Happy World Doula Week!
Here is a note from Abby, one of our amazing donor relation coordinators and doula.
It may not seem very obvious what the connection is between a milk bank and a doula, but when you dig a little deeper, there is one extremely important underlying factor, supporting and caring for one another, and helping to make this world a better, brighter place. Our donors at Mothers’ Milk Bank give so selflessly… pumping is not often thought of as being a “super fun” activity, yet these donors pump, and pump, and pump, in order to help give babies the best start possible, making their futures a little brighter. Doulas support women throughout pregnancy, during labor, and with the transition to parenthood so that they can have the most positive experience throughout this transformative time. It is truly inspiring thinking how many doulas all over the world are helping moms in labor, and all of our donors who are pumping for babies, at this very moment!
A doula is a non-medical support person who provides compassionate, non-judgmental support to women and their families throughout the childbearing year. There are two kinds of doulas, birth doulas, who are trained to support families during the pregnancy and birth, and postpartum doulas who are trained in supporting families in the postpartum period (the first 3 months of life). Birth doulas are highly trained in what pregnancy, birth, and the immediate postpartum period look like, so that they can provide education to the families they support. This support enables families to make informed decisions so that they can feel empowered by their birth experiences, being an active participant in achieving the birth they desire. Birth doesn’t always go as planned, and doulas provide the education and emotional support to help parents navigate the twists and turns that can occur during labor. Birth doulas aim to make sure that every family feels supported during the transformational time of bringing a new baby into the world.
The postpartum period can be a rollercoaster for new families; doulas can help come in to the home and “mother the mother,” providing information about basic newborn care, breastfeeding, infant sleep, and soothing tricks. They can also come in and help provide opportunities to help a new family bond in such sweet ways. This might look like a doula coming in and preparing nourishing food for the family so that they can spend time snuggling with their newborn. Sometimes the new parents need a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, and a doula can come in a care for the infant so that the family can rejuvenate and fill their tank up before the next sleepless night! Doulas work all hours, and individualize their care to exactly what each family needs.
In the last few years, with more research being done on the positive effects of having a doula, hospitals around the country are hiring doulas to have on staff so that all patients have access to doula support. There are also many volunteer programs that help ensure that there is access for any family that wants to have a doula, regardless of their financial situation.