Ask The Placenta Lady is a show about the birth year. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery – no question is too strange for The Placenta Lady!
Our question for this episode is: “I’m planning to breastfeed my baby. Can I still use the placenta?”
Joining us to for this episode is Dallas Bossola, of Bloom Doula Services. We discuss that even though placenta capsules have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat insufficient lactation (in other words, boost milk production), some lactation consultants are spreading information that placenta encapsulation will hurt milk production.
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Hi, welcome to an other episode of Ask the Placenta Lady. My name is Jodi, but I’m commonly called the Placenta Lady. I started working with new moms back in 2006 and I started Placenta Benefits, PBi, later that same year, so I’ve been working with new moms for a very long time. I’ve been asked pretty much every question that could be related to pregnancy, birth or postpartum recovery – what’s typically called the birth year. That’s why our tag line is “no question is too strange for the Placenta Lady”.
Joining me today is Dallas Bossola. Dallas is a holistic birth postpartum doula and encapsulator. She teaches about quantum birth, which means the focus is on the physiological birth and postpartum. She also offers prenatal and postpartum counseling, energy work and placenta readings as well as encapsulation. Welcome to the show, Dallas.
Tell us a little bit about your work, Dallas.
My name is Dallas, I live on the outer banks of North Carolina. A little barrier island off the coast. I have been working with families in our community for a really long time and encapsulating for about three years now. I’m a holistic and birth and postpartum doula. Like Jodi said, I focus on a physiology of birth and the postpartum process. I love encapsulating, it’s a big part of my business. I like talking to women about the benefits and the process. I’ve been serving families for almost, about eight years here. I love what I do and I’m excited to be on with you today. Thank you for having me.
[Jodi] : That’s fantastic. I love hearing about the physiological aspect of what you’re doing. That is so integral and oftentimes not something that’s discussed or thought about, so that’s fantastic.
Our question for this episode of Ask the Placenta Lady is, “I’m planning to breastfeed my baby. Can I still use the placenta?” This is actually a question I get asked a lot. The answer is, YES! Absolutely, you can still encapsulate your placenta.
In fact, you probably should if you’re concerned about milk production or making enough milk for your baby. There is some recent, I don’t know about backlash, but some recent verbiage out there that’s maybe cautioning women to use the placenta, because of the fear that the placenta capsules will minimize or lessen your milk production. That comes from a general misunderstanding, I believe, about how the placenta works in our systems once it’s been transformed into what we call Zî hé chē and we’ll go into that a little bit.
In order to really address and have a thorough discussion about that, we would need to have a whole discussion on lactogenesis, how the interplay of milk production begins and such. But we’re going to address it from the aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
If you’re a provider and you’re interested in the effects and how all of that works as far as placenta encapsulation with milk production, we do have an entire course on that that you can take, it’s only $40 and it’s at PlacentaCourse.com. It is a course completely dedicated to the lactation effects – look for the course entitled TCM Principle: Insufficient Lactation.
Let’s start with Traditional Chinese Medicine. When I first started discussing the concept of placenta encapsulation and placenta encapsulation for postpartum recovery, it had already been used as a treatment for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Therefore, I stayed as true to the methods of prep as possible that were described in the Materia Medica, the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I figured if it’s been used successful for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses or ailments, who was I to go experimenting with new methods of prep. I really tried to stay true to Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, as I tend to abbreviate.
TCM is all about creating balance and homeostasis in the body. In TCM, women or postpartum people who have just delivered, are considered cold. When we prepare the placenta in the manner that I train via PBi, and that I do for my own clients here in Las Vegas, what we create is called Zî hé chē. Zî hé chē is one of the most powerful tonifying methods or medicines in the TCM arsenal. By tonifying, they mean it has a warming effect on the body. In very simplistic terms, postpartum women are considered cold. Zî hé chē is a tonifier, meaning it’s warming, so it helps bring you into balance, making you feel better.
In the Materia Medica, the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zî hé chē is actually listed as a remedy for insufficient lactation. Therefore if the placenta is prepared properly, then the placenta will actually aid in milk production. Anecdotally, I’ve prepared thousands of placentas for women here locally in Las Vegas. Overwhelmingly, the response is that they have a great experience with milk production. I’ve even had clients who want to use the placenta because they were maybe unsuccessful or they didn’t produce enough milk with a previous baby. They actually used the placenta in this fashion in order to increase their milk production. They were able to maybe nurse their babies for longer, or make more milk for their babies this time with the aid of the placenta capsules.
If it is prepared according to the PBi method or according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, then the answer is yes, it will be helpful. There’s a trend that has garnered some favor in some circles where placenta is prepared according to what they call “raw method”. That is where the placenta is not steamed or cooked in any fashion prior to dehydration, the placenta is just sliced and dehydrated from that state. This is not a good idea from a food safety standard standpoint. Placenta should definitely be treated as a meat-like product and be steamed to a temperature that would be safe for ingesting before it is dehydrated.
