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Have you heard of a postpartum doula? If not, you probably don’t know how life-changing a postpartum doula can be!
Keep reading. Having a baby is hard. Having a postpartum doula supporting you can change your life.
We often put so much emphasis on the pregnancy that we forget about postnatal care. And we’re talking not just about Baby but the whole family, especially Mom!
A report from the Journal of prenatal education stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated that “the postpartum period receives less attention from healthcare professionals than the prenatal and childbirth period.”
The report also mentions that postpartum support may contribute to improving maternal and infant well-being by helping women transition into motherhood.
Chapter 1. What is a Postpartum Doula?
A postpartum doula (aka a postnatal doula) is a specially=trained person who can help families adjust to life with a newborn in the first few days and weeks of being at home. They will provide support and assistance regardless of whether the baby was birthed by the mother or came to the family through adoption.
In the first few days that moms are at home, all the attention is often on the new baby – which is important and necessary! However, because dads often return to work immediately (or don’t take any time off at all) this often results in moms getting little to no postpartum support.
Ultimately, moms suffer because of it. In fact, the whole family does.
That’s why the support of a postpartum doula can be invaluable, especially if you don’t have immediate family close by to help you.
Section 1. Postpartum help at home
Almost every new mom wants to stay home for a while with her new little one and not worry about dishes, laundry, etc. A postpartum doula will come to your house and provide help wherever needed. For example:
- Establishing and maintaining feeding whether this is by breast or bottle.
- Emotional and recovery support.
- Help mothers cope with the new baby and their care such as changing, bathing and routines.
- Provide support on baby bonding.
- Guide moms of soothing baby techniques.
- Light housework.
- Meal preparation.
- Care of other children.
- Make referrals to additional support agencies (Lactation consultant, pediatrician, and support groups).
Section 2. What are the benefits of Postpartum Support?
There are so many benefits of a postpartum doula the main one is the support they offer! They are not there to replace you; they are there to provide support, encouragement and help where needed to make things easier for you and your family.
Research from Centres for Disease and Control (CDC) states that about 1 in 9 women will suffer from postpartum depression which interferes with daily life and can last weeks and months if help’s not sought. If you don’t have a support network close to you, this is where a postpartum doula can provide that valuable asset to the family to prevent postpartum depression from rearing its ugly head!
Section 3. What are Postpartum Doula rates and availability?
Postpartum doulas are not just for the wealthy. Anyone can have one. However, keep in mind that most doulas are self-employed so will charge a fee. Rates do vary depending on what help and support you’re looking for and where you live.
As a guide, postpartum doulas will charge by the hour with rates anywhere between $15 to $50. We recommend discussing and agreeing to any rates before your doula commences work. Be sure to ask if there is a payment plan or if there are any discounts if paying early.
If the cost of a doula won’t fit within your budget, but you feel that it is something that will benefit your family, consider asking friends and relatives to put a small amount of money into a postpartum doula fund instead of purchasing baby shower or new baby gifts.
If you are in the early planning stages of pregnancy, then start putting a little sum of money away each week towards a postpartum doula so that you know you can afford it when the times comes!
Each postpartum doula will operate differently so be sure to take the time to discuss your families needs and wants at your first meeting. Their availability is something that’s negotiated. However, they can usually be available to support your family up to 5 days a week with some offering an option of overnights to help the family adjust and provide support when baby wakes at night.
Section 4. How do I find a Postpartum Doula?
Most childbirth educators, healthcare professionals, midwives, and obstetrician can refer you to a local doula agency in your area if there is one available. A quick google search on postpartum doula in your region will provide you with results of your closest one. You can also find contact details for doulas in your country via the Dona.org website.
Section 5. When should I make contact with a Postpartum Doula?
It is a good idea to make contact with a postpartum doula as soon as possible to ensure you have plenty of time to find one that is suitable for your family.
Section 6. What questions should I ask a Postpartum Doula?
There is a range of questions that you can ask at your first meeting with a postpartum doula. Here are a few suggestions:
- Where did they do their training and do they have first aid knowledge?
- What are their beliefs in regards to parenting?
- How much experience do they have?
- What are their skills?
- What support services do they help with?
- Can their rates be negotiated or is there a payment plan?
- Do they have a backup doula if they’re not available?
- What are their rates and availability?
- Can they provide references?
- Can they provide a security check?
Section 7. Final thoughts
Moms and moms-to-be, put yourself first and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your health and happiness are a priority to ensure you get through the first few days and weeks with your new baby without feeling too stressed out or overwhelmed.
We are firm believers in caring for both Mom and Baby equally is crucial to the health of the mother-baby dyad. So, if this is something that you and your family could benefit from, we urge you to get in touch with your local postpartum doula today!
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