Family with baby and toddler

What is a Postnatal Doula and how could one help?

inquisitive baby on tummy

Having a postnatal doula can be absolutely life-saving during the early weeks/months with a new baby. Most of us no longer have the tribe of mothers, grandmothers, sisters around to support us during a Babymoon (40 days of rest for the postpartum mama – being fed, held, supported in her recovery, and her journey of becoming a parent to their new little one).

A doula is an emotional and physical support. There are birth doulas and there are postnatal/postpartum doulas, who are there for you when you have had the baby.

I have personally been there in the postnatal stage on 5 different occasions (twins make it 5+1!) and I cannot put enough emphasis on how we really need to plan for your emotional and physical recovery after birth. Whether this is baby number 1 or 5; whether you are on your own or living with your partner.

As your support person, your wellbeing is my focus, and ideally, we will have had a session prior to your birth to run through a Postpartum Plan.
Occasionally I get called in to cover last minute, and this is completely ok, I am a studious & fast learner of emotional and physical needs. However, my time fills up very quickly, so I cannot guarantee last-minute plans (with the exception of not knowing when the baby will arrive, of course.)

Family with baby and toddler

Some frequently asked questions:

Do we need to meet before the baby is here? Ideally yes. We want to make sure that I am the right fit for your family’s needs. This is super relevant if you are forward planning. If you have already had your baby, then there is likely no headspace for that, so no…  In that case, I will just quietly blend into your space with just the support that you need.

Is there a minimum or maximum booking? Yes, due to my line of work, a lot of planning goes into time management, and so there are some time plans that need to be in place.
Daytime: There is a minimum of 2 hours booking, and maximum of 4 hours without a break. (Between 8am – 9pm)
Nights: Unfortunately, I no longer offer full overnight sessions, but will do part sessions to help you with some of the nighttime. I can help you from 9pm (up to 1am) or 5am to 8am.

How much do you charge?
I have broken it down, to give people options.
Daytime: £30 per hour (between the hours of 8am – 9pm)
Late nights from 9pm onwards: £35 per hour (minimum of 2 hours, maximum of 4 hours)
Early mornings: £40 per hour for the early mornings (this is 5am – 8am minimum)

Prices. It is truly not my wish to price people out of the support that I wish that everyone could access. My prices are set at half of what my therapy prices are, to make it more accessible.
The unsociable hour rate is set as it is, as the knock-on effect is rather noticeable in the day going ahead.
If a family desperately would like a full night postpartum doula, then in exceptional circumstances this may be offered at a rate of £385 for 9pm – 8am.

Is there a maximum distance you will travel? Yes, I can only cover Harrogate and the surrounding villages.
(Milage at 45p per miles from HG2 0BU) Please ask if I can you if you are further afield, as it will depend on my current workload.

What do you do? Whatever it is that you need! I listen, I hold, I soothe babies, change nappies, hang up washing, I unload dishwashers, feed and nurture the birthing parent, support you during breastfeeding/chestfeeding, or wash bottles… I do whatever it is that you need to feel held and supported.

Some describe a Doula as being a Family Doula, as they often feel like an extended member of the family, there to help, with no judgement or opinion on your choices as a family.

As a Gentle Sleep Consultant, I can help you set up foundations for optimum sleep for babies developmental stage.

Ideally, we will have already worked through your postpartum plan, and I will have learned what your priorities are.
Some people don’t feel human until they have been in the shower. For others, they want to feel a sense of normality by doing something they used to do.

I have been known to hold the baby in the bathroom as the parent showers, when they have not wanted to be parted from their baby.
I have been known to rock and cuddle baby in a different room when the parent wanted to eat a meal with two hands, undisturbed.
I have been known to clean the toilet and bathroom/change bed linen to help a recovering parent feel that they have a nicer space to clean and rest.
I have been known to sit for 4 hours, holding both parent and baby, holding space for them.
I have been known to accompany the parent to the supermarket and unload once home, or for a stroll around a park to feel the fresh air and the sun on their skin (can’t promise the weather sadly!)
I have been known to hold, feed, rock the baby whilst the parent has some very needed rest.
I have been known to entertain toddlers and older siblings whilst mama has some guilt free bonding time with baby.
I have been known to sit on the bed whilst the parent feeds her baby and give them reassurance that they are doing just great.

I have been known to wish that every parents was able to have unconditional support.

Is there an age limit? No. Your baby may be fresh out of the womb, or it may be that your partner is returning to work. Even as a mama to teenagers, I could still do with a Postnatal Doula sometimes!