By Melissa Lutzke
When I was pregnant with my daughter and looking for a baby nurse, I found the process daunting. I wasn’t sure where to begin, what questions to ask, and what to even expect once I hired one. After going through the process, meeting many other moms who went through their own searches, and talking with many baby nurses and doulas—I feel much more informed. And now I’d like to pass these tips onto you so you have an easier time getting started.
5 Tips for finding your Baby Nurse
- Start your search as early as you can. Some women book their baby nurses within days of finding out they’re pregnant, so the longer you wait, the fewer available baby nurses there will be. But, if you’re nearing your due date and haven’t booked a baby nurse yet, don’t panic. You can still find someone great—you may just have to dig a little deeper.
- There are a lot of baby nurses in the local New York area, which means that you have flexibility in the hours you want! If you don’t want someone 24/7 then you don’t have to make that type of commitment. She can commute to you for just nights or just days.
- Ask her about her approach to establishing a sleep routine and if you are going to breastfeed, her approach on breastfeeding. Does she advocate for supplementing with formula? When would she suggest introducing the bottle? There are different schools of thought for both sleep and feeding, and even if you don’t fully know what you want to do and how you want to do it, you’ll still get a sense if your thinking aligns.
- When interviewing a baby nurse ask about her family and what she likes to do – it’s the best way to get to know a person and see if you are comfortable with her. And being comfortable with your baby nurse, and feeling like you “click” is extremely important.
- Interview carefully. Evaluate her certifications (which can include Infant Care Specialist, infant CPR, LPN, LVN RN), years of experience and skill level, and find out if this is somebody you are comfortable with.
5 Tips for finding your Doula
- Observe the doula during the interview. Does she listen to you? Does she involve your partner in the conversation? She should do both, and both are important for a positive experience. Do you connect with this person? Will you want her by your side during your labor and delivery, or in the weeks that follow? Will you feel comfortable communicating with her?
- If you’ve already chosen your OB or Midwife and know where you are delivering, find out if the doula you are interviewing has experience working with any of them. Also get a sense if the experiences were positive.
- Determine if your doula has experience with any personal circumstances or goals you may have, and if her philosophies on childbirth or postpartum decisions align with yours. For instance if you are considering an epidural what does she think about that?
- Research whomever you are considering. Check certifications (some include DONA, CAPPA, ICEA, ALACE) and references. Determine how much training she has had, as different certification programs involve varying levels. And especially for a postpartum doula run a background check.
- Don’t ignore your gut feeling. It’s there for a reason, so follow it! And of course research whomever you are considering. Check certifications and references, and run a background check.
Melissa Lutzke is the founder of Mama Views, the largest national review site fully dedicated to providing real parent feedback on baby nurses and doulas. Moms can search based on important criteria like reliability, infant care knowledge and trustworthiness.