What Can a Postnatal Doula Do for Me?
The blessing of a new baby is indisputable. This blessing, however, will also bring unique challenges. How can you simplify this new, exciting time in your life? Help. One option for getting help is with a postnatal doula.
Physical and Emotional Support
Rest, in the form of sleep, offers one of the most significant challenges. Gone (temporarily) are the nights of uninterrupted sleep and undisturbed daytime naps.
How can a postnatal doula alleviate this? A postnatal doula is a wonderful resource who can provide both physical and emotional support to the new family. A doula can keep an eye on the baby during the day allowing time for the new mom and dad to catch up on some sleep. Doulas can also help at night, caring for the baby throughout the night.
If a mom is breastfeeding, the postnatal overnight doula will bring the baby to mom for feeding and then change, burp, and settle the baby, lessening the mother’s “up” time. The breastfeeding mother can also use a breast pump leaving her milk for the doula to feed the baby during the night. Pumping can help mom to get more sleep the nights the doula is staying with the family.
If the baby is being bottle fed, the doula will care for the baby throughout the night and take notes for the mom and dad as to what the baby did during the night. This would include the time of feedings, the amount the baby consumed, any wet or dirty diapers and how the baby settled between feedings.
Daytime Assistance (Laundry, Meal Prep, and Errands)
Practical daytime assistance by a postnatal doula will also lessen the stress of a new baby and increase the joy for the whole family. A daytime postnatal doula will do laundry for the whole family, prepare meals for everyone, care for any siblings, run to the store or do other errands for the family. She will also do light housekeeping so mom can really rest, not worrying that things are being neglected. She will also keep siblings entertained and fed.
For first-time parents, the postnatal doula can answer questions about their newborn, provide hands-on demonstration of newborn care, assist with breastfeeding, and build confidence in the new parents.
Aside from the lack of sleep, breastfeeding is the other really challenging part of having a new baby, especially the firstborn baby. A postnatal doula can teach the mom about correctly latching her baby, explain how nursing works, relieve anxiety about the baby getting enough milk and help the mom focus on herself and nursing as the postnatal doula will meet the other needs of the family, as mentioned above.
Studies show that having postnatal support can lessen anxiety, and the causes of some postpartum depression.
How to Find the Right Doula
What would you look for when hiring a postnatal doula? It is important, if possible, to meet a doula in advance, to see if you feel comfortable with her. You would also want someone who is experienced but not bossy or one that will “takeover” once the baby is born.
A postnatal doula should be willing to do whatever the new parents need so that they feel supported. Rather than make the parents feel inadequate, a good postnatal doula will help the parents feel confident that they will become their baby’s own “expert” and that they are doing a great job.
Simplifying Your Family’s Transition
We all have had a “first” baby and we all eventually find our own way. It is important that you are supported in the decisions you feel are right for you and your family and that you are getting current information about how to care for your baby.
MothersCare Doulas are warm, nurturing, experienced and reliable. You can meet your doula in advance, in person or on “Zoom”. In the current COVID-19 climate, our doulas wear masks in your home and limit their social contacts in their personal lives to avoid getting infected. We have been working with families all year and no family has been infected from any of our doulas. Please contact MothersCare for more information by phone, 203-375-5719, or by email: [email protected]. Please see our website for more information is www.motherscaredoula.com.
About Susan Shepard
I am the owner/partner of MothersCare Doula Services in CT. I am a Postpartum doula and my business partner, Sheila Marley is a Labor doula. MothersCare places both Labor and Postpartum doulas with CT Families. I am the mom of five beautiful children, one set of twins. The best quote for me as a young mother and the catalyst for MothersCare is “It’s not weakness to know you need help, it’s wisdom.”