Calm in the Chaos: A Guide to a Restful Postpartum Experience



As a postpartum doula, I get asked a lot of questions about what we do. I've shared a lot about the role of a postpartum doula in my other blog posts, so I'll give you the shortened version. 
 
We're often referred to as baby whisperers, but really, we are mother-focused. We are there to support the whole family as they welcome new life, but our priorities lie in mothering the mother during a time when so much revolves around the baby.  
 
Sure, we provide expert newborn care, but we are also there to make sure mom's resting, comfortable, and staying nourished so that she can properly heal the baby-sized wound in her belly. 
 
In our 'hustle and bustle' society, there's been a message circulating, that's left many women with the impression that they should bounce back as quickly as possible after having their baby. Well, I'm here to spread another message. You can have a slow and restful postpartum that doesn't involve you losing out at all the joy that this sacred time can bring and spreading yourself too thin. 
 
For a limited time, I'm offering my postpartum planning workbook to any expectant mother seeking a bit of peace of mind. With this tool, you can craft a plan and assemble a support network, ensuring you're not navigating this journey alone. 
Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day and happy planning! 

World Doula Week: Celebrating the Impact of Doulas


Today begins the celebratory week of Doulas, World Doula Week~ March 22nd through March 28th. This week has become a time for reflection on how I came to know this work and how it has changed me as a caregiver and a person.

 If you don’t know what a doula is, well, I’ll just start by telling you what they don’t do: deliver babies! 'If you know, you know.' If you’re a doula, you’ve likely been asked this.  

What we do is support the mother from the time of conception to delivery, through postpartum, and often through the baby’s first year of life. In the Greek language, doula means a woman who serves. 

We serve the mother during a time when talk of the baby might feel like it silences her inner voice, telling her to reach out for extra love and tenderness. We serve her because often we’ve felt times in our own womanhood/motherhood journey when we’ve desired this level of support, a listening ear, and a calming essence. Someone to validate our feelings and not pass judgment. 

It's worth noting that there are different types of doulas, including birth doulas, postpartum doulas, bereavement doulas, and my intent for this post is to celebrate the role of doulas in supporting mothers through birth, postpartum experiences, identity shifts, and times of loss. 

If you’re a doula and you’ve loved and cried tears of joy and empathy throughout your journey, I see you, because I’m doula’ing right along with you.  Happy World Doula Week!!

Nurturing the Journey: Becoming a Postpartum Doula

A Guide to Becoming a Postpartum Doula

 For many women, welcoming a new life into the world is a miraculous and transformative experience. The birth of a baby marks the birth of a mother. Across diverse cultures globally, the postpartum period, also known as matrescence is a time of transition in nearly every facet of a woman's life, as beautifully noted by Kelsey Borresen in Huff Post.

It holds profound significance, casting a sacred light on a woman's journey. As a postpartum professional, your role is crucial in supporting her. This blog post will guide you on how to embark on the rewarding journey of becoming a postpartum doula, providing holistic care and empowering mothers on their breastfeeding journeys.


Understanding the Role of a Postpartum Doula: A postpartum doula is a trained professional who extends physical, emotional, and informational support to mothers during the postpartum period. Beyond the essential newborn care, your role encompasses aiding a mother in achieving her feeding goals, embracing her unique parenting style, while prioritizing her rest and recovery. Through your dedication, you contribute to her overall well-being and foster a sense of confidence in her journey into motherhood. In 1969, American Medical Anthropologist, Dana Raphael coined the term "doula" to describe a woman outside the family who nurtures the new mother, facilitating successful breastfeeding. This historical context highlights the significance of your role in fostering a joyful and empowered motherhood experience.

Choosing the Right Training:
Your course should cover a wide range of topics, from lactation support to emotional well-being. Seek out a training program that aligns with your own mission and values, while considering factors such as the curriculum, the expertise of instructors, and the support offered post-training. Look for programs that prioritize inclusivity, cultural competence, and a commitment to empowering mothers. Seek training that emphasizes the importance of creating a supportive environment, promoting self-care, and building a strong bond between the doula and the mother.


