Postpartum Doula Services
For many families, the postpartum period or "4th trimester" is a rite of passage in and of itself. It's common to feel unprepared to meet the challenges this part of the journey brings. As postpartum doulas, we walk alongside you as you welcome your new baby into the family. We provide gentle, nonjudgmental support and encouragement as you find your footing in your new role. Our goal is to help you feel less overwhelmed, and to become self-reliant and confident in your new skills!
Postpartum support packages
We offer several postpartum support packages to address your needs in the first months after welcoming a new baby. Postpartum doula support can help you become more confident in your new skills, while offering a set of helping hands and provide a compassionate and nonjudgmental presence during this period of adjustment.
Benefits of a postpartum support package include:
- Scheduling priority. Clients who have postpartum packages have first choice of our available shifts.
- Flexibility to book shorter visits. You can schedule shifts as short as 3 hours, as opposed to our 4-hour minimum for à la carte clients. Many of our package clients love this option because it allows them to stretch their package even further.
- Complimentary 1-hour consultation before booking
Some clients know ahead of time that they want to book a package of 60 hours (or even more), others aren't quite sure. If you're on the fence about how much support you need, feel free to book a 20-hour package to reserve your place on our calendar. If you decide to upgrade to a higher package later on, we'll apply your previous payment toward that new package amount.
If you're interested in one of these options, contact us today to book your consultation!
20-hour package: $575
40-hour package: $1125
60-hour package: $1675
Recovering for a difficult or traumatic birth?
Birth Story Medicine® is a guided healing process to help parents move forward from difficult moments in birth. If your birth experience brought with it feelings of disappointment, abandonment, failure, or if you feel yourself feeling "stuck" in negative feelings or memories from birth, consider adding a Birth Story Medicine session to your postpartum doula package.
Add a Birth Story Medicine session to your postpartum doula package: $60
À la carte postpartum support
We offer an à la carte option so families also have access to a more flexible form of support. If you find yourself in need of a little extra help so you can feel more confident caring for your little one (or sneak in a nap or a shower), we're here for you! Our services are often available on short notice - sometimes even the same day! Or you can schedule shifts ahead of time if you know there are some times coming up when you'll need some extra support.
We encourage parents who know they'll want quite a bit of help to book one of our postpartum doula packages to ensure priority on our schedule (and a lower rate per hour!). But if you aren't sure quite how much help you need and want to book a couple shifts à la carte just to make sure you'll have some time with a doula, we're all for it.
Postpartum support: $30/hour (4-hour shift minimum)
I thought doulas were just for labor support. How can you help me after I have my baby?
Yes! Our postpartum doula services assist Orange County and Long Beach families by:
- Helping parents get some sleep by reducing chaos and creating a calmer environment
- Helping with feeding baby (breast or bottle)
- Meal preparation for parents (baby isn't the only one who's hungry!)
- Teaching soothing tips to help comfort baby
- Providing non-judgmental support and a listening ear
- Encouraging parents in their new role
- Validating the experiences of early parenting and providing emotional support
For many families, the postpartum period or "4th trimester" is a rite of passage in and of itself. It's common to feel unprepared to meet the challenges this part of the journey brings. As postpartum doulas, we are privileged to walk alongside you as you welcome your new baby into the family, providing gentle, nonjudgmental support and encouragement as you find your footing in your new role. Our goal is to help you become self-reliant and confident in your new skills!
Many parents express that loneliness and isolation were unexpected challenges for them in the first few months of their baby's life. When you have a postpartum doula, you don't have to worry about that! We will be by your side as you learn all about your baby, and how to balance your baby's needs with your own. Whether you have questions about breastfeeding or bottle feeding (or both), find yourself asking "Is this normal?" about 100 times a day, or just want some company while you process all the changes that are going on, we're here for you.
What will a postpartum doula shift be like?
First and foremost, our goal is to address your main concerns during each visit, whatever they may be.
We'll spend some time at the beginning of each shift chatting with you about how things are going and answering your questions. Then, depending on your family's needs, our postpartum doula shifts can include any of the following:
- Promoting parent/baby bonding
- Breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding support (we also offer stand-alone lactation support)
- Education around postpartum healing, newborn care, and infant sleep safety
- Caring for baby so parents can nap or shower
- Meal preparation, meal planning, grocery shopping
- Light tidying, household organization, laundry
- Helping caregivers adjust to a special/high need baby
- Helping older siblings adjust to the new baby
- Cloth diapering basics/set-up
- Pet care (feeding pets, walking dogs, etc.)
- "Greening your household" services (providing products/product recommendations for non-toxic and eco-friendly household cleaning and personal care)
- Identifying needs for further support or referrals
We love to help parents by preparing delicious, nutritious meals during postpartum doula shifts. We work with any dietary framework and preference and can even do your grocery shopping! If having us prepare meals while you're spending time with your baby sounds absolutely heavenly, let us know! We'll talk about what kinds of foods you like and tend to have around your home, if there are any important allergies or foods to avoid, and discuss postpartum nutrition as it applies.
