A post birth doula
A post-birth doula will 'mother the mother' in the crucial few weeks immediately after the birth of her baby. She will do all the things that your mother or sister would do if they were able to be there, from helping with the baby, being there if you feel low, helping with cooking, cleaning and running the house if need be. Essentially, she is there to support and help you to be the best mother you can be.
Research has shown that having a doula to help in the first few months of a baby's life helps the mother to be a better parent and makes the child healthier, more stable and quicker to learn. Having a doula in these few weeks can also help with the relations between the mother and father, taking much of the pressure off the relationship by doing household chores and keeping the mother happy, rested and confident.
A post-birth doula can work full-time, Monday to Friday, or can come for just a few days a week or just mornings or afternoons. It depends on the mother and on the doula's availability. Some mothers just have a doula for two or three weeks. Others find them so helpful they keep them for months! It just depends on your needs and circumstances.
Generally doulas do not stay overnight but in some circumstances they may be able to. At other times you can hire a night nurse if you feel you will need help with overnight feeds.
Doulas cost between £12-18 per hour (plus agency fee) depending on where they are and their level of experience. For longer periods of employment they may be willing to negotiate a lower hourly rate.