Monday, February 25, 2013


Happy 6-month birthday to my little one!

And I've been successfully breastfeeding for 6 months! We've started solid foods now too, but I plan to [hopefully] continue also breastfeeding him up to at least a year.

I'm not going to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, you can find that information many places. I'm going to talk about my personal experiences, trials and tribulations, and success!

It Will Be Hard, Then It Will Be Easy

One would think breastfeeding would come naturally. I grew up on a farm, I saw plenty of animals nurse their young, so how hard can it be for a human to do the same? But I soon learned that there is a learning-curve! I will admit, it was tough at first.

My son was born on a Saturday, and the hospital's lactation consultant only worked on weekdays, so we didn't get to visit with her until the day we were getting discharged. In the meantime, I had various nurses trying to help me, but they all had different ideas and none of them really helped much. I hate to admit it, but those first few days, I absolutely dreaded every time my son needed to eat! It would take us 30-45 minutes just to get a latch! It was frustrating and exhausting. It crossed my mind several times "so this is why so many people use formula!"

Once we mostly figured out the latch and were home from the hospital, it often took both my husband and I working together to feed the baby for the first week or so; my husband would hold my baby's hands so they weren't in the way, and I would have one hand on baby's head and one hand on my boob trying to put the two together. It was rough for the first couple weeks.

Good Things to Have

But we made it past those first couple weeks. And I promise, it does get easier! In fact, it's EASIER and MORE CONVENIENT than formula! (And cheaper too, since it's free!) I am so glad I don't have to warm up bottles in the middle of the night, or pack bottles in the diaper bag when we go out & about.

Myth: You Must Give Up Your Favorite Foods & Cannot Drink Caffeine or Alcohol

You don't need to avoid your favorite foods or drinks! This is a myth I heard a lot when I was pregnant, that while breastfeeding I wouldn't be able to eat broccoli, garlic, spicy food, have a glass of wine, etc.. There are some cases where the baby has an intolerance to something you eat, but this is not true for the majority. In fact, they say that if eat a wide variety of food when you are breastfeeding, it may help your child be more accepting of many different flavors of food as they grow up. I nurse my baby no matter what I eat (including after eating Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, etc.), no problems!

You can have your morning coffee; most babies get along just fine when their moms drink some caffeine. And God knows in those first few weeks after we got home from the hospital, coffee was essential to me even being able to function at all!

And yes, you can even treat yourself to an occasional glass or wine or beer. I'm not condoning getting sh!tfaced every night, but it's okay to have alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding. The general rule of thumb is safe to drive = safe to nurse. I wait until right after nursing to drink any alcohol, so the alcohol has longer to metabolize out of my body before baby's next feeding.

Breastfeeding As A Working Mom

As much as I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom, that isn't going to be happening any time soon. I took 12 weeks off of work when my son was born, then it was back to the grind. I'm fortunate that I work in a very pro-breastfeeding organization (a children's hospital). I pump twice a day at work so I have milk to send to daycare. I highly recommend getting an electric dual pump. I have the Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced (PISA) and I've been happy with it. And get a hands-free pumping bra so you can use your phone or read a magazine/book, else you will be bored out of your mind just sitting there holding the bottles while you pump!

Must-Haves for Working Moms:

Some great breastfeeding resources!

La Leche League
Breastfeeding Law

Future moms, I urge you to at least give breastfeeding a chance. Don't give up after a few days, give it at least a few weeks to see how it goes!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Breakfast In A Glass

This smoothie is a throw-back to my childhood; I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, but it truly is "Breakfast In a Glass": egg, fruit, milk, and juice!

1 cup milk
1 banana
1 raw egg
1 large spoonful OJ concentrate
1 squeeze honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 T wheat germ (optional)

Throw it all in a blender:

A word about raw eggs: People tend to freak out about salmonella whenever raw eggs are mentioned. It is extremely unlikely that you will get salmonella from eating a raw egg. The contamination rate of eggs with salmonella is 1 in 20,000-30,000 eggs. With average egg consumption, this comes out to a person maybe coming across a salmonella-contaminated egg once every 42 years!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Making Baby Food

My son has only been on solid foods a few weeks; but it didn't take long at all for me to realize how expensive baby food is! For the organic brands (Earth's Best, Plum Organics, Ella's Kitchen, Happy Baby), prices are mostly between $1-2 for a ~4 oz jar or pouch. That's $4-8 per pound! I'll keep a few premade servings of baby food on-hand for "just in case", but with those prices, I think I'm going to be making most of my own baby food.

The "recipe" for starting baby foods is easy, so obviously I won't be posting recipes about this simple of a concept:
  1. Steam vegetable or fruit
  2. Mash or puree

Even easier for things like banana and avocado:
  1. Mash

I have found some premade things are cheaper to buy the non-baby-food version:

About $0.25 / oz

About $0.15 / oz

About $0.15 / oz

About $0.10 / oz

I also like to venture "outside the box". I've fed my son things that aren't commonly found as premade jarred baby food, such as avocado, parsnips, turnips, and coconut milk.
Note: Do not give babies honey, it can be contaminated with botulism!


We haven't really started with meats yet, that will have to be a later post. Meats are a great early food for baby, in Canada they are even recommending meat for baby's first food! But pureed meat skeeves me out, so we haven't done much with it yet.

You may be wondering "where's the rice cereal?", we decided to skip it. (We started with avocado for his very first food.) There's no real reason to give rice cereal, other than tradition. In recent years, the trend has been away from using rice cereal.

From Frank Greer M.D., who is on American Academy of Pediatrics's Committee on Nutrition:
"Complementary foods introduced to infants should be based on their nutrient requirements and the nutrient density of foods, not on traditional practices that have no scientific basis." "Newer thinking is that the emphasis for complementary foods should be on naturally nutrient-rich foods. This includes protein and fiber, along with vitamins A, C, D, and E and the B vitamins." "Rice cereal is a less than perfect choice for the first complementary food given to infants."
Stay tuned, as we venture into more complex meals I'll be posting recipes I've made for my son!

In the meantime, here are some good resources: