My husband and I decided to hire a post-partum doula because we don’t have family nearby and anticipated needing some extra help with our newborn baby boy, Tyler. Before Tyler was born, we thought we’d want daytime help but, after he was born, we quickly realized that we needed the most help in the middle of the night. Happy Family After was completely flexible with our hours and schedule. They were completely available to help us whenever we needed the support. Our primary doula, Sara, was a lifesaver. She gave us advice on general care for our baby, baby wearing, bathing, swaddling, nursing, traveling with a newborn, etc. This advice saved me a ton of time because I didn’t need to scan my 700 page AAP book or spend hours on the internet every time I wanted a simple answer to a simple question. Sara is truly a baby expert but she was NEVER judgmental about the choices that we made for Tyler. Overnights with Sara meant that all I had to do was wake up to feed Tyler or pump. Furthermore, these were really the only nights, during the early days, when my husband and I could get in bed at the same time and kiss each other goodnight so this was great for our relationship as husband and wife as well. Getting 5+ consecutive hours of sleep allowed me to really enjoy the first few weeks/months with my baby. Sara would also clean the kitchen and cook us breakfast periodically which was so helpful and such a nice treat for exhausted new parents. We absolutely LOVED working with Happy Family After and could not recommend the company more enthusiastically!
Early on in my pregnancy I realized I needed help when the little one arrived. I have a husband who works around the clock and unfortunately my family doesn't live in the area. I spoke to Devon early on, but opted to go with a baby nurse because it was much cheaper and the baby nurse would be with me 24/7. After a week with my baby nurse, I realized this was not the right situation for me. Two days in, I realized I had a complete stranger living in my home and sleeping five feet away from my little guy with no formal contract in place. My baby nurse didn't have her license, which made it challenging for me to get anything I needed given I had a c-section and wasn't able to drive. The baby nurse was completely focused on the baby, as I adjusted to motherhood. I also found that the baby nurse was a little old school in her approach. While all baby nurses are different, you don't really know what you're getting until it's already too late and they are in your home...caring for your most prized possession.
After a week, I frantically called Devon and a doula was there the next day. I can wholeheartedly, unquestionably say, the money I spent on the doula, was the best money I have ever spent. The doula is there for both the baby AND you. Before I could turn my head around, my laundry was done, my dishes were cleaned, my stroller was put together, and a glass of water was sitting by my rocking chair. Within minutes, I had recommendations for baby classes, carriers, and new mommy tricks. Perhaps most importantly, I also had a shoulder to lean on, someone to vent to, and a friend to watch tv with.
I also realized once the doula arrived, that it was much more helpful to have a doula for a few hours a day over the course of a few weeks than to have a baby nurse 24/7 for two weeks. I needed "a break" from my baby nurse after a few hours, but I was stuck with her in my small two bedroom apartment! Plus, there were many times the baby nurse sat and did nothing while friends and family were over. So in that sense, your money goes much further with the doula.
I can't emphasize enough how much better my experience with the doula was. The care for you and the baby, the efficiency, and contractual formality made it the best money spent.
In April 2012 I became a mommy to my first baby, Parker. Even though my husband and I had taken plenty of classes and I had created a local support system for myself through prenatal yoga, we still felt that we needed additional support for when the baby was born. We hired a local doula who visited the day we came home from the hospital to help with moral support, random questions related to bath, umbilical cord, feeding, etc. Let’s just say, all doulas are not created equal and this doula was not a good fit for us and did not help to calm any of our new parent anxiety. We felt all of her answers seemed really “canned” and not related to OUR baby. Fortunately, I learned that a childhood friend was a trained doula but wondered, “How could she help us being all the way in New Jersey?” Well, she certainly did….and then some! A month after Parker was born, I reached out to Devon when we became disappointed with our local doula. Parker is a very chill, easy, low-maintenance baby but as first-time parents we still felt like we wanted someone to lean on and guide us (We only bugged our pediatrician with medical questions). No matter what the question was (naps, bathing, breastfeeding, etc.) Devon replied quickly via email and text with thoughtful, clear answers. As situations arose I was in touch with her and in some instances she was even able to walk me through the process in the moment! Even though it seemed unlikely, having someone guiding us from the other side of the country who knew their stuff and really had their heart in the process was so much more effective than someone who did not right in our backyard. Parker is nearly 8 months old now and my husband and I both feel more confident and self-assured in our parenting. Parker sleeps 12 hours through the night, is in the 90-95th percentile medically and is overall a happy, healthy baby with happy healthy parents, much thanks to Devon, Happy Family After – Certainly she is ours!
Jocelyn, Trey, and Parker Holzwarth
Josephine, Jay, and CJ Higgins
Our doula made what could have been a very stressful situation remarkably calm and extremely enjoyable. By taking care of the logistics, she allowed my husband and me to focus on simply loving our new baby and each other. Our transition from the hospital to our home was seamless because of her knowledge. She helped us avoid panic and gave us the confidence we needed to take care of our baby once she was gone. Having a doula was one of the best parts of bringing Otto home. She seriously saved our marriage!
Within a few hours of arriving home, she had our home outfitted for our new arrival and set up for the new skills she would teach us. She helped us navigate this scary new terrain with such ease and confidence, while allowing us to feel our way and make minor mistakes. She was a lovely presence in our home at the most intimate moment.
The Buttles Family
Words cannot express how deeply appreciative we are of Devon and her doulas for the difference they have made in our lives. The birth of our first daughter was the most wonderful experience of our life, but also the most terrifying and challenging. I suffered some unanticipated complications from birth, and my husband became ill as soon as we were discharged from the hospital and he could not help take care of our daughter for the first week. Devon’s help during the first few weeks home were invaluable. We were utterly exhausted, overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, but Devon and her team helped us become confident and well-rested parents quickly. They were able to anticipate our needs before we were, and they integrated into our life seamlessly. The Happy Family After team supports the entire family and they were there to help teach us how to take care of our baby, as well as provide general household maintenance. This made all the difference on those days where we otherwise would not have had time to eat or take a quick shower. It was comforting to be able to ask questions to doulas who had seen it all before with hundreds of other babies. They also answered all of my questions about baby sleep and we were able to get our daughter on a solid sleep and nap schedule quickly. We believe we are entirely different parents because Devon and her team helped us out in those early weeks—we are completely self-assured and balanced thanks to them.
Amy & Tom
Danyelle, Kevin, and Fallon Krafft
Beth Lenhard, CT
Andrea, Warren, and Nathan Stock
“My husband and I were running on empty. Enter Devon and her sleep coaching. Two words: Life Altering. She restored our sanity and for that I will be forever grateful!" SJ, New Jersey
Megan, Chris, Delaney & Shannon Dimmick
The Hogshire Family
Katherine, Carl, and Eric Stech
Nicole, Ian, and Ella Gilmartin
Leah, mom to Hugh (age 3)
Marlise, Linda, Nicholas & Lexi Asher