what is a postpartum doula?
The main focus of a postpartum doula is to help parents learn to care for and integrate the newborn in to their family. A Postpartum Doula usually provides care for the family during the 'fourth trimester,' or the first three months of a newborn's life. They are meant to support not only the mother, but also the partner and anyone else in the family unit, building their confidence in caring for baby. A Postpartum Doula can help wade through the mountain of advice new parents are given by family and friends, offer tips on baby care, lend a sympathetic ear, and help with community resources.
According to DONA's (Doulas of North America) website, a Postpartum Doula:
Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
Research shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction, and reduce the risk of mood disorders (www.dona.org).
A more detailed descpription of a doula's role in the Postpartm process can be found on DONA's website, here.