what a postpartum doula doesThere is such a lack of understanding for the postpartum period in our culture. We don’t adequately prepare families for it and we certainly don’t adequately support them during it. Enter the postpartum doula! We bridge the gap and fill in the cracks. What a postpartum doula does is not to care for your baby (though we do some of that some of the time) but rather care for and guide you as you are gaining confidence, learning your baby’s cues, and stepping into your new role as parents. We are a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear for your worries and concerns. We have suggestions for different ways we’ve seen families gain satisfaction within this demanding new family dynamic. We will dry your tears, rub your feet, prepare you tea while you nurse your baby, and then sit down with a pen and paper to help you reverse engineer your goals for the next hour, 24 hours, week, even an entire year with your new baby in the mix. We are your go-to person for postpartum support. And heaven knows we all need a few more heaping doses of support during this time.

We are knowledgeable about parenting trends and the latest baby gear and gadgets. We prepare simple meals and complete light housekeeping tasks (laundry, dishes, straightening, making the bed) so that you can rest and take care of your baby. We are a willing set of hands and arms to hold and soothe your baby when you need a break for a hot shower or a SOLO hands-free stroll around the block. We know the difference between baby blues and postpartum anxiety that needs more time and attention to heal. YES, postpartum doulas do all of these things and more.

The way we are different from a baby care nurse or newborn specialist is that while we do have knowledge about and are very comfortable with caring for your newborn, we also emphasize how important it is that you learn to trust your own instincts. You are the number-one expert in your baby’s needs. We want you to feel nurtured, relieved, and like you are gaining your footing as a new parent all at the same time. We can help you with a back-to-work plan too, teaching about bottles and pumps and breast milk and giving you a hand with this monumental task of using your body to nourish your baby. We also help you discover the right formula for you if you need or want to use it. Although we don’t typically offer sleep training services (there are other providers who do that), we are knowledgeable about normal newborn sleep and behavior so that we can encourage and reassure you when the going gets rough. We can also refer out if you need additional help. And we can point you to resources that will help you figure out a plan that’s best for your family.

In short, we are emotionally and physically dedicated to you at a time when you will need extra emotional support right beside you. Not over the phone or email when simply picking up the phone to call someone much less type an email feels overwhelming. We take the time, in real time, to assess your needs and address them head on.

During pregnancy, it often seems that when the baby is here we’ll figure it out. How hard can it be to learn to care for a newborn? Together with our spouse, family and friends, our needs will be met and our lives will go on, albeit a little more joyful with the presence of this little being. And it’s true that the kindness of family and friends is extra wonderful to receive during the postpartum time. But please do not underestimate how much emotional support you will need. Becoming a parent is so much more than the diapers and wipes and swings and strollers. Useful tools, to be sure. But somewhere in all of the hustle and bustle of baby showers and postpartum visitors and lactation consultants, we’ve forgotten that we need to simply listen to what the birthing parent is going through that they might not be telling you. Their body has just completed a monumental transition. The world now is completely new and overwhelming at times. What a postpartum doula does is to normalize that experience and provide the practical help that new parents need to feel less overwhelmed.

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