What is a Postpartum Doula?

So, maybe you think you know what a doula is, right? She’s the lady who’s grabbing the fruit juice popsicles while your partner walks up and down the halls with you just after your water breaks and that woman holding you as you breathe through your next contraction…

…Or she’s the person who shows up at your doorstep two days postpartum to cook your dinner and fold your laundry while you and your husband take a nap with the baby. She might be the woman who takes your four year old to play outside while you give your newborn a bath. She could be the one who comes over with the bag filled with different kinds of cloth diapers and baby carriers to try and then helps correct your latch as your figure out how to nurse that new baby.

A postpartum doula helps with all those things that come after the birth of your baby, whether it’s helping around your house with cooking, shopping, and some light cleaning, or helping you become more familiar with the things you said you wanted to do (baby wearing, co-sleeping, clothe diapering, breastfeeding), but now that the time has come, you’re not entirely sure where to begin or how to troubleshoot.

I have recently decided to begin the certification process (through Birth Arts International as DONA does not offer a postpartum doula training in New England) and have started offering some postpartum doula services.

What does this mean for you, my lovely potential client?

I will:

  • Allow you time with your newborn by helping you with cleaning, cooking, shopping, your older children, or other chores/activities
  • Give you time to rest and relax by providing some care for your newborn
  • Can give you information and instruction on cloth diaper use and care
  • Can give you information and instruction on use of a variety of baby carriers (slings, soft structure carriers, wraps, etc.
  • Can give you some guidance in breastfeeding

Above all, I will help you to create and hold a safe, peaceful, and happy environment within which you and your family can adjust to your new roles.

Things I cannot/will not do:

  • I will not transport you or your older children barring an extreme emergency
  • I cannot perform any medical tasks (beyond CPR/First Aid, for which I’m certified) like baby well checks or checking c-section scars
  • And while I have a lot of positive and successful breastfeeding experience and knowledge that I believe is an asset, if you are having a lot of difficulties with latch, engorgement, infection, etc., I will suggest you get in touch with a lactation consultant (and I can happily help you do that!)

And a last word on safety – Obviously you want to be sure that whomever you bring into your home to spend time with your family is a safe person. I currently work for a public school district, which means I have to be fingerprinted and background checked stringently. I sort of feel the same should go for a doula, particularly a postpartum doula as she is potentially with your family a lot. I absolutely have no issue showing you my CHRC (Criminal History Record Check) certificate that I have been issued by the state of Maine (just like any other public school employee).

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