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Postpartum Doula: What They Do and Why You Want One

After giving birth, you might feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. This is where a postpartum doula can come in handy. A postpartum doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to new mamas and their families during the postpartum period.

Postpartum doulas can provide a variety of services, including:

  • Infant care education
  • Breastfeeding support and education
  • Assistance with household tasks (yes, they’ll even do your dishes!!)
  • Emotional support and guidance
  • Referrals to other professionals, if necessary

Basically, they’re the help you’re too afraid to ask for after you have a baby.

Roles of a Postpartum Doula

When you bring a new baby home, it can be a stressful and overwhelming time for everyone in the family. This is where a postpartum doula comes in. A postpartum doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and educational support to new parents and their families during the postpartum period. Here are some of the roles a postpartum doula can play in supporting you and your family:

Emotional Support

Having a new baby can be an emotional time for parents. A postpartum doula can provide emotional support by being a listening ear, offering encouragement and reassurance, and helping you navigate the emotional ups and downs that come with having a new baby. They can also provide support for postpartum mood disorders, such as postpartum depression or anxiety.

Physical Support

A postpartum doula can also provide physical support for new parents. This can include helping with things like feeding, changing, and bathing the baby, as well as providing support for postpartum recovery. They can also help with household jobs like cooking, cleaning, and laundry, allowing you to focus on bonding with your new baby.

Educational Support

A postpartum doula can also provide educational support for new parents. They can offer guidance and information on topics like breastfeeding, baby care, and postpartum recovery. They can also help you navigate the healthcare system and connect you with other resources in your community.

Benefits of a Postpartum Doula

If you are a new mother, you may be wondering whether you need a postpartum doula to help you during the first few weeks after the birth of your baby. Do you NEED one? No. But could you benefit from one? absolutely.

For the Mother

A postpartum doula can provide emotional support to help you cope with the physical and emotional changes that come with childbirth. They can also assist with breastfeeding and help you learn how to care for your baby, including how to change diapers, bathe your baby, and soothe your baby when they are fussy.

For the Baby

A postpartum doula can help your baby adjust to life outside the womb by providing a calm and nurturing environment. They can also help you learn how to recognize your baby’s cues and respond to their needs, such as when they are hungry, tired, or need a diaper change.

For the Family

A postpartum doula can help your entire family adjust to the new addition to your household. They can provide practical support, such as preparing meals, doing laundry, and running errands. They can also provide emotional support to help siblings adjust to the new baby and help your partner adjust to their new role as a parent.

How to Hire a Postpartum Doula

If you’re considering hiring a postpartum doula, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

how to find the Right Doula

Finding the right postpartum doula is essential. You want someone who is experienced, knowledgeable, and who you feel comfortable with. Here are a few tips to help you find the right doula:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your healthcare provider.
  • Research doulas in your area online. Check out their websites, read reviews, and look for any certifications or qualifications they may have.
  • Schedule interviews with potential doulas. This will give you a chance to get to know them, ask questions, and see if they are a good fit for you and your family.

Cost Considerations

Hiring a postpartum doula is an investment, but it can be well worth it. The cost of a postpartum doula can vary depending on a few factors, including their experience level, the services they provide, and where you live. On average, you can expect to pay between $25-$50 per hour for a postpartum doula.

When considering the cost of a postpartum doula, keep in mind that their services can help you:

  • Recover more quickly from childbirth
  • Adjust to life with a new baby
  • Get more sleep
  • Learn how to care for your baby
  • Breastfeed successfully
  • Reduce the risk of postpartum depression

Again, you do not NEED a doula. I couldn’t afford one with my first baby and I did just fine. However, if you can afford it and would like the extra help, then schedule some interviews and see if you find one you like!

Postpartum Doula vs. Baby Nurse

As a new parent, you may be wondering what the difference is between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse. While both can provide valuable support during the postpartum period, there are some key differences to consider.

A postpartum doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides emotional and practical support to new parents. Their focus is on the whole family, including mom, partner, baby, siblings, and even pets. They can provide assistance with breastfeeding, newborn care, meal preparation, light housework, and more. Postpartum doulas can also offer guidance and education on topics like infant sleep, feeding, and development.

On the other hand, a baby nurse (sometimes called a newborn care specialist) is typically focused solely on the baby’s care. They may provide overnight care and help parents get some much-needed rest, but their duties are primarily centered around the baby’s needs. Baby nurses may offer assistance with feeding, diaper changes, and soothing techniques, but they may not have as much experience with the emotional and practical support that new parents need.

It’s important to note that there is some overlap between the two roles, and some postpartum doulas may also offer overnight care. However, the main difference is in the scope of their duties and their focus on the whole family versus just the baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a postpartum doula and what do they do?

A postpartum doula is a trained professional who provides support to new parents during the postpartum period. They offer emotional and physical support, as well as evidence-based education to help new parents navigate the challenges of caring for a newborn. Postpartum doulas can assist with tasks such as breastfeeding support, newborn care, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.

What are the benefits of hiring a postpartum doula?

Hiring a postpartum doula can provide many benefits for new parents. Postpartum doulas can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression, improve breastfeeding success rates, and provide emotional support during a time of transition. Additionally, having a postpartum doula can help new parents get much-needed rest and support with household tasks, allowing them to focus on bonding with their new baby.

How do I become a postpartum doula?

To become a postpartum doula, you will need to complete a training program through a reputable organization. Many organizations offer both in-person and online training options. Once you have completed your training, you can choose to become certified through a certifying organization. Certification is not required to work as a postpartum doula, but it can provide additional credibility and recognition.

What is the difference between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse?

While both postpartum doulas and baby nurses provide support to new parents, there are some key differences between the two. Baby nurses typically focus solely on the care of the newborn, while postpartum doulas provide support to the entire family. Additionally, baby nurses are often hired for overnight shifts, while postpartum doulas can work during the day or overnight.

Is hiring a postpartum doula worth the cost?

The cost of hiring a postpartum doula can vary depending on factors such as location and experience. However, many new parents find that the benefits of hiring a postpartum doula far outweigh the cost. Having a postpartum doula can provide valuable support during a time of transition and can help new parents feel more confident and supported.

How long are postpartum doula shifts?

The length of postpartum doula shifts can vary depending on the needs of the family. Some postpartum doulas offer hourly shifts, while others offer longer shifts of 8-12 hours. Many postpartum doulas also offer overnight shifts to provide support during the night. It is important to discuss your needs and preferences with your postpartum doula to determine the best schedule for your family.

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