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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 9 months ago

HEALTH SPOTLIGHT: Postpartum doula Sarah Quiggle

At Squiggle Babies Professional Doula Services, Sarah Quiggle provides support to new mothers.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

Most people think of a labor or birthing coach when they hear the term "doula," but there is such a thing as a postpartum doula.

Sarah Quiggle is based in Windermere and is the owner of Squiggle Babies Professional Doula Services, a company that provides support to the mother after she has given birth to her baby or support to the family once they bring baby home and need an extra hand.

Some parents get overwhelmed after they get their newborn home and get stressed out struggling to find time to do it all, including taking a shower, eating a bite, doing the laundry or getting some rest.

"I think that sleep matters," Quiggle said. "I think mental health matters. I think knowing you don't have to go through this season alone — I think that's huge, and I think that knowing that you feel supported can really help give the confidence. That's what I want to do: Empower women, give them confidence that they're great parents."

Quiggle, a Windermere resident, became a certified breastfeeding specialist and had plans to become a lactation consultant but discovered postpartum doulas along the way. Their business was booming, and soon she went to work for them as an independent contractor.

Eventually, she branched out and started her own business, Squiggle Babies.

Because her husband was serving in the U.S. Army, they moved around quite a bit, and when she had children, she didn't have family and friends close by for support.

"It's hard just doing it by yourself, or with your husband or with your parents," Quiggle said. "We kind of focus on supporting the family. That's how that differs from a night nanny. I'm there with the parents and the baby, and I do anything the parents need to keep things moving in their house. ... I've helped with laundry, meal prep, help with siblings; I've taken care of baby while Mom is with the other."

She offers daytime and nighttime sessions, working anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. Her night services are more popular, she said. She cares for the baby while the parents get their sleep. If the baby is breastfeeding, she can take the baby to the mother.

"What I like is that I meet the parents where they're at," Quiggle said. "I come to them and offer unbiased, nonjudgmental support. That's my big thing. If you want to breastfeed, that's great; if you want to bottle feed, I will help with that."

Questions are encouraged, but if the parents don't ask any, she won't impose.

Quiggle stressed that many parents question whether or not what they're doing or experiencing is normal, and most times they are.

"It's a sounding board for parents trying to make decisions on different things," she said. "I'm there to listen … and they have someone talk to. It's just support in any way that they need it, and that's what I love."

One client said she thought she was losing her mind and felt like she was in the middle of a breakdown. Quiggle started staying with her three nights a week, and the mother now is getting a good night's sleep and feels more in control of her life and her emotions.

Quiggle has a website to introduce herself to new mothers. In order to meet others, she is reaching out to various local providers, including pediatricians, obstetricians and chiropractors. She is in Winter Park frequently for work but is looking to expand her service into West Orange County.

She wants people to know that while her sessions have a daily minimum number of hours, she will stay with a family for as long as the support is needed.

Her length of stay with clients varies. Several families used her services for five months; another she has been with since September.

She still is in contact with one of her first clients, whose daughter is 1-and-a-half. Quiggle occasionally watches the little girl while the parents go out for a date night.

She has worked with first babies, and she has worked with third babies. Many are seeking assistance rather than educational support.

"No one is going to judge you for realizing you want help," Quiggle said. "I'm going to help you do you."

Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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