"Brace yourselves, this is going to be long, because there are SO MANY reasons I recommend Meghan as the best night doula I could imagine.
I'll start by saying that for our first kid, we did not hire a night doula; didn't even consider it, due to the cost and feeling like we are capable people and we can manage ourselves. Well, it is true we are capable and it is true that we managed. But doing so on our own took a real toll on our health, happiness, and sanity in the early months with our first. So when it came time for #2, especially now that we had an older child around who needed our energy and would sense if things were overwrought at home, we decided to try a night doula.
Hiring a night doula, and hiring Meghan in particular, was our absolute best decision this time around.
Her presence in our home for many overnights during our first six weeks made such a difference. I healed so much faster from my csection. We adapted to feeding so much faster. And since both of us parents got adequate rest during this intense period, we were so much more pleasant with each other and had the energy to make things fun for my older kid most days, which really helped our whole family adjust to our new normal.
So what was so fantastic about Meghan? Let me count the ways.
1. She provided our newborn with excellent care. I'm REALLY picky with who I let in my home when I'm not around (or not awake), and I'm EVEN MORE picky about who watches my kids. I totally trust Meghan on both counts. I got a great gut feeling when we interviewed her, and that was multiplied when I got very positive references from some other moms she had worked for. Meghan was great at reading my baby's cues and meeting her needs. I could drift off to sleep knowing that any crying would be short-lived, as there was nothing Meghan couldn't figure out at least as fast as I could (and usually faster -- I am an experienced mom but I still learned a lot from her about how to put this particular baby to sleep, because in the middle of the night when it was the most difficult, Meghan had the energy and experience to experiment with different ways, and then the next night she would fill my husband and I in on what did and didn't work).
2. She is willing to do such a variety of things while the baby is sleeping -- it was never about her using that time for a break, it was always about "Tell me all of the ways I can help you tonight." I did not expect this from a night doula and certainly didn't think to ask about it in interviews, but one of her references mentioned this part of her work ethic to me and I really found it to be true and such a standout thing about her. Examples of things she did for us outside of caring for the baby and me:
- Packed my older child's lunch and snack for the following day
- Cut up endless watermelons
- Encouraged us to leave our dining room and kitchen messy from our own dinner; she always cleaned them to the point of spotlessness by morning. NOT JUST BABY DISHES. This was amazing, as on nights she was coming we could usually get ourselves an hour to relax before her arrival rather than hustling with our usual post-bedtime chores
- She put together our baby swing
- She set up our baby monitor
- She folded the entire family's laundry, every night
- She prepped our house for a cleaners' visit (picking toys up off the floor and putting them somewhere else, moving them back the next night, etc)
- She researched car seats, and also places I could take both kids by myself
3. She has a lot of experience and helpful suggestions but is not pushy at all with them. As a second-time parent, I wanted ideas but also wanted to feel comfortable saying no if I didn't feel it was right for us. We gladly tried most of her suggestions but turned down one or two and I was totally comfortable doing so.
4. Meghan was such a valuable support to me during feedings. My feeding routine at the beginning was pretty long due to engorgement and latching issues. Having her to get the baby up and changed, and to burp the baby and put her back down, not to mention to bring me warm compresses, ice packs, drinks and snacks as needed -- it easily cut my awake time in half and made me better nourished at night than I was during the day in the early weeks. It also meant that my husband didn't have to help me and he could get a solid 7 or 8 hours of sleep on these nights, which was great because it meant he could take on more than 50% the next day if he was on leave, or when he got home after work, which helped me recover so quickly this time.
5. Meghan is a great listener and an easy conversationalist. She was very pleasant to have around, and during the inevitable emotional roller coaster of the postpartum weeks, she was a sympathetic and nonjudgmental ear and often made me laugh after I had been crying.
6. Finally, Meghan was a real partner in getting our baby on an eating/sleeping routine very quickly and then helping us adjust it as the weeks went on and the feedings became more spaced out. She did all the trial and error necessary to figure out what would work for the baby's patterns, our desire for sleep, and our morning schedule for work/older kid activities.
Obviously, I can't say enough good things about Meghan. But if you have any questions, I'm happy to chat. Meghan can give you my cell number for a glowing reference.”