One of the most frequent questions I get about working as a postpartum doula is "What IS a Postpartum Doula?"
Many people associate the term "postpartum" with postpartum depression. I've even heard the two terms used interchangeably as in, "I have postpartum." The actual meaning of the term "postpartum" is the time after a woman has a baby. It's a time period. Experts disagree on exactly how long that time period lasts.
The first three to four months is my area of expertise. Not only am I an expert caring for and teaching about new babies, I am also trained and certified to care for the whole family, especially the new mother.
As a mother myself, I know how valuable the experience of being cared for was to me. It's an honor to provide that care to other women.
Nancy contacted me when her baby was three weeks old. She shared her thoughts with me in this testimonial.
"Jill was a tremendous help to me, and a wonderfully calming presence in our home. As a first-time mom, I'd read so many books and loaded up on parenting theories prior to giving birth.
There was so much conflicting information that I was left confused and exhausted when my 3-week old wouldn't stop crying. Jill empowered me to step away from the "expert" advice and parent based on my instincts.
She also gave me amazing tools to calm my baby. Most of all, she was a great listener and really helped me feel confident as a new parent.
After just a few sessions I was enjoying my baby daughter instead of being intimidated by her. Jill also helped around the house, even without me asking--she'd make our bed and re-stock supplies, etc...
I would highly recommend Jill! On top of being a great post-partum doula, she's a wonderful person that would benefit any home."
Thank you so much Nancy for explaining how my services helped you go from exhausted to enjoying life! You are an amazing mother and I'm so glad working with me empowered you. That is always my goal!
I aim to educate, empower, and nurture new parents.
Click here to learn more about becoming a postpartum doula. I'm offering training in Lansing, Michigan and Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2016.
The early days of parenting are intense. I love the word intense because in using one word you can include the wonderful, amazing, overwhelming experience of having a new baby at home.
Often, as our friends and family adjust to our new role, they want to offer us advice and information. This advice may fall short of being helpful because we are all unique individuals.
Let's use the topic of sleep as an example. This is a top concern for expecting parents. I understand. I felt the same way when I was expecting my first baby! It felt like everyone who noticed I was pregnant would warn me about how awful sleep would be after I had my baby.
We could have this conversation about pretty much anything that has to do with your baby. When our favorite people, or even strangers, give us well meaning advice it usually makes us feel worse instead of better. What a bummer!
Picture this - You are outside with your 5 year old and teaching her how to ride a bike. Your awesome kiddo almost has this bike riding thing figured out! You see improvements from the day before, you are excited to keep working on these new skills. Then, a neighbor walks up and tells you how she taught her child. The neighbor explains that her child knew how to ride his bike at 3! So you try it her way, and both you and your child are uncomfortable. You've lost the momentum you had earlier in the day. You start to wonder if maybe you are teaching your child the wrong way? Now you have doubts, maybe you google "teaching your child how to ride a bike," all this when before you were interrupted you were feeling pretty good about your child's progress.
BOOM! I call what your neighbor did an Advice Bomb. The advice, although offered to help, actually undermines your own parenting. Hearing that someone else did something differently when you are figuring it out often adds to your own insecurities and worries.
A great strategy I share with clients is to imagine a Rainbow Shield. This Rainbow Shield comes to your rescue when an Advice Bomb drops. Use this imaginary shield and instead of advice all you hear is "I love you!"
Let's put the Rainbow Shield into action...
A mom in a mother's group tell you how her week old twins were sleeping through the night. Ta da! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Now you can smile and think of how much you are loved!
Your mother in law shares that when she was a new mom she just put her babies in bed and they slept like hibernating bears. Boom! Rainbow Shield to the rescue! Your mother in law thinks you are an awesome mom!
All of us reach milestones at different times. There are norms for learning how to crawl, learning to read, riding a bike, and many other milestones. Sleep is the same.
Since we are using sleep as an example of how the Rainbow Shield works to destroy Advice Bombs I'd like to note that most people aren't around newborns much. Our well meaning friends, family, and strangers most likely don't remember what the early days of sleep were really like for their babies. I have four kids and if I'm honest, it's hard to remember much of anything from those early days of parenting. It's all a blur.
As a postpartum doula, I offer information, strategies, and evidence based information to parents. Not advice. If you have a questions for me I want to help you figure out how to answer it yourself. I will help you gain confidence in your intuition, and your parenting skills. After all, this is your baby, and you know your baby best.
