Postpartum Doula Services
What is the role of a postpartum doula?
There are many cultures across the world where the community comes together to support the mother-baby unit after birth in every possible way, removing all other duties and worries off of her plate so that the mother and baby may heal together, emotionally and physically, from labour and birth.
This period lasts up to 40 days in some cultures, and upon reading about the beautiful traditions, it becomes so apparent that it is something we are truly lacking in our modern culture. Rather, what we tend to see is new mothers trying to get back on their feet far too quickly, playing hostess to visitors so people can meet the new bundle of joy, rather than being the one who is doted upon.
Then once the support of loving partners, mothers, and in-laws eventually wanes once life goes back to “normal” for everyone else, mothers are left to feel quite alone, often wondering how they will make it through each day without talking to an adult, all while encountering new parenting difficulties as the weeks pass. It does not have to be this way.
We could, and should, borrow the ideals and practices from the cultures who allow for this lying in period after birth and adapt it to our lives. We should slow everything down and focus on the mother-baby unit healing and bonding together in a safe place, with the whirlwind of dishes, laundry, food prep, routines of older children, all happening behind the scenes and completely taken care of by others.
If we allow for this, we find that the support the mother receives in the beginning, and the critical rest she allows herself to take, lead to a world of a difference in her healing and well-being which translates to how beautifully she can move forward through the early stages of motherhood.
If you will, close your eyes and picture this, you and baby settled in to your safe ‘nest’, and all the chores and to-do lists of our every day is hidden away, where you can know and trust that it is being taken care of but don’t need to see it happening or even hear about it. And now the door opens, and in walks a woman with a nutritive herbal infusion and a delicious warm snack that will promote breastfeeding. The next day, the woman walks in ready with loving hands for a massage with lavender or chamomile to promote relaxation and easing of your sore overworked muscles. And the next day, a herb bath is drawn for you, and only once baby is fed and content, she cares for your baby in the exact manner you wish her to, whether that be to hold them while they nap, check on them as they lie in their bassinet, or babywear them as she goes about the chores in your home that have been removed from your mind. This woman has also studied and armed herself with all of the knowledge you might be seeking in those early days, and provides a gentle safe place where no question is silly, all the while trying to help you find your own inner voice for what the right answers for you may be. If baby blues set it, she knows when to expect it, and even understands the hormonal changes leading to it, and will only ever make you feel comfortable and help to normalize all of your emotions and experiences. This woman knows how to create a physical and emotional safe haven for you to land in as you fall into your new role of mother, father, family, and even big sibling.
This woman, my sweet new mother, is your postpartum doula.
What services are available to you?
- My non-judgemental listening skills will allow you a safe environment to share your birth story to someone who will simply listen, and not place any words in your mouth, or mind, for your You will never hear from me “at least the baby is healthy” as I know there can be so much more to it than that, rather I hold the space for you to process your experience in your own way and time. There are also some very powerful emotions that relate to new parenthood that should be aired in a safe space.
- My knowledge of postpartum healing tools which can range from drawing you an herb bath, preparing nurturing herbal infusions to boost recovery, recommending safe and natural remedies to soothe a variety of common complaints, such as breast engorgement, afterpains, perineal discomfort, etc.
- Providing basic breastfeeding support and being aware of when a lactation consultant (LC) may be necessary for further support, as well as having contacts for various options for local LCs and continuing to offer my support through the implementation of the LCs recommendations
- Baby minding, in the manner you choose, while you have a shower, nap, walk, or enjoy time with older children
- Nutritional information on what types of foods are healing, as well as meal and snack preparation
- Engaging older children in activities to give you time with your baby
- Offering information, education, and support for all kinds of baby care topics, including bathing, baby wearing, car seat safety, diapering, your ideal sleeping arrangements, while always offering non-judgmental support for your choices as the new parents
- Support with basic organization of the home to optimize caring for the new baby with the most ease and comfort for the new parents
- Light household chores including tidying, laundry, dishes, cleaning the washrooms, emptying the garbage etc.
- Recognition of the signs of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- Basic relaxation massage for Mother and/or Baby
- Knowledge of many community resources from La Leche League meetings and parent and breastfeeding drop-ins, to great chiropractors, massage therapists, osteopaths, etc. for both you and baby for optimal postpartum health
- Supporting parents with multiples
- Access to my many and growing resources from now until the end of time!
- The only thing that is not on the list is that doulas do not provide clinical care, so any health concerns of Mother and Baby should be brought to a primary caregiver
What makes me qualified?
Quite often, women can look inside themselves and know how to support other women, and we have been doing so for ages. It is an intuitive dance of anticipating the needs of the woman, and her family. There is an innate nurturing and compassionate side of all of the women who realize that being a doula is their calling. That said, in addition to this role being made for those who choose it, to become certified as a postpartum doula the following requirements are achieved:
- Attendance at a four day intensive postpartum doula training
- Reading and reporting on 8 books on breastfeeding, pregnancy, childbirth, newborns, parenting, postpartum wellness, sleep, etc. (see the Resource Page)
- Submission of a 5000 word research project
- Attendance at a childbirth education class
- Standard CPR/AED Level C
- Ongoing attendance of La Leche League meetings
- Lactation Management for Doulas Complete course covering five major topics (Starting Out Successfully, Difficulties Breastfeeding Mothers May Encounter, Breast Pumps and Breastmilk Storage, Breastfeeding the Premature Infant, & Alternative Feeding Methods for Breastfeeding Babies)
- Attendance at two births as an apprentice
- Tending to four postpartum families before becoming certified
- Completion of the final examination
- Signing off and continually upholding the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics which provide structure and boundaries ensuring responsible, professional dealings with clients, colleagues, and healthcare professionals
Our postpartum doula services are available at a fee of $25/hour. There is no minimum number of hours that need to be purchased ahead of time, or a minimum number of hours per shift. Contact us anytime and we will do our best to accommodate you as soon as you need us.