Monday, May 31, 2010

The Heartache of Nursing

I know all the benefits. I have all the facts. I love the act itself for all it's loving closeness. I mourn that it has never been easy.

With my first son, it was a horrible experience. He was extremely collicky, which we later found out was a treatable reflux condition (if we had decent doctors to diagnose it at the time!). I was only able to nurse him for 5mos. but it was 5mos of torture. My second I was able to almost reclaim nursing, but had such a bad taste in my mouth from the struggle and emotional distress I was in (loooong story!) at the time, I didn't try to maintain it and only nursed for 7mos.

Now, I am nursing again and having a new set of issues to deal with. We were able to get medicine for Lachlan for reflux, but he has a slight aversion to the breast now, because of the pain association. So, I am trying to woo him back, struggling to maintain my supply. He will nurse from one side now, not the other. I hate having to do it, but I am supplementing. I pump like crazy all the time, get a few ounces and add it to a small amount of formula to give by bottle (arg!). This has been a touch and go issue for me, because I don't want him to grow dependent on or expect a bottle. So, I am researching everything on increasing my supply and hoping to find someone who will let me borrow their hospital grade pump (cannot afford to buy or rent at this time). This research has led me to all kinds of wonderful resources on herbs, foods and practices that will bring my supply rapidly upward. I wanted to share them with you so if anyone needed the info, they could find it here.

To kick off the share session, I would like to present a recipe I played with and altered from an online lactation cookie recipe I found. It has essential components that are purported to be galactagogues. So, here it is:

Mama Mia Milk Cookies

1/2 cup butter*
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp flax seed meal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup almond meal flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2-4 tbsp brewer's yeast (I used 4 tbsp)
8 capsules of fenugreek (vitamin capsules opened up, discard the capsule)**
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

* I realize now, that I could have completely omitted the butter all together, but wasn't sure of the outcome. Next time, I will.

** this was a last minute idea that was such a good one!

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix flax seed meal and water and let sit for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, sift the flours, baking soda, salt and brewer's yeast and set aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine the butter and coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add eggs, mixing well after each one. Add flax seed meal and vanilla and almond, and fenugreek. Mix well. Slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in oats. Fold in chocolate chips and craisins.

Scoop rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy. Takes about an hour to complete from start to finish. I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches on the Sun Dried Tomato Basil Pesto Bread from the day before and it was hands down, the most wonderful dinner meal.


3 (14 oz) cans of hunt’s fire roasted tomatoes
(I used Hunt's diced fire roasted tomatoes w/garlic)
6 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
2 oz olive oil
20 fresh basil leaves (rolled and cut into a chiffonade)

I added the following spices to kick it up a bit. Obviously, add these to your taste:

  • mexican oregano
  • smoked chipotle pepper
  • Mrs Dash garlic herb salt free blend
  • dried cilantro
In a heavy pot on medium high heat, pour in the olive oil and saute onion until translucent. Add the chopped garlic (except for 1 clove) and heat with the onion for about four minutes. Next, add the cans of fire roasted tomatoes including the juice to the pan and cover for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

With the lid off the pan, add the chicken broth and half & half and bring the pot to a simmer. The mixture should start to thicken as it reduces. This should take about 10 minutes. You want the soup to be somewhat thick. If your soup is a bit thin, let it simmer a bit longer while occasionally stirring. When it comes to the right consistency, add the remaining chopped garlic clove and fresh basil (reserve some for a garnish) and season to taste with salt and pepper, and any of the optional seasonings I listed. Lower your heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes more.

Now it’s time to get out your blender. Unless you went with the diced tomatoes and like it chunky, it isn't necessary but go with how chunky or smooth suites you. With a ladel, place the soup mixture in the blender and puree until smooth. You can do this in batches as well. Please use caution when handling the mixture and blender as it could burn your hand as you press down on the lid. Or just use your immersion blender. Blend mixture until all the big chunks are gone, but do not blend until it is very smooth like a bisque.

