Episode 10: Connected Parenting from the Start with Jeanne-Marie Paynel
Jacqueline Kincer [0:37]
Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And I have an incredible human being on today’s episode. Her name is Jeanne Marie Paynel. She is a parenting mentor. And I just loved chatting to her because our interview went somewhere I didn’t even think it would go.
We were talking about just getting into the nitty-gritty of what it’s like immediately post-birth and what it looks like to be in a hospital or birth center, and the support or lack thereof that new moms often get with breastfeeding.
And then we really got into a deeper conversation towards the end of the interview about breastfeeding and parenting your child. I just love this heartfelt conversation because it’s very off the cuff. But what she shares is so important. Each sentence I feel like was just a huge nugget of wisdom that Jeanne Marie brings to our listeners today. So without further ado, here’s the interview.
Welcome to the podcast. I have the incredible Jeanne Marie Paynel here. She is known as your parenting mentor. She’s incredible. She helps parents let go of the overwhelm so that they can enjoy raising self-sufficient and resilient children with ease.
And I love her philosophy. In fact, somewhere along the line as an early mom, I stumbled across her stuff on the interwebs. And lo and behold, here we are connected a few years later, and I’m super thrilled to have her on the show because she loves mentoring and seeing parents find relief and answers to their parenting dilemmas. She also recently started her own podcast called The Art of parenting. So I’m thrilled to bring you on and welcome to the podcast.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [2:30]
Well, thank you so much, Jacqueline, for having me. And it’s an honor to be here. Thank you.
Jacqueline Kincer [2:36]
Yeah, absolutely. And I just wanted to, we’ve chatted about this a little bit. But obviously, the listeners have maybe not heard this, I wanted to chat about your journey as a mom yourself, and how you got led to do the work that you do today.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [2:53]
So my journey as a parent, as a mother started 23 years ago, My eldest is 23 years old, she’s a well-adjusted young adult living her life in Scotland. I’m in California. So it’s a bit far and that was in France, in Paris.
And then I had a second child here in San Diego, who is 19, who’s just up the coast in Santa Barbara going to City College there. And my experience was also the loss of two pregnancies with them. Because I think that’s important to mention because I think it’s part of our parenting and mothering and all of that. I, unfortunately, discovered that that was more common than I was made to believe beforehand, you kind of get scared the first time it happens. And then you’re told oh, yes, it happened to me. It happened to her, so I’m just saying loss is part I think of the parenting experience.
But I think the main thing for me is to go back to that time of being extremely different from the care that I received in France, as opposed to the care that I received here in the US. And that is because I think in France, we have a system that is very pro-family. And this is unfortunately due to the great loss of lives that were during the two World Wars, and therefore the government really put a lot of emphasis on supporting families that were being created.
So there’s a lot of support around prenatal care, which I feel here. We don’t have any of that. And I know when I had my second here, I was very thankful to have had a first child where I had support because I went home knowing what to do as opposed to having had my first here I think I would have been at a loss. I think there’s really minimal support unless you seek it out. Which is probably why I started what I do because I really want to be of support to you families to expecting families during those first six years of life that are for me that the foundation for the rest of your life,
Jacqueline Kincer [5:12]
Wow, thank you so much for sharing. I love your perspective, having lived in another country and experienced a different system. And I will agree with you that I think the support we have for new parents here in the US is woefully inadequate.
And I experienced that myself, which is how I started my journey into doing this work as well. So it’s really, like you said, important that we talked about those things. And I like that you highlighted the loss as well with your pregnancy or two pregnancies because it does happen a lot.
And that is part of our parenting journey, as you said, and I’d love to even hear just because you brought that up. One of the things that I love doing, really, I wouldn’t say more than anything but is one of my favorite things to do is to work with families before the child is born. And in my role, I’m preparing them for breastfeeding. And we’re talking about setting up those systems of support. And when a lot of people think of a parenting mentor, I don’t know if they typically find you a bit later on in their journey, maybe when they’re experiencing problems, but I also know that you love to work with families to help prepare them too.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [6:21]
I was gonna say I work with both. So the expecting families, as well as like you say, the families that seek me out when they’re kind of at their wit’s end and what have I done kind of thing. So it’s true that for me, professionally, I do really enjoy setting them up for success from the beginning, I think we are going into uncharted territory. And that just means we’re in a sensitive period for wanting to get information and learning. So for me, that’s the best time for me to intervene in a way where I’m really setting them up for success, where we’re not going to be having to undo habits when I get them a little later.
But I’m you. I love love, love working with families in all different aspects anywhere in their parenting journey. I do believe that it is important to seek out your village, you’re the kind of community that is going to be there from day one because I’m a firm believer that parenting was never ever meant to be done alone.
