Naomi Skena is a Postpartum Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor
providing evidence-based, nonjudgmental and compassionate postpartum and breastfeeding support to families in the Washington, D.C. area.
Why a Postpartum Doula?
Many cultures create space in the postpartum period for the new mother and baby—and their family—to put aside their normal responsibilities while they focus on recovery from birth, breastfeeding, and bonding with the new baby. Because this period can be intensely physical and emotionally challenging, the social safety net of extended family and community provides food, care for older children, and traditional wisdom on care of a newborn, as the baby and parents travel through the adjustment period. For a variety of reasons, this kind of nurturing postpartum care is not always expected or available in many American families.
Where community and family cannot fill that role, the postpartum doula steps in. Postpartum doulas are trained in postpartum adjustment, newborn care and soothing, and infant feeding, and they provide nonjudgmental and evidence-based support to parents as they get to know their new baby.
The primary role of the doula is to come alongside the new mother and her family to provide comfort, reassurance and information as needed, as she processes and recovers from her birth and takes on her new role –
whether as a first time mother or a mother to a growing family.
The doula also supports the partner and other children as they adjust to a new family dynamic and helps the parents organize the household to reduce chaos. The goal is for parents to emerge from the ‘fourth trimester’ as a bonded family unit with confidence that they, and they alone, have become the experts on their baby.