Attention new parents: help is on the way

You're home from the hospital with your new bundle of joy. Life is supposed to be perfect now; you have your dream of your ideal baby.But the reality is an overflowing laundry basket, dirty dishes piling up, no food in the house to cook, and a baby that keeps the two of you in a perpetual state of exhaustion, with no time to do even the basics of both an uninterrupted shower and brushing your teeth,; you must decide which one is more important. Who do you turn to when your family is not available? Try a post partum doula. Doula, what's that you ask? Loosely translated from Greek for a female caretaker, a doula traditionally helps with the transition to being an organized family. Need help breastfeeding, swaddling or bathing the newborn? The postpartum doula is certified, and in infant CPR. Need someone to wash the baby clothes, prepare simple meals, tidy the kitchen, organize your baby's room, put away your baby shower gifts, or do simple grocery shopping, all while you nap? The doula's goal is to work herself out of a job, by helping and teaching you to coordinate your essential home activities, incorporating your newborn into your new daily routines. Where do doulas come from? How do they get their experience? Most are experienced mothers, and becoming a doula is a way to put to use those talents they learned rearing their own brood. Some already have empty nests and find the work of mothering and teaching it to others to be very rewarding. Some are experienced nannies, expanding their capabilities to include the very newborn baby. Some are nurses, tired of the stress of hospital work, where they can be assigned four families a shift to care for. Each post partum doula has unique abilities; no two will be exactly alike. Some insurance companies will now reimburse for them, and that will take work on your part to investigate your benefits. Ask the doula for the insurance code. How do you find a doula? Many have listings in parenting magazines, and the bulletin board at the library or grocery store may have some. The Doula Association of Southern California and other websites can also be resources. Costs vary depending on the doula's background and experience. You may need to interview several to find the one right for you. Most will ask for payment up front, and have you submit a receipt to your insurance for reimbursement. Do a group of you want to give a unique baby shower gift? How about service for a post partum doula for a week? Rita Shertick has been a nurse/educator for 30 years, and is currently at Downey Regional Medical Center. She also teaches nursing school part time at Long Beach City and Cypress College.

********** Published: July 15, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 13