YUM! Milk Boosting Horchata

We’ve taken a timeless Mexican Horchata recipe and adapted it to support lactation in new mothers.  By substituting the rice for oats and using a plant-based milk, this recipe may be helpful with milk production in breastfeeding mothers.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup of uncooked oats

5 cups of water

1 cup of coconut, rice, or almond milk

1/2 T vanilla extract

2 cinnamon sticks

1/3 cup of sugar (more or less to taste)

 

Directions:

1. Place 2 cups of water, oats, and cinnamon sticks in the blender until the oats and cinnamon sticks are roughly ground.

2. Add additional water and place mixture in the fridge to soak overnight (or 4 hours minimum).

3. Strain mixture and discard solid contents.

4. Add vanilla, milk, and sugar.

Serve cold.

 

**This recipe is not intended as a fix for supply issues or breastfeeding challenges.  For mothers struggling with breastfeeding or milk production, we encourage you to reach out to one of our recommended IBCLCs for guidance and support.** 

Postpartum Herbal Bath: Nourishing baby, body, and mind

postpartum herbal bath

If you’ve been following any birth or newborn photographers on social media, you’ve likely seen the gorgeous images of a mom and her new baby soaking in a tub of tea-colored water.  There are usually rose petals or orchids floating on the surface and a blissed-out mom and baby relaxed and soaking up the nourishing water and relaxing scents.

As you can imagine, growing a baby and giving birth are hard work.  Women are practicing self-care by utilizing the healing and relaxation properties of a postpartum herbal bath.  Postpartum herbal bath, chocked full of herbs that fight inflammation and promote healing in the skin and tissues, can not only be a way to provide comfort for a sore body, but it can be a beautiful opportunity to bond with a freshly born baby.

Postpartum herbal bath, which includes plantain, comfrey, yarrow, uva ursi, and a variety of other healing herbs, can be added to boiling water, but removed from the heat of the stove.  The herbs should steep for 20 minutes, and then be strained.  What remains is a powerful brew that can be used to heal and comfort sore and bruised tissues, combat inflammation, and promote relaxation and well-being.

The herbal bath brew can be used in many ways:

1.  It can be added to a bathtub of warm water for a relaxing soak.  This can not only be a way for mom to relax, but it can be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and bond with baby as well.

2. The herbal brew can be added to a peri-bottle to rinse mom’s bottom after using the restroom.

3. The brew can be added to a maxi-pad and frozen to be used as a perineal ice pack to soothe swollen tissues. Conversely, using the herbal brew on a warm compress can be a comforting relief.

4. It may also be conveniently added to a sitz bath to soak mom’s bottom in the day following birth.

If you are planning an upcoming birth and want to treat yourself and baby, consider a warm soak in a relaxing herbal bath.  You and your baby worked hard, you both deserve it.

Our herbal bath and other products can be found on our Etsy page.

**Please check with your care provider before taking a bath in the immediate days postpartum.**

Soothing Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy and Postpartum

hemorrhoids pregnancy

Hemorrhoids, which are swollen and exposed blood vessels in the rectum, are perhaps one of the biggest complaints I hear from expecting and postpartum parents.  Some find they have hemorrhoids during pregnancy, while others get them postpartum, likely from pushing.  hemorrhoids

But why do hemorrhoids happen in pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the increased progesterone levels cause the walls of the veins to relax, increasing the likelihood of swelling.  Progesterone levels can also cause constipation in expecting mothers, particularly in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.  With increased swelling, constipation, and the growing uterus adding pressure to the inferior vena cava, hemorrhoids can become a common and unpleasant pregnancy symptom.

What can I do to soothe hemorrhoids in pregnancy/postpartum?

Eat well and supplement to make sure stools remain soft. Don’t strain. Eating a diet high in fiber can help keep constipation at bay.  Leafy greens, fruits, beans, and whole grains are all good sources of fiber.  Supplementing with magnesium is also known to help keep bathroom habits comfortable and regular.  I love this magnesium supplement and add it to my daily smoothies. Regular exercise can also encourage mobility in the bowel.

Witch Hazel is an anti-inflammatory antiseptic that can reduce discomfort and itchiness.  Witch hazel is also an astringent, which contracts the tissues to minimize bleeding. After wiping, dip a cotton ball in witch hazel and apply to the area.

Sitz Baths are a basin that sits in the toilet bowel and can be used to soak your bottom in warm water.  Not only can a sitz bath keep the area clean, but the warmth of the water can be comforting and also increases blood flow to the area encouraging healing.

Using cold compresses or ice packs can reduce pain and swelling in the area.  Alternating between hot and cold throughout the day is ideal.

Kegeling can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which can prevent internal hemorrhoids from being exposed.  The exercise can also increase blood flow to the pelvic area, promoting healing of existing hemorrhoids.

Potatoes! Using a cheese grater, shred a raw potato.  Use the grated pieces of potato to make poultice and place it next to the hemorrhoid (do not insert into the rectum).  This is reported to reduce the swelling and the size of the hemorrhoid.

