Doulas DON’T Do That

A popular hashtag in the postpartum doula world is #DoulasDoThat. Such posts are generally followed by a cute picture of the doula baby wearing, or preparing meals, perhaps doing some type of housework or baby care. It’s true, there are many things that we do for our families, and many articles about them all. What about the things doulas don’t do?

Postpartum doulas embrace the concept of “mothering the mother” and that includes all kinds of tasks. Doulas are educated on mother care following a vaginal or cesarean birth. Doulas will educate you on infant care, bottle-feeding, breastmilk storage, self care and pumps to name a few. We often perform house management tasks: making sure your laundry is being done, errands are run, simple meals are being prepared and things are staying organized. Doulas will take over care of the newborn and older siblings so mom can shower and nap. Your postpartum doula will make sure that mom is focusing on healing, resting, able to spend time with the newborn, eating and drinking enough.

There are SO many things postpartum doulas do. So it happens that I am often asked, “What don’t you do as a postpartum doula?!?”

Well, believe it or not, there are things that I DO NOT do as your postpartum doula:

I will NOT give you medical advice. I will provide you with evidence based research on many topics. I will tell you when I see something that I think may not be “normal” or concerning. I will listen to your concerns on baby development issues; I will ask you to call your doctor, and I will support you in their suggestions/diagnosis. While I do possess a great deal of knowledge regarding infant development and postpartum issues, I am not a trained medical professional.

I will NOT make decisions for you. I am here to help educate and support you on various infant and postpartum related issues. I provide research based information for you to make your own decisions. I am here to support you unconditionally in your decision making.

I will NOT judge you. This is your baby, your family and these are your decisions. What I think (unless it is about something potentially harmful in which case I will express my concern and why) on a topic such as family dynamics, parenting styles, method of feeding your baby, sleep choice, etc. is not important. What is important is that you get the unconditional information and support which you need to make those decisions. I will not judge or shame you for making serious decisions regarding your baby and your family.

I will NOT speak on your behalf. While accompanying you on a postpartum visit or lactation appointment, I will support you physically and emotionally. If needed, I will gladly help you prepare questions for your medical professional before the appointment, but I do not speak to them on your behalf. I truly believe in empowering you and supporting your ability to speak for yourself.

So, while we postpartum doulas do many things, there are a number of things that we DON’T do. We DON’T do them, because it’s not in our job description. Our job is to support and educate you on your journey to becoming a mother and family!

Nurtured Foundation serves the greater Cleveland area with a variety of doula services.

Filed under: Doula Roles and Responsibilities