Interviewing Your Postpartum Doula
In an earlier post I wrote about questions to ask a potential birth doula. Once you have your birth doula hired to support you through your pregnancy and birth, it is a good time to sit down and decide how you will find support to get through your postpartum time. Enter the postpartum doula.
There are many benefits to having a postpartum doula. Once you decide a postpartum doula might be the route you want to go, you are going to want to set up an interview. Here are some questions to get you started in the interviewing process:
1. Are you trained as a postpartum doula?
There are many great organizations that train and certify postpartum doulas. Trainings require lots hands-on experience as well as reading. Once a doula is trained, they have the option to certify. Some doulas chose to certify, while others decide not to for a variety of reasons.
2. Do you have any other relevant training?
Some doulas may have additional training in breastfeeding, infant massage, belly binding, teach childbirth education, placenta encapsulation to name a few. Others may have skills such as being a licensed massage therapist, cranial sacral training, nursing degrees or be a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Many postpartum doulas have a variety of additional skills to offer.
3. Do you have experience and/or training in breastfeeding?
Some postpartum doulas go for additional training in breastfeeding. You can become certified as a Breastfeeding Educator, CLC, IBCLC, or a Breastfeeding Peer. At a minimum most postpartum doulas have first hand experience breastfeeding their own children and assisting many clients in lactation.
4. Can you tell us a little about yourself, and what makes you feel so drawn to being a postpartum doula?
These type of personal questions help to give you insight into the postpartum doula’s personality. They are a great way to get a feel about the doula’s character and temperament.
5. What is the most important part of your job as a postpartum doula?
Another great question to find out the doula’s passion. Is she more passionate about breastfeeding? Education? Infant care? Meal prep? House Management? How does that fit in with what you are looking for in a postpartum doula for support?
6. What is your philosophy as a postpartum doula regarding parenting and supporting women & their families?
This is your opportunity to see how the doula “operates”. Doula work is about unconditional support for the family. If a doula has philosophies as to how things should be done, that might be a problem. A postpartum doulas job is to support YOU and YOUR parenting style as it develops. Unconditional support for your parenting and decision making is crucial for you and your family during this postpartum transition.
7. How do you see your role as a postpartum doula?
Another great question to give you a little more insight into the doula’s personality.
8. How does scheduling work? Do you have minimum hours? What days do you work?
Depending on the postpartum doula, many have minimum hours and days they work. Most in the Cleveland area prefer a minimum of 4 hours a day and work Monday-Friday, but not all! Asking these questions will help you decide if the postpartum doula will be able to fulfill you need time and day wise.
9. Do you have any clients due around the time I am?
Postpartum doulas generally have more than one client in a time frame depending on client needs. If the doula does have another client during your time frame as them how they balance two families at once.
10. Do you have a back-up doula?
Most postpartum doulas have a back-up doula available in the event of illness, emergency or the occasional schedule conflict. Ask the doula how it works if they are unavailable and a back-up is needed.
11. What services do you provide? Do you clean, cook, laundry, errands, baby care, etc.?
Not all postpartum doulas offer the same care. Clarify with the postpartum doula as to what services they provide while working with a family.
12. May we call you anytime before and after birth with questions or concerns?
You may have questions before baby arrives such as
It’s also important to know if you can reach your postpartum doula outside of her/his work hours. It will happen. The doula will leave and a question will arise.
13. Do you have experience with moms experiencing postpartum mood disorders? Are trained to help recognize postpartum mood disorders?
While postpartum doulas are NOT medical professionals or therapists, they do have training in how to identify possible mood disorders. It’s important to know what they do when they suspect a mood disorder and how they tell the family.
14. Are your immunizations up to date?
When working with newborns and especially preemies parents may have concerns about their children being exposed to others that are not immunized. If this is a concern, then ask the doula.
15. Do you have current infant/ adult CPR training?
Again, if this is important to you as parents, then ask the doula.
16. Do you have references we can check?
Checking reference is a big one. Remember, you are inviting a person into your home to work with your family at a very vulnerable time in your lives. It is important that you feel comfortable with the postpartum doulas. There will be times that you may want to rest or shower and the doula will be alone with the newborn and/or other children. Put your mind at ease and make a few calls.
As a postpartum doula that has worked for years with many families, my best piece of advice is to find the postpartum doula that you feel that “click” with. Many doulas are well trained, but making sure you feel comfortable and connected to your doula is the absolute best way to find a postpartum doula for your growing family.