And today, we are parenting in total isolation. And I think that makes it all that much harder. We think we’re connected because we’ve got all our friends on Instagram and Facebook and all of that. But no, we need physical contact. We need people to come over and hold our babies. So we can go take a shower, we need the lactation consultant, we need the postpartum doulas that are going to help our partners, we just need that village.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [8:04]
And I think it’s important to really be aware of that when we are expecting not to think that you’re Superwoman, and you can power through it, we are Superwoman, because we are we’re creating another human being, and we’re going to birth another human being, but we also need the human interaction and the support from those who have gone through it before us.
Jacqueline Kincer [8:26]
Yes, yes, I couldn’t agree more.
I absolutely find it’s kind of almost sad that I have the job that I do, just because that really was an innate role in our culture a very long time ago that you had some other mother who’s come before you that helped you breastfeed your baby, and you didn’t need to hire someone.
And I think there’s a little bit of a mentality that I tend to see amongst people that they do, sort of, because we’re like you said, parenting in isolation, it’s almost like they approach it, well, I can do it myself, I can do it alone. And they may not even realize, let’s say it’s a mom and a baby at home by themselves. And she might be thinking, well, I’ve got the baby here with me. But then there’s also this very much a sense of loneliness.
Yes, you interact with your child and you have a bond that you’re creating there. But, that can’t be your sole source of physical interaction for the day either.
And I remember moments as an early new mom loving being with my babies, but also really craving and needing that mom-to-mom connection or mom to my own mom connection, or whatever it was. So I love that you mentioned that because we’re really not meant to do this alone. And I think as human beings, anthropologically we’re designed, we’re social creatures. We’re supposed to be amongst each other and that is critical to our not just survival but to us thriving
Jeanne Marie Paynel [9:54]
And at the same time, I would also emphasize that the time after birth is really a very kind of important time to just settle down and slow down, when we think back of mammals, which we are, as humans, we are mammals, we will go into a dark cave and have our little ones and we kind of stay there. They call this the symbiosis period, which is really this time where you need to be close to your baby skin to skin most of the time, and your baby needs you to have that trust in the world to feel that they have been born in a safe, good place. And you need that connection too. Have that volcano of love erupt and have your maternal instincts and all of that evolve.
So there is that, for me that quiet time that hopefully, you can use to just chill and stay in bed and have people bring you food and yes, have connections, but maybe just sit on the couch next to you on the bed and don’t feel the pressure to have to get up and look a certain way and go out and socialize and show off your baby and all of that it’s for me, it’s really time to end, I want to emphasize that it’s okay to not want to do anything and to just want to snuggle with this little human that you’ve been carrying for nine months that you finally get to meet and I just want to sleep and feed them and just be with them.
Jacqueline Kincer [11:32]
Yes, that is so true as well.
And I think whatever you’re feeling that you want to do, then listen to that, right, not listen to, just because your mother was only in town for X amount of days that you must do X, Y and Z to please her. And there’s a lot of other examples I could come up with.
And I love what you said about just not having visitors super frequently in those very early days. Because I remember my first son was born in the hospital. And my family was there in the waiting room. And when he was born, the nurse said, hey, they’re. I think they heard him cry, his first cry or whatever. And they really want to come in and I said, I’m not ready. And I kind of got her to hold him off for I don’t know how long, maybe an hour or so. And they kept asking, and she kept telling me and so finally I let them come in. But it wasn’t really the time that I wanted to socialize. I mean, they’re overjoyed, of course, they want to see their grandchild and everything. But for me, it was just, whoa, what just happened here? And I need a little moment to integrate.
And with my daughter, I had born at home. And I feel like I made it very clear. I set a boundary upfront where my mom, my dad came very briefly that day after she was born, stayed for an hour, and then they respectfully left and it was, you know, I had my husband there, I had my older son there. And it was just very nice to just have that sort of nesting cave-like feeling that you had mentioned where I just had time. I didn’t know what time it was. I didn’t know what day it was, I wasn’t responding to my phone. I was just healing and being with my baby. And it really made a huge difference for me personally to do that.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [13:17]
And I think that for me, that is also the role of our partner, I always say to leave the diplomacy to your partner, like if the family is really wanting to see send a few little photos but be for me, the partner really needs to be that protector of the Mother-Child bond where it’s really about No, she’s not they’re feeding, they’re breastfeeding, they’re connecting. This is a time when they need to be alone.
Jacqueline Kincer [13:44]
Yes, yes, that’s such a great reminder.
And I do often get this question from parents, Oh, I want to, How soon should I start pumping, I want to feed or have a bottle available for my husband or a partner to feed the baby. And I see the intent behind the question. But I do try to remind families that, first of all, hooking yourself up to a breast pump is no fun, by the way. So if you don’t have to do it, it’s best left until you really need to or really want to.
But there are other ways that your partner can bond with the baby. And you know, you really are supposed to be like you said, holding that baby skin to skin as much as possible and getting breastfeeding off to a good start. If the baby is always being passed around to everyone else or fed by everyone else.
