Hello, nice to see you!

nest with 2 blue eggs
Spring 2021 label


COVID-19 precautions in our area hospitals continue to restrict each birthing person to a single support person. The person of your choice may be a friend, partner, spouse, or a trained Doula such as myself.

I am able to support clients giving birth at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre with minimal restrictions- or those choosing to birth at home, with the support of their Midwife. Virtual and early labour support are new options so that expectant folk can continue to receive experienced, knowledgeable labour support.

I have openings on my calendar for this Summer and beyond. As always, last minute or short notice support may be available.

Please call or text, if you’d like to chat about the support I can offer to you as your Doula during these trying times.
613.304-3427
(May 10, 2021)


Hi there, I am Gertrude Wilkes, a doula based in Ottawa, Ontario.

I provide unwavering support to women and families during the prenatal, birth and postpartum periods. My primary focus is as a birth and perinatal doula.

Originally from British Columbia, Ottawa is now my home. The mother of two men and the grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren, I am married to an exceptionally supportive fellow.

Since 2009, I have supported many expectant and birthing women and new and newly grown families. My involvement with all matters maternity began as the eldest daughter in a large family. With the birth of my first grandchild, I was reintroduced to the world of birth and intrigued by the changes the decades had brought. A casual remark in 2009 led me to the Mothercraft Birth and Parent Companion Program and my first doula training. Self-study, educational seminars, workshops, and educational conferences have allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills. I am privileged to have studied with Lesley Everest of MotherWit in the autumn of 2015 and to have been supported on an ongoing basis by my friend and mentor Shannon MacFarlane, one of Ottawa’s earliest professional doulas.

I live in the city core, handy to the Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus and the Ottawa Birth Centre.

When the COVID-19 restrictions allow, I provide support to those giving birth at the centrally located hospitals-

I am a proud member of the Ottawa Valley Doulas professional association and the Association of Ontario Doulas.

Contact me directly by a call or text to 613.304.3427

If email is more convenient, gertrude@gertrudewilkes.ca will get a quick response.
Gertrude ♥


All information contained on this website is provided for your personal information only and is the original intellectual property of Gertrude Wilkes. All rights reserved. Do not replicate without advance written permission

Coffee and Your New Baby

A steaming cup of coffee sits on a table top

I love coffee, I love tea…

Earlier in the week, I was with a group of parents and young babies, hanging out. We shared coffee, tea and goodies. Our time together was ticking down and as everyone had either a Wiggler or a Wobbler with them I was wandering about offering a top-up of coffee.

“Oh no, I shouldn’t…” said one mom wistfully as she glanced down at the top of her child’s head.
“How much… what do you think…” her voice trailed off.

“THREE CUPS!” my brain screamed.
Three cups? How did I know this? Was this correct? Was I confusing pregnancy and breastfeeding? Was this old knowledge or up to date information?

I deferred to Dr. Jack Newman and the International Breastfeeding Centre and the conversation drifted towards alcohol consumption, pump and dump, an occasional glass of wine, and other people’s behaviours and opinions about breastfeeding parents.

At home with the World Wide Web and a library of books and pamphlets at my disposal, I dug in. Here is what I have found.

A few things about caffeine and the nursling-

There is no consensus on what is an appropriate amount of caffeine to ingest when breastfeeding. Recommendations ranged from “avoid caffeine” to up five cups per day. Actual figures on caffeine ingestion varied from 300-750 mg per day.

When looking at recommendations be aware that a standard serving of brewed coffee is FIVE OUNCES– that’s about 150 ml.
A Starbucks Tall is a 12 oz. serving-approximately 350 mL.
A Starbucks Grande is a 16 oz. serving or about 475 mL.
A medium cup of Tim Horton’s measures 14 oz. almost 4l5 mL.

Remember sports drinks, teas, colas and chocolate also contain caffeine in varying amounts.

Some babies seem to react more to caffeine in their nursing parent’s diet. Often this is the case when the parent avoided caffeine in pregnancy.

Breast milk usually contains less than 1 percent of the caffeine ingested by the nursing parent.

If you drink no more than three cups of coffee spread throughout the day, there is little to no caffeine detected in the baby’s urine.  Serving size is key.

Age matters, the age of the baby.
-Caffeine accumulates in the young baby’s body.
– The half life of caffeine in a newborn may be as much as 4 days.
-At 3 months of age the half life is a little over 12 hours.
At 6 months caffeine may be metabolized faster by the infant than by the parent!

-There is also a prolonged half-life of caffeine during the last trimester of pregnancy.

-Peak levels of caffeine are found in breast milk 60-120 minutes after intake. If you have a sensitive baby you can use this tidbit to your advantage in timing your cup of joy!

-Coffee does NOT decrease breast milk production. There is some suggestion that it may increase milk production.

-Caffeine seems not to have consequences on the sleep of infants at the age of 3 months-The same may not be said of the parent’s sleep.

And finally, a little ear worm for your listening pleasure!

Don’t just take my word for it – a Reading List

Tom, from the Happy Barista has this to say about
Caffeine consumption during pregnancy

La Leche League Canada offers tips-
https://www.lllc.ca/thursday-tip-breastfeeding-and-caffeine

The World Health Organization recommendations
https://www.who.int/elena/titles/caffeine-pregnancy/en/

Healthline Parenthood
https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/coffee-and-breastfeeding

Government of Canada Recommendations
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2013/34021a-eng.ph

A couple of papers from the National Library of Medicine (USA) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22473365
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8157856
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6691042?dopt=Abstract

The American Academy of Pediatrics
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Things-to-Avoid-When-Breastfeeding.aspx

March of Dimes
https://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/keeping-breast-milk-safe-and-healthy.aspx

Hale’s Medications and Mother’s Milk 2019 Thomas W Hale, R.Ph.,  Ph. D Springer Publishing Company

All rights reserved. Do not replicate without advance written permission