What is a Postpartum Doula and Should You Get One?

Have you ever heard of a postpartum doula? While birth doulas are becoming more common, many expecting parents might wonder what a postpartum doula is, what they offer, and why they might consider finding one.

What is a postpartum doula?

A postpartum doula is a type of birth worker that commits to spending time with you in your home to assist you in your early postpartum weeks. They are often trained in a variety of postpartum related topics such as nourishing foods for new mothers, general baby care, and basic breastfeeding knowledge.

Postpartum doulas are not typically medical professionals, but their experience and training allow them to support new parents and babies in a caring and knowledgeable way. Each postpartum doula is different, but typically their focus is on caring for the new mother in order to support her as she cares for her new baby.

What do postpartum doulas offer?

Postpartum doulas are all different, and may offer different services depending on their training and experience.

Common offerings include delivering nourishing postpartum meals, encouraging mothers to rest by caring for household duties or older children, and allowing new mothers the chance to discuss their birth stories or struggles with a caring companion.

If you are hoping for a specific type of service such as breastfeeding support or postpartum massage, be sure to look around for a postpartum doula who has official training in these areas. Since no two doulas have the same training, it is okay to look around and find one who provides exactly the kind of services you are looking for.

Why would I need one?

If you are expecting your first child, you may wonder why you would need a postpartum doula. It can be hard to imagine how they will be helpful to you in the early weeks of being a new mom. Simply put, the first few weeks postpartum are exhausting! Healing from birth, caring for a new baby, and establishing new routines are all things that take time and energy.

Many new moms have found the support of a postpartum doula to be invaluable as they navigate the huge life change of becoming a mother. If you ask some of your friends who already have kids, they will probably tell you that the extra support is always welcome and sometimes crucial to postpartum recovery and rest!

Whether or not this is your first child or your fifth, an extra pair of hands and a listening ear can make your postpartum experience a much more relaxed and enjoyable one. Being home with a new baby can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but you don’t have to do it alone!

If you aren’t sure you can afford a postpartum doula, try asking around to see if there are doulas-in-training who are willing to offer their services for a discount. Or, ask for support towards hiring a doula instead of gifts from your friends and family! This is an especially great way for long-distance family members to support you and your growing family if they can’t be there in person to help.

Bethany Robin

Bethany has been blogging about the struggles, pitfalls, and just plain insanity of parenting as a millennial since her oldest was born in 2015. She's also worked extensively as a doula and has four children of her own, including toddler twins.

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