Postpartum doulas don’t get as much attention as birth doulas. Their work during the “fourth trimester” (the weeks following birth) isn’t nearly as glamorous as birth doulas who actually witness the birth of a brand new human in person. Even DONA International - the oldest doula training organization around - makes you scroll alllll the way down their “Benefits of a Doula” page before they talk about postpartum doulas.
Most of our birth doula clients hire us months and months before their due date, usually in their second trimester. There seems to be a common understanding that birth is big, and that it’s reassuring to have a doula on their team early on.
But the vast majority of Marlee’s postpartum doula clients don’t reach out for help until their baby is here and they’re really struggling.
Like, REALLY struggling (sometimes). Imagine if those families had anticipated wanting some postpartum help before baby was born? They would have had someone to reach out to with questions when they needed help or reassurance right from the beginning… and maybe they wouldn’t be feeling so stuck.
Postpartum doulas accompany families through the trenches of early parenthood.
Sometimes all that’s needed from a postpartum doula is encouragement, answering a few questions, and then snuggling a newborn while parents eat a snack and take a nap. But other times, postpartum doulas are with families during some of the darkest, most challenging times of sleep deprivation, anxiety, and overwhelm as they adjust to life with their new baby. Take it from us - parents DESERVE thoughtful, experienced, nonjudgmental support during those tough moments.
One of our favorite reactions when people learn what a postpartum doula does is, “Oh my god, I SO wish I could have had that kind of support when I had my kids!”
Parents who’ve been there before can easily see how a postpartum doula could help a growing family. But it can be tough to see why before you’ve been there, and that’s where this list comes in.
If you’re expecting and any of these 51 totally legitimate reasons to work with a postpartum doula apply to you, we highly, highly recommend considering it. Lining up that support early on will pay off in the long run!
If you already have your baby in your arms and any of these reasons apply to you, we encourage you to start looking around for postpartum doulas in your area. You deserve it!
Without further adieu, here are 51 totally legitimate reasons to work with a postpartum doula:
Your friend/relative/coworker told you they had a postpartum doula and recommended you consider it too
Your friend/relative/coworker told you they didn’t work with a postpartum doula and wish they had
You’ve heard things about what postpartum doulas do and it sounds like something you want
You want guidance from someone who’s worked with hundreds of families and has a wide lens of experience to draw from
You’ve never spent much time around babies
It’s been a while since you spent much time around babies
You’ve spent quite a bit of time around babies, and you know you’ll want some help because taking care of a baby is a big job
Your other children are older and you want help remembering this whole newborn thing
You want some gentle guidance while you figure out how to take care of a brand new human
You want a knowledgeable point person so you can talk and ask questions freely without turning to friends, relatives, or Facebook mom groups for every little thing
You’re worried about getting enough sleep
You’re worried about feeling overwhelmed
You want to lower your chances of experiencing postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression
You feel like you’re not bonding very well with your baby
You feel like you’re in a whole separate world now and want someone to talk to about the emotional side of that experience
You worked with a postpartum doula previously and had a great experience
You didn’t work with a postpartum doula after your other birth(s) and wish you had
You’ve been through pregnancy loss and want extra emotional support during your postpartum time
You want someone to help you understand your options for taking care of your baby
You have so many questions about what’s going on with your baby and want someone to help answer them
Your partner has so many questions about what’s going on with your baby and wants someone to help answer them
You and your partner want some help making decisions about your baby’s care
You want help figuring out your breast pump
You’re planning to breastfeed/chestfeed and want lactation support
You’re planning to exclusively pump and want help figuring out when to pump
You’re planning to bottle feed and want some guidance
You’ve heard conflicting advice about swaddling and want help figuring out if it’s right for your baby
You have questions about cosleeping and bedsharing
You have questions about safe sleep and avoiding SIDS
You want the baby to sleep in their own room but you don’t want to use the “cry it out” method
You just want someone to talk to who “gets it”
Your family isn’t around and you want someone there to help out
Your family is around but you’re not sure their presence will feel helpful for you
Your family is around and you want someone there to help validate your parenting choices even though they don’t match your loved ones’ advice or experience
You’ve heard that doulas have recommendations for other resources you might want/need during the postpartum time
You don’t want to be one of those new parents who doesn’t shower for a week
You’re worried about how you’ll soothe your baby when they’re crying
You want a neutral 3rd party to debrief with after a pediatrician appointment
You have questions your pediatrician didn’t answer that you want to talk about with someone knowledgeable and non-judgmental
You want help learning how to give your baby a bath
You want help learning how to give your baby a bath with less crying
You want help addressing a diaper rash
You want to learn how you can play and interact with your little one
You want help figuring out the Moby wrap someone gave you at your baby shower
You’re expecting multiples
You’re a single parent and want support and an extra set of hands
You’re worried about recovering from birth and want to work with someone who can help you recover physically
You want someone to talk about contraception options with
You want help figuring out what baby products you need
Your FSA/HSA will reimburse you for a postpartum doula so why not?
You just want someone who knows what’s normal to come check on you a few times