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COMING SOON: Travertine

Sacred Conversations: Joelleen Winduss Paye

Sacred Conversations: Joelleen Winduss Paye
For the first edition of Sacred Conversations, we spoke with Joelleen Winduss Paye, Holistic IBCLC Lactation Consultant, Midwife & Naturopath and Founder of JWP. Joelleen shares a wealth of knowledge surrounding breastfeeding, self care and Postpartum.
Imagery: Studio Day Dot.

Benefits of antenatal expressing?

Familiarity: antenatal expressing of colostrum prior to your baby's arrival, from 36 weeks onwards is an incredible ritual to perform to get to know the true function of your breasts. As you collect drops of colostrum and hone your technique, you reduce the tasks you may need to learn once your baby has arrived, which can go a long way in empowering you on your breastfeeding journey. 

Practical and tangible: Preparing for breastfeeding can feel really abstract, especially when the baby hasn't arrived yet. Being hands on, collecting and storing colostrum is a beautiful way to feel productive and supportive of your future self. It is a great activity for partners to participate in too. 

Benefits of expressed colostrum: There are several benefits of having extra colostrum available after your baby is born. If latching doesn't come with ease, or your newborn has needs support with blood sugar imbalances or jaundice recovery, colostrum can really give them a boost in calories and nutrients. 

It is important to note that colostrum volumes expressed during pregnancy are not correlated with breast milk supply once baby arrives. Therefore if you struggle to get colostrum flowing during pregnancy this does not mean you are more likely to experience  a low milk supply. 

 

Best practices for hand expressing?

Clean hands: Always wash your hands well, as you will be touching some colostrum, your breasts and any collecting equipment. I loved collecting colostrum after a shower, when my breasts were nice and warm, and I knew my body was clean and also relaxed - primed for oxytocin release! 

Set up a private, relaxed and fun space. Nestling into the comfort of your sofa while you enjoy a good TV show can be a nice way to settle into the ritual. Stay warm and unobserved, two requirements of the hormone oxytocin, which is a catalyst for colostrum/breast milk flow. 

It’s crucial to label each syringe with your full name, date and time of expression. This allows you and hospital staff to use the colostrum in the correct order, and keep track of all that is collected. Once a syringe is filled over the course of 24 hours, transfer this into a zip lock bag and place it in the freezer. 

Think about transporting the colostrum ahead of time. If you do manage to express several mls, do you want to take it all with you, or keep some at home? This means you may divide the amount. Ideally store the frozen colostrum in a small esky with ice brick, so that everything is ready incase you are in a hurry. 

How to maintain a sustainable breastfeeding routine?

During pregnancy it is important to have conversations with your immediate support people to establish your goals and values around breastfeeding, and dive deep into why it is important to you. Set some milestones and also have a back up plan in place if breastfeeding is presenting challenges. 

I highly recommend seeking out high quality private breastfeeding education during pregnancy, so that you can be informed beyond the generic hospital classes. This is precisley why I developed my signature eGuides and Preparig For Breastfeeding workshop. And also know what IBCLC Lactation Consultant you would turn to if and when you need support. 

During the newborn period, is a powerful time to bask in the beautiful hormones, relax into the blur of demand feeding, and allow your baby and body to communicate to each other while your intuition grows. There is always less tension when we surrender, and at this young age a baby’s needs are dictated by instincts rather than learned behaviour. 

The more planning and energy you can put into building a support system who can show up for you once your baby arrives, the better. This may include practical support like a Meal Train, enlisting a cleaner and having a Nesting Party as opposed to a typical Baby Shower. The more you are able to delegate household tasks, the more time and energy you can dedicate to establishing breastfeeding and getting to know your baby.

 

Best practices for introducing bottle feeding?

It is ideal to establish direct breastfeeding before introducing a bottle, if a bottle is not a necessary part of the feeding plan. From six weeks onwards can be a good time. It can be helpful to know that from around 8-12 weeks your baby’s preferences become stronger, and their sucking becomes less instinctual and more of a learned behaviour. Bottle refusal can be common, and a good IBCLC can support you with this. 

If you plan to introduce a bottle for a certain occasion, or your return to paid work, it is best to give this a lot of time. Baby’s don't respond well to pressure, and will sense your stress if you are working with a short time frame. 

If your baby isn't taking the bottle easily, it's important to be consistent with trying, however, keep the attempts short and positive. Your baby will let you know when they have had enough, and it is important to honour these cues. Use any excess breast milk they have not consumed as a milky skin treatment in their bath water. 

Sometimes it can take a few different bottle teats until you find the right one. The bottle that is best for your baby is the one that they take! I don't recommend buying loads of teats, but be open to trying a few, generally speaking a wide neck teat is the best. If you have tried a lot with no progress, this would be a good time to get professional support. 

When clients ask me how to introduce a bottle of expressed milk, I generally say to start by expressing breast milk for the first bottle the morning of the evening you wish to try. Depending on your baby’s age and weight, a bottle may be anywhere from 90-150mls. When starting I suggest offering less is better, to avoid wastage and overstimulating the milk supply. Then when the baby needs a feed in the evening, a close family member can give the baby a bottle in place of that breastfeed, while the mother gets some much needed respite. You can find more about introducing a bottle in this Instagram post @jwp.ibclc 

Ways to nourish & support the body & mind postpartum?

Postpartum is a beautiful and necessary time to nourish the body,  with nutrition being a key pillar of the holistic work I do with clients. Generally slow cooked, warming and protein rich foods are best for early postpartum. Consuming an additional 500 calories per day is recommended for breastfeeding parents, as is 3-4 litres of water. I like to prioritse a savoury protein rich breakfast to help keep blood sugars stable, which has a flow on effect with balanced hormones and breast milk supply.  

Bodywork can be incredibly beneficial during the postpartum period too. Massage aids relaxation, boosting oxytocin, and provides many of the benefits of exercise, during a time where rest and recovery are the focus. Chiropractic and osteopathic treatments can bring alignment post pregnancy and birth, and can also have their place with supporting feeding issues and an unsettled baby’s nervous system. 

Self-care may feel out of reach at times. However it really is a state of mind, and seeing opportunity in the smallest of moments, whether that is mentally repeating a grounding affirmation, some breathwork, or a quick exercise snack a few times a day goes a long way. Dr Oscar Serralach, author of the The Postnatal Depletion Cure advises to do small activities frequently such as mindful moments and slightly longer activities weekly, like a massage or yoga class, to support the nervous system. 

Taking time to think about a few low cost self-care activities that bring you a high ROI, and how those around you can support you to do these is a great thing to do during your pregnancy. 

You can find Joelleen at her Instagram account @jwp.ibclc or on her website www.jwp.care . Joelleen is based in Melbourne, supporting breastfeeding families in her clinic, and also works virtually to support families to prepare and overcome breastfeeding challenges. Joelleen is currently on maternity leave as she has welcomed her first baby boy last last year.

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