How postpartum doulas help new moms

how postpartum doulas help new moms

Last week, I had a guest post from Katie of Milk and Nectar share about being a birth doula. Now I would like to share about postpartum doulas and what they do.  After birth, mothers need to be supported and have time for rest so that they can focus on taking care of their newborn.

How Postpartum Doulas Help New Moms

how postpartum doulas help new moms

The transition to motherhood is hard and sometimes lonely. I want to be there to help. I believe that some postpartum depression can be prevented if women had more support and less pressure as new moms.

Postpartum is not easy. New babies are great but this is also the biggest change a woman goes through. Not to mention the pressures and expectations from people around her. Hormones and emotions play a big role during this time.

Support is so important during the postpartum period. The right kind of support is even better. A lot of people want to help new moms but they don’t know how. Meals are always appreciated but new moms need space and privacy. I had plenty of support after the birth of my son but my biggest regret is having my mom and husband there at the same time. I would have received another week of help if my husband would have taken the next week off.

As a postpartum doula, I want to encourage the bond between parents and their baby. If the family has other children, I will help the whole family by offering suggestions for sibling adjustment.

The role of a postpartum doula is to take care of new moms so that they can focus on their new baby. Sometimes this includes encouraging the dad in his new role and giving both parents confidence in caring for the baby. This should be a time of relaxation and bonding not stress.

As a postpartum doula, here are some of the ways I will support the mom: When I arrive, I will make sure she is comfortable in all aspects (breastfeeding, body, boundaries, feels supported emotionally) and I will ask her what she needs most at the time. That could be rest, help with breastfeeding, food, water, a chance to take a shower… etc.

I encourage moms to limit visitors because they can be emotionally exhausting. The most important thing with visitors is that the mom knows her limits and communicates what she needs with others (i.e. privacy so that she can breastfeed). Visitors can be difficult in the beginning because being a new mom can be overwhelming and exhausting.

My presence as a postpartum doula will allow and encourage the mom to stay in bed. I will bring her food and drinks and make sure that she has all of her supplies (nipple salve, diapers, etc)  close to her. In the first couple of weeks moms do need fresh air and sunlight but they should not feel obligated to run errands (except appointments). I can go grocery shopping and/ or order food for the mom.

postpartum doula gift certificate

To be honest, after having my son I was not very good at resting but if I would have had a postpartum doula during the day taking care of me, it would have been easier. Rest and spending time in bed may sound boring but if you find things that are relaxing and nourish your soul, rest can be relaxing and beneficial to your ability to care for your new baby.

I want to be available for emotional support and encouragement, answering questions and helping the mom find resources that will help her become the best version of themselves.

The biggest way that postpartum doulas support families is by offering practical household help including laundry, tidying, meal prep and sibling care.

Postpartum doulas help make the transition to motherhood easier. After meeting immediate needs, I will ask how I can help smooth out the next couple of days or couple of weeks. Sometimes postpartum doulas only come once for a few hours and sometimes they come repeatedly. The role of a postpartum doula is to meet the needs of the families she is working with and that looks different for everybody.

We help parents come up with solutions to any problems they may be having. I can help moms with babywearing and breastfeeding. I do have some experience with elimination communication so if a family is interested in EC, I would love to support them.

A lot of the information in this post is inspired by Bear Mama Medicine’s guide for a healing postpartum.

If you are interested in hiring a postpartum doula to help you transition to motherhood, check out my postpartum services or doula resources.

If you were to have a postpartum doula, what would you most like them to do for you?

How a nightly blessing can benefit your family

Alysa from Alysalovely.com is sharing about a special nighttime routine that her family does with her daughter. This blessing has many benefits for babies and families with children of all ages. Our family has had similar traditions but I love how Alysa and her husband incorporated this blessing into their daughter’s bedtime routine.

How a nightly blessing can benefit your family

How a nightly blessing can benefit your family

When my daughter was born, we received a book from one of our friends called The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg.  In The Family Blessing, Garborg describes the benefits of saying a blessing over your children every night before bed.  We received the book when our daughter was less than a month old, and I devoured it. I couldn’t wait to get started!

