I have a partner supporting me. Do I need a Doula?
Most, but not all of our clients have a partner supporting them throughout this process. Our clients find that their partner is more involved in the process when they have a Doula there to guide them on how to best provide support. It is difficult for partners and even family and friends to know how to help us during this time. They can take the classes and read the books but it is hard for them to retain all that information. When we are in labour we also don’t seem to listen to our partners suggestions as readily as a Doula who we are not as emotionally attached to.
How does a Doula support me if I plan to have an epidural?
There are many tools available to a labouring mom and the epidural is one of them. Your doula team supports all birthing options and make sure you have all the information you need to decide what feels right to you at the time. Before an epidural there are sensations that require focus to work through. Your doula helps to keep you comfortable with providing comfort measures such as breathing, positions, massage and other tools until an epidural is available to you. An epidural reduces some sensations in labour but not always all, your doula aids in your comfort and keeping you as calm as possible throughout your birth process.
How does a doula support a scheduled cesarean section?
Some people believe that you only hire a Doula if you are having a vaginal birth. The reality is that babies are born in many different ways and there is no right or wrong way to go through this process. In the event of a scheduled cesarean section we help you plan for the birth by knowing your options and what to do if you go into spontaneous labour before your scheduled date. Your doula is there the day of the c-section to make sure things run smoothly and help with bonding and baby’s first feed after delivery. When you get home from the hospital we are there to help you understand what to expect with your recovery as well as learning about taking care of your baby.
How do I know if I connect with my HHD doulas?
Before any of our birth clients hire us we schedule a complimentary consultation in the comfort of your home. This is a great way to see if there is a connection between yourself and the Doulas as well as have the opportunity to ask all the questions you may have. This consultation is scheduled for 60 minutes in length and there is no cost or obligation.
Why do I have 2 doulas?
Life is unpredictable and birth is the most unpredictable life event that there is. By building a relationship with your Doula Team you have the security of knowing who will be supporting you on the day of your baby’s birth. You don’t have to worry if your Doula is unwell or if something serious come up in their personal life. You will be supported by one of your Doulas when the time comes. Many of our clients have anxiety with meeting their nurse and doctor for the first time during labour. Having two Doulas on your team means you will have that familiar face to bring a sense of reassurance to your experience.
Is a Doula necessary for me if I have had a baby before?
Every birth process is unique and therefore having the experience of a Doula to guide you allows you to go through this journey with more ease. You will have questions about different sensations you are feeling and you can contact your Doula at any time to gain reassurance.
How is the doula support different if I am an experienced parent?
As an experienced parent we are able to discuss your previous experience to find out the things that you liked about your experience and what you would like to change this time. It is helpful for experienced parents to have their doula to contact when cramping starts in order to decide the best time to arrange child care and head to the hospital.
I've heard labour is fast after my first. Why do I need a Doula?
Many experienced parents talk about how the second and subsequent births can go faster than the first experience. This is because the uterine muscle has done this before and therefore can travel through the stages at a greater speed. Since things can move quickly there is not always time to receive an epidural and therefore it is important to have someone in the room who can help you focus on getting through the contractions. During this time the medical staff is focused on getting ready for the birth. It is difficult for partners during this time as well since they are not always sure what to do to help you or if things are normal.
What if I plan bottle feed?
We support all feeding methods and focus on finding out what your desires are and adjust our support and guidance accordingly.
How does the doula support me overnight if I am breastfeeding?
Your Doula will sleep in the same area as your baby and come to get you when baby wakes up. During feedings your Doula can answer your feeding questions and help to make each session efficient. She will also grab you a drink and snack, burp and change baby and then soothe baby back to sleep. This allows you to go straight back to sleep and maximize the time in between feedings to get quality rest.
How does the doula know what to do to help me?
The nice thing about hiring a Doula is that you don’t have to figure out what the Doula will do. With our experience we are well versed in anticipating your needs. We will ask you questions when we arrive and then help come up with a plan to expand your support for that shift. Things change as your baby grows so we continue to give you ideas on how to best use your hours of support.
How is doula support different than family and friends?
