Meet the Postpartum Doula: the new mother’s ally in navigating the transformations after the baby’s birth, providing support in establishing the new routine, and assisting with everything from light household tasks to initial breastfeeding guidance and postpartum sex-related questions. Keep reading to find out more!

doula pós-parto

An Ally Against Maternal Loneliness

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, juggling work, traffic, bills, and motherhood, many mothers find themselves isolated and lacking the valuable support network that used to surround the postpartum period in the past. This void has paved the way for the emergence of the postpartum doula, acting as the anchor that connects new mothers to crucial support.


In the past, women turned to mothers, grandmothers, and aunts for guidance and support after childbirth. These experienced maternal figures played a vital role in the transition to motherhood.


Today, with families spread out and schedules packed, this traditional support network has faded, leaving many mothers in an emotional and practical vacuum. The postpartum doula is a “companion on the journey” who fills this void, offering practical and emotional guidance. She becomes a reliable compass amid the chaos of modern life, guiding mothers through the challenging transition to motherhood.

What Does a Postpartum Doula Do?

The Postpartum Doula plays a crucial role by offering physical, emotional, and practical support to mothers in the postnatal period. She assists in emotional transitions, provides guidance on baby care, aids in the mother’s physical recovery, and creates a supportive environment that facilitates adaptation to the new family dynamic. Her presence aims to alleviate the isolation often experienced by modern mothers, promoting a smoother transition to motherhood.

Differences Between Birth Doula and Postpartum Doula

While both play crucial roles, birth doulas focus on pregnancy and the birthing experience, whereas postpartum doulas are more involved in the period of adaptation and recovery after the baby’s birth. Some doulas may offer both services, providing continuous support throughout the perinatal period.

Birth Doula


  • Primary focus: Physical, emotional, and informational support during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.


  • Scope: Provides emotional support, information, breathing techniques, and relaxation during labor. Does not perform medical procedures.


  • Role: Typically, the birth doula is present during labor and childbirth, offering continuous assistance

Post-partum Doula


  • Primary focus: Postnatal support (after the baby’s birth).

  • Scope: Assists in adapting to motherhood, provides guidance on baby care, aids in the mother’s physical recovery, and offers emotional support during the first weeks after childbirth.

  • Role: The postpartum doula may be present during home visits or offer remote support, adapting to the needs of the mother and family.

Services Offered by a Postpartum Doula

Typical services provided by a postpartum doula include:


Emotional Support

Providing active listening and emotional support to the mother during the first weeks after childbirth. Assisting in managing emotions related to changes in family dynamics and the transition to motherhood.


Guidance in Baby Care

Offering information and practical guidance on caring for the newborn, such as feeding, diaper changing, and sleep. Providing support in understanding the baby’s signals and needs.


Assistance with Household Activities

Helping with light daily tasks, allowing the mother to rest and recover. Collaborating in organizing the environment to facilitate the transition to motherhood.


Mother’s Physical Recovery

Supporting the mother in her physical recovery after childbirth. Guiding on gentle exercises, nutritious eating, and self-care.


Education and Information

Providing information on breastfeeding, relaxation techniques, and strategies to address common postpartum challenges.  Clarifying doubts about the physical and emotional changes that occur after the baby’s birth.


Support in Transition to Motherhood

Assisting the mother in adapting to the new family dynamics. Promoting maternal confidence and the building of healthy bonds with the baby.


These services are tailored to the individual needs of the mother and family, providing personalized support during the postnatal period.


Do Postpartum Doulas Assist with Baby Care?

Absolutely! A significant portion of the uncertainties and insecurities that make the postpartum period so intense and challenging for new mothers revolve around questions and challenges in caring for the newborn. After all, babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and with so much information noise today, it’s hard to know what to do and what not to do.


In this regard, postpartum doulas are specially trained to provide the necessary initial guidance to start this journey, such as:


Breastfeeding Support

Guiding and supporting the mother in breastfeeding, helping establish a successful connection between mother and baby. Providing tips on breastfeeding techniques, comfortable positions, and troubleshooting common problems.


Basic Care

Teaching essential newborn care practices, such as diaper changing, baby baths (including the famous “bucket bath” or “baby tub bath”), and caring for the umbilical cord.


Baby’s Sleep Routine

Assisting parents in creating healthy sleep routines and habits for the baby. Offering strategies to deal with irregular sleep patterns and adjusting the routine as needed.


Guidance on Growth Spurts

Providing guidance on infant developmental milestones and offering support to understand and respond to the baby’s needs at different stages.



Encouraging the creation of emotional bonds between parents and the baby, promoting positive interactions and moments of connection.


While the primary focus of the postpartum doula is on supporting the mother, many recognize the importance of helping parents feel more confident and competent in caring for their babies, thereby providing a safer and more peaceful environment for the family.

When Should I Hire a Postpartum Doula?

A mother may seek a postpartum doula at different times, depending on her needs and preferences. Generally, it is advisable to consider the services of a postpartum doula in the following situations:


During Pregnancy

Some mothers choose to secure the presence of a postpartum doula during pregnancy. In this case, the doula can provide advance information, assist in emotional preparation, and discuss postnatal support plans.


Immediate Postpartum Period

Other mothers decide to seek a postpartum doula after the baby’s birth to obtain immediate support during the first days or weeks at home.


Challenges with the Routine

Mothers facing unexpected challenges, such as breastfeeding difficulties, lack of sleep, or adaptation to new circumstances, may seek a postpartum doula for specific assistance.


For Remote Support

Some postpartum doulas offer remote support, providing an option for mothers who prefer distance assistance or do not have access to local doulas.


Mothers Without a Support Network

If a mother feels geographically isolated, far from family and friends, and without a real support network (remembering that a father is NOT a support network! A father is a father!), a postpartum doula can be a valuable source of support and connection.


The decision to involve a postpartum doula is yours and yours alone and should be based on the specific needs of the mother and family. There is no right or wrong time; the important thing is that the mother feels comfortable and supported in choosing to seek the support of a postpartum doula.

Doula Aline Rossi

Aline Rossi is the founder and writer behind Villa Mater. Aline is a Brazilian mother expat in Portugal, feminist, certified birth and postpartum doula, having supported dozens of women in home and hospital births, as well as in the transition to motherhood after childbirth. Devoted admirer of Maria Montessori and Paulo Freire works on education and pedagogy.


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