What does a postpartum doula do?
A better question to ask is: What doesn’t a postpartum doula do?
What one doula does for one mom may differ from what she does for another. At the most basic level, postpartum doulas can provide support and information about infant feeding practices, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, as well as tips and tricks for calming your newborn and dealing with all those new parenting responsibilities.
A postpartum doula can also help with your physical or emotional recovery during the first months of the baby’s birth, as known as the fourth trimester. If you needed extra help in these areas, your doula is also a great resource for finding the right places to get what you need.
Postpartum doulas don’t do things like offer medical advice, provide medical care, or speak for the mother or family on any medical matters. Instead, the postpartum doula provides the information, resources, and support. If they can’t help you, they can help you find someone who can.
In Asian cultures, postpartum confinement is traditionally done immediately following childbirth, and the confinement typically lasts for up to 30 days, or to 100 days, depending on the cultures/countries. In Chinese culture, this postpartum period is known as “sitting the month” (“坐月子”), and referred to as ‘confinement’ as women are advised to stay indoors for recovery from the trauma of birth and feed the newborn baby. Aspects of traditional Chinese medicine are included, with a special focus on eating foods considered to be nourishing for the body and help with the production of breastmilk. It is a period that is greatly valued for the mothers’ future physical and mental health.
“The greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken. If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature.” — Dr. Maria Montessori
“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.” — Dr. Maria Montessori