People are finally beginning to hear about postpartum doulas and all they provide (and not just how great birth doulas are…although they are!). A postpartum doula’s first priority is to insure that the new mother is rested and relaxed, and to assist her with breastfeeding and nurturing her baby. She bring lots of love to the new family, and lightens the load that new moms inevitably feel.
Check out these 7 postpartum doula benefits:
1. Mothers who have doula support pump more milk.
Yes, it is true! When your doula visits, you will likely see a jump in your milk production (at least observable when you pump, but also quite likely when you breastfeed as well). This could be due to many factors, but most likely due to the oxytocin increase from having support, reassurance, and literally a doula feeding them. It is called oxytocin, but we call it the doula magic. Some moms say they wish we could be there for every pump because they make double when we arrive!
2. Mothers who have doulas get their confidence faster than when they are doing it alone.
Why would this be true? When you have someone there to affirm that your choices are actually right on track, you start to believe in and trust yourself and your observations about your baby. Most new moms question themselves. The key is whether you have someone to believe that your instincts are good – or not.
3. Dads who have doulas learn skills earlier and are more able to take on care of their infant alone earlier.
When dads have doulas to show them the ropes (hopefully while mom is resting and recovering from birth) they have a chance to have a neutral party give them some insider tips, helping them learn without the pressure of relatives or their especially protective spouse watching. What we know about dads is that those who spend more time with their infant alone in the early days spend significantly more time caring for their baby in the first year.
4. Grandparents who have doulas around learn to care for new parents in a gentle and supportive way.
Some grandparents feel that a doula will replace them – until they meet the doula! They quickly learn that the doula’s role will never come close to the relationship that a grandparent can provide, and that the immediate support of a postpartum doula can help answer their questions as well.
Many grandmothers don’t have experience with breastfeeding, and have to learn how to support a new mother venturing out on this adventure with only bottle feeding experience to share. A doula can fill the gaps, translating some of the advice given years ago into what will encourage a new mom – while still respecting that grandma has done much of this work before, and she knows a lot!
5. Families that have doulas streamline their stuff, because they don’t buy things they don’t really need.
The market of options is often overwhelming to new families and every new gadget promises ease and peace with a baby. But doulas really know what works and what doesn’t, and they can help you read your baby to recognize what might be helpful, and what will likely be a waste of time and space. (And you can waste less time returning items you don’t need!)
Doulas also understand stages of development, so they know when each item would be most helpful, keeping you from buying that fancy highchair when baby is still only 3-months-old. Keeping your home efficient and clutter-free is a huge benefit to having a knowledgeable professional share some time with you early on.
6. Babies with doulas have parents who understand their needs better, and can better communicate with their parents to get their needs met.
So many families tell us how much crying happens when parents don’t understand their babies. How frustrating for both parties! Doulas can help parents interpret those newborn cries – and the reflexes, body language, and other sounds that accompany newborn life! This is hugely empowering to parents who desperately want to know what is going on in that new little person.
7. The first week feels less crazy when you have a postpartum doula.
Did you know that most families experience a bit of a roller coaster during the first 5-7 days of newborn life? Particularly days 3-5 are filled with hormonal changes, dramatic breast changes, various stages of body recovery and adjustment, and of course getting to know your newborn. Doulas are experts in all these, and have wisdom and gentleness to guide you to a more peaceful recovery, as you become new parents or add another child to the family.
So who wants more milk, confidence, skills, gentle support, streamlined space, and less crazy? Give us a call at ABC Doula Service and we can make that happen for you.
About the Author:
Kimberly Bepler, IBCLC, CPD, ICPE, CLE® has been serving breastfeeding families since 2001, first as a postpartum doula, then as a breastfeeding educator, and finally as an IBCLC (certified in 2011). Kimberly has served thousands of mom and baby dyads (and tryads—her specialty is multiples!) and she provides compassionate care helping each family reach their unique goals. Kimberly has taught postpartum doula trainings for CAPPA for 12 years, and added Lactation Educator™ courses to help enrich the doulas who were looking for additional skills for families, as well as those seeking to teaching Breastfeeding in a hospital or community setting. She is a mother of 2 lively kids, and owns a doula service in Portland, OR, in addition to traveling all over the US training doulas, educators, and offering advanced education for professionals who want to learn more about multiples. You can contact her at [email protected].