You’ve probably heard of birth doulas, but have you heard of postnatal doulas?
As a postnatal doula, I’ll come and visit you in your home after your baby arrives. The first few weeks after birth can be a whirlwind and a huge change to your life (whether it’s your first baby or not).
A postnatal doula is there to look after a mum so that she can better look after her new baby. Having a baby is a huge change to your life, your body and your mind, and a doula is there to help the mum with the emotional and practical things.
I’ll take a 3-step approach to working with you in your first weeks and months after birth, by nourishing you, listening to you, and supporting you.
One of the first things I might do when I come to visit is make sure you are fed and nourished. I come armed with a recipe book of tasty meals and snacks to keep your energy up while you’re probably getting very little sleep.
I’m a listening ear when you need to offload. Health professionals often have very little time and friends or family might not know what to ask. I am here to spend time with you and truly listen to how things are going for you and your baby.
I will support your parenting choices and be an advocate for you wherever you might need it. My job is to help you to navigate through the early stages of having a new baby.
The jobs that I do as a postnatal doula are wide-ranging: from shopping (picking up items on the way to you for example) and cooking up some amazing food in your kitchen, to looking after your baby while you take a shower or nap, to accompanying you to midwife or health visitor appointments, to organising additional support for breastfeeding, to being a listening ear when you’ve had a hard day or night, to helping you find local mum and baby groups to try.
It’s worth saying that a postnatal doula isn’t there to look after your baby like a maternity nurse or nanny. And they’re not a cleaner or babysitter. But they are there to spend time with you to grow your confidence and help you to navigate through the craziness of life with a new baby or babies.
Why would I want a postnatal doula?
Well…the main reason is that it really does take a village, and these days many families don’t have a village around them. Back in the day, mums used to stay in hospital a lot longer after giving birth, so they used to have time to get used to feeding (and be fed themselves in hospital) and looking after their baby in an environment where there are lots of qualified professionals on hand to help.
Nowadays, you’ll likely be back at home maybe 24 hours after giving birth if there are no complications as hospitals are so stretched. In a way it’s great, but it can feel a bit like you’ve been catapulted into a parallel universe (been there!). Friends and family pop in, hold the new baby and leave, but there can be very little attention given to you and what you’ve been through, which can leave you feeling really depleted and overwhelmed.
A postnatal doula is there to fill that gap and help to take care of you, so that you can be the best mum possible.
Maybe you don’t have family nearby, maybe you have other children, maybe your partner works long hours or travels a lot, maybe you just really value your own self care and have decided to invest in some extra support. All of these are great reasons to have a postnatal doula. If you have any questions at all about what’s involved, just get in touch with me as I’m always really happy to have a chat.
What happens when you come to see me?
It’s completely dependent on you and your baby and what you both need that day. But usually, I’d come in to your home (with you as comfy as possible and in pyjamas I hope), make you a snack and a hot drink and get you some comfy pillows while you feed baby.
I might send you off to have a hot shower and a nap while I look after baby, and then prepare some lunch for you to have later after I’ve left. When you wake up, we might have a chat about an issue you’ve been having, and I call your health visitor to get you booked in to see her in a couple of days.
After another cup of coffee which you get to drink while it’s still hot (if you know you know), I’ll have a quick tidy up, put a wash on, and leave you both cuddling up on the sofa.
Why should I choose you as my postnatal doula?
That’s a great question! It’s really important that we meet beforehand and talk through what it is that you need from a postnatal doula, and I’d usually suggest that we meet a few weeks before your baby is expected to arrive.
My approach is:
- Genuine and non-judgmental. I am here to support and empower you in your choices, whether you breast or bottle feed, choose reusable or disposable nappies, baby wear or use a buggy, go with your baby’s routine or introduce one that suits you. My role is to enable you to be the kind of parent that you want to be.
- Caring but practical, and I’m able to carry out the everyday things you might need help with like cooking or entertaining other children. I’m a great cook and I’ve got loads of recipes up my sleeve which will nourish you and delight your tastebuds.
- Flexible and open to helping in the way that you need to be supported.
- Local, and as a fellow Northamptonshire mum I’ll be able to signpost you to different services, activities and support in your area.
You can read more about me here.
What other things can you offer me?
As a qualified pregnancy and postnatal yoga teacher, I can incorporate yoga and meditation into your support sessions if you would like to. Rather than the pressure of getting to a postnatal class on time, we can set aside say half an hour during our time together and fit that time around your baby and you.
I can also provide you with details about local resources, support and events, and signpost you to other amazing local women to help on specifics like breastfeeding or baby wearing.
How much does it cost?
The answer is that it depends. I will usually charge £17 an hour for support (for parents based in Northampton and surrounding villages) but I will create a package for you that suits your needs exactly and gives you the level and length of support that you want. I recommend a minimum of 2 hours for each session and to have a session at least once a week for 6 weeks, but when we initially meet we will discuss what you’d like to do.
Can you support me as a birth doula?
At the moment, I’m not qualified as a birth doula, because I have a young son and can’t be on call overnight (yet!). I am passionate about supporting women during their pregnancy, birth and beyond so it’s something I’d love to train as in the future!
If you’re interested to learn more, get in touch.