Hi, my name is Susannah and I am an experienced midwife and mother of two, providing a Postnatal Doula service.
The word doula comes from the Ancient Greek, meaning ‘woman’s servant’. Every woman deserves her own personal postnatal slave!
At Hills Postnatal I can help with:
People will tell you: ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’, ‘Forget the housework’, ‘Enjoy this time’. When you spend most of your waking hours feeding, winding, changing and soothing your baby, any time they are asleep you might be emptying the bins, doing essential laundry, washing up, or taking a shower. It can be hard to get any rest at all, even when you’re only doing the bare minimum around the house.
If this is not your first baby, then you will know all too well how much work a new baby creates. Even though you will find things much easier with second or subsequent babies, you have the added workload of sibling/s to care for and it’s a daunting thought!
Imagine how good you would feel if when you came home from hospital I had cleaned your house, brought groceries, walked your dog, prepared your evening meal, got your toddler ready for bed and helped you feed and settle your baby. Imagine how relieved you would feel to have a supportive, experienced adult arrive during the witching hour to clean up the last few days of kitchen detritus and rock the crying baby so you could get out of your pyjamas!
I relish the opportunity to use my specialist skills to help Mums, as well as providing affordable domestic help all within one service. Let me relieve some of the stress you may feel from multitasking, leaving you free to really enjoy your baby’s first weeks and months, instead of merely surviving them!
I generally only take on one or a maximum of two regular clients at a time so that I can give you the quality support that you need. However, I can usually squeeze in visits to help Mums with breastfeeding emergencies for one or two visits at any time.
I am kind, friendly, energetic, and straightforward. I’m not in the least bit intimidating and I work like a Trojan. I will respect your views but I will also not hang back from making suggestions where I think I can help. An issue that comes up frequently for new Mums is that of being given conflicting advice. I am not rigid in my approach and will help you weigh up the evidence, to decide which options will work best for you.
My midwifery background gives me a breadth and depth of experience, which can’t be gained from doula training alone. I’ve also spent the last seven years working on a book on breastfeeding and babies’ sleep, which is still a work in progress! (Yes, I am a Mum too, so nothing happens too fast!) I am fascinated by the anthropology of childbirth and child rearing around the world, and have spent literally thousands of hours researching my book. I therefore have a wealth of knowledge to share with you, above and beyond my experience as a midwife and mother.
I have an extensive referral network and knowledge of local health, alternative health and parenting support services. I will never pretend to have all the answers and am always happy to work closely with allied health professionals to ensure that we are supporting you and not giving conflicting advice.
Please note: this is not a medical midwifery service, as I let my midwifery registration lapse whilst being a stay at home Mum. It is purely breastfeeding, sleep/routine management and domestic help. Naturally, in the event of an emergency, I would use my skills and experience. However, since I am no longer a practicing midwife, any first aid provided can only be expected to be at the standard of a basic first aider.
Sorry, I do not attend births. I feel there could be a potential ethical dilemma as a trained midwife being present at a birth but having no authority to act if I were to witness unsafe practices.
"I highly recommend Susannah from Adelaide Hills Postnatal Support to anyone who needs help at home with their baby. As a new mum with a young baby, I've come across all of the regular stumbling blocks. Susannah has helped me with routines, settling, breastfeeding, feeding solids, as well as answering my millions of questions and helping me out around the house. I was doing a bit of work from home at the time, and was able to work on my computer in another room while Susannah looked after my baby boy and did some housework. I don't have any grandmas around to help me, so I really looked forward to Susannah coming over a few hours each week to give me a hand. I also like that Susannah gives advice based on scientific research, and has read far more articles and books than I currently have time to do myself. I would definitely give Susannah a call if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed at home with a new baby (or a few children!) and need some support. So thanks again for everything Susannah and I'll no doubt ask you back again at some stage when my little man throws me another curve ball... :)" Jody from Greenhill
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your help with my sixteen month old son. From just spending one whole day with us you helped both with his sleeping and eating. You knew that his eating problem was in need of a specialist’s referral after watching him eat. I think that it was very good that you knew when to refer. You then came with me to the specialist appointment and helped me to carry out the recommendations.
