Postpartum Doula Training: Breastfeeding Education and Counseling Breastfeeding MothersAug 24, 2021
A quality postpartum doula training, online, or in person, will provide breastfeeding education. By that I mean provide solid information and resources about the risks of not breastfeeding, and how to support, promote and protect breastfeeding. The postpartum doula training will also cover supporting a mother who chooses not to breastfeed, or can't for some reason.
Not being able to breastfeed physiologically is very rare. There are many reasons why a woman can't breastfeed. This blog doesn't address that. I really want to hone in on the difference between knowing about breastfeeding, teaching that, and actually counseling a breastfeeding mother.
As you can imagine, the education piece could be during pregnancy, or after birth. There is no lack of information and resources when it comes to breastfeeding. Like always, I encourage postpartum doulas to research to find the best available, up-to-date information.
So what about counseling a breastfeeding mother? You're not an actual degreed counselor. A postpartum doula listens, observes, and may make suggestions, or reach out to another breastfeeding professional with more experience. This is what counseling is all about. You really want to know what is going on, so you can counsel and give the right information and suggestions for that particular client.
What are the qualities of a "good" counselor?
- asking key questions
- knowing where to look for solutions
- offering solutions
- leaving space for others to make conclusions and choices
- being non-judgmental
This may sound familiar because these are the very same qualities that make-up a postpartum doula.
Even if you are not a breastfeeding expert, and you feel like you don't know enough, you can be a postpartum doula who is the space for another person to reach their own conclusion.
Postpartum doulas handle early breastfeeding challenges such as engorgement, sore-nipples, and blocked ducts. You can do or suggest all within your scope of practice (non-medical), and within your own knowledge base. If you zero in on the latch and positioning, you'll be able to solve many of these issues.
If comfort is needed there are many things you can recommend or resources you can share, and then your clients can make informed choices. Those choices may be very different than the ones you would make.
What matters is that you show how much you care, and how much you want them to succeed with breastfeeding. Your words of encouragement, as a postpartum doula are invaluable.
Counseling takes practice, like any other skill. This was emphasized in my Lactation Counselor (CLC) training, where so much information was imparted it was hard to digest. It was an excellent and thorough course. Information can always be found when you know where to look.
If you're interested in exploring more about becoming a postpartum doula, you can book a free connection call with me. I love meeting doulas on the journey.
Join my private Facebook Group to be in on the conversation about all things to do with becoming and being a postpartum doula.
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