"What does a postpartum doula do, anyway?"
It's a bit of a magical unicorn position, really. The postpartum healing period has some commonalities that get talked about pretty openly: the lack of sleep, the tender breasts, the feelings.
But the common parts of postpartum healing that don't get talked about are some of the areas where a postpartum doula can help an entire family feel on firmer footing with an infant in the house.
1) Postpartum doulas know things.
Having information is one of the most comforting parts of having an expert in your home. What bottle will your baby like? When could you transition from feeding on demand to a more predictable schedule? How can you help your baby pass gas? These are all right on the tip of your doula's tongue. But the knowledge is even more helpful when you don't know what to ask.
While your doula is dutifully doing the caretaking of you and your baby and task mastering, she is also observing. There are so many worries that come with new parenthood, and your gut instinct is still being calibrated. Your doula will help to identify when, yes, you're right, calling the pediatrician would be a good idea. Let's get that checked out!
2) "Tell me a more about that."
Your postpartum doula may have seemingly boundless information, but that doesn't mean she will overwhelm you with it. Some of the doulas who make lasting impressions on their clients are those who have learned the compassionate art of asking questions. You are the one healing, and your experience is what should be validated. Your doula won't compare or belittle your pain, worry, or emotions. Your doula will want you to feel so safe that you can be vulnerable, leaving all your energy to be used to bond, heal, and experience the fleeting reality of newborn life.
3) A different kind of "friends with benefits."
Some of us have friends that feel like family, and having them around is no work at all. Couple that ease with the utility and charm of Mary Poppins, and you've got yourself a postpartum doula. Simply, a postpartum doula makes your life with a baby easier.