Read about how I offered support to a new family in Clinton Twp, Michigan, in my recent post - Clinton Twp Parents recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Share the unwanted advice you've received in the comments so other parents don't feel alone in their experience.
Happy New Year!
One of my recent clients gave me a wonderful Christmas gift, a testimonial! I don't know if there is anything better than hearing from someone you've worked with and having them say beautiful things about the time you spent together. Even her husband shared his thoughts! He said that hiring a postpartum doula and a wedding planner is similar. We both try to decrease your stress, and increase your enjoyment! Great analogy!
I love to share what my clients say about working with me. Since not everyone is familiar with working with a postpartum doula, I think it is best to hear from clients who have worked with me about their experience.
Mary in Royal Oak shares,
"A good friend of mine recommended Jill to my husband and I. At first I was skeptical because I thought that maybe having a postpartum doula meant that I, "couldn't handle" being a new mom.
Thank you so much Mary for sharing your experience with me! I love that your husband compares hiring a wedding planner, with hiring a postpartum doula! I am so glad to know that he went from thinking that hiring me was an "extra expense" to sharing what I do with others. Give him a big high five from me.
You perfectly explained so many of my goals as a postpartum doula.
I wonder what else postpartum doulas and wedding planners have in common? If you think of something, share it in the comments!
If you would like to read about products my clients loved in 2015 read Top 5 Favorite Products for Parents with New Babies!
Mary shared a beautiful photo of her and her baby taken by Courtney Sprague Photography.
Baby Gear New Parents I've Worked with Love!
I see so many new products every year in my work with new families as a postpartum doula. Some of these are favorites of mine as well, others were new to me but I can see why my client's love them.
Soft, and re-usable Bamboobies breast pads where a favorite for many of my clients.
There are lots of wonderful swaddle blankets on the market today but these are a consistent favorite! The designs are fun and gender neutral. The bamboo fabric is delicate and soft. I've also seen these used as a nursing cover or cute scarf!
There are SO MANY great bottles out there, and not every bottle works well for every baby. This specialty feeding system is for "infants with the following conditions – cleft lip/palate, oro-neuromotor dysfunctions, congenital heart disease, common or rare syndromic sequences and/or craniofacial anomalies," according to the Dr. Brown's website. I've had the pleasure of working with babies with some of these conditions and this bottle is very helpful and easy to use!
I'm a huge fan of The Moby Wrap company and products! I often wear my client's babies in a wrap while mom/dad is sleeping, showering, or taking a break. Once my clients see how much I am able to do with their baby snug in the Moby Wrap they want me to teach them how to use it too! Using a wrap is especially helpful for mothers of multiple babies. Babywearing with any product is wonderful for parents and babies! I highly suggest you try it out!
Modern Natural Baby is a local store in Metro Detroit, Michigan, that offers great cloth diapering options and classes. They created the display window pictured above. It's pretty amazing to see the difference cloth diapers can make on the environment. I used disposables myself since I didn't know anything about cloth diapers as a young mom. Now that I've watched several clients use a system of washing, and seen all the cute cloth diapers available I can see why people choose this option.
Thank you for reading this Top 5 list of products my client's loved this year. I'd love to hear about the products you loved as a new parent! Comment below!
Learn more about how I support new parents as a postpartum doula in this recent blog post Clinton Township Parents Recommend Postpartum Doula Services.
Clinton Township family
One of my favorite parts of being a postpartum doula is that my job changes with every family I support. This wonderful family in Clinton Township was grateful for the information I could share, and my availability both in person and via text or email. Having access to evidence based information and knowing which professional to turn through my postpartum doula services was important to them. Not everyone knows that this is a valuable part of hiring a postpartum doula! Offering access to the latest research and the best professionals in the area is so helpful to new parents.
I want to thank Irina for taking the time to share her thoughts about working with me. She shares,
Jill Reiter was a fantastic postpartum doula for us and we highly, highly recommend her services! We had our first child last September and she was there for us during this very exciting, challenging, stressful, and wonderful time of our life.
As always, it is my pleasure to support parents as they navigate the early days and weeks of parenting.
To read more from parents around Metro Detroit, Michigan about working with me as their postpartum doula, CLICK HERE.
Do you want to hire The After Baby Lady to support you in the early days of parenting? Let's connect!
Niki Collis Photography took this gorgeous photo and the family gave me permission to share it. To work with Niki Collis check out her website!
