Krista Maltais writes today's article.
When you think about creating your birth plan for labor and delivery, do you associate it with breastfeeding? If not, you should! Initiating skin-on-skin within one hour after birth (or as soon as you are able to safely hold your baby after anesthesia) is associated with the best breastfeeding outcomes. A Birth Doula can ensure that this early breastfeeding initiation takes place and goes smoothly.
A Birth Doula is not only trained to provide emotional, physical, educational, and informational services to women and their partners during labor and childbirth, she is also qualified to provide breastfeeding support. Birth Doulas undergo lactation education and training as part of their certification; they are able to understand the instinctual processes of newborns as well as the physical and emotional changes that mothers go through after birth and how these experiences impact breastfeeding. This education and training ensures that every family who hires a Birth Doula has the opportunity to get one-on-one personal breastfeeding education and support.
This one-on-one care can be especially important immediately after birth; there is no need to wait for hospital staff who may be busy performing other tasks or helping other families and no need to wonder what you should be doing to help begin breastfeeding; your Birth Doula will be by your side to offer the support and education you and your partner may need.
Research* has shown that the “psychosocial support during labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period by a female companion (Doula) has a positive effect on breastfeeding. The frequency of exclusive breastfeeding one month after birth is significantly higher as are the behaviors that promote breastfeeding.”
As you create your ideal birth plan, you may want to consider how a Birth Doula can enhance your labor, delivery, and immediate postpartum experiences, especially in regards to early breastfeeding initiation!
To find out more about birth support or how Birth Doulas positively impact breastfeeding experiences, visit: www.dona.org
* Langer A, Campero L, Garcia C, Reynoso S. “Effects of psychosocial support during labour and childbirth on breast feeding, medical interventions, and mothers’ well-being in a Mexican public hospital: a randomised clinical trial.” Br J Obstet Gynaecol, 105:1056-1063, 1998.