Happy 5th Birthday Z!

Happy 5th Birthday Z!

Happy 5th Birthday Z! Five is a terrific age to be. I am so happy to now be a mommy to 3 children all “school age” and have loved watching you grow.
I want you to know that I have loved the past 5 years as your Mom. You are a special boy in my life. I love your laugh and giggles. I love your energy and questions. I love your hugs and special time we have.
I ask you every day…”Who do I love?” and every day you list “A, S, Daddy and ME”. I am so glad you know you are special and that you are wanted and loved. ❤

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Is this SAFE while Breastfeeding?


That is one of the most common calls I answer from a nursing parent.  I often remind her of these four basic questions.  I also ask that she inform herself more with several of the links I include here, that she check with her baby’s pediatrician for information on how the medication she wants to take may impact her baby, to consider her health and other medical options and to weigh the risks of weaning.  Some medications are well known to impact milk supply.  Some over-the-counter options are far riskier than some prescriptions so it is important to understand this as well.  Some “natural” products are great while others are dangerous during pregnancy or lactation.  

  1. Will the drug/herb affect my baby?
  2. Will the drug/herb affect lactation?
  3. What are the risks of weaning?
  4. What are the options?

 Please discuss with your health care provider and your child’s health care provider the specifics of your situation. La Leche League has long had information on medication while breastfeeding for mothers.  They have some good tips and questions for consideration in the ones I have listed below. Know that what one mom feels comfortable taking while nursing, another doesn’t. This is why having good information for a choice is so important to me.  There may be a much larger risk to the baby to wean than to take most medications.  

Consider if you can take an alternative, if you need to take the medication at all, if the medication can be delayed, and so on.  


** My doctor has prescribed a medication for me. Is it safe for me to continue breastfeeding my baby while I take the medicine?


** Medications and Breastfeeding


Medications and the Breastfeeding Mother – LEAVEN article for Leaders



Dr Thomas W. Hale is a clinical pharmacologist, professor at Texas Tech University School of Medicine, and author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk. – See more at: http://www.ibreastfeeding.com/thomas-w-hale-phd#sthash.NPe2fhQG.dpuf

His work has lead to the wonderful Infant Risk Center and it is a well respected option for information on medical questions. 

** Drug Entry into Human Milk


Infant Risk


LactMed, a FREE online database with information on drugs and lactation.  I often refer moms there so they can empower themselves on basic medications. 

LactMed – Toxnet database


LactMed app is FREE!! 


Safe Fetus


Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition



Depression and New Mothers:

“Although there is some risk associated with antidepressant use, the risk of untreated depression may be even greater. And all risks and benefits must be carefully weighed for each mother.” – See more at: http://www.infantrisk.com/content/antidepressant-usage-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding#sthash.AYzSww1o.dpuf

 PPD handouts and information





Dental work and breastfeeding – Kelly Mom




Nonprescription Drugs for the Breastfeeding Mother

Frank Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP


Medications and Mother’s Milk (comes out every two years)

Dr. Thomas Hale


The Nursing Mother’s Herbal

Sheila Humphrey, BSc, RN, IBCLC



For consideration if weaning is the only option:

Know that it is very rare that weaning is the only option. Some moms will find they have a small window to in which they need to stop nursing but typically it is a few hours and not a few days.  Then there are situations such as cancer or other emergencies that will require longer term or full ending to nursing.  Moms feelings around weaning need to be respected.  I never try to push a mom to keep nursing when the mom doesn’t feel that is an option.  The best way a baby can be cared for is by a healthy mom, both physically and emotionally. 

There will be some weaning sadness on the part of both the mom and the baby.  Don’t be afraid to honor that as you find a new way to transition.   Enlist support people around to you take on some of the care of your little one or you while you heal but in a way that honors the gentle way you have been parenting when possible.  


Rapid Weaning 
Balancing Breast and Bottle 
No Cry Sleep Solution 
Engorgement and reverse pressure softening 

And if you feel depressed at any time during the weaning process, please talk to your support people around you…family, friends and medical team. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/weaning-depression-link-breastfeeding-postpartum-depression_n_1301233.html

I hope these links help empower you to make the best choice for your health and that of your baby’s.  



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Low Milk Supply – Quick Links

One of my most common topics I am asked about is milk supply so I thought I’d share some of the usual links and info I share often.

I feel that the best way to get milk supply off to a good start is to start with what “normal” should look like.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I read a lot of pregnancy books.  I later wished I had read a few breastfeeding and baby books ahead of time as well!  I always tell friends now who have a lot of pregnancy books on their list about what I wish I had done.

The best way to know how things are going is to inform yourself on what “typical” newborn things look like. How often does a newborn nurse?  Most likely 12-16 times in those first few days (over 24 hours each day).  How many diapers do you want to see?  Do you have to feel “engorged” or not?  And so on…

KellyMom has a nice newborn link http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/ as well as LLLI http://www.llli.org/nb/nbearlyweeks.html

Here are some good links for milk supply, especially for when things are looking low.  The first way to know is to look at diapers… in = out … or pretty close to it!

The best diaper diary I’ve seen is found here on the site from Barbara Wilson-Clay and Kay Hoover https://www.breastfeedingmaterials.com/about

One of the most common reasons (and easily fixable one) for supply decreasing in healthy mom/baby dyads is simply things like not knowing how to tell if baby is hungry, delaying feeding or early supplementing when it isn’t needed.