A diet high in vitamin C is known to strengthen blood vessels and can help prevent hemorrhoids.  An added bonus of vitamin C is it also maximizes iron absorption. 

 

 

Breastfeeding While Back to Work

breastfeeding while back to work

Written by Katy Linda, IBCLC

Breastfeeding while back to work. It’s one of those things so many parents worry about. How do you manage it all?

You figure out what works best for you. Just like nearly every other facet of parenting, there is no one size fits all approach to returning to work and managing milk supply.

When you are confident that breastfeeding is going well, you can start pumping and adding a bottle feeding every few days to your feeding times. You don’t need to give your baby a bottle every day, just every few days to keep your baby familiar with the bottle. When you’re ready, here are some resources for choosing a good bottle for your baby.

The other thing you will need is a good breast pump. A double electric pump should be covered by your insurance company under the Affordable Care Act. Having extra membranes, valves, and tubing is generally recommended just in case your parts wear out. Changing the small rubber pieces is recommended every 90 days.

Having flanges that fit well will help you pump without discomfort as well as maximize your pump output. Your pump manufacturer should have options on sizes and there are other options, such as Freemies or Pumpin Pal Flanges to give you a variety of options to find the right fit. In a proper fitting flange, the breast should fit tight against the funnel part of the flange, and the tunnel should allow for the nipple and a little bit of areola to enter. You should not have rubbing on the side, and there shouldn’t be a large amount of space for nipple to swell.

You’ll want to start pumping around the same time you start introducing a bottle. Pumping after you feed your baby means you won’t get a whole bottle’s worth of milk, but it also means you are not taking the easy-to-get milk from a breast your baby is ready to feed from. If you can pump 2 or 3 times, you should have a bottle worth of milk. This can be collected over 2 – 3 days if needed.

Many moms feel most comfortable with a freezer stash of milk. You don’t need to have hundreds of ounces taking up the entire freezer. Having a day or two worth of milk to be a back-up plan, just in case something happens is plenty.

When you return to work you will want to pump around the times your baby would typically eat. This may or may not work with your work schedule, so do your best. Ideally pumping every 2 – 3 hours will help maintain supply and get you the milk your baby will need while you were away.

Typical intake for a baby is 1 – 1.5 ounces per hour, so you will want to try to keep this in mind as your overall output. There are many techniques that can be useful to help maximize output, depending upon your situation. For some moms, having a photo of their baby or something that smells like their baby can help with output. For others, distraction from the task at hand is much more effective. Music, reading, or working on emails are all options for some women. Employing hands on pumping techniques, where you use your hands to provide massage and help move milk can also be useful in maximizing your pumping efforts.

In order to make the process faster, as long as you don’t have any nipple damage, cracks, cuts, etc, you can store your pump parts in the refrigerator and just clean them daily. Washing parts can be time consuming, this can make the process faster so that you are missing less working time. Parts can be washed with soap and water, or even with sterilizing steam bags in the microwave.

Breastmilk is good for 7 days in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer compartment of the fridge, and 12 months in a chest freezer. There are many methods to store breastmilk. Typically feeding your baby the freshest milk possible is recommended. You can feed them the milk you have pumped the previous day, and a few times a week take a bag of milk to put in the freezer and take the oldest bag out of the freezer to feed your baby. This keeps your freezer stash as fresh as possible, while giving your baby mostly fresh milk.

Balancing the hurdles of leaving work to pump with the desire to provide the very best for your baby can be challenging. Know that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every drop of breastmilk you provide for your baby matters and makes a difference.

 

Katy Linda, is an IBCLC and owner of The BF Den.  She serves Central Maryland and lives in Baltimore with her husband and 4 children. 

New Recommendations From The American Academy Of Pediatrics

 

The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) 2016 National Conference and Exhibition concluded last week. During their annual meeting, the AAP discussed a wide array of topics, and presented studies regarding children’s health and wellness. During the conference, the AAP released updated recommendations on two important topics: healthy media use, and safe sleep practices for infants.

Healthy Media Use

The new media use policy released last week acknowledges most American  families are using screen-time on a daily basis. While digital media can have a positive impact on a child’s development, it needs to be used correctly. To help your family make smart media choices, here are the updated rules and tools for screen-time.

Infants and Toddlers: No screens (This includes phones, tablets, computers, and televisions) for children under 18 months. Previously the ‘zero media’ recommendation was up to two years old.  AAP recognizes that many families use video chatting apps, like FaceTime, to connect better with relatives.  Easing the age restriction  ales it more manageable for younger kids to begin using limited digital media. If you would like to introduce your child, aged 18-24 months, to screens only view ‘high quality’ programming or video chat for short durations. You should always be present to help your toddler understand what they are seeing.

Preschool, Ages 2-5 Years  Preschoolers should watch no more that one hour of media per day. Previously, it was recommended that children of all ages, have no more than two hours of screen-time per day. The AAP also clarifies that you should continue to co-view high quality programming with younger kids, whenever possible.

