By Joel B. Austin
Many women hire a postpartum doula to help them after their baby is born. A postpartum doula is an individual who provides physical, emotional, and informational support during the period after birth.
While this support for women is undoubtedly essential, fathers also need postpartum doulas for several reasons.
- Fathers can learn different techniques for calming a crying infant and the importance of watching the baby so that the mother can rest.
- Fathers can learn from the doula the importance of listening to the mother when they need to vent and how to spot potential signs of postpartum depression.
- Fathers can learn evidence-based information on how to care for their newborn.
- Both parents also need to work together to establish an eating and sleeping routine, as well as organizing the nursery.
- One of the most important things a postpartum doula provides is becoming an advocate for the mother. This critical role is also something fathers can learn from and utilize for many years after the doula is no longer needed.
The postpartum period is a significant time of transition for the whole family. It makes sense to embrace this new responsibility as parents wholeheartedly and do everything possible to improve birth outcomes and learn as much as they can.
Even parents of newborns who have previous pregnancies have found value in using a postpartum doula to make the period after birth proceed more smoothly than with their other children.
Many parents utilize the doula for overnight hours, but day and nighttime support can also be helpful for new families. Some postpartum doulas charge an hourly rate of $25-50, while others offer packages which may include on-call support. It may also be critical to budget for these services in advance when considering the new expenses after childbirth.
For these reasons, Daddy University Inc. has created Doula 4 Dads, a doula program for fathers staffed by fathers to help unite the family as a whole. We believe that providing a doula program for fathers is vital to ensuring that men understand the importance of the role they play in the family.
In developing this program, Daddy University relied on its experience working with more than 10,000 fathers by providing education, resources and support.
When deciding on which postpartum doula to hire, consider your families particular needs, reviews by other parents, training certifications and I highly recommend a consultation with the provider before hiring them to discuss their services.
Here are some additional local resources for parents of newborns looking to hire a postpartum doula in the Philadelphia and South Jersey region:
- Doula 4 Dads, 610-579-DADS (3237), www.daddyuniv.com
- After The Stork, 267-229-0614, www.afterthestork.info
- Bellee Love Doula Services, 856-263-1434, www.belleelove.com
- Doulas of Philadelphia, 215-789-6261, www.doulasofphiladelphia.com
- Northern Star Doula, 267-777-0815, www.northernstardoula.com
While it is stereotypical to say raising a child takes a village, it is true. This is why having the helping hand of a doula is so critical, especially for fathers who don’t always receive this type of assistance.
Expanding educational opportunities are necessary for improving the future of fatherhood, especially with increased stay at home and single father rates.
Joel B. Austin is the President and Founder of Daddy University, a comprehensive resource providing education, events, and support for fathers who have children of any age. The company has operated over 30 programs and has 20 years of experience helping fathers.