Becoming a parent can be overwhelming with all the information out there! Here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand how my infant care and birth doula services work.
FAQ Regarding Infant Care Specialist Services
What does the term infant care specialist mean?
Infant care specialists are sometimes also referred to as baby nurses. Infant care specialists are trained and experienced individuals who specialize in newborn care. They do not necessarily have any type of nursing degree or other certifications, but are comfortable caring for newborns and instructing parents about newborn care, feeding, scheduling, and sleep training.
What do you do at night while on the job?
I come into your home to take complete care of your baby (or up to 3 babies at once) so you can get much needed sleep. I feed, change, and put your baby back to sleep, as well as offer sleep training at the appropriate age. I am also responsible for cleaning any bottles or breastfeeding supplies, keeping a log of the baby's feedings, keeping the nursery stocked and tidy, washing and folding baby laundry, and any other baby related activity. Duties other than caring directly for the baby are done with time permitting, depending on how much down time there is between feedings. When there are multiple babies, sometimes there is not enough time to get to the baby laundry.
Do you sleep between the feedings during the nightshift?
No, I do not sleep while on a night shift unless you are comfortable with providing sleeping arrangements for me to use when the baby is also asleep. You are paying me to care for and watch over your baby through the night, so my job is to check on him frequently and make sure his safety is first priority. I bring my computer so I can connect to wifi, if you have it, or I'll bring books to read to keep me entertained between the baby's feedings.
I plan to breastfeed. How can hiring help at night benefit me?
By having help at night, even while breastfeeding, you can still obtain the maximum amount of sleep between feedings. You have two options at night. The first option is you can have me bring your baby to you for the feedings. All you have to do is finish the feeding and go back to sleep, allowing me to take over changing the baby and putting him back to sleep. The second option is you can supply pumped milk and only wake once or twice to pump, or not at all, if your milk supply is enough to keep up with your baby.
How many nights per week and for how long should I hire help?
Every family is different with how much sleep they need, but generally 3-5 overnights per week is a common choice.
The length of time also varies depending on your family situation. An average length of time is 1-3 months. Generally with multiples you tend to need help on the longer side. Multiples sometimes take a bit longer to sleep through the night because they often start out at a smaller birth weight.
I personally love doing 3-4 nights per week, but can care for your baby up to 5 nights per week if it is not long term. By having help every other night, you still get to experience the bonding at night, but know some rest is coming the next night. I offer occasional 24-hour shifts, but they have to be scheduled over the weekend.
Do we have to sign a contract with you?
I do have a one page agreement that will need signed after I've met with you and determined your needs. It includes the tentative schedule, start date, length of time, payment terms and my duties. I understand it is sometimes hard to determine your exact needs before your baby arrives. Therefore, I'm very flexible and willing to work with you on determining a more exact schedule and length of time once your baby is born. I suggest setting a range on the agreement, such as 2-4 weeks, for example. I ask that you fulfill the minimum amount of time you have put on our agreement. If you'd like to extend beyond what you have written on our agreement, I'm always open to providing more help if my schedule permits.
Do we have to pay you a deposit before services start?
No, I do not require a deposit up-front for infant care services at this time.
How does payment work when we hire you?
I get paid weekly after the last shift for the week has been completed. According to the IRS, an infant care specialist should be treated as a household employee. Attempting to classify infant care specialists as independent contractors by giving them a Form 1099 is considered tax evasion and does not absolve them of their household employer tax and legal obligations. Both you and I may owe social security and Medicare taxes. Your share is 7.65% (6.2% for social security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax) of the employee's social security and Medicare wages. My share is 5.65% (4.2% for social security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax). To calculate taxes or have a payroll company do the work for you, visit Breedlove and Associates for a free consultation.
How much do you charge? Is it a daily rate or by the hour?
I charge an hourly rate of $20-$30 per hour, depending on the driving distance and number of babies I will be caring for.
FAQ Regarding Birth Doula Services
What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is an individual who will completely support you before, during, and after childbirth, with the main focus being on during labor. A birth doula will support all of your emotional, physical, and mental needs during labor, as well as help incorporate your partner to participate in the labor. Whether you plan on having medication for pain management or plan to go the non-medicated route, a doula can be very beneficial in supporting you whether it's simply with calming words or by physical touch.
What does a birth doula do?
Helps you and your birth partner prepare for birth.
Helps you write a birth plan that supports your desires for birth and your baby.
Continuously stays with you during the entire birth process.
Helps you through any emotional fears that might emerge during your birth.
Creates a safe and peaceful space with her energy, candles, aromatherapy and music if you desire.
Supports your birth choices without judgment.
Provides encouragement and reassurance in a comforting manner.
Helps guide you into birthing positions that are optimal for fetal positioning.
Gives massages, helps with visualizations, meditations, breathing and movement to help with pain management and comfort.
Advocates for the you and your partner and can help facilitate better communicaton between you and the medical staff present during your birthing process.
Is there anything a birth doula will not do?
Doulas are NOT medically trained professionals. They will not preform medical exams, diagnose conditions or deliver babies.
How long do you work with us as the family?
My doula services include 1-2 prenatal visits that last 1-2 hours each. Then, depending on how long your labor lasts, I can be with you for several hours or even a few days. Some mothers want support right away during the early stages of labor and some choose to wait until more active labor has started. Whenever you decide to call, I will help you determine what is best for your situation and can offer services at home before going to the hospital or simply meet you at the hospital. If you're planning a home birth, I can offer services at anytime during your labor. Once the baby is born I like to stay with you for an hour or two afterward to make sure you're comfortable and well taken care of. Once you are settled back at home, I do one postpartum visit for 1-2 hours as well.
How does payment work for hiring a birth doula?
My total doula fee is $600. Upon signing a contract for booking doula services, $200 is due. $200 is due at 30 weeks and the final payment of $200 is due at 37 weeks.