Category Archives: Breastfeeding

It’s Not JUST the Short Shorts: Top 10 Reasons THIS is the Best Show Ever

By | Breastfeeding, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

I HATE summer TV. It’s so boring. I despise reality TV so I’m hurting for a good show in the summer. It’s hot, grumpy weather so I’m looking for lighthearted, enjoyable entertainment. While my husband and friends catch up on missed epis of Downtown Abbey (snore…), I prefer mystery (detective shows), especially if they’re funny.

This summer, I found the perfect, nostalgic show on Netflix streaming.

The character driven, humorous drama-dy (drama-comedy, get it?) set in the late 70’s, early ’80’s possesses a timeless appeal thanks to good writing and great chemistry amongst cast members. And, of course, it’s written and produced by Donald Bellisario, a name you’ll find associated with other popular shows like Blacksheep Squadron, JAG and current hit NCIS.

If you’re a friend, you already know the show because I’ve been peppering you with trivia about it lately. When I mentioned it to a friend the other day, she laughed and said, “Ew, he (the main character) always wore such short shorts!” While I question the validity of my friendship with someone who doesn’t find the man in the short shorts attractive, that’s not the only reason I love watching.

Have you figured it out yet?

It’s one of the best shows ever aired on network TV.

Magnum P.I., baby. That’s right. Pure awesome-ness.

Clearly I’ve spent way too much time watching this show. Heehee.

For proof, see observations AND trivia below.

1. Best theme song ever. It’s not the original used in the pilot and the first few episodes. It’s better. And, it’s a full minute long. So cool.

2. Breaking the Fourth Wall – Magnum’s looks at the audience in humorous moments. Not taking itself too seriously = Success.

 

3. Magnum’s.amazing.curly.hair.

4. Life in paradise. Mansion guest house, rad Ferrari, breathtaking surroundings. If you can’t go to Paradise, watch it.

5. The Ferrari . I.LOVE.THIS.CAR!!!!! How many times did he wreck that car anyway? For trivia freaks, he apparently drove two models – a 1978 308 GTS carbureted model and a 1983 308 GTSi QV. I stole that info off the web somewhere. Vrroomm!

5. Magnum’s 9 Lives – For a former special forces dude, Magnum’s pretty clutzy. It’s endearing. Nonetheless, he has a catlike ability to escape disaster.

6. Higgins, or as TC refers to him, Higgy-baby. I LOVE the dro-ll majordomo. He + Magnum = best frenemies ever. Even when they prove their friendship in dramatic, life saving episodes, they manage to return to their funny-antagonistic relationship very quickly. p.s. John Hillerman (Higgin’s real name) isn’t British at all. He was born in Texas. Yee-Haw!

7. TC and Rick. Brothers from another mother. They survived Vietnam together & T.C., Rick and Magnum have each other’s backs. Without Rick’s Chicago mob ties, TC’s helicopter & their willingness to jump into his cases Magnum’s success rate as a P.I. would not be nearly so high.

8. Magnum’s self-deprecating manner. Apparently Selleck’s character was originally written to be a lot more macho. He wasn’t yet a star but he lobbied for a less “superhero” character. Result? The funny, often-gets-his-butt-kicked, integrity filled Magnum we love today. Well, I love him anyway.

9. The way Magnum holds his gun. Like it’s a toy. I guess when you’re 6’3″ most handguns seem small enough to be toys. It always looks like a water pistol to me.

10. The short shorts. Come on people. You didn’t think I was gonna ignore those, did ya? Somehow he carries it off. TC and Rick’s unbuttoned shirts make this list too. Was this really the style??

Gotta say, beyond my top ten shallow reasons for watching Magnum P.I., I love the moral character aspect of this show. The main characters are men of integrity. They are honorable, loyal to friends & determined to stand up for justice. We could all use friends like these guys.

Plus, they seem like they’d be fun people to hang with, don’t they?

Summer’s almost coming to a close – so some of my ‘real’ shows will be airing again soon. But until then, I’ll be kickin’ back with Maganum (DGirl’s name for him) and his friends as they clear Hawaii of the bad guys.

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Flourless Lactation Cookies: Monster Cookie Style

By | Breastfeeding, Recipes | 116 Comments

Do giant chocolate chip oatmeal cookies studded with almond slivers sound like  the perfect snack today? You’re in luck.