Family and friends are an amazing support after you have had a baby. The challenge is that many of them do not have the same experience or unbiased support that a Doula can provide. Your Doula is your guide to find “your” way through this journey. Friends and family tend to share many of their opinions and may feel that the way they did things are the right way. One of the biggest things we hear from our clients is that the support that they received from their Doulas allowed them to better communicate their needs to their family and found them a lot more helpful as a result.
How is a postpartum doula different than a night nanny or night nurse?
One of the biggest differences between a night nurse and a Postpartum Doula is that the focus with a night nurse is to take care of the baby whereas the focus with a Postpartum Doula is to take care of the family. We are also focused on showing you many tricks and tools that you can use when your Doula is not with you. We are the on the job trainers for this journey of parenthood. Our job is to build your confidence to a point where we have worked ourselves out of the job.
What are the minimum hours we need to use for a shift?
During daytime hours of 8 AM-8 PM, we provide a minimum shift of 4 hours. Overnight shifts are a minimum of 8 hours and tend to be from 10pm-6am or 11pm-7am. Many of our clients prefer longer support shifts, as there is no maximum restrictions, we can create a timing that works best for your family.
How do I schedule my hours?
Scheduling your hours with our team is so easy. Simply send an email to [email protected] and let us know what you would like to schedule for the week. We then get in touch with our team and then confirm those hours with you.
What time is the support scheduled?
Overnight support shifts are a minimum of 8 hours, however can be longer when availability allows. Typically this is scheduled from 10 PM – 6 AM, so that our parents are able to get as much sleep as possible while the doula is providing your support.
How do we know when to set up our support?
That all depends on when you secure Helping Hands Doula’s support.
For clients that secure support in their pregnancy, you will have access to a postpartum planning call a few weeks prior to your due date. These sessions help the transition from the hospital to home a breeze. As soon as you go into labour you send as email to your Care Coordinator who is your point person until you are discharged from the hospital. During this time we will be in touch with our team and have them ready for whenever you get home.
For clients that find us once baby has arrived, you will be in direct contact with our Intake Coordinator for availability and put together a rolling schedule with how best we can support you.
We pride ourselves on providing customized care to the new parents we work with, and as such take a personalized approach to best support your specific situation.
Does the doula sleep when with us?
Your Doula comes prepared to be awake throughout the duration of her shift however your Doula sleeps whenever you and baby are sleeping. Sleeping accommodations are required for booking your overnight Doula. This can be as simple as a couch for your doula and bassinet for baby.
What tasks might the doula be doing?
At night our focus is on protecting sleep cycles for the parents we work with, and helping your new baby optimize their sleep, feeds, and newborn care. Of course babies continue to wake frequently and your doula is your expert guide for support and education with nighttime parenting. This can include support for new parents with learning this whole new world, and caring support for middle of the night wake ups for new parents too!
How long is Overnight Care available for?
As long as you need and want the support to help your family with filling your sleep tank! This of course is a spectrum of your goals, the personality of your baby, and how your recovery and transition are going postpartum. There is no cut off period for clients that are regularly using the support of doula care.
The first 4-6 weeks tend to be the most intense transition that you experience as a new parent. Most parents are very tired at this point from the few nights of disrupted sleep at the hospital, that then trickles into all of the learning newborns bring at home. Learning to feed, breathe, and circulate their own system is also pretty tiring for your baby too! Providing overnight care during this critical time allows a focus on rest and recovery as well as being able to provide information and hands on training with your new baby. We are also able to give you a “heads up” on what to expect over the next few days and help to put some routines in place.
Is the information covered the same as a hospital class?
Our prenatal classes are very comprehensive and cover all the information your need to feel prepared for labour and the early days with your baby. The benefit of our classes is that the information can be tailored to what YOU want to know.
What are the benefits of private versus group classes?
Private prenatal classes allow you to work around your schedule to make it more convenient. The focus is on providing information that is relevant to you and you situation. Having your classes in your home allows for comfort to ask any questions you may have without feeling embarrassed with other people around.
How do I become familiar with my hospital if I don’t take the hospital class?
Your childbirth educators are incredibly familiar with your hospital and will customize your program to discuss what you need to know at your specific place of birth. Many hospitals have separate hospital tours that you can book to take a look at the Labour and Delivery Unit. If your hospital does not allow this you can just drive over and find your way around yourself. You can go to the unit and ask a nurse to take a quick look at an available room.
