What does a postpartum doula actually do?
Each doula is different, just as each family is different in what they need. Some things a postpartum doula can do for you:
empower the mother, offer resources if necessary
light housekeeping, to include dishes, laundry, pick up toys (ask your doula things she is willing to do for more specifics)
respite for mom and dad, (can take care of baby while you rest, or take a walk)
lactation help (again ask during interview to determine the depth of their knowledge)
This is just a short list of things that can be offered, talk to your doula about your families specific needs.
What a doula is NOT.
Doula’s are generalized, many have further training, but overall are generalist, not specialist.
Doula’s are not doctors or medical professionals.
Doula’s are not therapist, nanny’s or housekeepers.
When does a doula began working with the family?
Each family is different, if you have realized you desired a doula before the baby comes, most doulas will meet with you before baby arrives a few times to get to know the family and understand your needs.
Postpartum doulas can begin working with your family from the first day you arrive home, or even 8 or 12 weeks postpartum.
How long will a postpartum doula be with the family?
Each families needs are different, but generally speaking most postpartum doulas are with you during your postpartum period, up to 12 weeks. Some doulas also offer transitional care meaning they can be with you and care for your baby while you transition back to work or care for your baby part time, until there is space in the preschool. If you are going to remain at home and need longer care, speak with the doula, she may be able to stay with you past the “general” 12 week postpartum period. Heather’s Haven is very flexible in the “postpartum” period and has worked with families up to six months before transitioning to into child care.
How long are your shifts?
Heather’s Haven, depending on the location will work a shift as short as 2 hours. Speak with your postpartum doula about your specific needs, most doulas will work anywhere from 4 hours to full 8 hour shifts. Some doulas, especially agencies can provide longer coverage if your family needs it.