"New parenthood is like a cocoon. I wanted nothing more than to wrap my partner, myself, and my baby in a warm blanket, in a deep dark room, away from the world, and transform into something beautiful and worthwhile; slowly, gently, purposefully emerging when ready to dry our wings and try flying. The only things I needed from those around me were time, love, food, water, patience, and an eye to bear testimony to our beautiful unfolding." - Anonymous New Mother
What happens after the baby is born, the supplies are packed away, the family is tucked in, and everyone leaves?
I get this question a lot. We work so diligently throughout pregnancy and up to birth, but, after birth, and after the hubbub subsides, families are somewhat at a loss for what a doula can continue to do for the family.
First let me start by saying that I am still, years later, in contact with most of my doula clients. A doula creates this bond with the families that surpasses birth and continues throughout young family-hood.
Your doula continues to be a source of information and suggestions for new parenting. In the early weeks we hear from clients asking:
Am I making enough milk?
Is this color of poo healthy?
My baby won't take one breast...
Any alternative treatments/plans for ______? (insert: cradle cap, diapering options, minor colds, mastitis, blocked milk duct, cracked nipples, thrush, colicky baby, dry skin, sleeplessness, baby blues, etc...)
I can't remember ___ about the birth, can you help me remember?
We also meet with the families at least once after baby is born. This is a time to reflect on the families birth experience and for families to ask immediate questions that they might have about the event, their newborn, the new family unit, or moms health needs.
if they buy a postpartum kit , I will deliver it with their meal
if they bought placental encapsulation services, I will deliver the pills
watch baby latch and answer questions about breastfeeding/make suggestions
talk with them about vaccination, sleeping, babywearing, early schooling, pumping, and baby massage options
talk to mom and partner to see how they are doing emotionally
give baby a baby massage
deliver birth stories if they asked me to write one
As the family begins to grow up and into their place in society, the questions are modified, slightly, but still remain consistent
Where was that alternative vaccination schedule again?
My daughter wants to know where babies come from, can you meet us for an anatomy lesson?
Can you point me in the direction of some home made baby food recipes?
Any alternative treatments for ______? (ADD, allergies, night terrors, bed wetting, potty training, etc...)
I can't remember what I did with my last birth and I am pregnant again, want to do this with us again?
Just as a family should feel supported throughout pregnancy and birth, a new family unit should continue to feel supported by those that they have chosen to share these early stages with.
"Women's experiences and their feelings about themselves, their babies and motherhood, translate directly into thoughts and biochemistry that lay down patterns in their baby's developing nervous system and brain. These patterns shape, not only how we see ourselves as children, but the relationships we form as adults and how we care for others and our world. The mother-baby relationship is crucial. Thus, how we treat the women who bring children into this world - with honor and tenderness or neglect and abuse - profoundly influences the direction of our society." - Suzanne Arms