Having a new baby is serious business. From the feeding to the sleeping to the “Whoa, is that normal?!” it can be hard to get a handle on how to do it all. Many new parents feel scared and overwhelmed once the visits have died down and the Facebook likes have stopped rolling in. Of course you love your adorable bundle of joy, but maybe you didn’t expect the newborn period to feel quite so intense.
Through most of human history, new moms had a large network of experienced family and friends ready to help with the transition. In today’s world, parents are hyperconnected via social media and technology, but might not have access to a “village,” or people who can actually provide support in person. These days, most parents are working through the intense newborn period with just their partner, or maybe a family member who flew in for a week or two. This is especially true in Las Vegas, which is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
Enter the postpartum doula, the experienced, non-judgmental helper who can help ease your transition into parenthood. A postpartum doula has extensive training in mother, baby and new family care. She’s essentially a modern version of that community of women who would support, educate and encourage pregnant and postpartum women…except this time, she’s a professional! But what do postpartum doulas do? In short, all kinds of things to make life easier.
Postpartum doulas are trained and up-to-date in infant feeding, including breastfeeding and bottle feeding. They’re familiar with normal newborn behavior: sleeping, swaddling, soothing, and more. And of course, postpartum doulas know all the latest safety recommendations for infants. A postpartum doula helps you find your own rhythm as a parent through gentle support and suggestions, affirming your own parenting philosophies and instincts. You’re in control—but she’s there to spot you. Doulas provide a lot of care for new moms, making sure they’re feeling calm and comfortable, are fed and hydrated, and feeling good emotionally and mentally. Postpartum doulas focus on “mothering the mother”—so the mother can mother her baby.
But taking care of you and baby isn’t the only thing a postpartum doula can do to make things run more smoothly. They cook, do light cleaning and laundry, run errands, and help with household management. This frees you up from other responsibilities, giving you the ability to focus on getting to know your precious new addition.
A postpartum doula might start her shift settling you and baby down for a nap, then unload the dishwasher, throw in some laundry, and start a fresh pot of nourishing soup. Once you’re awake, she cuddles baby so you can take a shower. She can answer questions about breastfeeding, show you comfortable positions to breastfeed in, and/or help prepare bottles for the next feeding. Then it’s thirty minutes of entertaining your toddler while you bond with the new baby. By that time, soup’s done and she’s serving it to you with some warm bread and a encouraging smile. You say goodbye to your postpartum doula with a clean house, a full belly, and a happy family.
Most people associate the word “depression” with the term postpartum. While a postpartum doula can be a wonderful blessing to someone who has postpartum depression, doulas can help you whether you’re experiencing problems with mood or not. Postpartum doulas aren’t medical providers and can’t diagnose or treat problems with you or your baby. But they can refer you to specialists and help support you through issues that may creep up with you or your baby.
Postpartum doulas are trusted confidantes and friends, ready to nurture you as you nurture your baby.