Postpartum Doula & Newborn Care Specialist FAQ
Over the course of providing postpartum care to more than 2000 families we have had lots of questions about our service. Below are the answers to some of the most common questions we've been asked. If you have questions that aren't answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to answer them!
Who typically uses postpartum care?
Sometime people are surprised that people would want to hire a doula and have asked us who our clients are. Each family is unique, but we have seen some patterns over the years. Below is a brief list of some of reasons families have called us for help with their newborns:
First-time parents; Parents of multiples; Cesarean section birth/recovery; Families with little local support; Women who want to breastfeed; Families with other young children; Birthing people at risk for or experiencing postpartum depression & anxiety; Premature births/babies; Parents who have experienced difficult deliveries; Babies with colic or reflux; Families with high anxiety levels; Babies with special needs; New parents with limited experience with newborns; Mothers who have been on bed rest throughout pregnancy; New parents with no family nearby.
We serve families of all shapes and sizes, from every walk of life. Single parents by choice, LGBTQ+, adoptive parents, and families welcoming their babies through surrogacy are commonplace for us. We strive to bring the best support to your family, without a specific approach to parenting, as this is your turn to make decisions about what is best for your family.
Is there a best time to use a postpartum doula or newborn care specialist?
The first few weeks are when you can benefit the most from having knowledgeable helpers in your home. Having a doula there the first couple days can make days 3, 4, & 5 (when your milk typically arrives) much more manageable, help partners and extended family understand how to make the best team of care, and be there for reassurance when things seem to hit the fan.
We also serve many families during 3-8 weeks, when babies tend to ramp up their fussy times. This is often a time of problem-solving and getting some much-needed rest when it seems like things will never change (they will!). Many parents call us in tears during this time, asking for help as things are just so much harder than they expected.
We often will fill the gaps in family support; as grandparent support comes and goes there is often a transition time where only a little help is needed until families are doing well on their own. The care level is different for every family, and we customize the care plan for each family’s particular needs.
Sometimes just one or two visits is needed, other times families want ongoing doula support for weeks or even months. To help give you an idea how doula and newborn care can be used, we have created some sample care plans based on the compiled experiences of over 2000 client families. These sample postpartum care plans can be found on our Package Pricing page.
Can you help after a c-section surgery?
Yes! We can be your hands and feet while you recover. We make food, do dishes, wash and fold laundry, change bedding, and generally take care of the family while everyone rests and recovers from surgery plus the exhausting hospital stay and adjusts to newborn life. Think of your doula or NCS as the bedside nurse that you get to take home (minus the RN part). We can run back and forth with everything you need so you don't have to get out of bed, we can educate family members on typical recovery length—and we can hopefully help shorten your recovery time.
How do you help with vaginal births?
We encourage all families to rest after the birth, and if you had a vaginal delivery it is important to get off your feet sometimes. We can do all the above listed things, plus set up your sitz baths, peri bottles, and help position baby for feeds that allows you to rest your sorest parts. We can help organize your time so visitors come at the most helpful times, and you have time to really bond and connect to your baby.
Do you care for the baby?
We are happy to provide however much newborn care your family needs, however we always want to leave the bonding moments for mom and dad/partner. We will help setup breastfeeding or bottle feeding (including the pump and milk storage system) and burp, diaper and bathe baby as needed.
We will also give you all our secret tips to making these times efficient and keeping your baby happy in the process.
We do want to emphasize that we are not there to parent the baby; this baby came to live with your family and we will be happy to use any parenting technique that fits your style. (If we have a certain style preference, we will use it at home with our own kids!) We will not pass judgment on your approach, but if you need some new ideas we can make suggestions on techniques that have worked well for other families we have served.
If you prefer care that is more focused on your newborn so you can sleep (or in brief emergency situations when you need to be away from your baby) we also provide care to support your family when you truly need another person to step in manage things for a short time.
How you do select your doulas and newborn care specialists?
We have often been asked how we find our team members. As each situation is as unique as the doulas themselves, there isn’t one way in particular we find the amazing women who work with us. Some find us first; we meet with them, see if they are a fit for our clients and our approach, and move forward. Others are students we meet at trainings who stand out as having remarkable skills and talents and we invite them to consider providing service for ABC clients.
As we have slowly added doulas and newborn care specialists over the years, we have refined this process - taking our time and carefully looking at each person before we consider them joining our team. In addition to looking at each potential team member's experience, skills, personality etc. We also make sure to check with her to see if working with a group of doulas is a good fit for her (and her family) as well as this model applies well for many, but not for those who can’t work on a team.
We are proud to say that our doulas and newborn care specialists are the highest caliber of caregivers both personally and professionally. They attend numerous ongoing education events yearly, work collaboratively with each other as well as with clients' other care providers, and strive to bring evidence-based care into the home with gentleness and expertise. We are so happy they share their time and talents with us.
If you are considering becoming or are already an experienced postpartum doula ore newborn care specialist and think working in our group would be a good fit for you, give us a call and we can do a preliminary phone interview.
What kind of training do postpartum doulas and NCS have?
Women come to this work through a love of nurturing families. We often love babies (!) and have a passion for supporting the transitions of welcoming a new baby. These are prerequisites for doulas, and training builds on this. A postpartum workshop is an intense time of building a foundation for the basics that will be used every day in doula work. Doula experience is built family by family, and on the job training is an ongoing process. All of our doulas go through an initial training, however they also attend ongoing education courses locally and travel to attend conferences and workshops all over the US to sharpen and update their skills.
We have been providing the care of the newborn care specialist for years at ABC, but made it official in 2019 to include NCS as well as doulas on our team. In fact most of our doulas are also trained NCS, to give families more options for their needs.
We love learning, and babies provide us with so many great opportunities to want to learn and understand more so we can pass that knowledge to the parents we serve.
What areas do you serve?
Most of our clients live in the greater Portland, Oregon area. We also provide service as far as Vancouver to the North, Gresham to the East, Hillsboro to the West and Wilsonville to the South.