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What (Postpartum) Doulas Do

We get asked this all the time! So we decided to play around with the question and present three possible scenarios. This is to illustrate how our care is so often tailor-made, specific to each family’s needs. These are but three of MANY possibilities.

1. The Mom Intensive Shift

Mom labored for 48 hours, vomited frequently throughout, suffered third degree perineal tears, hemorrhaged shortly after delivering the placenta and — as a result — was separated from Baby for the first 45 minutes of life.

The WBC doula arrives on day four postpartum to find Mom depleted, dehydrated, exhausted and weepy. The milk has just come in and hormones are high.

The first thing the doula does is make Mom a hot cup of tea with lemon and a snack. While Mom eats and nurses her little one, the doula encourages her to talk through the birth. Mom was definitely traumatized by the experience — she wonders if she almost died, she wonders why her body “failed” her and blames herself, as a mother, for the brief separation from Baby just after birth. Many tears are shed and though the conversation is difficult, there is a strong sense of relief after. The doula tells the mother that she has every right to feel the many emotions that come with birth, especially after such a challenging experience. She also points out that in spite of the difficult labor and immediate separation, Baby is nursing really well and that the mother-child bond is evident.

After the nursing-snacking-talking session winds down, the doula burps and swaddles the baby and suggests that Mom and Dad take a nap. While everyone sleeps, the doula does a load of dishes, organizes the diaper area, starts a pot of soup for dinner and writes a long note of encouragement to the new mom.


2. All Hands on Deck!

It’s twin baby boys! On top of a lively, feisty, POTTY TRAINING toddler girl. Mom and Dad are transplants from San Francisco. The grandmas will visit eventually, but for now the parents are all alone. They are overwhelmed and beyond tired.

The doula arrives for an extra long overnight shift amidst total chaos. Mom is attempting to nurse one Baby while Dad frantically bounces and walks with the other, who is screaming. The toddler is not yet in bed and is watching cartoons while jumping on the couch — naked.

The family is combining breastfeeding with some formula supplementation. The doula first makes a small bottle of formula for Dad to feed to his twin and then rushes to the aid of Mom and gives her some quick tips for getting a good latch with an overtired and fussy baby. It works!

The doula then takes over for Dad and he is able to get Big Sis ready for bed.

When both twins are calm and not so hungry, the doula helps Mom practice tandem nursing…to great success! She then sends her off to bed with a plan of feeding the babies expressed breast milk and/or formula for the next four hours, if need be. Mom looks forward to a couple of longer stretches of sleep through the night, with the doula’s help.

In the morning the family wakes to fresh pumpkin muffins for breakfast, a clean kitchen and two loads of folded laundry.


3. Back to Work Booster

It’s been twelve weeks of blissful WBC doula care. Mom is ready to head back to work and is — naturally — feeling a little nervous. Her favorite doula is scheduled for an overnight.

Upon arrival, the doula sits down with Mom for a little “pep talk.” They have previously gone over using the breast pump and advocating for time and space to do so. The doula helped Mom vet and train the nanny and reassures her that she has made the right choice. Mom cries, doula listens — all of the feelings ranging from excitement to terror to heart-wrenching sadness are completely normal.

Baby is almost sleeping through the night at this point — the doula handles the one middle of the night feeding so that Mom can get a full night’s sleep before her big day. Meanwhile, the doula makes a casserole for tomorrow night’s dinner (Mom might be too tired to cook), does the laundry, irons Mom’s work clothes and packs a lunch for the workday ahead — complete with cookies and an encouraging Post-it note.

The doula is there in the morning to make sure Mom eats a little something with that cup of coffee and to help greet the nanny.



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