"Mothering the Mother" Approach:

The concept of "mothering the mother" is at the core of effective postpartum doula care. It involves providing unwavering support to the mother as she navigates life with her new baby. Look for training programs that teach the skills and mindset needed to be a comforting presence for the new mother. By gaining a thorough grasp of postpartum challenges, staying up-to-date on infant feeding and sleep guidelines, and recognizing the significance of establishing connections with external resources and professionals, you can provide a well-rounded support system.

Empowering Through Breastfeeding Support: Breastfeeding is a crucial aspect of postpartum care. Choose a training program that dedicates time to breastfeeding education, offering practical guidance and solutions. Equipping yourself with the knowledge and skills to address common breastfeeding challenges will help you to better assist your clients.

Personalized and Comprehensive Support: A holistic approach to postpartum care involves tailoring your approach to meet the individual needs of each mother. A comprehensive understanding of postpartum issues allows you to offer well-rounded support.
Joining Live Training Opportunities:
To kickstart your journey as a postpartum doula, consider joining upcoming live training sessions. As a Newborn mother's graduate and affiliate, I fully recommend Julia's training course. Her live sessions provide a dynamic and interactive learning experience. Click here  if you are ready to embark on this fulfilling career path. *Live classes begin in February*

Ensuring an adequate milk supply


The beautiful journey of becoming a mother often comes with its own set of challenges, and for many breastfeeding moms, ensuring an optimal milk supply is a top priority. In this blog post, I'll share practical tips and strategies to help you maintain healthy milk production for your little one. 

Embrace Lots of Skin-to-Skin Contact

 The magic of skin-to-skin, a.k.a. Kangaroo Mother Care cannot be emphasized enough. This intimate connection with your baby not only strengthens your bond but also stimulates milk production. Spending quality time holding your baby skin-to-skin helps trigger the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for your milk ejection reflex. So, cuddle up with your little one as much as possible. 

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is key to overall health and also plays a crucial role in breastfeeding. It's important to drink enough water throughout the day to support your body's functions, including milk production. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and consider keeping a large water bottle with you, especially during those late-night feeding sessions.

 Nourish Your Body

CDC recommends 330 to 400 calories additional calories per day for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers. You should include a variety of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy. Foods known to boost milk supply include oats, black beans, avocados, and papaya, so consider incorporating them into your meals or snacks.

 Feed Frequently

 Frequent milk removal stimulates your body to increase production. Ensure that your baby is latched comfortably and that you are hearing sucking and swallowing. If you're concerned about your baby's latch or feeding patterns, don't hesitate to consult with a lactation specialist for guidance. Remember, the more your baby feeds, the more signals your body receives to make more milk. 

Build a Support System

Breastfeeding can be both physically and emotionally demanding, so having a strong support system is imperative. Surround yourself with people who understand and encourage your breastfeeding goals. This could include your partner, family members, friends, pediatrician, doula, or a lactation consultant. A supportive environment can significantly reduce stress and positively impact your milk supply.

 Be Patient

 Patience is key as you navigate the ups and downs of breastfeeding. It takes time for your body to establish and regulate milk production. Understand that there may be challenges along the way, but with perseverance and the right support, you can overcome them. Trust the process of your unique breastfeeding experience and give yourself grace. Any amount of breastmilk is an amazing gift for your baby-you are doing a great job!


If you are looking for support during your breastfeeding journey, I'd love to schedule a free 15-minute consult.  Click here to view my calendar.

So what's the deal with postpartum doulas?



    After nine wonderful years as a postpartum doula, the question, "A postpartum doula, what’s that?" still echoes in my ears. It's a journey filled with heartwarming moments, sleepless nights, and an unwavering commitment to supporting new moms. This blog isn't about tooting my own horn; as I hope to demystify the role of postpartum doulas for those who may not have encountered this invaluable resource yet.


