After having a baby, the growth and learning doesn’t stop, yet you are sent home with minimal resources to figure it all out. That fourth trimester, while exciting and beautiful, can also be scary and exhausting. You are learning how to care for this new tiny human, while creating your lifelong connection. And, the fact is, no matter how many times you have been in the fourth trimester, it is different every time. I had a Q & A with Shiya, Philadelphia postpartum doula, lactation consultant, and owner of Mama au Lait to learn about the ways that doulas can help during such an exciting and exhausting time.
A: I became a postpartum doula in September of 2021, I have been a breastfeeding counselor and educator since January 2020. Before becoming involved in the postpartum support world I was a pre/postnatal yoga teacher and stay at home Mom.
A: My postpartum Services include:
A: Trusting their instincts. There is so much (mis)information out there and everyone wants to give new parents advice and it’s hard to trust what feels right for you and your growing family. Not to mention that each baby is different so even as a second or third etc time parent it is still a totally new adventure.
A: I think one of the most important ways is listening to the parents, letting them talk about their birth experience, their experience as new parents, letting them cry or laugh and being there to support them and help find ways to ease the stress together, without judgement. Being a new parent can feel incredibly isolating at the best of times, now in the pandemic world it is even harder, just being a presence in the home, some one to talk with, laugh with, cry with is so helpful.
Postpartum doulas (and seasoned moms) have lots of tricks to try whether for sleep, comfort, feeding, etc. I think having someone show you some tricks that can be helpful and cut down on time or stress is very comforting for most new parents.
Another way I think postpartum doulas really help with stress is by both taking time with the baby and giving the birthing parents a chance to shower, nap, read, eat, etc. on their own. This allows them to still feel “whole,” like their “old self.” Also teaching new parents about carriers and other ways to calm the baby while still having free hands (to eat, help with siblings, gets laundry done etc.), helps free up the parents hands.
A: Newborns really don’t need that much. Get the essentials (bassinet or co-sleeper, diapers, clothes, bath supplies) and buy the res as needed.
Looking back on my own fourth trimester experiences, I know that hiring a Philadelphia postpartum doula would have been incredibly helpful! Caring for tiny humans while working to start and/or grow my business was exhausting, and the extra support and help would have been a game changer! Did you use or plan to use a postpartum doula? Let me know your experience in the comments!