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I have searched here and can't find a thread on PP doulas. Anyone here one and can tell me the best way to go about this?

About me-a past RN in labor and delivery, now at home with my 3 children. Nursed all of them, second one for 2 1/2 years and third baby is still nursing and will self wean also. VERY up to date on breastfeeding education (I was also in grad school part time to be a NP but quit when I got pregnant with my 3rd child, just too much). Had 3rd baby at home, waterbirth, awesome. Anyway, I see a need in my community and would LOVE to help educate new families in the pp period (I am looking at starting this in a year or so, not right away).

Anyone have anything to offer? Oh also, I just organized a 'family' gift of a pp doula for my brother and SIL who had a baby a little early and they LOVE her and it's been the biggest blessing of their life (little did I know it would work out this way). The baby was born by emer. c/s and wasn't nursing, this doula has worked hard with them and the baby is doing great-because of her. She has worked with them and taught them things that none of the mothers involved would have known (slinging, co-sleeping safely, nursing, etc) and they feel so empowered. I want to do this for people also.

Please, direct me in the right direction. There are several organizations, which is best??
 

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Hmm, I'm a DONA girl myself, but for birth. Have you check for a birth network in your area? You could also search for a TN doula group on Yahoo and ask there. You could also ask on the other Midwives and Doulas board (it's under Pregnancy & Beyond, I think).
 

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I have an interview with a group on Tuesday to be a pp doula. I have no other experience other than bieng a mama, which is enough for them I guess. www.birthwaysinc.com. I know that you are not in Chicago, although this caould give you an idea of what kind of group you might contact to find out. Good luck on your endevors.\

darkstar
 

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There are actually many ways to go about it. DONA and CAPPA both train postpartum doulas. CAPPA also trains antepartum doulas, which is another option to consider as well. Those are the two main orgs that train but there are many, many smaller orgs that train as well. YOU decide where you want to train, what your values are and which org best meets them. You don't even legally have to train nor certify if you don't want to- I am a labor doula who trained with DONA, but I am not certifying (because I don't personally see a point, but can understand why others choose to). It's all up to you.


There's a group of doulas on yahoogroups.com that you might consider joining to get your questions answered - over 1300 doulas from all over the world, all types of doulas, all types of training- a true wealth of information!

Blessings,
 

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Hi
I am a postpartum certified doula through DONA. I love their org but you will need to pick which one is best for you. If you go to www.dona.org and then click on discussion boards at the top of the page you will see one for pospartum doulas. I am on there all the time. I am also a member of the yahoo group for postpartum doulas. Best wishes in your journey!

Amy
 

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Hi!!!
I am a PP Doula and became involved after I used a Birth Doula through an agency. I am now part of the agency and they let me know when there are clients available. It works out great that way because I am a nusring student and am able to fit clients around my schedule and fill in when doula's are out sick or have emergencies.

Katrin
 

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Hi! I started a postpartum doula service and did that for a couple of years about 10 years ago . . . I was studying midwifery and in my "pre-apprenticeship" phase, and cut back when I got a fulltime apprenticeship and eventually finished my training and moved to another state. But I just sort of fell into doing some postpartum care because of my association with various midwives and other apprentice midwives, and people started calling and asking if I could go over and help this lady or that who was having a hard time . . . eventually I registered as a DBA, printed up some brochures and business cards, let more people at the hospitals and such know about me, and there it was!

Anyway, there some sort of organization, I think called the National Association of Postpartum Doulas (or postpartum care providers, or something of that sort.) I don't remember because it's been so long, but you can probably find it online. I joined that just so I could say I was a member, but really if you are a nurse and an experienced mom I think that's far and above the credentials most people expect or need! You can probably just keep up to date on the latest lactation research, and hang out a shingle! Of course, things might be different now, or in the area where you live, so it might depend. You might want to get some insurance or bonding, too.

