Looking for a way to turn

your PASSION into a PURPOSE?


Train with WisdomWay™ Institute to become a FIRST YEAR SPECIALIST/POSTPARTUM DOULA

Our dual certification program brings postpartum doula training to a new level!


  • Price: $1,295.00
    This is my first certification as a postpartum doula/newborn specialist.


  • Price: $395.00
    I've certified as a postpartum doula and will submit proof of my training and credentials.


 with a specialization in the 1st year of a baby’s development and a certification that stands up to the rigor of today’s opportunities.

GAIN SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE to meet the needs of diverse family types, including LGBTQ+, adopting, single-parenting families.

PRACTICE WisdomWay™ methods of mindful and sustainable care giving for your doula practice and see how it transforms your care, your effectiveness, and your personal wellbeing and success.

EXCLUSIVE ACCESS to our Board Certified Lactation Consultants, sleep experts, midwives and mental health providers as a resource to you and to your clients.

BE NOURISHED BY A COMMUNITY that is built on integrity and collaboration with monthly case reviews, mentor and peer connections, and retreats.



Available to those new to the profession and to experienced doulas wanting to deepen their work with families and build sustainable careers.


Cohort now forming for 2019!

“The core training encompassed what a doula entering the field can expect and what she ought to know. I felt that I retained the information I needed to start, and it inspired me to keep learning and to be curious during my work with clients.”

“Transition to parenthood is one of the most psychologically, relationally, and physically demanding developmental periods a person may experience in their lifetime. New parents are more likely to thrive when they navigate this tremendous re-orientation of priorities, values, relationships, and routines in the presence of skillful, attuned support. Karen Laing, the founder of WisdomWay Institute, has created a superb and needed course for first year specialists/postpartum caregivers that enables professionals to step into the lives of postpartum families with compassion, mindful presence, and practical expertise. The MBFYS Course recognizes the awe-inspiring complexity of welcoming a new human being into the world, and accomplishes the rare feat of attuning to all dimensions of new parents’ experience: mind, body, spirit, andthe need for authentic community that truly sees and hears the parent, their vulnerability, and their needs. It does not stop there – the integrative, wholehearted approach extends to the professional herself via teachings on mindfulness, awareness, self-reflection. All professionals who serve new parents in a caregiving capacity would benefit from taking the MBFYS Course. There is a saying among Oglala Sioux tribe, attributed to Father Reuben Westin: “Wear cotton on your feet before you step into the life of another” – Ms. Laing teaches us how to do that with humility, grace, kindness, and expert knowledge.”

Agnieszka (Aga) Grabowski, MA, LCSW, PMH-C

Co-Founder and Executive Director of Wildflower Center for Emotional Health, Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional

“The training I received was thorough, light-hearted, reassuring, and the perfect introduction to the model of care… The materials are extremely helpful, and I refer to them all the time.”

“Thank you so much and thank you for EVERYTHING you do!!  I have enjoyed this dual certification class so so much.  I have taken away so knowledge and have really begun to put into practice mindfulness.”

First Year Specialist/Postpartum Doula Certification (FYS/PPD) 

A unique ONLINE postpartum doula training program with a specialization in the first year of a baby’s development.

Two certification paths are available:



For those seeking the highest level of postpartum training

I want to empower moms, dads, LGBTQ+ families… I want babies to be welcomed into a calm and trusting world.

I want to make the world a better place for parents.  Fill gaps in a system that makes the first year harder than it needs to be.

I want to help others to enjoy their childbearing year, celebrated, supported and confident to be the best parents they can be.

I want to be a game changer, a change-maker, a comfort and a trusted source of guidance.

*This path is for students without prior doula training. 

*Regular price: $1295



For experienced doulas looking to deepen their knowledge and master the skills required to make their careers sustainable

I have trained or certification as a postpartum doula or newborn care specialist.

I am looking for more support to be successful and sustainable.

I want to grow my skills and experience to take my care of new families to the next level of intentional, compassionate and evidence-based support.

Proof of prior training/certification will be request. You receive access to the full program at a rate which reflects your incoming knowledge, experience and training.

