What does postnatal doula support look like?

What does postnatal doula support look like? That is a good question and one I get asked all the time when meeting prospective clients or talking to people about the work I do day to day. The short answer- it looks like whatever you need it to look like!

In reality Postnatal Doula Support comprises of an endless list of possible activities and each family will have their own priorities and non-negotiables when it comes to the services and care they require to help them during the postnatal recovery period. That is why it is important for me to spend time with prospective clients talking through their previous experiences, their lifestyles, priorities, vision for their postpartum recovery and individual personalities. This allows me to build a picture of the kind of support they might need and then on a visit by visit basis priorities may shift based on the day, type of night they've had, how they and their baby are feeling etc.

My standard visit length is 3 hours to allow time for catching up, some rest for parents, some household support, baby care, meal prep etc. and these visits normally take place 1-2 times a week for between 4 and 8 weeks.  Some clients ask for longer sessions, more frequent visits, ad hoc support and for some clients support lasts well beyond the initial weeks with your newborn. I have worked with families for up to a year post partum and for some the support has not even started until later in the first year with their baby. 

Some families are primariliy looking for practical support around the home with light household tasks, meal preparation, laundry and assistance with errands. For others the support is mainly emotional and informational, especially if this is their first baby- when the shift in priorities is most keenly felt and all the advice from varying camps feels overwhelming. Some families have had a rough time in their previous postnatal period and are looking for additional support to smooth the path to a much more enjoyable experience with a subsequent baby! Whatever the needs may be, my job is to provide loving and non-judgemental support. I am here for you- whatever the circumstances and whatever your choices for parenting may be! My main aim is for you to feel cared for, supported and heard!

Examples of postnatal support tasks I have provided:

  • light housework (bed changing, hoovering, kitchen tidying, laundry folding- including mountains of sock sorting!)
  • Meal preparation (light lunches, dinner to go in the oven, freezer stocking)
  • Baby care (changing, feeding, winding and babywearing)
  • Running errands (shopping, collecting prescriptions, nursery drop off/pick up)
  • Taking baby out for a walk (in all weathers- allowing parents to rest and recharge)
  • Listening (always a non-judgemental ear) and signposting (to evidence based information)
  • Support with older siblings or baby care so you can spend time with your older children.
  • Wrapping presents and preparing for celebrations.

The list goes on- if you are wondering if I can support you with it, then just ask!

Natalie made sure that I ate well, she  helped with the mountains of laundry that come with having a family of 5 and supported me in keeping the kitchen and living areas tidy. Most importantly, she made sure that I had some rest and that I was well 'mentally' too.

I always looked forward to Natalie's visits - I knew she would bring calmness to my chaotic days and that I would get the much needed care that I was longing for. My babies absolutely adored Natalie, spending hours cuddling up to her in a sling, going on walks or simply having a play and a giggle together.




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