Mother Care is the Heart of Postpartum Doula ServicesFeb 15, 2022
Mother care is the focus of a postpartum doula. What does that look like? It’s about paying attention to the new mother. And asking questions. New mothers are experiencing a variety of emotions and physical sensations. They’re also getting used to caring for a newborn, and getting less sleep than what they’re accustomed to. Don’t forget partner adjustments, and family dynamics. Visitors, and maybe other siblings to care for.
I always start with a greeting and a question. For example:
“Good morning. Tell me about your night. Can I fix you some breakfast, or would you like to take a shower?”
When you ask an open-ended question or start with tell me about something, you can get a lot of information to guide you to your next move.
Also, be observant and notice if Mom seems sullen, or tired, or anxious. As you work more and more as a postpartum doula you’ll recognize normal adjustment from something other than.
Caring for a new mother is about being open, and giving her space to heal, transform,share her inner most feelings and concerns. First time mothers are especially vulnerable and sometimes lack trust and confidence in their own ability to mother. A mother is born, along with her baby, and needs time to adjust to a whole new world.
A postpartum doula provides many other services, or services that compliment and integrate into the mother care model.
These include meal preparation, breastfeeding counseling, household tasks, sibling care, baby care, and errands. These are the most common ones.Consider what will help a new mother feel calm, and comfortable. If her dishes are dirty and the fridge is bare, clean up the dishes and offer to go grocery shopping. When driving, always use your own vehicle, and be sure to have the proper insurance if you are driving clients.
A lot of postpartum doulas provide education. I see this piece as woven into everything we say and do. If a new mother has a question, we can help her find answers. While we'rre supporting her with newborn care, we can talk about normal behavior and newborn sleep. As far as separate classes, you may consider weaving those into your prenatal meetings. This is where the information will sink in, especially in the second trimester, when most Moms are feeling the most energetic and have fully embraced their pregnancy. Help her prepare for what comes after the birth.
A postpartum doula can configure services any which way. When the mother is your focal point, everything else will fall into place. Her needs become your “to-dos.”
There’s no worry about what you’ll do or what you’ll say because the new mother will be your guide. You may care for other siblings, or have a chat with her partner and answer questions. This is when mother care becomes family care. It goes back to asking the question, “How can I serve this mother and family, while creating a calm, loving environment?”
For more on the original philosophy of a postpartum doula, Get my free E-Book, The Essence of Being a Postpartum Doula.
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