Once things had improved a bit with my son’s eating, we began to tackle the night time sleep issues. You made some late night and overnight visits. I was worried about doing any kind of sleep training but I was reassured that you didn’t recommend leaving my son on his own at all, in fact we moved him back in with me. There was not too much crying and I could pick him up whenever I felt he was distressed. You helped me to learn the difference between an angry cry that the routine was changing and an upset cry. Within a few days he went from waking seven to eight times per night to only waking twice for feeds and then straight back to sleep. He initially needed to keep those feeds because of the solid food problems.
Its not easy to carry on trying to cut out those feeds on my own as I am visiting family overseas at the moment, but I feel much better equipped with the skills you taught me and more confident in myself. Your support through this hard time for me has been amazing. Thank you again, Rhian. " Rhian from Woodside
I regularly send clients small excerpts from my book for their information and also their feedback. I have trialed the book on my best friends as they began having their children and it’s met with enthusiastic approval so far. Click here to read reviews of my book.
View Book Testimonials (PDF Download)
Society leads us to believe that motherhood, and in particular breastfeeding, will come ‘naturally’ – but this is not the case. A mother’s instinct is a powerful thing; but it is not a mother’s instinct that tells you how to breastfeed your baby or how to recognise when they are tired. These are learned skills. The reason we think of them as natural is because in recent generations they felt natural. Women grew up within larger and extended families and close-knit communities, observing other women in labour, feeding and calming their babies and participating in child care duties themselves. When it was their turn to have a baby, they knew roughly what to do!
For millennia, all around the world, women have been cared for by their families and communities after they give birth, usually for periods of two to six weeks. During the traditional ‘lying in’ period, the mother remains in and around her bed, doing nothing but eating, sleeping, feeding and changing her baby.
The lying in period serves a physiological purpose. It speeds a woman’s physical and mental recovery from birth, helps establish plentiful lactation, promotes bonding and gives the baby’s immature nervous system time to acclimatise to life outside the womb, rather than exposing him to too many sensory experiences and new people.
In stark contrast is our culture, where it is not unusual for a woman to have rarely even held a baby before she has her own, let alone know how to breastfeed one. Few mothers choose or even have the option to stop and rest after giving birth. As our community bonds have been eroded, becoming a mother can be, for many women, a very lonely and overwhelming experience.
In addition, we women have done ourselves a massive disservice in cultivating the myth of the superwoman. We think we can be everything, do everything and have everything. We can be wives, mothers, career women, grow our own organic veggies, maintain an active social life, make time for ourselves, exercise, be fit, sexy and well dressed, have a clean house….the list goes on! We have enormous unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and one of those is that after we have a baby we have to get ‘back to normal’ straight away and just carry on with everything.
A postnatal doula can go at least part way to replace the community support that we generally lack. Doulas of North America report that women who have a postnatal doula:
We start with a long chat on the phone, which is free of charge. If you are booking during your pregnancy then I also offer a no obligation ‘meet and greet’ free of charge.
I set up Hills Postnatal because supporting women as they make the drastically life altering journey into motherhood lies at the very heart of what I love most about midwifery.I qualified as a midwife in 2000 in the UK. I trained and initially worked at a large teaching hospital with a midwife-led birth centre attached. This was followed by a stint working as a locum in six very busy hospitals around outer London, and an isolated rural unit in Ireland. I then returned to a permanent role in a large consultant led unit and also worked casually in a small country hospital.
When we migrated from England, we started a family and now have two lovely girls aged eight and five. I haven’t practiced midwifery since I became a Mum. I chose to stay at home for my children’s early years, mainly because I wanted to, but also because shift work was not possible as my husband worked away a lot at that time.
Once my children were in school/kindy, I missed midwifery but did not want to return to the lifestyle of shift work and poor working conditions. By practicing as a doula I can continue to support women at at a pivotal time in their lives without the competing demands of endless paperwork and short staffing.
Thank you for visiting my website. Please also check out my Facebook Page which is updated more regularly than this site and has a lot of useful links, information and reviews.
Please call me at any time for a chat on 0411 897 222 or use the contact form below. I personally find contact forms irritating but it helps prevent junk e-mails. Feel free to send a contact form simply asking for my e-mail address, if you find that more convenient, or message me through Facebook.
This block can be hidden and only shown in a popup.