As a newborn photographer, I am passionate about babies, but I’m also passionate about moms and families. Having a baby is a life-changing experience and a newborn can alter the family balance – in the best way possible! I’m honored to capture photos of your baby and family to help you remember the beautiful parts of the beginning, but I also want to help support you during the not so beautiful, or just downright difficult aspects of life with a new baby.
My new community spotlight series is here to focus on local businesses that provide extra support to you and your family as you adjust to life with a new little one, as well as resources to help you on this wonderful journey called parenthood.
Let’s start this series off right and talk about life after baby. Most parents spend their time prepping for when baby arrives – buying baby gear, taking newborn classes, choosing a pediatrician, and (if they’re anything like me) reading and researching everything baby related. But what do you do AFTER labor and delivery, once you’ve brought baby home? What if you need extra support?
Meet ABC Doula Service
ABC (After Baby Comes) Doula Service provides postpartum doula services in Portland, OR and the surrounding areas to help you after your baby has arrived. That means they focus on both day and night care (they are one of the few companies to provide overnight care), breastfeeding support, help with multiples, sleep or feeding issues, and more. Each of their doulas is highly experienced and has extensive breastfeeding training – many of them are even studying to become certified lactation consultants! They provide lactation support, gentle sleep consults, and are also trained in identifying and supporting postpartum mood disorders, such as postpartum depression.
I spoke with Kimberly, who is the founder, owner, and operator of ABC Doula to find out a little more about the wonderful service they provide for families with new babies.
ABC Doula Service is completely customized to each family and their particular needs. Kimberly explained that it’s mainly about support. Contrary to what you’d expect, their primary focus is not on baby, but mom. Many mothers (ME!) focus so much on the needs of their baby that they tend to neglect themselves by not eating, drinking water, or getting enough rest. Postpartum doulas first check in with mom to ensure her needs are being met, then focus on the baby and the rest of the family.
What does a typical day look like with a postpartum doula?
A day with a postpartum doula can include problem solving, feeding help, and help getting baby to sleep. She might do a load of laundry and make mom a snack, then hold the baby while folding the laundry and allowing mom to rest. She will answer any questions, and troubleshoot problems, as well as prep food for mom for later, help tidy up, or prep for the next day. Kimberly shared that the most important task of a postpartum doula is to ensure mom feels “on track”, providing mom with lots of affirmation and support in her role as mother. This can make a huge difference in mom’s emotional health and experience as the mother of a new baby. ABC doulas also provides support for dads and partners, showing them how they can support mom and helping them to recognize their own nurturing skills and build confidence as a parent.
Why choose a postpartum doula?
At ABC Doula, the postpartum doulas focus on supporting families. They are baby experts that come to tell you what you’re doing right, and gently help support you with any difficulties that arise. A lot of new (and even experienced) mothers don’t get a lot of affirmation in their mothering skills, and ABC Doula is there to help provide that to you – building your confidence that you ARE doing a good job and that you DO know what your baby needs. THIS IS HUGE! Being a parent – a mother in particular – is hard! And the “mommy wars” don’t make it any easier. Kimberly describes their service as a safety net – it’s there to fill in the gaps of your support network. If you have a rough birth or recovery, your partner gets sick or has to go back to work, siblings are having a hard time transitioning to life with a baby – they can give you the extra support you need to manage it all AND the confidence that you’re doing a great job.
They also have advanced training in multiples (they’ve worked with over 600 sets of multiples!) and can help parents of twins or triplets prepare for and care for their babies in those early days. They can also create a feeding, sleeping, and care plan to help you once the doula is no longer there. Most importantly, Kimberly explained that postpartum doulas are there to help everyone in the baby’s life to have a great bond with that baby, providing support for spouses, partners, grandparents, and siblings in order to build strong relationships and strong families. In short, they help make life easier, supporting the whole household in life with a new baby!
ABC also provides private classes in your home that focus on baby care and breastfeeding. They can help families get their homes set up for baby, focusing on practicality and accessibility, such as staging areas for feeding and changing, or adding a second chair to the nursery.
Kimberly shared that many of their clients have said how their lives were just better with a postpartum doula. And many have, check out their comments! People expressed that they felt more confident, liked their partner more, and felt like they were better parents. One mother shares that her doula “honestly cared about the health, well being, safety and happiness of our entire family. My family and I are incredibly fortunate to have had her in our lives.”
When should I hire a postpartum doula?
Although it may seem odd, it may be best to hire a postpartum doula before your baby is born to ensure that you can get on their schedule. Kimberly said she hates having to turn people away, and recommends you hire them before your baby arrives. Especially if you’re having multiples or know that you want 2-3 months of overnight care. This way, the support of your doula is ready and waiting for you when you need it most!
Why ABC Doula?
Personal care, reliability, and professionalism really sets a doula service apart and ABC Doula has it in spades. They have been in the Portland area for 14 years and bring advanced skills and knowledge, as they’re highly trained and have worked with hundreds of local families. With 15 doulas on staff, their bigger team allows for more support for families all around the Portland metro and surrounding areas. They are also very involved in the community and dedicated to finding resources to point people to.
Having a baby isn’t easy. Sometimes we all need a little extra support to adjust to life with a beautiful new little one and a postpartum doula can help! Have you hired a postpartum doula? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!