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a subway train is approaching an underground platform. the blurred image conveys speed. a number of people stand safely away from the train in the background. text over lay says : Due date fast approaching? Perhaps I can help! www,GertrudeWilkes.ca Unwavering Support for your Pregnancy and Birth,
You can quickly check my availability here! To verify my availability or for support at the last minute, please give me a call.

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

I provide unwavering support to individuals and families during the prenatal, birth and postpartum periods. My primary focus is as a birth and perinatal doula. As a perinatal doula I will support you through your pregnancy, labour, the birth of your child and into your postpartum transition. I provide support tailored to your individual needs!

Originally from British Columbia, Ottawa is my home. The mother of two and 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.

 I provide support to those giving birth at –

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 ♥

“What does your support include?”

While the birth of your baby is certainly a key part of the support I provide, it is only one facet!

My doula support includes education and preparation for birth.

I will familiarize you with the systems and processes, I will listen, I will be available for you and your birth partner. I will help you to understand ‘normal’ and it’s variations. I will help you to recognize your strengths and those of your partner. I will tutor you on coping strategies and comfort measures.

I will help you to define your birth preferences and I will provide guidance to document and record them.

I will support you in the last weeks of your pregnancy as you wait and wonder and perhaps worry. I am available in person or via text or call. I will offer explanations, resources and reassurances. There are no silly questions only unasked ones and chances are I have been asked before! I am there for you. I am your person.

And then there is early labour

For some early labour is a breeze and for others it can be long and drawn out. I will be there when you call. I will join you when you feel it is time for my support.

Once you return home

I will visit you in your home. For some, a cup of tea and a chat is what’s required. For others practical support such as laundry, food preparation or infant care are the order of the day.
My doula support includes 1 short visit OR 1 longer support session of up to 3 hours, if requested. I am available on a per visit basis if you’d like more support OR choose a postnatal support package.

While it shouldn't be necessary to mention the following- All information contained on this website is provided for your 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

Healthline Parenthood

Government of Canada Recommendations

A couple of papers from the National Library of Medicine (USA)

The American Academy of Pediatrics

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