The First Night Home With Baby
I don’t know everything, so I set out to find an expert and I turned to the wonderful ladies from National Capital Doulas. Here is the lowdown on the first night home with baby.
Becoming a parent is as wonderful as it is scary and overwhelming. Not exactly what you expected to read, is it? Everyone’s journey to parenthood is different – for some of us it’s fairly straightforward, for some of us it’s anything but. One constant for all of us is that some moments are really challenging. For many of us, one of the most challenging moments is your first night home with baby.
You may have birthed at home or a birth centre and your First Night happens the same day your baby is born, or you may have birthed in hospital and your First Night is on day 2, or 3, or 5. No matter the location, your body has just done something monumental, oftentimes without a lot of rest. You may be hungry. You may not have really slept or showered. You and baby may be working through the sometimes big learning curve of breastfeeding. Throughout birth and just after, you’ve had practitioners readily available to answer all your questions and help as best they can.
Then, all of a sudden, you go home! By yourself! With your baby!
Now it’s all on you. Do you know what to do? Do you know how to feed your baby in a way that doesn’t damage already tender nipples? Do you know how to soothe a fussing baby? Do you know why baby is fussing? You can’t be expected to be experts in all of this. That wonderful education class you took will seem so far back in your brain that you’ll barely remember having taken it.
My initial foray into parenting wasn’t unique. We had a 5-day hospital stay following a day-long induction when our first child was born. We went home horribly sleep-deprived, bodies sore in more places than not. Our baby wasn’t feeding particularly well, and we had weight loss concerns, little instruction, and no idea what was coming next. A sum total of 1 hour of sleep our first night at home left me delirious and barely able to function, with a heady dose of baby pinks
1 on top of that.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Have you heard of postpartum doulas? We are experts in a host of topics relating to new parenthood; infant feeding, infant care, postpartum healing, infant and new parent behaviour, sleep strategies, and a number of other game-changing skills. We’re really gifted at taking away that overwhelming feeling to lift you up and help you through. We want you to feel great. We want you to feel confident. We know you’ll get there and a little help will make a big difference.
At National Capital Doulas we pioneered a new way of meeting the needs of new parents. We’ve all been there and we want it to be easier for you, so we created The First Night. One of our experienced, skilled, highly trained postpartum doulas will join you on your first night home with your baby for a 10 hour overnight shift. During that time you have your doula readily available to make sure everyone is fed, that you get some much needed rest, and you can learn from your doula’s years spent caring for babies and new parents. Your doula will reassure you, teach you, help you, and take care of you – all with an open mind to who you are and the parent you hope to be.
Beforehand, one of our postpartum team will provide a 2-hour in-home planning session prior to your baby’s birth. During that time we answer any questions you have, help you set up household systems, and provide you with proven tips and advice for how to prepare yourselves well ahead of time. Then, we provide you with our on-call information so you can let us know when you’re heading home. Once you’ve hired us we’ll be on call for you when you need us. The First Night is your ticket to a smoother transition into parenting because it doesn’t have to be a gong show.
1 “Baby pinks” is a phrase used to describe short term postpartum euphoria or hypomania. Similar to baby blues in terms of onset and duration, baby pinks comes on relatively early following birth and is short-lived and is marked by manic behaviour, or a feeling of being very “high”.
We have been in your shoes and know the difference it makes to be met with compassion, warmth, calm confidence and lack of judgement. We will be by your side through birth, labour and early parenting. If you want to learn more about birth options, doula services, or babywearing drop-ins, we would love to hear from you! Send us a message to book your free consultation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Amie Scharfe is a practicing birth and postpartum doula in Ottawa and has been supporting families for seven years. She is a certified birth doula through DONA, a Certified Lactation Counselor, a trained lactation educator, and a trained postpartum doula. She is a co-owner of National Capital Doulas, a full-service doula business offering a wide range of services through pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Amie met her husband while finishing a Bachelors’s degree in Psychology at Carleton University. They live in Ottawa with their three sons.