Over half of the 1500 mums questioned said they have, or would consider using a maternity nurse to help with a newborn. These findings come in the same week as the Royal College of Midwives announced there are fewer home visits from qualified midwives. The NHS has been replacing them with drop-in centres after stopping midwife recruitment and budget cuts.
Many mothers find an experienced extra pair of hands is invaluable for helping with anything from breast feeding to getting the baby to sleep and offering emotional support.
Many people ask what the difference is between a maternity nurse and a postnatal doula. A maternity nurse typically focuses their care on baby alone, whereas a postnatal doula focuses on supporting the parents so that they can learn how to care for their baby and encourages and teaches parents how to interpret their baby's cues, and to trust their instincts in responding to their baby's needs. The postnatal doula’s role is to support everyone in the family, including mum, dad, siblings and baby.
Unlike most other doulas, I also live-in so that I can support Mum during the night, and if you wish, I will sleep in baby's bedroom and take care of the night feeds, so that Mum can catch up on her sleep.
Babies are not textbook, and there are a lot of new skills to learn from mastering nappy-changing to introducing the foundations of a daily routine.
It’s common to feel out of control at first. The only way to get through it is to throw your usual routine out of the window and focus on learning to care for your new arrival and understand their needs.
Needless to say, this process takes twice as long if you’re trying to combine it with cooking, cleaning and entertaining.
Statistics support the benefits of employing a doula:
Research carried out by Valerie Goedkoop, of Nurturing Birth, has shown how mothers working with support from a doula benefit:
With doula Without doula
86% successful breastfeeding at birth 76%
88% mums still breastfeeding at 6 weeks 21%
67% mums still breastfeeding at 6 months 21%
In the book, 'The Doula - An Essential Ingredient of Childbirth Rediscovered' (1997 - Klaus & Kennell) it is shown that, at 6 weeks after delivery, a greater proportion of doula-supported women were: