When I found out I was pregnant, I knew one of the things I wanted to try out, was cloth diapering. Not only was it good for the environment, but it seemed like a great way to save some money.

But where to start?

After a bit of digging around the internet, I found Green Mountain Diapers (GMD). They are the industry standard specializing in selling organic cloth diapers and they have incredibly detailed information on every product they sell. It was on their website that I learned exactly:

  • how many cloth diapers I need
  • how to plan for newborn stage through the first year
  • how to store and clean cloth diapers.
As a novice to the world of cloth diapering, I wasn’t aware that there were so many different types of cloth diaper.

I started off with “prefolds”, these are the classic squares of cloth pre-folded and stitched together for extra absorbency. I paired with my GMD favorite the “work-horse fitted“. They snap together like a disposable diaper, but is made of cloth (both made by Cloth-eez). Both required water-proof covers.  You can see exactly what I’m talking about here.

I’ll admit, I was in a little over my head in the first few weeks with the pre-fold diapers. How the hell was I supposed to fold and pin a diaper in the middle of the night, when I couldn’t even find the strength to change my own pants?

Many afternoons were spent watching YouTube tutorials on folding techniques, I finally found my groove. Thanks youtube (They literally have EVERYTHING on youtube. Want to learn how to make a felt Llama or how to make your own perfume from unicorn tears? Youtube it. )

It was after I had my routine down with the fitted and pre fold diapers that I began to wonder what other types of cloth diapers there were. I wanted something that would simplify my life without having to buy disposables. I mean, GMD couldn’t be the only company to sell quality cloth diapers right???

So I began looking and discovered BumGenius. After a little research, I decided to give their one size pocket style cloth diapers a shot. All I have to say is “EUREKA”! I didn’t need to carry an obnoxious stash of cloth with me or fumble with snaps and folding, I had found the solution to my problems!

With several rows of snaps, this diaper allows you to adjust the size as your child grows from an 8lb new born all the way to 35+lb toddler. It was called “pocket style” because you added inserts in a pocket behind the stay-dry lining, making it as absorbent as you want! (Great for heavy wetters) I was able to continue using the prefolds as the inserts, saving myself some cash not having to purchase extras!

Don’t even get me started on the ADORABLE colors and patterns! I can’t even handle my daughter’s cute fluffy bottom toddling around in prints that are positively designer!

So if you’re looking to cloth diaper but are turned off by the idea of folding and snapping or pinning, I would definitely suggest BumGenius StayDry 4.0 as part of your stash. I also love that they’re easy enough for Dad and Grandma to use.

This chick is definitely a huge fan, and these diapers are here to stay ’til potty training!

PictureDoulaTzipi's husband and their baby
Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I am one year postpartum with our first child.  Looking back, here is what I realized.

My Husband Should Have Had A Postpartum Doula.

My husband undoubtedly has the most intimate connection with me and our baby. He has been my primary support, my champion and my co-parent. He is the person who got up with me in the middle of the night and brought me the baby to nurse. This is the person who ordered take out when I was too wiped out to prepare dinner. This is the person who I called at work, asking him to pick up “insert various items here”  on the way home.

Partners have an important job post-partum. Caring for mom and baby, but they also need bonding and self-care.  This person is adjusting to new parenthood too!

He got lost in the shuffle.

The non-birthing partner gets lost in the frenzy of newborn-hood. People ask about the state of the new mother and baby.  People joke about how tired everyone must be and poke fun at “daddy diaper duty”, but who is actually asking how our partner is holding up?

So here you are on this beautiful and challenging journey together, and the person who you turn to for EVERYTHING is also exhausted and may be even less grounded than you. It doesn’t mean that they are any less of a rock, it just means that they need support too.

Family and Friends Help For Awhile

Some people are blessed with friends and family that organize themselves as a meal train for you postpartum. They stop by laden with casseroles. These people are awesome, but eventually, they stop bringing casseroles.

I don’t know about you but I am not good at asking people I know for help. I will take whatever you offer me, but I wasn’t comfortable asking guests in my home to help me set up a sitz bath. I seriously felt like I had to hand the baby to every guest that walked in the door when what I really wanted was to hold her and watch Netflix.

