If you’re looking to hire a postpartum doula, how do you know who is your best match? What should you be looking for in a doula? When should you start looking? And how do you find them?
I’m not a perfect postpartum doula. And I’m definitely not the right postpartum doula for everyone. But I don’t try to be. I just need to be the right match for the clients that hire me. Here are some tips to help you find your perfect match.
First of all, know what kind of support you want.
Do you want daytime or nighttime? Or both? Do you want support to focus on you or the baby? Do you need household chores done, help with older children or breastfeeding guidance? Learn more about the different support options here.
Once you’ve decided on researching postpartum doulas, here are some places to start your search. These are two well established doula agencies that train and certify both labor and postpartum doulas. They have search features on their websites:
Network with people in your area and start asking for recommendations. You may want to ask:
- friends and neighbors
- yoga instructors
- physical therapists
Head over to social media. There are lots of listservs, Instagram and Facebook groups dedicated to expectant parents, postpartum and new parents. There are also groups specific to your neighborhood and “find a doula” groups. Parents who have gone down this road are usually happy to share their experiences or make recommendations.
Do you want to go through a doula agency or do you want a sole practitioner? An agency will have many doulas to choose from with varying degrees of skill and expertise. There may be a range of prices, depending on the level of a doula’s experience. With a sole practitioner, you know exactly who you’ll be hiring and will have direct communication with her.
Next, decide what’s important to you so you know what questions to ask your prospective doula. For example,
- Is it important that your doula be certified? (Some are “trained” or “experienced” but not certified.)
- Do you want your doula to be CPR certified?
- Do you want a doula who supports breastfeeding, formula-feeding or both?
- Is it important that your doula also be a certified lactation counselor?
- Are you looking for a doula that has a certain area of expertise – such as vegetarian cooking or a nursing degree?
- Do you want a doula who has expertise or knowledge of a particular culture or religion?
- Do you need a doula who is bilingual or who is knowledgeable about a particular disability?
Finally, set up a time for a consultation. This will help you both determine if it feels right.
Whether it’s on Zoom or in person, a consultation will help you get a feel for the vibe of the doula. And vice versa. You’ll get an opportunity to ask all your questions, including logistical ones about scheduling, fees and what a typical day might look like. The doula will also ask questions to try to get to know you better.
“When should I begin my search for a doula?”
Once you’re safely past the first trimester, I recommend reaching out to doulas to set up consultations. Doulas schedule clients months in advance, so if you wait too long, your favorite doula might be booked around your due date.
Remember, there is no perfect postpartum doula. But the best one for you is out there. Good luck!