The Shame is Real

I see you there. You read the title and started nodding vigorously. Anyone identifying as a parent has been shamed at some point in their quest for survival and joy.

Here is an exhausting list of things parents get shamed for. It's okay to laugh.

...then sigh. And remember, live and let live. We're all on the same team here.

  • Having an epidural

  • Having an emergency or elected C-section

  • Having a home birth

  • Having or acquiring a baby any kind of way

  • Not losing weight fast enough after birth

  • Losing weight too quickly

  • Dropping a bite of guac on the baby's head while you desperately try to eat your first meal in 12 hours.

  • Breastfeeding in public

  • Breastfeeding for over a year

  • Pumping at work

  • Breastfeeding at all

  • Formula feeding

  • Bottle Feeding any liquid

  • Not picking your baby up fast up enough when they're crying

  • Not letting your baby cry for a minute before picking them up

  • Holding your baby as they fall asleep

  • Putting your baby down, swaddled, to sleep

  • Nursing your baby to sleep

  • Not dressing your baby warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer

  • Not putting a towel on your baby fast enough after a bath.

  • Bringing your baby out in public too soon because you needed groceries

  • Not having a partner

  • Having a partner, but they're not standing right next to you at the moment

  • Having a child whose gender is too hard to guess

  • Having a child whose name is too “weird”

  • Having breasts

  • Not having breasts

  • Having a body with limbs and moving blood.

  • Breathing

Did I miss anything? Of course I did!

But seriously— be kind to yourself. You’re doing great, ok?

Postpartum Doula or Night Nanny or Baby Nurse?

In the wee hours of Postpartum exhaustion, you might have Googled, “Help me at night with my newborn!!!!” to see results for Night Nannies and Baby Nurses and Doulas. So what are they and how exactly do they differ from Postpartum Doulas?

To put it simply, a Night Nanny can be anyone who is paid to come over at night to help with a newborn. This person may have many years of experience and be quite adept at offering tips and tricks. They might even know how to gasp sleep train! However, Night Nannies do not need to carry any certification, which means if there is an emergency situation, they might not be trained to help. Because of this, not every Night Nanny might be qualified to put a mind at ease.

A Baby Nurse is a bit more evasive. In big cities like Boston and LA, you can find someone to come into your home as a Newborn Care Specialist. Perhaps they worked as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at some point. With the title nurse, they should be medically able to monitor baby and mom, which can set many new families at ease. With that being said, not everyone titled “Baby Nurse” is an actual nurse! Some agencies call their contractors Baby Nurses when they are really just Night Nannies. If you see on an Agency website that a Baby Nurse can stay with a family for an extended period of time, night and day, they might actually be a nanny.

A Postpartum Doula is trained and certified to come into your home after the baby is born to help establish care routines like bath time, bedtime, and feeding. We can help mom and dads get sleep by watching the baby in the wee-hours of the night. We can identify feeding issues, mood disorders, and get parents to the right medically trained care professionals. A Postpartum Doula does not stay with families for an extended period of time like a nanny, though they do prefer to be booked in multi-hour increments. Postpartum doulas typically have a different focus than Nannies. We prefer to cultivate an environment where parents can bond with babies, as opposed to coming into the home and taking over the newborn care, which means we prioritize parents well being as much as baby's. It is these qualities that makes Postpartum doulas in high demand these days!

No matter who you are looking for to help, you want to ask your potential care professional the right questions. Below is a really good start!

What is their experience?

Are they doula certified through an agency that is reputable?

Are they CPR certified?

Do they ask questions to learn your expectations and needs?

Gut Check- Do you feel relieved and safe?

ProDoula has an excellent and more specific explanation of what Postpartum Doulas do on their blog. You can read it here!

We’re looking out for you, mamas and papas!