You thought you were prepared. You listened to all the podcasts, read the books, took the classes, you built your postpartum basket with tucks wipes, padsicles, and snacks ready beside your bed — but now you’re laying there with a million questions, feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing. Wondering, what is “normal” during postpartum recovery? What is “normal” infant behaviour?
In the midst of these feelings, you are bombarded with stories of the “best” way to feed, get your baby to sleep, bounce back, etc., but what if I told you that maybe all you need is some time to find your rhythm?
“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved; it simply wants to be witnessed, exactly as it is.” - Parker Palmer
You’re feeling every emotion - joy, wonder, love, loneliness, grief, nervousness, excitement, but are you feeling supported?
There is a huge gap in our postpartum care, and your postpartum doula is here to fill it. During your fourth trimester, postpartum doulas help smooth out the transition.
Here are 10 ways a postpartum doula can help support you:
1. Let's boost that confidence mama!
Your doula is there to support you in your unique parenting journey without judgment. No one can parent your little better than you. Doulas come equipped with compassion to validate your feelings, answer your questions and offer support so you know that you aren’t alone and build your trust in your mama intuition.
2. Postpartum and Newborn Education
Some topics your postpartum doula can cover are:
- What to expect from a newborn
- Newborn characteristics
- Newborn care
- Infant soothing, feeding, development, bonding + attachment
- Coping skills
- Sleep resources
- Emotional + physical recovery
- Incorporating older children into the experience.
With this information, you’ll be able to tame some of that anxiety and be confident in making the best decision for you and your family.
3. Help with Car Seat Installation
Let’s face it, car seats can be confusing! A postpartum doula can help with car seat installation, offering expert guidance and ensuring your newborn's safety during travels. By giving you hands-on demonstrations, they make sure you are comfortable and confident.
Though people close to us love to share advice, it's not always helpful when you're already feeling overwhelmed. A doula can model deep respect for your decisions, validate and enhance your intuitive abilities, and help you develop your own unique parenting style.
5. Building a Postpartum Support Plan
A plan tailored to what you need, giving partners concrete ways to help and the tools they need to be an active member in your postpartum period. Your postpartum doula can also assist with babywearing and activities and adjustment techniques for siblings.
6. Meal Preparation
Preparation is key for ensuring you have ready-to-go fuel for when you need it. Smoothie cubes, chia pudding, overnight oats, Greek yogurt parfaits, energy/protein balls, and soups are some of my faves!
7. Household Tasks
A postpartum doula can help with household tasks such as laundry, sanitizing bottles, and light housekeeping. They can also give you the much-needed time to yourself to go have a shower, take a nap, go for a walk – anything to help you destress,
8. Lactation Support
Is your breastfeeding journey painful and uncomfortable? It shouldn’t be. Postpartum doulas can help you learn what to look for in a strong latch and show you some different breastfeeding positions that aren’t the traditional hold so you can find what works best for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is tough – harder than most women expect and can bring doubts like “am I doing this right? Is this normal? What if my baby isn’t getting enough?”
Your postpartum doula can be a great sounding board and remind you that you’ve got this or help you set up an appointment with an amazing IBCLC to make sure everything is okay! They can also help you set up/make a system to track your little ones' diapers to ease your mind if they are getting enough milk.
9. Help You Build Your Community and Give Referrals
Doulas have wonderful lists of trusted resources and care providers in your community including (but not limited to):
- Pelvic floor therapists
- Community services and programs
- Libraries/infant programs
- Infant massage classes
- Parenting resources
- Support groups for abuse
- Addiction services + referrals
- Lactation consultants
- Nannying agencies
- Massage therapists
- Support groups for parents of children with special needs
- Nursing clothes
- “Mommy and me” groups,
And many more!
10. Nighttime support
Missing your zzz’s? A postpartum doula can come overnight and be with your baby to help soothe them back to sleep, give them a bottle, and come and gently give baby to you for nighttime feeds so you don’t have to get out of bed and wake yourself up. They can also offer support for making it through those early learning weeks or days full of cluster feeding.
Doulas are not there to tell you the “best” way to parent your baby, but to help you find your family's rhythm and support you in YOUR parenting journey. They are there for non-judgemental support, companionship, assistance in newborn care, family adjustment, and support in emotional + physical recovery.
There are many physical ways a doula can support, but one of the most important ways a postpartum doula helps is by holding the space for you to remember your power, reconnect with your intuition, and help you bridge from pregnancy to being birthed yourself as a mother.
This space is so important because rather than ‘losing’ yourself in motherhood - you reclaim the power to CREATE yourself as a mother.
Your doula is there to SEE you, to honour you and your process, and to support you through one of the most beautifully challenging times in your life. You will be held, nurtured, and invited to explore what motherhood looks and feels like for you.
Asking for help does not make you less of a mom, it’s you acknowledging your self-worth – it’s a SUPERPOWER!
Tianna is a birth + postpartum doula, belly painter, ceremonialist, belly binder, and reiki practitioner who helps you mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare for your journey from maiden to mother and the entire journey that follows. email@example.com IG: @merakibirthco
*Reminder a postpartum doula is NOT a medical professional, and even with evidence based education and information if you have any questions or concerns you should always consult with your Primary Healthcare Provider.
**Every postpartum doula works slightly differently so don’t be afraid to ask what your doula offers and make sure they will be a good support for what YOU need (that’s why they’re there). If you or your doula doesn’t feel it will be a good fit, most doulas are happy to recommend you to someone else they know + trust.