Overnight Newborn Care is sometimes a new concept. Tired parents often approach us and ask: “what does a postpartum doula do overnight to care for their family while they sleep?” It almost sounds too good to be true! Rest assured, this exists and works beautifully.
The role of a postpartum doula is so varied from family to family that it’s difficult to answer “what do you do?” The proper question is, “what don’t you do?!”
The whole purpose of overnight newborn care is for the entire family to GET MORE SLEEP! So, we won’t be doing a lot of noisy housework, of course. But, we will take care of simple tasks to make your life easier. Then, our focus will be entirely on looking after your baby, allowing you to get a full night of sleep.
But what if I’m breastfeeding? How does overnight newborn care work then?
Breastfeeding families sometimes feel they have no need for overnight newborn care because they’ll be awake nursing the baby anyway. While it is true you might need to be awake to nurse your baby, we don’t think you should miss out on overnight care because of that! In our experience, overnight newborn care is still incredibly beneficial to families that are breastfeeding their baby. Most often we see this go in phases which we will explain further below.
Let’s walk you through what a shift with an overnight postpartum doula might look like for you.
Your doula arrives and checks in quickly to find out how you are doing and tasks that need to be done overnight. You had some questions about pumping and your doula shares her knowledge.
You discuss the list you’ve prepared which includes folding a load of baby clothes, wiping kitchen counters, and restocking the diaper bag with diapers and wipes. After telling her when the baby ate last and any other information she may need, you head off to bed. You’re asleep before your head hits the pillow.
During the newborn phase, your baby will nurse frequently and generally directly at the breast. Nursing strictly at the breast for several weeks helps to establish and regulate your milk supply.
So, if you’re breastfeeding the baby, your doula quietly wakes you a few hours later to nurse your hungry newborn.
She brings the baby to you and you snuggle and nurse for a bit in the comfort of your bed. Usually she’ll ask if there’s anything she can get you to make you more comfortable.
While you nurse your baby, the possibilities are vast as to what your doula can accomplish.
Imagine breastfeeding your newborn while your laundry folds itself! Having a postpartum doula providing overnight care makes this as close to reality as possible. Relax with your baby while your doula fixes you a midnight snack or brings you a fresh glass of water. How about waking to a straightened kitchen?
Once your little one has been fed, your doula will take your baby back to her nursery. She will change, swaddle, and soothe baby safely back to bed. All of this, while you sip your water and then drift back to sleep.
Eventually some families may like to incorporate a bottle into the mix.
This can either involve bringing baby to you to nurse for the first feed and doing a bottle for the second feed or eventually feeding with bottles the whole night.
This might require you to get up and pump during the night which would be a task if you didn’t have a doula! Your doula can simply grab milk and pump parts from you and have them washed and ready for the next use. She’ll also label milk to your liking and place it in the fridge or freezer for storage. Another option would be to do an extra pumping session during the day to have milk available so you can sleep through the night.
If you’re pumping milk for overnight use or using formula, your doula takes care of all of the night feedings while you sleep uninterrupted.
Sometimes babies need a good bit of rocking or soothing after a feeding before they fall back to sleep. These middle of the night episodes aren’t always short and sweet. Overnight care allows you to go back to sleep sooner and easier, or even sleep straight through the night, knowing your baby is in good hands.
Once your baby is asleep in her bed, your doula checks to make sure diapers and wipes are stocked and ready to go for the next day. She also grabs any used burp cloths and blankets to toss in the wash.
She’s completed everything you needed her to and everyone is fast asleep. So, your doula lays down in the guest room or on the couch to rest. With the baby monitor nearby she’s able to hear your baby stirring, ready for their next meal. She brings your little one for their next nursing session and heads out to clean the pump parts in the sink. Once the baby is full, she returns and once again changes and soothes baby to sleep. Meanwhile you go right back to sleep!
When it’s time for your doula to leave in the morning everyone is sleeping including baby. She sneaks out through the garage like you planned, making sure everything is secure. You wake to your baby’s cues to feed feeling well rested and ready to take on the day.
Overnight care may look similar or slightly different for your family.
We work closely with our clients to make sure we’re meeting your expectations and, most importantly, getting you the most sleep possible!
Leave your baby in the capable and responsible hands of your doula. They will do the rest while you peacefully sleep. Since we know that sleep is a contributing factor to mental health, we are here to support new parents get adequate rest no matter what it takes!
Make this story your reality: book one of our Postpartum Doulas for your Overnight Newborn Care today!