By Doreen G. B. Barton
What’s the best time for a doula visit?
Congratulations on the long-awaited arrival of your beautiful new family member! We are so excited to share this special moment with you and your family and to help guide you through this amazing transition. Everything may seem so different now, but you’ll get the hang of this new role in no time…after all, you and your baby were made for each other! When scheduling a time for your first doula visit, planning for morning, afternoon, or evening all depends on what you have going on. Fitting your session in during the quieter time of day is usually helpful so you can focus on asking questions and getting quality rest. After you have had a chance to share your thoughts and goals with your doula at this initial visit, having an extra set of hands during your family rush hours may be valuable for next time! Your individual schedule will dictate when your doula will be most helpful to you.
Should I prepare?
You’ve just had a BABY, which is a huge transition for your body in itself! This means that your postpartum doula is not expecting a clean house, clean laundry, or clean hair. Please don’t feel the need to tidy up or make anybody look “presentable,” because your doula is there as a support person to help with all of that. If it hasn’t already been planned, your doula will be able to make practical suggestions after she arrives regarding how she can be the most helpful. Depending on the length of your doula care session (usually between 4-8 hours), there is so much that can be done for you and your baby!
What will my doula be able to do?
This first session is all about you and can be as relaxed or productive as you’d like! Your postpartum doula will be there to provide emotional, physical, and informational support, and to promote rest and reassurance during the first months after birth. If you have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish during your session, just make a list! Your doula can tackle tasks while she’s there such as running to the grocery store or the post office, or simply cleaning and folding the laundry. She is also trained to take expert care of your baby so that you can get things done as well. Other helpful suggestions can include creating “survival nests” around your home that contain essentials and snacks for you and Baby or running a sitz bath for you to practice self-care. This can also be a time for you to get valuable rest and reassurance, so speaking freely about the joys and trials you’re currently discovering is welcome. You are her number one priority, so caring for you and your baby will be at the heart of everything she does in your home.
What else do I gain from having a doula?
The role of your postpartum doula is to support, encourage, and model baby care behavior. She will teach you where to find reliable information, educate on best care practices, and organize your space to be clean and efficient. Our doulas have countless resources to refer clients out when needed, and the goal of every doula is to help families transition so they are able to confidently cope on their own. They are experts in nurturing, educating, assessing situations, and referring clients to professionals if need be. Your first doula visit will be centered around what matters most to you and will help to lay the groundwork for a beautiful relationship between you and your baby!