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Labor Doulas: Part Three-How to Hire a Doula

Part 3: How to Hire a Doula

The first hurdle in hiring the right doula is finding doulas!  Thankfully there are resources that make it much easier to find a skilled doula.  First, ask your friends and family.  Word of mouth is usually the best resource.  Your healthcare provider’s office would be a good place to ask too.  Midwifery practices usually have doulas they recommend or work with.

There is a wonderful search website www.doulamatch.net that matches you up with a doula according to your location and due date. On Doula Match you can search through doula’s profiles which contain information about their services and fees, availability and testimonials from clients.  Most doulas have a website and offer additional services like photography, childbirth classes, breastfeeding support and baby wearing education.

Here at Annie’s Nannies we can place a wonderful postpartum doula for your needs after the birth of baby.  A postpartum doula helps with newborn care, breastfeeding, night time coverage, cooking and chores during the first weeks after the birth or whenever you chose to hire her.  You can inquire with us for more information on postpartum doulas. 

We recommend contacting at least 3 to 5 doulas to make initial contact with.  Email is fine but, talking with a doula over the phone is better because it’s a great way to find out if you would like to set up an interview with her.  Interview a few doulas so that you can maximize your chances of finding somebody you are comfortable with and click with.

Most doulas will bring information about their services to the interview but, it’s always a good idea to bring notes from your conversation with her over the phone or printed from her website.  Here are some topics you can ask her about during the interview:

  • Training, certification and experience (don’t discount doulas who are not certified, there are a lot of very talented doulas out there who chose not to become certified)
  • Fees and contract, availability and meetings
  • Birth philosophy and personal convictions about being a doula
  • Amount of births attended and the variety of births attended
  • Support of husband/partner and roles
  • Postpartum availability
  • Additional services she provides like photography, belly casting, childbirth classes

You should have a good idea of the doula you want to go with after the interviews are over.  Sometimes you find the right doula on the first interview.  Sometimes it might take a while to find the right doula.  Get a start in your 2nd trimester and you will be sure to find the right match!

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Labor Doulas: Part Two-The Benefits of Using a Doula

Part Two- The Benefits of Using a Doula

Most benefits of using a doula are pretty well known but some are less obvious.  Those of us who have used a doula would say we couldn’t have done it without her.  Clinical studies and research have given us a lot of information about the benefits of using a professional doula.  Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Can reduce labor duration and complications
  • Reduces interventions like Pitocin and cesarean section
  • Reduces the requests of pain medication
  • Reduces negative feelings about the birth

Even more rewarding are some of the emotional benefits of using a labor doula and postpartum doula.  A mother tends to feel more confident and secure, has more success with breastfeeding and tends to adapt better to the new family dynamic.  Finally, there are less incidences of postpartum depression.

Some people ask how a doula can benefit a woman choosing an epidural or cesarean section.  It’s a misconception that doulas are only for women choosing to go the natural birth route.  No matter what kind of birth you are going for, there will always be a need for comfort, support and assistance.  Not everything goes as planned during labor.  Having a knowledgeable and comforting professional there to support you will be very helpful.  Check with your provider to see if your doula will be allowed in the operating room.

When a long labor is over and the baby is safely born and everybody is exhausted and happy, it’s usually the new father/partner who is the first one to reach out and thank the doula by giving her a big hug.  We asked a new father about his personal benefit.  He said, “When considering a doula it is natural for the couple to think of how she would help the mom but, the benefits for the father are just as immense.  For example, our doula took turns with me applying pressure to my wife’s back and comforting her.  This allowed me to rest.  She also ensured we were all eating and drinking plenty, which I wouldn’t have been so good at.  Finally, at the hospital she is the couples advocate and helped us focus on a healthy delivery, translated hospital speak and totally looked out for me and my wife’s wellbeing.”

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Thoughtful Answers from Nannies

As part of the process to be represented by Annie’s Nannies, we ask that all of our Nanny candidates answer twenty essay questions. The questions are designed to gain a deeper sense of a candidate’s childcare philosophy and personal experience working with children and supporting families. It’s an opportunity for the candidate to speak in her own voice and the answers often become a dynamic narrative that augment the linear format of a typical resume.

We look for heartfelt and thoughtful answers that convey wisdom and a genuine love of children.

We’d like to share answers we think particularly exemplify this!

Nanny Andrea H. answered the following two questions:

Describe a specific time when you positively affected the life of a child.

Kindergarten Obst“At the time, I was the part time nanny to a little boy who had just started Kindergarten. He was struggling greatly with the first homework assignment which was to memorize and be able to write his first and last name, home phone number, and address. He had struggled with ADHD, and the parents and I were trying alternatives to medication because he was so young. Sitting down and writing/studying after school was difficult for him, so I devised an alternative plan. I made an obstacle course around the living room and family room with physical movements (running, jumping, somersaults, etc) mixed with stations where he said his phone number, wrote his address on a chalkboard, and spelled his name. We spent the afternoon going around and around the course with me as his coach reminding him of the next step and cheering him on.

When we finished we were jumping up and down and cheering together, and he gave me a double high five and a hug. He told me I was even cooler than his teacher. After a couple days using our new study-course, he was able to say and write his information on his own at school, and was so proud of his achievement!”

Describe a specific difficult situation that you have had with a child and how you handled it.

“The most difficult situation I have had with a child occurred at the park with the 3 year old boy I cared for at the time. He was shy with other children, and usually needed encouragement to play, but that day a little girl really wanted his attention. He was making faces at her and saying “go away.” When the little girl was far enough away I asked him why he didn’t want to play, and emphasized speaking to others with kindness. He told me he didn’t want to play with her because of the color of her skin. Having never heard this kind of talk from him or other children before, I immediately removed both of us from the situation so that the girl and her mother wouldn’t hear or be hurt by what he may say. 

kids playingWhen we got home, we talked about how people’s color of skin, hair, and other physical traits do not determine the kind of a person they are, and that our differences are what make the world interesting and beautiful. I provided some examples and talked about how the sun changes his skin in the summer time. When his mother got home at the end of the day, we had him play while we discussed the day. I let her know gently what had happened, and that I knew his words were not a reflection of anything that they had taught him. It was an emotional and difficult conversation, but a very important one. We then discussed how to move forward together to teach tolerance and appreciation for everyone. 

I planned the rest of the week with a multi-cultural theme, and went to the library to find books for children about acceptance of others, as well as books for me about teaching tolerance to pre-school aged children. We were consistent in talking more about the subject as the months went on, and I am happy to say this was never a problem again.”

Thank you for sharing these with us Andrea. Well done!

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