Also remember that not everyone is willing (or will think to offer) to fold your laundry, help you set up nursing stations around the home with water, snacks and reading material, or even look at that clot you passed to help you determine if you should call the OB. There are limits.

Google and Facebook don’t actually have all of the answers

There’s nothing that you can’t find out from the internet these days. Thankfully we have amazing networks on Facebook where we can ask questions to other moms who have been there and if they don’t have the answers there is always Google. Just a sampling of some of the things that I Googled as a new mom

“What does normal breastfed baby poop look like?”
“How do I know that my baby is getting enough milk?”
“How to fold a cloth diaper.”
“How to swaddle a baby.”
“Why does my baby sleep all day and stay up all night?”
“Complete dinner meals in ten minutes or less”

Most of the time I got answers, but sometimes I didn’t feel confident in what I found and would end up Googling things ad nauseum in different combinations until I just gave up. A post-partum doula would have provided me with resources and information on the spot. My husband would have definitely preferred that over obsessive late night googling.

A really good doula will have local connections to professionals that work outside of her scope of practice. She should know a Certified Lactation Consultant that can come to your home on short notice. Answers from real life pros are always better than what you find on Google because the answers are personalized.

A Post-Partum Doula is an Investment in Your Family

If I could give one thing to each new mother it wouldn’t be a wipes warmer or a baby wrap or even a gift certificate for a massage. It would be a post-partum doula. A post-partum doula is an investment in parenthood. It is an investment in the health of the new family. A post-partum doula is a critical part of the family support system.

A good doula will help the non-birthing partner feel bonded to mom and baby.Your post-partum doula is a trained professional. She will provide unwavering and unbiased support to you and your partner as you adjust to parenthood. She brings knowledge and experience into your home to help you make parenting choices that you feel confident in. She is definitely not there to tell you how to take care of your baby, she is there to help you build a foundation for your growing family. She is an investment. Her experience in breastfeeding, infant care and calming, sibling integration and promoting self-care for the post-partum family will be an available resource to you as long as you employ her. She will make sure that you feel confident in your abilities as a parent and when she leaves your family, you will feel connected, strong and prepared.

3 thoughts on “My Husband Should Have Had A Postpartum Doula”
  1. Angela on March 20, 2015 at 1:31 am said:
    Very well written! I wish I had known about postpartum doulas years ago when my family would have benefited from the professional assistance. This is definitely more valuable than wipe warmers, or 15+ receiving blankets.

  2. Emily Merrell on May 5, 2015 at 6:58 pm said:
    Wow, I feel exactly the same way. A lot of people think that Google has all of the answers, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you have to get a little bit of extra training in order to care for a newborn baby. Thanks for posting this information.

    • DoulaJill on May 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm said:
      Thanks Emily. Postpartum doulas can alleviate so much anxiety and uncertainty. I hope more families make budgeting for postpartum care a priority.

PictureI don't LOOK like a wolverine....
I had my first baby when I was 36.  Now he’s 11 and we are good, but when he was a newborn my son and I didn’t mesh so well….and we sucked at breastfeeding!

We don’t have any beautiful images of us looking into each other’s eyes while he nursed and played with my nursing necklace.  I don’t have any warm memories I can recall that make my heart swell and my eyes well with emotion.

I nursed a wolverine(click here for clarification image)

Nursing my son felt like taking a Brillo pad to my boob every 1.5 to 2 hours.  He never slept.  Ever.  His naps were only 15 minutes long.  I was crazy sleep deprived.  While looking through a box of photos from my son’s first year, I found one of my husband holding a baby I didn’t know.  I asked him “whose baby is this?”   to which he replied. “yours”.

Let that sink in.  I didn’t recognize my own baby.  Ugh!

Now 11 years ago, there was no Lip Tie/Tongue Tie groups on facebook.  (Was there even Facebook?)  I read everything and nothing helped.

I reached out for help and was told over and over, “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if it hurts you’re doing it wrong.”  I HATE THAT PHRASE!  It makes me want to throw things and do other worse things that I will never put in print. (howya doin NSA)

I asked my OB for help. She told me “don’t be a hero”.  I fought on, in agony.  My husband begged me to stop and just use formula.  I fought on, in agony.  I asked my pediatrician for help.  She told me to supplement because the boy wasn’t gaining enough.  I fought on, in agony, and now supplemented.

