postpartum doula breastfeeding baby newborn
breastfeeding, community partnerships, postpartum, Self-Care

Why you might want a doula after your birth

written by Hanna Donati

At one time, a whole village would gather around to nourish and support a new mother. Traditionally, communities would ensure mothers could stay in bed for up to forty days to ensure optimal postpartum healing and bonding. Mothers were fed, pampered, and supported emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Unfortunately, as a society we do not place value on rest. We expect ourselves to “bounce back” without allowing our bodies precious time to heal. We expect ourselves to continue our lives as normal on our own-except this time, with a brand new baby and a body rapidly changing hormonally, physically and emotionally. We have lost the cradling support of our “village”, and the rates of postpartum depression, birth injuries, and unsuccessful breastfeeding journeys are proof that we need to reconnect to this ancient wisdom.

Postpartum doula services can fill this void. Entering into motherhood is a sacred time of a woman’s life. Birth and a new addition to the family means life altering change. Although it is an exciting, precious time, many women feel stressed about the prospect of learning how to breastfeed, care for a newborn, and keep themselves (and the rest of their family) fed and clothed! In fact, when talking with my birth doula clients, one of the few things they knew about the postpartum period was that it was “terrible.” This breaks my heart!

You don’t have to be in the immediate postpartum to take advantage of a postpartum doula. Some families have support when they have a newborn, but things get sticky when the adults in the home have to transition back to full time work after a leave, and your help seems to leave you when you most need it. Don’t hesitate to contact these great service providers to see if this service is right for you.
What does a Postpartum Doula do?

  • Emotional support; an expert in your home in real time to support you
  • Provide evidence based resources to you on newborn care, breastfeeding, the postpartum period
  • Help create biologically normal routines and practices
  • Allow time for you and/or your partner to get some much-needed rest
  • Family education and older sibling support
  • Physical support for your postpartum body, helping with lifting and
    information on how the body recovers from childbirth including surgical
  • Overnight infant care works beautifully with any way you choose to feed
    your child and you get sleep
  • Breastfeeding guidance and resource referral
  • Newborn care guidance for you or other family members
  • Prepare nourishing foods with what you already have in your fridge, within the framework of any diet you adhere to
  • Light housework including organizing baby clothes, doing dishes, laundry, and making beds

Want in?

Anja has partnered with two local doula groups so that her clients can receive special offers through Bloom Doula Services of the Fox Valley (serving Oshkosh and surrounding areas) and Green Bay Doulas (serving Green Bay and surrounding areas). Please contact those providers and mention that you are or have been her client.





Lactation Support

When I was pregnant for the first time, I planned to breastfeed my baby. Though I’d never really witnessed anyone nursing a baby, I assumed that it was just the most natural thing in the world, and that my baby and I would just instinctively know what to do.

Was I ever in for a surprise! I gave birth at a hospital, and the lactation support there was less than ideal. My baby was given bottles of sugar water and a pacifier, and by the time I was discharged three days after his birth, he’d really only had one decent feeding. That one feeding was roughly facilitated by a grouchy older nurse, who essentially mashed my breast in one hand, and shoved my baby’s head onto it with the other. Somehow, though, that worked, and my baby fed contentedly. I was completely uncertain how I would ever replicate that event, given that I would be missing the two extra arms required to make it happen.

To this day, I remember clearly being discharged from the hospital and thinking frantically, “What makes them think I can take care of this baby all by myself?!?” I didn’t know really anyone who had breastfed a baby, there was little support in the area where I lived at the time, and though my husband was supportive, he was also pretty inexperienced, and much to my dismay, was rather unable to produce milk. Feeding my baby–keeping him alive–was all on me. Cue postpartum hormone swings, an abundant increase in production of milk, and a less than ideal latch from my sleepy, small, and kind of early baby, and I was a bit of a mess in short order.

Friend, if you are struggling with breastfeeding, have gotten less than ideal help and advice, I’ve been there! And now, I’m here to help you. I attended many years of La Leche League meetings, soaking up all the mother-to-mother wisdom there, and making friends that have lasted a lifetime. As I began developing as a childbirth professional, I moved beyond the mother-to-mother model. In 2016, after a ninety hour didactic course, and documenting over 1000 hours of professional support of breastfeeding mothers, I passed my examination to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. As the name implies, it is an internationally recognized certification to provide professional support to nursing pairs, and it is the gold standard of lactation certification designations.

Your initial meeting with me includes a detailed review of the issues you are experiencing with breastfeeding, as well as a general overview of your birthing experience. Then we work out a plan for you and your nursling, which may include follow-up visits for weight checks and assessment of the plan. I can typically get you in for an office visit within one business day from the time you call, and for a home visit within two business days of your call. I can evaluate your little one for tongue tie, and I have a referral network, if needed, for the revision of ties and follow-up care.

What are you waiting for? Call the midwife!

P.S. That first baby I referenced above? I managed to keep him fed well enough as an infant, and I’m grateful that he’s a confident, competent, compassionate young adult who manages to feed himself these days. Oh, and he breastfed until he was two and a half years old, no grouchy nurse required.