While you absolutely can provide breast milk to that baby, it is a difference. You only have this immediate post-birth time, once with your child and, you know, to rush bottles and to rush everyone else getting their fill of baby is a little bit selfish of everyone else in a lot of ways because I just contrasted my two experiences with my son. He did that thing where he lost weight initially and then he was okay and he was putting weight on and whatever.
But my daughter I don’t even think she lost any weight after birth. In fact, she was up like a whole pound a week old. And that’s not to say that that’ll happen for every other mom. But for me to have my baby never really leave my side for that first week that I was the one who was really holding her and sleeping with her and all those things, it did make a huge difference in terms of our breastfeeding relationship and outcome.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [15:27]
And it’s interesting that you’re talking about the loss of weight because that was the big difference for me in giving birth in France is they actually do not let you leave the birthing center until your baby has regained its weight.
Jacqueline Kincer [15:40]
Jeanne Marie Paynel [15:41]
So there are actually lactation specialists that come around and help you and all of that. So for that first birth, I think I went home after five days. And it was actually quite nice, because I was well taken care of and I was fed regularly, and people came by and hydrated me. And my baby was with me, I was taught how to bathe her, how to feed her, all of that. So I went home, feeling confident that my baby had regained its weight and that I knew how to, as opposed to hearing 24 hours, if you’ve had a vaginal birth, and it’s really only about signing the paper that you watched the video about not shaking your baby, and that was it.
And you have no information. And to me, that was really a big contrast. And I just feel for women who this is their first birth, and they might not have women who are there with them, they might not have ever been around babies before.
I did, I had four siblings that are 10 years younger than I am. So I had lots of baby care knowledge. But if somebody has none, it’s like that is really intense to be going home. So there for me even more reason to just chill and connect. And just be more into that mode of letting your intuition let your child show you what they need and what you need.
Jacqueline Kincer [17:17]
That is so true.
Jacqueline Kincer [17:18]
And it brought up so many thoughts for me because I know when I think it was maybe either right at the end of my pregnancy, my first pregnancy, or right after I had my son, and I remember asking my midwife if she had a baby book that she would recommend. And she was like, What do you mean? I don’t really know of any books I would recommend. She said stay away from Dr. Spock or something. And I said, Okay, isn’t that like, a long time ago? And I was like, No, I don’t need a parenting book, like a baby book. I really have no idea what to expect. I was given this baby, and I had no idea what to do with it. And it was very scary. And I remember sitting in my hospital room, I think this was the night before discharge, not really watching those videos, just signing off saying I did like you said, and my husband was asleep on the little tiny little bench considered there cramped on next to I’m holding my son, he’s asleep on my chest. And I had this just feeling of utter panic come over me. And I’ve talked to some other moms about this.
So I’m curious what the listeners will think if they resonate with this hurt that happened to them, but just utter panic that I’ve never felt my entire life. And it was literally an Oh, crap feeling of, I have to keep this human alive. And I don’t know what I’m doing. And this is, I am so in love with him. And I will do anything for him. But I am also completely terrified. And I just had to interrupt my thoughts at that moment and go, you have a choice right now about which direction you’re going to go down. And I’m not gonna allow myself to go there. And I just was like, I’ll figure it out. But how many moms maybe don’t choose that direction, or have that awareness and stay in that feeling of, I have no idea what I’m doing. And it’s just, my husband, we didn’t really talk about it, either. I didn’t tell him that I had that feeling or thought I just acted like, well, I birthed this baby, I can do it. And of course I did. And I am but it was very scary. And I thought something was wrong with me to experience an emotion like that so intensely just after giving birth. This is very common, because it’s true that you’re now responsible for another life. And if you’ve had no experience caring for babies before and you don’t know it can be a little bit overwhelming.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [19:33]
And here I would say again, why it’s so important to have a community around you, where you have somebody that you can really say hey, I’m feeling this, and what should I do?
Because this is also all of the hormones and we have postpartum anxieties and depressions that ensue from all of that because I really believe that we live have the support to care for our mothers, the giving birth to a baby is yes, it’s one thing, but you’re also giving birth to a mother who is stepping into a whole new chapter of her existence and really, really need support.
Jacqueline Kincer [20:20]
I really do believe that there’s a new version of your birth when you become a mother and birth that child for the first time, and I very, very much felt that. And I see it in my clients I’ve worked with a lot of times, yes, I’m answering breastfeeding questions, of course, and helping them through that. But they also, you know, sort of look at me with a side-eye and say, Hey, is it okay? If I ask you about this? I’m not really sure about diapers or whatever. And I am so happy to answer those questions. But also so sad that I am the only person there probably getting the chance to ask this and why kind of forgot where my train of thought was gonna go past that. But one of the things about oh, go ahead!
Jeanne Marie Paynel [21:00]
No, probably your train of thought was the fact that I stayed in the maternity ward for four days, and was shown how to care for this newborn. And so was my husband.
