How postpartum doulas can help new moms adjust to parenthood

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published May 5, 2021

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Carrying a baby for several months, going through hours of excruciating labour culminating in the birth of a newborn are the first few very daunting steps into motherhood.

Fortunately, throughout that journey, most women receive all the support they can get to prepare them for their baby’s arrival.

From dropping off pregnancy cravings at odd times of day to sharing parenting books, hand-me-down toys and throwing a baby shower to celebrate, family and friends come together to offer support and make the experience as smooth and exciting as they possibly can.

Unfortunately, this is usually where most of the undivided support comes to a startling halt.

After all the “congrats” balloons and flowers have been cleared away and the baby is secured in a car seat for its journey home, the parents are left to fend for themselves.

Of course, in-laws may pop by here and there and some may even be lucky enough to have gran and gramps around full-time, but for most it's days of sleepless nights, bins filled to the brim with nappies, unwashed laundry and a sink that’s piled up with dishes.

This is where the assistance of an experienced postpartum doula comes into play. Most doulas work in conjunction with hospitals, or are hired through an agency by expecting parents.

Their role is to advocate for a woman through labour, making sure that the best decisions are being made for the mom-to-be. Their very nurturing input will answer any questions and help put the new mother’s mind at ease during a rather stressful, yet thrilling time. They do this by being nurturing and protecting to ultimately preserve a woman's memory of the birthing experience.

But what is a postpartum doula? While mom and dad are flooded with the responsibilities of a new child, the doula will step in to do anything from assisting with the task of breastfeeding, providing emotional and physical recovery, keeping their other children occupied with games, prepping meals so no one goes hungry and, most enticingly, keeping the house clean and tidy.

Postpartum doulas undergo training and certification through various programs available. While some take place online, there’s normally some sort of in-person training involved too.

From how to get baby to latch onto mom’s nipple - a rather frightening task at times - to handy tips and tricks for burping a baby and calming a fussy newborn, they’ve been through it all time and time again, so it’s sort of like having an experienced person around to help overcome hurdles and put your mind at ease.

The easiest way to find the right doula for your needs is to research online, find out what services they provide, and when the day of your delivery arrives, communicate with them. You will be able to plan how you would like them to assist you. If new needs arise in the moment, don’t stress. They’re well equipped to help on the spot, just communicate this to them.

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