Whether you have a favorite recipe you'd like us to prepare or are just hungry around the clock thanks to your breastfeeding hormones, we're here to help!
In addition to grocery shopping as part of our shift, we can also:
- bring you a cup of tea and a snack
- help you make meal plans and shopping lists for the week
- stock your freezer with homemade heat-and-serve meals
- get dinner going in the slow cooker for an easy evening meal
- cut up fruits and vegetables for quick one-handed snacks
- prepare nutritious food for any older children in your home
We'll even tidy up your kitchen while we're at it!
This is a very common part of our postpartum doula work - and probably one of our clients' favorite things about us!
Sometimes life throws us curveballs during already difficult situations. If you have a baby under 1 year old and are experiencing some kind of physical challenge, we would be glad to discuss ways we could provide support to you and your family while you focus on healing. Caring for little ones is challenging enough without the added difficulty of health issues - we're here to help! Contact us to let us know what kind of support you need.
Looking for overnight help?
Our current window for postpartum doula support is between 9am and 6pm. If you're looking for support outside of those hours, we are happy to refer you to Amanda Cagle at Your Birth Team for overnight postpartum doula support.
What our clients say
"Before working with Marlee, I was worried about making mistakes with my baby and suffering from postpartum depression. I felt comfortable asking Marlee questions, and she gave great advice and thoughtful suggestions. I didn't suffer from any depression.
We made lists of questions for each visit, and little lists of things to do during each visit. We nearly always got to everything! Having appointments with Marlee gave my husband and I a comfortable setting for discussing things we weren't confident with and questions that we had without feeling stupid or ashamed. It was a very positive addition to our first few weeks of parenthood! We had the extra support that we needed.
In addition to the great information, follow-through, and having an adult come over to talk to, I found the talks with my husband about what we wanted to 'get out of' the next visit most beneficial. It gave us another opportunity to work as a team and be successful. I also appreciated coming out with knowledge that I can share with other new moms. It's nice to have success stories! (I am telling friends to hire a postpartum doula!)
While everything done is done for the baby, it is wonderful to have someone see the benefits that caring for the mother will have on the baby. Marlee's first visit focused on helping ease my pain from nursing, and validating that it was normal. In addition, I can't stress the value of the little things and the friendship that is formed. I hope to see Marlee again as a friend sometime, and I feel comfortable with the prospect of asking her a question should the need arise.
Every woman I've told that I had a postpartum doula has said she wished she had one! You have no way of knowing what needs or questions you will have, and that having a person who is 'your person' will enable you to feel successful as a new mom and have confidence as you start this new chapter in your life.
Thank you! I know that my family was blessed to work with you!"
- Austin, Santa Ana
"After the experience I had with Marlee and Megan, I cannot even begin to list all of the invaluable things that they do as postpartum doulas. I had to have surgery when my newborn was only 2 months old. I was concerned about the baby, my 3-year old, and about my husband managing all of that (while worrying about me). I was also very concerned that the baby would not come back to the breast after being bottle fed for 24+ hours.
Marlee and Megan met us at the hospital and helped with the transition from me being with my family to me being at the hospital. They cared for my 2-month old and 3-year-old (including diapers, feeding, naps, entertaining, etc.). They took care of me, helped me with getting up and around, with pumping post-surgery, running errands, etc. They were open to suggestions (I'm a bit of a control freak) and were flexible and easygoing when there were last minute changes in our plans. The fact that my family was taken care of in every aspect and Marlee and Megan helped get my baby back to breast after 24+ hours on the bottle is proof that this investment was well worth it.
It takes a truly caring individual to come into your home (or hospital or both!) and step in to help. Someone who does anything and everything to help out (including things you may not even think of). Someone who is proactive, but listens well and moves forward with the wishes of the family. Someone who is organized, but flexible enough to go with the flow when things change last minute. Someone who truly cares about people and is open to sharing their heart with the families they work with.
These ladies truly care."
- Bree, Laguna Niguel
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you help with feeding issues?
Absolutely! This is one of our clients' biggest concerns and something we are always happy to address. Marlee is a breastfeeding counselor and offers assistance with breast and bottle feeding.
We can provide in-home support for:
- Breastfeeding, including latch and positioning options
- Healing cracked nipples
- Coping with engorgement and plugged ducts
- Guidance with pumping and washing pump parts
- Helping to identify a type of bottle that will work for your baby
- Teaching paced bottle feeding to promote an easier transition back and forth from breast to bottle
- ... and so much more.
Our support is nonjudgmental. No matter how you feed your baby, we're here to help.
Can you help with sleep issues?