He was invited to come and bathe the baby, and all this. And so this was more than 20 years ago, now, things have changed, there’s always kind of fads of how to care for a baby. And nowadays, we don’t necessarily bathe them right away, things like that.
But for us, that was giving us the tools to send us home with a newborn, knowing that we could care for them. And then the whole postpartum care where I was actually, there was a place in my neighborhood where I could go and weigh the baby and make sure I was healthy, make sure the baby was healthy. I didn’t want to go there, somebody would come to the house. So it’s just a very different way of caring for our children, caring for our mothers, which is the work that I’m doing with my business. I really want to help them and empower them to seek support.
Jacqueline Kincer [22:08]
Wouldn’t that would not be so nice for everyone listening if you had a little neighborhood center that you go down to and just make sure things are going well. And you know, I hear so often, right? So I know my stuff, right? So somebody comes to me, they have an appointment, or they asked me a question online or something. And I get the whole details. I go through history, and I’m like, why on earth? Would they have given your baby formula on the first day? And they’re like, oh, they were saying, Oh, he was losing weight or whatever. I’m, like, less than 24 hours old, how do we really know that right? Or, the blood sugar was too low. And I asked what the level was, or there’s always some reason, but I think the reason why parents get scared into some interventions unnecessarily is because like, what you’ve said is we don’t have the institutionalized structure where these people, they know you’re going to get discharged 24 hours. So they’re almost rushing so many interventions and trying to create a certain sort of outcome of checkboxes that are ticked off.
But that doesn’t mean that we’re actually providing good care for that family. And by the time someone sees me, and I go, Oh, my gosh, all that stuff was unnecessary, or they feel so discouraged, like, well, am I always going to have to supplement? Can I fully breastfeed my baby? And literally, no one’s answered that question for them. And it’s always just, of course, I’m happy to come in there and kind of clean up the sort of resulting damage from all the things that have deterred the breastfeeding journey, we can always get it back on track.
But to me, it’s just one of those larger pictures of what’s going on at an institutional level, at a cultural level that we’re rushing things, we’re rushing people out of care, and then they’re not these mothers don’t get to follow up with their obese until six weeks postpartum, which is just nuts that you would go a month and a half without…
I guess you see the pediatrician again in the month. But that’s a long time. A lot is happening in your first month of becoming a mother that my brain is exploding right now.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [24:11]
Jacqueline Kincer [24:11]
Right? It’s crazy!
Jeanne Marie Paynel [24:13]
When I go back to saying how working with expectant families, I really encourage them to find their village, their community, and one of the things is I say, see a lactation specialist before you give birth because to me, there’s a whole education there that needs to be heard. And I do a little bit with the knowledge of three pieces of training, but I think it’s really important for them to get all this information so that they know ahead of time so that if a nurse does come and say oh, your baby needs formula.
You have the confidence to say Oh, well, I’m gonna feed some more and I know that this is normal and they lose weight after birth, and this is all normal, but it’s not having that knowledge. And then the other thing and this I think is a whole other episode, but it’s just the over-medicalized environment that we have around birth itself.
Jacqueline Kincer [25:11]
Yeah, so it’s like a whole series of episodes.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [25:14]
Yeah! Because to me, I’m just so wanting to empower our mothers to be, to take ownership of this amazing, amazing experience, where you’re probably the strongest and the healthiest you’ve ever been and ever will be, because you’re creating another human and to not let anybody talk down to you or make you feel like you’re weak or sick, or any of that!
It’s interesting, and I don’t have the title now, but I think it was the Thinking Woman Book Of Birth or something, and just really explaining why it’s become so medicalized because we’re having OBGYNs, take care of birth, when they are trained to intervene, they’re trained to do surgical procedures, as opposed to midwives who midwives are just there to empower you and to support you, and to help you birth, they’re not doing anything, you’re doing the work. And until we can change that whole dynamic around birth itself, we will have this ever-vicious circle of too many interventions from the beginning.
Jacqueline Kincer [26:32]
I couldn’t agree more. And one of the things I always talk about when I teach no prenatal breastfeeding class or work with clients, while they’re still expecting, is that good breastfeeding begins. Well, good pregnancy, but also good birth, because as soon as you have those interventions, the likelihood that you will need interventions, or your baby will need interventions after birth goes up.
And it’s fine, we can work with those things. And I love that we have those interventions when they are medically necessary. But that seems to disrupt so much confidence, not just in breastfeeding, but also just the overall parenting journey.
And when you like you said, Don’t let anyone talk down to you or anything, I think the thing that we need to remind parents out there is that whoever you’ve hired to be your physician or healthcare provider, whatever, you’ve actually hired that person, they are not forced upon you and you have a choice to either keep paying them and keep them as one of your supporters or you could fire them and find someone else to work with. And that might sound like I already hear the pushback coming from well, I can’t fire them around in the middle of labor. Well, you actually can. But that’s it, I don’t want to go to an extreme example. But you really get to choose.
