One of the most common phrases I hear the new mothers wonder about is, “Is my baby ok?” Since we are professionals in our clients’ homes, it is easy for new moms to ask us all kinds of questions relating to their baby’s overall health. Our role as doulas is non-medical and strictly informational support, so what does that look like in practice?
How Doulas Can Help
Today’s new mothers have many things to keep track of—baby’s feedings, diapers, appointments for baby, appointments for themselves, and many more to-dos. We can help in the following ways:
- Write down important appointments on her calendar
- Go through her discharge paperwork with her.
- Post the phone numbers to dial-a-nurse/hospital hotline/lactation support/midwife/etc. so they can be quickly found.
- Help her write down questions for the pediatrician and other health care providers they may be contacting.
- Provide her with quick references or recommended books so she can quickly access reliable infant information.
- Encourage her to find a pediatrician/care providers that will be supportive of her parenting choices and change doctors if she is uncomfortable with her current doctor.
- Provide her with a list of Informed Consent/Denial questions and practice them with her.
Role of Social Media
Google reports over 620 million Facebook groups are currently in existence. Many of my clients will turn to Facebook groups to get advice regarding their baby. Many cities have groups called “My City Moms” or something similar where mothers post their current concern and other moms give their opinions and experiences.
The major problem with these groups is the often dangerous advice that is quickly available. Everything from sleep advice to breastfeeding advice is available within seconds. As doulas, we need to be ready to provide accurate, evidence based information and help them find a way to make that work for their family. I love the camaraderie of many Facebook groups, but we need to make sure that our clients are receiving the safest information possible from us and their health care providers.
Doulas can maximize social media by sharing current evidence-based information on our business and personal pages. This not only puts great information into the hands of many new mothers, but it promotes doulas being correctly seen as trained professionals in our community.
Looking is Diagnosing
Finally, when your client inevitably comes to you asking if you think her baby is ok, be ready with your response. I frequently remind my clients that if I look at the baby and make a statement regarding their health/appearance/etc., I am actually diagnosing them. We talk about this in our interviews and it is included in my contract, but that doesn’t mean that new mothers will remember that. I express that I’m more than happy to let them know what is “normal” for babies at this age and stage, but that I cannot say for sure if their baby is ok. It is always appropriate for us to refer her to her pediatrician/health care provider.
CLD, CPD, Postpartum Doula Faculty
Katie Nyberg has served hundreds of mothers, partners, and families through her role as a birth doula, postpartum doula, and childbirth educator since 2010. She believes that our society is not supporting new mothers enough and has made it her mission to help provide the missing care for women during their childbearing years. Katie has been a part of CAPPA since 2015. She is excited to combine her passions for teaching and for supporting new mothers through her role as Postpartum Doula Trainer. Katie is a frequent speaker for mothers, families, and health care providers in Iowa. She has been featured in a doula magazine, Parents Magazine, and on her local television station.