 A Night in the Life of an Overnight Postpartum Doula

 Picture this: I arrive at the homes of usually very sleepy parents, ready to embark on a night of care and support. We have conversations about their baby, nightly routines, and feeding habits. Together, we plan the night—deciding whether the baby will be bottle-fed by me or nursed by mom and I offer to tackle tasks like folding baby laundry, sterilizing bottles, or preparing snacks for the tired mother.


 Adaptability is key; I set up wherever the parents feel most comfortable, be it the nursery, living area, or a guest room. As the parents retreat to bed, I step into the role of caregiver, ensuring a smooth night for the baby. A detailed log capturing wake-up times, feeds, and diaper changes is kept throughout the night, and in the morning, after a debriefing session, I send mom a text with my notes.


 Educational Support and Resources 

Beyond the practical assistance during the night, my role extends to providing resources and evidence-based education on newborn care, sleep, and breastfeeding. I become a listening ear, offering moms a safe space to process their birth story and discuss any concerns about their new role. Utilizing my expertise as a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, I assist mothers in navigating challenges, providing support to help them reach their breastfeeding goals.


 Building a Network of Support 

Over the years, I've cultivated an expansive referral network. When faced with situations beyond my scope, I happily connect my clients with other professionals who can provide the specialized assistance they need. Additionally, I love lending out books on various topics like infant sleep and breastfeeding, creating a comprehensive support system for new parents.


 In short, a postpartum doula is more than a caregiver; many refer to us as "professional baby whisperers"  It's not just about the baby; It's about creating a cocoon of support, knowledge, and empathy during those critical early days of parenthood.  


Postnatal support across the pond..

Last year, I had the pleasure of connecting with Vickie Bowles, a UK baby nurse and founder of The Baby Academy, on LinkedIn. Our shared perspective on sleep training led us to a Zoom call and the idea of co-writing a blog post on postnatal support in the first ten days at home for new parents in the UK and US.



 

In the UK and US, postnatal support can vary greatly, but there are some common themes when it comes to providing support to new parents in the first ten days at home. Here are five top tips for postnatal support:

 

Take care of yourself: While it's easy to focus all of your attention on the baby, it's so important to remember to take care of yourself too. Make sure you're getting enough rest, nourishment, and support. This may mean asking for help with household chores or getting some additional support from friends or family.

 

Get to know your baby: Each baby is different and has their own unique needs. Take the time to bond with your baby and learn their cues and patterns. This will help you provide the best care and support for them.

 

Seek out support: Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. This may mean reaching out to friends and family, hiring a postpartum doula, or seeking support from a local parenting group.

 

Seek medical attention if needed: If you have any concerns about your baby's health or well-being, don't hesitate to seek medical attention. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

 

Take breaks: It's important to take breaks and give yourself some time to recharge. Ask for help when you need it and take breaks when you can. Bringing home and caring for your new baby can be an overwhelming experience.

 

Overall, the key to postnatal support in the first ten days at home is to prioritize the well-being of both the baby and the parents. Make sure to take care of yourself and seek out support when you need it and accept help when it is offered. By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to a smooth transition into parenthood.


Vickie's perspective..


It was a pleasure to connect with Katelyn Newby a Postpartum Doula, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and mum of one from Houston in Texas.  We both realized very quickly that we share an understanding on the importance of looking after women postnatally as well as their babies during the early days after hospital discharge. In my experience one of the biggest issues for new mothers is feeling confident to look after their precious newborn.


The importance of bonding with your baby…. The 3 C’s


*Comfort – Lots of cuddles and kisses

*Contact – Skin-to-skin

*Communication – Hearing your voice and eye contact 



Feel confident as a new mum……


*Believe in yourself

*Be kind to yourself

*Look after yourself



Once fully recovered, getting out and about with your new baby….


*Explore the world together

*Make new friends

*Promoting positive well-being


*Remember it’s always ok to ask for help… Sometimes you just need to talk, and you need someone to listen.