And if you set yourself up for success by choosing these providers while you’re pregnant, not having to scramble and find these people after the fact. Or even if you’re looking to conceive, and you’re listening to this for some otter, Houston, you might be but as much preparation as we can do on the front end will set you up for massive success on the back end.
And these things, too, I think you can probably agree when I see these interventions done, we get more separation of mom and baby post-birth, which of course just leads to that lack of confidence and breastfeeding and, and mothering. And it becomes not something that’s unrecoverable, of course. But not everyone knows how to come out of that and be on the other side of it.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [28:40]
And when you were talking about that, I just had a memory come back. And I think this was a great role model is my mother. So I have an older sister, we’re three years apart. And then when I was 11, she had my little brother with another dad, but she was I think about eight months pregnant. And she went to a doctor who patted her pregnant tummy and said, Oh, don’t worry, we’ll just give you a shot and everything will be fine. And she just said, “Don’t you dare touch me”. And she walked out of that office and had to find another doctor. But to me, that was just so empowering.
And my role is like, No, you don’t intervene, you don’t touch me. I know how to birth and this was her third child so she knew what she was doing. She had had the two other ones abroad and so it was just very empowering and as you say, we choose these people we choose.
And I have another story of a client of mine actually. So when I work with expecting parents I also helped them kind of set up the environment for their children and such and I do some you know, prenatal lessons and things like that. This was her first child. Do you really want A waterbirth at home with her husband? And she basically did not tell her family what she was doing, because she knew that she was getting pushed back. So she chose not to share her choices with her own mother until after the birth. And that to me, again, you get to choose this is your you know, your mothering experience your birthing experience.
Jacqueline Kincer [30:24]
That’s so important to really say, and for everyone to remember because this isn’t something to take lightly.
And you always have a choice in your life about anything. But these are some big choices that can potentially impact your child for the rest of their life and impact you for the rest of your life.
So it’s really important. I will probably share this in my episode where I’m going to speak about my own breastfeeding journey.
But my first pregnancy, I had a doctor that I looked up in the, you know, top Doctor magazine, supposedly this just incredible OB Well, I was in for a rude awakening once I was in his office. And I’m like, wait, sorry, what? What are you doing? What? Are we forcing stuff on me? Why are we talking about how big my baby is when I’m only 16 weeks pregnant and how we might need to see his action. And I was just very uncomfortable. And I felt very much like, you know, kind of that just talked down to and like, Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything. You don’t need to do anything. And I’m like, well, but I’m, this is my body. And this is a baby growing in my body. And I’m pretty sure I have autonomy here. And so I did fire him, I found another provider, and then I fired her. And I found another one. As I was going on this I was like no, now I’m really picky.
But sometimes it takes courage to do those things. I think that becoming a parent requires a lot of courage anyway, I don’t know what you would say about that?
Jeanne Marie Paynel [31:58]
Courage and just doing your homework. I’m just new, and I don’t know if I had shared this with you, but I just trained to be a doula, a birth doula at one of our local hospitals, they have a volunteer program. And during that I learned about what are some of the questions that a birthing expecting, family needs to be asking and, and do your homework, like the hospital that you think you want to, birth, the percentage of C sections ask the perception of interventions of episiotomy all of that, that’s information that I think it’s important for you to know so that you are confident and if you don’t like what you hear, then find another place that is part like what you’re saying, Jacqueline, you do have choices. And I don’t want to scare anybody or anybody, I just want to empower you to know that these are choices that you get to make nobody else you!
Jacqueline Kincer [32:58]
That’s so true. And especially with pediatricians and things like that, I feel like a lot of families these days are really struggling a lot of times to find when they like, and just because you’ve been going there doesn’t mean that you have to keep going there, they can easily transfer your child’s records to whatever other office and there are a lot of pediatric practices around or you don’t even have to see a pediatrician.
So sometimes parents don’t think of this, they can see a family medicine practitioner, they could see a naturopath, there are a lot of options out there. And it doesn’t have to be that we fit into this little box, right. And it’s also, I’m not obviously recommending that you don’t go to the pediatrician when they say you should, but the schedule is, you know, you may feel that you can judge the health of your child and that there’s no need for you to go for a while check.
And you may choose to go at a different time. And every baby is different, you may need to go more often than what they’re recommending. And so just try to follow a schedule or fit yourself into a box when you’re unique and your baby’s unique.
And I say this with breastfeeding where it’s no knock against my colleagues that are on the ground floor in the hospital doing the work supporting families postpartum. But as we were just discussing, they really just don’t have a ton of time to spend with you. And if you’re struggling with breastfeeding, and things are not going optimally and you want to continue breastfeeding, then you need to look and hire someone else and not just assume that that care you got there is the same that you’re going to get elsewhere because we’re all different in terms of what we have to offer service providers.
