Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Increasing breastmilk production

After a long break from blogging, I've decided to get back to it! I asked for topics on a facebook post and my friend Shannon suggested I write about ways to increase milk production. Great question!
Pregnancy and birth are a time when a mother is often depleted of nutrients and energy stores. If she decides to breastfeed her baby, there is an even greater demand placed upon it. Her body is continuing to perfectly grow her child and needs everything that baby needs in order to make quality milk.
When a mama isn't producing enough milk, I think it is a good chance to assess how she is taking care of herself. Middle of the night feedings, work schedules, and adjusting to having a new member of the family can leave a mother feeling exhausted and alone. Depletion of any kind can create deficiencies in the body. Sometimes adequate rest can really boost milk production.
The most crucial factor is how often a baby is nursing. Increased nursing should increase milk production in the mother. Skipping feedings and bottles of formula will definitely lessen milk production. When baby is nursing on a good schedule (every 1-3 hours) and milk production is still low, it is time to consider other factors.
Hydration is another key factor to consider. Breastmilk is mostly water so a decrease in fluids by mom can certainly create low volume of milk. Besides keeping water with you all day, you can also drink nutrient rich beverages such as nettles tea (recipe included at bottom), or a lactation inducing tea such as "Mothers Milk" by Traditional Medicinals. Protein and high quality fats are also needed for both mother and baby at this time and increasing sources of these macronutrients may help build a mother up enough to produce more milk.
When these basic measures don't seem to be helping, a galactagogue might help. Galactagogues are substances that can help the body lactate. Fenugreek, fennel, blessed thistle and alfalfa are well known galactagoges. Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic remedy that is sometimes used as a galactagogue. I would recommend consulting an herbalist or a naturopath before taking higher doses of herbs to make sure they are right for your body and any other conditions you might have.

1 cup dried nettles
4 cups water

Combine nettles and cold water and allow to sit overnight. Drain in morning and drink throughout the day. Excellent source of calcium and kiddos love it too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Still $12.39!

We haven't been to the grocery store since my last post! Woo hoo! And the kids leave for Michigan on Saturday so that will make finishing up these 30 days pretty easy. I've found that if I know I'm not going to go to the grocery store, that I just think about what I do have and work from there. We've been doing a lot of variations on beans and rice/other grain. There has been a lot of salad too with all of the greens we get from our CSA.
Today for lunch I made a simple quinoa dish and the kiddos loved it! Here's the recipe:

2 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in small sauce pan. Add onion and carrot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add rosemary and salt and stir to combine. Add quinoa and mix in with veggies, allow to cook for 1 minute. Add boiling water, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook until water has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I've had my first two trips to the grocery store in the past couple of days. My very first purchase were sprinkles for cupcakes for Mel's birthday party. Certainly this wasn't a necessary item by any means but I wanted to make them extra special for her. So, that came to $3.27.
Then I stopped by another store today for eggs, flour (ran out making the cupcakes!) and bread. The eggs will definitely be a nice change of pace for breakfast and I needed a couple for the salmon cakes we made tonight.
I'm almost through the first week and it hasn't been bad at all. Of course, we are just starting to run out of some items. I considered going to PCC to get yogurt since we usually eat some each day but decided to wait until next week. We've been eating lots of fruit from our CSA and I've been creating dishes around the veggies I got this week from them as well. I was so happy to see onions there this week and since I went at the very end of the week, they told me to take some of the leftovers! Tomorrow, I'll find something to do with the beets!
We're starting to run low on garlic and I don't think I'll be able to survive long without it. Luckily, it is inexpensive!
Lunch was incredibly easy today. I just put the following ingredients in my rice cooker on the "white rice/mixed" setting, left for 2 hours, and came back to lunch. The kids loved it....then again, they love just about anything with lentils.

Kitchari, rice cooker style

1/3 c basmati rice
1/3 c yellow split peas
3 rounds of sliced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
water/vegetable broth up to the mark in the rice cooker
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

My plan for this week is to go back out to the farm tomorrow for some more herbs. I might do an egg scramble with onion, zucchini and basil for lunch. I'm thinking maybe a summer garbanzo bean and tomato soup for dinner. Maybe with some cornbread? The kids love cornbread and I haven't made any this summer yet. And I still have half a melon for dessert which will make the kiddos very happy! I hope to make it the rest of the week without going to the store. I'll be out of town Saturday and Sunday and maybe I'll get a few groceries on Monday when we get back!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