** See the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol for Supplementing

http://www.bfmed.org/Media/Files/Protocols/Protocol%203%20English%20Supplementation.pdf  (you can find this in several languages on their website)

There are more simple concerns and there are much more complicated concerns.

Some common reasons for supply issues MAY be more simple to fix may be: needing to seek help for baby not latching well (barring any anatomical issues), using swaddling too often, baby sleeping too much, letting baby “cry-it-out” rather than feeding at night, trying to hold baby off feedings for a clock schedule, over supplementing after a nursing session or in place of breastfeeding or pumping, using a pacifier when baby is hungry, using different scales and being misled into supplementing, and mom not having the time to put into breastfeeding or pumping.

These can lead to truer supply issues or can lead to longer term challenges without proper information or support.

Then there are the more complicated issues for moms and babies.  Sometimes it is the mom, sometimes it is the infant and sometimes it can even be a combination of challenges.  If you are having to supplement, I hope you get a chance to read my blog on bottle feeding  https://a2zlactation.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/bottle-feeding-the-breastfed-baby/

There can be many reasons for mother to find herself with milk supply obstacles.  Some complications may include things like uncontrolled diabetes, PCOS, insufficient glandular tissue, retained placenta, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, breast surgery, hormonal birth control use, and other health challenges.

Some common infant related issues may include tongue and lip tie, low or high muscle tone, birth trauma, cleft palate or cleft lip, sensory processing challenges, premature birth, and more.

This is not an exhaustive list, and it is in no particular order, but here are some of my current favorite links:

La Leche League International Milk Supply Information


Low Milk Supply


Motherhood International Chronic Supply


Insulin and the role of supply


Not Everyone Can Breastfeed IGT


Best for Babes – Too many mothers with milk supply problems get formula, not breastfeeding help


Best for Babes – Yes, You CAN Breastfeed Successfully No Matter How Much Milk You Make


Leaky Boob – Tongue tie/lip tie


Breastfeeding Basics – Increasing Your Milk Supply


Exclusively Pumping


Stanford University School of Medicine – Maximizing Milk Production with Hands On Pumping


Second 9 Months – Twins, Getting Milk Supply Off to a Good Start


Work & Pump – Supply Boosters


If you have gotten this far, you may also like my post on Wanting to Breastfeed…


And a bit of my story on my own experience with low supply for my 3rd baby.



~ Naomi

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Happy 9 year S

Happy 9 year S

Happy Birthday my dear son, S!
You are the sunshine in my day! You are a special gift to our family! I was thinking back the other day to when I was was pregnant with you. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough love for a 2nd child and yet when you were born, I felt like my heart DOUBLED rather than split. I am so grateful for the boy you are growing up to be. You are such a very creative, genuine, sensitive, energetic, sport-loving, thoughtful, passionate, free-spiritited little boy! I feel that I learn more from you about myself & my parenting than I would ever have to teach you about the world. It is an adventure being your mom. Thank you and enjoy 9!

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Happy 12th Birthday A!!

Happy 12th Birthday A!!

Happy 12th Birthday to my dear daughter. Watching you grow has been such a blessing in my life. People tell me to prepare for your teen years. It has me thinking about how I prepared (or wasn’t) for your early years. I read pregnancy and baby books. I prepared a nursery (that you didn’t sleep in for the 1st 6 months anyway) and a lot more! But I wasn’t prepared for how deeply I’d fall in love with you (or that it wouldn’t be instantly!), but that I’d love you more each day since your birth. I wasn’t prepared for how empowering having you naturally would be for me, how strong I’d realize I was both mentally and physically because of you. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that you’d have an ambulance ride at two weeks old, or for how scared I’d feel each time you get sick. I wasn’t prepared to work out discipline and friendship and family and boundaries but over time we work it out well. I am not prepared for your tween/teen years yet but I hope that our strong bond, the loving attachment we have grown from your early years will help us to work out those confusing times ahead. I love you! I am so blessed to be your mom these dozen years. Nothing could prepare me for the special gift you are to me!

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Tongue-Tie – Bill of Rights & Responsibilities

Tongue-Tie & Lip-Tie “Bill of Rights & Responsibilities”

As a parent, we have rights and responsibilities when collaborating with our medical or health care support.  We are partners or equals on a team in caring for our children.  Something many of us are aware of is the “Patient Bill of Rights & Responsibilities”.

I thought I’d spell some of those out in the discussion of tongue-tie and lip-tie.  The idea is one of having integrity and working together.  Our doctors may or may not be informed on breastfeeding issues or on tongue and lip-tie, but most of them are caring individuals who have our interests at heart too.  Seeing our healthcare as a team is important.  If the doctor doesn’t see you as the parent or guardian as part of the team, it may be time to find a new team.

Here are some of my ideas on rights and responsibilities.  What would you add?