If it seems like a lot of my posts are recipes lately, it’s probably because they are. I’m settling into life since adding Giant Baby to our family and I’m working hard to keep up with his milk needs.

Unfortunately, like my other two kids, he’s had pretty significant latch issues, including a high narrow palate and a severe upper frenulum tie. So, I’m pumping again this time to keep my supply up. Still, I’m pretty happy about the fact that he nurses at all since I didn’t get to nurse my other two babies.

Whether you’re nursing “Giant Baby” like I am (he’s 19 pounds and just turned 3 months today!) or nursing a normal sized kid, there are days when you might need a little boost in supply. As a mom who’s struggled to keep up my supply with latch-challenged kids, I have a laundry list of lactogenic foods, drinks and herbal galactagogues that can help.

Here’s one of the more fun ones!

I’d run across several lactation cookie recipes, including one that contained kale and carrots. The ingredients that are standard in all of them are nut butter (protein), oats (milk booster!) flax seed and brewer’s yeast. I added slivered almonds because these also contain lactogenic properties. Plus, they’re delicious and healthy.

Just a note about brewer’s yeast. I’ve heard it lauded from time to time as a milk-booster but in three babies, I’ve never tried it till now. Boy, I wish I’d found it sooner! It definitely boosted my supply. I don’t know if it’s the B-complex vitamins or what but it works.

Some people suggest drinking Brewer’s Yeast in water but I found that caused some stomach issues for me. Eating it in a baked good with flax seed meal seems to be even more effective and there are no unpleasant side effects.

The great thing about this recipe is that it contains no flour and includes more oatmeal than most recipes. It’s modeled after the Monster Cookie recipe my mom used to make for us as kids, though it only has 3 1/2 c. of oats instead of the 6 that her recipe used. I only had dark chocolate chips on hand but if you have butterscotch chips or some other favorite candy, you can use it too.

Even if you’re not nursing a new little one, these cookies are absolutely delicious.

Chocolate studded, oatmeal lactation cookies


Flourless Lactation Cookies

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 c. butter (softened)
  • **16 oz REAL peanut butter – as in smooshed peanuts, not Jiffy or Skippy or any of that high fructose corn syrup enhanced stuff. (that’s how big my jar was but 14 oz would be ok too)
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 T. real Maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 t. vanilla

Dry ingredients

  • 1/2 t. salt maybe 1/4 if you’re using really salty butter
  • 3 T. Brewer’s yeast
  • 1 c. flax seed meal (Grind the flax seeds in a coffee grinder for freshest taste.)
  • 3 1/2 c. oats
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips (or toffee, butterscotch etc.)
  • 1 c. almond slivers

Preheat oven to 350º F

1. Stir together butter, peanut butter and brown sugar till thoroughly mixed.

2. Add eggs and beat till mixed.

3. Stir in vanilla and maple syrup.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Nothing like biting into a pocket of baking soda. Yuck!

5. Use an ice cream scoop to shape cookies. Press flat on cookie sheet before baking. They are kind of sticky and a little hard to shape but press on. It is worth it.

6. Bake 17 minutes. The cookies should be chewy and soft, not crunchy. Your oven might be a little more or less so keep an eye on them.

7. Pour yourself a glass of milk and nosh.

Yum.

**You can substitute almond butter for the peanut butter.

Like this? Try my Zucchini Coconut Bread.

As with all my posts…If you like it, spread the sweetness! Tweet, Facebook or email to anyone who might benefit from it. 🙂

Remember to take care of yourself mama!

 

Nettle infusion

Drink Your Vitamins: Herbal Infusions for Mom

By | Breastfeeding, Natural Health | 2 Comments

Whether you’re a nursing mom like me or just a busy woman trying to get your list done for the day, it’s likely you don’t get as much sleep as you’d like and start your days feeling like you need a boost. After all, the nice adrenaline rush we get after one late night starts to fade after weeks of interrupted sleep common to parents. Usually the resulting exhaustion finds us groping for a strong cup o’ joe in the morning…and in the afternoon. Now, I’m not anti-coffee but I want to suggest something that will provide energy without creating adrenal fatigue – nourishing herbal infusions.

Herbal infusions are simply large amounts of herbs steeped a long time to get the most nutrients from them. They supply nutrients that gently strengthen and rejuvenate our bodies.  They are also inherently safe since they utilize the whole herb and not just a focused portion of the plant (like a pharmaceutical).

