Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes

1) I am so excited to finally be doing this. Jennifer from Conversion Diary had a great idea....blurbettes from the week that don't deserve their own blog post. This is point 1 because I have been wanting to do it, but Friday comes and I haven't gotten around to it. So, I am starting this on Monday night. I figure with the way my weeks have gone, this MIGHT mean that I get it up before Friday.

2) Hey! I participated in another bloggy carnival this week! Motherwear has a "Breastfeeding Carnival" every month or so, and this one was on "How To....". And so I contributed a post on the "supplement" extravaganza that I do. I really love the topic, and I think I had something to contribute. However, the stinkin' thing took me all day, what with the adding of the links of others, and the reading of those blogs, and the commenting on them, and the reading of my comments. Clearly I am not cut out to be a regular blogger.

3) I am thinking of homeschooling. But my older son is just 2.5 and my little guy is three months. Just in the "thinking" stage, we are. So, a friend who is also thinking about it, and I, and another friend (boy, THAT's a doozy of a sentence....) are getting together to do a co-op homeschool thingy for our preschool set. We are going to get together on Mondays for just a couple hours in the morning, and rotate the "teaching" among the moms. Start was this week. I "taught" first. OY! So much planning. And the littles didn't do the crafts right. ARGH. Actually, I think they had fun, since no one wanted to go home. And I had fun in the planning of it, if not the execution. I used the theme of The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a spin-off and wove some Easter theology in. Sortof. I dunno folks....don't know if I am cut out to be a teacher. So, "blog writer" and "teacher" can be checked off my list of "things I know I am cut out for."

4) I am a big fan of Twitter. I don't comment/update much because when I am on the computer I am usually using only one hand because I am nursing (See No. 2 above). But I love the updates. I feel like I know my bloggy friends better when I see daily bits and pieces. I also like Facebook for the same reason, though Facebook updates tend to be people that I know in person, though there is some overlap. Thank GOODNESS that I can do one update using a Twitter application called "Tweetdeck" and select it to update Facebook as well. Saves time.

5) Regarding No 4. above, I happily tweeted the other day that Thomas, age 3 1/2 months, had slept for 4 1/2 hours in one stretch the previous night. Well, in typical Murphy's Law fashion, the following day and night I could NOT. GET. HIM. TO. SLEEP. And, when he did go, he was all, "who needs to stay asleep for longer than twenty minutes, Mom?" and "Hey, life is so very interesting at 10:30, and 1:00, and 2:30, and 4:00 and 5:30!" Not fussy. Just UP. So, what am I doing now while he naps? Writing a blog post, of course, because Jonathan is at pre-school and I actually have TWO hands free and it is bright and sunny outside, and I had a mocha latte this morning. Anyway...advice: Don't tweet that which you don't want jinxed.

6) Sharp baby fingernails hurt. And are impossible to cut. But he is cute, so that counts for something, right?

7) We can't protect our children all the time. But when something happens RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE is is heartbreaking. The boys (my 2.5 yo and his little friend who is within three weeks of my son's age) were playing. And the other mom and I were just saying how nice it was that they were getting along so well. And they ran into my son's room. She was dealing with her older boy who had just awakened and was a bit out of sorts, and I was just preparing to nurse the baby. Suddenly I heard screams! I was more mobile than she was so I put the baby in his bouncy seat and went to see the source. The boys had been jumping on the bed. A no-no in our house, but ok in theirs b/c their bed is on the floor with no frame. However, ours has a frame, and a footboard, which, when the little boy fell and hit his mouth on it, bashed his mouth bloody. Poor little tyke. Gushing blood. My son was sitting there on the other end of the bed looking very confused.

The boy is probably ok, but the mother's nerves and my shirts will never be the same. If it is dangerous to have your kids in your house, right under your nose, in as protected a place as can be, and something like that happens, it is no wonder that we parents have a hard time even letting these little precious ones even out into our yards, much less the real world.

I lie awake at night worrying, sometimes. And then I remember: my children are God's children. He formed them in my womb. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, by Him. And I need to trust Him with them.

Harder said than done, eh?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How to Increase Breastmilk Supply Using Supplements

This is a re-worked post of mine from February 24, 2009. I am participating in Motherwear's April "Breastfeeding Carnival". This month's topic is "How to...." Welcome new readers!

Short background: I had a low supply issue with my first son who is now 2 1/2. Breastfeeding got off to a rocky start, and in spite of much effort, I needed to supplement him with formula, between 30 and 50%. Therefore, I was prepared with this latest pregnancy (Son No. 2 is three months old) that I might have to supplement the baby. I started out by stocking some frozen breastmilk from a wonderful friend of mine whose son was born about three months before I was due. And, several women in my LLL group suggested that I might not have so many difficulties since your body makes more milk making tissue with each pregnancy. Nevertheless, when the lactation nurse visited me in the hospital, she recommended some supplements for ME. My doula, who is also a lactation consultant recommended some others. Therefore, without further ado, here is my daily regimen:

Calcium citrate with magnesium - Two caplets per day - This is the form of calcium that is most easily absorbed by the body and the magnesium helps the absorption as well.

