Doula is a Greek word meaning “a female who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides emotional and practical support.
What does a Doula do?
A birth doula gives continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. She attends the birth in the home or hospital. She facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and their clinical care providers.
A postpartum doula brings her support to the family during the postpartum period (the 4th trimester). She is trained to help families, doing whatever a family needs so that mama and her partner can bond and care for their new baby.
What are some of the benefits of working with a postpartum doula in the early weeks?
- Parents have more time, energy and emotional availability for bonding
- Parents can get more sleep which helps being overtired, anxious and overwhelmed
- Better self care for mama
- Companionship from a postpartum doula can reduce any anxiety and quickly help with any resources needed
Do Dads need Doulas?
The partners role in the early weeks can have a dramatic, positive effect on the family. A postpartum doula can help the partner to learn the art of “mothering the mother,” increasing the chances for success in areas such as breastfeeding and reduction of postpartum depression. The postpartum doula also relieves any stress the partner may have on "getting all those other things done" by assisting around the home.
Any tips to prepare for the postpartum period?
Enjoy your new family member in the hospital, birthing center or home.....with no visitors, just the three of you! Baby is already taking in so much in their first 48 hours! Allow this sweet time to getting in tune with baby's cues and signs. I know it's hard with friends and family ready to knock down the door, but baby will be available for show and tell later!
Having support in the home goes such a long way during the recovery/bonding period. This can be grandparents, friends, or a postpartum doula of course! Choose a truly helpful person who is nonjudgemental and a good listener. A peaceful, quiet home will allow parents their much needed rest.
Setting up a meal train (calendar of delivered meals) from friends and neighbors. If there is too much food, freeze it! Place a cooler on the front porch to receive meals, allowing mom and baby to recover inside.
Having baby in nothing but a diaper and swaddle (blankets) allows for ease in diaper changing and skin to skin contact which has huge benefits for breastfeeding and soothing baby.