Whenever anyone uses the word “doula”, we automatically think of birth doulas but there is another kind of doula: the post partum doula. Post-partum doulas are experts in what’s normal with the newborn. They specialize in helping the new family become confident and competent with their new baby. Sounds good but is this really important in the scheme of things? I think so. Here are five reasons why:
- Is a quiet baby a “good” baby? Some people may say “yes” but researchers know that crying is not necessarily bad. Babies cry because they have something to tell us. But new parents can fear the crying often because they don’t know what it means. A post-partum doula teaches new parents to recognize the cues that the baby is sending them (such as crying) as well as how to soothe an upset baby.
- “Every 9th woman presenting for prenatal care reports having experienced childhood sexual abuse.” These survivors are also not often asked about their abuse by a healthcare provider but they are at greater risk for post-partum mood disorders. A post-partum doula is not only trained in how to recognize baby’s cues but also cues such that the new mom can be giving.
- Whether the new baby is your 1st, 2nd or 4th, breastfeeding is tough! It shouldn’t ever hurt but new moms can sometimes forget that fact in their zeal to do the right thing for their baby. A post-partum doula helps moms get off to the best start with breastfeeding by providing hands-on support to help ensure a good latch, troubleshoot problems that arise and teach parents how to assess if baby is getting enough to eat.
- As a new mom, I had prepared for the emotional aspect of childbirth and that it would likely be painful. What I hadn’t prepared for is the pain after the fact that went on and on! My head spun with questions that a post-partum doula can not only answer but also provide reassure and refer for further support. When you’re sleep-deprived, struggling with breastfeeding and in pain, informed support from an expert is just what the new mom needs.
- The experience of giving birth can be very traumatic…even if a woman has exactly the birth that she had imagined. There is always pain and exhaustion and sometimes other emotions or experiences come up that were unexpected. A post-partum doula can help the new mother process the birth experience so she can come to terms with what happened while also accepting the praise and kudos she deserves.
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