Most new parents will tell you that navigating through those first few days after bringing home a new baby is anything but easy! Even for the most experienced parents, bringing home a new baby means changing routines, dividing time and just trying to figure out how to juggle it all. If mom had a cesarean delivery or any other birth complications, it can make the transition to home even more challenging. The problem that many families run into is finding the help they need to support them through these first few weeks.
This is where the help of a postpartum doula can be just the answer that these parents are looking for. Postpartum doulas assist families who are bringing home a new baby, whether that is through birth or adoption.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
A postpartum doula provides evidenced 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 days and weeks after bringing home a new baby. Research shows that moms, dads and babies have an easier time with this transition if a good support team is in place.
What type of services does a Postpartum Doula provide?
The postpartum doula offers many services to her clients, but her main goals are to help “mother the mother”, and nurture the entire family as they transition into life with a newborn. This would include doing things to help mom and dad feel more confident in their roles, sharing education on family adjustment and tending to the unique needs of a new mother.
A postpartum doula works with each family individually to find out their particular needs. Some of the duties that a postpartum doula will perform include:
- Breastfeeding support
- Help with the emotional and physical recovery after birth
- Light housekeeping so that mom does not feel so overwhelmed
- Running errands
- Assistance with newborn care such as diapering, bathing, feeding and comforting
- Light meal preparation
- Baby soothing techniques
- Sibling care
- Referrals to local resources such as parenting classes, pediatricians, lactation support and support groups
Most postpartum doulas provide service for a family anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks after bringing home a new baby. Families may have the doula work 1-3 days a week or as many as 5 days a week. Postpartum doulas often offer night time service to help the family transition more smoothly into the challenges of night time parenting. Each doula offers different services, so it’s important that each family decide what their needs are and find a doula who can meet those needs.
What do Postpartum Doula’s charge?
The price of postpartum doula services vary dependent on what part of the country you live in, what type of service you need ( day or night time) and the skill level of the doula. Postpartum doulas usually charge by the hour and usually require a minimum amount of hours of service. The range of costs seem to be anywhere from $15-50 an hour. Some doulas offer discounts if you book them for a certain amount of hours, if you pay in advance or if they are a newly trained postpartum doula.
More and more families are asking for postpartum doula service as a shower or baby gift from family and friends. This is especially helpful for new families who have little or no family support nearby.
Postpartum doula service may also be paid for using money from a family’s flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) dependent on what the guidelines are for their particular plan.
What is the difference between a Postpartum Doula and a Baby nurse?
The postpartum doula’s role is to support everyone in the family, including mom, dad, siblings and baby. Unlike a baby nurse whose sole focus is the new baby, the postpartum doula is there to support mom through the postpartum period and to help the family as a whole.
How do I find a Postpartum Doula?
Postpartum doulas have been around for quite awhile, but have just recently become more popular. There are a few organizations that certify postpartum doulas and provide referrals to their doulas. Most childbirth educators, birth doulas and parenting support groups also will have referrals to local postpartum doulas.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
DONA International, http://www.dona.org/