Children, 6 Years+ The advice for older kids is more ambiguous. The AAP recognizes that setting a universally specific digital media limit does not work for families. The new suggestions are to use good judgement; be consistent and clear with screen-time rules. Also make sure that your older child is getting plenty of play, rest, study, and conversation time throughout the day. A new and really important aspect of the guidelines, is communicating regularly with your kids about good online citizenship and treating others with respect.

This family media planner is a great new tool that can help you thoughtfully integrate screen-time boundaries and limits specific to your needs.

Safe Sleep Recommendations

The sleep guidelines released Monday are the updated recommendations for creating optimal circumstances and ideal infant sleep environments to reduce sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths.

With this goal, the American Academy Of Pediatrics advises:

  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact, for at least one hour uninterrupted, after birth. Skin-to-skin contact helps regulate your newborn’s neurological systems.
  • Exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least the first six months. Nursing your baby reduces her risk of sleep-related death by nearly fifty percent.
  • Infants be placed only on their back, in a crib, bed, or bassinet with a firm mattress, covered only with a fitted sheet for naps and at bedtime. The surface should be free from pillows, blankets, bumpers, and toys.
  • Avoid using sleep positioners, such as sleep wedges, foam pillows, car seats, ‘Rock ‘n Play’ sleepers, and automated infant swings. These surfaces can be too unstructured, soft, or inclined for young babies.
  • Do not swaddle or bundle baby while asleep. Swaddling may contribute to positional asphyxiation and is not proven to reduce SIDS.
  • Your infant should sleep in the same room, on a separate surface from you, until baby turns one year old. Room-sharing, sometimes called co-sleeping, has shown to reduce the risk of SIDS by fifty percent. In-bed and bedside co-sleepers, in addition to more traditional infant cots, bassinets, and cribs are all acceptable sleep surfaces.

The new policies also discuss best breastfeeding practices at night.  The AAP now advises mothers to bring baby to bed to nurse.  Insure all blankets, pillows, and flat sheets are removed.  When you are finished breastfeeding, or baby is sleeping, place your infant back in her co-sleeper. Bringing baby to a couch or rocking chair to nurse is not recommended.  The concern being mom and baby falling asleep in an unsafe position that could lead to positional asphyxiation.  Mom and baby falling asleep while breastfeeding in bed is the safer option.  The AAP does not endorse bed-sharing, rather ‘bed-nursing’ as an alternative.

The new AAP guidelines for media and SIDS reduction provide advice for what they consider optimal. There are also other organizations with different or more nuanced guidelines regarding screen-time and safe sleep practices.  Ultimately, as a parent, it is your responsibility to research which policies and recommendations work best for your family.

If you live in the Baltimore area and are looking to learn more about infant sleep, consider attending this event, on November 6th, 2016, hosted by Thrive Chiropractic and Parenting Works.

What Do I Wear Now That I’m Breastfeeding?

breastfeeding attire

Now that you’ve gotten this breastfeeding thing figured out, you may be trying to find the best things to wear for comfort, access and you may be worrying about coverage. Here’s a round-up list of some crowd favorite breastfeeding attire.

The key is layering! Each layer serves a purpose.

1) A well-fitting bra. This is ESSENTIAL. Don’t just make whatever cheap, half-functional nursing bra you can find work. This is a commitment and your breasts deserve to be supported for the foreseeable future! Also, keep in mind that for most women, it’s best to stick with a non-underwire option, at least in the beginning, so you’re avoiding any unnecessary pressure on your milk ducts.

First, get a good, in-person bra fitting. Some local options include, Necessary Secrets in Greenspring Station, Lingerie Lingerie at Kenilworth, and Nordstrom at Towson Town Center where they can make any bra into a nursing bra for you by sending it off.

Some favorite brands you’ll find while there include Cake, Anita and Elomi.

2) Nursing tanks. These offer support and shape all around, and are convenient as they open and close as you unlatch or latch the bra for feedings/pumping. An overwhelmingly popular favorite here is the Bravado nursing tank. Many local moms report they got 2-4 tanks in basic colors and wear them daily. Other brands include the Undercover Mama, and Cake lingerie tanks.

3) The top layer. Here, you can wear a breastfeeding-specific top or dress, a v-neck or other top. If you go with a non-breastfeeding specific top, it’s easy to do the “one up, one down” with a nursing tank underneath covering your belly and back.  You just pull up the top layer enough to access the latch on the tank.  You can always just pull your breast up and over in a v- neck, too.

Favorite breastfeeding-specific brands include Milk Nursing Wear, Latched Mama, and Momzelle Breastfeeding Apparel.  A non-breastfeeding-specific dress that some have raved about is the Lands End Fit and Flare dress. A personal favorite, is this hoodie from target that has a great side-split for easy access.

A Mama’s Mailbox nursing apparel subscription is a really fun option and great way to build a versatile, stylish breastfeeding/pumping wardrobe.

4) The scarf. Finally, toss on a lightweight scarf or infinity scarf as we head into cooler weather. These provide a nice distraction for baby to play with and can allow discreet breastfeeding, providing enough coverage that many may not even know you’re feeding your baby. Bonus, they’ll add some style too.

Now that you’ve built your layers, go out and breastfeed feeling comfortable and confident!

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