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A Doula’s Guide to Parent Research

By Doula Jen

As a doula, I don’t often take a position on so-called controversial parenting decisions such as vaccination choice, circumcision, and bed-sharing.  My neutrality doesn’t come from a fear of liability but rather the knowledge that my dear clients are already bombarded with enough strong opinion as it is.  Baby in your arms?  Someone will tell you how to raise it.  And how not to.

What I do encourage, however, is the informed and instinctive decision.  This includes trusting gut feelings and avoiding the sea of fear-driven, venomous, opinionated, and misguided “information” often found through an innocent Google search or a foggy late night stumble upon a natural parenting message board.

Find a few sources that are trusted; find a few friends you trust too.  Though you may lean one way, give a quick peek at the opposing side too, for the sake of a complete picture.

And while I generally don’t recommend devouring 10,000 books during pregnancy (I kind of think you should take time to enjoy the ride), I do suggest a light look at the big medical decisions that you will face early on in parenthood.  You will be tired and overwhelmed when they come, and you might feel as if you’re scrambling to catch up.  You don’t want to feel as if you’ve made a decision in haste.

Because so many decisions we face as parents are polarizing, and therefore controversial, I like to encourage familiarity with that “right kind” of information so that you feel strong in your convictions, even when a close relative or friend (or nosy stranger) questions you.

And of course, information helps you follow safety protocol for your particular choice.  Co-sleeping?  Better know the guidelines.  Delaying vaccinations?  Know which ones are specifically recommended for each age group.  Circumcising?  Know your home care.  And so on…

My final gentle suggestion is one that I hold myself to in my own home-life.  No big, scary, heavy reading or decision making after dinner.  Your evening should be peaceful and as always, your doula wants you to sleep well.


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