POSTPARTUM DOULA SUPPORT SERVICES:
Your questions answered...
What do postpartum doulas do?
What a postpartum doula does changes from day to day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother
needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby
care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding
education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable.
What is the difference between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse?
The role of a postpartum doula is to help a woman through her postpartum period and to nurture the family. Unlike a baby nurse,
a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family. The doula is as available
to the father and older children as to the mother and the baby. Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always
changing enables doulas to do their job: nurture the family.
What is a postpartum doula’s goal?
The goal of a doula is to nurture the parents into their new roles. As they experience success and their knowledge and self-confidence
grow, their needs for professional support should diminish.
How does a doula nurture the parents into their roles?
Self-confidence has a tremendous impact on a person’s ability to approach any task, and parenting is no different. Doulas
are taught to always consider parents’ feelings and always build confidence whenever possible. Doulas accomplish this
through praise, acceptance and a non-judgmental approach. In addition, the doula will teach parents strategies and skills
that will improve their ability to bond with their babies. A calm baby who is growing well will help parents to feel more
confident in their skills.
Do doulas help mothers to deal with postpartum depression?
Unlike therapists or psychiatrists, doulas do not treat postpartum depression. However, they will help by creating a safe
place for the mother emotionally. The doula will provide a cushioning effect by accepting the mother within each stage that
she passes through. They relieve some of the pressure on the new mother by helping her move into her new responsibilities
gradually. By mothering the mother, doulas makes sure that the mother feels nurtured and cared for, as well as making sure
she is eating well and getting enough sleep. These doulas will help their clients to screen themselves for PPMDs and will
make referrals to appropriate clinicians or support groups as needed.
Do doulas teach a particular parenting approach?
No. Doulas are educated to support a mothers’ parenting approach. Doulas are good listeners and encourage mothers to
develop their own philosophies.
How do postpartum doulas work with a mother’s partner?
A doula respects the partner’s role and input, and teaches concrete skills that will help the partner nurture the baby
and mother. The doula will share evidence-based information with the partner that shows how his or her role in the early weeks
will have a dramatic positive effect on the family.
Information provided from DONA.