Updated: May 15, 2019
Once you enter the world as a new or expecting parent, you suddenly become aware of all the latest baby trends. You're probably wondering which of these products and services you actually need to care for your newborn. There are bassinets that rock your babe to sleep, bottles that feel like real nipples, strips of cloth that wrap in some kind of witchcraft to hold your baby to your chest...it can be hard to tell what is necessary and what is good marketing.
I mean, people have been having babies without all this stuff for centuries, right?
So while you might not be sold on those prenatal pilates classes or a fancy running stroller, there is one essential I can guarantee you won't ever regret investing in -- postpartum support.
Your postpartum doula is professionally trained to care for you, your family, and your baby in the first days and weeks of their life. Here are just a few reasons you might consider including a doula on your list of new baby must-haves:
1. You don't feel "qualified" to take care of a baby.
Ok. So first off, no parents feel totally prepared to take care of their newborn. You learn as you go, and I'm confident you would be able to figure things out on your own. Still, caring for a tiny human for the first time while you're sleep deprived can be an overwhelming task. Your postpartum doula is a source of evidence-based information, calm reassurance, and sincere validation for first time parents. She can show you how to change a diaper, burp your little one, soothe gas pain, and create a sleep routine. She'll help with feeding, and answer questions you have about soothing your baby when he cries. Best of all, your postpartum doula knows there's not one right way to care for a baby, so instead of just instructing you, she'll guide you to make choices that fit your family's needs and values (and will never judge you for the decisions you make).
2. Your family lives out of state. Maybe your best friend had her mother in law move in for 6 weeks when the baby was born. Maybe that was a great experience for her, but not everyone has family that can a) drop everything and become a live in support or b) actually provide useful assistance. I get it, family is complicated. Postpartum doulas can be a great solution for new parents who can't rely solely on family and friends for help. You never have to feel like you're putting us out to help with the chores or talking about your concerns. We come and go on a set schedule that meets your needs, and never become unintended houseguests. You can even ask family and friends out of state to gift postpartum doula shifts as a shower present! That way they can contribute from anywhere in the world.
3. You need your sleep.
If you're someone who needs their eight hours, new parenthood can be a shock to the system. Not only do postpartum doulas help out in the daytime hours, we also provide overnight care. That means you and your partner can lay down for a full night of sleep knowing your newborn is safe and sound. We handle the middle of the night feedings, diaper changes, and soothing so you can wake up well rested and ready to face the day. Even if you're exclusively breastfeeding, our doula will bring baby to you to nurse, then burp, swaddle, and soothe her while you drift back to sleep. You wake up to a tidy house, a happy baby, and breakfast in the fridge. What could be better than that?
4. You have older kids. Ask any second or third time mom; your second baby is nothing like the first. Caring for a newborn while also parenting a toddler or school aged child is no easy task. Now, anyone raising multiple tiny humans is a superhero in my book, but that doesn't mean you need to do it all alone. Your doula will be able to tend to older siblings' needs, giving you time to bond with and focus on your infant. She will also work with your older kids to find age-appropriate ways for them to bond with their new brother or sister.
Ultimately, your doula is an extra pair of hands to help with laundry that's piling up, to prepare a nutritious meal, or to simply sit and listen as a trusted friend while you grow in confidence as a new parent. Her job is to nurture you as you nurture your baby. Of any baby essential out there, trusted, competent support is the most valuable thing to have as a new parent.
If you're a Metro Detroit family considering hiring a postpartum doula, Doula Rose can help! To book a free consultation and learn more about how postpartum support can benefit your family, click here.