Written by Doulas of Shanghai
It’s the big day. The day that you’ve been waiting nine months for… Your beautiful baby is here!
She coos in your arms and searches for your breast while you and your partner look lovingly on. Her fingers and toes are tiny, like a doll’s, but her grip around your finger is strong.
The day your baby comes into the world is one you will never forget, and can be a time of overwhelming joy and excitement.
A few days later, you bring your baby home, carefully carrying her from the car seat into your home, trying not to rock her around too much. Soon, after sitting down and settling in, the questions start to flow.
- Where should we put her crib?
- Co-sleeping or no? How do we even do that safely?
- Oh my God, my nipples hurt… When will it end? What can I do?
- My milk isn’t in yet. Is my baby eating enough? How do I know?
- I pumped this milk for later feedings… Is it enough?
- How do I store the milk?
- Why does her poop look like that?
And on and on the questions come.
So, you call your postpartum doula to come for her first visit. You’ve arranged to have her support in advance, and you’re comforted knowing that these questions will be answered as soon as she gets here.
She walks into your home with a smile, calm and confident in you.
“Look at her cute outfit! She seems very content in your arms, you’re doing great.”
A sigh of relief.
“She is very content in my arms. Maybe I am pretty good at this mom thing.”
She sits down next to you on your sofa, and observes your feeding your baby. She helps you to know more about your baby’s latch, and teaches you how to coax her mouth wider so that your nipples no longer hurt when she latches.
She checks out your crib, and since you asked, she teaches you and your partner the principles of safe sleeping, and how you can safely sleep next to your baby. She also demonstrates breastfeeding positions so that you don’t need to get out of bed to feed her in the middle of the night. Bonus!
She looks at your milk supply and what you’re pumping, and reminds you that your baby’s stomach is still very small. The milk your breast is providing is enough for her.
She gives you a chart to put on your fridge to remind you of milk storage options and safety. That’s a relief, it’s now one less thing to remember.
She leaves a few hours later, when the baby is fed again and you are ready for a nap. You lay down with your baby, feeling confident that you are following the proper safe sleep precautions. Her breathing is so fast and sweet.
Your postpartum doula is so much more than a baby caretaker. She cares for you, listens attentively to your questions, affirms your feelings, educates you, and helps you navigate your options to find what works best for you and your family.
Here are eight ways that your postpartum doula supports you. Of course, there are so many more, and if you have additional questions Doulas of Shanghai is ready to answer your call.
1. Baby Care / Information
You’ve been on the internet. You’ve read the books. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to baby care. And to be fair, many of the different baby care methods are right and correct. So how do you choose the way that you want to care for your baby?
Your doula can help you walk through the options with you and help you decide what is right for your family and your baby. She is non-judgmental and will share unbiased information.
Finding what works for you and your family, and feeling confident and not judged by your support person is so beneficial when starting your journey as a family. It can relieve anxiety and instill confidence in your abilities, knowing that what you’re doing is good and right for you.
2. Nourishing Parents
“Have you eaten yet?” she asks when she walks in the door.
Wait. When was the last time I ate?
Your doula quickly heats some food from your fridge or whips something up for you, placing the bite-sized pieces within arm’s reach for each access while holding your baby.
She listens attentively as you tell her about how the first days and weeks are going.
“It’s like we’re in a haze. No one really seems to be sleeping,” you say.
Your doula talks to you about different options to get more sleep, putting a four-hour block of sleep within you and your partners power. She watches the baby while you sleep, bringing your breast pump to you after two hours to relieve the pressure in your breasts, and you immediately fall back asleep.
3. Emotional Support
We know baby blues are a thing, but we didn’t expect it to feel like this. Your doula is your shoulder to cry on as you weep, and tells you that this is okay. 80% of mothers experience baby blues as a result of changing hormones following birth.
It’s a relief to know that feeling this way in the first two weeks is common. There’s nothing wrong with you, this is normal, and it will pass.
But if it doesn’t, your doula is trained to be aware of the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety following birth and can help connect you to additional resources and services. Since it was caught early you get the help and support you need to more fully enjoy your beautiful baby.
And let’s be honest. Sometimes being “on” 24/7 is just hard. Your doula is here for that, and will sit with you in those feelings.
4. Breastfeeding Support
Breastfeeding can be challenging, and bring with it a lot of questions. Your doula can help you to troubleshoot and work towards solutions to your challenges. If she recognizes signs that there is something outside the realm of “normal,” she can immediately connect you with the right resources in town.
She can also help you recognize signs of fullness and hunger, and show you different methods to feel assured that your baby is getting enough milk.
5. Pumping Support
Your doula helps you to set up your pump and teaches you how to work it. She sits with you through the first round of pumping, and teaches your partner how to clean and disinfect it. She can also teach you about proper milk storage, and give you information about how much or how little to pump to avoid over or under supply.
5. Bottle Feeding Support
You decide that you want to bottle feed your baby, either with breastmilk or formula. Your doula can teach you more about paced-feeding, and remind you again about those fullness cues so that baby is not overfed.
Or months down the road after breastfeeding exclusively, your baby isn’t excited about taking a bottle. Your postpartum doula helps you to work through some strategies to encourage your baby to take the bottle so that you can have a baby-free brunch with your friends while your partner cares for your baby.
7. Sibling Care
The role of a doula is to care for the whole family. Siblings are also going through a period of adjustment when your new baby is introduced to the family. Your doula helps to encourage the older siblings in their interest in the baby. She talks to them about the new baby, and how they can help mom, dad, and proper behavior around the baby.
8. Information and Resources
Your doula is connected to the community, and has additional resources and information that she can share with you about goings-on and support that is available to you. And if she doesn’t know, she has the resources to find the answer for you.
Doulas of Shanghai is the leading doula agency in Shanghai, China. We provide the labor, postpartum, and infant feeding support that you deserve.
If you’re feeling ready to take the next steps to experiencing better support during your postpartum period, contact Doulas of Shanghai for more information about what we can do for you.
For more specialized feeding support, Doulas of Shanghai has certified infant feeding specialists available for feeding consultations in your home.
We are looking forward to supporting you and your family.