Top Questions on the Minds of New Parents

What does a doula do when the babies come home?
Mom’s need rest, especially after a C-section birth. Doulas start with helping to hold and assess the baby to see how the baby is doing in terms of their breathing, color, diaper, feeding, etc. A doula will also help organize and bring order to your home, including some light housework and possibly cooking, so that you can have an easy transition from the hospital.

How long does a postpartum doula spend with a family?
Doula support can last anywhere from one or two visits to more than three months. A doula might work full time, part time, she might work days, or evenings. Each family can work out what is the right schedule for their needs. As the baby settles in and the family adjusts and their knowledge and confidence grows, their needs for professional support will diminish.

How do I get off to a good, safe, stress-free start?
It is important to have a safe and stress-free transition from hospital to home. Reading books and attending childbirth classes is helpful to prepare for birth and early newborn care. However, having a one-on-one experience with a postpartum doula is a wonderful and helpful way to get the in the moment experience you can’t learn from books or classes. From breastfeeding support, giving your baby their first bath to providing coaching along the way, working with the right doula for you and your family is an intimate and reliable connection that can help ensure an easy transition.

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding – Is breast feeding possible with twins?
Breast feeding is recommended for the first six to twelve months, if at all possible. It is also possible to breastfeed twins and recommended even for a few months. There are many positives to breast feeding including the nutritional and bonding benefits it provides. It is a major commitment and can be very tiring especially with twins so you have to consider your lifestyle and personality to determine if it is for you. When you have good help, it’s easier to manage. Babies who are fed with formula are generally fuller faster and for longer and don’t require feeding as frequently. Pumping breast milk is also an option. Women should not feel guilty if breast feeding isn’t possible and it’s important to find the feeding solution that is best for you.

How do we get into a schedule from the start?
Sometimes schedules can work early on for single babies and even twins. With twin babies, schedules can work when the babies are close to the same birth weight. However, if one baby is much smaller, you have to give that one more individual attention including feeding more frequently. Once you meet and get to know your baby or babies, and their needs, it is easier to determine if a schedule is possible.

How do we get any sleep with twins?
Sleep is a precious commodity for any new parent, particularly in those first few months. The important thing to remember is to sleep when your baby sleeps and to have help especially during the day so you can nap.

When do I need help the most – during the day or during the night? And how do they differ?
A doula can help with caring for and holding your baby or babies during the day so you can nap. A doula can also help with housework during the day which becomes difficult at night when the house needs to be quiet. With twins, you need help during the day and at night.

What do you do when babies cry?
When babies cry, it’s important to assess what their needs may be – whether it’s hunger, a need to be changed or burped, or whether they just need to be held. You can never spoil a baby with holding them too much. Especially when they are very little, it is important that you and your doula dedicate as much time during the day to just holding your baby to make them feel safe and secure.

What is a doula’s role in a crisis situation?
It is important that your doula be highly trained to notice if something is “off” with a baby. Whether their body temperature is too low or too high, their breathing is unusual, or they appear to have choked, it is critical to provide attention right away. A doula should be certified in CPR and also have the intuition to recognize when there is a problem. This is an important question to ask when checking references for a doula to ensure that they are skilled in a crisis situation.

How can a Doula help with Postpartum Depression?
While doulas do not treat postpartum depression they can refer you to therapists who do. However, postpartum doulas help by creating a safe environment for the mother emotionally. The doula surrounds the mother with acceptance as she goes through the stages of the postpartum period. They take the  pressure off the new mother as she eases into her new responsibilities gradually.

By mothering the mother, doulas makes sure that the mother feels nurtured and cared for, as well as making sure she is eating well and getting enough sleep. She can help care for the baby, which can ease the stress on the new parents. In addition, doulas are trained to help clients prepare themselves for parenthood, maximizing support and rest. These doulas will help their clients to screen themselves for Postpartum Mood Disorders and will make referrals to appropriate clinicians or support groups as needed.