Society is quite familiar with the labour and birth doula profession, and while the postpartum doula has been around for the same amount of time, it isn’t as well-known especially in Western Canada. Let me shed some light on this valuable service!
Who is a postpartum doula?
First of all, she is not a baby nurse (which focuses strictly on caring for the baby). A postpartum doula:
- Nurtures the whole family as they adjust to the transition of a new member in the family.
- Brings her experience, companionship, and emotional support, while providing physical, educational and non-judgmental support.
- Her primary focus is on the mother’s recovery from birth and the baby’s adjustment to life outside the womb.
- She focuses on being attuned to the family’s needs so that she can help be that calm, relaxed person to provide a judgment-free space as a woman finds herself as a mother.
The postpartum doula is NOT a nurse or medical caregiver and does not provide clinical or medical care to the client such as physical examinations, assessments or mother/baby monitoring. The doula does not diagnose.
Why is a postpartum doula important?
The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics states: ‘patient-centered, maternal postpartum care has the potential to improve outcomes for women, infants and families and to support ongoing health and well-being. In the weeks after birth, a woman must adapt to multiple physical, social and psychological changes. She must recover from childbirth, adjust to changing hormones, and learn to feed and care for her newborn. In addition to being a time of joy and excitement, this “fourth trimester” can present major challenges…’
In China, women are allowed to rest for 30 days after giving birth. In India, postpartum confinement can last up to 40 days. In Mayan Indian culture in Mexico, a new mother and infant must remain inside for 7 days.
This is a critical time in recovery for birthing women. It is a time to allow themselves to be nurtured by a compassionate and knowledgeable teammate.
What does a postpartum doula do?
Our postpartum doulas tailor their services based on individual client needs.
- A postpartum doula can hold baby while the mother gets some much needed rest or time to herself, or takes a shower, runs errands, etc.
- Well versed in both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, she can help support you in whatever decision is best for your family.
- Knowledgeable about recovery after birth (both physical and emotional), sleep guidance, soothing your infant, swaddling, and general coping skills.
- We are trained to know signs and symptoms of postpartum baby blues and/or depression and can help you seek the resources you need.
- We are equipped to assist with sibling care, meal preparation, light housework, and the general needs of your family during the postpartum period and beyond!
Why women hire a postpartum doula?
While family and friends are irreplaceable parts of the postpartum adjustment period, there are some real advantages to hiring a doula. Doulas are hired to help, not just to visit, and are attuned to the needs of the mother during this time. She provides the mother with unbiased information and resources. A mother isn’t obligated to entertain the doula, or even be awake during the shift.
- It’s ok to need and ask for help during the postpartum period. It’s ok to hire someone to fill that need.
- There are some things Google cannot replace. A doula’s knowledge, extensive resources and comforting presence are a valuable, unbiased and scientific base.
- Allow yourself to be nurtured and cared for in the way your body and mind deserve. This is a major transformation in your life and in the lives of your family and you deserve the ultimate self-care.
- The calmness of a professional can help bring peace to what may feel like a very chaotic and overwhelming time in life.
- They care for you and your baby the way YOU want, without imparting personal judgements or opinions.
The postpartum period can be a wonderful, magical time in your life. Hiring a postpartum doula can help you through this transition in a beautiful way.