5 reasons why postpartum doulas help the transition into parenthood
When you finally hold your new baby in your arms, the feeling is so wonderful. It’s something you had longed for, but like most new parents, you’ve got some questions, insecurities and are pretty much exhausted a lot of the time. The amount of effort a newborn requires is often a surprise and an unknown territory for most of us. Parents often feel that they have to do everything on their own and be picture perfect at the same time, but the truth is no one has to do it alone and that’s what your “village” is for when they say “it takes a village to raise a child”.
Unfortunately, not everyone has high levels of community built into their lives. Maybe you don’t have family or friends who live nearby. Perhaps you have complicated or estranged relationships with your family. Maybe your support people have hectic schedules and can’t spend as much time with you and your baby as you’d like. Maybe the people you know aren’t supportive of your parenting style. And finally, you might have underestimated your ability to face it all. All these are perfectly acceptable and reasonable reasons to be looking for other solutions. This is where a postpartum doula comes in as a wonderful resource.
Here are just five of the many reasons why postpartum doulas are helpful as you transition into the exciting chapter of new parenthood:
1| Postpartum doulas provide non-judgemental support in your parenting choices
Postpartum doulas are used to working with a wide variety of families who have different cultural backgrounds, styles, and preferences. Their job is not to judge you and how you plan to parent or to tell you what to do (unless that’s what you’ve asked for). A postpartum doula is there to be an extra set of hands, eyes, and ears in a non-judgmental and caring manner. No matter what your parenting choices are, there is a doula who will support you enthusiastically!
2| Postpartum doulas understand that each family is unique and so are the challenges they face when entering parenthood
There is no one size fits all. The transition into parenthood can look different for each family and that’s the beauty of it all. Whether you are interested in overnight support, help with housework, discussing boundaries with overbearing in-laws, you want a moment to grab yourself a cup of coffee, or need help with breastfeeding/bodyfeeding, your postpartum doula will understand your unique needs and will do their best to offer support in ways that are truly meaningful to you and your family. When you are interviewing postpartum doulas, find out the different ways they’ve supported other families in the past and ask them to tell you the kinds of support they can provide you with as well.
3| Postpartum doulas boost your parenting confidence, help you manage your fears, and when a specialist is needed.
Experienced postpartum doulas see a range of normal circumstances and can often be a great sounding board to reassure any concerns you have. Maybe your situation is common and healthy or perhaps there is a reason for concern and additional support. Your postpartum doula will know what questions to ask you and what red flags to look for. They may even be able to offer you a recommendation to providers for additional support, such as an IBCLC or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (for major lactation issues), a nutritionist, a pelvic floor therapist, or mental health provider who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum. But oftentimes, new parents just need a little reassurance that what they’re doing and feeling is within normal and healthy limits. Your doula can help you figure out if you need more support than they are qualified to offer and can point you in the right direction.
4| Many postpartum doulas can be booked to provide support with short notice or at odd hours
New parenthood mixed with sleep exhaustion can leave some new parents feeling overwhelmed and in sudden need of immediate support. With platforms such as boober, it’s now easy to get matched with a postpartum doula with short notice, including same-day support! If you find that your greatest need for support is during overnight hours, inquire about doulas who offer just that! Overnight postpartum support is great to assist with getting a good night’s rest, no matter how you’ve chosen to feed your baby, by chest or bottle.
5| Postpartum doulas help in processing your birth
Postpartum doulas cannot change your labor story but they can help you process and talk it through, which can lead to feelings of greater understanding and satisfaction. Unlike other people in your life, they won’t tire of hearing the details and can answer any lingering questions you may have. Your postpartum doula is fully aware that how you feel about your birth can affect how you parent, especially in the early days, weeks, and months.
Postpartum doulas do more than hold your baby. They share the load of new parenthood, both emotionally and physically. Step into parenthood with a village of support and do yourself the favor by hiring a postpartum doula!
This article was first published in partnership with YUMI.