Supplementing was the biggest slap to my motherhood self-esteem.  Maybe they were right. I was too old to be having my first baby.  (Yes they used to say stupid s**t like that to every woman over 32)

I still fought on, nursing and topping off his tank with formula.

There is good news.

Around 6 weeks postpartum  (yes 6 LONG PAINFUL weeks. I am a stubborn mule) we sat down to nurse.  I did my natural childbirth relaxation/meditation to prepare for the pain. (yes that still comes in handy throughout life so take a real class) and it didn’t hurt.  It was sore, but not agonizing. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.

I had tamed the wolverine!  (click here for clarification image)

I became the queen of breastfeeding!  I started nursing ALL OVER in public. I was that mom who could whip out a boob and latch a baby on before you even saw that rouge and always controversial nipple.  I would tell the host at restaurants to make sure we had a server who was going to be ok with breastfeeding, cuz we were gonna be throwin’ down.

But, I still was supplementing.  I tried everything to increase my milk supply and nothing was working.  Nurse on demand, blah blah.  Check.  Co-Sleep, blah, blah.  Check.  Oatmeal, blah, blah.  EEW, not checked.  You need to sleep more, blah, blah….did you read paragraph 3????

And finally one day a wonderful little herbalist lady gave me fennel seed to make tea.  She told me this would increase my supply and he would get enough milk so we could all sleep.  So I made fennel seed tea and drank it at every feeding that day.

IT WORKED!!!  I drank 6 oz of fennel seed tea at each feeding for a day and my milk went BOOM!  My supply was suddenly amazing.  This simple little plant was able to do amazing things for my boobs.  He started to extend the time between feedings.  He finally started sleeping for 5 hours straight at night.

I was finally able to stop supplementing with formula.  I continued using fennel seed tea for the rest of my breastfeeding career.   I didn’t have to use it every day, but I used it a lot.  I used it with my daughter who came along 2 years later and didn’t have to supplement with formula at all.  Now she is a whole other blog post…

PictureDoulaRenee and her beautiful babe!
My husband and I had our first son in September 2005 in a small hospital in Massachusetts.  With his birth also came postpartum depression.  I was finally able to admit that I felt awful, scared, stressed, and very lonely about four months after he was born.  My recovery took multiple therapists, prescription anti-depressants and relocation back to New Jersey where most of our family lived.   I spent over two years digging myself out of that fog.

I wanted to find anything I could to avoid that demon again.  In the course of raising our first child, and coming out of the depression, I became a birth doula.  I learned so much about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum time that I was able to prepare myself against the possibility of having the depression return.  When we decided to have another child, six years later, the fear of the depression returning was difficult to bear.  However this time I was going in prepared with new tools; and a different perspective on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I found the Midwives of New Jersey of Hackettstown NJ.  I chose them because I wanted a home birth and they were able to help me accomplish that wish.

In my prenatal visits to the midwives, I told them about my previous postpartum depression.  One of the midwives suggested placenta encapsulation. My first reaction was “ICK!”, followed quickly by curiosity and wonder.  I immediately beganresearching the benefits, found a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (PES) close enough to my home, and decided that this would be the best thing for me.

Our second son was born in December 2011 and the fear of depression was strong and heavy in my head from the moment my water broke.  I contacted my PES the morning after he was born and she had my placenta pills delivered to me within 72 hours after the birth.  I began taking them immediately and quickly felt a difference in my state of mind.

Our new baby began to develop eczema serious enough to crack and bleed.  We learned it was due to food allergies.  He also wouldn’t sleep!  He didn’t sleep through the night until past two years of age.  He still does this occasionally at the age of 3! Mommy and Daddy were not getting much sleep.  If this baby had been my first, we would not have had any more children.

The placenta pills were my life saver and sanity keeper during those first few months.  Even though I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I was able to function and take care of myself and my family.  I truly believe if I hadn’t taken those placenta pills, I may have been committed in the first few months postpartum.  The difficulties that we went through trying to figure out his issues, (colic, silent reflux, multiple and severe food allergies, severe eczema) how to cope with them, and how to help him overcome them, should have sent me into depression. My family would be in a much different place right now, had I not taken advantage of the amazing organ that my body made for my baby.

