In the weeks following the very early days, ongoing postpartum support continues to be invaluable to families adjusting to their new arrival. Postpartum visits provide a special time of day or night when you can look forward to feeling caught up, rested, and back on track for at least the time being. That’s a wonderful feeling!
It can also be extremely valuable for new questions, discussions, and continued reassurance as parents chart this new ground. There is nothing like face-to-face, comprehensive support through the early weeks or months. What better investment can you make to nip feeding challenges in the bud, stay ahead of exhaustion, and enjoy the companionship and help of an experienced, non-judgmental and compassionate visitor?
a postpartum doula offers reassuring breastfeeding support ~ especially helpful on day three & four postpartum
If you’re breastfeeding an especially comforting and important time to have support is on days three and four postpartum. This is when your breast milk is transitioning from the smaller amounts of colostrum to the more abundant volume of mature milk. Baby’s tiny tummy, at first only as big as a cherry, is a good match for the first days of the rich, thick golden milk as long as baby is put to the breast early and often. But many families get nervous about their baby getting enough to eat as the milk volume just begins to increase. It can be a huge comfort to have a knowledgeable support person at your side to help you assess, encourage, and guide you through these delicate few days.
This is also a great time to check in about how your baby feels at the breast so you move through the next days in comfort and with continued confidence. Your doula can help get things back on track if that's what's needed or just offer some reassurance that what you’re experiencing is natural and normal for a newborn!
The aim of a postpartum doula is to be a positive and comfortable addition to your home after the arrival of your baby; offering support, care, and assistance where it is needed and appropriate. You are the expert when it comes to knowing what is best for you and your family, and your doula will be on the lookout for ways to bolster your efforts and ease your transition & recovery. Maybe it's running a bath for you and emptying the dishwasher; maybe reviewing how to swaddle, setting up a diaper changing station, sharing some baby soothing techniques; or acting as your sous chef and getting that night’s dinner set up. And nighttime care? That means you can pare down your involvement to just the time it takes to nurse or pump (if applicable) while your doula takes care of your baby & some quiet nighttime tasks. All while you’re maximizing your sleep.
A doula’s personal care and attention, day or night, can help tip the balance from tired and overwhelmed to refreshed and confident. You’ll be looking forward to the next postpartum visit with your doula, no doubt!
More often than not new parents fall behind in nurturing themselves in ways they previously enjoyed. A nap, a quick phone call or a shower can seem nearly impossible in the early days and weeks at home with a newborn. Along with easing the burden of your daily lives by offering to take care of routine household tasks, you can rely on your doula to help you carve out time during a visit to luxuriate in some time for yourself. You pick what you'd like to do! No need to rush or be on alert with a half-listening ear at these times. You can trust your doula to bring you back into the picture as soon as your baby needs you, but in the meantime you can take care of whatever your heart desires and recharge your batteries, gently easing yourself into life with your newborn family member.
Visits with your doula always begin with an assessment of your needs and setting up goals for your time together; discussing and fine-tuning your care so that it is unique to you and your baby and to that particular day. A first visit will most likely focus on your birth and your perinatal recovery; your baby's feeding cues and latch or paced bottle feedings. The next may be breast comfort and bathing your baby. A little later on, baby wearing and sleep strategies. At each and every visit with a doula? Time for you to rest, for help with household tasks, for sharing and asking questions. Even if you are not sure what you want during your early visits together, your doula has the experience to guide and offer what seems needed that day. Rest assured.
reflections of a postpartum doula