Continuing with getting to know our doulas by finding out what they would look for in a doula, we hear from Kiersten. Her desire would be a postpartum doula!
The first days (and weeks) with a new baby can be an incredibly challenging time for parents; the services of a trained, professional postpartum doula are invaluable. When my daughter was born in 2012, I had no idea that postpartum doulas existed. Knowing what I do now, here are some things I would look for, when hiring a doula.
- The single most important thing to consider is do I feel comfortable around the doula? Does she help me relax and put me at ease? Is her personality compatible with mine and my family members’? Is she warm, and caring? Do I feel I can trust her not only with my newborn, but to help me care for myself?
- Does the doula have a specialized skill set that matches my needs? These skills might include belly binding, training in breastfeeding support, babywearing education, or experience working with multiples or infants with colic/high needs/specific medical conditions/etc… For skills outside the scope of a postpartum doula (IBCLC, sleep training, CPST, etc…), does the doula maintain relationships with trusted professionals whom she can refer to.
- Are the lines of communication clear? Does my doula understand what the needs of my family are? Will she follow my directions? Can she answer my questions? If she has any questions, does she communicate them promptly?
- How can my doula help out around the house? Will she do laundry? Will she help with meal preparation? What sorts of cleaning will she do? Can she organize my pumping supplies/bottles and sterilizer/baby clothing/etc…?
- Can my doula help me learn more about the latest baby gear, so I know what it essential for my family? Can she provide me with current information and recommendations about car seats, strollers, breast pumps, baby carriers, cloth diapers, etc…?
- Last, but certainly not least, will my doula support all of the parenting choices I make and provide me with non-judgemental support? Is my doula biased towards a particular parenting style, or set of choices? Can I trust my doula to provide me with the highest standard of professional care?
This list is intended only as a guideline, and you may have questions specific to your own concerns or your family’s needs. The important thing is to ask them all, and be certain you feel satisfied with the answers.