This week I had the chance to get some answers for our readers about the specifics of postpartum care and why it is the very best gift one can give a newly postpartum parent. I asked Heather Goodbread several of the questions that are commonly asked about postpartum care and what it encompasses--and doesn't encompass. Enjoy this interview with Intown Doula's premier Postpartum Doula!
Who can benefit most from postpartum doula care? Any member of a family greatly benefits from postpartum care. Siblings, both parents, even pets agree--postpartum care serves the whole family! Parents recovering from surgery, coping with Postpartum Mood Disorders, learning how to care for a first baby, or who simply want the precious availability to their new baby that a postpartum doula affords are examples of families who love Postpartum Doulas.
What is the difference between a Postpartum Doula and a night nurse/baby nurse? A Postpartum Doula is a support team member for the entire family, whereas a night nurse provides care only for the baby. A Postpartum Doula provides support and education in identifying and implementing the best choices, options, and systems for them. She also assists with postpartum healing after birth. A baby nurse night nurse has the sole responsibility of caring for the newborn while parents sleep, rest, or take care of other duties--there is no sibling care, parent care, education, assistance with tasks, or errands.
How long do you stay with families? Many families only need a Postpartum Doula through the "fourth trimester" (about three months postpartum.) The length of a Postpartum Doula's time with a family is based on that family's needs. However, we do not limit ourselves to a cutoff as we have found that some families (multiples, preemies, postpartum mood disorders, for example) require more assistance.
How can a postpartum doula help a family to beat the "baby blues"? Some parents can find themselves struggling with a range of sad, anxious, angry, or frightened feelings in the postpartum time. These families need comfort, education, and practical help. A Postpartum Doula is a listening ear for all family members as they adjust. She also assists the family by completing some of the household tasks to alleviate pressure and stress. A Postpartum Doula is also trained to make referrals for mental health care if the "baby blues" develop into something more serious, like Postpartum Depression or Anxiety.
Do you have a specialization, like twins? I don't have a specialization. My experience is varied and includes multiples/twins, preemies, surgical birth and surgical birth families among many others.
What is your favorite way to serve postpartum parents? I like too many of my "tricks" to pick just one, and the real point is that all the things I love, I love because they make parents feel like they really can get into the swing of parenting. And that's my goal. If I had to pick one thing I love helping new families with, it would be Babywearing.