A glimpse into a postpartum night shift

Hello everyone, Amber Gunnet -your doula- here!

I often get questions from potential clients, family and friends that ask me what it is that I exactly do when I'm at “work.” So, I thought that I would share an example of an actual night shift I've recently done. During my shifts I take detailed notes, so that parents know how their baby's night went. I thought that I would share my notes with you here and let you take a little peek into what I do.

These notes are from a full term, 3 day old newborn boy. This was my first night with this client.  Mom had a vaginal delivery and baby had jaundice so he was sent home with bili lights.

7:00pm- I arrived at their home, baby had just finished nursing. I chatted with the parents during this time, going over the birth and how baby has been doing. I checked in with mom to see how she's healing. We talked about her goals for the night, and the plan for baby while I’m caring for him. We went over where she would sleep and where I would be with baby.

8:30-9:00pm- Baby nursed again. I made sure his latch looked good and asked if she had any questions for me about nursing. After the feed I changed his diaper. Post feed, I took baby into another room so mom could rest then set up for the night, making sure diapers, wipes and any other supplies were nearby and stocked.

9:10pm- I swaddled him in the bili blanket and he fell asleep while I was holding him. At 9:45 I set him down in the bassinet and he woke up within a few minutes. I picked him up and held him. He seemed uncomfortable to me but mom needed some rest, so I held him.

9:55-10:30pm- Took him in to breastfeed. Again, I watched his latch and made a few adjustments. Mom had some nipple pain, so we made sure he was able to get on the breast correctly. I filled her water.

10:45pm- Changed his diaper, swaddled him with the bili blanket and set him in the bassinet asleep. He did not sleep soundly. He was quite wiggly and was not content being set down, so I picked him up a few times and held him.

12:00-12:20am- Breastfed on just one side. He was very sleepy. His diaper was ok. Talked with mom about his wiggles, discomfort in the bassinet, and not being settled in to sleep when I would lay him down. We discussed trying him in the mamaroo to see if that would settle him more. It was his first night with the bili blanket, so he could have been uncomfortable from that.

12:35am-Swaddled him back up and he was asleep in the mamaroo.

3:15am- I had to wake him to nurse. He slept great in the mamaroo. He was comfortable and content. He nursed until 4:05am. I filled her water again and brought her a snack.

4:10am- I changed his diaper, swaddled him again and set him in the mamaroo when he was asleep at 4:30

5:55 am- He woke on his own, ready to nurse. I changed his diaper and brought him in to mom to nurse at 6:00. I went over the night with mom and answered any questions she had.

7:00am- I went home

I hope this gives you all an idea of what I do, but it changes so much from client to client, and often changes with the same client from night to night. I also tend to wash bottles and breastpump parts, fold some baby laundry, stock the nursery etc. It really depends on the families needs as well as the baby's.

If you're interested in learning more about Naturally Newborn's doula services, please contact me HERE!

-your doula, Amber Gunnet