When I was expecting my 3rd baby, all I could focus on was the pregnancy and the upcoming birth. I quickly learned that all seemed to pass so quickly. My pregnancy was easy. I loved that time, feeling the baby wiggle and poke inside my abdomen. I used to play with my little babe, poking back.

Then in the blink of an eye, I was home with my little bundle. My birth was fast and uncomplicated. I was already a mother of two children, and I had a supportive partner. “But now,” I thought, “What do I do about feeding and making dinner and keeping the house clean? And how do I trudge up and down the stairs with a load of laundry and a baby in a sling? I can’t do this,” I thought.

Then my doula came to visit and she offered to give a little bit of extra support since my delivery was only an hour and a half. She suggested that I get as much extra rest as possible. I laughed! I was a mom to a newborn, a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old—when was I going to find time to nap? She suggested that she could help for a week or so and then she told me go and lie down. So off to bed I went with my new little bundle and I slept while my doula tidied up the house, made lunch for me, and ran a load of laundry.

When I woke, she was there to share a cup of tea with and talk about my birth. Wow, I thought, all this focus on the birth and the pregnancy—I had forgotten all about the hard work that the postpartum time was.

Fast-forward three years, I was expecting my fourth child. This pregnancy was much the same as the others, with a lot of excitement about the delivery, however, this baby was born at home and I had a postpartum doula lined up. Lucky for me she had all the right things in her toolbox to share with this experienced mom. She suggested I have friends and family bring meals, we talked about sibling adjustments, how to manage my busy life and what steps I needed to take to stay sane and well rested. She helped with breastfeeding and laundry—lots and lots of laundry! I remember hearing a talk show personality say, “Don’t just plan for your wedding, plan for your marriage.” Now I tell families, “Don’t just plan for your birth, plan for your postpartum time—the fourth trimester.”

Postpartum doulas are a wonderful resource to have during the fourth trimester. They are trained to support the family with many issues such as breastfeeding support, sibling adjustment, light household management such as meal preparation, keeping up with laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and keeping the kitchen and common living areas tidy.

Postpartum doulas also provide education on newborn characteristics and offer non-judgmental support. We are not there to have you conform to our personal methodology of parenting, but to assist you as a new parent to find your own way. We provide evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional, and physical recovery from birth for both mom and baby.

Research has shown that mothers, babies and families that have had postpartum support have had superior outcomes. Mothers have greater self-confidence and lower incidence of abuse and postpartum depression, along with greater breastfeeding success.

The postpartum doula’s goal is to ease the family’s transition and adjust to life with their newborn. You can hire a postpartum doula to work with your family from a few hours per week for the first month or so, up to the full fourth trimester, which is 13 weeks.