A few months later, when we were actually giving her a specific bedtime, we decided to add a blessing to her bedtime routine.  At four months old, her routine was looking like a diaper change, a massage, putting on pajamas, then a story, breastfeeding her on both sides (if she took it), her blessing and then bed.  The nightly blessing we read to her is the same one they use in the book:

May the Lord bless you and keep you
May the Lord shine his face on you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.

We then add “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.”  Tell her we love her, and put her in her crib.  

Putting a baby to sleep in her crib in her own room by herself isn’t easy when she’s not used to it.  The first few nights were pretty hard.  There were even nights where she recognized the words we were saying to her, and got upset as we were saying her blessing because she knew that the next thing to happen was going to be putting her in her bed.  Luckily, that didn’t last very long.

We have been saying her nightly blessing to her for over a year now, and I have to say that it is one of the most valuable things that we do for our daughter.  Here is why this nightly tradition has come to be so important to me:

It gives the very end of the bedtime routine a sense of calm
After my daughter got over the feeling of betrayal when we’d get to the blessing just before putting her in her crib, I believe that it has become something that calms her down for bedtime.  More often than not, when we put her down, she rolls into a comfortable position and goes right to sleep.  It’s a great part of her bedtime routine because it helps create a real sense of calm in the room, which is perfect for someone who is right about to sleep.

It reminds her of the love of her Father in heaven
Above all, these are God’s promises to us, which is what makes this particular Bible verse so perfect for our nightly blessing.  We want our daughter to grow up knowing exactly how loved she is, both by us and by God.

It reminds us of God’s grace, especially when we’ve all had a bad day
Parenting is really hard, and sometimes we finish the day thinking back on the things we wish we didn’t do, or the things we wish we hadn’t said.  It’s so easy to get caught up in all of that and go to bed upset.  Doing a blessing like this one also tells us that there is the grace of God, and whatever we did that we felt was wrong is forgiven. May the Lord be gracious to you.  It helps remind all of us of God’s grace for her, and for us.

It’s something we can do as a family
At this point in time, my husband and I do bedtimes together.  Well, to be more specific, he does most of bedtime, and then I nurse her and he does the blessing.  We’re all together for when I nurse her and when we do the blessing and put her to bed.  It has come to mean a lot to me that I get to be part of the blessing as well.  I love that we can spend that time together every night as a family.

It’s something that is just for our daughter
Part of the blessing is inserting our daughter’s name into the verse.  This way, we are speaking the blessing directly to her as well as over her.  We want her to know that this is something we’re doing just for her.  We hope that as she gets older, she’ll be able to go to sleep knowing God’s love, his graciousness, and his peace.

guest post bio from AlysaLovely.com

How a doula can help you at your birth

What is a doula?
Soon, I am going to be writing explaining the role of a postpartum doula since that is what I am working towards. First, I have a guest post by Katie of Milk and Nectar. Doulas are so important. We had a doula for the birth of my son and I couldn’t imagine doing it without a birth doula present. If you are pregnant, be sure to read this to find out how a doula can help you at your birth.

How a doula can help you at your birth

What is a doula?

Hi, my name is Katie and I am a doula! I love all things pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding; after my own birth experience, and attending the birth of my best friend’s daughter, I decided that I wanted to be around birth all of the time. I love being a doula because I thoroughly enjoy walking with women and their families through pregnancy, labor and the birth of their sweet babies. I’ve always been someone who is a nurturer and as a birth doula, I get to take care of and provide comfort and support during one of the most transformative times in a woman’s life.

So what is a doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

How are you different from a midwife, doctor or labor & delivery nurse? 

Each of the people mentioned above is a key player on your birth team. Your midwife or doctor will provide clinical support to you throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Usually, midwives and OBs differ in their approach to pregnancy, labor & birth (but that’s another topic). If you’re giving birth in a hospital, you’ll have a labor and delivery nurse who’ll care for you and your baby during labor. As a doula, I’m trained to provide non-medical physical, emotional and informational support to you and your partner. I do not perform clinical tasks such as taking your blood pressure, checking fetal heart tones, checking for cervical dilation, making diagnoses, or prescribing treatments. This is part of the care you’ll receive from your OB or midwife and/ or a labor and delivery nurse.