How are the classes scheduled and how long are they?
We will be in touch with you to book your classes at around 30 and 33 weeks. These are scheduled at a time that is convenient with your calendar. Each visit is typically 1.5-2 hours however they may be longer if you have more questions.
Will we be watching graphic videos?
No! We know that expecting parents learn best through conversation based instruction. You are also able to google any topic and watch videos that you think will enhance your preparation. Most people feel uncomfortable watching birth videos because there is no emotion attached to that experience. It feels quite different when you are in the moment and welcoming your baby.
How are partners involved in the class?
Partners are a very important part of our classes. We focus on getting both expectant parents on the same page by facilitating conversations between the two of you. We also love to practice the tools and techniques with you both so we can build a comfort level with these techniques.
Why take a class and not just read about the information?
There is so much information out there that can sometimes be overwhelming as well as conflicting. Many of the articles are based in the US and can be very different than hospital policies here in Canada. We also find that it is great to discuss your wishes with an expert to set a realistic expectation of how the experience can go. Through television and media we have painted an unrealistic picture of how birth is and with in-person education you have guidance to the realities and insider tips.
What if my partner is not involved in wanting to do sleep coaching?
One of the major reasons sleep becomes an issue for families is that routines are inconsistent.
Your sleep plan will be customized to both parent’s desires and comfort levels to create a consistent plan that everyone feels good about. This is common that parents are on different pages, and we help everyone get on the same ground.
Is gentle sleep consulting the same as cry it out?
No, they are not the same method and far from it. Cry It Out does not teach your child to sleep independently, rather to not communicate their needs. With Gentle Sleep, there may be some tears, but they will not be tears of fear. We always suggest letting your child know that their caregiver will be there to comfort needs.
What is the best age to start?
We suggest waiting until your child is over 6 months of age to start gentle sleep. This is because the child is developmentally ready at that time. For babies prior to 6 months, we can put together tools for parents to sleep shape before this child is ready for independent sleep.
Can we still do sleep coaching if we are still bed-sharing/breast feeding etc?
Absolutely! That is one of the many benefits of gentle sleep consulting. A sleep plan is created after an intensive intake to take into account of baby’s feeding, sleeping, and family routines. We will never tell you not to pick up your baby or to change core values!
How long does it take until we are all sleeping again?
Typically less than a week of starting the plan. This all depends on your starting point and baby’s readiness to begin. This is why we highly suggest booking a no obligation phone consult to help gauge expectations. Contact us to pencil that in!
Does the Lactation Consultant do home visits?
Absolutely! Most locations in the Greater Toronto Area are in the service area to receive in home support.
How long is a lactation visit?
Home visits are usually at least 2 hours in length for the first appointment. However depending on what the challenge is, longer or shorter supports are also possible. A check in with the Lactation Consultant happens during booking for what is most appropriate.
Virtual visits typically start at 1.5 hours in length for the first appointment. Shorter check ins are available for follow up, as well as email support between check ins to make sure that your family is thriving with the rolling feeding plan.
Can I see the Lactation Consultant virtually?
Of course! Many of the challenges with infant feeding can be assisted with over email, phone calls, or video calls on their own, or alongside in-person visits. All appointments include follow up so you receive the most from your care.
Do Lactation Consultants only help with Breastfeeding/ Chestfeeding?
Lactations Consultants help with ALL TYPES of infant feeding. This includes assistance and education for those exclusively pumping, combo feeding, exclusively formula feeding and everywhere between. Help with weaning, and changes to feeding with older babies too!
Is there a charge for the consultation for birth support?
There is no charge for our consultation and this is a great way to meet us and find out if you feel comfortable moving forward. It is also a nice way to have all your questions answered.
What is the registration process?
Registration is done online and the link can be found at the bottom of each of our packages. You may also click here to register www.helpinghandsdoula.com/contract
What forms of payment are accepted?
All credit cards, e-transfer, and gift cards are the most common forms of payment for our services. Please note that credit card payments are not available for massage treatments at this time.
Request a Consultation
If you’re an expecting or new parent and want more support for your postpartum experience, click below to request an appointment.