  • You have a right to ask your health-care team about their training on tongue and lip tie.  You can ask what they learned about TT/LT in school or what courses they have taken since on the topic.
  • You have a right to ask for information.  You can ask them where they formed their ideas on treating or not treating and what studies they can share with you.
  • You have a right to ask for options of procedures.  When you know that anesthesia doesn’t need to be used for most tongue or lip-tie releases, you have a right to ask for it to be done in the most current way.
  • You have a right to disagree with your doctor in a respectful way and to inform them of information you have learned about tongue and lip-tie so that their next patients are helped sooner.
  • You have a right to shop around for an INFORMED doctor, pediatrician, IBCLC, dentist or Speech Language Pathologist to access the care your baby needs.
  • You have a right to take part in treatment decisions and to find doctors who will discuss pros and cons of revision now or later.
  • You have a right to respect and not to be discriminated against.  It should not matter if you are a “new” parent, a teen-mom, poor or wealthy or a dad for that matter!
  • You have the right to utilize an interdisciplinary team.  You can go to a dentist, an IBCLC, a chiropractor and a WIC counselor all for the SAME reason for different parts of the journey… a pediatrician may diagnose, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant  may help with suck training or latching, the dentist can release the tongue and revise the lip-tie, the counselor can “have your back” and the chiropractor can give bodywork for lasting impact on the whole body.
  • You have the right to confidentiality between those providers.  They must each keep your privacy and confidence.
  • You have the right to access of care, no matter your financial standing. Your baby shouldn’t have to miss out on care because of money or insurance but it will make it more challenging to find a practitioner.


  • You have the responsibility to talk to your health care team openly and honestly regarding all symptoms and medications you are working with for you and your baby.
  • You have the responsibility to ask the questions when you don’t understand anything discussed.  You should leave with clear comprehension or call back if you are not sure.
  • You have the responsibility to inform yourself about your child’s health. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to all things parenting.  Read as much as you can on the topic, watch videos, discuss with an IBCLC or La Leche League Leader and don’t forget your family and friends as resources.  And remember to ask them how much education they have on the topic!
  • You have the responsibility to show up at agreed upon times and be cooperative (or helpful) with treatment if needed.  You may be asked to help position your child or keep your child calm for example.
  • You have the responsibility to follow-up with after care.  If you are giving any follow-up care, ask questions and discuss what you are comfortable doing or not doing.  If you aren’t comfortable with some “stretches”, ask about alternatives and remember BREASTFEEDING is the ultimate “physical therapy” there is for a child!
  • You have the responsibility to take the best care you can of yourself and your child.  You should be committed to long-term positive health choices for your family…in this case, keeping up with dental hygiene, keeping up with physical therapy or any other prescribed treatments.
  • You have the responsibility to participate in medical education.  You can pass on your knowledge, your before/after pictures, your story to other families and other doctors.  You can inform those you went to earlier who didn’t have the answers you now have and update their knowledge as well.
  • You have the responsibility to pay your bills as you can.  This may mean creating a payment plan or asking about sliding scale fees.

I hope this gives a foundation for further dialog with your doctor and team and helps you work out the best support for your baby when it comes to revision of tongue and lip-tie.

Posted in Biting, Bottles, Breastfeeding, IBCLC, medical advice, Medications, Milk Supply, tongue-tie, Weaning | 9 Comments

Cleanses, Toxins and Breastfeeding

A common discussion among friends and other moms I know is a concern regarding special dieting, detoxing and cleanses.  I have had moms ask me if it is safe to detoxify or cleanse while breastfeeding. I do not consider most forms of juicing or sweating out toxins to be dangerous while pregnant or lactating.  On the other hand, I may consider some wraps or pills to be questionable while I am open to learning about others, which may be helpful. I want to be clear I am not suggesting that anyone detox or cleanse but writing this in answer to the multiple times a year the topic comes up.

The idea of cleansing or detoxing has been around for a long time… colon cleanses, liver cleanses, parasite cleanses, candida cleanses, herbal cleanses, kidney cleanses, gastrointestinal cleanses, weight cleanses, and so on.  I am not writing regarding any special religious or ceremonial cleanse or fasting but more concerning myself with the latest fads in my region of the globe.

Moms may consider accelerating the weaning process in order to start a cleanse program themselves. I am neither a medical professional nor a nutritionist so I am not going to suggest what is safe as far as special diets or supplements (though I will say I’ve found more information on dangers of these things over any proof or safety). However, I do feel that early weaning has risk and complications for both mom and baby/babies that should be considered.  Breastfeeding is very important for human babies with regards to both nutrition and emotional health.  It is also important for women’s health.  We are only scratching the surface of just how much this is true.

While there is no question that human milk is what human babies need, some parents question their own health.  The body naturally detoxifies itself 24 hours a day so unless you are having some severe ailment your liver is doing it’s job already.  There is always room for improvement in the world we live in though. There are natural ways to “detox” the body such as cleaning out toxic cleansers in the home, switching (or wearing less) makeup, eating more organic and less processed foods.  Breastfeeding is always the most natural choice but we can all start by taking a look around our home, our clothes, our food  or yards, our communities and making choices that feel right for us.

Before you consider weaning or switching to some formula alternative because you are worried about toxins in your breastmilk please consider that the cows, goats or other creatures eat the same chemicals and breathe the same air as humans but our human milk has wonderful things for human babies that only human’s make.  And soy formula is most certainly GMO as well as either sprayed with herbicides or pesticides …

Some have been lead to believe that their milk is not as good as an artificial or homemade formula.  This is completely false.

Considering making changes to your lifestyle, such as adding juicing and greens daily (as opposed to drinking juice to substitute for other food), getting massage, adding exercise or sauna use to your routine, in my opinion, are wonderful additions for healthy lifestyle and not something to worry more about or avoid while breastfeeding.

