You’ve given birth and become a parent but it can feel like there is no time for recovery. The focus shifts almost entirely to your baby and your own needs can get sidelined. It’s exciting but also overwhelming and exhausting, both physically and emotionally. And just when new parents are at their most vulnerable, their babies take centre stage.
There are a lot of things about the postpartum period that you can’t control: how feeding will go, how your baby sleeps, your hormone fluctuations, etc. But you CAN prepare a great support system and a postpartum doula is an important part of that. Having access to a postpartum doula relieves a lot of stress so you can focus on the important business of bonding with your baby. If you haven’t worked with a doula before, it can be pretty hard to grasp what it is exactly that doulas do. And while birth doulas have been gaining in popularity, postpartum doulas are still a mystery to most expecting parents.
So what magic does a postpartum doula offer?
A postpartum doula helps you build community. The saying, “It takes a village” is true, a postpartum doula will help you rally family, friends and neighbours to feed you and your family nutritious food, supply solicited (and unsolicited) advice, and take care of older siblings. If support is in short supply they will work with you to find the places in the community that you can lean into to build your new postpartum community.
A postpartum doula helps build your confidence. Whether it be in feeding, or newborn care, when you have someone there to affirm that your choices are actually right on track, you start to believe in and trust yourself and your observations about your baby.
A postpartum doula supports your whole family. Partners who have doulas learn skills earlier and are more able to take on care of their infant alone earlier. Grandparents who have doulas around learn to care for new parents in a gentle and supportive way, able to use their instincts and experience in a way that supports their choice. Siblings gain another supportive adult to tend to their needs and help them bond with the baby and have time with their parents one on one.
A postpartum doula is well-versed in normal newborn behaviour and appearance, and normal postpartum healing. They can’t diagnose medical issues or mental health issues, but they can point out things that don’t seem normal to them so that parents can get an opinion from the appropriate professional.
A postpartum doula can help parents interpret those newborn cries—and the reflexes, body language, and other sounds that accompany newborn life! This is hugely empowering to parents who desperately want to know what is going on in that new little person.
A postpartum doula knows the importance of postpartum planning and will help you sort through what you need, the support you have and will need to have and how to navigate those early weeks and months with the new baby. ( check out our postpartum planning guide below)
A postpartum doula can work with you during the day or overnight. Some postpartum doulas offer one or the other and others offer a mix of both.
A postpartum doula is trained to recognize the difference between the typical “baby blues” and something more serious, like postpartum depression or anxiety. They can observe the new parent’s behaviour and determine if there may be a cause for concern, and as an impartial, objective third party they can provide a sounding board for her when they are ready to share their feelings.
A postpartum doula understands the need for the family’s care to be well-rounded; it is important that both their physical AND emotional needs are met. This vigilance truly is the first line of defence against postpartum mental health issues.
The postpartum period is a time of great transition, a time when people become parents, where they get to know themselves and their baby in this beautiful and challenging time. A primary goal of a doula is to meet a pregnant or postpartum person where they’re at. To find what is most important and most needed for you and your family.
Want your postpartum period to be calmer, do you want to feel more confident, bond more deeply with your baby? Hire a postpartum doula today!
Our postpartum wellness plan is all about creating the space for you and your family to discuss and plan for the transition that is parenthood. To gather your commulity and bond with your baby.