The Role of the Postpartum Doula
Societies through the ages have recognized that delivery and the immediate period afterward have lifelong significance to the new mother. Historically, the six weeks postpartum were reserved for healing and resting from the rigors of childbirth. The mother bonded with her baby naturally as they spent 24 hours a day together. Female relatives and friends made sure the new mom’s physical needs were met so she could concentrate on rest, recovery and making first connections with her baby.
Over time, this has changed. The need for informed support continues. New mothers rarely receive enough help and support from nuclear and extended families. Even when they are available, they may not be able to instruct new mothers on breastfeeding or trouble shoot nursing problems.
The doula of today restores the tradition of women supporting women during and after birth. The postpartum doula enters the family home as an empathetic, nonjudgmental, nurturing professional who has been carefully trained to support the mother in her chosen mothering style. The doula brings a broad knowledge base that combines her personal experiences and supplements any assistance offered by family and friends.
Doulas help women trust their instincts about giving birth and meeting their babies’ needs.
A doula’s major tasks and responsibilities may include:
- Meeting with client to establish rapport
- Makes herself available on the days and hours designated by the client
- Interacts positively with the client’s family while protecting and promoting the mother’s and baby’s welfare
- Follows telephone and visiting protocol according to client’s instructions
- Encourages and assists the nursing mother with breastfeeding
- Aids in choosing nutritious diet and ensures fluid intake
- Prepares meals if requested – provides lunch, snacks or both for mother, partner and children of the client’s household
- Performs light domestic duties as needed to assure a tranquil environment – tidies up, does dishes, laundry and minor daily chores
- Does errands and shopping as directed
- Advises client on directing questions that require medical attention
- Provides hand-on education on infant and mother care
- Creates a nurturing atmosphere in which parents may eat, shower and nap
- Helps to organize the nursery and home
Benefits of postpartum support include:
- Increased confidence for both parents
- Greater satisfaction in the breastfeeding experience
- Increased duration of breastfeeding
- Fewer incidences of postpartum depression
How Services Work
After an initial phone or email exchange, you will be offered one free prenatal visit at your home where we can get to know each other a little and see if we are a good fit. This usually takes about an hour.
After our initial visit, I will come to your home for an intake visit where we will discuss and plan how I can best support you before and after the birth of your baby. Each family completes a brief questionnaire in preparation for this visit. Click here to download the questionnaire. You can email it back at: firstname.lastname@example.org or we can review it when we meet. A deposit of $100 is required for this visit. The $100 covers the intake visit and four hours of postpartum care. Of the original deposit, $50 is non-refundable should you change your mind and decide not to use my doula services before the first day of employment.
Additional hours may be purchased at a rate of $25 per hour and we can decide which size package you would like. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Postpartum services qualify for pre-tax dollars through many employee benefit policies.
Gift certificates are available – they make great shower gifts or baby presents!
For a healthy recipe for the breastfeeding mom – click here!
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