17 Apr What is a postnatal doula and why should I have one?
WHAT IS A POSTNATAL DOULA?
A postnatal doula is experienced, knowledgeable and caring person who provides practical and emotional support to families with a new baby, particularly focussing on the new mother. She will encourage, nurture and reassure you as a new mother, as well as provide hands-on practical support in the home. This allows you time to bond with your new baby, to get some rest, and to thrive in your new role as your baby grows! A postnatal doula will work alongside your family in a way that meets your needs. This may typically involve visiting a few times a week for the fist 6-8 weeks, or may be a longer term arrangement.
WHY HAVE A POSTNATAL DOULA?
As a couple expecting a baby, you may find yourselves well informed about labour and birth through attending antenatal classes, but feel very poorly prepared for caring for your new baby. It can be a daunting prospect to be fully responsible for the care of a baby, when you might have little previous experience or knowledge.
There may be particular reasons you need additional support in the postnatal period- maybe you are having twins or multiples or are worried about Caesarean recovery? Perhaps you feel at risk for postnatal depression and want some additional support in place?
But postnatal support is not something that needs to be justified with special circumstances- all new mothers need good support throughout those early weeks, but sadly, it is common in our culture that our immediate family and friends are not able to offer that essential help.
HOW DOES A POSTNATAL SUPPORT NEW MUMS?
This is where a postnatal doula can be invaluable. A doula’s role involves nurturing and caring for a new mother as she grows in confidence and competence in the skills required, and of course, being a support to the partner and any other children in the family. She will also be very hands-on in the practical help offered in order to keep the household running smoothly, allowing you as a mother precious time to focus on and bond with your baby and recover from the birth.
She will be a calming and reassuring presence in your home and will help you through the early days with a new baby. The laundry will be under control, you will have a nutritious, home-cooked meal ready for dinner time, you will be brought drinks and snacks, and have opportunity to rest and shower during the day. You will have someone knowledgeable and kind right on hand to help, listen, and reassure. Your doula will be able to help with the basics of breastfeeding and has access to many local experts and support groups and knows where to point you if needed.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But I hear you asking, can we afford this, isn’t having a doula a frivolous luxury for the wealthy like Meghan Markle?
It’s not hard to spend £750 on a travel system, or a couple of hundred pounds on baby gadgets that you could manage without. Perhaps rethink your spending priorities, cutting back a little or even ask for a contribution towards a postnatal doula from family and friends as a baby shower or instead of a new baby gift?
A happy, supported, confident and thriving new mother is undoubtedly well worth the investment!
WHO IS JANINE?
Janine Ebling is an experienced postnatal doula in Woking, Surrey who has spent time working as a midwife and has training in baby wearing. She really enjoys supporting new families in a non- judgemental way. She has a gentle, caring manner and she can help to support you in your own home. As a doula she provides emotional, informational and practical support during the early weeks with a new baby.