Everyone can make small changes to find less toxins in their home and more nutrition in their bodies and breastfeeding can be successful without ever “detoxifying” your body in some commercial sense.

So, here are some of the questions I would consider before thinking of buying a commercial “detox” or “cleanse”.

  • Many wraps and cleanses rob the body of water and nutrients…are you taking in enough or extra good nutrients and water?
  • Is the diet too calorie restrictive for you to feel well in general as well as when breastfeeding or lactating?
  • Will your milk supply or let-down suffer in any way if this is a short-term or long-term choice?
  • What is the duration you are planning this diet change?
  • Do you have enough water and nutrient rich foods in your diet?
  • Have you spoken to your health care provider and baby’s health care provider about the detox if there are special ingredients or supplements?
  • Do your foods have pesticides and preservatives In them? If you are “detoxing” for a certain amount of time, you may want to consider what you can buy organic long-term over a short-term “detox”.
  • Is this a lifestyle change or a temporary choice – can it wait or be modified, especially if it will impact breastfeeding or weaning options?
  • What do you clean your home with, wash your laundry with, etc?
  • Do your work or live in a high-risk zone such as working with lead or high risk chemicals?
  • If you are considering weaning, what risks, repercussions or benefits to detox?
  • Have you looked at your skin care & make-up regimen?
  • Some programs are useless or may even be harmful… have you researched them before buying them?
  • Have you checked your dietary needs over with a nutritionist before eliminating certain foods?
  • How will what you are ingesting or putting on your skin impact your child?
  • Is your child at least 6-8 months old or older (in other words not getting most of their food from Mom’s-Own-Milk these days)?
  • How often is your child breastfeeding or having your milk?
  • How will weaning impact your child emotionally and physically?
  • How could weaning impact your own body and health?
  • What alternatives have you considered?
  • Have you read any studies or proof the cleanse/detox/diet you want to try works and is good for you?
  • Could you or your baby have any allergy or reaction to the substances in the cleanse?
  • Is there a natural alternative that is known to be safe?

When considering these, I also think in terms of the questions I ask regarding taking medications… Has it been given to infants?  Has it been taking by other lactation mothers,? How long will the medications/treatment last in the blood (and therefore milk)?  How well can a baby excrete this medication and their liver detoxify it?  Will it interfere with lactation or let-down? And so on…

As you can most likely tell from the questions I have, I am not a big fan of doing short term cleanses or detoxing over making long term changes and choices that impact your health and that of your whole family.  I am a fan of breastfeeding but I also do feel it is important to point out that we live in an environmentally challenged world and that breastfeeding and human milk remains what all human children need to thrive.

If you are interested in reading more on environmental toxins and your health, these are some of the wonderful articles and organizations I have found helpful. Please do read them!

If you try one detox this year, make it this one


Best for Babes   Science You Can Use: Worried about toxins in your breastmilk?  Get the facts.


LLLI Breastfeeding Remains Best Choice in a Polluted World


LLLI Human Milk Still the Best Choice


WABA Towards Healthy Environments for Children


Babies 411: Breastfeeding is NOT the Issue, It’s Toxins!


Environmental Working Group



Scientific American: Does Mother’s Milk Transfer Environmental Toxins to Breast-Feeding Babies?


Moms Making Our Milk Safe


5 Experts Answer: Is There Such Thing as a Healthy Juice Cleanse?


Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding


Weight Loss May Release Stored Toxins


Contaminants have been found in human milk. Should I wean my baby?


Living Downstream; Walking Upstream


Some other informative sites related to detoxing…

Kellymom information on diets while breastfeeding


10 Ways to Detox Your Home for Babies and Kids


Food Babe Detox Archives


Contaminants in Human Milk: Weighing the Risks against the Benefits of Breastfeeding


Why You Need to Detoxify 24 Hours a Day


Center for Science in the Public Interest; Gut Myths? By Bonnie Liebman

Scroll down to : MYTH: Your colon needs cleansing.


Cancer and the Environment


Risk factors for early weaning from the breast… Analytical Armadillo


Infant Risk Center



Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding: The Complete Nutrition Book for Nursing Mothers by Eileen Behan

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Gluten Free for You & Your Baby

I have family and friends with Celiac Disease so I have been trying to read and learn more about what foods have gluten, what it means to be gluten-free over the past few years. I wanted to see for myself how challenging it is to make changes in a family around food habits.  With all changes, the first step is myself.  This is not a nutritional or medical guide for anyone.  It is simply my “journal” of things I tried and my observations.  Please meet with your health care provider to discuss what your specific needs are for you and your children.

I decided to start with a small goal for myself. I chose February probably because I had been considering making some changes in the New Year and it is the shortest month for a challenge. (I now realize that this type of lifestyle change needs to be at least 60 days or more from my reading but this was what I could do at the time).  I include some of the entries I had for the month by date below.

Just before I began, I went out for lunch with some friends this week and had a burrito at Moe’s… thankfully one of them was my friend and author of a cookbook on gluten-free eating so I know I have some local support.  I went shopping this week and found some things I thought I would like to try.  I am hoping this will help with my joint pain and stomach issues.


Friday is day 1.  Glad to start! GF granola for breakfast and a yummy walnut burger on a salad for lunch.   I didn’t think ahead and plan for dinner… rummaging through the pantry.

