Join Date: May 2010
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Some doulas only provide baby care and education and don't feel doulas are supposed to do light housework or cooking. Some doulas only do the baby's laundry but not the laudry for the rest of the family. I personally generally did whatever the new family needed - particularly if the mom had had a cesarean. Don't tell the other doulas but I've walked dogs, scooped litterboxes, and cleaned toilets. I definitely did the entire family's laundry otherwise who would??? I'm a good cook and so was sometimes hired for entire shifts of just cooking.
I'd say if you can afford doula care or have absent parents/in-laws who are feeling guilty that they can't help out and willing to foot the bill then get as many hours as you can and spread it out over a few months if possible but of course more hourse early on as you learn breastfeeding and such. I remember with my firstborn at 4 months pp thinking "I really could use one of those home cooked meals right now." Heck, my kids are 10 and 3 and I'd still love to have a doula!!!!
For interviewing you want to find a doula whose values jive with yours so pre-screening by phone and then interviewing two or three would be good. Some doulas book up and so you may have to plan your hours in advance. Definitely don't promise a doula a bunch of hours and then cut them way down - not fair to the doula who made room in her schedule.