Hen House Project - "serving moms and their families"
About Donna
A message from Donna Miles,
DONA Certified Postpartum Doula
Certified Lactation Specialist
Hen House Project Founder

    "A Postpartum Doula's job is to care for the entire family.  She does this in many ways.  Of course, some are focused on the recovering mother. Other times are focused on the newborn and still other times on the day-to-day needs of the entire family.  I invite you to peruse my service page and choose the services that will benefit YOUR family most.  Whether you are first time parents or not, even one visit can greatly help you find your new normal." Donna
  
 Many families prepare for the birth of their baby/babies only to realize that once the baby has arrived they have underestimated their needs for hands-on support.  Many wonderful husbands/partners are unsure in knowing exactly what a new mother needs to recover physically and emotionally from the birth experience--especially if the birth was difficult in any way.           

In many other cultures, new moms, babies and their families are surrounded by family members and friends who do everything from baby and mommy care, to cooking and cleaning. The new mother's job is ONLY to recover her health, eat well, and to bond with her baby.  Her spouse's or partner's job is to support her in these efforts BUT as a new dad, he also is cared for by others. This additional support allows mom, dad and baby and siblings the time to bond as a family and recover from the stresses of pregnancy, labor and the birth experience.

Today in our society, loving extended family and friends who want to help are either too far away, too over-scheduled themselves or are unsure as to the type of help that might benefit the new family the most. This is especially true for new families who are breastfeeding their newborn. Many extended family and friends who want to help, have actually had very little experience or knowledge concerning breastfeeding and its intensity those first few weeks.

Having worked with over 100 pre/postnatal families in the Lexington/Bluegrass area, I have an array of different experiences.  These include services to first-time parents, single moms, parents with multiplies, and parents with older siblings.  The pendulum has swung from working with moms who have had a home birth, to a planned or unexpected C-section.  In ALL of these families I have seen loving supportive husbands/partners, grandparents and friends.  Yet, many of them express feeling overwhelmed and confused in what will really help. Many husbands or partners are also too exhausted themselves from being the main or only support person.  Remember, even as you go to your 6 week "everything looks fine" appointment with your Dr/Midwife, that your postpartum period is truly 12 weeks.  Each woman's postpartum time is as unique as she is and needs to be honored as such. The sooner families receive good postpartum support, the quicker moms seem to recover and babies thrive.

Having more support from family, friends or a professional doula such as myself, is what SHOULD happen.  Unfortunately, we as strong independent women think we can do it by ourselves and our husbands/partner's agree----leaving both wondering how one small infant can be so challenging! 

Please realize this is NOT the norm in most other cultures and countries OR even how it has been for centuries.  "Mothering the mother" helps to speed her recovery, increases the success of breastfeeding, helps prevent or shorten the duration and incidence of postpartum depression and anxiety issues and increases the bonding of the entire family.  It also gives the new parents the energy and time to ENJOY their tiny unique person that will only be a newborn for a short time. NEWBORN INFANTS are very different than the baby he/she will become in the following months.

I would be honored to assist you as you begin on this wonderful, fascinating, frustrating, and many times exhausting journey called "parenting"!


WHAT MOMS SAY ABOUT HHP---

"Having a postpartum doula was so helpful. Donna was able to provide support and care when we were too tired to do it ourselves.  She helped with baby care, meals, household task, and my favorite--mom pampering foot rubs.  It was so great I plan to give postpartum doula time to all my friends as shower gifts!"
Leigh Ann
First-time mom of one, breastfeeding



"My husband and I hired Donna as our postpartum doula since we had no family around for support and little experience with a newborn.  We had an immediate connection, felt genuine care, and appreciated her tremendous knowledge regarding the birth process, recovery, and newborn care. Having a C-section due to breech presentation was not in our plans and Donna came every day to the hospital.  Her visits were so important, for the support recovering from major surgery, help with breastfeeding, and to give my spouse a break as he cared for our daughter for two full days since I could hardly get out of bed!  Once home, she simply was there as a friend, someone I could talk to and that was simply priceless, as well as giving me a break watching our baby girl so that I could rest and recover.  She also gives awesome foot rubs, recommended some simple breathing exercises and stretches for my recovery, and made referrals for other services we needed.  Both my husband and I could not have made a better decision and feel truly fortunate to have her help me in my recovery and transition to being a new mama."
Ginny
First-time mom of one, breastfeeding/bottle feeding


"Donna was a godsend after an unplanned C-section.  She located a wonderful lactation consultant to assist with breastfeeding issues on her first visit.  She gave me wonderful baby care tips, sent me infant recall information, organized the household and did light housekeeping.  She gave me time to rest and heal and was a huge emotional support.  As a professional woman, I pride myself on my self-sufficiency  and didn't think I would need help after the baby was born.  I am so thankful Donna was available to assist me through my maternity leave--I don't know what I would have done without her!"
Erin
First-time mom of one, breast pumping and bottle feeding


"When my second child was only 10 weeks old, my husband was going out of town for a week and I was apprehensive about spending all day and night alone with the kids with no relief and possibly no adult interaction.  I was unsure what a postpartum doula did but received Donna's contact info from a friend and the idea of an extra pair of experienced hands in the evening was quite appealing!  Over the course of two evenings, Donna stepped right in and helped with entertaining my older daughter, held my son during his fussy, high-need times, folded laundry and sweep the floor and even suggested that I go for a walk --ALONE--pure luxury!  I wish that all moms had a little extra help in adjusting to life as a new mom and Donna is the perfect solution."
Gretta
Mom of two, breastfeeding








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