Friday, June 25, 2010

Finding Faith in the Clean Towels

Yesterday my 5 year old was helping me with the laundry, her job is to bring down the empty basket for the clean laundry. When she gets that done, she’s allowed to put in the scoop of laundry soap in for the next load to go in the washer.

On this particular occasion, I beat her down the stairs and by the time she was hitting the last step I had half of the wet laundry in the dryer. The other half still sat in the bottom of the washer waiting patiently for its turn to hop in the dryer and get tossed around. My big helper asked if she could put the little scoop of laundry soap in the washer. When I told her no, she protested, “But Mommy I always put in the laundry soap, why can’t I?” Then she proceeded to grab the scoop and fill it with the white granules and head for the open washer.

“No!” I shouted. She stopped and looked at me with moist eyes and started to whimper. To her, it looked like the washer was empty and there was no reason not to put the soap in. I said, “Sometimes there are things that you just can’t see, and you just have to trust me!” My words stopped me. More often than not I demanded a reason why before I would comply with a request, now I was asking her to just trust me. I couldn’t help thinking about how many times God asked me to do something for Him, to trust Him with the situation, and I’d respond with a request for conformation before I would take action. Sometimes I’d do the exact opposite of what He was asking me to do. Then when my defiance had made a mess of things, I’d pray to be rescued.

How many times has God asked for our obedience and we gave Him defiance? When is the last time He gently reminded you that He sees more than you do? Do we respond by picking up the scoop of soap and tossing it in the tub, or do we follow orders like Joshua did when he marched around the city of Jericho. Blowing those trumpets and screaming must have looked completely irrational to those looking on, but Joshua’s obedience was rewarded by complete victory without a single Hebrew casualty. Had he attacked Jericho with might, there most certainly would have been a mess to clean up, and I don’t think a little scoop of laundry detergent would have helped.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

I love this. My friend Rachael is using the Facebook app Lilypie to track her breastfeeding relationship with her little one. She has plastered above the ticker "Mommy Milk Rocks!" and the little ticker icon has "booby baby" on the little heart! I normally don't do FB apps but I may have to add this to my profile! You can find yours at Of course you can put this ticker on blogs in email signatures and other select networking sites as well. When I get the code, I may place it on here too!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thrush - The Thing that Stopped me from Breastfeeding (Almost)

Thrush infections are common among us breastfeeding moms, but many people don't talk about them. This is a type of yeast infection that happens during the nursing relationship and it can be a real pain, literally.

With thrush the area on your areola and nipple get red and inflamed and may even peel. When the baby nurses you are enduring varying amounts of torture, depending on how severe the infection is. It is a burning or stinging pain that may shoot up the side of your breast. Sometimes the baby has symptoms such as difficulty feeding, or may even have whitish patches in his or her mouth. It can also show up at the other end in the form of diaper rash, with red inflamed skin around the bum and skin folds.

I started using a Mother Love Herbal product called "Diaper Rash and Thrush Relief" that I bought at my local Whole Foods Market for my baby's bottom and it cleared up the yeasty diaper rash very well. It's a bit pricey, but well worth it for as well as it worked.

Unfortunately I had to use something stronger on my skin. First I tried a vinegar water mixture. I kept it in the shower for sprits after washing. I wash, rinse, spray with the vinegar water mixture, and then rinse it off. It did seem to help, but the yeast eventually got ahead of the vinegar.

Next I tried coconut oil and caprillic acid from information I found on the internet. Both are derived from coconuts and were fairly inexpensive, all things considered. It did seem to help, at first, but then the infection came back.

Then I asked for a prescription. My doctor gave me Nystatin cream. This finally did the trick, but I had to make sure to wash it off completely before feeding the baby.

Right now as maintenance I put the Nystatin on at night before bed and wash it off in the morning before the first feeding. This seems to keep the yeast at bay. Most lactation consultants say to treat mother and baby to completely eradicate the yeast. My pediatrician did not think it was necessary to treat the baby, which might be why this maintenance level is needed. An interesting anecdote is that I started to get thrush when I started using formula in my SNS. For months I used donor milk and I seemed to have no problems with yeast overgrowth then. My theory is that formula coming in contact with the skin might be what's causing the yeast to grow.

