Doula Ettiquette Questions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 05-05-2011, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I hope this is the correct forum to post- mods please feel free to move if not. :)


I'm expecting my first baby any day now for a homebirth. We have a wonderful doula that we just are crazy about.


I'd like to get her a personal gift to express how great she's been during this whole process. But I have no clue what an appropriate gift might be. Is it okay to give personal gifts to doulas? What kinds of things would be appreciated/appropriate? Have any of you received gifts you especially liked?


Also, I was wondering about her and the midwife during our homebirth. Is it expected/traditional for us to make sure there's food for them and everything? I just don't want to make some awful faux pas by not providing snacks or food for them if that's something that's sort of expected.


Thanks for any feedback.

"The Mothers are the brave ones." - Call the Midwife

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#2 of 9 Old 05-05-2011, 10:14 AM
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Gifts are sorta common, anything they'd like that's not too pricey for you, or donations in their name to something they'd agree with like helping equip midwives in 3rd world countries or something. Easy snacks on hand are also common and a generous and helpful thing, she'll probably mention something or you can ask. A crockpot of soup or sandwich stuff or whatever works well. You'll probably need easy snacks for you too don't forget.

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#3 of 9 Old 05-05-2011, 03:18 PM
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I think like with anything else gifts are common in some areas and not in other areas - very regional.  


For me, I don't like getting gifts from my private clients because I feel that I set my prices so that they are appropriate for me not to expect "extra" from my clients.  Now that being said a card, photos of the baby and family, and a letter of referral are all fantastic.  Those mean more to me than something that the family could buy for me (but that might just be me).  I have had clients who have sent me a Christmas photo card every single year and those mean so much to me - they melt my heart every single time.  I have had families write me lovely thank you cards that were from the heart - I cherish those as well.   In fact I have put together a binder with photos and cards that my clients have given me.  


As far as food for them - have you asked them directly?  That would be the best thing so that everyone is on the same page.  It is essential that you have open communication with them!

Michelle married to my highschool sweetheart and mom to: DD '88, DS '90, DD '91, DD '94, DD '97, DD '98, DD '01, DD '08, and DS'09

(Non-profit Organization Director and Program Coordinator / Doula / Educator / Massage Therapist)

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#4 of 9 Old 05-05-2011, 03:29 PM
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I agree, I don't think you need to necessarily buy her a gift, because she is providing a service to you for a fee, but I think a card would be really sweet. :) I actually get my clients gifts (I knit things for the baby) so I would be very flattered to receive a thank you in return, but it's certainly not expected. 

For the food, I agree that it would be nice to have some snacks on hand, but the doula and midwife have likely planned for this and may bring their own food. Best of luck with your birth and congrats! 

Amber ******

Birth Doula, Placenta Encapsulator, & Birth Photographer in Southeast Michigan


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#5 of 9 Old 05-05-2011, 07:59 PM
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I never expect anything, but almost always receive something.


I also give gifts to all my mothers.  I pick one of these pendents typically.




As far as food goes - I always pack my doula bag with snacks for myself, but find it refreshing when I'm offered breakfast/lunch/dinner!

hippie.gif Hi, I'm Amber

Ava {12.20.08}  Levi {8.19.10}  Aspen  {EDD 7.21.13}

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#6 of 9 Old 05-06-2011, 01:04 PM
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I'm not sure on the gift, I think that's a pretty personal decision. I'm sure she wouldn't dislike any gift.


As for the food, I think it's a good idea. And coffee. Don't feel like you need to take care of it though, delegate. I attended a good friend's birth and she had a friend down the street who made a huge breakfast and brought it up to the house for everyone. She also had fruit and veggies cut up in the fridge for snacking and her husband had the coffee pot going all day.

Mallory. Happily married to Joe since 6/25/05. Loving my adventure with my girls, Owyn Samantha, born 3/1/09. dust.gif and Greta June, born 11/2/11  babygirl.gif

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#7 of 9 Old 05-08-2011, 07:58 AM
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I do not typically receive gifts but when I do they are usually what my clients feel are "tokens  of thanks".  My last client paid her remaining balance and added additional money.  When I looked at the check I reminded her that she less than what she gave me.  She was adimit that I take the additional funds and buy something I wanted for me, that they had planned on getting a gift card or something but baby came a bit earlier than they expected.  I thanked her very much, of course, but it was not something I just assume a client will do.

Tina            Wife to 1, Mother to 3, and Doula to Many                        
Your Body...Your Birth...Your Way...
Advocating for Evidenced Based Maternity Care and Birth Practices
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#8 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 12:38 AM
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I don't expect it, but it is nice when it happens :)


I've already planned 2 versions of my next kid's birth, and the version that is an attended home birth (the other version is a UC) includes asking the MW and doula if they have any allergies/dietary restrictions/food preferences, because I fully intend to cook a few dishes to have on hand for them to eat whenever they feel hungry, and for me for when I need to eat! I'm thinking things that can be prepped in advanced and go in a crockpot, oven, or slow cook on a stovetop + raw fruits and veggies and maybe cheeses *ah* I'm going to miss those seasonal fruits if the next one is a winter baby!

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#9 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 10:28 AM
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I never expect a gift, but it is really sweet when I do get something, and I'm pleased to know that people appreciate my work.  I have gotten cash tips, starbucks gift cards, amazon gift cards, schnapps, and chocolates.  My favorite gifts are nice photos of me with the baby and mom, though! 



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