The Essential Guide to Postpartum Doula Support

Welcome to EmBeba's blog during our special post-partum awareness month. Today, we're honored to feature guest writer Kristin D'Ambrosio, MA, CPD, of Thrive Doula Solutions to explore the vital role of postpartum doulas in supporting new families during the transformative perinatal period.

In today's blog, we're diving deep into the invaluable support system provided by postpartum doulas, with the expert guidance of Kristin D'Ambrosio, MA, CPD, from Thrive Doula Solutions.  Kristin D'Ambrosio shares her insights and experiences, guiding us through the transformative support postpartum doulas offer. Her focus is on ensuring families are well-prepared and supported, embracing their new journey with love, confidence, and peace.  Let's read on!

What is a postpartum doula and what exactly do they do?

You may have heard about postpartum doulas and wondered: what is a postpartum doula, and what do they do? Essentially, a postpartum doula is a support person during the perinatal period (the time around the birth of a baby – either before or after). Postpartum doulas offer support to families in three main areas: practical, informational, and emotional support during the most important and sacred time in their life.

Postpartum support through PIE

The acronym PIE describes the three main areas postpartum doulas support families. “P” stands for practical. Examples of practical support include: planning and preparing meals, helping clients care for themselves, light household assistance such as tidying up, washing baby bottles and pump parts, folding baby’s laundry, etc. “I” stands for information. Doulas teach and share information to answer the many questions and concerns new parents have. One of the benefits of sharing information with new parents is that information and education can help increase parental confidence. “E” stands for the emotional support doulas provide. Examples of emotional support include: to actively listen and reflect what was shared, to affirm and normalize feelings, and remind new mothers and families they are not alone.

Typical offerings of postpartum doulas include: focused non-judgmental support, newborn care to facilitate rest and recovery time for parents, guidance and assistance with breast and/or bottle feeding, simple meals and snacks prepared in the family’s home, help with light household duties, informational support to answer the many questions or concerns new parents have, and access to referrals to various practitioners as needed. Postpartum doulas support families during the fourth trimester, which is the first 12 weeks that follow the birth of a baby. If there are extenuating circumstances, some postpartum doulas will continue supporting families for an extended period of time. 

Postpartum doulas provide guidance, compassionate support and companionship to new mothers and families. They are nurturing and caring, listen to concerns, share in milestones, validate, hold space, reassure, and bring lots of love to new families. Additionally, they will care for and snuggle your new precious baby. The role of a postpartum doula in a new family’s life is invaluable. The support they provide allows families to be more present with their new baby and feel well cared for during one of the biggest transitions in their lives.

Postpartum rest during the holidays (managing stress by doing LESS)

Traditional postpartum wisdom from various teachings and cultures recommends the new mother have a 40-day respite, equivalent to six weeks, for rest and recovery. Advising mothers to nestle in the comforting embrace of their beds and homes during this initial period serves a dual purpose—facilitating recovery from the rigors of pregnancy and birth while fostering the crucial establishment of a nurturing breastfeeding relationship. It's a timeless prescription for the holistic well-being of both mother and child.

During the holidays, which also includes the cold and flu season, staying home and cocooning yourself and your baby is especially important. You may want to resist the urge to attend large gatherings and instead stay home, limiting visitors to your family/community that can help bring care and support. Community and social support are important, so surround yourself with people who can cook, clean, and help with older children. If you do not have an established circle who can help during this time when you need to rest, you can rely on a postpartum doula and other perinatal provider specialists.  

Warmth is another important factor during recovery and another recommended reason to stay in during this colder time of year. Surround yourself in a cocoon of warmth—nature's remedy for both body and soul. Wrap yourself in blankets, sip on herbal tea and focus on nutrient-dense foods that not only fuel the body but also warm it from the inside out. A steaming bowl of bone broth and pastured eggs and meats prepared with care, not only tantalize the taste buds but provide a hearty warmth that lingers and something easy for the body to digest. So, in this world of warmth, where the temperature, blankets, herbal tea, and nourishing foods converge, there's a type of sanctuary allowing you to bask in the healing power of warmth.

Additional Resources

For more insights into postpartum care, Kristin D'Ambrosio has authored comprehensive posts on her experiences and learnings about postpartum doulas, which can be a great resource for new and expecting mothers. You can read here.  To delve deeper into her journey and expertise, Kristin offers FREE 30-minute discovery calls, providing a personal touch to her support services. You can also find a wealth of information on postpartum care, motherhood, and resources by following her on Instagram and Pinterest. Don’t miss out on the latest postpartum care information, news, and special offers by joining her mailing list HERE.


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