Society has this idea that being sleep deprived, stressed, starving, and having a “do-it-all attitude” is a badge of honor to be attained by new moms & dads. Because, ya know…that’s just how it goes. “Welcome to parenthood.”
Boy-oh-boy are we sorely mistaken. And that outlook on the postpartum period is a HUGE disservice to these new families. Telling them to suck-it-up-buttercup and deal-with-it rarely leads to any sort of positive outcomes.
Let me say it loud, proud, and crystal clear…. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
Your professional postpartum doula will provide you with nonjudgmental support, answer those questions lingering after a long night, help your family transition into this new time together, and help you find your confidence as a new parent.
With a postpartum doula, you cannot only survive the postpartum time…YOU CAN THRIVE!
So, what does a shift with a postpartum doula look like? Well, it’s different for everyone, since each family has their own set of goals, desires, and concerns. Here’s one way it can go:
8 am- Your partner has left for work. You roll out of bed after an awful night of sleep and welcome your doula at the door. She gives you a warm embrace, sees how tired you are, hands you a cold glass of water, and encourages you to head back to bed to relax. You crawl into your warm bed and snuggle up next to your sweet baby girl for a little while longer.
Your doula heads into the kitchen, prepares a pot of coffee, and gets a breakfast casserole together. It’ll be a warm meal for you in no-time and the leftovers will be a perfect re-heated meal for the rest of the week. She also works on getting the dishes done and the counters straightened up.
9:00- She comes to get you for breakfast & takes your baby for a diaper change and a little bit of tummy time. Just after you’ve eaten, you begin to nurse. Towards the end of a long nursing session, your baby starts fighting the urge to sleep. Your doula reminds you of that amazing swaddle technique that got her to sleep in no time. You wrap her up and she starts to doze off. Your doula gets her to the crib for her nap.
10:15- You realize you want to pump to add to your stash in preparation to head back to work in a few weeks. While you pump, your doula asks you about your night, finds out about the struggles you’re having and encourages you. She reassures you that the timing of this may be a sign of a growth spurt for your little one, which may be why she is cluster feeding at night. You find it helpful to know that this phase is temporary and you gain strength to get through another night. You talk a bit more…about pumping schedules, what to expect when you head back to work, short term goals for the week, and the possibility of overnight care from your doula later in the week.
When you’re done pumping & talking, your doula gathers the milk and gets it ready to be frozen. She already organized your deep freezer for you at the last shift and has all the milk appropriately dated and grouped together for easy grabbing when you head back to work. She cleans out the bottles and supplies you used for pumping and has them on the rack for drying, ready to be used next time you pump.
11:30- You use this time to get a little self-care in. Time for a warm shower and to catch up on those emails, bills, and missed calls from friends & family. Your doula takes care of the laundry that’s piled up over the last 2 days. While she folds laundry, she also starts getting the grocery list together for the afternoon grocery trip.
1:00- You come out of your office to a full plate of food (A BLT, fresh grapes, pasta salad, and a tall glass of sweet tea), the laundry is complete, and your grocery list for the next two days is done. You hear the baby wake up and your doula goes to get her. She puts her in a wrap to wear around the house while you enjoy your lunch (and even shows you how to do it for when she’s gone!). When you’re finished eating you head to the couch to feed her. Your doula gets ready to head to the grocery story. Suddenly you remember…you forgot to pick up your prescription yesterday! She happily swings by Walgreens on the way home so you don’t have to worry about it.
2:00- Your doula arrives home and you’re comfortably bonding and talking with your baby. No distractions of errands, laundry, meal preparation. You get to enjoy this incredibly short period of time that is 4th trimester…just letting it all sink in. The doula unpacks the groceries and gets them put away. She pulls out a few items and throws them in the crock pot for a yummy Taco Stew. It’ll be ready by 6, just in time for when your husband gets home from work.
3:00- Your doula finishes wiping down the counter and checks in with you. She fills up your water bottle to be sure you stay hydrated and places a snack down in front of you. You let her know you MIGHT consider cloth diapering but want some guidance on what to expect. She happily gives you a quick run down and says she’ll bring in a few different diapers to show at the next shift so you can talk about it in more detail. You also talk about doing your first big outing with the baby and you ask if that can happen at the next shift so your doula can support you through it. And, she gives you a big YES, because that’s what’s she’s here for.
3:30- Your doula heads out and you put on your favorite TV show while nursing. You’ve got all you need in the little basket next to you she put together at the first postpartum shift.
This is just ONE way a postpartum shift can look. There are a million variations of this. Your doula’s primary role is to be sure your family’s adjustment to the postpartum period is going as smoothly as possible.
So, what would your postpartum doula do to help your family adjust?
Authored by: Lacey Bauer