What exactly does a postnatal doula do?
A postnatal doula is a support to new parents. Sometimes I describe myself as being like a hired grandma, minus the strong opinions! Practically, a postnatal doula can provide support for all things concerning baby, like bathing, feeding, burping, and she can help parents have balanced expectations concerning their constantly disrupted sleep! A postnatal doula can do general tidy ups, fold laundry, and undertake other light housework as well as provide simple meals for the family. Emotionally, a postnatal doula will celebrate even small accomplishments such as getting basic needs met daily, and will encourage the parents with positive feedback. When mothers feel down, sad, anxious or stressed, a postnatal doula can provide a sympathetic ear.
What kind of postnatal support do I need?
The common reality is that new parents often live very far away from family, and their friends are extremely busy, too. In this day and age, we have lost our ‘tribe’. A postnatal doula comes in to replace some of the tribe members who are missing. The support needed varies greatly from family to family. In some cases, families have support in the form of extended family, who are there to hold baby, bathe baby, run errands, and offer additional help to new parents. Therefore, I suggest that if new parents feel comfortable with the support they have, that is the domestic help that a postnatal doula supplies, they should keep my number handy for breastfeeding support. I’m always happy to help navigate them through with a free phone call to target any problems and give them much needed encouragement.
Side note – occasionally families who have the practical support, but prefer not to listen to unwanted advice from strongly opinionated relatives, hire a postnatal doula to take that pressure off so that everyone can relax and enjoy the baby.
How do I know if I need breastfeeding support?
Well, it is likely that every new mother needs some guidance when it comes to breastfeeding. If there is any pain involved in breastfeeding, help is essential. Pain is an indication that something is wrong, and it’s best to seek help as soon as possible in these situations.
How many breastfeeding sessions do I need?
Because every situation is different, it depends. Sometimes in the early days, a one-off phone call or visit is all that is necessary. When a family contacts me several weeks after the birth, and it’s been tricky the entire time, it takes approximately the same number of weeks to get breastfeeding back on track.
Do antenatal breastfeeding sessions/courses work?
The short answer is – ABSOLUTLEY! Since providing online antenatal courses, my students reiterated how important it was for their baby journey to know what good feeding both looks and feels like. A bit of education before the arrival of a baby can change everything about the calm nurturing that happens afterwards. Preparing parents for what normal newborn behaviour is like is KEY, and can take the anxiety out of the postnatal period.
Are you able to check my baby for a tongue-tie?
Yes. I have spotted hundreds of tongue ties, and then provided all options to parents. I am not a tongue-tie practitioner, but can assess, so I have a look under the tongue, and also observe baby at the breast to see if there is a restriction impacting breastfeeding. Then I refer parents for a diagnosis and frenulotomy if it is needed.
Are you able to help with my low milk supply?
Yes. First thing would to determine whether it is actually a low milk supply, or perceived low milk supply. The latch must be as optimal as possible for baby to access enough milk, and this would be an important step. If we conclude that there is an actual milk supply issue, we can work together to increase supply, as well as supplementing baby at the breast with a lactation aid. There is so much more to breastfeeding than the nutrition, and mothers shouldn’t have to miss out on the experience.
I have twins. Are you able to help?
Yes, I can help a new mother with twins, both as an infant feeding specialist as well as a postnatal doula.
I have inverted/flat nipples. I don’t think I can breastfeed.
We say ‘breastfeeding’ not nipple feeding, because babies don’t feed from nipples. Nipples are a ‘target’ for babies, and when they can get a big mouthful, can often feed quite well. It does sometimes make establishing breastfeeding a bit trickier in the early weeks, but I can definitely help with that.
I have another medical issue so I think breastfeeding might be tricky. Can you help?
Although I am not medically trained, I have close colleagues who are, and can very readily access the information you might need. If you are concerned about certain medications, guidance for common meds can be found here –
Every breastfeeding journey is different and tailored to each individual mother and baby. I have supported all kinds of issues including, but not limited to, pain with latching, comfortable positioning for mothers, tongue-tie, low milk supply, over supply, breastfeeding multiples, babies with high palettes, babies with torticollis, inverted/flat nipples, insufficient glandular tissue, mothers breastfeeding with one breast only, positioning help for babies born via forceps or ventouse, and the list goes on… If you have any question about your breastfeeding journey, please call me on 07403198152.