2. Made a 15-bean soup with GF chicken broth and veggie broth… made a huge pot so I can have some for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.  I am tired… is it life on the weekends or could it be gluten withdrawal already?

3. It is Super Bowl Sunday here… hubby likes his favorite foods today so he went shopping with Z first thing in the morning. I asked him to buy GF chips for the salsa and now I am adding some gluten-free apps to my phone.  I hate the ones that you have to register or connect with Facebook.  Why can’t I just go on and scan or something!?

4. Heading to A’s school for lunch volunteering today… I usually pick up a premade sandwich at my grocery… grabbing some goodies at home instead… feeling like I am making healthy choices and setting a good example.

5. Trying some GF pasta tonight.  I didn’t think I’d go for a substitute quite this early… it tastes ok but I should have read the directions first…cooks WAY faster than wheat pasta.


7. Many things on the agenda today.  Having some yummy GF butternut squash soup for lunch that I made last night.  Perfect for a chilly day!

10. A made me gluten-free cookies as a surprise today!  So glad to find a restaurant I can have a gluten-free slice of pizza and salad with GF dressing.  Family dinner out.

11. Little Z wants to go get a donut…wish there was a local GF donut shop now.  Gluten free pizza doesn’t reheat well.

13. Heading to S’s school for lunch volunteer duty… trying a microwave meal before I go.  It is actually better than others I’ve tried! I don’t eat microwave meals much but super busy today.


14. Valentine’s Day – Family dinner – my husband bought candy and made sure it was GF first.  He read ingredients and made a steak BUT added beer to the recipe and so… no steak for me.  I made some GF cupcakes and forgot to add the butter to them at the right time… buttery cupcake fail.  Oh well… we tried.

15. My husband and I went out to dinner together and I called ahead to ask if they could accommodate gluten-free.  I got my own menu.  Made it nice to see the options I had but not have to weed through the things I couldn’t.

21. Daddy is out of town and I thought I’d treat the kids to Chinese for dinner… ate some sesame chicken without even thinking about the coating even though I ordered my own steamed chicken without sauce.

23. Out to brunch with some friends.  Lovely GF breakfast options!

What I learned in this month:

  1. I feel better eating less processed foods.
  2. It is easier than I thought to find gluten-free foods these days.
  3. Restaurants are willing to accommodate if you are clear and polite about your needs.
  4. Eating whole foods in their closest to natural state, means a lot less gluten my the diet.
  5. Sometimes allergy testing is not going to give me the answer I can find by using an elimination diet.
  6. My family learned a few things about nutrition this month by watching me.
  7. My pain did lessen so I have to make it a lifestyle change…all or nothing seems to be the key… and not quitting if I make a few mistakes along the way.
  8. A lot of people don’t understand or believe in gluten intolerance, even though it is in medical literature.
  9. As someone who wants to support breastfeeding moms with their journey, I now also have an idea of how you can eliminate gluten, still feel full and keep breastfeeding!
  10. Life takes some planning ahead or wise shopping but eating gluten-free is doable.

There are so many resources out there on gluten, eating gluten-free and some naysayers as well.  Not everyone feels they have to go gluten-free but often foods with gluten are processed foods or ones that have been genetically modified in someway.  There is often cross contamination so it is important to read labels. I found that if I wanted a packaged meal from one company, it didn’t mean the entire brand had all gluten-free items.  Or if I thought I was eating something without grain or gluten like chips or nuts I still had to read labels… many had gluten powder or gluten in the flavoring.  I got a lot better and reading labels and as I consider making this longer term lifestyle, I think it would be simple enough to write a list of items that are OK and then read labels from time to time.  If this were an allergy or intolerance, I would most likely encourage you to check labels each time you shop.  A good way to be sure is simply stick with most things in their natural state… beef/chicken/fish with nothing added, apples, pears, broccoli, kale, beans, broth (read labels or make your own bone broth), cheese if you can eat dairy, etc.


Just after this month trial, my cousin visited us and told us she had recently been diagnosed with Celiac.  Some of our other family and friends also have this diagnosis, so I had been aware of many of the allergy related changes we’d need to do for visits…such as how to order GF food in a restaurant or which pancake mix or other flour substitutes we could use.  It takes some practice but when it is part of your daily life, it becomes easier to manage and to plan for.

Now my challenge is in encouraging my children to try more new foods and different forms of the foods we have been eating.  I found overall that I’d much rather keep to more whole foods than to find substitutes for things… no wheat free bagel or GF pizza is ever going to taste like the “real” thing, so rather than wishing for it, I simply went for new things or versions of things I already like to eat

I also found that many of the GF things are full of corn (which is mostly genetically modified in the USA) or quinoa and both also seemed to bother me more than it had before I decided to go gluten-free and pay attention to my bodies reactions. Much of this is very starchy with potato or tapioca added and not very healthy anyway. I recently came across an article which I include before on just how your body can also react to things that are cross contaminated so be aware this can happen, especially if you are sensitive and aware in your body.  This is called “cross contamination” and things like corn, quinoa or even coffee can impact this.

My biggest surprise was actually how well my skin responded to the healing in my gastrointestinal tract.  I have been going to the dermatologist for a rash that cleared within the first week of going GF. I was extremely itchy all over my body about the 4th night in and then felt great after that so it seemed I needed to get over some hump of expelling some of the “bad” and making room for the “good”.  I hadn’t thought about how my skin would be literally detoxing for me through my pores.  (When I went back to GF, this happened again!)  Celiac is an autoimmune disorder… when I was told that the rash came from an autoimmune reaction I started to make this connection even more!