*Regular price: $395

First Year Specialist/Postpartum Doula Certification Course

*Dual Certification
*8 Modules
*Quizzes and Assessments
*Final exam and Interview
*1 year membership



The Model and Scope of Care

  • WisdomWay Foundations: An introduction to the Domains of Mindful Caregiving
  • Transformational Experiences: Meeting the needs of diverse families
  • Empowering, Informing and Supporting: MBFYS scope of Care
  • Creating Change: Integrative Health and Health Care Systems



Care of Parents and Caregivers

  • Circles of Care : Filling gaps and enhancing support networks
  • Ecology of the Postpartum Woman: A comprehensive journey into the mind/body shifts of the childbearing year
  • Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Functional Approaches: The postpartum time and life-long health
  • Claiming and Caring for the Postpartum Body: What women aren’t learning from their routine care
  • Addressing discomforts and preventing complications
  • Putting Theory into Practice: The Science of postpartum wellbeing
  • Caring for Adopting and Intended Parents
  • LGBTQ+/+ Baby! Insights into Queer, non-binary and gender fluid experiences of parenting via pregnancy, adoption, and surrogacy



Care of the Newborn

  • The journey of the “newbeing”
  • Appearance and development
  • Deepening our power of observation (and translation) of newborn behavior
  • Tone & Temperament: Assessing tonicity and targeting soothing, regulating and feeding techniques
  • Understanding state regulation for term, pre-term and special needs infants
  • Newborn Assessment & Wellbeing: Providing reassurance and suggesting interventions safely and skillfully
  • Skills of caregiving the newborn (bathing, soothing, etc.)
  • Not Missing Something: Warning signs summary
  • Collaborative Care: Advocacy and Allies for optimal pediatric care
  • The development of regulating and sleep behaviors in the first year



Sibling Care/Childcare Competencies

  • Safety
  • Infant development
  • Sibling adjustment



Practical Caregiving Competencies

  • The Home as Sanctuary: Mindfulness and practical support
  • Nourishing the new family (includes food safety)



  • Anatomy & Physiology of Human Lactation
  • Supporting Breastfeeding initiation
  • Getting Enough: Understanding Nutritional Needs & Supply Issues



Perinatal Mood Disorders

  • Emotional Wellbeing and the Childbearing Year
  • Emotional Wellbeing for Adopted and Intended Parents
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders : Risk Factors, Identification and Treatment
  • Evidence Based Strategies for Supporting Mental Health



Ethics, Systems and Business Models

  • Ethics and Aims
  • Successful systems from seasoned experts
  • Marketing and Interviews: Representing with authenticity
  • Models for success and sustainability



  • Mentoring (2 free hours, and unlimited access)
  • Discounts for MBSR online courses, retreats and other special offers
  • Warmline access for you and your clients to Board Certified Lactation Consultants and other experts
  • Membership benefits including monthly case reviews​


Monthly case reviews
(no charge)

Access to warmline
(available as needed at a reduced rate)

(available as needed at a reduced rate)

All students can apply for paid internships at our Chicago location

Listing: 5 year members get priority listing and highlight on social media


What does a First Year Specialist do? How is this different than a Newborn Care Specialist or other postpartum training programs?

All families who welcome a baby face the unknown and often overwhelming terrain of early parenting. Whether it’s a first baby or a growing family, a baby born to a 2 parent family or single parents, a baby that arrives to biological parents or adopting or intended parents, an opposite sex or same sex couple… every family deserves skillful support to help them to thrive in the first year.

At WisdomWay™ you will be trained both as a well-rounded postpartum doula, prepared to meet the needs of the postpartum mother and her newborn, but you’ll have a dual certification:

You’ll also gain skills and knowledge in supporting diverse families with diverse needs, including LGBTQ+ families, adopting and intended parents.

Your training will expand to cover the needs of the infant and the family beyond the first weeks. 

Our dual certification provides you with a First Year Specialist Certification as well as a Postpartum Doula Certification.

