What is a Postpartum Doula & Why Would I Want One?

Congratulations, you’re expecting!  You’ve signed up for all the classes: Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding 101, and Daddy Boot Camp. You’ve read all the baby books, or at least purchased and perused them. The nursery is done and you have more baby stuff then you know what to do with.

Next thing you know, baby is here!! It is a joyful time. All the months of planning, and baby is finally here. Now what?!?!

Many of us feel very prepared for pregnancy and birth, but not the postpartum period. Birth, while amazing, is tiring. Newborns need to feed frequently. Parents have tons of questions and don’t have time to Google or flip through the books for answers. Mom and her partner are beginning to operate on little sleep and are fatiguing quickly. Enter the Postpartum Doula!

What is a postpartum doula? Postpartum doulas are trained individuals that provide evidenced based information on mother/infant care and provide household management. The postpartum doula’s main focus is to “mother the mother”– to ensure she is taken care of. In turn, when the mother is taken care of, the whole family benefits.

Below is a list of services postpartum doulas provide:

  • Physical and emotional support for the mother
  • Assistance with infant feedings
  • Infant soothing techniques
  • Simple meal preparation
  • Tips and tricks with multiples
  • Education on infant development
  • Maintaining laundry and other light household chores
  • Sibling care so mother can spend time with the newborn
  • Accompany mother to infant or postpartum appointments
  • Provide many local resources for issues regarding postpartum mothers and newborns
  • Night time assistance so parents can rest
  • Helping to create a calm and peaceful household

We live in a fiercely independent culture that prides itself on doing it all, without help. The truth is that the postpartum period, while enjoyable, can be exhausting for everyone. Mothers are trying to recover from birth, deal with their body changes, fatigue, hormones and adjusting to life with a newborn. Partners are fatigued as well and trying to adjust. Having an extra set of hands to help with infant education, keep the house maintained, running errands and simple meal prep is invaluable.

Knowing that your questions will be answered and having a trusted person provide you with evidence based resources, helps to calm and empower new parents. A postpartum doula allows the parents to rest and spend that much needed time with their newest addition and with each other.

Guest post written by Lisa Falkenstein for the Linden Blog.

Lisa Falkenstein, CPD, CNMI is a postpartum doula and the owner of Nurtured Foundation Doula Services serving the Cleveland and Akron areas. Lisa holds a BA in Family Studies from Kent State University and is certified as a postpartum doula, breastfeeding educator, infant massage instructor, and belly binder. She enjoys working with and empowering parents and families during the postpartum period. In addition to postpartum doulas services, Nurtured Foundation offers birth doulas, placenta encapsulation, childbirth education, and a variety of parent education classes. You can learn more about Lisa and her services on the website www.nurturedfoundation.com or by calling 216-409-5403.