Have you heard the phrase “babies don’t come with manuals?” Well, sure they do! A trained postpartum doula is your “baby manual.”
A postpartum doula is a trained consultant and educator who specializes in the care of new moms, babies and families in the first 12 weeks following birth.
During this time of great transition, it is helpful to have a non-judgmental, caring person who understands the wide range of normal postpartum and newborn emotional and physical behavior.
Postpartum doulas are trained to advise and educate parents on newborn care, breast or bottle-feeding, needs of the postpartum mom and baby, sibling adjustments, and other aspects of life when a baby joins the family, such as how to grocery shop and run errands with a baby.
Postpartum doulas help facilitate bonding of the new family and smoothing the transition to parenthood. The development of confident, secure and happy parents and babies is a primary goal of postpartum doulas.
Although the duties of a postpartum doula may include holding the baby while the mother rests or takes care of other needs, they are not babysitters. They are also not baby nurses, although their duties include helping the mother recognize normal infant behavior and directing her toward appropriate medical care for herself or her baby when indicated. Postpartum doulas frequently help with some household chores such as laundry, meal preparation and grocery shopping, but they are not housekeepers. If a new mother simply wants a babysitter, nurse or housekeeper, she should hire one of those professionals.
However, if the new mother would like to be cared for and nurtured during these transforming weeks of her life, if she would like to be educated on issues and techniques involved in caring for her new baby, and if she would like to have a personal consultant who is trained to observe and apply specific information just for her new family, then a postpartum doula is the one to seek.
It is possible to ease into motherhood with confidence and peace. Having a postpartum doula can be best gift a new mother ever receives!