Serve with a dollup of sour cream and small sprinkle of the reserved basil as a garnish.

Our Daily Bread: Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto

1-1/2-Pound Loaf

.1 C water
.4-1/2 tsps sugar
.1-1/2 tsps salt
.2 tsps dried basil
.2 Tbsps olive oil
.2 Tbsps toasted wheat germ
.2-3/4 C bread flour
.1/4 C whole wheat flour
.1-1/2 tsps rapid-rise active dry yeast
.1/4 C oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

2-Pound Loaf

.1-1/2 C water
.2 Tbsps sugar
.2 tsps salt
.3 Tbsps olive oil
.3 Tbsps toasted wheat germ
.3-1/2 C bread flour
.1/2 C whole wheat flour
.2 tsps rapid-rise active dry yeast
.1/3 C oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
.2 Tbsps basil pesto


1.In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and oil; beat just until moistened. Stir in the pesto and tomatoes. Use a dough hook and "kneed" until it pulls away from the sides.

2.Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3.Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Shape each portion into a loaf. Place in three greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

4.Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

This makes the most wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches! Try serving with my Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. My kids lapped it up and asked for seconds.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Have A Shutterbug

I have a touch of the photog in me. Mostly, they are hard won images that I almost mistakenly get. However, if I have time to play, I sometimes surprise myself. My hubby bought me a new camera to replace one I had for seven years and it finally busted. I am just getting to know this new machine and I am just loving it.

Today, the sun was out and flaunting itself, with temps around 60°F in the shade early evening. So, while Chad went off to work, I took the boys to the park for an evening stroll (they biked) and I took pictures. Then, after we got home, the sun was just right for some extreme close ups. I put the camera on mini-macro and held my breath.

Boys seem to be blessed with lovely long lashes that us girls just absolutely envy. So, I took pictures of their eyes with stunning results. I'm no pro, but I was pleased as punch with what I was able to capture. Tell me, what do you think?

Connor has such beautiful eyes. I think this was so stunning when zoomed in (click on picture for enlarged image). Again, the eyelashes are so long!

Again, LONG lashes! In this image, you can see the reflection of the camera in his eye.

Here is Russell's profile. I wish I hadn't cut his nose off, so it looked like Connor's. Oh well. This image reminds me of how his eyelashes would get tangled in the corners when he was a baby. Now THAT is a true sign of long lashes!

I couldn't get Russell to look at the camera like Connor had. I think he was feeling shy. Still, a cool shot I think.
Lachlan was dozing in his wrap, so it wasn't easy to get this shot. Still, again with the long lashes.
I am playing around and having fun. I'm going to post some on my Flickr account and see if anyone likes them. I don't want to pay $25 to share more than the free allotted MB so I can't post these until next month since I exceeded that with a few videos I shared with family through there. I hope to get them up soon though. In the meantime, there are a few shots I thought were neat, up there now.

I can see how it could be an obsession. Kids grow so fast, a parent feels compelled to capture their images often. Somehow, the image never really looks like them. The soul is definately not trapped, because it simply doesn't match the memory. Still, I'll continue to try, in the hopes that I will be able to look back on them and get the full affect, as if in their presence again, when they were small and dependent on me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Silver Ribbons of Motherhood

In our house, my husband and I have raised our children to love the bodies God made for them. My oldest is tall and muscular. My second son is shorter and a little rounder. From the time they were tiny, we would stroke their bellies and say, "Nice tummy." lovingly to them. To this day, we reinforce the opinion, that whether flat or round, tummies are all nice. We are all made differently and wonderfully ("... for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." Psalm 139:14) and to make fun of someone or hate yourself because the outward appearance is different, would be terribly wrong. Not just for the emotional pain it inflicts, but because it is false. Magazines, movies and television sell us falsehoods that tear down our society one child's confidence at a time. Pregnancy is a wonderful tool to teach our children, that our bodies change and are special in all it's forms, not to be mocked. I came to this conclusion a long time ago. But let me start from the beginning....