The ratio for making an infusion is…

1 oz dried herb + 1 quart boiling water

If you don’t have a scale, 1 oz of a leafy herb is about 1 c by volume. Heavier items like rose hips would require less than 1 c. to make 1 oz.

When starting to use herbal infusions, it’s wise to use one herb at a time and rotate them throughout the week. It’s easier to determine how you respond to an individual herb before mixing a bunch together. Great counsel for a new herbal user.

However, for today’s post, I have already used all the herbs in my current nourishing infusion and need something to drink daily that will boost my milk supply and my energy level. Not only do these herbs pack a nutritional punch that energizes me for the day, the nettle, red clover, alfalfa and marshmallow all help nursing mamas to make more milk. Red raspberry may help milk production as well but some research seems to indicate that due to its astringent nature, it can actually decrease milk supplies in some mamas if used long term. So, I included it some days and leave it out at times.

Place in a gallon jar:

1 c nettle

3/4 c. red clover blossoms

1/2 c. red raspberry leaf

1/4 c. alfalfa

1/8 c. marshmallow root (milk production)

1/8 c. rose petals

2 T. dried lavender

2 T. rose hips

1 pinch stevia herb (not the powdered junk)

Pour boiling water over the herbs to the top of the jar and cover with a lid. Steep from 4-10 hours (overnight is perfect).

Strain, refrigerate and drink within 36 hours.

*Some people like to add a pinch of peppermint to their infusions. However, peppermint CAN reduce milk in some nursing mamas so use as needed.

When I need large quantities of dried herbs, I purchase them from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have a great reputation for quality and their prices are good, especially in quantity. If you can’t afford all of the herbs, start with one (nettle is a good choice) and build your supply slowly. I would spend my money on herbs over vitamins any day.

Since I’ve started drinking infusions rather than coffee, I actually prefer their refreshing flavor to caffeinated drinks. I drink my infusions iced and unsweetened (stevia is enough!).

Give it a try!

What nourishing foods/drinks do you use to get you through days when you wish you’d had more sleep?

*As always, I’ll remind you that I am not a doctor.  These are common sense remedies I use for my family, especially because they support the immune system rather than simply masking the symptoms of illness. I have taken the time to research any herbal recipes carefully myself and have consulted with my local herbalist and doctor. I encourage you to always do the same before choosing to take or administer any kind of remedywhether herbal, prescription or off the shelf at a local drugstore.**

 

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Mastitis: Natural Remedies for a Quick Recovery

By | Breastfeeding, Natural Health | 9 Comments

This weekend, a nursing mom’s pain sidelined my plans in the form of the dreaded mastitis. While I’ve had plugged ducts a few times in my not-so-stellar nursing career with my other kids (a story for another time), I’ve never felt anything like mastitis in my life! I learned a quick lesson on how to recognize a clogged duct and to deal with mastitis naturally with herbs and rest.

Toward the end of last week, I noticed my right breast felt kind of a numb soreness (numb on the surface and sore beneath), but it felt better when relieved by pumping or nursing. I also felt like I was starting to get a little more done during the day so despite my post on learning to let it go, I burned the candle at both ends several nights in a row. In the meantime, my nursing baby started to sleep a little longer during the night so I went longer periods (maybe 5-6 hours) without nursing or pumping. Here’s what I learned…

 

Exhaustion + extended periods without nursing = clogged ducts

 

Unfortunately, I was too tired to process that information clearly because I was on an adrenaline high during the day. So, I just kept pumping and nursing during the day and burning that midnight oil – literally. Then I learned something else – and this time I had to listen!

Clogged ducts + exhaustion = mastitis

When I woke Sunday, I felt pretty bad but I thought if I got up and got moving I might feel better. WRONG! Within a few hours, I felt light headed and like I might pass out. I was down for the count! Back to bed I went. When I was awake I was miserable and definitely shed some tears over the offending breast. Mastitis is no joke!

Want to know what mastitis feels like? Start by running in front of a MAC truck (for the all-over aches), hopping into a fire pit (fever), jumping into an ice bath (mad chills) and then smashing your breast with a hammer a few times. Does it feel hot and swollen yet? Ok, smash it a few more times. Yep. That’s about right.

I went looking for old wives’ tales online about natural remedies. The thing about old wives’ tales is that there is usually some truth to them. I wanted to avoid antibiotics if at all possible. The mom forums seemed to agree on a protocol.