I took a couple of months off of the gluten-free month to read and learn more.  I am now on a totally gluten-free diet and plan to be for at least one year.  I also decided to take at least three months off of corn, soy and other starch foods (potato, quinoa, chick pea, etc.).  I am basically trying a modified GAPS diet and working with a few different health care practitioners on this plan for my body health.  This type of change takes some practice and usually some supportive friends or family as well. As it has become more of a routine, it is working well and my family is also starting to get more on board when they see how much more energy I have and when we discuss how food makes us feel.


I am taking good probiotics, adding some other vitamins and herbs to my routine and really reading labels more.  I’ve cleaned out my pantry so that I can set myself up for success.  I’ve also really been aware of my calories because I always notice that when I start to eliminate something from my diet, I need to make sure I still eat enough of the good veggies and keep my body and immune system strong.

I have found that as we keep thinking more about what food goes into our body, all of my family is really reading labels and paying more attention to their bodies.  If you are on a gluten-free journey, know that over the past decade a lot more awareness has come about how gluten effects health and there are a lot of  options out there.

I know that many of us think in terms of not “depriving” our kids or ourselves but in the long run I feel like I’ve been depriving myself and my kids of the optimum health and nutrition by eating so much gluten when for our family there are obvious benefits in taking it out. For me, it is a clear shift in my attitude that matters… I am really learning to pay attention to my reactions after foods as well as try to figure out why or when I have cravings for certain foods. If you are going gluten-free for your baby, know that you are setting your baby up for great health by taking care of yourself as well.

There is debate about when gluten should or shouldn’t be added to child’s diet.  I am not an expert in this area at all. The bottom line for me is that MY health impacts my child’s health and breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months while working on child-led feeding WHILE keeping breastfeeding part of your day if you do introduce gluten to your child is very important.

What we eat while we are pregnant and breastfeeding impacts our body and is important. I am not saying that anyone has to “eat a perfect diet” to breastfeed but it is always beneficial to be aware of what we eat and how it makes us feel.  No formula, store or homemade, is a replacement for mother’s own milk for her own baby. Not every cry or colicky baby is a result of gluten or something dietary.  This blog entry is not a prescription for you to change your diet, but is intended to be supportive for those who WANT to be gluten-free. If you are a friend or family of someone on this journey, I hope that some of the links below are helpful for you as well.

ADHD & AUTISM Cookbook

Information on Celiac:

Celiac Sprue Internet Resources:

Celiac Disease Foundation  http://www.celiac.org

Celiac Sprue Association http://www.csaceliacs.org/

Celiac.com http://www.celiac.com/

Raising Our Celiac Kids (ROCK)  www.celiackids.com


Gluten Intolerance Group http://www.gluten.net/

University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research http://www.celiaccenter.org/

Canadian Celiac Association


Interesting Articles or blogs:

Gluten: The Whole Story


Gut Health and Autoimmune Disease


Gluten-Free, Whether You Need It or Not


Wheat Belly – Celiac is not a disease


The Boy With a Thorn in His Joints


Introducing gluten-containing foods to breastfeeding infants may prevent celiac disease


Trying a Wheat-Free Life


Who Has The Guts for Gluten?


“Bifidobacteria occur naturally in breast milk, which, along with protective antibodies and immune-signaling proteins, conveys hundreds of prebiotic sugars. These sugars selectively feed certain microbes in the infant gut, particularly bifidobacteria. Breast-fed infants tend to harbor more bifidobacteria than formula-fed ones.”

Celiac Disease linked to infections, breastfeeding


Gluten-Free Goddess: The Gluten-Free Diet Cheat-Sheet: How to Go G-Free


Normal, Like Breathing: So, What CAN I Eat?


Most People Shouldn’t Eat Gluten-Free


Gluten Cross-Reactivity Update: How your body can still think you’re eating gluten even after giving it up


Gluten Free Pantry Makeover in 5 Easy Steps


Maternal microbiota passes directly to newborn, Yakult research suggests


Posted in allergies, Body Awareness, Breastfeeding, Celiac, Cue Feeding, gluten free, Solids | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exercise & Fitness – Breastfeeding in Public at Gyms, Fitness Centers and Pools

With each of my pregnancies, it was important for me to feel strong and healthy working towards labor and caring for a newborn.  I exercised as I found time (more with each pregnancy) and with specific exercises in mind for pregnant moms.  With each new baby, I found new ways to also make time for exercise.  Some of the time, it meant I took out a stroller or sling and went for a walk with my baby and sometimes with a friend as well.  Other times, I was able to find intervals to get away in the evening or morning to try a new yoga class or something fun.  And sometimes my schedule and pocketbook also allowed me the time and space to join an exercise class or gym on a more regular basis.  I love to bike, swim, walk and get outdoors.  I love to feel relaxed after a nice exercise session, although sometimes I have the hardest time heading out that door.  Some moms like to stay home and use videos but others really need the comradery of a class and working as a team.

Pregnant and lactating moms benefit from exercise!  Discuss with your healthcare provider your specific situation and health. If you are new to exercise, take it slow and build up.  It is important for all of us to exercise for physical health and emotional wellness and you can decide how that can be customized for your situation.  Exercise helps uplift anyone’s mood but is especially vital for women with post partum blues to exercise on a regular basis. It helps reenergize us all.

