I often get asked, what do you do as a post-natal doula? The doula role, and my aim is to support parnets in the transition to parenthood, for a positive start to family life.
Postnatal doulas provide you and your family with emotional and/or practical, personalised and flexible care in the first few days/weeks after childbirth. Your doula will do anything that you need for you to best enjoy the time with your newborn and the whole family.
It can range form helping first time parents to become confident with all the various tasks and different rhythms of the day and night or supporting second time parent to recover from a previous trauma or establish brest-feeding when at first it hasn’t worked.
Sometimes debriefing the birth experience, bringing closure to any possible trauma and/ or celebrate your successes. Also help in understanding feeding and sleeping patterns, establishing good dynamics from birth. Additionally, your doula can take care of your shopping, cooking, housework activities or looking after siblings, allowing precious time for you to be with your baby or time for you and your partner! Likewise, a postnatal doula can take care of your baby when you need or want some sleep, or you want to be with your older children or simply some alone time.
Having a post-natal doula means easing the practical load work, with all the benefits that this provides (e.g more sleep, more time) and gives you emotional strength and confidence.
Often, even if parents have a willing mother or a relative ready to help after the birth of the baby, they may also choose to have a person with whom they don’t share an emotional tie, or simply a person whose parenting style doesn’t come between parent and baby.
The post-natal doula’s ultimate aim is to leave you rested, confident and happily connected with your baby.
What Does A Post-Natal Doula Actually Do?
This greatly depends on what your individual needs are and can also vary from week-to-week.
As a general guide, this is some of the work post-natal doulas do:
- Help with baby care: bathing, nappy changing, sleeping, but also if age applicable, ‘playtime’/ coordination/ pre-language skills.
- Looking after siblings while you are with your baby.
- Can shop, on request, on their way to you.*
- Cook a healthy meal for you and your family while with you. Some doulas bring home made meals they cook at home. This leaves you time for different things when you are together.*
- Do simple house work; e.g washing, washing-up, general cleaning, ironing etc.
- Providing a listening hear for de-briefing the birth experience, moving on from possible trauma and celebrating the successes.
- Being a non-judgmental listening hear
- Share with you experience/ knowledge about baby development. Providing resources (e.g books, local groups etc.) if requested.
- Help in creating an emotionally secure and safe environment for the whole family to thrive.
- Support with feeding choices. Practical and emotional help while breast-feeding
- Develop strategies and skills that will improve the bond with your baby.
* This may be part of the price or come as a separate cost. Check with your doula at the time of the interview. *
Possible Questions To Ask A Post-Natal Doula
- Are you currently working with a family (or more than one)? If so can you describe what you do when you are with them?
- What do you enjoy the most in supporting families post-natally?
- What else could you provide as part of your services?
- How many families have you worked with? What experiences did you have?
- Can you provide references? Is it possible to speak (or communicate via email) with one or two of them?
- Are you CRB checked?
- Is it possible to see your qualifications?
- How flexible is your time right now and for the next few weeks/months?
- Do you work with a back-up?
- How much do you charge? What is included in your services and what do you offer as a separate cost?
- Do you work with a contract/letter of agreement? If so can I see one?
While you interview a Doula be aware of how comfortable you feel in her presence. Note if she is a good listener and if the experience she has is right for you. Ultimately with these qualities you can then build your own relationship.
See my own services as a Post-Natal Doula in North London
You can also read other related posts:
What is a Doula?
What does a Birth Doula actually do on the birth-day?
Have an empowering parenting journey
Posted in bonding with newborn, Bonding and Attachment, Doula, Doula UK,Post-Natal Recovery