The reason I wanted to have my placenta encapsulated was based solely on the fear of going through postpartum depression again. The rewards I got were that and so much more!  The amazing benefits that I experienced from placentophagy included improved mood, I felt no familiar signs of depression creeping back in.

I also saw a huge difference in my milk supply.  With my first son, he never seemed to be satisfied and I was never able to pump more than 2 ounces.  This time around, whew! What a difference!  I was able to pump an average of 5 ounces, and my son would actually pull off my breast because of what may have been over supply.

I had increased energy, shortened lochia, accelerated uterine recovery, weight loss, and a quicker return to well-being.  I did have one dose give me jitters and one dose gave me heartburn.  I only had those two days of discomfort, out of the two months that I took the pills.

In the middle of my sons first year, the woman who encapsulated my placenta offered a course to teach other women how to do the amazing work of Placenta Encapsulation. I jumped in and took the course.  Now I am pleased to be able to offer this gift to other moms.  I also have begun to offer classes to teach the process of encapsulation through Wise Birth Choices.

I hope that the practice of placentophagy increases, and that new mothers begin to realize that we have within us the power to heal ourselves.   All the nutrients and vitamins and minerals and hormones that went in to building and growing a beautiful baby should be given back to us! The one responsible for making it.

Women – we can give that gift back to ourselves!

Hit Google Search with interview questions for a potential doula and lots of lists appear.  As a Doula in NJ for the last 10 years, I have answered them all.

Last night my friend asked me for pointers on interviewing a doula.  She doesn’t live in NJ anymore and I didn’t have an associate to recommend in her area.   She had set up some interviews with local gals and was getting excited to start the process.  She found a standard list of questions online but wanted my ideas as an “insider”.  I thought about it for a few seconds and replied, “scrap the list”.  Here are 5 better questions.

Better Questions to Ask a Potential Doula.
In your initial conversation you should cover the following: 
Are you available for my EDD?  Do you cover my delivery location?  What is your fee? What does that include?  Do you come to my home when I’m in labor or do we meet at the delivery location?  If these are answered satisfactorily, then schedule an interview.

 Which brings us to the list!

Scrap:  Are you Certified?  There are so many ways to certify and so many certifying organizations with differing criteria, this is becoming irrelevant (cue the negative doula comments below).  Some doula trainings are in-person, some are online.  Some doula trainings are 1 day, some are 4 days.  Some require 3 births, some require 5, some require none!

The Better Question Is:  How did you train to become a doula?  How did it prepare you for this work?  Think in advance about what answers will make you feel confident in her skills.  My birth doula had never attended a birth.  Except her own.  She had given birth 3 times and was a massage therapist.  This met my criteria.

Scrap:  How many births have you attended?  I have mentored doulas over the years and now have a great group of women working for me.  Everyone of us had our first birth client. I have worked with doulas who have arrived at their first birth and ROCKED IT!  I have worked with doulas who have attended 25-50 births and when they arrived it seemed like they had never seen a woman in labor before.

The Better Question Is:  Can you give me examples of how you would support me if these scenarios happened?  List your own scenarios, because those are the scenarios you will manifest. Yes, it’s true.  Didn’t you read The Secret? (and a BIG you’re welcome! to The Secret on amazon)

Scrap:  How many clients do you take each month? Do you have back-up?  Every doula will answer with a number and ideally a “yes” to the back-up.  Who cares?  I have had clients with due dates 4 weeks apart give birth within 24 hours of each other!

The Better Question Is:  If I am in labor at the same time as another client, who is my secondary doula?  Will she know she is on call?  This one is critical!   I am the doula who got a call from a client in labor, who wasn’t my client.  The couple told me I was their back-up doula.  I had no idea I was their back-up doula.  Fortunately, I had declined an invite for drinks with my hubs and his BFF, just 2 hours prior.  (I wanted to watch ER).  Many doulas have informal agreements to back each other up.  Make sure yours has a formal one.

Scrap:  What is your philosophy about birth and supporting women and their partners through labor?  Who cares what her philosophy is? If she is a good interviewee, she already has a set answer for this.  You are hiring her to provide a service.  A VERY PERSONAL SERVICE.