And I wish parents can see that because I don’t know, maybe you are a doula. I think doulas are very wide, at least in my circle. It’s a very well-respected position but lactation consultants. Sometimes people get a bad taste in their mouth because they don’t have a good experience with one in the hospital. And then it’s almost like it’s just negatively colored. And so when they’re told by a friend or someone or yourself and they hear oh well you should find out Private Practice, lactation and so on. They’re kind of like, oh, yeah, I already saw one in the hospital and she wasn’t very helpful. And it’s like, well, yes, but we’re all different. And I hope that no one has a bad experience with one. But unfortunately, just like doctors or anything else, it does happen.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [35:15]
And just for me, the breastfeeding experience was wonderful for both children. I knock on wood, I had a very easy mother’s modeling I saw with my little brother and such, but I do remember and I think I shared this with you privately. But at the hospital with my first one, the nurse came in and looked at my breast, and basically, you know, I forgot her words, and they were in French, but it was basically Oh, yeah, you’ll never be able to breastfeed, your boobs are too small. And I was like, what? And I proceeded to just, you know, I think I never lacked confidence in breastfeeding. To me, that was just normal. You know, I didn’t even think twice about it.
And my daughter took some milk and all this and the nurse comes back a few hours later, and my daughter proceeds to burp up some nice, thick, rich milk onto this woman. And I was just like, Thank you for being on my side, my lovely daughter, and the nurse looked at me and went, Oh, never mind. Okay, I take back what I said so to myself.
I could have taken that experience really bad and really start doubting myself. And so like, be careful of the words of people who I mean, I think she had good intentions, but she just, you know, had no psychology in, you don’t talk to a new mom that way. You know, that. Luckily, my breastfeeding experience was beautiful and went very smoothly, but just be careful of paying attention or taking it seriously, what people will tell you is basically what I’m trying to say.
Jacqueline Kincer [36:57]
Hmm, yes, that’s a really excellent example. And I did want to just dive into it, you had such a great breastfeeding journey.
And even though my first one was off to a rocky start, I too, was very just committed, there was no question in my mind that I would breastfeed. And I did find that really breastfeeding was, like I said, I didn’t know how to really have a paper take care of one. But breastfeeding was my answer. He was crying and breastfeeding. He was looking forward, breastfeed him, like that’s what I did. And when he started solid foods, I remember being out of the house out and about, and I couldn’t always, breastfeeding wasn’t always the answer, he might actually want food. And I sort of felt lost in my parenting skills, just because it was not just the food, it was the way it was soothing. It was communication, it was sleep, it was all the things really, it fits so many different boxes for how I needed to take care of my child. And that was one of the things I really loved about breastfeeding.
And for anyone listening who’s not having a super pleasant breastfeeding experience. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get there, that you’re doing it wrong. But that’s really what I’ve seen, as you know, sometimes I do get those questions from parents too, who feel a little lost. And you know, how do I know when he’s hungry? Well offer the boob But if he’s not hungry, he probably won’t take it. And it’s just like a simple answer to a lot of things in early parenting, I find and I’d love to hear your perspective on that.
And to me, it’s that whole very important aspect of parenting was just connection to us being at one with your child, and I have in my training, we talk about how the mother-child is one when the mother is carrying the child and is also one when she is breastfeeding because you are again, your bodies are connected again, it’s kind of that beautiful connection that you have. But for me, and I’m sorry your question? Just really about how breastfeeding is this in some ways, a way of parenting your child?
Jeanne Marie Paynel [39:03]
Well, it is. And it’s and it’s the most natural, you know, natural way in the sense that your body is creating special food for your child that is special just for your child. And it’s so important to just follow for me what nature has created. I mean, it’s so amazing and magical when you dive into the whole aspect for me of lactation and how the whole mechanism please correct me if I’m wrong, but the way I see it is that when you can see, the lactation center gets a message and you’re kind of starting to put this whole machinery together.
And it is only when you birth the placenta that the gates open and you’re able to, you know, produce all this milk and everything. So to me, it’s just the most natural thing to do.
Now, I understand that there are some women that don’t feel that and that’s okay. For me, it was just there was no question about it. Even the two women, the two elders that were closest to me, my mother was out of the country. So I didn’t see her until my daughter was a month old. But my stepmother and my mother-in-law both did not breastfeed their children. And they were totally perplexed. And in all that, what I was doing, and I remember very well, my mother-in-law, who would literally be like five inches away from my boobs staring at it going, Are you sure? Are you sure she’s getting enough? Are you sure? Like, and I had to really have that confidence in me that, yes, I was connected to her. Like, you were saying, when my child was crying, I knew what to do. I didn’t always know what to do. But for the most part, offering her food and the breast and just holding her in that connection. And that’s really for me, why also, I go back to the importance of having those for a quiet day is you get to know yourself, and you get to know your child if you very quickly go off and try to do things and all of that you’re kind of missing this very important time, next and to learn about your rhythm, their rhythm and such.
Jacqueline Kincer [41:19]
Yes, yes. And that’s really so the key is to mention that rhythm because your life is never going to quite look the same. And it’s one of those things that I was sort of shocked about.
