You’ve probably heard the term ‘Postpartum Doula’ before, but you might not know exactly what it means. Here is a definition from postpartum.net:
Postpartum doulas provide families information and support on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, infant soothing, and coping skills for new parents. They might also help with light housework, fix a meal and help incorporate an older child into this new experience.
That is a broad summary but gives you a good idea of how a postpartum doula can help. Here at Discover Birth we like to think of postpartum doula services being broken up into two major categories:
1) Daytime support
2) Overnight support
Daytime support often involves visiting with you and your baby to help provide information and support. This could be in the form of 4-6 hour visits where you connect with your doula and they assist with the transition into parenthood. Whereas overnight support is all about helping you manage those crucial first weeks and months with a newborn at home. For nighttime support, a doula will arrive at your home around 10 pm and stay until 6 am the next morning. This is a key time where you and your partner can get the rest and sleep you need, all while your baby is tended to by the most specialized person in newborn care.
There are of course more variations to doula support and you can work with our team to figure out the best plan for YOU. Let’s get into the top 5 reasons to hire a postpartum doula:
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
This is one of the more basic parts of being a human – you need sleep! Sleep is the foundation of your energy levels and without it, even regular everyday tasks can become difficult. Sleep deprivation is reported by almost all new parents, and according to the Sleep Foundation it can lead to other challenges:
New mothers are also at risk for insomnia, daytime sleepiness, anxiety, depression, non-refreshing sleep, and fatigue. Sleep deprivation can worsen symptoms of postpartum depression, which affects one in eight mothers. Being a new parent requires navigating through a number of sleep decisions and challenges.
A postpartum doula can make a massive difference in your sleep. Even if you are only able to hire a doula for one or two shifts per week, you will feel the effects of getting regular and longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep.
Allows you to include family and friends as much or as little as you choose
When you have a newborn at home you’ll find your friends and family are VERY excited to come by and see the baby – which is great! However, sometimes it can be an additional burden for you and your partner, as you recover from birth and are adjusting to the postpartum period.
By having a postpartum doula to lean on, you can then include your family and friends as much or as little as you would like. For example, it may be difficult to schedule family members to come and stay awake overnight to assist with your newborn, especially if they have full-time jobs and a family of their own. With a professional postpartum doula you don’t have to worry, it’s their job and they’re prepared for non-traditional hours.
Provide Newborn Care Tips and Tricks
Your postpartum doula will be able to impart all their collected wisdom about newborns and the postpartum period onto you! While this may be only your first or second time going through birth and postpartum, your doula will have seen MANY newborns and parents experiencing similar things. They can lean on those experiences to help you adjust as comfortably as possible to your new life. That little bump or spot on baby? Probably normal! That funny little sound they make when they’re sleeping? Your doula can confirm if it’s a normal newborn characteristic. It really is like having a live baby manual at your finger tips!
Can help with breastfeeding
Anyone who has ever breastfed knows it can be a tricky thing to get the hang of. Each baby is different, and it may take time to find the right set-up for you and your little one. Postpartum doulas have taken a breastfeeding course as part of their training and can offer many suggestions and real-world solutions to any roadblocks you might be experiencing with breastfeeding. Additionally, some postpartum doulas may also be breastfeeding educators or lactation consultants, which gives them an added level of expertise in this area.
Will Give You More Time to Enjoy Your Baby
The first few weeks and months will feel like a big change when you bring baby home. They will move slowly while at the same time flying by, and before you know it you’ll have a six month old or one year old at home! Having a postpartum doula on your team can help you ENJOY those early weeks and months a bit more. That extra set of hands and source of wisdom can ease some of the burden you’ll be carrying during this transition period. Our goal as doulas is that you not only survive this time but also get to enjoy the precious moments and feel supported while doing so.
These are just a few of the many reasons to consider adding a postpartum doula to your team. Whether you are looking for daytime support, nighttime support, or a bit of both, our group at Discover Birth is here to help. You can contact us here.