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I love, love, love the idea of being a doula and lactation support person but am wondering how this occupation meshes with family life? I am considering training and want to hear the good, bad and the ugly about being a doula from the women who know!
 

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I found it to be the most difficult with a nursling. If you have a child that is nursing and will not take a bottle of pumped milk then it can become hard.<br><br>
For older children, the only problem might be finding someone to go on call with you and be ready to watch the kids for up to 3 days straight at a moments notice.<br><br>
For some reason my clients go into labor on the weekends so none of this has been an issue and my dh has been able to take care of the kids. I also have an on call person (my g-ma) to take the kids if a mom goes into labor without dh being home.
 

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Like Acacia said while nursing, challenging, especially when they are young and this is the only nourishment. After that it gets better, there really is no ugly, you do this because you love it, its a passion. But do be prepared to miss holidays, birthdays, anniversaries ect. I have several people for back up now with my toddler. If the hubby can be home, I have the Gramma, Baby Sitter, and my back up doula. Having a back up doula is huge and for me covers all the "back up Emergencies" like two mommies in labor at once, personal emergency, (like you own trip to the hospital for the long list of what toddler boys get themselves into) or all other babysitter plans fall through, only happened one time for a brief window of 2hrs!!! Good luck!
 

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It is hard to be 'on-call'. You wander around for weeks at a time just waiting for the phone to ring. You don't know if you'll be home to get your kids off to school in morning, to drive carpool, to feed them dinner, to finish a trip to the mall etc.<br><br>
I have a very supportive dh who is very capable. He goes out of his way to step into my shoes when I'm at a birth. The only thing that he can't do is pick out the kids clothes so I do that on my way out to a birth if its the middle of the night and I don't think I'll be home by morning.<br><br>
I did not do births when my dd was exclusively nursing and needed intensive night time parenting from me. It would not have been fair to her or dh.<br><br>
Right now I'm dealing with dh going out of town while I'm on call. I may just have to miss that birth since I can't figure out a caregiver for kids who can just step in and take over like he does <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> .
 

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I suggest taking on postpartum doula work - that's what I'm going to be doing for the next couple of years until mine (planning another one!) are older.....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for your replies...i've considered doing pp doula work because of the unscheduled nature of being a birth doula. my concern is that even being a pp doula would be relatively unpredictable and with wanting to have another breastfed baby in the next few years, i don't know that it could work. my family lives far away and had little support right after my dd's birth and would love to help other women in that fragile time because i think it's very important.
 

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I started with teaching CBE because it is more scheduled, I also can teach from home with a nursing under my shirt. I do pp work from time to time, which is scheduled around my husbands schedule. Right now (homeschooling 5th grade, 3rd grade and kindergarten) I don't have time for anything but workshops...but that's pretty great in itself and keeps my one foot in door. I finished my training 2 days before my youngest was born, and took my cert exam when she was 2 weeks old. I can't remember any of it--but I passed<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
My littlest just weaned, and I will be leaving her home and taking a 3day workshop later this month for labor assisting.<br><br>
Another option would be to find another nursing doula and stand in for eachother. I probably won't be attending more then 2 births a year while I have little ones.<br><br>
The really useful and cool thing is that the training itself will benefit you as a mama, person with goals and a friend..even if you NEVER get to attend a birth. Your study will already put you ahead of other doulas in your area (who take their first client 3 days after the workshop) because your studies have had time to "simmer".<br><br>
I bet you find that once you have training and are possibly better read, you'll have offers from friends and relatives to attend their births so by the time you are ready to really commit to this work and take regular clients you'll already have your certs and you'll truthfully be able to claim x no. years expereince.<br><br>
Wish you luck,<br><br>
Carrie
 

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Good babysitters.<br><br>
My clients ALWAYS go into labor when my dh is out of town and I end up paying someone to sleep at my house. I have actually lost money on long births when my dh is out of town.<br><br>
My best friend (also a sahm) and I have an arrangement, I pay her to watch my kids. I also have back-up college student, and dh can come home if he absolutely has to.
 

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I started doula work when #2 was around a year old. I have stopped actively taking doula clients since giving birth to #4 last year. I will still probably attend two births this year since two of my good friends are pg and I've been their doulas in the past. But I can bring my nursling and they are home births.<br><br>
For the most part, I think on call life sucks, especially with kids. When they are older (like when my oldest is mid-teens, perhaps) and can have a day by themselves without problems I will probably start attending births again. For now I teach childbirth classes and therefore still get my birthy fix. True, there's nothing like actually being at a birth, but it's just waaaay too stressful for me right now. I also home school and that combined with activities surrounding it takes up a big chunk of my energy and time.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sarahG</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8090419"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Does anybody have any experience with a childcare co-op or something similar?</div>
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I have 2 doula friends and all three of us have two young children a piece. We ask our spouse to help us first, but if he's not available we call each other to check availability. The mamas know that there might be a phone call in the middle of the night that Doula X is going ot a birth, can her husband drop off the kids in the morning at breakfast-time? We can sleep at each others' houses, stay for LONG hours, be on-call together.<br><br>
Although this sounds ideal (it IS!). It's hard to be on call for your own clients AND your partners (as a FLEXIBLE babysitter). My children are pretty young and need structure in their routines and consistancy at bedtime to remain happy. This program destroys that and has been toooooo hard on them. So I'm now taking time away for a while to let them have better mommy time. They are only young once. This was not what you were hoping to hear! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 
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