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Who was most useful for you in postnatal period?

(15 Posts)
ethicsgirl Thu 08-Oct-09 16:22:19

My friend is trying to work out whether to opt for a doula. She says she likes the idea of postnatal help around house and with worries about baby. I say that you can simply use your partner/friends/mum/antenatal class chums for this. To settle our bickering, can you tell me who helped you most in the weeks following dc's birth? And why?

TwentiethCenturyHeffa Thu 08-Oct-09 16:29:15

My Mum was amazing - she used to bring us food all the time while DH was on paternity leave. Once he went back she used to come round each day to cook for me, help with housework and get me out of the house for a walk. She helped with bfing and with any baby concerns we had. I'm v.v.v. lucky though because she lives quite close and is an absolute star.

Personally, I'd still be interested in a doula for DC2 if I could afford it though. I'd be more interested in the antenatal and labour support from a doula though rather than postnatal stuff.

Kathyis12feethighandbites Thu 08-Oct-09 16:32:17

My mother - I had ds2 on Monday and she's here now.
But surely the answer isn't going to be the same for everyone? I am lucky that my mum is helpful/easy to get on with/experienced with babies/competent/loved by dcs, that we have a spare room she can stay in without being under anyone's feet, etc.
If you're not well set up with friends/relatives who can help out easily, a doula might be a very good idea.

Kathyis12feethighandbites Thu 08-Oct-09 16:34:13

a doula would have been enormously useful in labour when my first dc was born - looking back I think it's mad the way our culture abandons new parents to mostly labour alone.

ethicsgirl Thu 08-Oct-09 16:49:18

thanks very much for this - i think a doula probably is a great help, but it's all a question of whether you can afford it, really.

Hope88 Thu 15-Oct-09 16:29:59

My best friend came to stay with me for a week. It was just wonderful.

LissyGlitter Thu 15-Oct-09 16:47:12

My mum had a week off work when I got out of hospital. DP had to go back to work, so he would leave the front door unlocked (but obviously closed) when he left in the morning, and me and DD snuggled up in bed and then my mum would let herself in and look after the baby/hand me stuff while I got dressed (I was recovering from a complex c-section) she would always bring sandwiches or a pie from the local shop for our lunch, and she kept track of all the appointments that I was too painkiller-addled to remember. She also made me get out for short walks with the pram and basically got us started on life with a baby. She was brilliant for letting me spend time just cuddling DD and breastfeeding, while she kept on top of the housework and kept us company.

I am really hoping she can do something similar this time, although it will be a lot harder for her as we now live a long distance away so she will have to stay over, and she now cares for my grandparents in her house. I have my MIL round the corner, but it isn't the same

The key is to have helpers who you really don't mind seeing you at your worst. The most annoying thing postnatally is visitors who expect you to be up and dressed and polite, and making them brews and letting them hold your precious newborn all day and comment on your choices with them.

OnceWasMummyPig Thu 15-Oct-09 16:50:49

After ds1 was born I had dp in the house but he was looking for work so I had to try to keep ds1 quiet when he was having phone interviews etc. It was pretty difficult, especially as ds1 had bad colic.

When ds2 was born I told my mum there was no way I was managing on my own and that she was coming to stay! Luckily she was in between jobs, so she managed to stay for about a week beforehand and two weeks afterwards and then visited for a day or so now and then. She lives about 2-3 hrs drive away so she couldn't just pop round whenever she liked. It was a great help although things were still quite difficult.

With ds3 I had dad and his partner around for about 10 days and then paid for a doula. She was wonderful and I found it all a lot easier. smile

LadyMuck Thu 15-Oct-09 16:59:04

I had a post natal doula and a parttime nanny after an elective c/section and given that I had a lively toddler as well. Bizarrely the nanny was much cheaper and as she was a grandmother herself was suitably versatile. She had no problem doing family ironing or whatever was needed. So it is definitely worth investigating the relative costs of each. You're not exactly paying for the professionalism of the post natal doula ime, though you may find one who is a breast feeding counsellor etc. But this isn't the norm.

The bonus of the doula for me was that she could go and do errands outside of the house. Having said that I'm fairly sure that the nanny would have done so as well, but the expectation seemed to be more that I would leave toddler and/or baby with nanny if necessary and I would go out, whereas with doula she would go out...

OnceWasMummyPig Thu 15-Oct-09 17:00:49

I completely agree with Lissy that you need someone around who can deal with you whatever is going on. With my mum, my sister or my doula I felt completely able to say "I'm really tired, I'm going to bed, can you do the washing up/laundry/take the kids out while I'm sleeping?" I was happy for them to sort things out and happy that they wouldn't be offended by my asking.

Most of dp's family were awful. They didn't seem to think I might be tired or could do with some help. They all descended on us the very day that ds2 was born, and sat around in the dining room expecting to be waited on. They didn't even put the kettle on themselves.

When ds3 was born, guess what, yet again they came round the very same day. This time I refused to show my face and hid in the bedroom, although I did let dp take ds3 downstairs for a bit. But get this - dp asked them to bring some food with them as we hadn't had time to stock up let alone cook anything. We were hoping for a takeaway - after all we had both been up all night and were pretty famished. They brought cookies from a garage hmm. If I ever have a fourth child (which is unlikely) I will either ban his family for the first two weeks or be even more specific about what we want them to do.

cory Thu 15-Oct-09 17:51:51

Dh and my parents. But dh was also my great help in labour: I would have hated for a doula or anyone else to have taken his place. Would have felt very uncomfortable with a strange woman- either doula or nanny- barging in on us when we were still feeling new and vulnerable and needed time to work things out on our own. What I would have wanted would have been longer paternity leave for dh.

Failing that, I would have spent that money on takeaways instead. Except that dh had already filled the freezer.

EldonAve Thu 15-Oct-09 17:52:51

my mom
DH thinks paternity leave is holiday for him

Ivykaty44 Thu 15-Oct-09 17:55:23

my dad smile

He cooked special meals of ish with lotso f vegtables to make me strong

He took dd 1 to school and took dd2 with him to give me a rest

He made coffee or all visitors that came to see me

he was there for me

YanknCock Thu 15-Oct-09 18:33:21

Definitely DH. I didn't have anyone else! My parents are abroad, in-laws are 4 hours away and have mobility problems, and we barely know anyone in our new town. There's really only a few friends I'd have wanted to be around, and they all live quite far away or abroad, so weren't an option.

shinybaubles Thu 15-Oct-09 18:42:29

My sis and mil - they are both coming in shifts for a week each starting the day before this baby is born. Great people can both manage dh, and ds and will insist I do nothing at all while they do everything brilliantgrin. Although both amazingly terrible cooks - so I will fill the freezer first - lol. Added bonus is mil is a nurse. And both coming from different countries lovely people.

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