Last Friday, we wrote on the importance of preparing for the postpartum period, and how a postpartum plan can help you do just that. Today, we share with you the ins and outs of postpartum doula care. By now, many families are familiar with the job of a labor and birth doula, but many people are unaware the role a postpartum doula can play. Learn more to discover if you would like to hire a postpartum doula as part of your support team.
What Is a Postpartum Doula?
A postpartum doula is a trained professional who provides services, support, and evidence-based education to mothers and new families in the postpartum period, typically on an hourly rate basis.
What Does a Postpartum Doula Do?
A postpartum doula works with families to understand their fill their specific needs. In general, the postpartum doula's role covers a wide variety of services helpful to families during postpartum, including:
- Education, including baby care and soothing, infant feeding, mom's emotional and physical care and recovery, sibling education, and postpartum depression and mood disorders
- Meal prep
- Light housework
- Running errands
- Baby care while mom sleeps or showers
- Referrals to other local services
What a postpartum doula does can vary widely (and include more than what's listed above), so it's best to ask your prospective postpartum doula about her services.
What Does a Postpartum Doula Cost?
Postpartum doulas usually charge by the hour, with a price that ranges from $20 - $75 and up, depending on where you live. Often, postpartum doulas will sell "blocks" of time to be used as you wish during the postpartum period.
How Long Does a Postpartum Doula Stay?
Postpartum doulas can make one to two visits (an hour to three at a time) up to multiple weeks worth of visits! It all depends on your family's needs and ability to pay for services.
Why Would I Want a Postpartum Doula?
You might be thinking, "Why would I hire someone to do the things my mother/sister/partner/friend is already going to do?" And to an extent, you might be right. If you have a robust support system to include multiple people available to help at various times throughout the days and weeks after baby is born, you may not need help from a postpartum doula. Keep in mind, however, that along with an "extra set of hands," a postpartum doula comes with rich and up-to-date hands-on knowledge in areas that could be lacking from your support team, like breastfeeding, postpartum depression and mood disorders, infant care and sleep knowledge, physical postpartum recovery, and more. Additionally, a postpartum doula assists you and your family without any agenda, judgement, or bias. Consider it "no strings attached" help!
Where Can I Find a Postpartum Doula?
There are a few ways to find postpartum doulas in your area. You can perform a simple Google search with the name of your city + "postpartum doula," you can visit DoulaMatch.net, you can look in the directory at your local birth network, or you can ask your care provider, childbirth educator, or birth doula for local recommendations.
Did you hire a postpartum doula? In what ways did you find the support helpful?