When I graduated high school, I thought I had my future mapped out. I had always been fascinated by the beauty of pregnancy and believed that becoming an Ultrasound Technician would be the perfect career for me. However, as I began my studies to become a Medical Assistant, I discovered my true passion for patient care and nursing. I had chosen the medical assisting program as a steppingstone to a sonography career, but it ended up being the starting point for a new journey.
After completing my program, I gave birth to my baby girl and made the decision to put my career on hold to focus on being the best mother I could be. I took on a live-in nanny position while my husband was stationed overseas, and it was an incredible experience to be able to care for children while also spending time with my own baby. This experience reinforced my desire to help others and solidified my decision to become a postpartum doula.
Photo by Jenna Norman
The word "doula" comes from ancient Greek, meaning "a woman who serves". As a postpartum doula, my role is to provide emotional and physical support to new mothers during the fourth trimester, or the first few months after birth. It is such a fulfilling career, and I can confidently say that I have found my calling.
For anyone interested in becoming a postpartum doula, the journey may look different for everyone. But for anyone who wants a rewarding career and feels their passion is to serve, this may be the job for you. A good starting point is to research different postpartum doula trainings and compare the core values and mission statements of each program. It's important to feel aligned with the person who will be training you.
Personally, I had already had several years of infant care experience when I discovered this line of work, but it was actually four years that I had been working as a doula before I sought out formal training. The role of a postpartum doula is not only to care for the baby, but also to be a support and guide for the new mother during the postpartum period. This requires a deep understanding of the importance of "mothering" the new mother.
I found my training through the Newborn Mothers Collective, and Julia Jones' approach to postpartum care immediately caught my eye. Her dedication to helping women navigate the fourth trimester, as well as her outlook on the postpartum period, aligned with my own passion. Her statement "When a baby is born, so is a mother" sealed the deal for me, and I knew I had to enroll in her program. I was especially intrigued by how she dived into postpartum traditions from all over the world and her desire to change the postpartum care paradigm.
As far as infant care goes, it's important for postpartum doulas to educate themselves on newborn care, be up to date of safe sleep practices and always have a growth mindset. It's also helpful to read a breastfeeding book if you've never had your own experience breastfeeding.
For anyone considering a career as a postpartum doula, I highly recommend checking out the Newborn Mothers training. As an affiliate, I can personally attest to the quality of the training and the proficiency of the instructor, Julia. I have truly enjoyed my experience and appreciate the continued support I've received from her.
Seeking the support of an experienced postpartum doula and lactation specialist? I'd be happy to set up a complimentary call for you here.
Hey there, new mama! Are you in need of some support after your baby is born, but not interested in having someone physically present in your home? Virtual postpartum doula support might be the perfect solution for you.
Postpartum doulas provide support in the first weeks after birth. They provide informational support about feeding and caring for the baby. As a postpartum doula and certified breastfeeding specialist, I am able to provide non-judgmental support, a listening ear, and a sounding board to new parents as they navigate the challenges of parenthood. I can offer support and guidance on a variety of topics related to caring for a newborn, including soothing techniques, sleep routines, breastfeeding and pumping. I am also able to troubleshoot pumping issues, teach paced-feeding methods to assist with transitioning from bottle to breast, and help mothers size themselves for their flange to make the process of pumping comfortable and more efficient.
Through phone calls, texts and video chats, I can provide the same level of support as an in-person doula, but without invading your space or disrupting your home life. I am here to support you as you adjust to your new role and can also refer you to other professionals or resources if needed.
Virtual postpartum doula support is a great option for new parents who want the support of a doula but prefer not to have someone physically present in their home. If you're interested in this type of support, I encourage you to reach out and schedule a consultation. With the right support, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the challenges of parenthood with confidence.
Are you feeling exhausted from being awakened by your little one every few hours each night? It's completely normal for babies to wake up frequently during the night, but as a parent, it can be tiring. If you're struggling to get your baby to sleep through the night, you're not alone! Here are a few tips that might help:
Establish a bedtime routine: One of the most important things you can do to help your baby sleep longer stretches is to establish a consistent bedtime routine. This can include feeding, calming activities, and winding down for sleep. When your baby knows what to expect before bed, it can help them feel more comfortable and secure, which can lead to better sleep.
Swaddle your baby: Swaddling can be a great way to help your baby sleep more soundly. When babies are wrapped in a light blanket, it can eliminate involuntary reflex movements that might wake them up. Just make sure to follow safe swaddling guidelines to ensure that your baby is comfortable and not at risk of overheating.
Keep the nursery dark and quiet: Newborns and infants are particularly sensitive to light and noise, so it's important to create a dark and quiet environment in the nursery. You can use blackout curtains or a sleep shade to block out light, and a white noise machine or app can be helpful for drowning out any external noises that might disturb your baby's sleep.
Practice a slower-paced feeding: When it comes to feeding, it's important to take your time and allow your baby to eat at their own pace. This can help prevent overfeeding, which can lead to gas and discomfort that might wake your baby up at night. Holding your baby upright for at least 20 minutes after a feeding allows for proper digestion and helps prevent gas.
By following these tips, you can help your baby get the rest they need to grow and develop. Remember to be patient, as it can take time for your baby to adjust to a new sleep schedule. And don't be afraid to ask for help if you're feeling overwhelmed – there are plenty of resources available to support you on your journey to better sleep for both you and your little one.
If you're trying to get your baby to sleep through the night and feeling drained with the whole process, my gentle sleep coaching services may be able to help. With my background as a postpartum doula, I can create a personalized sleep plan for your family and cheer you on as you work to put it into action.
Click here to learn more about my services or schedule a free 15-minute consult!
Why should expectant mothers take the time to learn about breastfeeding during pregnancy?
If you are interested in taking a prenatal breastfeeding class, I currently offer classes in-person for mothers in the Houston area and virtually for those who are not local to me. As a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and Postpartum Doula with over eight years of experience supporting breastfeeding families, extensive lactation education, and a heart for serving others, I would love to be apart of your support network as you navigate your motherhood journey.
>> Learn more about me and my services here <<
Source: Amy Spangler, Breastfeeding: Ready. Set. Go! Counseling Guide
What is a Doula?
In 1973 American Medical Anthropologist, Dana Raphael coined the word "doula" as a woman outside the family who tenders the new mother, so she can successfully breastfeed. Her book The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding so beautifully describes the shift that happens when a woman becomes a mother, known as Matrescence. This book is one that I hold dear and it has become a model of care for me as a Postpartum Doula. Although it was written in the 70s and is now out of print, I resonate with it so much and love lending it out to my clients from time to time. So many feelings, emotions, and hormonal changes happen during the birth and postpartum period and it's incredibly important for women to be supported and nurtured during this sacred phase. However you chose to define your doula work, know that you are valued as you pour your heart and passion into the lives of families. Keep doula'ing your thang!
What services do you provide?
I currently serve Houston, Tx and surrounding areas, offering postpartum doula support, lactation visits (both in-home and virtual) and gentle sleep coaching. You can follow my doula journey @ instagram.com/newbynurturing and if you would like to inquire about my services please fill out my contact form > newbynurturing.com/contact.
Happy World Doula Week!
-Katie Newby, Postpartum Doula, and Certified Breastfeeding Specialist