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  • Writer's pictureLara Austin-Mooney

A Day in the Life of a Postpartum Doula

What do Postpartum Doulas do on Any Given Day Shift?

We get this question a lot. And the answer is… it depends on the doula. Every doula is different.


Postpartum doulas have a wide range of services they can provide to a family after giving birth. A postpartum doula will tailor their services to meet the needs of each family they serve specifically. Support from a postpartum doula will look different for each family. Postpartum doulas typically offer day-time services and night-time services. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at what a day shift looks like for a postpartum doula at Birth Into Community.


If you’re just starting your research on who you may need for your birth and postpartum journey, check out our blog post: What is a Postpartum Doula? And Why Do You Need One?

It will help you understand the role of a postpartum doula and give you the information you need to decide if you need a postpartum doula on your support team!


What is Considered a Day Shift?

Postpartum doula day shifts are typically anywhere from 2 to 12 hours long, with an average of 3-4 hours for a singleton and 4-6 hours for multiples. These shifts start anytime after 7am and end by 8pm, with an average of most shifts being worked 7:45am-5pm Monday-Friday,. Postpartum doulas typically charge an hourly rate or you can invest in a package which is a lowered hourly rate when services are booked as a package of hours. You will work with your doula to create a schedule and plan that works well for you and your family!


What Kind of Emotional Support Do Postpartum Doulas Provide?

Postpartum doulas come to your home and offer emotional support for the whole family. Bringing home a new baby is a huge adjustment for the entire family and with the help of a postpartum doula, that adjustment will be much smoother. During the fourth trimester (first 12 weeks after giving birth), mothers experience many changes both physically and emotionally. Caring for a newborn can feel joyous, overwhelming, scary, exciting, and so much more. Add in the fluctuating hormones from being postpartum and your emotions can seem slightly out of control. Sleep deprivation impacts the mental health of new parents. This is all normal, and postpartum doulas are trained to support families through this time.


We help you process your feelings, encourage you when you feel overwhelmed, listen to your birth story, guide you to proper resources if needed, and allow members of your family to work through their emotions as well. We even take care of your baby while you nap and catch up on sleep. We also offer night shifts if you need additional help caring for the baby at night to get a few more hours of sleep and avoid sleep deprivation. It’s amazing how a solid night’s sleep can positively impact one’s mental health! Postpartum doulas also help lighten your emotional load by taking some household responsibilities off your plate so you can just focus on caring for yourself and your new baby.


What Kind of Physical Support Do Postpartum Doulas Provide?

Postpartum doulas can help your family in many ways during the fourth trimester. We help you care for your new baby with feeding, diapering, bathing, soothing, etc., and help with household tasks like household organization, chores, meal prep, errands, etc. When you bring home a new baby, many household tasks get put to the side while you focus on caring for a newborn and recovering from delivery. Instead of you or your partner stressing about household chores, allow your postpartum doula to manage those while you soak up every moment with your new baby.


Whether your baby came into the world vaginally or by Cesarean, your body will need time to heal and recover. The 5-5-5 Rule can be pivotal to your recovery. This rule sets a guideline for mothers to ensure proper healing and rest take place. It stands for 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days around the bed.


“5 days in bed” means you are spending most of your time laying in bed with your newborn. This allows for plenty of time for skin-to-skin bonding, establishing breastfeeding, and gives your body the rest it deserves after the marathon of giving birth.


During the “5 days on the bed” period, you should still stay on your bed but start sitting up and doing small things on the bed. You will still focus most of your time on bonding and breastfeeding, but you can incorporate small things like changing diapers and reading books with an older child.


During the “5 days around the bed” period, you should still focus on resting but allow yourself to get up and walk around the bed or do light activities while staying near the bed. This can look like walking and bouncing your baby, or folding laundry.


Be sure to listen to your body and rest when you need it. You will have some bleeding from a wound the size of a dinner plate in your uterus where your placenta used to be, and if you overdo it, you’ll know because your bleeding will increase. This rule may seem unrealistic, especially if you have older children, and by no means needs to be followed exactly but with the help of a postpartum doula, you will be able to optimize your rest time and listen to what your body needs.


While you and your family are resting in bed, your postpartum doula will be working hard to feed you nourishing meals, clean dishes, take out the trash, do laundry, and take care of anything else that needs to be done around the house!


How Can Postpartum Doulas Support the Rest of the Family?

While offering physical and emotional support to the mother or birthing person is a postpartum doula’s main priority, we are also trained to support the family as a whole including partners, siblings, and pets. Many household responsibilities fall on partners and family members while a mother recovers from birth. Partners should also have the opportunity to rest and bond with their newborn baby. Having the support of a postpartum doula will allow partners and family members time to bond with the new baby and adjust to the new family dynamic. Postpartum doulas can also help care for other children. We can provide age-appropriate activities, include siblings in newborn care tasks to help with bonding, and prepare meals and snacks.


Postpartum doulas can also provide care for your furry family members as well! We ensure your beloved pets are fed and get the attention they need as they also adjust to having a new member of the family in the house.


Physical and emotional support from a postpartum doula can greatly impact a family’s postpartum journey by allowing more time for rest and recovery, and alleviating the stress of built-up household responsibilities. If you are local to the Fort Collins, Colorado area and planning for your postpartum journey, contact the postpartum doulas of Birth Into Community today!



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