When it comes to the birthing experience, most expectant mothers are at least familiar with what a doula is. A common misconception, however, is that doula services stop at the birth of the baby. While their involvement is extremely beneficial throughout the pregnancy and birth, having a postpartum doula also helps ease the lifestyle transition from being pregnant to raising a baby and all the changes that involves.
Qualifications of Postpartum Doulas
No formal medical training is required to become a postpartum doula, but certifications and trainings are becoming more common as the industry grows. DONA International is one of the industry leaders in doula training, certification, and continuing education.
While certification isn’t required, postpartum doulas typically go through a training process to learn everything involved with helping families through the postpartum process.
The postpartum process is generally defined as the first three months after birth, which is a crucial time in the lives of both the parent(s) and the baby.
Doulas work to make this transitional period easier on the new family.
What Do Postpartum Doulas Do?
Doulas are not babysitters or night nurses – doulas typically work during the day with the family, arranging an appropriate time where they can have a substantial impact on the new family’s experience.
Postpartum doulas are experts on new babies. Not sure if something is normal with your baby? Having issues with breatfeeding? Lacking confidence with bathing, swaddling, or babywearing? Doulas are there to help answer your questions and give you confidence that you’re doing the right things for your infant.
Doulas also perform tasks to help around the house and decrease stress for the new mother. Those tasks could include some meal and snack prep, light housekeeping, and watching the baby while the parents rest.
The birthing experience can be a very emotional one. Postpartum depression and other feelings can arise during this period, and having an experienced doula by your side can be invaluable in processing these feelings. It gives you someone to talk about, share with, and ask for professional help referrals if you need to.
Want to learn more? Check out the Gold Coast Doulas podcast as they discuss postpartum depression.
Hiring a Postpartum Doula
When it comes to hiring a postpartum doula, qualifications, experience, and reviews are important just as they are when hiring anyone for a service. Understand how long they’ve been a doula, how they plan to help, check online reviews, and get referrals from friends if you can.
The vetting process is extra important as you’re letting this person into a very intimate setting. Trust and comfort are required. You should interview potential doulas to see if you are comfortable together – doing a chemistry check like this is really important, as you’ll be spending a lot of time with your doula and trusting him or her with your new baby.
Hiring a postpartum doula can be a great idea for new moms. Not only do they provide helpful services to make your life as a new parent a little bit easier, but they also give you the confidence that you’re doing things right and there to answer questions on how to be the best parent you can be for your little one.