So, I have my first gig as a postpartum doula this week. I'm so excited, and also really anxious about it! We spoke on the phone tonight. She just had her fourth baby on Friday - talk about fresh out of the chute! I'll be doing about 7-8 hours Tuesday-Thursday this week (and we'll re-evaluate then to see if she wants one additional week).
I was going to have to limit it to 3 or MAYBE 4 hours due to Lily being brand new to day care (sob) . . . but then my client asked if I would be okay with bringing Lily with me, which pretty much solves everything! I wouldn't have presumed to suggest it myself, especially my first time out, with a brand-new client, during our first week of service to boot, but she just needs the help so much that it's worth it to her. I'm reducing my rate a tiny bit as a result of that (knowing my attention will be slightly more divided), and it was already very low due to the fact that I'm currently in the midst of the training process, so I feel this is a fair tradeoff.
As she already has 3 other kids, all boys, a lot of it will be helping care for the other kids and doing household chores. That's all good. Here's what I'm most anxious about, along with generally being sure that I'm really being of value to her: she said that she really needs a lot of support with breastfeeding. When I first learned about her, I assumed she'd have it down pat since this was her 4th kid. But she has inverted nipples, and thus needs a lot of help. Yes, she's experienced, but part of that experience includes knowing that she needs extra help. Goes to show what assuming will do . . .
I know what you're thinking - but Anne, you know tons about breastfeeding. And I do, yeah, but having gone through such a trial myself, and knowing just how absolutely BAFFLING, not to mention emotionally charged, nursing difficulties can really be when you're in the midst of it . . . I'm just so afraid I won't be able to help her enough. My own nipples were a little flat, so I do have some experience with it, but inverted is even harder. I'm of course going to look up everything I can on inverted nipples on kellymom and in Jack Newman's book, which I'm going to do here in just a minute.
Anyway, wish me luck! Any advice you have for dealing with inverted nipples would be most welcome, too.
(She told her husband "I need an 'Alice'," which is kind of a great description of what postpartum doulas offer, if The Brady Bunch featured lactation information and help with care for a tender perineum.)