I remember I had a co-worker of mine when I was pregnant with my first male coworker, but he and his wife had a three-month-old baby, and he was trying to give me some unsolicited advice about a little baby shower, they threw me at work. And he said, Oh, you know, don’t let the baby come in and change your life. That baby is going to fit into your life into your schedule.
You don’t change anything around just to accommodate it. You need to teach it from the very beginning. And I was like, Yeah, sounds like a plan. Okay. Good luck with that. Yeah, then the baby came and you know, it wasn’t it. It sounded like good advice, right? I don’t know, I have never had a kid before. And here’s this guy with a three-month-old telling me this is how to do it. And I’m like, Okay, sounds great. The baby came and of course, I will try that idea out the window. But if I had tried to stick to that, if I had tried to.. well you know, I have this going on and this and that, like that just wouldn’t have worked.
And not only would it not have worked, but I probably would have experienced a massive amount of frustration and maybe even resentment and that’s just not a healthy place to go. So I guess I would love to ask you as a parenting mentor. What are some things or expectations that you like to set your families up with for preparing for having a baby and navigating those early months and years or maybe there are some on the flip side, maybe there are some expectations that you really would love for them to let go of?
Jeanne Marie Paynel [42:59]
So for me, the most important is to keep things simple to know that this is a chapter in your life that is temporary like it is not, it’s not going to be like this forever, right? Those first three months can be intense or can be very quiet. It really depends on how you prepare yourself.
So for me, it’s about preparing yourself preparing your home so I’m very much on the minimalist approach of creating a nursery, creating the environment for the child I do not recommend these gadgets and noise-making battery-operated noise-making toys and everything because it’s they’re going to drive you crazy.
So for me, it’s also about keeping things simple for your own sanity. Keeping routines simple, getting into a rhythm that is very simple children thrive on routines, this helps them feel safe and know to be able to predict what is going to happen.
So for me, it’s about the way that I set up the environment. I really want that there is always a place where you’re going to set the baby down to sleep kind of as much as possible. It is the same place where you’re going to feed the baby and this place should be one of comfort for you where you can relax where you can really connect with the children, a place where they can move and be active, and such.
So the child from the beginning has this awareness of what the spaces are for. And this is very simple and you know I will even say so simple that for example, you don’t need to buy a crib because I recommend a floor bed from the very beginning where the child is going to know their area to sleep on. So at first, you might be sleeping there with them. The baby might be sleeping in your bed with you. Sleep for me is a very personal thing, and it’s a whole other episode.
But what I’m saying is just keep things simple, keep things to a minimum, like you do not need to, you know, turning your house into a daycare center is just a baby who’s going to evolve. And all of this is temporary. So just know that and remember to keep things simple. So that’s really what I try to really set them up for success in inches. And listen to what your needs are.
For me, the whole self-care is a huge, huge, huge part of our parenting. Being able to ask yourself on a daily and even multiple times a day is what I need right now.
We tend to get into the parenting with this selfless attitude of I’m only here for my child, but no, your child needs you to be also happy, and also be fulfilling your passions and all of that, because, for me, that is what’s going to make you a happy, more productive more, a better role model for your child.
So, going back to what the colleague of yours had mentioned, for him, maybe things hadn’t changed much. But it does change our life, I think it just changes our perspective on life like suddenly, we have to really own up to being a role model for this new human on the planet.
And we have to guide this new human, you know, I always say that we are not our children’s servants we are, are their guides. So again, remember that to keep things simple, that we are setting them up for success by empowering them to show us what they are capable of because our children are amazing, they are so wise and so capable, if we just keep it simple and kind of stay out of that of wanting to intervene all the time.
Jacqueline Kincer [47:00]
Yes, that is so true. And one of the things sometimes I see, a lot of times I see when I’m working in person with someone is it’s like the mom is doing all the work to make the baby breastfeed.
And when we take this approach that you call keeping it simple, and we let the baby latch itself and we let the baby find a comfortable position for itself, then breastfeeding tends to go a lot better. And it’s no longer all this hard work. And I don’t know why we’re assuming that we have to be, we latched the baby, the baby is the one that latches to us. And it’s just, that it’s a huge mindset shift for a lot of moms.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [47:42]
And as it is, as for me, you never want to force anything into their mouth. It’s that respect. And like I said, they are wise, they are hungry, they know where the food is.
I love the video sometimes when we see if the tummy crawls the breasts feeding a newborn is just so amazing. Like this is a brand new human being, a newborn, who knows where food is. They will crawl up to the mother’s breast to feed. So they know. And it’s true, it’s just you offer the breast and they know what to do.
