Doula tips for success!
So perhaps you have all the things. You got the diapers, you got all the feeding supplies. Now what?!
TIP #1 CREATE STATIONS FOR FEEDING AND diaper CHANGES
It’s a good idea to have all your things gathered in specific spots.
Popular spots of diaper changing is near where they sleep, near where you are in the day, and then a diaper bag ready for on the go changes. Check out our blog here for a checklist of items to have on hand for your changing table station. It is a good idea to get into a habit of replenishing these spots daily. Nothing worse than removing a diaper and reaching for the new one only to touch an empty space. Doh!
For breastfeeding folk you may want a tote bag of everything you would like during a nursing session. From nipple creams, burp cloth, water bottle, snacks, and even the trusty TV remote. Once you get comfy and begin nursing you will not want to adjust to grab one of those things. Boppy pillows, or My Brest Friend pillows are great to have to help share the load of holding the baby while breastfeeding. Some people like having one area in the home where they nurse in the daytime, and one dedicated spot for nighttime feeding. These can become helpful when shaping sleep too, and trying to fall into a schedule.
Bottle feeding prep involves having everything out and easily accessible. You can get organized. Clear off a space on your kitchen countertop to place a sterilizer (if using a countertop style, dishwashers with a sanitizing cycle, or good ol’ boiling water can also sterilize), bottle warmer, and bin/basket for feeding items. This can include bottles out on the counter or you can keep them in a cabinet near by. If using formula you can have the ready to feed, or powder containers set up here as well. Some folk like Baby Brezza products for formula feeding. They offer items that can help shorten the time it takes to prepare a warm bottle. If you use their formula dispenser you can have that in this area too!
Next to or in the the sink you can keep a basin and as bottles become dirty they can go right into this basin. Fill this basin up with warm soapy water so the bottles can soak. Step one of bottle cleaning is done! From here you can continue to hand wash or they can go right into the dishwasher. A bottle drying rack is convenient for placing your freshly washed bottles on.
Doula Tip: Check the nipple sizes for flow for all new bottles. Make sure the newborn sizes/slower flow nipples are the ones out and ready to use!
TIP #2- Meal planning for parents
So you got the feeding stations figured out and you know you are going to feed your little baby well. But parents need to eat too! And often the caretaking of the little human is so consuming that meals get skipped. Or cookies begin to count as meals. Which we are here for but isn’t very sustaining, nor should be the plan.
Prepare some meals in advance. Freezer meals are a great hit. Spend a few days at the end of pregnancy stocking up your freezer with meals that you just have to throw in a crock pot or insta-pot. BOOM! Homecooked meals at the ready in those early postpartum weeks.
In this beautiful day and age we now have so many delivery services at the ready. If people are looking to gift you things and you don’t know what to ask for, ask for gift cards to Door Dash and Grub Hub and the like. When you are hungry you will be so grateful you can have the meals brought to you!
Some families even like to set up a Meal Train. The website makes it easy to share online with family and friends. You can get specific on your requests for things such as likes, dislikes, and allergies. Leave a cooler on your porch, and loving friends and family will bring you meals!
Tip #3 – Know your boundaries when it comes to visitors
Firstly, we are in a pandemic. You decide your rules and comfort level with who can visit and what you expect of them period. If the visitor cannot follow these rules and are upset about it, it truly is their own reaction and feelings which you cannot control. Do not take them on. You have to protect your family the way you feel best doing so.
The early days of parenthood is also a time of recovery for the parents, especially the birthing person. Send signals to the visitors by keeping a robe on or staying in your bed when they visit. These are visual cues that healing and recovery are happening.
Doula tip- You are not entertaining visitors after the birth of your baby. They can get their own glass of water, they know how! Better yet they can bring you meals!
The days after the baby is born are a time of discovery and adjustment. While visitors may be welcomed and helpful, stay focused on your needs too. Don’t skip feedings or put them off just bit longer if breastfeeding to wait for the visitor to leave. Announce to the room it is time to feed and they can accommodate you.
Bottomline, if you are not up to have a visitor over simply let them know, “No thanks, not today.”
Tip #4- SAY YES
It can be hard for us to admit we need help, to ask for it, or even say yes to offers of help. This is the time to say YES! Did you just eat breakfast, but then your friend wants to bring over bagels, coffee, and juice? Say yes to the bagels, coffee, and juice! While you have a visitor over, if they ask how they can help, BE HONEST.
Doula tip- Make a list of things that would be helpful in every room (i.e. vacuum the great room, walk the dog, wipe the counters) When a visitor asks how to help you can simply direct them to the lists!
These tips will help you navigate those early days home. It is a beautiful whirlwind, with winds of overwhelm and tears too. Be gentle on yourself as you navigate your new beginning, and don’t forget you can always reach out to your Postpartum Doula too!
Authored by Andrea Stainbrook