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Postpartum Doulas: A Great Gift

by Amelia on January 15, 2009
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Labor and Delivery

doula.jpg Postpartum doula services have been around for several years now.  When I hear of women talk about doulas they usually refer to birth doulas and not postpartum doulas.  I know that most of our readers are moms—some of you pregnant with your first child, others with your second, third (or more!), or have friends who are pregnant.  I thought that I would highlight some of the benefits of a postpartum doula for any of you who are interested in hiring one for yourself, a friend, or a family member.

For any readers who are not familiar with a birth doula (Greek for “a woman who serves”), a doula is hired by a mother and father to provide additional labor support to the mother.  The doula’s job is not to take away from the father’s role during the birth, but is there to offer suggestions for coping with contractions and to help the parents follow their birth plan.  A birth doula also provides emotional support and helps parents make informed decisions during the birth.

A postpartum doula helps with newborn care, breastfeeding, meal preparation, some light housework, help siblings, and general education of caring for newborns. One of the couples (and now friends) from my birth classes had a difficult birth and decided to hire a postpartum doula to help with the transition of becoming a mother and being at home with the baby.  The mother and father have their own business so the dad wasn’t able to take a huge amount of time off to help her recover from the birth and take care of her and the baby.  Their extended family situation is unique (and not necessarily helpful) and they felt like they would benefit from the services of a postpartum doula.

The doula service they hired required a minimum of 15 hours and the hours of service are flexible.  My friend has found it to be such a blessing.  It has been great for my friend to not have to worry about making lunches or doing some simple tidying around the house.  In my birth class we cover newborn care in the last class.  I pass out a worksheet that covers how much time it takes to take care of a baby (and yourself). Parents are usually surprised that taking care of a baby takes so much time away from those daily tasks of laundry and meal making.  Hiring a postpartum doula can take some of that extra stress away from the new parents.

As she was telling me her birth story and talking about her postpartum doula, I thought that hiring a postpartum doula for a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th time mom would be a blessing.  Most mammas get a baby shower when they are pregnant with their first baby.  And many mammas have friends and family who arrange for meals to be brought to the house after a baby arrives.  I thought that in addition to bringing meals that a group of friends could pool some money together and hire a postpartum doula for a friend.  1st time or 4th time mammas would benefit from such a great gift!

Postpartum doulas are often flexible in their schedules and can come a few times a week, a few hours daily or however a family wants to work it. Doulas are professionals who have received several hours of training and are trained to be supportive to a family’s parenting style.  If you are planning on hiring a doula for your postpartum care, you can interview or meet them before choosing them.  To find a postpartum doula in your area you can go to the DONA website and look up more information on doulas.

So, what do you think?  Have you had a postpartum doula? Know anyone who has?  What was your experience?

- photo courtesy of genevieve_southern

8 Responses to Postpartum Doulas: A Great Gift

  • Comment by Amanda
    January 15, 2009 @ 9:36 am

    Holy Cow, my husband has been asking me about something like this. Like your friend he works for himself and is unsure of how much time he can take off to do normal housework and really help me. And we don’t want to expect our family and friends to help a lot. I am totally going to look into how much this costs. I never knew this existed! I wonder if they could help during the morning sickness times too! ha :)

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    Comment by Heidi
    January 15, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    That. Is. Awesome!!! What a genius idea! I’ve never heard of a postpartum doula.

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    Comment by natalie
    January 15, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

    Um, I would have totally done this. THat’s incredible. What a great article to get it out there. I Had no idea.

  • Comment by Amanda
    January 15, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

    FYI – I looked it up earlier today and it would be $18 an hour to hire a doula. This one place only requires that the doula would work for a 5 hour shift at a time. So tempting….

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    Comment by Morgan
    January 17, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

    Doulas do sound very cool. I don’t think I would have been able to afford it, though, but it does sound helpfull!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Wanda
    January 17, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

    What a fantastic idea! My mom stayed with me for the first week, but for people that don’t have that option, this would be a wonderful option. I would have loved to have this given as a gift at my baby shower.

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    Comment by Lynnette
    February 25, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

    I am a postaprtum doula with DONA and want to thank you ladies for such great comments! It is a true blessing to help families in thier transition time after bringing baby or babies home.

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    Comment by Wendy
    July 10, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

    Another great place to look for postpartum doulas is through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association or CAPPA. The worlds largest childbirth education organization! Another wonderful association training amazing doulas!

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