Our core training exceeds other organizations in both the content available to you, but also in the ongoing support and resources. We don’t just toss you into online forums to practice sales skills, we offer you powerful and effective monthly opportunities to deepen your practice as a mindful care provider, to learn from advanced practitioners, including mental health experts, midwives and Board Certified Lactation consultants, access to outstanding mentors, retreats to nourish your own beautiful self as you go into the world with the intention to help others, and peer connections that are designed to help you build sustainable practices.

How much will this program cost?

Tuition for the FYS/PP Doula Certification Course is $1295 for Path 1, and $395 for transfer students who have trained with or certified with other organizations.  We’ll ask you to provide proof of your training at the time of your application.   Payment plans are available.

What do First Year Specialists/Postpartum Doulas earn?

Hourly rates for FYS/PP doulas will fall in the range of $25-75 per hour, depending on which area of the country you live in and your personal experience.   We expect that students will pay for their tuition investment with just one client…. An average client relationship is $2,500, with many clients reserving up to $80,000 or more in services.

How much time will the program take to complete?

The program is designed for you to complete both the coursework and assessments within 16 weeks.

Certification will require that you obtain references and direct experience working with families. You can elect to do your coursework and direct experience concurrently. Re-certification candidates (those who have certified with another organization as a postpartum doula, or newborn specialist) can have a streamlined process.

Can I work ahead? And what if I fall behind?

Because we are creating a learning community at WisdomWay™ Institute we encourage you to work more or less at the pace of your cohort group but know that you might need to pace yourself differently.

Content is released every 2 weeks, and the program is designed to allow your cohort group to share discussions and activities. Working with others is a helpful way to absorb and integrate what you’ve learned.

You can talk to your trainer about working ahead.  Some students might elect to work much more rapidly and some may need more time.  We’ll discuss ways to create a program that will work for you

Is there a scheduled time when new content is released?

Every two weeks you’ll have online access to the next module  –which include selected reading, tutorials, and multimedia presentations. Short quizzes and exercises will help you gain confidence in your skill building and will allow you to see your progress.  Release dates are on Thursdays unless otherwise specified.

We will offer live sessions and group activities with at least 4 weeks notice.

How do I get experience to meet the Certification requirements?

We will give you the tools to get started in your own community.  We have limited opportunities for providers to get experience with our partner organization, Birthways, in Chicago.

Can I start at anytime?

Our courses will start on a specific date and you will be part of a cohort group.

When you register, you are secured a space and will be given some pre-course prep work (including a reading list) that you can choose to start working with at any time.  Our live kickoff and other live sessions will be scheduled at the start of the Cohort but will always be recorded if you can’t participate.  Our schedule provides a Module every 2 weeks but you can make a request to work ahead.

Refund Policy

If you withdraw from a program or event at least 4 weeks prior to the start date, you will be eligible to receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee and any related credit card fees.  

If you withdraw from a program or event less than 4 weeks before the start date, you can select the option of receiving a 50% refund, minus a $25 processing fee and any related credit card fees or receive a full credit that can be used towards future events. 

If you withdraw from a program or event with less than 48hours notice before the start date, no refund will be given but you will be given a full credit that can be used towards future events. Credits for tuition paid are non-transferable.  No refunds are given once you have logged in to an online program or attended part of any live event.


  • Price: $1,295.00
    This is my first certification as a postpartum doula/newborn specialist.


  • Price: $395.00
    I've certified as a postpartum doula and will submit proof of my training and credentials.

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Karen Laing has specialized in women’s health for more than 20 years, with a background as a midwife, lactation consultant, doula trainer, and perinatal educator. She is the Founder of Birthways, the largest and most established doula program in the country where she developed integrative approaches to meet the needs of expectant and new parents. She has trained and mentored midwives, doulas and lactation professionals and has shared methods of the mindful caregiving that served as her foundation early in her career.   She is also a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher and has been trained at Duke Integrative Medicine in Mindfulness-based Integrative Health Coaching.  A knowledgeable practitioner as well as a natural teacher and compassionate listener, Karen has helped countless women find comfort, confidence and joy through life transitions and is the originator of the WisdomWay™ method of mindful caregiving.