Congrats on your growing family! And what a crazy time to have a newborn, am I right?! More than ever, supporting the new family is critical for the vitality of our communities, and in particular areas of lactation and postpartum support. The good news – babies love to nest and cuddle at home, and we can follow their lead. AND mothers/lactating parents create one of the best things to fight a pandemic head-on – BREAST MILK!!! Any amount of breast milk is beneficial to the new baby.
Two common challenges new parents experience that are amplified by COVID-19 are social isolation and exhaustion. The new parent may be left to take care of a newborn plus take care of themselves while they recover from birth and adjust to their new body and life. Any parent who gives birth will have a postpartum recovery and journey – filled with life/body/soul changes. Mindful intention, planning and support networks in place can help ease these transitions. This is where lactation support and postpartum doula care come in…
Lactation support can begin prenatally and continue through the course of the postpartum and breastfeeding relationship. This can help the new family establish breastfeeding, wether newborn growth spurts with frequent feedings, build your milk supply and create a feeding strategy that works for baby and the lactating parent. Lactation consults can be done in-home and via telehealth.
Knowing that all families deserve postpartum support AND support from extended family and friends may be restricted by quarantine needs, postpartum doula care can provide essential support to new families. Research shows that there is a lower incidence of postpartum anxiety and depression when working with a postpartum doula. Before COVID-19, 1 out of 5 women experience a perinatal/postpartum mood disorder, with postpartum depression being the most highly reported complication of birth. Early research now indicates perinatal mental health issues arise in 30% of mothers during the time of COVID-19.
What is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)?
An IBCLC is a perinatal professional who specializes in human lactation and offers support to families with clinical assessments, feeding plans, education and emotional care during the breast/chest feeding journey. The path to becoming an IBCLC includes 14 prerequisite courses, 95 hours of lactation education and training, 300 hours working with a mentor IBCLC in the clinical settings (working with babies and parents), passing an international board certifying exam, and continued education and recertification (every 5 years).
Services provided include:
- Client intake and history
- Assistance with latch and positioning
- Pre/post feeding infant weight – assess milk transfer
- Milk supply support
- Breast exam and health assessment
- Pump assistance
- Personalized written follow-up and feeding plan
- Text/email support
- Superbill for insurance
What is a Postpartum Doula?
- A supportive adviser, educator and non-medical care provider, professionally trained and/or experienced in providing postpartum care to the mother/parent and family.
- Facilitate a smooth and rewarding transition during the Fourth Trimester and beyond while fulfilling a large gap in maternity care in the U.S.
WHY work with a PP Doula:
- PP experience has long-term effects on the entire family’s physical/emotional health.
- PP doulas support and educate new parents while they face the realities & challenges of:
- healing and recovery from birth;
- total responsibility for a tiny dependent newborn;
- emotional adjustment;
- mastery of infant feeding and care;
- understanding of and adjustment to the unique personality of their baby;
- shifts in needs for self-care
- US culture
- New parents are no longer typically surrounded by a knowledgeable and appropriately supportive community.
- Receive little support from the medical-care system once their baby is born. Hospital stay is shorter in the US than in many other countries.
PP Doula Services provided:
As a PP doula, I provide emotional/physical/information support and guidance that ALL new parents can benefit from, like:
- Emotional and physical coping/comforting techniques for post birth recovery
- Baby care and education (feeding, soothing techniques, diapering, cord care, baby wearing, first bath,etc.)
- Breastfeeding support
- Facilitating effective strategies and coping skills to promote more rest and enjoy this transition period better
- Coordinating appropriate support and communication with family members and friends
- Building confidence in parenting abilities
- Addressing infant development
- Facilitating nourishment and nutrition counselling
- Providing appropriate resources and list of referrals as needed for a family’s specific needs.
Benefits of working with a PP Doula
Research has shown that women who receive adequate PP support experience:
- greater ease in the transition into parenthood
- greater breastfeeding success
- greater confidence in parenting skills
- lower incidence of postpartum anxiety and depression
- greater satisfaction with their parenting partner.
- Parents are more empowered and confident sooner after the birth of their child when receiving the support of a pp doula.