Yes! We love working with families to help parents and babies alike get more sleep. We can talk about the challenges you're facing, brainstorm some strategies, and make a plan to give them a try. From working on the differences between a baby's daytime naps and nighttime sleeping to helping parents develop their own napping techniques, we love helping families make progress toward restful sleep for everyone.
We don't offer sleep training for babies, but we are more than happy to talk about why your baby may have a certain sleep pattern. Usually there are biological norms at play. Many times, once parents understand what's going on biologically for their child, they are often willing to work with the current sleep pattern. Remember: with babies, everything is a phase! We aren't sleep experts, but we have a lot of experience working with little ones and their parents. If there is a need for a sleep consultant, we can help you find someone who can provide what your family needs. We're available to provide some parenting coaching on sleep, but ultimately the decisions are up to you.
Other ways we can help with sleep:
- Caring for baby while parents take a nap
- Helping to come up with a nighttime routine to help baby's biological clock find its footing
- Providing support overnight to reduce parents' awake time (especially helpful if dads or partners have gone back to work and need to be rested for their jobs) - our partner Amanda Cagle at Your Birth Team provides overnight postpartum care for Orange County families
If you'd like to read more about infant sleep, we highly recommend Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Sleep Solution - written with sleepy new parents in mind!
I thought that a postpartum doula was just for people experiencing postpartum depression.
Not true! It's a common misconception that the word postpartum only refers to postpartum depression. Postpartum actually refers to the time after birth (anywhere from several months to several years of physical recovery and adjustment). If you want to get technical, the postpartum period covers your whole life after giving birth!
Of course those suffering from postpartum mood disorders (postpartum depression, anxiety, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder) may find great benefit in hiring a postpartum doula. But postpartum doula services can make a difference for anyone feeling they could use a little extra emotional support and another pair of capable hands
What's the difference between a postpartum doula and a nanny or baby nurse?
A nanny or mother's helper is primarily concerned with taking care of the baby and performing small household tasks. While some have formal training, many do not. Nannies can be very effective in assisting families with multiple children, helping to care for older children and complete household tasks in order to allow parents to focus on their new baby.
A "baby nurse" (in California, the title of nurse is protected and limited to those who have completed specific nursing training programs, so we call them "baby nannies" or "night nannies") is someone who comes into the home whose primary role is to care for the baby. Night nannies may take care of all baby's needs during the night so parents can get some sleep. They usually have little to no training in postpartum recovery or family bonding practices. Some families choose to hire a live-in baby nurse to care for their baby 24/7.
The role of a postpartum doula is to "mother the mother," helping families transition confidently into life after birth or the adoption of a newborn. Doulas are trained professionals with education in postpartum physiology, baby care, and breastfeeding, all through the lens of sensitivity and support. Like a nanny, a postpartum doula can assist with household tasks and newborn care, but her primary role is to support parents as they learn the skills they need to care for their new little one.
Postpartum doulas can provide evidence-based information and resources to help families make decisions regarding care of their new baby. The postpartum period can be a very sensitive one for many new parents, and a postpartum doula can assist with the emotional transition from pregnancy to life with a newborn.
What does "doula" mean?
The word doula ("doo-luh") originates from a Greek word meaning "a woman who serves." In 1969, anthropologist Dana Raphael, Ph.D. published an article in the scholarly journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine in which she used the word doula to refer to women supporting other women through the journey of childbirth and early motherhood. She later went on to describe a doula as a woman who "mothers the mother."
Nearly 50 years later, we would rephrase Dr. Raphael's idea of a doula as a person who "nurtures the family." The specific definition of what doulas do continues to be debated within the community of birth professionals (you'll probably get a different definition of a doula from each doula you ask!), but underlying all of those different ideas is a deep desire to support families through birth and early parenthood with compassion and understanding.
As doulas, we love to support not only mothers but their partners, families, children, and communities by providing a caring, encouraging, and knowledgeable presence during the childbearing years.
What's the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A midwife is a medical professional with years of training who ensures the safety of both mothers and babies during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. They provide prenatal and postpartum care, and can provide healthcare throughout a woman's life, providing routine reproductive care. The role of a midwife is similar to that of an OBGYN, although midwives specialize in natural birthing methods (they are not surgeons) and follow the midwifery model of care.
Doulas are not medical professionals. A birth doula provides emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period, focusing on the physical comfort and emotional security of the laboring woman and her partner. A postpartum doula provides practical and emotional care to families after their baby is born, generally from birth through 12 weeks of the baby's life (a period sometimes called the "fourth trimester"). Doulas act as a comforting, encouraging, and knowledgeable presence to help women and their partners or other support people during this sensitive time. She can provide information and will support your right to informed decision-making, respecting and supporting you in whatever choices you make regarding your birth and the care of your baby.
Most doulas operate under some sort of formalized "scope/code of practice." If you have specific questions about the role and limitations of a doula, we encourage you to ask her for a copy of the scope of practice she uses to define her services (ours can be found here).