Frequently Asked Questions: Postpartum Support

 “Knowledge is having the right answer.
Intelligence is asking the right question.”
– Unknown
Ask away because knowledge is power!

“Can’t we strive to be better in the USA and provide postpartum services to all mothers not just when a problem arises? Imagine how we all as mothers could have benefited… maybe not have struggled as much…. felt as if we weren’t made to feel like a failure from the start.” ~ Dr. Rajka Milanovic Galbraith

How early should I hire a Postpartum Doula?

Just as you plan for your labor and delivery, you can start planning for your postpartum period as soon as you are ready.  I usually recommend interviewing help sometime in the late second trimester or early third trimester.  This way it gives us a good amount of time to get to know each other and set up a plan that is perfect for you.  It may also help you relax more as you near the pending arrival knowing that you already have systems in place.

What does the “Postpartum Trifecta” mean for my family?

I am three professionals wrapped up in one person.  My services are unique in that I am an experienced registered nurse, certified postpartum doula and lactation educator with 18 + years working with families in Tucson.  If you are looking for a walking, listening, talking instruction manual for all things mom, baby, parenting and family oriented, I am your consultant.  I can draw upon my medical knowledge as well as be your physical, emotional, educational and non-judgmental support person.  I am your one stop shop for all your postpartum family needs.

If I have family here, do I still need additional support?

Having family and support nearby is amazing, but sometimes having a non family member available to answer your questions is important for your confidence and sanity.  Everyone has their own opinion and advice when it comes to parenting.  I bring my unbiased knowledge and experience to help you form whatever parenting philosophy works best for your family.

What does a typical shift look like with a postpartum doula?

This is different for every family and changes daily. I adjust to whatever you need when I arrive.  Some days you might want to discuss bathing, swaddling and calming methods while others you want to focus solely on feeding. Organizing the nursery or setting up another changing station somewhere in the house to make your life easier can be helpful as is setting up a meal train so family, friends  and neighbors can bring you hot meals. There may be days you will want to process and have adult conversations?   Other days, I may sit and read with your older child or walk through a hands on demonstration with your partner while you take a bath or shower, catch up on emails or more importantly take a nap. Every day is different!

Should I pay hourly or buy a package?  Can I add on as I go?

Since each family’s needs are different, the choice is yours.  I realize that this is a learning curve for you and baby, so I can take as much or as little time needed to help you master a task(s). I am incredibly patient and work on baby time, not regular time. Most families purchase the 20 hour package to get started and we can usually accomplish everything in that amount of time, but I will always stay on and help out as long as you need.  My goal is to foster your independence and confidence. If I have available hours, you may purchase more as you need them.

How many hours do I provide per shift? Do I do overnights?

I typically work in 4 hour shifts, however, some exceptions do apply. If a task is taking longer to master then I will stay until it is completed for that day. My minimum shift is 2 hours long. So much bonding and attachment is happening at night that I do not want to interfere with this beautiful process, however, I can recommend other resources for your family to use.  I will occasionally work in the evenings to help with fussiness that inevitably happens when everyone is tired from the day’s activities.  I will offer tips to help increase sleeping for parents but until babies are about 4 months, their internal clocks are still developing. For more information on helping with sleep read this article: http://sleeplady.com/newborn-sleep/newborns-wake-night-10-things-can/

Can I use my FSA/HSA to cover these services?

Some FSA’s and HSA’s cover for postpartum and breastfeeding services while others do not.  I encourage family’s to call and check in with their insurance provider prior to delivery.  Once that has been determined, I can give you an invoice with my NPI number on it so you can submit it to your insurance for reimbursement.

Can my parents, family members, friends or co-workers purchase hours or packages for me?

Yes, my services make a great baby shower gift and families are so appreciative to get something that they can really use for advice, education and support. This is especially great for those out of town family members or friends who can’t be physically here to help with the hands on support or don’t know much about taking care of moms, dads and babies.  They can call, text or email me and purchase a gift certificate for hours or a particular package.

I am not sure if I want to breastfeed, pump or feed my baby formula, can you help?

How you choose to feed your baby is a personal choice. I have training and experience in helping with all kinds of feeding and will support you 100% in your decision. I will work with you on a plan that best meets your needs whether you will be staying at home and exclusively breastfeeding, returning to work and worrying about keeping up your supply, tandem nursing or supplementing with formula from time to time.  There are lots of different ways to make it work for you, your baby and your family. My job is to help however you need.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough?

This is a very common concern with parents.  Being able to read your baby, see their contentment after feeds and monitoring wet and dirty diapers will help you feel confident that your baby is on the right track.  I also have a scale that I can bring along to track the baby’s weight and will not hesitate to refer you to your Pediatrician, an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or support group for further assistance.

My baby cries a lot, what can I do?

Babies cry a lot, it is their only source of communication. Many parents want to know how to help soothe and calm their babies. Again, there are many different methods of soothing, so we can go through them together to figure out which one(s) work best for your baby. Some of the time, just taking a deep breath and walking away from your baby will help both of you feel more calm and relaxed. Here are two articles and a video that my clients have liked over the years: http://purplecrying.info/  https://happiestbaby.com/five-simple-steps-to-calm-your-babys-fussies/  and  http://qz.com/564290/watch-this-pediatricians-magic-method-to-soothe-a-crying-baby/

I do not have a history of depression, should I be concerned about developing postpartum depression?

The birth of your child can trigger all sorts of emotions from excitement and joy, fear and sadness to anxiety and/or depression. It is common for some mothers to experience “baby blues” (mood swings, crying, difficulty sleeping) after delivery and for a few weeks but if it lasts longer and seems more severe it may be postpartum depression (PPD).  Those who have suffered from depression in the past are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression after delivery.

PPD is the most common complication of childbirth and it can affect anybody. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms.  I spend a lot of time assessing and making sure mom and dad are doing ok through out the pregnancy and postpartum period.   PPD is not something to be ashamed of. It is a chemical imbalance and very treatable when help is sought. I am part of Tucson’s Postpartum Depression Coalition and work closely with the support group leaders at our local hospitals.

When do I need to worry about making my house safe for the baby?

The earlier you start child proofing your house the better.  Doing a little bit at a time will help you feel less overwhelmed when your baby is rolling all over.  I will go room to room with you and check out potential safety hazards. Then, I leave you with a list of things you need to take care of before your child is mobile. Baby’s grow up quickly and get into everything. Once they start moving, they never slow down.  Get a head start and start child proofing your house now.

I have so many questions about so many things, who can I ask for some guidance?

Me, I have been working in the OB field for almost 19 years. My families love that I have personal relationships with a variety of specialists and baby related professionals in town.  If I do not have an answer for you, I will find one! Just ask.

 

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“Colleen…you saved us..I can’t begin to tell you how much you helped us with a newborn and continue to help as he gets older. You are an Angel!” ~Grandma Debbie