Royal Oak, Michigan, Mom Shares about the Early Days of Parenting
Each client I work with is very special to me. New mothers choose me to be a part of their support system and I am so grateful to be a part of their early days of parenting!
Lesley hired me as her postpartum doula while she was still pregnant. That makes the interview so much easier! When you interview me during pregnancy, I am available to offer suggestions about common questions parents have about what to do to get ready for their baby.
Royal Oak, Michigan is such a great place to work, and I am so glad I got to spend more time there while working with Lesley and her family.
I love to work with families all over Metro Detroit, from Birmingham, Michigan, to Detroit, Michigan, and over to Chesterfield, Michigan. I live in Shelby Twp, Michigan, and so traveling to Rochester Hills, Michigan, was an easy hop, skip, and jump away.
From the first interview with this wonderful family I felt we would be a great fit working together. They agreed and hired me, as their postpartum doula, to support them after the birth of their second baby.
Kristen in Rochester Hills, Michigan is an amazing mother, and I am so appreciative of the time she took to share her thoughts about hiring me as her postpartum doula,
Thank you so much Kristen! I love that you mentioned that I was focused on caring for you.
Moms are my top priority as a postpartum doula. I believe, and have seen in practice many times, the value in caring for a mother. As a mother myself, I know that when I have my needs met, it is much easier to care for my family. I love that in my work as a postpartum doula, I get to offer that support to other women.
To read more about what other families think about working with Jill Reiter, The After Baby Lady, click here.
To learn about the benefits of hiring a certified postpartum doula, read this.
I love when parents spend time preparing for their baby arrive while pregnant. Heather and her husband contacted me early on in her pregnancy and we did our first interview via Skype! I love making the process of meeting me and discussing my services as easy as possible on potential clients and I was happy to offer them the Skype interview. Eventually we met in person and brainstormed some ideas where their baby might sleep, ideas for clothes and supplies to have on hand for their new baby and more. One of the benefits of hiring me during pregnancy is all the time we have to plan and prepare!
Heather took some time to write me a lovely testimonial. Thank you so much Heather!
"When we had our first baby Jill was our postpartum doula.
We met up with her prior to our baby being born, and quickly discovered she was an encyclopedia of useful information relating to babies and postpartum care, for the baby as well as the mom.
She helped us learn how to take care of a baby, from feeding to changing to soothing techniques.
She eased our anxieties when we had questions, and helped us build confidence in our ability to take care of our new baby.
We can't imagine what it would be like to go through this learning process without a postpartum doula like Jill."
I love this sweet photo of their sweet baby. I'm so grateful they allowed me to share her smile with all of you!
Learn more about my services by clicking here.
I had the absolute pleasure of working with a wonderful family in Detroit, Michigan. I asked them to share their thoughts about working with me.
Lindsay in Detroit shares...
"Jill has been a huge help and blessing to our family as we transitioned to a family of 5. I suffered from severe post partum depression and anxiety after the birth of our second child and knew we needed some help for our third.
Every time Jill came to our home I could just RELAX knowing that someone was there to support me and love on my baby.
Jill was always so helpful in answering any questions I had and helping me talk out any concerns or problems I was having with the baby or life after baby. Jill was a calming and warm presence in our home.
She loved on my older two children so well and they LOVED when Miss Jill came over.
I was able to catch up on sleep or shower when Jill came which is always rare as a new mom!
Our new baby had a cleft lip and palate and therefore required special bottles and often had medical devices in her mouth. None of it phased Jill. She always jumped right in and loved on our baby as if it were her own.
Our transition to a family of 5 has been smooth and enjoyable and I know much of this is due to Jill and the help that she was to our family!"
Lindsay, thank you so much for your kind words!
I also want to thank Meredith Allen Photography for allowing me to use her beautiful images! Check out more of her photography on her website,
Want to learn more about working with Jill Reiter as your postpartum doula? Click here.
Ever wonder what tips I offer pregnant women?
I'm a postpartum doula and my expertise is in caring for new moms and their families. But you can't be a doula (even a postpartum doula) for long and not pick up tips that you want to share with every expecting woman!
The 5 tips I share are...
Click to see 5 Tips for Pregnant Moms in The Know!
Did you like this video? Did you learn something new? Share in the comments.
Check out a few more videos I've made for expecting parents. Click here.
Jill Reiter CPD, Author
A mother, wife and Postpartum Doula's blog.
The After Baby Lady
Shelby Township MIPhone: 586-604-1446