When you hire a postpartum doula, make sure you find someone baby obsessed. Yes, your doula helps the entire family, but you need to make sure they are obsessed with your baby because inevitably that person they will help the most in your family.
The other day I was in a coffee shop when I had a stare down with a baby. It was a friendly encounter, I gave her time to become comfortable and then I smiled at her—and she gave me a light up the face toothless grin back.
I have always loved babies. I began babysitting at 11 years old, and I was enrolled in the first class I could to teach childcare during my sophomore year of high school. During my junior and senior years, I took a bus from my school to a vocation school every day so I could take childcare classes, because I loved kids and was eager to learn more.
After graduating high school I worked as a daycare teacher as I put myself through college. It was during this time that I was offered a chance to run a brand-new infant room.
Some people become nervous around babies, especially when they are newborns. They seem so fragile and vulnerable—and they are. But they are also amazing!
Did you know newborns rely almost exclusively on smell and sound?
A newborn cannot see much farther than a few inches away, and even that view is blurry. In evolutionary terms, it is no wonder we hold our infants so close to our faces when we talk to or feed them— they need us to. Brand new research shows that infants are attracted to facial shapes, but cannot necessarily see them.
However, a newborn can smell her mother’s milk from 30 feet away! They can also get very upset when they are held by several caregivers, and as a result, and lose the familiar scent of their mother.
There is a phenomenon penned by an IBCLC called Baby’s Second Night, which details the idea that a newborn can become overwhelmed by the change in their environment and react by being extremely clingy with their parents.
Picture spending your entire life in a dark, temperature controlled environment where you really are just floating around. Now you are in a loud, cold, bright environment learning to eat, urinate, and poop at the same time. Babies are born to eat, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take them some practice at the beginning.
I always tell my clients this important sensory information because I want them to realize just how sensitive their newborn is.
The final episode of Girls “Latching” was a perfect example of how sensitive newborns can be. The main character is struggling to breastfeed and her friend suggests, from a book, it is because the baby can sense her tension. She leaves home to blow off steam, and when she returns home her baby latches without issue. As an IBCLC I was disappointed she wasn’t getting more help, but as a baby advocate I was thrilled! Finally, a way to show the interconnection between mom’s emotions and her baby’s sense of safety.
Your doula needs to hold, help feed, change, burp, play with, understand, and love your baby because when your baby is safely cared for you can begin to rest and heal. When mom and dad trust a caregiver, that trust is the basis they will use to trust all future caregivers for their child. And, it helps the adjustment to the parenthood role they desperately are trying to achieve. So, if you are currently pregnant and searching for postpartum help, remember that your doula should see your baby as her #1 priority.