While the idea of certifying as a postpartum doula was in the back of my mind, it was just this weekend that I decided to look further into the program. After much discussion and talking with my program director and Kit, I have enrolled in the certification program and I am now a postpartum doula in training!
Because postpartum doulas work with mothers after the birth, the scheduling is obviously much more flexible and there's not really an "on call" time period. You do need to keep your schedule open around the time they are due so you're available right after, but then you coordinate with the parents to determine when you are needed. Postpartum doulas are there to mother the mother, helping with a variety of things: recovering from the birth, breastfeeding support, preparing snacks or light meals for mom, holding baby so mom can nap, demonstrating infant massage, teaching how to use different types of baby carriers or slings, swaddling, etc, etc, etc!
The postpartum doula's goal is to help ease the new parents' transition, supporting their privacy and protecting bonding time, encouraging them to sleep when they can, eat well, and overall helping to relieve some of the stress of this enormous life change!
While certifying I will be provided my services at a discounted rate, as I need to obtain a certain number of hours to complete my program. Because I am waiting until later this year to take more birth clients, I will actually be certifying as a postpartum doula first! I will be available for a minimum of two hours per visit, though I highly recommend three to four hours. This gives mom time to eat something, shower or soak in the bathe, discuss any breastfeeding or newborn care needs, and get a nap! I will be primarily available for daytime & evening services, though I will offer limited night time hours at a different rate.
In addition to certifying as a birth doula I have begun the training to become a Certified Happiest Baby Educator! While I will incorporate aspects of the class into my postpartum visits, parents can choose to have me come into their home and teach the two hour class before or after their baby arrives. They will also receive their own copy of The Happiest Baby DVD and bedtime CD. I will offer the class as a separate visit or it can be added onto either my birth or postpartum doula services.