What is a Postpartum Doula?

I’m gonna share with you guys here about what a postpartum doula does. If you haven’t seen our other video of what a birth doula is, check that out!

I know that we really focus on the birth process and there’s tons of really significant decisions that you are making in the birth process. However, as I’ve been caring for moms, I’ve noticed that we are overlooking new mothers that need attention and care after such a significant and challenging transition from pregnancy to motherhood.

In our culture, after baby is born, we focus so much on the baby that we forget to give the attention that is needed to a new mom. I share more about this in why I personally became a postpartum doula video.

So in this article, I am going to share with you about what a postpartum doula is and what she does!

What a Postpartum Doula is…

I love this definition of a Postpartum Doula: A postpartum doula is non-medical caregiver that nurtures new mothers after birth while supporting their recovery and journey into motherhood.

‘Doula’ simply means woman servant, so a postpartum doula basically does anything the family needs help with to recover and transition into a new normal as they become a family.

We believe that every woman deserves to be welcomed into motherhood through gentle loving care.

There are a variety of postpartum doulas. There are doulas that will come to your house at night. She helps you during the nighttime to care for your baby so that you can sleep, to not only recover and heal but also to get rested so you can care for a baby during the day.  There are also some doulas that are certified in lactation that can come to help you specifically with breastfeeding. And others who specialize in baby care and cleaning/cooking.

Then there are doulas that will come and normalize the transition into motherhood. This includes healing in your body, your emotions, caring for your personal needs, and navigating your relationship with your baby, your spouse, and other kids. (This is more of what I do)

All postpartum doulas do things differently.  Some you can hire by the hour and some you can hire in a package. I personally do three visits as a part of our holistic doula care package.

Body Care

In my first visit, I come and talk through body care.  Three to five days after having a baby, we’ll talk about breastfeeding, healing, and normalize what’s happening with the mama’s body (like hormone swings, cramps, pooping, nipples, stitches, belly, body image, etc).

A couple things I encourage for body care are sitz baths and bengkung belly binding. So, for my first visit I make sure to bring herbs for perineal healing to have mama take a warm sitz bath and I will bring one of our belly binds and show her how to bind herself for comfort, breastfeeding posture, and abdominal healing.

Emotional Care

Also, emotional processing is a piece of postpartum care. I’m not only caring for her body but also how she is feeling about herself. For me personally, I have my counseling degree, so processing emotions is super important to me. I also look for when a mama may be experiencing baby blues and/or postpartum depression and help her know what she can do.

It is easy to focus on moms physical recovery and not pay attention to the emotional transition that happens with having a newborn. Sometimes the mom needs to talk through what in the world just happened.  Especially, if there was any traumatic event during her birth, that needs to be addressed.

My time with mamas is a time and space for her to share and me to listen. As a postpartum doula, I ask curious questions around how she’s feeling about herself, motherhood, her body, and relationships, and I do a ton of listening!

I typically prompt a lot of this emotional processing at my third visit with a mom.  I do this by asking questions and checking in with her about anything lingering that she needs to talk about so that she can be a healthy and thriving mother, partner, and human being!

Nutritional Care

A postpartum doula can also help with meals and making sure that the mom is drinking plenty of water. Nourishment is so important for new mamas.

I bring postpartum snacks and herbal infusions to drink that are nourishing to mama’s body. We talk about diet and I check in on her hydration, as this helps her heal as well as produce milk.

Baby Care

Sometimes taking care of a baby seems obvious and other times not at all! A postpartum doula can help share basic tips like how to help a baby pass gas, how to wear baby in a carrier, does the color of the baby’s poop look normal, etc. Reassuring on norms and referring when anything seems not normal.

I often check in with families weekly by text to see if they have any questions relevant to baby care and I kindly remind them that there are no dumb questions. “You don’t know, what you don’t know,” so I help them problem solve basic baby needs to relieve stress in the unknowns of parenting.

Self-Care

It can be quite consuming breastfeeding and caring for a new baby many hours of the day. Therefore, it becomes a challenge to think of taking care of yourself!

As a postpartum doula, I encourage new moms to do something that makes them feel good by giving them the space and permission to do whatever they want while I hang out with baby.

This could be as simple as taking a shower and long nap, or going to get a massage or pedicure, or getting your hair done and putting on make-up, or getting a fancy coffee and journaling or reading, or even going shopping (fun shopping not chore shopping!).

Making sure that the mom is taking time for herself is essential for her health and happiness!

 Receiving Help is so Worth it!!

That is a little bit in a nutshell of what a postpartum doula does. She is a non-medical caregiver that is supporting a family as they transition from pregnancy & birth to parenthood.

It is okay to need help. For some reason in our culture we believe that we should be doing this on our own.

If you will allow other people to lessen the stress on you, you will be able to heal and grow and bond with your new baby better. You will have a more positive view yourself and motherhood and have healthier relationships!

If you are pregnant, I would strongly encourage you to take some time to think about postpartum doula care. I think every woman deserves the support they need through the major transition into mothering.