March 22-28 is Doula Week, and we wanted to celebrate by spreading awareness about doulas and how they can help the transition from pregnancy to birth and postpartum. We couldn't think of a better person to write this post than Lauren Archer from @loveofalittleone.
Lauren is a postpartum doula and breastfeeding educator who believes that education = empowerment. She also has a large following on Instagram, where she shares evidence-based information and fosters a supportive space for new and expecting moms.
Why should expecting moms consider hiring a doula?
When it comes to birth and postpartum, it can often seem overwhelming to try and navigate choices. While friends, family, and partners have plenty of advice and suggestions, it can be hard to know where to turn for non-biased and non-judgemental information and support.
Enter a doula!
What's the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?
While the term doula may seem a little misunderstood, here are the facts:
There are 2 types of doulas - birth and postpartum. Some doulas are both but some aren't. A birth doula supports you before a birth as well as during the birth. Most birth doulas will also visit you at least once postpartum to check-in.
A postpartum doula supports you before a birth as well as providing essential care in the first days and weeks after Baby is born, but not necessarily during the delivery.
Both will get to know you and your expectations during prenatal check-ins before the birth.
What kind of support or services can a doula provide?
Doulas can be vital in offering options, helping you navigate choices, and provide mental, physical, and emotional support.
Each doula is different in what skills they may be able to bring to the table. Some are wizards at bodywork, others are geniuses in creating menus filled with nourishing foods, while others may also be photographers or lactation consultants or specialize in specific cultural rituals.
Can a doula provide lactation support?
One of the biggest supports a postpartum doula can offer is with breastfeeding, however, not all are breastfeeding experts. While most postpartum doulas can assist in helping with latching, positioning, and giving you information about typical newborn eating behaviors and patterns they also may refer you to an IBCLC.
An IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and they have the ability to do oral assessments to determine if your babe may have a restriction in their mouth that may be causing issues. They can also help create a care plan if your babe is losing weight, help refer to other specialists that you may need, as well as do a weighted feed and help with additional feeding techniques.
What do you suggest for moms who may not be able to afford a doula?
Doula services can easily be put onto a registry! These types of services are often more important than all the other stuff. Onesies are really cute but they won’t change the trajectory of your birth or postpartum - a doula can.
Photos by Christina Lucciola
Lauren Archer is a thirty-something mama to one Cub and a postpartum doula based in Los Angeles. Her services include childbirth & postpartum support, postpartum education, and lactation support. She is an advocate for the importance of postpartum care for every parent including families that grow via surrogacy or adoption and regardless of race, religion, or the gender of their partner.