Jacqueline Kincer [48:20]
Right! And this is really powerful too. Because when you override those reflexes and instincts that they’re built-in for your baby, now, those things tend to go away, because the baby’s brain takes that input and says, Oh, I’m not supposed to be doing this thing that I’m hardwired for. So now that any ability starts to diminish, and then I think that I see some self-trust issues where the baby kind of thinks, well, I don’t know how to do this. So I guess I have to rely on mom to do it. And you should not be sitting there having to get your six-month-old into a very specific physician with a nursing pillow, and all of that just to get them to breastfeed.
And unfortunately, I do see that a lot. And it’s not that there aren’t some special circumstances, of course, I help my clients with some very advanced breastfeeding issues. And there are times when we need to intervene and do things.
But for the most part, what we need to do is teach your child as a two-day-old baby two weeks old two-month-old, that self-efficacy about self-trust and encouraging them. And one of the things I often have to remind parents is that, you can talk to your baby, they are actually listening to you and your tone. And when you’re relaxed, they relax and I just it’s a very, very powerful tool to help your baby to breastfeed well, amongst other things.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [49:42]
Definitely and talk to them, even prenatal, you know, letting them know that you’re doing this together. And for me, I mean, parenting really is a partnership. It’s really collaborative work with your child, birthing is a partnership. It’s you and the baby. You Know the baby knows what to do. I mean, it’s amazing when you know a little bit about birth, and you know what the baby knows to do and twist around and all of that. So it’s really about trusting the process, and that your child also knows what to do.
Jacqueline Kincer [50:16]
Yes, yes. And I also really like your point that you said a couple of minutes ago about not sort of losing yourself to your baby, like, you’re not your baby servant. And I saw this meme posted online today. And my heart just sank when I saw it. And the title of it was, I lost myself in motherhood. And it was a picture of a mom with a baby looking distressed. And it said I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t set goals anymore. I’ve been so focused on my baby, I rarely get dressed or put myself together, I don’t have fun. No one asks about me, and it just went on and on and on. And this was a very popular meme, unfortunately, that so many women could relate to.
And I think that Jean Marie and I are here to remind you that just because you’ve had a baby does not mean that you are not still you, you are here, you are the mother, but that your baby is not your identity.
Jeanne Marie Paynel [51:11]
Yes. And this is why it’s so important to constantly ask yourself, what do I need right now? Because you need to ask yourself and ask also for help.
If it means having a lactation consultant, come over whatever. Ask for support. And you’re not a lesser parent, because you are seeking support. We all need support. parenting was never ever meant to be done alone. Yes, well, that is just the absolute perfect note to end this amazing, amazing conversation with you.
I would love for you to just tell our listeners briefly, where can they connect with you online and follow you to get in touch with you to learn more about what you have to offer?
Well, I have a website, www.yourcomparentingmentor.com. And as some of you are expecting and want to create a minimalist nursery, I have a checklist on the homepage that you’re welcome to download.
And as Jacqueline mentioned, I also have just recently started a podcast called The Art of parenting, which is on all the different podcast platforms. I’m a little bit on Instagram. I haven’t for some reason have not been on social media much lately, but that’s okay. And still doing the work. And so those are the two main places, my website, www.yourparentingmentor.com, and my podcast.
Jacqueline Kincer [52:32]
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come on here and just have this amazing conversation with me, I think our listeners are gonna find this super helpful. And I always enjoy just speaking with you. And I always learned so much. So thank you again,
Jeanne Marie Paynel [52:50]
Thanks for having me.
Jacqueline Kincer [52:51]
Thank you so much for listening to this interview. If you stayed till the end, you’ll see that we went to a lot of different places in this conversation. And if you’re thinking ahead, if you’re like a lot of moms who are thinking about okay, well, when my baby’s older, when they begin talking, they have a little more personality, they’re more developed, I really need to know some good strategies for parenting this child and I want to do it in a gentle way, in a way that’s very child-led, and respectful. Jean Marie is definitely the person to follow.
She’s been doing this for a super long time. And I said this in the intro of the interview. I actually had been following her online ever since I became a mom seven years ago. And it’s incredibly amazing that I am now a friend of hers and get to connect with her and bring her on my own podcast.
I hope one day she writes a book but she does have some online courses. And she shares incredible information on her own podcast called The Art of parenting. So if you have a moment, definitely head over to the Instagrams. Give her a follow. Let her know you enjoyed her episode, and give her a podcast Listen, it’s something you’re going to want to start listening to now, while you’re preparing to get into a different type of parenting mode, beyond just having an infant.
So thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll catch you on the next episode.
In this episode, Jacqueline has an in-depth conversation with parenting mentor, Jeanne-Marie Paynel. We dive deep into what it’s like to give birth in the US versus other industrialized countries, and how parents can support themselves along their journey of breastfeeding their baby. This episode is filled with rich conversation and raw truth about ways to set yourself up for success with intuitive parenting strategies right from the start.
If you enjoy this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram Stories and tag me @holisticlactation
I’ve got a special gift for all my listeners and it’s 38 powerful breastfeeding affirmations to support you on your breastfeeding journey, so go get that free audio now at https://holisticlactation.com/mantras