As a Doula agency owner I get asked this question often... What's a postpartum doula? What's the difference between a postpartum doula and a nanny? On this week's blog, our Director of Postpartum Services, Randi van Wiltenburg explores these questions.
~ Doula In The Wild
In today’s current society we are hearing more and more about doulas, but usually the focus is on birth support. The majority of people haven't heard of postpartum doulas, so it is understandable that they don’t know exactly what we do.
As a postpartum doula my primary focus is on the well being of my clients, this includes both the parents, and child(ren.) Typically after giving birth parents give up practicing good self care as they enter into the new role of parenthood. They feel pressured to be "good parents" and take everyone's unsolicited advice regarding parenthood. Even well meaning family members can leave a new parent feeling judged in their decisions. As a postpartum doula my clients can contact me 24/7, 356 days a year for information and/or support on anything baby or parenthood related. I become a non-judgemental emotional support; their own personal encyclopedia full of information and resources. My goal is to support their parenting decisions regardless of what they may be. Partners are also able to contact me if they’re struggling or not sure how to support their family.
When I'm working in a family's home as a postpartum doula one important job I have is to make sure the parents are hydrated and fed; be it making time for them to sit and eat a warm meal or making a light snack for them. I can also help them with a meal plan, buy groceries, and prepare meals to be eaten in the future.
Additionally I will care for all child(ren), not just the baby, so parents can rest, shower, go for a walk; or anything else they need to do to allow them to be the best parent(s) possible. This includes caring for children overnight and staying awake with infants for upwards of ten hours if need be.
You can expect to pay between $30-60 per hour for a postpartum doula in our area. This rate will vary with experience.
Now if this wasn’t enough I will also help parents with the following tasks, as time permits...
- general pet care
- assistance with laundry
- general household organization
- guidance on postpartum nutrition
- running errands
- access to our lending library
- cloth diaper education
- baby wearing education
- full access to my list of resources within Calgary
- 24 hour on call service (I can’t stress this one enough... 2am you can call me and I’ll answer!)
As a postpartum doula I also have extensive education on things that parents might not be sure about, such as:
- all types of infant feeding & burping
- breastfeeding & pumping
- infant sleep
- bathing & diapering
- healing of tears, or scars
- pelvic floor issues
- processing birth experiences
As a postpartum doula I have not only attended many workshops and read countless books, but I am certified, and thus accountable to an actual doula organization. I'm expected to carry valid first aid and CPR training, and keep continuing education up to date. As well, my business carries the necessary insurance for me to work as a professional postpartum doula in your home.
What Does a Nanny do?
Don’t get me wrong nannies are fabulous people! In fact I was a nanny for many years, but they don’t have the training I have as a postpartum doula, nor the experience. Anyone can claim to be a nanny. There isn't an official nanny training program that one must attend to become certified.
A nanny’s primary focus will be child care. They’re not going to sit with you and assist you emotionally, listen to your birth story and help you process through the transition into parenthood. They don't have formal education on breastfeeding techniques or pumping. They’re not going to wear your baby while making bottles, doing laundry, and wiping down counters. They will cook meals for your children, but not necessarily for the family unit as a whole.
Some nanny’s will do light house keeping, but that’s only if the children are occupied; typically napping or watching television. A nanny who cleans house might come at an extra charge.
A drastic difference from a postpartum doula is that a nanny is an employee not a contractor. Legally you’re obligated to pay employment insurance, as well as, contribute to Canada Pension Plan on their behalf, plus vacation pay. If there are any checks you require (police security check, vulnerable sector check) you are required to compensate them for the check, as well as, time spent obtaining that.
Prices vary vastly depending on type of nanny too, be it live in, or live out, training, experience, expectations, etc. Not including EI, CPPP, vacation pay you’re looking at paying anything from $20.00-$50.00 per hour.
I hope this helps clarify which each person typically does, keep in mind as this is a service industry what each person offers is going to be different depending on their training and expertise.
~ Randi van Wiltenburg, Director of Postpartum Services
By: Doula Sonja
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