Shifting the Paradigm
DC removes institutional barriers to success by shifting the cultural paradigm of postpartum care and creating equitable access to professional services, in order to improve immediate and lifelong health outcomes for new-mothers and their families. By receiving free support from a Professional Postpartum Doula and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) families experience 1) decreased incidence of mental illness 2) reduced stress 3) increased rates of breastfeeding duration 4) greater access to referrals and community resources for necessary interventions 5) more positive parent-child interactions, and 6) reduction in isolation.
DC offers FREE professional postpartum support services for ALL families following the birth or adoption of a child, regardless of income, demographic, or risk, because ALL families deserve equitable access from qualified professionals in their community. Recipients of DC services include parents that range from ages 16-45, income levels of zero to six figure, and ethnic backgrounds that are reflective of the Lane County Community. The organization is pleased to serve single parent, same sex, joint custody, refugee, relinquishing parent, and grieving parents with nonjudgmental support, that empowers parents regardless of social background and history. DC's direct services include HomeVisiting Program, Nursing Nook, and Breastfeeding Education.
HomeVisiting Program sends Professional Postpartum Doulas and IBCLCs into families' homes for the first two weeks following the birth or adoption of a child. Parents who participate in the DC HomeVisiting Program have children who benefit from a stable, healthy caregiver and home environment. These factors transform health outcomes, empower families, and reduce stress. Doula appointments are two hours for a total of 10 hours and IBCLC appointments range from one and a half to three hours and are offered as needed. Doulas and IBCLCs offer evidence-based information on infant feeding, soothing, and breastfeeding.
DC's postpartum doulas are professionally trained by international doula associations to teach families about postpartum adjustment; newborn characteristics, care, feeding and development; and the promotion of parent-infant bonding. The education and professional support provided by doulas improves attachment/bonding, social/emotional and cognitive development, and lowers risk of developing infectious and chronic diseases. Postpartum doulas are specifically trained to support the whole family, which research indicates positively impacts parents' emotional adjustment and parenting experience, reducing the risk of postpartum depression and mood disorders. In addition to emotional support and newborn care, doulas are also able to provide practical assistance for household duties and tasks such as laundry, meal prep, and older sibling respite care. These tasks are often left to outside family members but not all new-mothers have access to such a support network, nor are they able to ask their case workers to relieve them of such things. All DC staff and volunteers receive in-house training in promoting protective factors and resilience through a nonjudgmental and culturally appropriate approach to support. Separate visits for breastfeeding support allow IBCLCs to screen for, prevent, and treat breastfeeding difficulties as they arise with individually tailored plans of care. The IBCLC credential is the highest certification in breastfeeding support and the only internationally recognized credential in the field of lactation.
Nursing Nook is weekly walk-in breastfeeding support from an IBCLC in a group setting and serves families who have transitioned out of HomeVisiting Program and families who are referred by other means. Nursing Nook is available to families with children of any age for the entirety of their breastfeeding relationship and offers a relaxed atmosphere where parents can engage with other families while receiving quality care in the comfort of a non-clinical setting. Providing care in our safe, nonjudgmental community center, encourages families to engage with their community and reduces isolation that is often experienced in new-motherhood.
Private, in-office appointment times with an IBCLC are offered to families with newborns up to 6 weeks. Once new-mothers have transitioned out of the homevisiting program or if they are new to the organization, they can continue to access individualized care from a qualified professional outside of the clinical setting, in order to continue fostering the sense of empowerment.
Breastfeeding Education classes are taught at local high school parenting programs, on field visits to breastfeeding mothers at Willamette Family Treatment Center, and at Daisy's Place community center for clients and health professionals alike, in order to create continuity of care between community resources.
The Larger Scope
Access to professional homevisiting services can start at $160 per hour for IBCLC support locally but unlicensed professionals also have been found to charge upwards of $100/hr. Professional postpartum doulas often charge $30 or more per hour and due to independent training programs, can often lack the cultural sensitivity, informed trauma care, and perinatal mental health training that DC requires of its homevisiting staff. Every family deserves equitable access to these health transforming services.
Under the Affordable Care Act, both IBCLC and Postpartum Doula services are billable, yet the current infrastructure of insurance companies is not compliant.
These services can be available to every family in America, with satellite programs in different cities and states, serving ALL families, regardless of risk, income, and background. In order to achieve nationwide success, ACA compliance needs to be achieved and streamlined provider/community referrals need to be established. But the research and evidence-based programs that Daisy C.H.A.I.N. Mothering offers already speak volumes to reducing isolation, increasing confidence and knowledge base, and increasing protective factors in both parents and children. Equitable access to immediate and long term health success is achievable in the immediate future through community health improvement plans, health coalitions, and a concerted effort between healthcare professionals and community workers. By providing parents and families with the education and professional support they deserve, we create a stronger foundation for our children to achieve emotional and physical health and equitable opportunities in their community.