Postpartum Doula: A day in the Life
Have you ever wondered what it would look like to have a postpartum doula? You may be surprised! It looks different for every family because every family is uniquely different!
A postpartum doula has been trained and read stacks of books, but her intuition is one of her greatest assets. She does not bring her own agenda. Her job is to help the family transition after birth from surviving to managing to on its way to thriving.
How might a postpartum doula’s day look?
With The Seasoned Mama:
“Julie” just gave birth to her 4th child. She is an experienced mom, but wonders about meeting the needs of her 3 children and the needs of the baby. She wonders about sinking under it all.
I check in with her right away to see how she is doing. Is breastfeeding going o.k? How is she feeling? We talk about her birth and any special needs she may have from that. Does she need any additional resources?
Breastfeeding is going great, but it is going day and night as normal. Julie may need sleep, but her active children need attention, direction, and the all important filling of their growing bodies.
I arrive around their breakfast time. I’ll hold the baby while Julie completes breakfast, and they all eat. Following breakfast, baby goes to mama to be fed while I help the littles dress for their day.
It’s time for breakfast clean-up. I clear the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher. I’ll read stories to the children and soon they are ready for their midmorning snack.
While they enjoy their snack, today I may fold laundry. Another day, I may begin to put together their evening meal.
Julie and I will chat about how her night was with baby. We’ll talk about anything that may have changed and ways to adjust if needed.
The children are bundled to go out to play. While they are playing, I sweep the kitchen. Julie orders groceries online.
Before I know it, it’s time for lunch. After lunch, their may be a nap for a little or two. The others play in their playroom.
This is now time for Julie. Does she want to enjoy a quiet shower? Or maybe a nap? I’ll hold the newborn while she gives herself some care.
Tomorrow, I’ll pick up Julie’s grocery order on my way to her house. No need to worry, Julie, you are a rock star!
With The Beginning Mama
I just received the call Melody’s baby has been born. Tomorrow, I’ll stop by the hospital to see how she is doing. Her baby is struggling with a latch and she is in pain. We talk about getting some lactation support as soon as she gets home.
After she is discharged, I’ll stay the first night with her. She is in too much pain to latch the baby for each feeding so she begins expressing and syringe feeding. In between expressing and feeding, I wash the equipment and hold the baby to try to maximize Melody’s sleep. We set up a recording system to keep up with feeding times and amounts as well as wet and dirty diapers, because I know it is hard to remember when sleep deprived. I make sure Melody has nourishment and water close by.
Tomorrow, we know the lactation cavalry will arrive, but until then Melody does hard things tonight. I wipe her tears… the tears of pure love and joy blended with exhaustion as she wonders if she will be the mother her baby needs.
Melody and I talk about visiting with friends and family. It is easy for new mothers to become isolated these days. Visits are helpful to avoid isolation during this season yet they can easily become overwhelming if not balanced with her new world.
Attending the lactation consultation in Melody’s home the next morning results in the discovery of a tongue tie that is not allowing good milk exchange. A recommendation for seeing a care provider for a revision is discussed and a plan to help Melody and baby in the interim is put into place.
We hug each other as I leave. Melody, you ARE all your baby needs. I am amazed by you!
With The Expectant Mama
I go from there to a postpartum prenatal with Ann, an expectant client, at her home. She and I go over her postpartum survival plan she has filled out. We talk about additional ideas to help ease the first month of life with new baby.
Ann and I take a tour of the rooms where she will spend most of her time caring for her baby. In each room, ideas are shared on how to set up areas to help meet Mama’s rest and nutritional needs as well as baby’s. Preserving energy is the name of the game! As we finish, we hug goodbye and anticipate meeting again but next time with her new little one.
It’s time to take this doula home for her own nourishment and nap.
And I’ll see Melody on the other side.
We are certified postpartum doulas through DONA, Int. To learn more about postpartum doulas, visit here.
To learn more about our postpartum doula services, please visit here. And yes, postpartum doula services may be gifted.