Episode 7: Hiring Help After Birth

In this episode, I’m discussing hiring in help for after baby is born – why you might want to (even if you can do it yourself!); some of the different types of help you can hire; and also some thoughts on how much it costs to do so.

Hiring Help After Birth – Transcript

So why hire help after you’ve had a baby? Why not just ask friends and family to help out, and just do it yourself without having to pay to hire anybody? Well, really there are many different reasons why somebody would want to hire in help after the birth of the baby.

Sometimes it can be because you don’t have much of a support network in the first place. So you might not have family living near you to be able to come and help out. You might have moved away, you might just not have any family relationships where you can ask and receive that kind of support. It might be that you’ve identified that there’s one particular area where you do need extra support and where you’re ready to delegate, say, household tasks to somebody else.

But beyond this, a really good reason for hiring help is going back to the whole concept of moms and families’ mental health…trying not to do too much, because as moms we all do it. We all try and do everything, be everything to everyone. We’re always busy.

There’s so many plates to spin and we just live in this society where we were told we can do everything, we can be everything and so we take it all on ourselves, and this leads so many times to burn out and mental health issues because we’re not designed to do everything ourselves.

Sometimes we’ve got people close to us who we can rely on, who can support us and help us through, with looking after babies, the children or household tasks. Sometimes we don’t feel like we can ask those people for help as well.

And sometimes it can be actually easier to bring somebody in and hire them and you know, there’s that exchange going on where you’re paying money for them to provide a service. There’s more of a mutual exchange and sometimes that can feel a bit more comfortable in an already really vulnerable time for us.

But ultimately hiring help can be a case of delegating less important tasks like often the housework, and that can really bring us a great benefit in mom’s mental health because the workload, the mental load, the emotional load is lessened slightly for her. And then of course that cascades down into the baby and the partner and the whole family unit.

Hiring help after birth can really make a positive contribution to helping to keep mom in that zone of being calm and relaxed. And of course this can help really well with things like breastfeeding for example, where you’re more in that calm and relaxed space because there’s less of the demands upon you and that will really help you in terms of bonding with your baby, feeding your baby and nurturing your baby as well.

It can also free up a bit of time for Dad to come in and get involved with the baby more as well. Perhaps sometimes you find that dad wants to take on the practical side of things more as that’s where he feels comfortable and useful. But sometimes you get dads who want to be a bit more involved with the baby and also want to take care of the practical things.

And there’s that kind of inner conflict where maybe if they hired in help and that was all taken care of, he would be able to focus more on his own bonding with the baby.

So those are a few of the reasons why people hire help after birth.

In terms of what type of help to hire in after the birth, there are a couple of different options. So we’re going to go through some of the main ones today.

I think the first and most obvious type of help that people frequently hire in after the birth of a baby is the cleaner or housekeeper. Hiring a cleaner is fantastic because it’s a relatively affordable hourly rate, and someone will come in perhaps every week or so and just keep your house clean. So that is one massive weight off either mom, dad or both’s shoulders. I think most of us enjoy having a clean and tidy home to relax in.

But of course after you’ve had a baby it’s just exhausting to even think about scrubbing the bathroom or hoovering.

If you have had a C section for example, you aren’t supposed to be doing things like vacuumming the house in the weeks after having a C section. So you know, you might not physically be able to do the cleaning anyway. Hiring someone in to do it is preventing you from causing any more physical harm to yourself or strains or sprains and also giving you one less household thing to worry about too, which is quite a big chunk of general running of the household.

Having a cleaner taking care of the house really frees up a good chunk of time, which you can just go back to using to bond, and maybe breastfeed, with the baby.

Another type of hired help after birth could be a nanny or a baby nurse.

So obviously the last one is a bit more geared towards helping you look after the baby specifically. Whereas if you have a nanny for example, they may be looking after all the children in the household.

So these do cost a bit more than say a cleaner generally. But it can be really useful in terms of if you have a number of children to look after a varying ages in the house, to have another set of hands to help with childcare.

Again, if you actually do some workings out – if you have a certain amount of children, it depends how much you’re potentially or currently paying for childcare out of the home, for example, in a day nursery. But it can sometimes work out cheaper to actually hire a nanny on an hourly rate to come into your home and look after your children rather than put them in external childcare.

So again, it’s weighing up what’s best for you and your family.

Of course, another type of hired help is a doula. And after you’ve had your baby, a postnatal doula.

So again, we’ve talked about this in another podcast episode about what exactly it is that a postnatal doula does. So I will link to that in the show notes.

