What is a Postpartum Doula? 13 Reasons You Need One

Picture of Bere Horthy

Bere Horthy

Doula & Registered Nurse

Becoming a parent is no small feat. 

It’s an adventure filled with joy, challenges, and a steep learning curve. 

This is why new parents are hiring postpartum doulas after their little one arrives.

So what is a postpartum doula?

A postpartum doula provides support to families that, let me tell you, is worth every penny.

They offer a range of services including emotional support, practical help around the home, insider tips on baby care and feeding and a h*ll of a lot more. 

Ultimately, they’re there to help you find your feet in the first few weeks of parenthood.

Sounds like something you need?

We’ve broken down what is a postpartum doula and put together a list of 13 reasons why hiring one might just be the best decision you make for your family. 

What is a postpartum doula?

A postpartum doula is a helping hand for new parents right after their baby is born.

They’re different from birth doulas, who are there during pregnancy and support the mother through the labour and birth of their baby. 

Postpartum doulas are there immediately after the baby arrives and normally stay for 6 weeks postpartum.

Some doulas offer the whole package, pregnancy, birth, postpartum — the whole shebang.

So, what do they do? 

A lot, actually. 

They’re there to listen and give emotional support when things feel tough. 

They can also do practical stuff around the house, like making meals, tidying up, and even looking after the baby so you can have a moment to yourself. 

This can be really handy when you’re tired and trying to figure out ‘how to do the parenting thing’.

They know everything there is to know when it comes to taking care of newborns, from feeding to getting them to sleep.

But it’s not about doing things for you; it’s about teaching you and building your confidence.

They don’t do medical stuff but are all about support and care, making those first few weeks with a new baby a bit easier.

Reason 1: Emotional support

The days following birth can be emotionally intense. 

You might feel joy, exhaustion, and everything in between. 

A postpartum doula offers you and your partner emotional support.

They create a space where you can talk openly about how you’re feeling without fear of judgment.

Whether you’re dealing with the ‘baby blues’ or just need to vent about the day-to-day challenges of parenthood, a doula listens and understands.

Their presence provides reassurance, reminding you that you’re not alone and it’s okay to have mixed emotions during this time.

Reason 2: Breastfeeding guidance

It’s no secret that breastfeeding is hard work and can be filled with ups and downs. 

From latching issues, painful nipples and leak disasters to concerns about milk supply and mastitis, it’s easy to throw in the towel.

Many postpartum doulas also have lactation support qualifications.

They can offer tips on positioning, advice on how to encourage a better latch and support to make breastfeeding more comfortable for both you and your baby.

Having someone to guide you through this process at home means you can find solutions that work for your unique situation, making breastfeeding a more positive experience. 

Plus, their support can boost your confidence, helping you feel more connected to your baby.

Reason 3: Newborn care tips

I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘Babies don’t come with instruction manuals’. 

It’s true.

When it comes to taking care of a newborn, many parents feel like they’ve been given a Rubix cube and told to figure it out.

Postpartum doulas are great at giving simple, practical tips that make a big difference. 

They can show you things like how to swaddle your baby, help you understand what different cries mean, and share ways to soothe your little one.

Reason 4: Coping with sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep is something every new parent goes through, but it doesn’t have to knock you off your feet. 

Postpartum doulas have the best tips to help you handle it. 

They can give you tips on setting up a good sleeping space for your baby and suggest routines to help your baby sleep better and longer.

They can also give you education about the benefits of cosleeping and baby massage.

Sometimes, they can even look after your baby while you get some much-needed sleep. 

There are even special doulas that will stay awake during the night to be there for the baby and whatever they need. 

These are called night doulas, and they are a godsend for sleep-deprived parents.

Once you find a rhythm that works for you, you’ll have more energy to tackle the new challenges that come with motherhood.

Not to mention sleep is one of the key ingredients to a speedy postpartum recovery.


Reason 5: Household help

A postpartum doula offers an extra pair of hands when you really need it. 

They help with household chores like washing clothes, making healthy meals, or tidying up the house. 

They might even walk your dog and take your other kids out for a bit.

All the things that you don’t have the headspace or energy to deal with in the weeks following the birth.

This kind of help is a big relief for new parents who are busy with their baby and might feel swamped. 

It means you can spend more time with your little one instead of worrying about all the housework that isn’t being done. 

Reason 6: Support for the whole family

A postpartum doula isn’t just there for the mum and bub.

They’re there for everyone in the family.

They can help partners too, giving them advice, showing them how to care for the baby, and even giving them tips on how they can support the mum better.

And for the other siblings? The doula can help them understand what is going on and how they can help out too.

This makes sure everyone feels more confident and supported. 

Having a doula around can make the whole family’s adjustment to a new baby smoother and more positive.

Reason 7: Mental Health Awareness

Navigating the emotional rollercoaster after having a baby can be tough. 

Doulas are great at spotting the signs of postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety, which is a big deal because catching these feelings early makes a huge difference.

In fact, research shows that women who had doula support during labour, birth and postpartum saw a whopping 64.7% drop in the chances of experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression. 

That’s impressive.

Doulas aren’t therapists, but they know the importance of getting the right help, and they also have an extensive list of contacts for times like these.

They can gently suggest seeing a professional if they think it’s needed, and help you find someone who you are comfortable with. 

This makes it easier for parents to seek support in the early stages.