30 Days for $30

While walking the Burke Gilman trail, waiting for my car to be repaired (to the tune of $500), I decided I needed a new food challenge in my life. I'll be moving in a month and tend to stockpile food. Especially grains and dried beans. I also have some canned goods and frozen veggies, plus every condiment and spice I could possible want. Therefore, I've decided to try to only spend $30 on groceries from now until August 19th.
I should mention that this is only possible (well at least to eat healthy this way) because I have a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership. So I get fruit and veggies from them each week. Not to mention a wonderful herb garden and as many greens as I can pick.
A motivating factor in this decision is my want to be able to throw together meals from what I have in the house. I've been cooking for several years now. At first, I would only cook from recipes, absolutely using every ingredient that it called for. I've gotten to the point of being able to be much more improvisational in the kitchen, but often still go to the store for an ingredient. I hope by the end of 30 days that I'll be able to throw together lunch and dinner just based off of what is in my pantry. I also hope for my pantry stores to be considerably smaller for moving!
I'll be hopefully updating my blog frequently with challenges, successes and new recipes. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Outdoor summer fun

I want to know what outdoor activities you're looking forward to this summer, either with kids or without. Here in the Northwest, I get so excited when the sun finally stays out and I try to pack in as many outdoor excursions as possible. It started last weekend with a picnic at Golden Gardens.

Other events on the summer calender:
Lots of hiking
Playing in the creek on our farm
More beach and lake time.

So now tell me what you have planned! I'd love some new ideas!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Recipe time

I've decided to post a recipe once a week that is kid friendly (and also mom friendly!). This week's recipe's inspiration came from a planned outing with my kids to Golden Gardens beach in Ballard. My kids love to eat outside and I knew we'd be there around dinner time. I decided to make a grain based salad to give us veggies, whole grains, healthy fats while tasting great at room temperature. This salad is an especially easy transition into the realm of quinoa, which some people find to have a peculiar taste. It took less than 30 minutes to make and made about 4 servings.

2 cups water or broth
1/2 cup millet, rinsed
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tsp salt

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 plum tomato, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add millet, quinoa and salt. Stir briefly, cover pan and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed and start on veggie cooking while waiting.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook several minutes until browned (about 10 minutes total). Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add corn and saute about 4 minutes until slightly browned. Stir in tomato and cook until just starting to break down, about 2 minutes.

Add sauteed veggies to cooked grains and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trust them!

The overwhelming attitude to worry about how much and what type of food our children are ingesting starts at birth for most mothers. If you are breastfeeding, you have no idea how much milk you are producing and whether it is enough for your baby. It truly becomes an exercise in trusting your body to provide everything this tiny being, completely dependent upon you, needs for life and nourishment. If you are formula feeding, you may know how much your baby is getting but may still worry about how many wet diapers they are producing and whether their spit up is just normal or could be a sign of an intolerance to that brand of formula.
It only gets worse once they start eating other foods. How much and which foods do you give them? Everyone has advice, and it most likely is conflicting. The comparison game between babies starts early and is enough to keep any mother up at night thinking of new foods to give her baby and wondering why he eats more or less than his peers.
And toddlerhood. Sweet toddlerhood. The glorious time when babies decide food is a good way to proclaim independence, whether that come in the form of throwing food on the floor or refusing foods not on a short list of random preferences that may change from day to day.
This post is your official permission to chill out. Sometimes there are very real problems that can come up in any of these feeding situations. And in those situations there will be clear signs such as weight loss or developmental delays. But, most of these fears and worries are completely unwarranted. Babies are born with the miraculous ability to know how much food they need. It is a hard concept for most of us adults to grasp because, along the road of life, we have often learned to turn off these hunger and satiety cues. Offering up our trust in their knowledge of their hunger helps them to maintain these cues for themselves. Allowing them to choose how much they eat is a powerful exercise in letting go of control but it is vital in raising children that know how to intuitively nourish their bodies.
I am amazed at how my own children's appetites can change over the weeks. There are weeks when the kids will eat as much as I do and then they have weeks where they are more picky and eat less. There was a time a few weeks ago when O ate 7 hard boiled eggs in the course of 24 hours and hasn't touched them since.
In order to keep eating about listening to hunger and satiety cues, it is important to keep your verbal messages about food in line with this thinking. Bribing children with food, making them take a certain number of bites, punishment by not letting them have favorite foods, or making them feel guilty about not eating enough or eating too much will create control battles around food and diminish natural appetites. If you are currently experiencing control issues or appetite problems with your child, I would recommend not making any comments at all about what he is or is not eating. If no problems are present then I like to use my observations as gentle reminders. For example, if I notice that O (3.5 years old) has only eaten his grains and not his protein source at a meal, I'll remind him that protein helps us feel full longer, since he often gets hungry easily. But, I then just let him decide what he will or will not eat on his plate and trust that he is getting what he needs.
If you are interested in learning more on this style of raising healthy eaters, I recommend the book "Child of Mine" by Ellyn Satter. I've used her methods on both of my kids and they both eat a wide variety of healthy foods.