This is a question many families may ask or want more information on. Let me first explain what a postpartum doula is. A postpartum doula is a trained professional that offers a new mom or primary parent informational, physical, and emotional support during the postpartum period. We provide newborn care tips, breastfeeding or formula support, emotional support, light housekeeping, and aid to mom while she recovers.
After giving birth, your body goes through so many hormonal and physical changes. Whether you give birth vaginally or by c-section, you will need some time to recover. Recovery time varies from mom to mom. The best way to recover is to get a lot of rest and take care of yourself! But how can you do that when you have a newborn that needs your attention 100% of the time?
This brings us back to the question: why should I hire a postpartum doula? A doula is there to allow you to recover and ease into motherhood with confidence. When leaving the hospital doctors may give you some discharge instructions on what to expect while you heal or some warning signs to look out for but, all in all, going home with your baby can be very overwhelming.
One way is we offer emotional support is by being a non-judgmental listening ear for mamas. Sharing your birth story is an extremely important part of your recovery. You need to process how your precious baby arrives, whether it goes as planned or not. A doula can sit with you and just listen. They can also be by your side while you grieve if you experience birth trauma, or even grieve at the life you had before you became a mama. Having a baby brings on so many emotions that can sometimes be hard to process. Am I really equipped to be a mother? Why does everything seem to not go as planned? How am I going to get through this? Having someone to be by your side while you navigate those emotions can truly be a game changer in your emotional recovery.
In addition to emotional support, postpartum doulas offer physical support as well. While you are receiving your much needed rest and need to limit your activity, a doula can help do your baby’s laundry or tidy your house. Keeping your house tidy and clean can be tiring and daunting when you are sore, exhausted, and healing. Doulas can do light housework like wiping down your countertops, doing your dishes, putting fresh sheets on your bed, or vacuuming here or there. We can even make sure to have meals prepped for you so you can make sure to keep yourself fed. All this can take the burden of keeping a tidy house off your shoulders and allow you to rest and cuddle your baby a little more. One of my favorite parts of the job is caring for that baby so you can take a shower or take a much needed nap. We cuddle and care for your baby, so you have time to care for yourself. Little things like these can give you more time with your baby and more time for yourself.
Finally, postpartum doulas also offer evidence based information on breastfeeding, bottle feeding, newborn care, and YOUR recovery. We can guide you through breastfeeding positions, a good latch, formula preparation, how you know your baby is full or hungry, diaper changes, bathing your baby, sleeping cues, soothing techniques, etc. If there is something specific you are experiencing, or you need something out of our scope of practice, we can refer you to a support group, lactation consultant, specialty doctor, or other doulas if needed. Along with referrals, we can also help educate you on any warning signs when it comes to both your recovery and your new baby. In a way, we are like a one-on-one teacher that is by your side, guiding you and educating you through everything you need to know those first precious weeks postpartum.
Hiring a postpartum doula can be a truly positive support system during your fourth trimester. Having a solid and good support system set up can lower your risk of postpartum depression, allow you to ease into motherhood with confidence, and make sure you don’t feel alone. Being a mother is a beautiful, amazing journey, but with every journey there can be sharp turns and bumps in the road. Hiring a doula can help you navigate those bumps with ease.