Now, with some people reporting that they have some lactation consultants coming out against the practice and saying that they’re seeing a lot of women with a decrease in milk production as a result of using placenta… I’m not quite sure how any of those placentas have been prepared because it hasn’t been from anybody from the PBi community, or my own personal clients. So, if the placenta’s prepared raw, it is no longer Zî hé chē, it is literally just dehydrated placenta, and we have no idea how that is working or what sort of effect that is going to have on the mother’s system. Whether it’s for any of the benefits that Traditional Chinese Medicine reports that Zî hé chē creates, such as to treat fatigue and to treat insufficient lactation, we don’t know how raw prep is going to effect that, and we don’t know if it’s actually going to have a detrimental impact.
If you want to breast feed and you want to use your placenta then I definitely suggest that you interview and talk to a variety of specialists or encapsulators and see how they’re preparing it, and request that it is done according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. If you’re curious, you can always find a PBi member to prepare it for you and that easy URL is just Placenta.Directory. There’s no .com or anything, it’s just Placenta.Directory. It’ll be right there and we have members that are listed all over the world, in multiple countries, and you’re pretty sure to find somebody in your area that will prepare it in this fashion for you.
Dallas, do you have anything that you would like to add to maybe talk to a mother who’s getting started on her breastfeeding journey or preparing to breastfeed her baby if she’s still pregnant?
[Dallas] : Yeah, I have a lot of suggestions, I’ll just name a few. I’ll hit the high notes. Definitely encapsulate for all the reasons that Jodi just gave. In my practice I have not done nearly as many encapsulations as Jodi has done but I’ve done anywhere between 50 and 60 in that last three years. I have not had a single report of decrease milk supply or actually any other adverse reaction that I’ve heard of. That obviously depends on whether or not they’ve let me know.
I would say encapsulating for sure, but also learning as much as you can about the anatomy of lactation, the anatomy of the breast, philology, hormone process, all the things that are needed to help you understand why our body makes milk, how our body makes milk. The anatomy of the baby’s mouth, how breastfeeding actually has to occur. One of my favorite topics always is oxytocin and the production of oxytocin and what it’s for. We all know that it’s the love hormone, it promotes bonding an attachment mom to baby. It’s the hormone that you make when you have an orgasm. It’s how you feel when you feel loved and you feel safe.
Oxytocin is the delivery van for milk and it’s in your placenta. That right there to me would be, why not?! Why NOT try it. Oxytocin is a hormone that they have found that there is a simple infusion that happens between mom and baby – it’s found in the umbilical arteries at high levels. If it’s present in the placenta and it’s going to help deliver prolactin and make your milk, and oxytocin is the delivery van, if that’s in your placenta, to me that’s a physiological reason, a scientific reason to explore the benefits of encapsulation and consuming your capsules. There’s a lot of other benefits, but as it pertains to breastfeeding, I think that that’s just a really good way to help ramp up your production and to increase your supply.
If oxytocin levels are low for some reason at birth, depending on the kind of birth experience that you’ve had, there are other things that you can do that can benefit and increase your milk supply. Having a safe environment, feeling supported, is definitely [necessary for successful] breastfeeding. People may not like what you’re doing or they may not understand why, but they have to support what you want. So, surrounding yourself with people who are in your corner who are on your side and having a supportive partner, having a supportive family. Trusting yourself, trusting your body. We don’t change plans until there’s a reason to.
If breastfeeding is your goal, I encourage you to learn about lactation, the anatomy of the breast, the anatomy of the babies mouth, how it works. Find your support circle now before you have your baby and definitely line that support up for postpartum. Get a doula for sure. A doula can help you navigate all of those things. In short, encapsulate definitely, why not. There’s no down side to it and then learning about the breast – and then getting your support team on board and lining up that postpartum support prior to delivery.
[Jodi] : That’s fantastic advice, Dallas. I really love what you said about the support system. It is so essential to not only breastfeeding but also your entire postpartum recovery is just going to be so much better if you have that support system in place. That’s amazing advice.
– Thank you.
Thank you for being on the show today, Dallas. I really enjoyed chatting with you.
– Thank you so much.
How can people reach you if they would like to use your services or maybe ask you some followup questions?
[Dallas] : Sure, you can find me on the web at Dallas Bossola.com. The name of my company is Bloom Doula Services. You can find me that way. Feel free to message me on Facebook. You can find me on the internet and reach out, I’m happy to help.
That’s awesome, Dallas, thank you so much.
– Thank you so much, Jodi.
Thank you for tuning in to this episode of Ask the Placenta Lady. Remember, no question is too strange for the Placenta Lady! You can ask us your questions or see other episodes at Ask the Placenta Lady.com. Thank you.
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