Childcare and Doulas : LUSENET : Doula.Com General Discussion : One Thread

I am seriously considering starting doula certification and training in the next 12 months. I am really feeling called to this. The one obstacle that is glaring in my face is childcare. I have 4 small children ( I won't start any outside training until my baby can be without me ) ages 6,4,2 and 5 weeks. I'm not looking to have some large practice-only 2-4 births per month I'm thinking but even then how do you all handle childcare? Do you have a set up with other doulas? do you use commercial childcare? Babies come when babies come, after 4 children I know that:) but I need to make sure my own children are taken care of too. We won't be living near any family so that option is out unfortunately. TIA for any advice/insight.


-- Karen (, May 04, 1999


Hi Karen, While childcare isn't an issue for me I do have a few thoughts. First, that you are right babies come when they come and fortunately they usually come at night when dad is home to watch your children! I think that it is also always wise to have a backup doula because you can never know when you will be ill or one of your children and you wouldn't be able to attend a birth. The backup may also have children and be willing to trade childcare with you.

Don't hurry into doula work if it will take too much from your family but you can take the training. Then you can just, slowly go about getting the births. You have a year with DONA and as long as you need with ALACE (there are 3 required w/ DONA and 6 w/ ALACE. A young baby is usually fine at doula trainings. The programs are very understanding. Both the DONA workshop and the ALACE workshop I took part in allowed babies. You would just need to bring someone along to watch the baby if he/she were fussy if you want to be sure to not miss anything. Of course, since nursing is encouraged your baby is much less likely to be fussy!!

If you are doing what you love it will all fall into place!!


-- Kirsten Gerrish (, May 04, 1999.

2-4 births per month is too many for me to do and I only have one child - a 22 month old. I think one birth every other month is about right for me. It's hard to leave. My heart aches for him, yet I truly love this work. It's really the same issues a lot of "working" women face. As far as childcare, I have an arrangement with another doula in town. I think that works out best because she can truly understand when a birth comes up. It's reciprocated. But with four children it could get tricky. I don't know of any commercial childcare that would take a child on a drop of the hat. I have heard of some doula organizations arrangeing childcare co-op situations. Really search your heart on this. Know that your childrena and family need to come first and that if you have a mom in labor counting on you that SHE will have to take precedence - even when your children are sick (the hardest for me...). You can take the training and read, read, read, offering support for you local midwifery organizations or birthing centers. Another route may be to explore becomming a childbirth educator for a time. Follow you heart. Lesley

-- Lesley Nelson (, May 07, 1999.

I am getting started in this and I too have four children. I placed an ad stating that I was on call 24 hrs a day and needed childcare for my four children (ages 12, 8, 3, and 1). I have had several mothers who need part-time income and one woman told me that the idea of watching four siblings interested her because each time is a nice little chunk of money. Maybe this would be an option for you.

-- Mikayla Johnson (, September 23, 1999.

Here's an idea! I heard this on another doula list, I think I may try it! A woman placed an ad for an oncall babysitter for her children. She pays the sitter a flat fee of $50.00 a month regardless of the actual time the sitter is used. Some months the sitter is only used an hour or so (til hubby gets home) some months the sitter has the children many hours a month. There have even been months that the sitter did not watch the children at all, but still got paid the $50.00 at the beginning of the month. I think this would work well, now to find a person that I trust with my children! ;o) I think though that if I used the sitter for an unusually large amount of time in a certain month, I'd give extra $. Good luck!

-- Stephanie Donelson (, October 14, 1999.

Stephany, I really liked that idea of having an on call babysitter and paying her a flat fee at the begining of each month, no matter how many hours she has your kids. I think that sounds like it might work out best for me. I hav 3 kids and have been wondering how I was going to work this out, if hubby is at work during a birth. Thanks for the great idea!!

-- Jennifer Heisler-Quinn (, April 29, 2002.

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