One of the things I was always a bit anxious about when my little ones were very small was managing breastfeeding or pumping with taking care of myself and taking time for exercise. It can be challenging to adapt to a new child and new routine, which also corresponds to a gym class and daycare schedule. It can be daunting to consider when we are already feeling so tired! Sometimes it takes creative calendars and agendas to be sure my husband is home for our children so I can get in some space for it. It is very important time for nurturing our body when we are nurturing our children! I have found that as my A, S & Z get older, I am able to both find new flexibility and make sure this is done more often.  I don’t beat myself up if I don’t but I sure feel better when I do.

Breastfeeding and pumping is an activity of daily living for this period in your life.  Having an active lifestyle doesn’t mean having to give up breastfeeding and breastfeeding should not mean having to give up an active lifestyle.

It is vital for local fitness centers, pools and gyms to have breastfeeding friendly resources for families.  Breastfeeding is the healthiest feeding method for mom and baby (your business is health after all).  Breastfeeding is legal and encouraged by both federal and state laws in the United States of America and most places around the globe.  New families have a lot to stress and exercise helps reduce stress.  Having a family friendly gym or pool can help you increase your membership and word of mouth will soon spread about the places that are complimentary to family lifestyle as well as those that don’t.

A great many workouts can be tailored to pregnant or new mom fitness challenges and can be a positive way to outreach in the community and for moms to make friends as well.  If baby is welcome in the exercise class, moms can take care of their little ones right on the spot with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding on cue.  A great option for very new moms is to have parent/baby classes combined or parent/toddler exercise that incorporates the littlest people in the room.  Often, when a baby is very small, they can sit in a little carrier on the side of the room and be taken care of by the watchful and attentive eye of their parent nearby.

The childcare areas can also encourage moms to come and feed their baby as needed by providing comfortable chairs and supportive staff in the gyms. It is important that if you have pumping moms or employees of the center, that they are given a space to pump that has access to a sink and is not a bathroom.  Mothers and babies should never be asked to go to a bathroom to eat. If the center is for adults and children and one child is at swim or yoga class for example, the mother should never be asked to cover-up or to go to a separate location for breastfeeding her little one.   

Gym owners and managers must take responsibility for making sure their gym or pool employees (trainers, front desk, lifeguards, ALL employees) are trained on the federal and local laws and are always supporting breastfeeding members.  It is harassment to ask a mom to stop breastfeeding her baby. Breastfeeding is not the same as having other food in locations where food is not allowed.  Some mothers may ask for a private space to breastfeed but they are legally allowed to breastfeed in public and it is not considered indecent exposure.


La Leche League International: Exercise and Breastfeeding


San Diego Breastfeeding Center, LLC :  Breastfeeding and Exercise – What you need to know


KellyMom: Exercise and Breastfeeding



Breastfeeding Law (USA – Federal and State Laws)


Breastfeeding Legislation in the United States: A General Overview and Implications for Helping Mothers



Nursing in Public Hotline 855-NIP-FREE


United States Breastfeeding Committee: Find a State/Territorial/Tribal Breastfeeding Coalition:


What to Do if You’re Harassed While Nursing in Public



Tips for Breastfeeding in Public – with Confidence!


Nursing in Public


La Leche League International: Breastfeeding in Public http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbpublic.html


Family Friendly Business Initiative


Business Case for Breastfeeding


Break Time for Nursing Mothers (pumping provisions)


Posted in Breastfeeding, Cue Feeding, Employment | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Bottle feeding the breastfed baby… paced and baby-led bottles.

When I was pregnant for the first time, even though I planned on breastfeeding, one of the first things I thought about buying was bottles – I grew up in a bottle feeding culture after all.  I was planning on going back to work when A was 6 months (though I was able to wait until 18 months) and thought I’d need to use bottles from time to time.  She did have bottles a few times over her early months but in the end, I donated our bottles around 9 months or so and she continued our breastfeeding journey for 2 ½ years. I never introduced a bottle at all to S… I found I was able to balance the times I needed or wanted to be away with his nursing sessions and he eventually used a cup at his pace.  Z had a bottle starting at around 2 weeks old until we introduced solids because of his weight gain challenges and he is “still” nursing at nearly 4 years.  (Remember that this is not the typical – please do read my story on pumping for Z before thinking you supplementation is the only option.)

I point out their ages of weaning not to dictate your goals on breastfeeding to a certain age but rather to point out that because we kept the focus on breastfeeding, bottles didn’t have to interfere with it.  You can be a breastfeeding mom and still use bottles or a bottle feeding mom who breastfeeds too!  Don’t let anyone label your experience or box you in with words like “choice” or “confusion” or buy into the media hype of breast vs. bottle.  You have options and can feed with love in the way that works best for you.

What and how I share information about bottles is often geared towards the personal situation… are bottles needed for going back to work or for once in a while?  Is the baby feeding well at the breast?  Are their other challenge such as slow or fast weight gain?  Does mom know about supply & pumping when bottles are being fed? Are you an adoptive parent or perhaps a partner or father? I can most likely create several posts on each of these!

