I have always enjoyed working with mothers and babies. At first, I worked as a Birth Doula, offering non-medical support for women in labor, primarily at hospital births.

Later, I went on to work as a midwives’ assistant. I monitored the babies during and after labor and delivery, as well as supporting midwives in their medical job. I even started training as a midwife myself. Finally, I discovered how much I love working with families after they bring the baby home.

Now, I am a professional Postpartum Doula, and I offer non-medical support in the home for new families.

Together, the doulas I train and I make sure that families feel confident in taking care of their new baby.

While we’re with our clients, we also answer all their questions and soothe their worries. We help to manage their basic needs as well – things like getting a hot meal, and as much sleep as they can!

A Day with a Postpartum Doula:

Working a day shift with the new family is usually 3 to 5 hours. I make sure the family has a warm meal for the day. New parents are hungry but often forget to eat because they’re so busy with the baby.

If there are older children in the house we make sure their needs are met as well. That way, the mother doesn’t have to worry about them feeling left out. I’ve even walked the dog a time or two (since dogs are often the family’s first baby!).

I model safe, comfortable, and appropriate infant care for the parents. I answer questions about breastfeeding and help support mothers in learning good technique, and I also educate them on how to safely prepare and store formula when needed.

I often teach parents about babywearing, and I also take care of the baby so that mom can get a shower and a nap!
Overnights with a Postpartum Doula:
When working overnight, our job is a little different. It is primarily focused on helping the family get as much restful sleep as they can. We answer questions and educate new parents about establishing healthy and reasonable sleep habits with their baby. We often do a fair amount of emotional processing with parents as well, including talking about the birth, fears around parenting, etc.
When people learn what I do for a living, they often say how much I must love snuggling babies!
While it’s true that new babies are pretty snuggly, what I really love about my job is watching a family blossom.

I like supporting parents in working together. I like watching someone who’s a little unsure about babies develop competence and confidence in his or her parenting skills.

My job is to act as “scaffolding” – to provide support in the beginning until things feel sturdy enough without that extra support in place!

I don’t want to do everything for a new parent, because that will make them dependent on my help.

Instead, my goal is to simply be present and supportive as they gain confidence and learn how to be the parent they want to be.

What’s it like to work as a Postpartum Doula? 

As a Postpartum Doula, I am independently employed and own my own business. However, there are some agencies that hire postpartum doulas to work with their clients.
The pay scale for a postpartum Doula varies depending on where you practice. Here in Austin, most Postpartum Doulas start at $25-$30 per hour, with a range up to $50+ hourly.
Most families hire a Postpartum Doula for a time period of 3 to 12 weeks, primarily to get through the challenging newborn stage. Some families only request one or two days of help per week, while other families want full-time support, up to 7 days a week. It really varies based on the individual client’s budget and needs.

As a caregiver by nature, working as a Postpartum Doula is a very fulfilling job. As a trained professional, you can make a good living as well.

Like any type of employment, there are drawbacks. You’ll be self-employed, which means your taxes will be a bit different to manage. Also, you must manage your own health insurance, since you won’t have an employer managing these benefits for you. You’ll also need to plan for gaps in your income since there will inevitably be time between clients when you won’t receive regular checks.

Perhaps most importantly, a Postpartum Doula has to have strong boundaries and communicate clear expectations for herself and for others.

It’s easy to give too much and experience burnout if you don’t take care of yourself.
As a Postpartum Doula, I feel that ongoing education and training is very important. It is key to receive specialized training around breastfeeding, normal infant sleep habits, postpartum mood disorders, the process of birth and postpartum healing, and how to support the family in the day to day, living with the baby.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming trained as a Postpartum Doula, please contact me today!