Another important thing to note is that when I eat a bunch of sugary stuff the thrush seems to come back. I'm limiting the frozen desserts and chocolate binges...well trying to at least. My family has a lot of birthdays in June, I'm doing my best. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

He's a Breast Man

Ok, yes I totally get that this is inappropriate talk for a respectable blog like this, but I couldn't resist. Dr. Jack Newman provides an invaluable resource for us nursing moms with his website information and at clinic appointments, but his most valuable contribution is probably his instructional demonstration videos.

In this one he assists a mom learning to use a lactation aid similar to the SNS I’ve used for my babies. This neat little device is not only one great way to maximize your milk supply, it also helps babies that have sucking problems get the nutrients they need with less effort. This video in particular shows Dr. Newman’s compassion for low milk supply mothers and his passion for giving babies a complete nutritional start. The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute (NBCI) produces these videos in effort to help a wider audience than can be reached by their Toronto clinic.

The women in these videos also deserve a round of applause for their courage for being literally exposed to the world. Breastfeeding issues are sometimes difficult to come to terms with, but knowing that you are helping another with the same or similar situation must be gratifying. A list of videos can be found at

Dr. Newman thank you for your work and passion for healthy babies!

I'm So Excited...and I Just Can't Hide It

I feel as if I finally found my blog. Breastfeeding is near and dear to my heart and with all my issues I can literally write for years on the subject.

Take Lactation failure for example, most women who experience it for the first time don't know they have it, but only know something is wrong. They think they might not have enough, but with all the conflicting information, it's hard to know what to do about it.

Then there are herbs. Some herbs help induce lactation, like fenugreek and goat's rue, and some diminish supply, like sage, parsley and peppermint. Some are safe during pregnancy and not lactation, others are not good for either stage, and some are good for both stages of a woman's life.

I've also explored the social stigma surrounding nursing. While I fall somewhere in the middle of full-frontal nudity and locked in a public bathroom stall, I still think we westerners need an education as to why God put those two round things on our chest. Sorry Pamela Anderson, your boobs are not for the guys at the beach to drool over, He put them there to feed babies.

In the months to come I plan on taking pictures of my SNS, or supplemental feeding system, during its use and sharing how I clean and take care of this handy little device. This took a while to get used to, but I think it is the single most important item I’ve used to maintain my supply.

Thanks for visiting, gotta run the baby is crying!!

Did you Try Alfalfa?

Seriously, I’ve tried almost everything to increase my supply, especially after having four chances to make this work. I’ve read tons of breastfeeding books and information, talked to about a dozen lactation consultants, had my prolactin level checked, drank water til I floated, relaxed and did nothing, did a nursing vacation (actually three), took fenugreek, blessed thistle, goats rue, alfalfa and domperidone all at the same time, pumped every 15 minutes with a double hospital grade pump, and drank ginger ale, the real stuff. I simply don’t have the faculties to produce the amount of milk needed to feed my babies.

Thankfully I have always had some milk supply. The challenge has been to maintain that milk supply despite nursing difficulties, such as thrush and nipple confusion. Actually my babies didn’t get confused; they were smart and just refused the breast after realizing there was little there. My first fought me so hard to take the breast, she knew the bottle was soon to follow the nursing session and she seemed to get increasingly impatient while nursing. At the tender age of 7 months, I gave up the fight and just let her have the bottle, which just about killed me.

My never-ending search for the one thing that would force my body work the way God designed led me to read Dr. Newman’s breastfeeding information. I even had several emails back and forth from him and considered traveling to Canada to see him in his office. But I found out later that this Canadian doctor cannot treat an American patient. I instead took his advice to my city’s breastfeeding clinic and discussed the suggestions with the doctor-lactation consultant team and we developed an action plan…for my fourth baby.

I had my hopes up that the plan would work this time. It didn’t. Even though the previous three babies had shown an increase in supply each time, by the fourth I had hit a plateau. I was left with questions, guilt and a feeling that I was defective, yet again. These feelings surprised me, even though I’d been through it so many times before.

If we are blessed with another child (Sorry God, but we are really trying to avoid this) will I put myself through this again? Will I dare hope that my boobs will work THIS time? Will I drive myself insane reading all the new research about lactation failure? Will I dare to hope, only to be disappointed again? Yes. Yes I certainly will, because God is in the business of miracles, and maybe next time will be my turn.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Adventures with an SNS

My SNS, or Supplemental Nursing System was not easy to use... at first. Now I won't give my baby a bottle. It enables me to maximize my supply with minimal effort.

I plan on documenting the adventures with this useful tool in the months to come, including how it worked so well I was able to stop using it all together. What other gadget can you say that about! Stay tuned!