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Ann GrauerPostpartum Doulas
by Ann F. Grauer, LCCE, CD (DONA), ICCE, PCD (DONA)

Q. I'm expecting my first child in two months. A friend of mine suggested that I hire a postpartum doula for after we go home from the hospital. What is that? I thought doulas only went to births.

A. While birth doulas have received a lot of attention in the last few years, you will be hearing more about postpartum doulas in the months to come. Postpartum doulas go into the home after a baby is born. Their role is to help parents to become confident in their new roles so that she is no longer needed, essentially working herself out of a job.

The postpartum doula is non-judgmental and helps new parents find their own parenting style. She assists with breastfeeding, lends an extra pair of hands as you are learning to care for baby and, perhaps most importantly, makes it possible for you to get some much-needed rest. She might throw in a load of laundry, prepare a nice lunch and make sure you are comfortable and have lots of time with baby to snuggle.

Unlike a baby nurse, she does not take over care of the new infant. She is there to help you learn how to do care tasks yourself so that you and your baby get to know one another. If she does her job right you will realize that you're ready to fly on your own without her sooner than you would have imagined!

Postpartum doulas typically come into the home anytime after the family brings baby home and then comes in several hours a day to assist you. She may work during the day, evening or other shifts. You may hire her for a week or several weeks.

Many families feel that postpartum doulas have helped them to make the adjustment to new parenthood in a comforting way. That's what doulas do best: mothering the family is our job!

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