I distinctly remember, as a child, playing with my mother and at one point, her shirt was lifted up a little to expose her belly. My mother is so beautiful, with olive skin and in that moment, I immediately noticed light silvery lines on her belly. I remember touching them, they were soft as silk, and asking her what they were, concerned because they looked like "owies". She told me how, when I was growing inside her, and getting bigger and bigger, her skin had to stretch to hold me. I don't remember anymore of the conversation, except that she had this soft loving smile on her face that was heavy with love and her voice was light with emotion. In that moment, I felt so wanted and special without realizing the depth of it all.

Today, as I write this, I have my third son wrapped on my body sleeping peacefully. When my belly began to swell beyond question of my condition, my first two sons were fascinated. My eldest would hug and nuzzle my belly, saying "I love you." first to me, and then into my belly. My second would put his hands on either side of my belly and pat it saying, "I love your tummy!". The growing belly of a woman with child is a magical thing. The ultimate in wonderfully wrapped and mysterious gifts, waiting to be opened to reveal the precious contents inside. Children are in wonder and awe. Even when they don't say anything, children I passed in the grocery store or on the side walk would slow, their eyes grow big and lips slightly part in a silent expression of wonder. It hit me even harder, how beautiful and special pregnancy is, one night at dinner. My eldest turned to me and said, "I love you, and the person inside you." Then my youngest got up, laid his head on my belly and said into it, "I love you, and the person holding you."

After I had my newest bundle, there was a little twang of sorrow right after giving birth, as the belly deflates and is empty. I missed that feeling of fullness. Yet that feeling leaves so quickly, as you hold that tiny squirming bundle. As I healed, I seemed more aware of my belly this time. A few more stretch marks, things that once were firm, now soft. I stood before the mirror, holding a sleeping bundle, gazing at my form. The door opened, it was my second son come to tell me he loves me before he goes to school. He put his hands on my soft belly and said, "No baby in there." then looked up at me with a huge grin, putting his cheek on my belly, "I love your big, not so big tummy, mommy." then skipped out. I never thought I would be okay with my form in it's current state. However, I have come to realize that it is a moving record of our family. Each child has etched the beginning of his life in my skin and as I touch those soft silvery ribbons, I am reminded of the life I've brought into this world and how precious it is, from the very beginning.

Psalm 139:14-16 "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

Written as a project for "Save Our Daughters" through  The Shape of A Mother website. Check them out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BEWARE! Hawaiian Tropic Baby Creme Sunscreen SPF 50 Is EVIL!


Okay, so the weather had been really awesome for the past few days, and having a redhead who burns and the oldest in danger of tanning himself into blackness I was rushed to find a sunscreen because they were begging to go outside. We try to do sunscreen AND coverage to protect their skin. I was at the grocery store already and a new Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen caught my eye. My assumption was that, if it is marketed for babies, it should be gentle and safe. Boy, was I WRONG!

I put it all over their faces, back of the neck, ears (behind the ears too), neck and under the chin. Then, they donned wide brimmed hats and ran outside. Within an hour, their cheeks were looking pink, which had me concerned, but for the wrong reason. I thought they were getting overheated running around. I called them in and had them take a break. Before my eyes, it got worse from there. They would have been better off with no sunscreen, getting a little burned! Russell's ears actually blistered and three days later, his cheeks are still inflamed and his ears are swollen and blistered.


I contacted the company (still have yet to hear from them) and am warning anyone with kids to be careful. If you have used this without incident, lucky you! I wouldn't wish this on anyone, much less any child.

In the meantime, check the right hand side of the screen.... under my "About Me" section, you will see a widget for checking your sunscreen. Currently (5/11/2010), they have the 2010 update still pending, but you can at least see what are safer options. Sunscreens are rated for effectiveness and toxicity. I am definately going to check this site before purchasing again. In the meantime, it's wide brimmed hats and long sleeves here!

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