Education Blog

What Is a Postpartum Doula, and How Can I Find One?

September 17, 2021

You are now able to take your newborn home after he or she has arrived. A Postpartum Doula is what you need next. After all the work involved in getting baby here, you and the partner are exhausted. Your baby will need to adjust to the outside world after coming out from the womb, including learning how to sleep. You are not alone if you feel like you may not be able hold it all together. A growing number of parents are considering a doula after giving birth.

What Is a Postpartum Doula?

In the first few weeks after their baby’s birth, Postpartum Doulas offer support to parents. Linda Bryant Daaka, a labor and postpartum doula and childbirth educator, coordinates the Sacred Roots Program at the Black Parent Initiative, Portland, Oregon. She says, “Postpartum services usually consist of helping mom in any way she communicates to us ahead-of-time.” “But also responding to any needs that arise.”

Postpartum doulas are different from birth doulas, who coach and support women during labor. While a doula who is trained in both could be present at the birth and provide support afterward, some doulas are more skilled in one area.

What Services Does A Postpartum Doula Provide?

Sara Skiles is a labor and postpartum Doula. She founded and runs Wichita Doula. She says that parents hire a doula after bringing their baby home from the hospital. They don’t know what to do or how to help their child. It’s not just for baby; it’s also for parents. Learn how to breastfeed and what sleep schedules are best. The postpartum doula provides support in the home.

Postpartum doulas offer a variety of services, depending on what the doula is offering and the needs of the family. Bryant-Daaka explains that sometimes they can help organize a meal train. If a mom doesn’t want to have anyone over, the Doula can help prepare meals, assist with young children or do other tasks that will allow her to take a break or relax.

How Much Does a Postpartum Doula Cost?

Skiles has witnessed doula interest explode over the past nine years she’s been offering services. She says that people have been searching for it online and discussing it. It’s not just a Los Angeles thing. Celebrities have been talking about it on Instagram. It’s still growing in popularity across the country.

Most agreements for postpartum doula services require the purchase of a package of 100 to 500 hours. Skiles expects a family of three to use 100 hours per month. Rates will vary depending on where you live. The absolute minimum rate for rural areas is $25/hr. Doulas can charge up to $60/hr in areas with higher living costs. She explains that the average range in the midwest is $30-40/hr.

Black Parent Initiative aims to increase access to doulas through a community-based model. Through their Sacred Roots program, they use grant funding to provide culturally-specific doula care for multiethnic and black families.

How Can I Find a Quality Postpartum Doula

Skiles suggests that the best way to find a doula for a postpartum is to ask friends and family if they know of someone they can trust, or to get a recommendation from a lactation consultant or pediatrician. You should start the process as soon as possible so that you can have personal consultations and make sure everyone is on the right page.

Skiles states that different doulas work in different ways and you want to ensure they are open to supporting you in your goals with a nonjudgmental approach. She suggests that you ask:

  • The doula can be reached at any time, day or night.
  • If the doula feels comfortable with your parenting philosophy on feeding, diapering, and attachment parenting,
  • The doula can offer you the best training, certification, and references.

Skiles warns that this is an unregulated occupation and parents should ensure the hiring of qualified candidates. “If they are not certified, they should be at the very least professionally trained and working towards certification.”

Skiles suggests parents look for a doula around the 28th week. This is to ensure that they have enough time to check out their doula. Because people don’t want their grandparents to travel to COVID, agencies are filling up faster. “We try our best to accommodate those who call us after baby has gone home. But I recommend that people plan ahead so they can get the care they need from specialists who are a good fit to their family.

The process of pregnancy, labor and delivery is very sacred and intense. Parents will be grateful that they took the time to think about what support you might need after your baby is born.