1. Rest! There it is again. You’d think I’d learn right? Susan Weed, one of my herbalist heroines says that mastitis is almost always the sign of an over-busy nest. I went straight to bed and I did not get up for about 24 hours. This is essential to a quick recovery from mastitis.

2. Nurse or pump every 2 hours just to empty the breast. Massage the breast while nursing or pumping to help break up the clogs and keep the milk flowing. Waiting longer will result in a longer infection. Using a hot compress prior to nursing or pumping is helpful.

3. Echinacea infusions or tinctures. I used a tincture since I always keep it in my house. 2 drops per pound of body weight up to 6x/day while the fever stuck. Now, I’m down to 3x/day for the rest of the week. (The redness and swelling are almost gone). A friend who had mastitis multiple times over the course of a few months used it instead of antibiotics and she finally kicked it!

4. Vitamin C 3-5000 milligrams daily – I drank EmergenC a few times each day.

5. 4-6 fresh garlic cloves a day. No, garlic pills are NOT the same as fresh. Fresh garlic contains powerful medicine to knock out infection. Here’s a tip. Don’t smash or chop the garlic. Slice it. It’s less “bitey” this way. I popped some bread in the broiler, took it out and topped it with butter and 3 cloves of fresh garlic. DEEE-licious!

6. Do a castor oil pack. Some swear by hot compresses. I did those but this was even better. Thanks for the advice, Sarah! The pain decreased right away and it really helped clear the clogged ducts. Pump or nurse first. Then wet a piece of flannel or cotton cloth with warm water, slog some castor oil on it and place on the affected breast. Cover with plastic wrap, a heating pad or hot water bottle and a towel. Lie down and relax for an hour. Afterward, carefully wash the breast with a little baking soda and water or a mild soap to get the castor oil off before baby nurses again. It can cause diarrhea otherwise. This helped so much with the pain.

7. Nurse on the affected side while lying on the opposite breast. Lie on the side that doesn’t hurt and carefully lean over to let your baby nurse on the side that hurts. Gravity helps the milk to flow. Just don’t squish the little guy/gal. Some mamas nurse on all fours but I didn’t find that too comfy and my kid didn’t like it.

8. Frozen Cabbage leaves. USE WITH CAUTION! If mama has supply issues, cabbage leaves are not a good choice. They can dry up a supply. However, mamas with oversupply may benefit from freezing some clean, green cabbage leaves and sliding them into their bra. I’ve heard it feels good and relieves the pain.

9. Grip the Nip. Wise advice from a friend. “Grasp your nipple between your thumb and middle finger. Pull your nipple out and roll it firmly back and forth between your fingers. This helps to break up any curdled milk that may dislodge from a clogged milk duct.” It really worked. Thanks Becca!!

10. Other good advice. Nurse, Hand express or pump in a hot shower. Drink lots of water. And wear looser clothing on your breasts so the milk can FLOW free, just until you’re past the worst of it. Take a look at your clothing and make sure you haven’t been wearing anything too constricting that might be causing those blocked ducts!

As with any natural remedy, the secret to it working is to start using it as soon as you feel bad, not waiting until you’re 3 or 4 days into mastitis. I’m happy to report that using these natural methods, I kicked mastitis within a few days and I didn’t have to knock out my whole immune system with antibiotics.

I’m a big believer in nourishing the body so it can fight its own battles. However, I want to be clear that I would have sought antibiotics if I hadn’t seen an improvement within 24-36 hours. Thankfully, my fever subsided within 24 hours. The red, swollen and sore feeling in my breast is almost gone 3 days later. I usually find that herbal methods work faster and more effectively for these kinds of problems than antibiotics anyway.

The mamas in my circle inform me that it’s really easy to get mastitis again once I’ve had it so I’ll be putting out that candle at night and taking a nap when I need it. I do not want to get this again!

So, I’ve learned to avoid mastitis I need –

Rest + frequent nursing = clear and hopefully mastitis-free milk ducts

Know a friend who can’t seem to kick mastitis? Please share!

 

*As always, I’ll remind you that I am not a doctor.  These are common sense remedies I use for my family, especially because they support the immune system rather than simply masking the symptoms of illness. I have taken the time to research any herbal recipes carefully myself and have consulted with my local herbalist and doctor. I encourage you to always do the same before choosing to take or administer any kind of remedywhether herbal, prescription or off the shelf at a local drugstore.**