Heading home from the hospital with a newborn can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Family and Friends mean well, but sometimes their intentions are purely about holding your sweet, new bundle of joy.
Culturally, around the world, childbirth is an experience that does not end once the baby arrives. For weeks following the birth, it is traditional that mothers have exclusive help from their families. Other family members are expected to help with responsibilities while mom spends time bonding and caring for her newborn.
In our culture, this has become less of the norm for many reasons. It's common for families to not live in close proximity, so the idea of family helping out isn't realistic. The family will come to visit, celebrate and maybe stay for a short period to help. More often than not, the extended family has responsibilities of their own. Many grandparents are still working full-time jobs themselves and don't have the ability to be away from their job for long. This makes finding resources more difficult for the new mom.
This is where a Postpartum Doula can be a significant benefit to growing families. Postpartum Doulas offer evidence-based, non-judgemental support during the "Fourth Trimester" or the postpartum period. Sometimes support for you can be having the option to nap and catch up on some much-needed rest while a Postpartum Doula cares for your baby. Or you may just need your house tidied up while you snuggle with your baby. Postpartum Doulas can also help with questions you have regarding newborn care or point you in the direction of a Lactation Consultant who can help with breastfeeding issues. The goal of a Postpartum Doula is to provide you with resources to help you feel confident in your role as a new parent while providing you with emotional and physical support until you feel ready to be on your own.
You spend so much time during pregnancy focusing on the actual birth that sometimes you don't plan for the postpartum. However, the best time to make arrangements for help is before you come home from the hospital. Finding a Postpartum Doula and even interviewing them ahead of time can make your transition go more smoothly.