Postpartum Doula – Who is she and how can she help?
I have written before about the huge benefits of hiring a doula during pregnancy to help support and educate you in the build up to and during the birth of your baby but a doula can also provide a lot of help after baby has arrived, such doulas are known as Postpartum (Postnatal) Doulas.
A postpartum doula provides evidence based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing and basic newborn care.
A postpartum doula is there to help a new family in those first very exciting and daunting days and weeks after bringing home a new baby. It is perfectly normal for a new mum to feel uncertain and maybe even scared in the beginning and it can be invaluable to have someone to talk to about her worries and to be provided with guidance, support and reassurance.
During those early days hormone levels are high, sometimes causing tears and often leading to feelings of inadequacy, all of this together with exhaustion can be quite overwhelming!
How can she help?
- A postpartum doula is trained to talk to you about your birth experience. It may be the case that you were not happy with aspects of your birth experience and it is very important to open up about such things in order to move on and hopefully look back on your birth positively as any feelings of disappointment or regret can impact negatively on your adjustment to motherhood. A postpartum doula can help you talk through any worries, it is always a good thing to get a different perspective!
- A postpartum doula is usually trained in infant feeding and will be able to support you in whichever feeding method you have chosen without any judgement. Most are trained in up lactation and the mechanics of breastfeeding and will be able to support you practically and with the emotional side of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be difficult for some mums which again can lead to feelings of inadequacy, sometimes a little reassurance is all you need.
We all keep our education up to date so that we can make sure we give our new mums the most current information and research.
- A postpartum doula often has children herself so will be very aware of the concerns you may have. She is trained in all aspects of newborn care from changing diapers to bathing your baby and is there to guide you and build your confidence. She can help you understand the needs of your new baby as well as how to respond to them.
- A postpartum doula is not there to check your baby’s development or give you medical advice although she can point you in the right direction if necessary. Your wellbeing is her top priority, physically, mentally and emotionally! She will also be there to support your whole family and help everyone adapt to the new dynamics that come with a new baby.
- Many postpartum doulas will help out with the household, offering help with chores such as cooking, cleaning, ironing, anything that lightens the load for you.
- Postpartum doulas are available to help give you the best possible motherhood experience. Having a new baby is amazing and wonderful but we all know it can be overwhelming and exhausting. She can help reduce the exhaustion, giving you time to enjoy your new baby.
If you are thinking of employing a postpartum doula it is important to think about the kind of help that you need. Discuss with them beforehand what your expectations are so that they know how they can benefit you the most. I work as both a birth and postpartum doula and I sometimes attend the birth and then support the family afterwards. I really love doing this and witnessing the way a family evolves during this magical period.
Many new mums in the Middle East are living away from their families and do not have help in those early days and this is the true value of a postpartum doula. She won’t replace your mum/sister/auntie but she will definitely be a tower of strength!