Post-partum Doula Experiences/Recommendations - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 07-02-2010, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm due in about a month, and my husband and I are thinking about hiring a post-partum doula. We feel prepared for the birth through our Bradley class, and we will be working with midwives at a birth center, so we are looking for a doula's help or advice mainly with my recovery, nursing and baby care.
We're first-time parents without much of a family/friend network in this area as we just moved here last year, and we are feeling pretty clueless about babies! On the other hand, we are lucky in that my husband will stay home with me for about five weeks after the birth.
Questions:
1) If you had post-partum help from a doula, did you find it worth it or necessary? What did they help you with the most?
2) Cost is an issue for us--what types of costs are we looking at, if you don't mind sharing? How do these vary, i.e. by time commitment, by services, etc.
3) Are there any post-partum doulas in the area who you would especially recommend?
4) Would you recommend that we make up our minds about this now, or can we wait until after the birth? I'm not sure how important the process of interviewing doulas will be.
TIA!
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#2 of 4 Old 07-02-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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I'm a former ppd. Differrent doulas offer different services and different pricing. Some doulas or doula services (the kind that employ multiple doulas) may offer a flat rate for a bulk purchase of hours. Others charge by the hour and the rate will depend on where you are located. Baltimore is probably running $25/hr. DC was at $35/hr when I last doula'd there 4 years ago. There may be a higher fee for overnight shifts.

Some doulas only provide baby care and education and don't feel doulas are supposed to do light housework or cooking. Some doulas only do the baby's laundry but not the laudry for the rest of the family. I personally generally did whatever the new family needed - particularly if the mom had had a cesarean. Don't tell the other doulas but I've walked dogs, scooped litterboxes, and cleaned toilets. I definitely did the entire family's laundry otherwise who would??? I'm a good cook and so was sometimes hired for entire shifts of just cooking.

I'd say if you can afford doula care or have absent parents/in-laws who are feeling guilty that they can't help out and willing to foot the bill then get as many hours as you can and spread it out over a few months if possible but of course more hourse early on as you learn breastfeeding and such. I remember with my firstborn at 4 months pp thinking "I really could use one of those home cooked meals right now." Heck, my kids are 10 and 3 and I'd still love to have a doula!!!!

For interviewing you want to find a doula whose values jive with yours so pre-screening by phone and then interviewing two or three would be good. Some doulas book up and so you may have to plan your hours in advance. Definitely don't promise a doula a bunch of hours and then cut them way down - not fair to the doula who made room in her schedule.

-Barbara
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#3 of 4 Old 07-03-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by womancaredoula View Post
Some doulas only provide baby care and education and don't feel doulas are supposed to do light housework or cooking. Some doulas only do the baby's laundry but not the laudry for the rest of the family. I personally generally did whatever the new family needed - particularly if the mom had had a cesarean. Don't tell the other doulas but I've walked dogs, scooped litterboxes, and cleaned toilets. I definitely did the entire family's laundry otherwise who would??? I'm a good cook and so was sometimes hired for entire shifts of just cooking.

I'd say if you can afford doula care or have absent parents/in-laws who are feeling guilty that they can't help out and willing to foot the bill then get as many hours as you can and spread it out over a few months if possible but of course more hourse early on as you learn breastfeeding and such. I remember with my firstborn at 4 months pp thinking "I really could use one of those home cooked meals right now." Heck, my kids are 10 and 3 and I'd still love to have a doula!!!!

For interviewing you want to find a doula whose values jive with yours so pre-screening by phone and then interviewing two or three would be good. Some doulas book up and so you may have to plan your hours in advance. Definitely don't promise a doula a bunch of hours and then cut them way down - not fair to the doula who made room in her schedule.

-Barbara
I agree with this. Personally, I do whatever the new family needs. Many doulas don't do housework, cooking, etc but when I was postpartum, that is exactly the type of help I needed, while I hung out with the baby, so I do that if it's what will be most helpful. It's important to establish with the doula what your needs are and what type of work they do.

I also agree with having a good, thorough screening phone call to make sure your personalities go well together. The interview process is pretty important. It is such a personal, intimate thing to have someone in your home and helping you in this vulnerable state- you really want to make sure you and the doula are on the same page. And I do recommend doing this before you have the baby. It is nice to have it all arranged ahead of time and have the business aspect of it taken care of when you're not as sleep deprived and emotional as you'll be following the birth.

In the DC area the range I've seen is $25-45/hr. My experience has been that individual doulas will do flexible hours according to what you need- like 2-3 hrs, a few times a week, or more sporadically throughout the first few months as your needs change. An agency more often will want to book a specific committment of hours, and will charge more.

Which area do you live in? That will help us be able to recommend specific doulas that serve your area.

Good luck!!
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#4 of 4 Old 07-05-2010, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is super informative. I'm going to talk this over with my husband and start planning. It's great to hear from doulas themselves!

Btw, we are in Takoma Park/Silver Spring, MD.
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