What is a “postpartum doula”? A postpartum doula offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester and beyond, assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying, offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents, and makes appropriate referrals when necessary.

What are the benefits of hiring a postpartum doula? Studies show that non-medical, non-judgmental support in the postpartum time is one of the biggest factors determining breastfeeding success, confident parenting, and the avoidance of postpartum anxiety and/or depression in both mothers and fathers. Why wouldn’t you want a postpartum doula?

If I need help, does that make me less of a good mom? Becoming a mother is not necessarily intuitive in all aspects. We want you to succeed as a parent, so we provide a helping hand, but maintain focus on helping you have a better beginning in parenting your baby/babies. We help build your confidence in your ability to care for your child(ren) and help you care for yourself, too. Most women feel overwhelmed at some point in the first days, weeks, or months after having a baby/babies, and many of us don’t have communities helping us rest, recover, and learn after childbirth–as women have had throughout much of history.  We believe it takes a village to raise a child, and most moms could use at least a little “village” once in a while.

This isn’t my first baby, so why would I need help this time around? Having a second (or third, or fourth…) child, or parenting twins or triplets, is a whole new ballgame. Your other child(ren) may need to be cared for even while the new baby is sleeping, so “sleeping when the baby sleeps” becomes even harder to do.  Housework is often more challenging as well: picture more laundry and less time. Also, when you have a new child, you are a “new mother” all over again, because you are new to this new little one, and she or he is new to you. So yes, Better Beginnings is for new mothers, and that means you, too. It is a new time of motherhood for you!

What happens on a typical visit? A typical daytime visit usually includes some discussion with the new mom (and sometimes dad, too!) about feeding the baby/babies, postpartum healing, family adjustment and newborn care, as well as household care and preparing snacks and/or meals. If you’re seeking specific help with breastfeeding, our visit will naturally revolve around whatever questions or issues you have regarding feeding your baby. We are trained to counsel, assess the baby’s latch if necessary, and make suggestions as we work together to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems. A typical nighttime visit usually begins with a “check-in” where the parent(s) update the doula on how the day went for the baby/babies, what the baby/babies and the parent(s) need for the night, the goals for the visit, etc. Then, the parent(s) head to bed and the doula handles the nighttime care of the baby (other than breastfeeding) in order to maximize sleep for everyone. When appropriate, nighttime parenting strategies will be discussed, etc.

How do I pay for a postpartum doula? We accept cash, checks, and credit cards, and we try to work with everyone’s budget. If you feel we are a good fit for your family, please let us know if our rates are prohibitive for your situation. We are open to payment plans and possibly other arrangements. Also, many families are able to be partially reimbursed by their health insurance or completely reimbursed by their HSA/FSA accounts. If your visit includes specific breastfeeding support and counseling, typically health insurance will cover those portions of service. Finally, we offer gift certificates as well; put Better Beginnings on your registry or gift wish list (try babyli.st or an Amazon Universal Registry!), and be sure to mention our services to grandparents or friends and family who are out-of-town! People who want to help but live far away can pay for some support from a postpartum doula. Finally, we offer discounted pricing for teen moms, adoptive parents, active-duty military families, and birth mothers who are placing their babies for adoption. Please contact us if you are in one of these situations.