Reason 8: Physical Recovery Tips

Let’s be real, your body goes through a lot during birth, and the aftermath can feel like you’ve run a marathon, and then some more. 

Doulas come armed with tips and tricks to help your body recover.

They can suggest comfortable positions for feeding your baby, show you gentle exercises to strengthen your core when you’re ready, and remind you to drink plenty of water.

They have secret remedies for sitz baths, steaming broths and delicious teas that make postpartum recovery a lot faster… and a bit more like a day at the spa.

They help you take it easy while encouraging you to take small steps towards recovery. 

It’s not about rushing; it’s about finding the right pace for your body. 

With a doula’s guidance, you can navigate the physical recovery process with a bit more ease and maybe even a few laughs along the way.

Reason 9: Nutritional Advice

Eating right after having a baby isn’t about getting back in shape; 

It’s important to fuel your recovery and, if you’re breastfeeding, for milk production too. 

Doulas can guide you through the maze of postpartum nutrition, suggesting meals that are not only nourishing but also boost your milk supply. 

They know that a well-balanced diet can make a significant difference in how you feel and how well you can feed your baby. 

Their advice is practical, focusing on foods that are easy to prepare and rich in the nutrients new mums need most. 

With a doula’s guidance, you can ensure your body gets the right fuel to heal and provide for your baby.

Reason 10: Education on Baby Development

As I mentioned earlier, babies don’t come with manuals, but luckily, doulas pretty much serve as the next best thing. 

They can teach you about the different stages of baby development, so you’re not left wondering why your newborn suddenly seems to think sleep is optional. 

Plus, they’re like baby whisperers, able to tell you exactly what each cry means—hungry, tired, or in need of a clean nappy. 

This is priceless, turning you into a bit of a baby whisperer yourself.

It’s not magic, just the wisdom passed on from someone who’s been there, done that, and got the baby vomit-stained T-shirt to prove it.

FAQs about baby blues

Reason 11: Community Resources

Finding your tribe as a new parent can feel a bit like online dating but without the awkward dinners. 

Doulas are great at connecting you with local community resources and support groups, making it easier to find people who get what you’re going through. 

They know all the best spots for parent-and-baby classes, breastfeeding support groups, and even coffee mornings.

With a doula’s help, you won’t just survive the early days of parenthood;

You’ll thrive, surrounded by a community of new parents who are going through it too.

Reason 12: Flexible Support Customised to Your Needs

Every family is unique, and doulas get that. 

They’re like chameleons, adapting their support to match exactly what you need.

Whether that’s someone to talk to about your birth experience, a guide to your baby’s first weeks, or just an extra pair of hands when you’re at your wit’s end.

They can dial up the emotional support, share more practical baby care tips, or step back to give you space, depending on your day. 

It’s this flexible, tailor-made approach that makes doula services so valuable. 

You’re not getting a one-size-fits-all solution; 

You’re getting the support that feels like it was designed just for you and your baby, making the whole parenting journey feel a bit more manageable.

And a lot less lonely.

Reason 13: Building Your Confidence as a New Parent

Becoming a new parent often brings a lot of self-doubt. 

Research shows that hiring a doula postpartum helps to boost new mums’ (and dads’) confidence. 

This kind of support is great for parents who feel a bit isolated or who don’t have much help.

Doulas are all about helping you trust yourself more. 

They’re there to remind you that you’ve got this, what you’re going through is normal, you know your baby best, and you’re doing a good job. 

This kind of encouragement is a big help for your mental health. 

Parents who have a doula feel stronger and more sure of themselves, not just right after the baby is born, but as they continue on their parenting journey.

after birth help

Finding the Right Postpartum Doula for You

Finding a doula that fits your needs can make a big difference in your postpartum experience.

Start by looking in local parenting groups or doula directories

When you have a few names, reach out and ask them about their experience, how they support new parents, and what their approach to care is. 

It’s important to choose someone who you feel comfortable with and whose views on caring for a newborn align with yours.

Asking the right questions is key to understanding if a doula is the right match for you. 

Ask about their experience with breastfeeding support, how they handle situations where you and your baby are struggling, and how they can support your partner too. 

You want someone who listens to your concerns and respects your choices. 

When you find a doula who understands what you’re looking for and offers the support you need, you’ll feel more at ease and supported during this big change in your life.

Going It Alone Isn’t Your Only Option

Stepping into parenthood is a big move, and it’s totally fine if the idea of doing it solo is a bit daunting. 

Remember, having a postpartum doula by your side can make a world of difference. 

They’re there to guide you through the new terrain of caring for a newborn, lifting your spirits, and taking some of the weight off your shoulders.

From helping you understand your baby’s needs to boosting your confidence and providing much-needed reassurance, a doula’s impact is significant. 

It’s about enhancing your strengths and giving you the support you need to thrive, not just survive. 

And let’s be honest, everyone needs a bit of help sometimes.

If you’re considering a doula, why not reach out for a chat? 

A consultation doesn’t tie you down to anything—it’s just a first step to see how a doula could fit into your family’s journey. 

It’s about finding what works for you and embracing the support that could make all the difference. 

So, take a breath and consider opening the door to a helping hand—you might just find it’s exactly what you need.

Bere Horthy

As a doula and nurse, Bere's mission is to empower and educate women, families, and fellow doulas to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey.


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