It’s World Doula Week! Ok, so maybe Ritchie Valens wasn't singing about Doulas, but now I am!
Doulas are a vital resource for families before, during, and after birth. When my own clients are working with Doulas, I know they will get the extra care and support they need as they navigate parenthood and breastfeeding. To celebrate World Doula Week I’ve invited Danielle and Megan, of Chesapeake Birth and Baby, to share about the work they do as postpartum doulas...
Much like the work Cynthia does, the doulas at Chesapeake Birth and Baby are there to help new families find their way. During those first weeks and months with a new baby, many parents feel unsure of their decisions- they’re acclimating to a new tiny human, new routines, unfamiliar equipment, and exhaustion- and facing so many outside opinions leaves these new families feeling confused. Our doulas are there to help parents navigate their way with their new baby to reach their goals for their family.
The doulas at Chesapeake Birth and Baby will help tend to the parents’ and baby’s physical and emotional needs, and offer researched-based support. We help the new family weed out all of the suggestions and judgments from the outside world, creating a space that feels right for them. There are ample opinions coming from almost everyone once a baby is born, but our doulas will help figure out what is best for the family, speaking to their values, wants, and needs.
The doulas are also there to help with light housework, so the piles of neglected dishes and laundry will get washed and put away. If nourishment looks more like a cold slice of turkey meat and some crackers between diaper changes than healthy balanced meals, we’re happy to prepare wholesome home-cooked meals. Because getting out of the house with an infant can seem like a monumental task, our doulas are available to run errands, or travel with the family to various appointments. We’ll even help pack the diaper bag so that nothing gets left behind!
Often when a family with more than one child hires a doula, it’s because they need to feel balance between the new baby and their first baby. Our doulas are just as comfortable with an infant as they are with an energetic four year old. Alternatively, we’re happy to tend to the baby’s needs so that the parents can spend special time with the older child(ren).
Essentially, whatever the needs of the new family are, we’re there to support. We know each family has different, ever evolving demands and desires, and so our doulas are trained to meet the individuals and help them work towards their goals. We’re there to help families thrive!
Here’s what a day with a doula may look like-
7:55am- Arrived early, let myself in the door, and said hello to the family upstairs
8:00am- Made breakfast for the children, and packed lunches for the day
8:25am- Helped the children get dressed for school
8:35am- Took the baby from the client, burped, changed, rocked her, and put her in her bed
9:15am- Collected the dirty laundry and threw it in the machine, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher,
9:45am- Put tea pot on to boil, watered houseplants while it heated
9:55am- Brought client a nutritious snack and tea, and sat with the client to chat about how she’s feeling emotionally, and addressed her concerns about her postpartum life adjustment
10:45am- Switched laundry
10:50am- Meal planned for the week with the client
11:38am- Brought crying baby and a glass of water to the client
11:45am- Folded laundry and put away laundry
12:05pm- Burped, changed, and rocked the baby while the client took a shower
12:25pm- Went to grocery store to get items needed for the week’s meals
1:45pm- Returned to the house, put away the groceries
1:55pm- Brought the baby downstairs with me so that the client could nap
2:00pm- Played with older children while baby and client slept
2:25pm- Gave art supplies to older children to create with, began meal preparations for freezer meals and dinner,
3:40pm- Took crying baby to client for feeding
4:30pm- Cleaned up kitchen, put dinner in the oven
5:00pm- Said goodbye to client for the evening
Thank you, Danielle and Megan, for your continued support for my clients, and all the families you continue to support!
Even if you didn't use a doula for your birth, Danielle and Megan are available to support you in this transition. Visit their website at https://www.chesapeakebirthandbaby.com/.
How did your doula help you navigate this new life we call Parenthood?
Cynthia Bischoff, IBCLC, is the owner and provider at Lactation Life, offering lactation consults in Maryland.