Doulas, breastfeeding and postpartum
Maddie McMahon is a Doula, Breastfeeding Counsellor, blogger and author of two books, Why Doulas Matter and Why Mothers Matter.
Maddie’s work as a Doula – providing social support for mums. Maddie has supported over 120 births and over 100s of postpartum since 2003 – she sees it as a profound and fulfilling role. Such a beautiful community, amazing and nurturing, sisterhood
We discuss how Maddie ensures she looks after her own self care – certain amount just reflecting and learning through the job. Everyone has certain limits, need to understand – what are the boundary and rules
She takes the advice she provides to her doula clients “Breathe, stay in the moment, take it one step at a time” - “We need to doula each other”
Advice for mums; “reach out for help, known what your boundaries are”
As a doula, some births deplete you (psychically) whilst other energise you
Each doula have their own rituals after each birth – called the birth hangover. Reaching for sofa days or carbohydrates. Not so easy if you have small children
Maddie notes it is important to sleep, eat well, appreciate yourself.
Maddie is the author of 2 books. Why Mothers Matter – Why Doulas Matters. 14 books have been written in the series by pinter and Martin - all aspects of birth and parenting. Why it Matters books covering all motherhood journey. Great reviews on Amazon.
Maddie’s books were result of 14 years of hanging out with new parents and seeing the impact of babies on people practically and emotionally and how Doulas fitted into that landscape.
We have forgotten, as a society, that we are evolved as a tribal spices living in close proximity and that by the time we had our first child we would have had an education in motherhood supporting others.
We now don’t have the postnatal support. Having 1 month to get to know our new baby and recovering. Expects mums to be back in Tesco 2 days later! Crime that our culture allows mothers to be shopping within 2 days of birth.
Quote from Maddie’s book from a breastfeeding counsellor- “We are under pressure to carry babies without a hitch, birth like a pro and mother like the baby doesn't exist”
Most common thing she notices is women apologising for their bodies post childbirth – make a point that they have amazing bodies and that they have just birthed a new human being.
Women do not know that the bump will not simply just disappear after birth and blame media – size 1 jeans 2 days later. Images quite damaging. Messages seep into our subconscious – dangerous.
Other tips for pregnant people – prepare for postnatal period – although this is different for everyone – depending on support and relationship with support – family dynamic are different.
Making a postnatal plans as well as a birth plan. Who is filling up the fridge.
Cluster feeding evenings, that's normal and coping strategy, how can partner be useful additions.
Babies don't need fixes or solutions. Reach out for help and support
Cluster feeding – when mature milk comes in. Early morning, high sugar milk and as day goes by volume of milk reduces; small snacks of high fat milk, needs to work harder for the milk – can feel overwhelming – evolution due to predators at night, needed to feed baby high fat milk to have longer sleep. Have some who can bring food, someone to hold baby for a shower or walk around the block. Most useful thing is to have is a friend, support or doula to call when feeling of anxiety, overwhelm, usually that's enough
Giving birth is like starting a new job; all uncertain whilst finding your feet with all honourable changes.
Tips for not falling into traps of gurus; well meaning advice on social media what worked for them might not work for you. Mothers will blame themselves. Two things to look out for with advice online; (1) is this evidenced based with science to back this up (2) Is the person using language of advice or suggestion – done in a non-judgemental way. We can't pass judgement until we walk a mile in their shoes.
Maddie’s advice of doing one thing for the house, e.g. cleaning the rug, one thing for the baby and one thing today for you as a mum – helps to feel like keeping the wheels on everything.
Have a family calendar in the kitchen and mum time is in the calendar. Grab your time in the calendar!
Maddie writes in her book that she loves to see a messy house as it means the mother is doing something that makes her heart sing or just sprawling on the sofa with a child and a book.
Maddie’s books can be found here.
Maddie’s website: Blogger at The Birth Hub
Maddie’s website - Doula
Developing Doulas Course Leader
Mentor, Doula UK
Breastfeeding Counsellor for Cambridge Breastfeeding Alliance Registered Charity Number 1161678
Maddie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maddie’s Twitter @Doulamaddie