotten the memo about days and nights yet. Yawn.

What if you didn’t have to spend those early days exhausted? What if there were some modern fairy godmother to bibbity-bobbity-boo you right off to dreamland? Good news, that totally exists, and it’s called a postpartum doula.

For new moms, postpartum doulas are as close to a fairy godmother as it gets. In addition to being great with babies, postpartum doulas are trained in normal postpartum recovery and carindg for moms. A lot of time, that care looks like facilitating sleep.

All the newborn grunting keeping you up? Can you believe nobody prepared you for how loud sleeping babies are?! Are you having trouble sleeping because you keep checking to see if everything is okay? Are you worried about your partner getting rest because they have a demanding job? Is baby fed and changed, but restless because of gas? In addition to normal newborn wakings, all of these are common reasons for moms to be short on sleep.

If you want more sleep at night or a chance to get a nap in the daytime, our postpartum doulas can help.

You can sleep easier knowing that your baby is in expert hands with our professional doulas. If you’re nursing or pumping, we can help facilitate sleep by minimizing the time you have to spend awake at night. We can give the baby a bottle or bring baby to you to nurse. We’ll take care of all of the burping, changing, and soothing back to sleep. If you are utilizing the help of your doula in the daytime, you can take that much-needed nap (and maybe even a decent shower!) while your doula looks after the baby and helps keep your house running smoothly.

Stocking stuffers, baby showers, or just because…there’s never a wrong occasion to give a mom the gift of sleep.

Choose one of our online gift certificates, or contact us and we’ll be happy help you with a custom amount. We have a variety of packages and price points to choose from!

 

What’s New: Safe Sleep Guidelines

The Internet is abuzz with the AAP new safe sleep guidelines that were released on October 24th. So what do these new sleep recommendations mean for Memphis families?

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The new safe sleep guidelines acknowledge the real-life experience of families with infants.

The ABC’s of safe sleep encourage families to put their infant to sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib that is free of clutter like blankets, positioners, toys, and crib bumpers. While sharing a room with your baby is recommended, sharing a bed is not, and falling asleep with your baby on a couch or recliner is the biggest no-no of them all. However, the AAP acknowledged in their safe sleep update that sometimes babies do wind up in the parent’s bed and offered some advice. From the Healthy Children website:

Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort. Place your baby back in his or her own sleep space when you are ready to go to sleep. If there is any possibility that you might fall asleep, make sure there are no pillows, sheets, blankets, or any other items that could cover your baby’s face, head, and neck, or overheat your baby. As soon as you wake up, be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed.

At Doulas of Memphis, we are most excited about this update because it promotes vigilance without putting added guilt and pressure onto families who are trying the best they can to get the rest that they need. Who doesn’t love a little nonjudgmental support? If you are struggling with sleep with your baby, our overnight postpartum doulas can help.

Safe sleep is possible without all of the extra bells and whistles. With all the products and sleep aids out there, many parents are left feeling confused as to what is safe and what is not.

Products that claim to “prevent SIDS” are a marketing ploy that preys on parent’s fears. In reality, there is no definitive way to prevent SIDS and many of these products have not undergone the rigorous safety testing through organizations like the FDA, the CSPC, or the AAP. Home heart monitors may provide peace of mind, but are never a substitute for the advice of your pediatrician. In regard to co-sleepers, Healthy Children says:

There isn’t enough research on bedside or in-bed sleepers. The AAP can’t recommend for or against these products because there have been no studies that have looked at their effect on SIDS or if they increase the risk of injury and death from suffocation.

If your baby likes a swaddle, that’s great, and the AAP encourages families to place swaddled babies on their back, in a swaddle that isn’t too tight and allows free hip movement, and to cease swaddling once you suspect your baby will begin rolling over.

Our doulas will always follow the AAP Recommendations for Safe Infant Sleep, but we also trust that parents are able to do what’s best for their families. Sleep safe and sleep well!

 

 

How to get more sleep with a newborn

Everybody needs sleep, but especially moms! Are you pregnant or do you have a brand new baby? Wondering how to get more sleep with a newborn? We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve.

how to get more sleep with a newborn
Sleeping like a baby means lots of interruptions- what’s a tired mom to do?

Some solutions for how to get more sleep with a newborn are simple and require only small amounts of effort on your part, but can yield you precious minutes of the shut-eye you’re craving.

Keep Mom Calm

The sound of a baby crying in the middle of the night isn’t exactly what we could call relaxing. For new parents, the sound of a newborn’s cry can be stressful, and when you’re on a lather/rinse/repeat cycle all night long with a newborn, that stress can make it hard to fall asleep again. Staying as calm as possible during night wakings will help you get back to sleep more quickly, which turns into more rest for you.

One easy way to stay calm is to let go of any expectations you have about sleep for your newborn and adopt a more “roll with it” approach. You can certainly create routines and habits for your baby to encourage sleep, but it takes time for newborns to develop sleep patterns. Take deep breaths. Remind yourself that this is temporary. Have your partner take over if things feel like too much. It’s small, but it adds up.

Minimize Movement

The more you and baby have to move around at night for feedings, diaper changes, and soothing back to sleep, the more you send the signal, “It’s time to wake up!” You can combat this by consolidating all of your nighttime necessities into one place.

If your baby is still sleeping in your room, find a dim nightlight and make a space for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.

If you are breastfeeding, try nursing in the side lying position (more rest for you!) and then moving your baby back to the bassinet or crib. Consider making yourself a basket that has snacks and water for when nighttime hunger strikes.

If you are bottle feeding, you can move your bottle warmer and a small cooler with the night’s bottles so that you can warm the bottle while you change your baby’s diaper. Minimizing movement during night wakings will help you take care of business so you can get back to the business of sleeping soundly.

Call in Reinforcements: The Postpartum Doula

Sometimes, you need to call in reinforcements for nighttime sleep. Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered! If you want to get some sleep knowing that someone is there to care for YOU as much they are to care for your baby, an overnight postpartum doula does just that. Our doulas are trained in normal postpartum recovery and are well-versed in baby care, so you can sleep more soundly knowing that your family is in expert hands. If you’re breastfeeding, we’ll bring the baby to you to nurse, then quickly take them away for everything else so you can go right back to sleep, or we can give a bottle of pumped milk if you prefer. Everything we do goes through the filter of, “What does mom need right now?” Bonus: You might even wake up to clean dishes, a folded load of laundry, and a hot cup of coffee!

When it comes to figuring out how to get more sleep with a newborn, there’s no magic recipe that works for everyone. Let Doulas of Memphis help figure out what works for you so you can wake up feeling rested and ready to be the supermom we know you are!