Frequently Asked Questions
When should you get a postpartum doula and how long does doula support last?
This will be unique for each family, but typically families use care anywhere from 2-12 weeks. Services sometimes go beyond 12 weeks, in which care is customized to the families needs. Some families just need a few visits and others might want help for weeks or months. I am here to provide aid and actually enjoy when a family does not need my support anymore. My job is to empower you as a parent.
It can be really beneficial to have postpartum doula care at the start of the first few weeks. When coming home with your baby, families can be overwhelmed with questions they have, exhaustion, and healing. Having a doula with knowledgable care can help make a smoother transition.
Babies can have an increase in fussiness during 3-8 weeks, so some families seek out support during this time. Rest, emotional support, and problem solving are often needed. I can provide you this much needed postpartum care. Also, after family and friends have started to go or decrease their availability to help, I can fill that gap by providing care until you feel comfortable on your own.
Having a newborn requires healing and you are going through great transformation. It is normal to feel emotionally and physically drained. There can be a lot of birth processing and anxiety. Some families might experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, or encountered this with their other children. Postpartum doulas are great at emotionally supporting families through these experiences and preventing the overwhelming stress. I am here to help you feel more relaxed and reassured so you can bond with your baby and family.
I will have family and friends who can help me with my newborn. How is doula support different than what they can provide?
Family and friends are wonderful resources and can be greatly helpful to a new family. I can help you in the other areas you need support. Also, new parents enjoy having a postpartum doula because we are trained professionals, provide updated evidence, are objective and nonjudgmental, and are connected to birth community resources.
As a postpartum doula I am present with my families. Family and friends will often provide advice from personal experience, but some families like having a professional provide them current information. Not to mention, every family will have different experiences raising their newborn, which is why it can be helpful having a doula support the family at their level of need. Sometimes family members and friends just do not have all the answers and are unable to give adequate time to fully help a family. I am here to help you navigate this new journey.
Also, with families and friends their focus can sometimes be on the baby. Mothers can sometimes be overlooked in the excitement. A new mother really needs the support focus to be on helping her heal, recover, and bond with her new baby. My job as a postpartum doula is to focus on the mother’s priorities. Doulas help the whole family, but our main concern is the mother and providing the support she deserves.
I want to feel capable of taking care of my baby on my own. I am worried that having an outside person help me take care of my baby, will make it harder for me to fully bond and understand my baby. Would having a doula get in the way of us being able to bond as a family? Does the doula take care of the baby? How will I become self-sufficient as a parent?
These feelings are completely understandable and the experience of bringing home your newborn is very intimate and precious. Postpartum doulas actually help you foster your family bonding experience and empower you to be a self-sufficient parent. These are huge goals for postpartum doulas. We are your support and do not take over complete care of your child. We are your extra hands, guidance, and emotional support along the journey. One of our main objectives is to create an environment where you have more time to bond with your baby and new family. With today’s disconnected and busy world, new mothers usually do not get the consistent support of a community that help them have the time to adequately heal, rest, and bond with their baby. I help fill that gap.
From taking care of household needs, running errands, answering questions, providing breastfeeding/feeding support, watching the baby or other siblings while you get much needed rest, being a shoulder to lean on as you process feelings, or providing resources and referrals, this support allows you to be less overwhelmed. Thus, postpartum doulas help you have the valuable time to bond with your baby. It takes a lot of energy to start this new journey. I help you make a smoother transition and support your instincts as a new parent. As mentioned above, I am actually excited to work myself out of the job. I am overjoyed when your family does not need my support anymore and you feel empowered as parents.
I took care of my first baby by myself, why would I need help with my second baby?
When bringing home a second baby, tasks can become harder because you are also having to take care of an older child. You will be busy with your newborn, which will make it harder to meet the needs of your older child and maintain their schedule. Not to mention just trying to find the time to take care of your needs. I can help fill this gap by caring for a sibling while you and the baby nap, preparing meals for you and your older child, and overall providing an extra set of hands to help you care for yourself and your children.
I can help you navigate the new emotions that might come up with having a second baby. Your older child/children might experience their own struggle with adjusting to the baby. I can help guide your family as they adjust to these new dynamics and help you get back on a routine.
What happens on a typical visit?