The Better Question Is:  Can you tell me about a time that a client made a decision you didn’t agree with?  Gauge her response carefully.  Is she able to separate her own feelings?  Does she sound judgmental or disappointed?  She shouldn’t.  This is your birth and her primary role is to provide emotional, physical and educational support.  If you are making an informed decision she is being paid to support it.

Scrap:  Do you get along with my caregiver?  Have you worked at my delivery location?  This should have been asked in your initial interaction.  The doula should always ask where and who in the initial phone call.  If it is a provider or hospital they have chosen to stop working with, they should be up front about it.

The Better Question Is:  I am with MW/OB “X” and delivering at “Z” Hospital.  Do you have any positive or negative experiences you can share?  Doulas love to share.  A LOT. Gauge her response and decide if it is cause for concern about your provider or cause for concern about her. Is she offering evidence-based information? If you are with a notoriously bad hospital or provider, she should be able to provide evidence.  You should then do the research and come to an informed decision.

After she leaves check how you feel.  Are you both excited? Do you both feel empowered?  Do you both feel ready to share the most personal experience of your lives with her?  Remember, the most important thing about your doula is how she is going to make you feel and provide support for you and your partner.  


I have had an amazing response to this blog!  Thank you all for your compliments.  I have also received requests to reprint.  If you would like a pdf to include with your promotional materials, you can purchase the pdf with permission through this link.  http://mkt.com/wise-birth-choices-llc/scrap-the-list-pdf-with-permission

23 thoughts on “5 Better Questions To Ask A Potential Doula: Scrap The List!”
  1. Jennifer Rivera on March 11, 2015 at 1:05 am said:
    Great job! This is by far the best one of these lists I’ve seen to date!

  2. Elizabeth Luke on March 11, 2015 at 1:38 am said:
    Great blog! Finally, someone who gets it!

  3. Kimberly on March 11, 2015 at 4:20 am said:
    This is a great list for clients! I will be sharing and I *hope* that anyone considering a doula for their birth/postpartum period will read it! Pure perfection!

  4. Melissa on March 11, 2015 at 4:43 am said:
    excellent list! These are all really great questions that promote meaningful dialogue between a prospective doila and hiring couple/individual.

  5. DoulaLouise on March 11, 2015 at 5:12 am said:
    Great list of questions! I especially like thinking about different scenarios and how they would be handled and how you’d like to be supported. (Plus, I know the author of The Secret, so yea for the bump!!!)

  6. tracy hartley on March 12, 2015 at 12:19 am said:
    Best list ever. I hope you will keep this online forever so we can link to it! I’ve been a doula for 18+ years and I couldn’t have come up with a better list of questions. Great job!

  7. San Antonio Doula on March 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm said:
    Thank you for this! The other “how to hire a doula” lists are so out dated and don’t actually tell the client much of anything valuable. I will be passing this on!

  8. Rachel on March 13, 2015 at 8:45 pm said:
    How dare you say doula certification isn’t important?!?! Okay, just kidding. But I thought you needed at least one response. As a doula who started certification in a very in-depth correspondence program but chose not to complete it after a year of apprenticeship with a midwife and getting way more experience and education then any certification program could offer, I appreciate the respect. Sure, I could have jumped through the rest of the hoops and finished but I decided those letters at the end of my name weren’t worth it to me. I appreciate that my clients are happy with me and my level of experience despite not certifying. And given the number of new doulas who come to me for help before and during births I think I’m doing okay 😉

  9. Lea Garner on March 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm said:
    Awesome blog post! I’d love to repost on my own website and share on FB!


    -Lea Garner

  10. Barrie Glasscock on March 23, 2015 at 9:27 pm said:
    Yes! Great list!!

  11. Angela on March 24, 2015 at 1:28 am said:
    This is a fantastic list! I will definitely share it with others. Happy Doula Week!

  12. Christine on April 24, 2015 at 9:30 pm said:
    Thank you for this list. I was trying to decide between 2 doulas and the one I selected met the criteria on this list, among many other great attributes. I feel even better now about my selection. I can’t wait to start working with her!

    • DoulaJill on April 24, 2015 at 10:12 pm said:
      That is fantastic news Christine! I am so happy to hear that this helped you in your decision making. Good luck with your doula and your birth! I would love to hear your story afterward.