Let’s just agree, we all wish we had a doula to take care of us when we are having a bad day or going through a tough emotional time in life. However, there are some people who really do need one. Many parents these days welcome new babies into their families while being critically “understaffed”.
The pressure of caring for the newborn can wear down on new parents and younger children. Even though it is starting to become common for employers to provide paid family leave, the workload is still monumental physically and emotionally. In the absence of extended family members who would be able to spell tired parents, postpartum doulas pick up the slack and often go beyond that.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “a postpartum doula provides evidenced based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother–baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care.”
Postpartum doulas charge somewhere between $15- $75 per hour for an average of 4 hours a day, from once a week to a few times a week.
Here are the main reasons to hire a postpartum doula:
- Studies show benefits of postpartum doulas and the importance of having continuous support during the bonding period. According to this article published in Midwifery Magazine, “Postpartum doulas fill this gap in continuity of care by providing support for families as they transition to life with their new infant.
- Postpartum doulas provide lactation support, placenta services, babywearing advice, and belly binding.
- You can rely on postpartum doulas for sibling support; referrals to specialists; newborn feeding, bathing, massage, and sleep training.
- Many doulas are trained in perinatal anxiety and mood disorders and can be critical in recognizing when the mom needs help and refer her to a specialist.
- Postpartum doulas are trained in caring for premature babies.
- They do overnight shifts!
- They do meal planning and cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, and other light housework. After all, postpartum doulas don’t call themselves “house elves” for nothing.
- Postpartum doulas work for the parents and support their choices by providing evidence based research, so parents can make informed decisions.
- Postpartum doulas support families when the baby is in the NICU. That means being there emotionally for the parents as well as making sure they are eating well, getting adequate rest, have all the necessary information on any local services they might need, including specialists, breast pumps and pumping facilities, Ronald McDonald Houses, etc. Doulas will provide breastfeeding support; sibling support while the parents are focused on the newborn; necessary housework or anything else that the parents might need in this challenging time.
Where to find a postpartum doula:
- Your local doula agencies
- Word of mouth
If your budget is limited:
- Freeandlowcostdoulas.com, NYC
- Brooklyn perinatal network, NY
- Northern Manhattan perinatal partnership, NY
- Community Based Doula programs in your area
- Joy In Birthing Foundation – Public Group , Los Angeles
- PIP club – Pickles and Ice Cream Pregnancy club, Texas
Hope this helps! How was your experience with having a postpartum doula? Share your comments below.