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  • Writer's pictureLara Austin-Mooney

What is a Postpartum Doula? And Why Do You Need One?

Preparing for a new baby can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first child or you are expecting multiples. It can often feel like the to-do list that builds during pregnancy is never-ending. Between designing a beautiful nursery, attending appointments, and creating a birth plan, don’t forget to make a postpartum care plan, too! Hiring a postpartum doula to walk alongside you and your family after your baby is born will make a significant impact on your postpartum journey.

What is a Postpartum Doula?

According to DONA International, a doula is “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to their client before, during and shortly after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.” A postpartum doula specifically helps families during the fourth trimester which is considered to be the first 12 weeks after giving birth.

Doula care is rooted in the tradition of women caring for women throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. Many years ago, this care would be provided by a family member or a close member of the local community. As maternity care has become more medicalized and the distance between families grows, professional doulas have taken on the task of providing that meaningful support to parents in their community.

Having a postpartum doula caring for new parents has been shown to decrease anxiety, increase confidence, improve lactation and feeding success, improve bonding, and reduce the risk of developing postpartum mental health disorders like postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. (Source) Doulas positively impact the postpartum journey for the whole family!

Emotional Support

The postpartum stage, also known as the fourth trimester, is a beautifully transformative time for a family. Mothers are adjusting to life with a newborn and recovering from bringing their baby into the world, all while hormones are raging through their bodies. The fourth trimester can be highly emotional and vulnerable while navigating these changes. Postpartum doulas will sit with you and help you process all of these new feelings.

Postpartum doulas can also help you process your birth story. Having an opportunity to share your story can drastically improve your postpartum mindset and how you remember your birth. Whether your birth went exactly how you imagined it or nowhere near how you pictured it, a postpartum doula can help you work through those feelings. Properly processing your birth story, especially if your birth did not meet your expectations, can reduce the impact of birth trauma and improve your mindset for future births.

Newborn Care and Feeding Support

Whether you are a first-time parent or a parent to many, each new baby is unique and comes with its own quirks. Postpartum doulas offer tips and ideas to help figure out this new little member of the family! Whether it's feeding, diapering, bathing, sleeping, or something in between, your postpartum doula will be there for it all!

Postpartum doulas are trained to assist mothers with latching and positioning when breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and pumping. Although breastfeeding is a natural body process, it is a learned skill between you and your baby. Receiving encouragement and advice from a postpartum doula can relieve frustration and increase your chances of breastfeeding success.

In the baby’s first few months, they will sleep a lot! However, it doesn’t mean they will sleep when you want them to sleep which can be frustrating and exhausting. Postpartum doulas can offer sleep advice to help your little one sleep longer and on a schedule if needed. When looking for a postpartum doula, you can find one who provides nighttime and night nanny support. Our postpartum doulas can come to your home for a nighttime shift to care for the baby and make sure the whole family can get some solid sleep. For your body to heal more efficiently after giving birth, you will need good quality sleep which can seem impossible with a newborn. Allowing your postpartum doula to take over for the night can provide you the rest you and your partner need to be the best versions of yourselves. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to care for your baby.

Household Help

Postpartum doulas can help with household chores and errands as well as make sure the whole family is fed by meal planning and preparing food. We want to ensure you can prioritize rest, recovery, and bonding time. We don’t want you to worry about the sink full of dishes, preparing meals, or folding that never-ending pile of laundry when you have a newborn to snuggle! Having support around the house can make the fourth trimester significantly easier.

Fort Collins Postpartum Doulas know how much we love our fur babies! We will also help care for your pets! We will be sure to give them extra attention as they adjust to these changes as well!

Mothers or the primary caregivers, naturally feel the need to take care of others and find it difficult to ask for help. When investing in a postpartum doula and creating a postpartum care plan, parents don’t need to ask for help as much because the postpartum doula will get a feel for what is needed and will get to know exactly what to do and how to meet the whole family's needs.

Partner and Sibling Support

Although the pregnant parent will experience the most change when welcoming a new baby, the rest of the family goes through changes too and needs support as they adjust to life with a new baby. Having a postpartum doula not only relieves duties from the mother but also her partner. Postpartum doulas help partners and siblings bond and spend precious time with the new baby. They understand everyone’s individual needs and will assist them in settling into the new family dynamic.

Sometimes sibling care looks like entertaining a toddler while the parents and new baby rest, or taking care of the new baby for a few minutes so parents can have some one-on-one time with their older child. Welcoming a new sibling into the home means sharing parents’ attention which can be a difficult adjustment for a young child. Something as simple as including the siblings in the care of the new baby can make siblings feel needed and help ease the transition.

Education and Resources

If you are struggling with something beyond our scope of practice, we are committed to finding you the help you need. Our postpartum doulas are trained baby experts equipped with a plethora of trusted resources and referrals in the Northern Colorado area for questions and concerns that may arise. We strive to only provide evidence-based information and be a trusted advocate for your family and baby throughout this postpartum journey.

Do I Need a Postpartum Doula?

As postpartum doulas, our goal is to hold space for your feelings, reduce your stress, care for your family, and provide all the necessary resources needed to set you up for parenting success. Giving birth to a baby is no small feat. You’ve accomplished one of the most physically and emotionally demanding tasks. As you enter the fourth trimester, it’s time for your body to rest, recover, and soak up every moment with your newborn. Investing in a postpartum doula allows you to pay attention to your body and your baby, and allows your family to settle into this new normal.

While every family will benefit from investing in postpartum doula support, a postpartum doula can be especially helpful for families who do not have a support system nearby. We understand that many moms would love to be cared for by the people in their family like their mom, sister, aunt, or grandparents, but that is not always possible. Our postpartum doulas are devoted to caring for you like they would their own family members.

While planning a baby shower, brainstorming baby names, feeling baby kicks, and preparing for birth, be sure to take your time creating a postpartum care plan and selecting a postpartum doula! The support you receive will make the postpartum journey a less stressful and more beautiful experience. Time goes by way too fast and we don’t want you to miss a single moment with your new baby.

If you are local to the Fort Collins, Colorado area and in need of postpartum support, be sure to check out Fort Collins Postpartum Doulas. We would be honored to serve your family! Fill out our contact form and we will be in touch soon!

Let’s stay connected! Follow us on social media, FB+IG: @birthintocommunity

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