Postpartum Doulas: Virtual vs. Live SupportMar 02, 2022
Postpartum doulas provide physical and practical assistance, as well as guidance, and emotional support. Oftentimes, a postpartum doula is hired for evenings to help with everyone getting the most sleep possible. Services include meal prep, breastfeeding counseling, and tips on baby care and sleep. How is it possible to provide virtual support?
This wasn’t a thing until Covid struck the planet. Women and families have been really stressed out, and birth doulas and postpartum doulas have been reinventing themselves.
It’s been a huge shift for everyone, and there are certain benefits to virtual doula support. There are also some drawbacks as you might imagine.
There are many things you can accomplish without being physically present with a family. Breastfeeding counseling can be done over video call, so you can see what’s happening. This makes it more accessible for many women to receive the support they need with breastfeeding challenges that may arise.
Emotional support is a great part of the work of a postpartum doula. You can provide a lot of support by being available through video chat, phone or texting. This lifeline could be the only one a new family has. No real hugs are involved (which are always part of my gigs), and still you can be a listening ear for your clients.
A postpartum doula can provide tips, and information without being physically present with a family.
There are always many questions that arise that can be answered via the ways described above.
You could offer a hybrid service where you come in and provide meals, and be there for a Mom who wants you to watch the baby while she takes a much needed long shower or bath. Then the rest of the week you can provide any virtual help needed. Use your imagination and set-up an array of options for families.
I’m still a huge fan of being fully present so you can observe what’s going on in the home, and pick up on something you couldn’t see or feel virtually. Yet, what matters most is meeting the needs of the families you serve. In fact, virtual doula support has opened up a lot of budget-friendly options for many families who otherwise could not afford the luxury of a postpartum doula.
You’ll want to create messaging in your marketing to promote exactly what you’re offering. If it’s purely virtual, then make it clear, and show how much you can do with virtual postpartum doula services. Emphasize the benefits for the family. For example, you may have more hours available than you otherwise would, or less cost (no gas and travel time).
If you are offering in person postpartum doula services, emphasize the benefits of that service. For example, you can cook meals, tidy up a bit, observe the breastfeeding and make recommendations. You may want to have some type of statement in your contract about not working if a client’s family member has Covid, or if you or anyone in your family has Covid. This is still a thing in many places, though soon it may be a distant memory. It’s between you and the family you are serving. There are no hard and fast rules on this. Do what you feel is in your best interest.
The hybrid model is my favorite. There are many times when your listening skills are what’s needed the most. You can do this virtually from anywhere, as long as you are fully present while wearing your postpartum doula hat. Be sure to schedule time without distractions from kids or other family members.
Another great idea for virtual postpartum doula support is to have a monthly, bi-monthly or weekly drop-in for your clients.
That way they can also connect with other Moms, and get questions answered or additional support with challenges that may come up. It’s likely that other Moms are experiencing the same thing.
Consider all that’s possible and create a menu of services that meet the needs in your community.
If you're considering postpartum doula training that will equip you with the knowledge and resources for you to feel competent and confident,check out my Doula Quest mentoring program.
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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