There’s a lot of attention put on infant care for new parents embarking on the journey of being Mom and Dad after birth (and rightfully so), but every new mother needs to know that postpartum care is just as valuable for the well-being of her entire family and shouldn’t be ignored.
Postpartum doula services help cover the scope of both mom and baby’s needs during those crucial first few weeks following delivery. To help paint a better picture of how doula care extends well into the postpartum period, we tapped Mari-Elena Leckel, founder and practicing labor and postpartum doula with Boston Birth Associates for more insight.
What Does a Postpartum Doula Do?
Just as a birth doula stays by your side during the course of labor and delivery, a postpartum doula stays by your side as you establish this new life with baby. Certified postpartum doulas are trained professionals who provide emotional support and physical and educational guidance to a new mom and her family. The physical and emotional recovery from birth can be difficult and overwhelming, especially in the first six weeks. A doula can provide unbiased, nonjudgmental support as you navigate new roles and decide on parenting choices that best fit the needs of your newborn baby.
When Should They Start Helping?
Imagine you are just leaving the hospital with your newborn and heading home, but you feel anxious about what’s coming next in parenthood. A postpartum doula can be present from the moment you arrive home. She will be there to listen to your concerns, answer your questions and help you completely focus on bonding with your baby. Postpartum doulas can be there to support families during various shifts—whether during the day, for overnight support or for 24-hour care.
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What Other Services Can a Doula Provide?
Your postpartum doula can be extremely useful when you’re faced with the early challenges of breastfeeding. She can also provide you with referrals on a variety of baby products. She’s trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of baby blues and postpartum depression, and she can advise you on what is common during your emotional recovery or suggest support groups and other resources if you need some additional help in the fourth trimester and beyond.
Postpartum doula support may also include newborn care, lactation support, infant feeding (both bottle-feeding and breastfeeding), babywearing education, infant soothing techniques, care for older children, postpartum recovery, light housekeeping, light meal preparation, assisting with errands and more. Postpartum doulas can help all types of mothers with all types of birth experiences, and they can also be supportive to adoptive families or families with multiples. A postpartum doula works with each family individually to meet its particular needs.