• If Only Everyone Had a Postpartum Doula

    Article via Zoe Greenberg | The New York Times

    When a baby comes, friends and families don’t always know how to help.


    New parenthood — during which ordinary people find themselves abruptly responsible for a brand-new and sometimes famished, inconsolable being — is famously harrowing.

    It’s good to have supportive family and friends during this time. But increasingly, parents are turning to postpartum doulas, as well.

    Unlike birth doulas, who assist mothers during pregnancy and childbirth, postpartum doulas step in when the baby is already born, and throughout the first six weeks after birth. They teach the supposedly natural but actually quite difficult to master skills of soothing, bathing and breast-feeding infants, without any personal baggage.

    There is no one agency that certifies all postpartum doulas, but between 2012 and 2017, DONA International, the oldest doula certification program in the country originally known as the Doulas of North America, accredited 37 percent more postpartum practitioners. The number of certified postpartum doulas at the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), another well-established program, has doubled since 2008.

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