Frankly, some people need "expertise" but a lot of what people need is just plain old housework and a little cooking and moral support and someone to answer a few questions about breastfeeding once in a while and maybe reinforce . I see the role of the postpartum doula as doing what the ideal fantasy mother or mother-in-law should do (which is not how most peoples' moms or MILs actually are!!)--just take care of the mom and help her out and run the household a bit so she can relax and rest and take care of the baby. About the most baby care I did was showing someone how to clean the cord, or cut the fingernails, or teach them how to burp the baby, etc. And sometimes holding the baby for a half hour so mom could take a shower! A lot of what people need help with is really basic stuff to someone who has kids (although I didn't have kids and STILL don't have kids, I had a lot of general experience with them and a lot of academic knowledge about breastfeeding and infants and was good at taking care of babies, and you would be really suprised how many new mothers haven't even ever HELD a baby before having one of their own!) The demographic in the area I was in (big university town) was a lot of academic and professional women in their mid-late 30's having their first babies, who were there without a lot of family support or other help and were a little nervous! And then there were also more experienced moms who just wanted some extra help and didn't really need much reassurance, just an extra pair of hands to help with the older ones or pick up some groceries.

One thing I realized really fast when I started doing this was that it's very difficult to schedule people, because obviously you never know when people are due. So you can either have too many clients at one time, or not enough, depending on how busy you are trying to be. The other thing I found was a problem was that pregnant moms would interview me and decide to hire me, but sometimes the time would come and they would have their babies and decide they didn't really need any extra help. (No money for me!) Conversely, people who didn't plan for any help would end up having an unexpected birth outcome (c-sec or bad epis or something of that sort) and be in worse shape than they expected to be and need help on an emergency sort of basis. Also, it's just very hard for anyone to determine what they're going to need in terms of number of hours or scheduling. So what I found worked best was just to tell people what they needed, believe it or not!! I would meet with pregnant moms and sometimes dads for a free consultation, where I explained the services I provided, my fees, and how I did my scheduling. I offered a 15 hour package, at $15 per hour. (That was 10 years ago, I don't know what folks are charging now, and it depends on the area.) If someone wanted to hire me, they had to elect the package, sign a contract, and pay me a significant nonrefundable deposit in advance to reserve my services. (Obviously, I would have refunded it if something happenned like they ended up moving out of town or lost the baby or some legitimate reason for cancelling, not just deciding that they could make it without spending the $ on a doula, when I've blocked that month out of my schedule for them and not taken on other clients.) I explained to everyone that because of the nature of birth, I couldn't guarantee exactly which hours I'd work until the baby arrived, but I would do three hours a day either from 9-12, 1-4, or sometimes 5-8, and that generally it would be their choice of whether to use all their hours in one week, or divide it up like maybe 3 days the first week, 2 days the second. Per availability, additional hours could be added onto the package for an hourly charge, up until the baby was about 6 weeks old. Services I would provide included breastfeeding support, help/teaching with infant care, help with caring for/playing with older siblings or even walking/paying some extra attention to the family dog, grocery shopping, light housekeeping, cooking/meal preparation, etc.

This system ended up working well for me. I could take several clients for the same time, and still take care of everyone even if they did all have the babies and need me at the same time, because I'd do one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and also many times have one person MWF and the other TuTh, one person a couple of evenings, etc. (Of I was single and had no kids, so I was into working as much as I could then! You'd probably be limiting your clients more anyway.) The fifteen hours ended up to be about the right number, and if we needed more we could add some on. People didn't tend to cancel once they had paid a deposit, and even if they weren't desperate for help they would use me and just appreciate the extra pampering. (I remember one couple who ended up pretty much having most things under control in most departments, so I ended up spending all my time with them shopping for food then cooking very creative gourmet meals! It was fun for me and they really loved it!)

So, that's my (very long-winded!) input! Hope it helps!!

(Oh, I also made good friends with a local lactation consultant who I could call for advice if I ran into problems I couldn't handle with breastfeeding, so that helped too!)
 
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