Archive for the ‘baby’ Category

August 24, 2007

My mother called her a “doul-loo” which, to me, sounds like someone who does voo-doo. My husband called her “Mary Poppins” because of her pleasing English accent. My friends said of she’s a “Baby Nurse” right?

Actually, Doula is a Greek word that means “mother’s helper,” and boy did Joanne Baker-Guerrette help me A LOT!

It used to be that when you had a baby, all of your relatives, who all lived in the same town, came to help you survive bringing a new baby home for the first time. Now, with parents and siblings living plane rides away, many do-it-all moms are left to fend for themselves. Let’s face it, husbands can’t help you figure out how to breastfeed, and many just don’t even hear the crying in the middle of the night, much less know how to make it stop! (Sorry, Dennis, but you have always been a good sleeper!)

We’ve all heard babies don’t come with instruction books, though a doula can be your own human manual. Mine taught me there are 5 S’s to keeping a baby happy: Shushing noises, Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Sucking and Swinging. In fact, there was a book written by Dr. Harvey Carr on these principles called “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” (In my opinion, it should illegal to send moms home without a copy of that book!!!)

Joanne, my doula, teaches moms all about it at Hartford Hospital. A doula will work any hour of the day. She will teach you how to care for a baby, help with a feeding/sleeping schedule, help with nursing problems plus she’ll do the laundry and the dishes so you can get some rest before your bundle of joy wakes up again!

They think of things you don’t. For instance, Ms. Mary Poppins took one look at all the stairs in our old brownstone and set up a make-shift changing table downstairs. She told me I would never heal right if I kept running up and down. Sometimes, she just ordered me to take a nap and drink tea! (English, of course.)

A Doula is different from a baby nurse because many baby nurses will only care for a baby, but will not do any household chores. Your Doula should still be trained and certified in infant care. A good one will be able to help you with lactation issues and help with sibling adjustment problems. There are labor doulas as well who help you through delivery, but since I didn’t use one, I’m not the best person to ask about that.

As a reporter, I often have to become an expert in something in a short amount of time. As a new mother, I enlisted a doula so I could learn as much as possible from someone who is an expert. Thanks to Joanne, Helena sleeps through the night and Dennis and I feel like we actually know a little bit about what we are doing as parents! Some moms use them just for few hours for a couple of days for the first week home. Others keep them for much longer. I can only tell you we were so sad to say goodbye to our good friend.

If you want to learn more here’s Joanne’s Web site: