Postpartum Doula: Indulgence or Necessity?

“Postpartum services are so under-utilized and they don’t have to be!” Those are the exact words of second-time mommy, Meghan Manella of Orlando Florida, who used a Postpartum Doula for the first time after the birth of her second son. So, what exactly are Postpartum services and how could a new family benefit from them?

What Postpartum Doulas  Offer

Postpartum Doulas offer non-medical care and support to help transition the new family. In our mobile society, new parents are often away from helpful family members.  A Postpartum Doula is the perfect way to help you become comfortable with all the care your new little one requires. Some of the services Postpartum Doulas offer are mother care, newborn care, breastfeeding support, light house keeping, light meal preparation, and running errands or grocery shopping.

A Postpartum Doula can be with you night, day, or both, to be a second set of hands.  They provide families with the ability to get some much needed sleep or time for oneself to regroup. Meghan found herself plagued with sleepless nights and difficulty breastfeeding. When her baby turned 4 months old, she and her husband hired a Postpartum Doula.

Help Arrived

“Kathy set us up with a night nurse who not only immediately provided me with the sleep I so desperately craved.  Her experience and expertise helped guide us through dealing with a very headstrong baby. While at first I felt that having a night nurse 4 nights a week felt a bit indulgent, it turns out that it was exactly what my entire family needed! I was able to rest and recharge. The service allowed me to be more present with my 4 year old during the day, perform at work, and not be a shell of a person when my husband arrived home from work at the end of the week.”

Emotional Support

Postpartum Doula Services also provide the emotional support that may help lighten the effects of postpartum blues and the stresses of transitioning into a new family. Two major contributors to postpartum depression are fatigue and lack of support. A 2009 study in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing found that postpartum doulas effectively promote maternal responsiveness and competence in new moms.

Getting much needed help and rest is priceless.  Costs for services range from $20 -$45 per hour, depending on where you are located in the US.  Most postpartum doulas provide care from a 4 hour minimum to 12 hour shifts.  Kathy Bradley, owner of Childbirth Concierge says, “We have had families need as little care as a few days to get over the hump.  Some have had grandparents gift them $10,000 worth of care. Our families come with different needs and time frames of care.  But all look forward to getting that extra help and/or rest when the postpartum doula arrives.”  Many women spend months and months planning for a wedding.  Few realize the importance of planning for their birth and postpartum experience.

Author Michelle Peterson of Seven Sisters for Seven Days: The Mothers’ Manual for Community Based Postpartum Care, encourages expectant mothers to choose seven friends who are willing to commit to check in on her.  These friends should be available for a meal, or to sit and rock a baby while mom showers on their assigned day of the week for 6 weeks. This is a great option for those who may not have the advantage of being able to hire a professional postpartum doula.

Happy New Mom

Meghan is just one of many mothers that have benefited from the services offered by a Postpartum Doula. “I now share my experience with so many friends as they transition from one to two children.  Some just simply find themselves feeling overwhelmed after the arrival of a new baby.” Whether it is your first baby, or your fourth, consider utilizing the services of a Postpartum Doula to ease the transition of such an exciting new time!

 

Kara Bradley has a degree in Early Childhood Development and is a Certified Perinatal Educator. She teaches at a private school, loves to write when she is not wrangling her two young boys.

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