Do you hear the word postpartum and automatically think depression? Are you or a family member confused about postpartum doulas?
A postpartum doula is a doula for after baby is here. The word doula comes from a Greek word that means “woman who serves” and refers to a trained person who provides physical, emotional, and educational support to families during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. But what does it MEAN?!? What do they DO?!? Do I need one? Your brain is already full with other stuff, and that definition leaves much unanswered, so here are the nitty-gritty answers to the question, “What is a postpartum doula?”
We promise it's not a silly question.
Do you have to have postpartum depression to hire a postpartum doula?
You don't have to have postpartum depression to benefit from the support of a postpartum doula. The word postpartum simply refers to the period after a woman gives birth. However, if you are struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety, a postpartum doula can help make your recovery easier by offering practical help and a listening ear. We offer care that is complementary to the care you receive from your doctor and mental health professionals.
Is a postpartum doula like a nanny, babysitter, or housekeeper?
While a postpartum doula may perform tasks that are similar to these roles, the postpartum doula does everything through the filter of caring for the mother. While everyone else is focused on your baby, we are focused on you. Visit this post for a breakdown of the different roles and how a postpartum doula compares.
Do you take care of the baby? Do you take care of me? What if I just need a break?
YES. Mommin' ain't easy, and what you need might vary from day to day. Sometimes you need a shower and a nap and to know that there's a trained professional keeping your baby safe and loved. Or you want to spend time with your baby without feeling like your house is imploding around you. We can help with the day-to-day stuff like dishes, laundry, and making sure you're fed and drinking that water you keep forgetting about. Your coffee doesn't get cold on our watch. Need to run to yoga? See you in a couple hours! Excited to sit down with another grown-up who understands you and pick their brain about what's happening with your baby? Pick us, pick us!
Can my mom or sister be my postpartum doula?
Unless your mom or sister is a trained postpartum doula, probably not. Your family members are emotionally invested in you and your baby and we can never replace the special role they play in your life. Our postpartum doulas and newborn care specialists are trained in normal postpartum recovery and infant care and are your resident baby experts. Caring for you while nurturing your existing relationships is a priority for us.
What if I already have a lot of family support?
That's awesome! Our doulas can come alongside your family members to help you make the most out of the early days of your new baby. We can also fill in the gaps (hello, overnight care!) to make sure that you always have the care that you want and need.
I'm nervous about having a stranger in my home. How do I know my family is safe?
Can you come in the daytime too?
Absolutely! We are available around the clock, including daytime and evening hours. If your partner is going back to work, we can help ease the transition and work with you to establish routines that work for you and your family. If the after work 'til bedtime hours have you feeling stressed, we can come.
Will you come with me to appointments and errands?
Yes! If you are nervous or need help with the logistics of leaving the house with your baby, our doulas can be with you every step of the way from packing your diaper bag to holding your baby while you try on clothes that fit your changing postpartum body. We'll keep you company and provide an extra set of hands- you'll be an on the go pro in no time.
Will you come to the hospital or be there when we come home?
Yes! If your partner has other pressing needs or an older child to tend to, we are happy to stay with you during your time in the hospital. We can also be there when you come home with your baby for the first time to help you get settled and make that "What now?" feeling a little less overwhelming.
Do you help with breastfeeding? What if I'm supplementing or formula feeding?
A postpartum doula or newborn care specialist is not a trained lactation professional, but we do have a basic knowledge of breastfeeding and can draw from our knowledge base to assist you and help create an environment that encourages and supports your breastfeeding relationship. If you need support that is outside of our scope of practice, we can direct you to the appropriate professional so that you get the care you need. If you are exclusively pumping, supplementing, or exclusively formula feeding, we are knowledgeable about handling both breast milk and formula and can support your bottle feeding relationship as well.
My baby is more than 3 months old. Can I still have a doula?
Of course! If you feel like you and your baby need the type of care that a postpartum doula provides, we will be happy to partner with you through any of your baby's transitions. If teething, changing routines, back to work, late onset postpartum depression, or sleep challenges have you wishing for a doula, we've got you covered.