Postpartum Doula Recommendations

Hello all,

We're expecting our first child in August and, as first-time parents, are nervous about learning the ropes (and sleeping enough). We're considering a postpartum doula (for night shifts), but are worried about cost (especially in anticipation of the costs of childcare down the road). Any advice/recommendations would be appreciated! 

Thanks in advance!! 

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In my experience, it really depends on the kid whether you (parents) sleep well. My daughter only woke to breast feed, then we all fell right back to sleep. Infants do need to feed at night for the first few months, and if you are breast feeding no one else can really help. I don't think a nighttime doula in my house would have had anything to do. I suppose an infant who did not fall right back to sleep would need to be walked, but for us that pretty much never happened, or I would do it since I wasn't working. The only time our sleep suffered was a couple of years later during nighttime potty training. Good luck!

Congratulations!  It's an amazing relief to have night help if it’s financially feasible for you. Makes such a difference in sanity in the early weeks when everything is overwhelming and new and the baby is waking so frequently. To limit costs, you could get help just for the first few weeks, or limit the help to a few nights a week. The going rate when I researched this in October 2018 was around $35- $50/hour.  Most night doulas work an 8 hour shift (10p to 6am or similar). One that I spoke with worked 10 hours. If you are nursing, the night doula brings the baby to you and then handles the diaper change and gets the baby back to sleep. If not nursing then you could have 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

I wanted to recommend two WONDERFUL, calm, and loving night doulas who took turns helping me several nights a week with my infant from her first night home until she was about 3 months old.  Linda Bradley 510-326-4312 and Blandina Masalu 925-752-0918. Call or text. They are east-bay based, but they also will work in the city. Both can work with twins. For a single baby, Linda’s rate is $35/hour, and Blandina’s rate is $32.50/hour.

I had found Linda originally through a BPN posting. She was busy during the time I needed help, so she brought Blandina on for the nights she wasn't available. One night Linda arrived early so I could go to an event, and when I watched her begin to do the bedtime routine... I realized I had been doing it all wrong! Baby went right to sleep with her skilled care where she typically had been struggling when I was trying to put her to bed. Blandina isn't as outgoing as Linda, but she is AMAZING with babies and is so loving, careful, and knowledgable. She had key insights into my daughter's behavior and she taught me so much about newborns.

Night doulas will require a contract and a deposit.  Ask about the terms... if you end up needing less help than you initially anticipated, what are the consequences for the deposit? If you need more help, could she be available to do additional nights or could she bring in a second person to help?