Unsure what a postpartum doula is and how they can support you after birth? Here’s what you should know before hiring one.
Stepping into the role of parenthood is an exciting and transformational time, but it can undoubtedly come with uncertainty and exhaustion, especially during the postpartum period.
Thankfully, some professionals specialize in providing new parents with unmatched support during this time, known as postpartum doulas.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about postpartum doulas, such as what they can help with, if and when necessary, and what to look for when trying to find the right doula.
What is a postpartum doula?
A postpartum doula is a trained professional who can provide emotional, physical, and informational support to new parents and the rest of the family during the postpartum period.
The postpartum phase can last up to a year after giving birth, and it can be challenging as parents navigate the many changes that come with having a new baby.
A postpartum doula will typically be with a family within the first three months after your baby arrives and is there to offer a compassionate presence that helps parents adjust to their new roles, support with parent-baby bonding and soothing, provide guidance on breastfeeding and newborn care, and offer practical support such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, and even caring for older children.
A postpartum doula is a nurturing and supportive ally committed to helping parents and families feel more confident when so much change occurs.
What does a postpartum doula do?
A postpartum doula can help parents in several ways during the weeks and months following childbirth. Their primary role is to provide emotional, physical, and informational support to aid families in adapting to their new roles and the responsibilities that come with them.
Doula roles might include assistance with:
- Guiding infant sleep
- Sibling support
- Help with mother-baby bonding
- Household assistance like meal preparation and light housekeeping
If there are older children, a new baby changes the whole family’s dynamic, which is why having postpartum care in this way can be so helpful.
Postpartum doulas also prioritize the mental and emotional well-being of the parent who gave birth, offering a listening ear and guidance free from judgment during this vulnerable time.
Their ultimate goal is to help families thrive during the postpartum period by providing a compassionate and nurturing environment where everyone can thrive.
Is a postpartum doula necessary?
Hiring a postpartum doula depends on each family’s needs and circumstances. Many new parents find the services that doulas provide to be incredibly beneficial.
The postpartum period can be challenging for some, especially for parents who are navigating new responsibilities and adjusting to life with a newborn for the first time.
Postpartum doulas can provide vital support and guidance during this time, offering an abundance of knowledge and experience that can ease the transition into parenthood.
Having a postpartum doula can be incredibly helpful for new parents, especially if they lack a support system, have a complicated birth, or have any medical issues. From providing practical assistance with household tasks to offering emotional support, a postpartum doula can help parents and families feel more confident, relaxed, and empowered during this time.
While a postpartum doula may not be necessary for everyone, their presence can positively impact families seeking extra support and care during the initial weeks following childbirth.
Ultimately, a postpartum doula can be an invaluable resource for any family during the postpartum period, as they help ensure a smoother transition into parenthood and a more enjoyable experience overall.
What to look for in a postpartum doula and where to find one
When searching for the right postpartum doula for your family, it’s essential to find someone who is experienced, that you feel comfortable around, and shares similar values with you.
You’ll also want to opt for a doula who is compassionate and highly knowledgeable when it comes to working with new families during the postpartum period. Some doulas specialize solely in pregnancy and prenatal care, some only in postpartum care, and some in both forms.
Look for a doula who has undergone professional training and deeply understands the physical and emotional challenges that many new mothers and families encounter.
When meeting with potential doulas, ask about their availability, fees based on the care you want, and services offered. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for references from other families they’ve worked with.
Luckily, many resources are available to help you find the right postpartum doula for you in your area. You can start by asking your healthcare provider, childbirth educator, or friends and family for recommendations.
Online directories such as DONA International, the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) are just a few of the valuable tools for finding qualified and experienced postpartum doulas.
When choosing a doula, take the time to consider your options and find someone you feel comfortable with. Remember, a postpartum doula can be an invaluable source of support and guidance during this particular time, so it’s essential to go with someone you feel will best fit your family.
Navigating the fourth trimester with a postpartum doula
A postpartum doula can be a tremendous asset for new mothers and families as they navigate the joys and potential challenges of the postpartum period.
From providing emotional support and household assistance to offering guidance on infant care and breastfeeding, a doula’s services can allow families to feel more confident and empowered during this transformative time.
By providing compassionate care and personalized attention, postpartum doulas can help families transition into their new roles more easily.
Regardless if you’re a first-time parent or have experienced childbirth before, a postpartum doula can offer the support, experience, and guidance you need to thrive during the postpartum stage. If you’re considering hiring a postpartum doula, rest assured that you are making a compassionate choice for you and your family.
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Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.