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Postpartum Doula Care: When to Move On

By The Welcome Baby Care Doulas

Many of our clients—parents of multiples in particular—ask us:  “How long do people usually use your service?”  

Behind the question lurks a bit of anxiety about flying solo mixed with a desire to be “normal.”  It seems that none of our families want to be “the crazy/wimpy/spoiled ones” (their words, not ours) who can’t let go.  They want the care, but they don’t want to hear that they’ve hung on to overnights for 3 months longer than their peers.

When we talk about our work, we often say that the average length of postpartum care is 3 months.  Many people will fall in right around that mark, a few will use only 4 shifts, and others will use Welcome Baby Care—at least off and on—for the better part of the first year.

As with all things related to parenting, you need to do what works for you, without much concern about what the neighbors think.

Families with multiples often benefit from a lengthier relationship with their postpartum doula, as the demands placed on them are at the very least doubled.  Relocated new parents lacking nearby family and friends also need more help.  Babies with special needs and/or health issues might bring about the need for more support.  Every situation is unique and there is no right or wrong answer to the question of how long to keep scheduling doula shifts.  We tailor care to the individual family, and every family is different.

That said, if you are wondering if it’s “right,” you might be ready to start weaning off of doula care.

Be honest with yourself.  Does your doula feel more like a nanny?  Does your doula feel like a night nurse?  Are you OK with that?  Is she?  Don’t be afraid to ask these questions.  Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t care what it looks like.  This is who was here at the beginning, this is who I trust, and I need help.”  Don’t be afraid to talk to the doula!  We are trained to listen, assess, and solve.

Saying goodbye is bittersweet, but it is a doula’s job and a doula’s pleasure to help you achieve independence—whether that be at 3 weeks or 8 months.

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