My spouse or partner really wants to be the one to help me while I’m in labor, would having you as my doula take that role? away from them? 
This is probably one of the most common questions I get, and dads really are concerned about being replaced! Don’t worry, dads! You matter and I am NOT your competition! Laboring and giving birth is a process unlike any other you will experience.  While you and your partner can read, take classes, talk to others and prepare in various ways for the birth of your child (and all of these are GREAT), there is no guarantee that when labor day arrives, that your partner will know how to best support all of the needs you have. During labor, women are not always able to communicate exactly what they need when it comes to physical support. As a doula, I’m trained to look for signals from a woman as to what might work best for her, and am conscious of the normal flow of labor. Often, we’re able to think ahead and be ready for what a woman might experience. This isn’t to say that there aren’t partners who rise to the occasion – dads rule! However, often times, partners don’t know how they’ll be once things are actually in motion. A partner isn’t always prepared for the intensity the woman experiences and isn’t sure how to handle seeing their loved one going through this process.  Having a doula can help to ease the unknowns! 
In addition to supporting you, I’m there for your partner. My main focus is you, since you’ll likely need the majority of my attention, but I am also there for your partner and strive to support them the best I can. This can range from talking them through what’s happening during labor, to suggesting ways they can help provide physical comfort for you, to staying with you so that they can get something to eat, rest or get some fresh air. I’m not meant to take over the unique role of your partner! Instead, I help them support you (the woman they love) at a level they are comfortable with.
When it comes to possible interventions, I can talk openly with you both and help you understand why something is being suggested. I can’t speak for you, but I can help you be informed and feel confident in making any decisions needed. 
  

Why should I consider a doula for my upcoming birth?
There are many reasons to consider having a doula to support you at your upcoming birth, and after! Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. Studies have also found that women who had continuous support from a doula has a shorter labor by about forty minutes, and their babies were less likely to have lower Apgar scores. These findings all suggest that the presence of continuous support by your side during labor and delivery, and immediately postpartum, help your transition into motherhood easier and more pleasant ( as well as less stressful and possibly safer!)


I hope that this post will answer most of your questions about who doulas are and what they do – and maybe even encourage you to seek one out for your next pregnancy! If you have any more questions, or are interested in finding a doula in your area – feel free to email me at milkandnectar@gmail.com! I would love to help you understand more and find someone truly awesome for your support!


Stay sweet,

 

 

The Motherhood Journey has compiled a list of resources to help you find a doula in your area.

Doula resources

doula resources

Birth doulas and postpartum doulas play such an important role in helping moms during the journey of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I had a birth doula present when giving birth to my son and I can’t imagine doing it without her calm and steady support. Our wonderful midwives sent a postpartum doula to spend some time with us the first night after my son was born. These experiences and my passion to help women has led me on this journey to becoming a postpartum doula. Check out my postpartum services here.

Doula Resources

doula resources

DONA International find a doula near you

DoulaMatch.net find a doula near you
NAPS (Northwest Association for Postpartum Support) find a postpartum doula in the Puget Sound Region

Bloom Spokane find a birth doula or postpartum doula in the Spokane area

Brittany Furgason at Knit Together Births, Birth doula in Tacoma, WA

Xylina Weaver at Spokane Birth Support, birth and postpartum doula in Spokane, WA

Tammy Huguein at Tiny Toes Birth ServicesPostpartum doula in Spokane, WA

Courageous Beginnings Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Services at C.A.R.E Alliance NW in Spokane, WA

Helen Martin at Born Ready LLC, postpartum doula in the Seattle area (I interviewed Helen for this post about elimination communication).

Courtney Pegram at Small Beginnings Photography and Birth Services, birth doula in the Spokane area (Courtney took these photos.)

Morgan Brooks birth and bereavement doula in Spokane, WA

Esther Edith doula and photographer in Spokane, WA

Over the Moon Birthing in Spokane

Natalie Bee Photography birth doula, postpartum doula