This will be different for each family, since each family has different needs and concerns. Typically, when I arrive I like to address what the immediate needs are for the family. For example, some needs might include helping sooth a baby, get a bottle ready, or preparing snacks and water for breastfeeding. Afterwards, I like to check in with mother/and partner to see how they are doing with the baby and their recovery. I like to assess the priorities for that day or night, and address any questions or concerns. Having a newborn can leave parents very tired, thus thinking about tasks a doula should do can be overwhelming or impossible. Do not worry, a huge role of a postpartum doula is anticipating and observing what a mother and family need. Overall, I like to check in with how the family is doing, address any important information/needs or processing, and anticipate how I can be helpful so your family can feel more relaxed.
What does daytime doula help look like compared to overnight help?
Daytime care will be determined by the needs of the family, as discussed under what a typical visit will look like. Usually daytime care allows for us to check in with how recovery and care is going, have space for processing and reassurance, allow for household tasks or errands to occur, meal preparation, breastfeeding/ feeding support, newborn care/mother care education, resources and referrals, help with siblings, answer questions, be an extra set of hands, and help you navigate during your physical recovery. A mother’s needs are my priority. Overall, I am determined to provide emotional, informational, physical, relational, and household support.
overnight care the goal is to help families get more rest at night and encourage a bedtime routine. Therefore families are usually sleeping during my stay, so I give more direct care to the baby. The night routine is determined by the family and based on their preferences/feeding plan. I will usually diaper, change, soothe, and monitor the infant so parents can sleep. For feeding, we can determine how you want me to alert you when the baby needs to be fed, whether you want me to bring the baby to you to nurse, or if you want me to take care of the feedings at night. As far as household tasks, certain chores can be discussed and may or may not be the same duties performed during the day shifts. Chores will depend on the level of noise the tasks may permeate in the house and the need of the infant/mother. Preparing morning meals or snacks can also be discussed. Since the family is sleeping, overnight care usually involves less time for education and some household needs, which can be addressed more during daytime help. Also, overnight care lasts for a minimum of 8 hours to avoid driving at night.
Can you help me with my cesarean birth recovery? What about vaginal births?
Yes, I can help you physically and emotionally while you recover from your cesarean or vaginal birth! After your
cesarean birth, some help might involve sibling care, provide infant care when you need to rest, and help with household chores. I can make food, do laundry, change bedding, wash dishes, run errands, help with pets, assist with breastfeeding positions that are more comfortable, a shoulder to lean on if you need to get out of bed, and provide emotional support if you need to process your cesarean birth and recovery. Overall, my assistance will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed so you can bond with your baby/babies.
It is also important to rest after a
vaginal birth, thus I will still help you with the above listed items. You will still need time to physically and emotionally recover, which is why I can help with sitz baths and ice packs, breastfeeding positioning, processing emotions as they come up, and address your needs so you can have a smoother recovery.
How is a postpartum doula different from a Newborn Care Specialist (NCS), Infant Care Specialist, and a nanny/night nanny?
Nannies are hired by families who need childcare while they are at work or cannot be with their child. There are no requirements for nannies to have training, thus some nannies just rely on their childcare background and experience. Some nannies can be experienced caregivers of infants, but most follow the direction of the parents. This can be hard for parents who often need more support after bringing home a baby and have a lot of questions on care. Night nannies only work at night, caring for the baby while parents are asleep. They sleep near infants, waking up to feed, change, and settle them to sleep. Again, no training is required and often parents instruct them on how to care for their baby. The goal of having a night nanny is to sleep, so there is little time for a night nanny to inform or address new parent questions and concerns.
NCS is trained in newborn care and they focus more on the baby’s needs. They are a caregiver combining education and childcare. They can care for the infant alone and do not usually care for the mother or family’s needs. An
Infant Care Specialist is an NCS that stays with the family past the first few months.
postpartum doula is a trained professional that supports the whole family. The doula will help the mother with her physical and emotional recovery, while guiding the family to learn how to adequately support the mother and new baby. A postpartum doula can also assist in helping partners and siblings adjust to the new baby and new family dynamics. A doula provides information on infant care and other family needs; comforts the family; assists with household needs; helps parents rest; provides breastfeeding/feeding support; can address postpartum mood disorders; assists with meal preparation; supports the mother as she processes her birth; provides resources and referrals; and overall helps the transition to parenthood feel smoother.
1. Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association. (2017). CAPPA Postpartum Doula Manual. Author
Is postpartum doula care covered by insurance?
Postpartum doula services are typically paid for directly. Sometimes family and friends can pay for care as a gift to the new parent/parents. You will have to ask your insurance provider if they will reimburse for doula services. Although I do not provide third-party billing, I will provide invoices to you. If you are able to get reimbursed, please discuss the required documentation needed ahead of time so all requirements are met.