But basically a postnatal doula can support you in achieving the kind of goals you want to achieve and the kind of mother you want to be.

So if you’re wanting to breastfeed, a doula can support you with that. If you are needing extra help with childcare for maybe an hour or two a day or once a week or something like that, then that can potentially be agreed with a postnatal doula.

They often will bring you nourishing, comforting food that is appropriate for where you’re at postpartum, they can help with light house work tasks, and a really good benefit of hiring a postnatal doula as opposed to say a nanny or a cleaner, is that they often can help you process your thoughts and feelings after the birth.

For example, if you didn’t have the birth that you wanted or planned, they can help you unpack that if you feel ready to do so, they can hold space for you.

If you just need to talk about how you’re feeling you can share that with somebody else in a confidential space who you know won’t judge you.

So I think the other types of hired help on the list that I’m talking about today are quite specific. So like a cleaner for household tasks and nannies for childcare. And we’re going to talk about meal prep in a minute. So that’s for nutrition, whereas a postnatal doula is kind of a mix of those things and it’s more a mix of those things tailored to you and your individual circumstances.

So if you’re looking for some general support in, you know, a few different areas, then that can be a really good one to consider hiring.

So finally we’re just going to talk about meal prep and delivery. So there are a few different options for hiring that. The most basic option is that you pay to get your groceries delivered to your door. You can also get these meal boxes and kits now where you choose some recipes online and you get all the ingredients delivered to you or you might decide to take that one step further and find and hire somebody who can prep meals for you or even cook them for you.

It’s such an important time to have the right balance and the right nutrition in terms of food and it can be so challenging because cooking these kinds of foods takes time, takes energy and you just don’t have enough of it to devote to food at that time, it can be so easy to end up just grabbing something quick and that doesn’t really serve your nutritional purposes which you’re so desperate for when your body is recovering from birth.

I think the majority of people get by with either family or partner cooking for them in the early weeks and then as the weeks progress, move slowly back in to cook the meals themselves.

I found it tremendously difficult having a toddler and breastfeeding a newborn baby to even find five minutes to get into the kitchen. Sometimes I got lucky and I managed to prep a decent meal and then my partner had to come in and take over and actually cook it because it just wasn’t, I wasn\t having the availability to just go and get in the kitchen for that length of time to prepare and cook the meal.

So again, investing in hired help through meal prep or delivery can be a really wise investment in setting you on baby up for great start nutritionally.

And of course when you’re thinking about hiring in help after birth, one of the biggest questions you have is how much is this going to cost?

So from a monetary point of view, I think we touched on before that a cleaner is usually a fairly decent and affordable hourly rate, especially for the value it’s helping bring in to you in the household. The basic end of getting help with meals and nutrition also.

So delivery services for food, meals, ingredients, groceries is very affordable and obviously the more you go down the done for you side of it, say meal prep and getting your meals cooked for you, the more it’s going to cost.

With nannies, again, that depends on what kind of rates the nanny is offering and it may be that is more affordable for you than external childcare, something you have to weigh up as a family.

Doulas, prices can vary from some charging hourly rates and some doulas will do a package.

So again, these can range from very affordable to slightly pricier ranges, but at the end of the day you’ve got to consider what’s on offer and what value that brings to you and your family.

When we look at how much we spend…not only after the birth of a baby, but before the birth of the baby, how much money we spend on things like prams, car seats, all the related baby stuff, all the baby toys, development toys, even baby showers, if we’re already married, perhaps how much we spend on our weddings.

Now I know that after the birth of the baby, financially it can be a struggle for many people, especially if you are going down onto maternity pay from what used to be two wages. It can be a time where we start looking at finances a bit more than perhaps if we were both working.

So it can feel difficult initially to justify paying somebody to do something, which in theory you can do yourself.

But then we also need to consider if we are doing it ourselves, at what cost that is to our family, to our own wellbeing and to bonding with our baby and getting them off to a good start. So really looking at the value of what these kinds of services can provide rather than just the monetary costs.

This applies to any kind of time in our lives really where there are often things where they will cost a lot of monetary value. But if we see the value in what that service or that product provides us and we see the benefits it can bring us or the positive change it can bring to our lives, then that helps to justify the monetary value of it.

Likewise, if we can’t see what value that service or product is going to bring us, then we’re probably not going to be interested in paying a lot for it or even anything at all.

So I’d love to know if you have hired help after birth previously or whether you’re planning to do so. Just let me know on the Facebook page or you can comment on Instagram.