So you have a newborn, congratulations, but there is more going on than meets the eye! Your body just went through a monumental shift. A few days ago a baby was inside of your body and now that baby is out and they need care, love, and a lot of milk. Meanwhile, your body still needs to heal. You need sleep and good food and someone not to look at you crazy when you are crying for no reason (or all the reasons?). That’s where a postpartum doula comes in. While a lot of new parents think they may not need the extra help or that their family and friends could provide that help, here are four reasons why you should consider hiring a postpartum doula.
1. Non judgemental support
Put simply, doulas get it. They know the emotional and physical rollercoaster you have been on and all they want to do is help. Unlike family or friends, doulas don’t come over to coo over your baby or tell you how to parent, they come over to get stuff done. Friends and family are great, they have so much love to give, but at the end of the day their visits can often leave you feeling more exhausted than when they showed up.
With a postpartum doula you have the opportunity to rest and have things done for you. Also, if you want to talk, postpartum doulas are trained to listen.
2. Delicious food
I always recommend new parents set up a meal train before their new baby arrives so that in the first few days and weeks they have easy warm, delicious meals. If you don’t have friends or family nearby to drop off food or the meal train simply runs out, a postpartum doula is a great way to continue to get those warm meals. If your body just gave birth, the best way to replenish it and help yourself heal is with home cooked hearty meals however cooking is usually the first thing to go when you have a newborn to take care of. Most postpartum doulas are trained to cook with specific ingredients ideal for new parents and have a plethora of delicious recipes up their sleeves. Not all postpartum doulas cook so make sure you ask your doula before you hire them!
3. When’s the last time you took a shower or had time without a baby?
Usually by the second or third time I show up to someone’s house for a shift, they hand the baby off to me the minute I walk in the door and say “I’m going to take a shower.” My response is always “YES!” If they didn’t have a cesarean, I may even suggest they take a bath. Many doulas may also brew up a special herbal bath that helps with soothing and warming the body - again be sure to ask your doula about this before you hire them if you are interested. It doesn’t have to be the hour long bath you took with candles and music when you were pregnant, it can be a 20-30 minute bath but the warm soak will do you good.
Everyone loves their baby but everyone also needs a few minutes (hours?) without their baby. A postpartum doula will not judge you and will actually encourage you to have some alone time while they care for your little one - check your email, eat alone, read a book, sit outside for a bit, whatever you need to do to recharge.
One of the main reasons people hire me to be their postpartum doula is so they can get some sleep. For a day time shift, this might mean that I show up and hold the baby while preparing some food for an hour or two while you nap. More frequently, I work as a night doula. These shifts are 8-9 hours and last the duration of the night. Every one has a different sleep set up so while some parents wake up to breastfeed in the middle of the night, others leave bottles for the doula to feed the baby so they can get a full night of sleep. The doula gives the parent the ability to sleep longer stretches while someone else changes diapers, feeds, burps and rocks the baby back to sleep.
There are many more reasons to hire a postpartum doula, these are the main reasons people hire me and the things I see benefiting people the most. What did you want the most help with after you had a baby?