Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Hire an Overnight Doula?

Who hires an overnight doula? Diane, a grandmother concerned for her daughter who can’t seem to stop crying since the baby came home. Kate, eight months pregnant, who is just planning ahead because she is concerned that she and her husband may need help after the baby arrives. Chuck and Kris who have a three day old baby who wakes every hour (they are exhausted). Mary who has a two week old and wants help learning how to support her baby developing healthy sleep habits. Cheri whose husband travels often and just wants to make sure that she has help on the nights he is gone. (All names have been changed for privacy.)

An overnight Doula supports the developing family. She helps ensure that the parents get plenty of rest; this is often a key factor in avoiding postpartum depression. She helps the family learn nighttime parenting techniques, such as how to support their baby in learning self soothing, and setting up a healthy sleep environment. She supports the baby in learning to resettle himself. She is knowledgeable about breastfeeding. She supports mom in learning how to feed her baby during the night with minimal sleep interruption for both of them. Most overnight Doulas keep the same schedule as the baby, sleeping when baby sleeps and caring for baby when he is awake.

Nighttime parenting takes a different skill set than parenting during the day. Our society does not always provide parents with accurate information on what are “normal" expectations for newborn behaviors. An overnight Doula (or specialist) is knowledgeable in infant sleep patterns as well as the things that can interfere with a good night of sleep for baby (and the whole family!). The overnight Doula can help you to work with your baby's temperament while encouraging a healthy sleep pattern.

About the author:

Allison Coleman, CD(CBI) is a mother of four children, who have been her strongest supporters, and greatest strength. She began working as a labor doula more than twelve years ago. She received postpartum doula training through MaternityWise, and breastfeeding educator training from the Texas Department of Health. Allison is a midwife’s assistant, and a student working towards nursing. She has been providing postpartum doula services for six years now, and realized she has a talent for night-time doula work, and loves to help new moms learn how to night-time parent their newborn baby. More information about Allison’s services can be found at and

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