A postpartum doula provides evidence-based information on infant feeding, soothing, newborn care, bonding, emotional and physical recovery in the first days and weeks after birth (American Pregnancy Association, 2017). This can include assistance with household chores and cleaning, cooking, simple errands, active listening and peer counseling, and referrals to providers for lactation, mental health, pelvic floor or other areas of support.
Across many traditions, postpartum care also includes daily massage, baths, herbal teas and hearty, warming foods prepared to heal the body after birth and nourish for ample breastmilk and bonding with the baby. In the United States, postpartum care often consists of one medical visit 6 weeks later.
In my practice, I try to bridge that gap by offering massage and bodywork, nourishing teas, bone broths, stews and smoothies following traditional recipe books such as Heng Ou’s The First Forty Days, belly binding support and education, and an overall adapted form of traditional postpartum care within my role as a postpartum doula. During each home visit, we can attend to 2 or 3 projects including a short massage, preparing teas, smoothies, or a full meal, and/or assisting with house chores, baby care, or breastfeeding questions.