Postpartum Doulas & Infant Sleep
One of the primary concerns clients face when they bring their new babies home is in regard to their new infant’s sleep! What will baby sleep in, crib or bassinet? Where will they sleep, in their parents’ room or in their own? Will they be swaddled? What if they won’t sleep?
In the early days, postpartum doulas can be a great resource as parents answer these questions for themselves, and as they navigate their sleep desires versus their sleep realities.
Because postpartum doulas spend so much time working with parents and infants, they are familiar with and have been trained in typical sleep patterns and development, and in providing basic sleep support through the first few months postpartum. Postpartum doulas are also familiar with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep guidelines and have experience helping parents make those guidelines work for them.
HOW A POSTPARTUM DOULA CAN HELP
Even before the baby arrives your postpartum doula can help you plan appropriate sleep spaces for your infant. There are a few go-to tips for encouraging safe and restful infant sleep that your doula can review with you as they assist in setting up designated sleep areas. Ensuring the chosen sleep spot is dark and not distracting, choosing a sound/white noise machine and determining where to set it up, and selecting safe sleep surfaces are just some of the things your doula may be able to help you figure out.
Swaddling tips and tricks.
Swaddling can often be frustrating for both parents and babies, but it doesn’t have to be! There are a variety of ways to swaddle an infant and, as with many things in life, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Whether it’s exploring different swaddling techniques, or even different swaddling products, your doula can make suggestions, show you how to use different swaddles on the market, and help trouble-shoot any issues you may be having so that you feel more confident in your own swaddling skills—and baby will feel your confidence, too!
Supporting sleep goals.
Often, parents already have an idea of how they want sleep to look in their home long before the baby actually arrives. But once new-parent-sleep-deprivation kicks in, these plans frequently go out the window—not because the parents don’t desire to practice them anymore, but because they are in survival-mode.
Sleep deprivation shouldn’t dictate the way you parent, and postpartum doulas help ensure that it doesn’t by offering overnight infant care and sleep support services. Working closely with you, your doula can help you get the sleep you need and support you in maintaining the sleep habits you desire.
And if you find that your needs stretch beyond the support your postpartum doula provide, they can connect you with local resources that can help, such as our gentle sleep coaching.