Here I will share the basic links and information and you can gear it to your situation.  I’d also encourage you to speak to a breastfeeding counselor or calling an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  You can individualize this information for your baby and your situation.  These tips are using the assumption that you are using mom’s own milk for your baby… if you are using formula please read this as well. https://a2zlactation.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/preparing-infant-formula-safe-water-guidelines/

Mom’s who are heading back to work or who have times when they will be separated regularly from their baby will often ask when they should introduce a bottle.  Some worry that there is a window in which to do so.  I haven’t personally come across a baby who will or won’t take a bottle solely based on the baby age… so don’t stress yourself out about a deadline.  If you can, let it be a fluid experience for you and your baby… don’t try to rush things or force the bottle but keep your time frame in mind so you aren’t waiting until only a day or so before your goal either.  You know the date but they don’t know about calendars yet.  Be gentle with yourself and them. http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/lv/lviss1-2009p12.html

Typically we encourage moms to work on breastfeeding for the first 4-6 weeks before adding a pacifier or other artificial nipples.  The reason for this is that this period is the stepping off point for your body’s milk production time. http://www.llli.org/faq/enough.html

It is also the optimal time to work on latch and make adjustments without adding more feeding options into the mix.  Holding off on bottles until breastfeeding is well established isn’t as much about the idea of “nipple confusion” so much as the idea of nipple or flow preference.  Babies are smart and capable little humans. Their instinct is to breastfeed.   http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

Nipple confusion happens when so many bottles and pacifiers are given that the baby seems to “forget” or unlearn how to breastfeed. Nipple or flow preference happens when baby starts to associate the faster & immediate flow of milk in the bottles with feeding.  They also learn to suck differently than they would suckle at the mother’s breast and this can cause pain for moms as well.  This is why we talk about artificial nipples undermining breastfeeding experience.

So, what can be done to use a bottle for supplementation to breastfeeding?  How can bottles be introduced and not impede breastfeeding?

There have been some research on types of nipples and I’d encourage you to look into this if you can before buying.  Bottle nipples that stimulate similar tongue and jaw movement to breastfeeding are the most advantageous. It may surprise you to learn that you may have registered for or bought one that didn’t actually fit those criteria.


It is not only about which type or brand of nipple or bottle you use but the WAY you feed with a bottle that matters.  When offering a bottle, know that your human milk is best for your baby.  Feed your baby by watching the same hunger cues you watch for when breastfeeding your baby.  When bottles are new, you may want to try them before baby is overly hungry or tired. Trust the baby to know when they are hungry and when they are full.  I know it is hard to worry that your hard earned pumped (or possibly even donated) milk is going to waste… but know that this doesn’t have to be the case.


Hold the baby in a comfortable and loving position.  I have seen some people hold baby facing out… but remember that bottle feeding is just as much about bonding as breastfeeding and try other positions first. Bottle feeding babies need bonding and skin-to-skin or other comforts too. Allow baby to be fairly upright so that baby has some control over the situation and is able to move towards or away from the bottle.  This is more challenging if the baby is younger or has low muscle tone… and becomes easier with practice and as the baby ages and strengthens. Best for Babes has a nice concise piece on this that explains the why and how and included a nice picture of positioning.  http://www.bestforbabes.org/the-babes-guide-to-bottle-feeding

Just as you would bring baby to the breast, the caregiver who is bottle feeding can bring baby towards the bottle… holding the bottle in a more horizontal position.  This way, baby can turn his or her head and come on or off the bottle for swallowing or breathing.  This is the idea of paced bottle feeding.  The baby will often take in a few sucks, stop and swallow and then breath before resuming (very similar to breastfeeding).  If baby is able to get a nice seal on the bottle nipple and is happy, then things are going well.  If baby starts to gulp or fuss, then some adjustment may be needed.  La Leche League has a nice handout to give to caregivers which describes this all in more detail… http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000000001WAB/WAB_Tear_sheet_Toolkit/22_bfabreastfedbaby.pdf

A little tip for you that I think is neat!  One thing that makes breastfeeding so great for babies is that it enriches eye development.  Breastfed babies have better visual acuity and are more advance in eye development than formula fed babies. One of the reasons for this besides the milk, is the fact that baby switches sides while breastfeeding.  Try as well to make it a habit of switching sides while bottle feeding at the baby’s pace.  You can switch positions for baby’s comfort and for your own.


Please check out some of my favorite links & resources!

La Leche League International Bottle FAQ


Bottle-Feeding as a Tool to Reinforce Breastfeeding – Dee Kassing, BS, MLS, IBCLC


The Babe’s Guide to Bottle Feeding – Best for Babes


Baby-led Bottle Feeding – Nurtured Child


Tools for Feeding: Alternative Feeding Methods – Bottles & More- KellyMom


Bottles – Low Milk Supply – Diana West & Lisa Marasco


Paced Bottle Feeding For The Breastfed Baby – video with Jessica Barton, MA, IBCLC


The Other Baby Book blog: 3 Tools to Nurse Babies with Bottles


Science You Can Use: Can skin-to-skin and laid-back breastfeeding help older, non-latching babies?


Which method of breastfeeding supplementation is best?  The beliefs and practices of paediatricians and nurses. 2010


50 Ways Dads Can Bond with Babies (Without Giving Them a Bottle)


Posted in Bottles, Breastfeeding, Cue Feeding, Employment, Formula, IBCLC, Laid Back Breastfeeding, Media, Milk Supply, Pumping, Uncategorized | Leave a comment