Do I Really Need To Hire A Postpartum Doula?

January 9, 2024

Throughout your pregnancy, you daydream about life with your baby, you research items for your registry, and you plan for the big event itself — childbirth. After many hours of labor, you may or may not be surprised at just how exhausted you are, both mentally and physically.

A postpartum doula can provide support in the delicate time after your baby is born. Here’s more about what a postpartum doula does, the benefits of this type of service, and how you can find a doula in your area.

What is a Postpartum Doula?

The postpartum period is a major time of transition for you and your family. This period of time is often called the fourth trimester, and for good reason!

A postpartum doula provides evidenced-based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care. In addition to helping parents develop confidence with everything from feeding and soothing to bathing and changing a newbornm a postpartum doula provides a supportive and affirming presence.

What does a Postpartum Doula Do?

The question might better be posed: What doesn’t a postpartum doula do?

You and your postpartum doula will create a plan to support you in the months after baby is born. The doula’s role can include a rage of tasks, including:

  • Newborn care: Help with diapering, soothing, bathing, feeding, and caring for baby.
  • Breastfeeding support: Assisting with positioning, pumping, and assessing when a referral to a lactation consulant is appropriate.
  • Overnight support: Heling with feeding, changing, soothing baby to allow parents time to sleep.
  • Light housekeeping: This can include things like folding baby’s laundry, preparing a meal, tidying, and running errands.
  • Education: A postpartum doula can provide resources and evidence-based information about feeding cues, soothing techniques, and newborn care.
  • Maternal care: Providing emotional and physical support to aid in the recovery process.
  • Referrals: Providing referrals to prediatricians, groups for new parents and breastfeeding, classes, and therapists as needed.
  • Sibling care: Childcare for older siblings and supporting a peaceful introduction to a new sibling.

Most importantly, your postpartum doula will work with you and your family to create a peaceful enviorment. They will also help develop methods that will ensure bonding with your baby and tend to your needs.

Benefits of a Postpartum Doula

Having a strong support system, which can include a postpartum doula, helps new parents adjust with a sense of ease. Having a postpartum doula comes with many befenfits, but let me just share a few:

  • Improved confidence: A postpartum doula can help you gain the confidence to take care of your newborn.
  • Incresed breastfeeding success: According to AAFP, having a proactive, supportive presence increases breastfeeding success.
  • Family relationships: Mothers who experence a lack of support after having a baby are at a greater risk of postpartum depression. Studies show this negatively affects maternal relationships. Having a postpartum doula can help relieve stress and provide extra support. They can also screen and watch for signs of postpartum depression and make appropriate referrals for treatment when needed.
  • Support system: Having a postpartum doula is especially helpful for new parents who don’t have family nearby. They can ensure a smooth transition, providing and extra set of hands, evidence-based information, and referrals.

Postpartum Doula Cost

The range of costs could be anywhere from $35-$65 per hour. Some doulas offer discounts if you book them for a certain amount of hour or if you pay in advance. Many families are asking for postpartum doula services as a shower or baby gift from family and friends.

Most postpartum doulas will have a contract for you to review and sign. They may ask you to commit to a minimun number of hours. Some may have you pay for services in full prior to starting contracted hours. You will find that there is a wide range of experience levels and fees. You should interview several doulas to find the perfect fit for your family.

Postpartum doula services may also be paid for using money from a family’s flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) dependent on what the guidelines are for their particular plan.

Something to Remember…

Doctors appointments. Feedings. Diapers. Naps. Repeat. It might feel overwhelming, but the fourth trimester can be an amazing and sacred time. Having a support system for your family that inculdes the help of a postpartum doula can make ALL the difference.

Click HERE to learn more about our postpartum support and what we offer!