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Be prepared—caring for a newborn while recovering from childbirth is not easy. Before you get overwhelmed, seek assistance from one or more of these mother’s helpers.
■ What she does Cares for newborn; instructs and supports mother; performs light household chores. Doulas of North America (DONA) offers training and certification.
■ How to find one Ask your friends, childbirth educator or doctor, or search by ZIP code at dona.org. Average cost: $30 per hour.
■ What she does Helps with every aspect of breastfeeding, from demonstrating nursing positions to perfecting your baby’s latch to soothing sore nipples. Look for someone who’s board certified—this indicates she’s received formal and clinical education in breastfeeding and has passed a rigorous exam.
■ How to find one Your hospital may have one on staff, so be sure to request a visit before you’re discharged. Call local breastfeeding supply stores for referrals; you can also search the International Lactation Consultant Association’s website (ilca.org) by ZIP code. Average cost: $70 per visit. (For free advice from trained peer counselors, call the federal breastfeeding helpline at 800-994-9662 or contact La Leche League at llli.org.)
■ What she does Cares for your newborn, day and night. She’s not a registered nurse—in fact, no formal training is required—but likely has some sort of medical background as well as infant-care experience.
■ How to find one Local health professionals are a good source for recommendations; babynursesamerica.com is a top-rated placement agency. Call several references before choosing. Average cost: $15 per hour.