Alfalfa - Two capsules three times a day - A galactogogue among other things.

Milk Thistle - Two capsules three times a day - Ditto.

Goat's Rue - Two capsules three times a day - This was new to me, but is also a galactogogue and is marketed as such. The previous two are marketed for other purposes. You can find Goat's Rue from Mother Love directly, though an internet search will show you other "shops" that have it slightly cheaper. It comes in capsules and a tincture. Allegedly the tincture is more effective, and definitely cheaper, but when you are taking as many potions as I am, it is easier if they are all of the same variety.

Soy Lecithin - One capsule two or three times a day. This is an emulsifier, but also keeps the breastmilk from getting "sticky". I found it useful last time in helping prevent plugged ducts. I am taking it prophylacticaly now.

Fish Oil - One capsule two or three times a day. This should contain EPA and DHA. Good for you, good for the baby.

Probiotic - One capsule three times a day. Just to help keep yeast at bay. I use a shelf-stable probiotic so that I can add it to the pill container. Again, the refridgerated kind is better, but this way I take it.

I am also continuing to take my prenatal vitamins.

Now, some of these have special instructions. The Goat's Rue is supposed to be taken with very little water. The probiotic is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. the milk thistle and the alfalfa have no special instructions. The prenatal should be taken with food so as to minimize any reactions to the iron. WHATEVER. I have to take them all at the same time or there is no hope that I will remember to take them all. So, the "with food" and "without food" get taken at the same time. And when I have to take nine or eleven capsules, you know darn well that they are getting taken with more than a little water. But I figure something is better than nothing.

And the galactogogues seem to be working. It appears that I have more than enough milk for the baby. In fact, I have even managed to pump a bit! I don't pump for supply purposes like I did with my first baby, just enough to keep about four or five ounces in the freezer as I try to give the baby one bottle a week, just for practice. I actually have to take the hospital grade breast pump back in two days, so I will limp along with my own double electric that sounds like an wheezy chicken.

I also eat a lot of oatmeal, and nurse on demand. Hopefully I will be able to exclusively breastfeed this baby for a few more months before having to add anything else to his diet. But, as I have said before, breastfeeding is not for wimps!

(Update April of 2011: This post is the most searched for on my blog. Hopefully this is helpful to those of you looking to increase your supply. I am still nursing my youngest who is 27 mos old. Even if you have low supply, you should be able to stop the supplements after the baby isn't using breastfeeding as his primary source of nutrition, and if you continue to nurse on demand, you should be able to continue nursing for as long as you and your little one want to nurse.)

And now, here are the other posts in the Breastfeeding Carnival (To be updated as more are added):

Breastfeeding Moms Unite: How to become a breastfeeding support professional

The Marketing Mama: How to pump successfully at work

Amber at How to get breastfeeding off to a good start

Baby Carriers Down Under: How to breastfeed hands free

Milk Act: How to care for a sick nursling

Baby Ready: How to get baby to take a bottle

The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: How to help your baby kick the nipple shield habit

Mama Saga: How to breastfeed or just look like you know what you are doing

Breastfeeding Mums Blog: How to wean a breastfeeding toddler

Mama knows Breast: How to get a spouse to help

Blacktating: How to treat a cold while breastfeeding

It's all about the Hat: How to be comfortable around a breastfeeding mom

Zen Mommy: Using YouTube to stop nosy questions!

Natural Birth and Baby Care: How to improve supply with nutrition

MoBoLeez: How to increase your supply with seaweed

Breastfeeding 1-2-3: How to teach your baby nursing manners

Happy Bambino: How to deal with unsupportive family members

Tiny Grass: Tandem Nursing: How to do it without driving yourself and your nurslings crazy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things doing around here

Well. My three-month old baby rolled over, from his back to his front. There goes the ability to set him down on the couch for a minute. I haven't gone back and looked at Jonathan's baby book, but I think he did it at four months.

In other news, Jonathan went to bed last night without (much) dinner as he refused to eat what I gave him. Needless to say, he had a big breakfast this morning.

Also, we had some photos taken of Thomas at three weeks and three months. Email me if you would like the link.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter - And there will be no more weeping.

Across the blogosphere, there is weeping and sorrow for the loss of several babies. And over the past few months, we have heard of several others. And I grieve for these parents. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish or losing a child, at one day, three days, three months, or three years.

My faith in Christ and His death and resurrection from the dead informs my reaction to these sad stories. Although I do weep with and for these parents, I know that these children are being cradled in the arms of their Father, a Father who loved them before their parents even knew they existed.*

That is the promise we have in the Resurrection of Christ: That we have been given the gift of new life. Life after death. Life after pain and suffering. A life where our broken bodies will be made whole and perfect. A life that we can live in direct communion with our Creator. (See 1 Corinthians 15).

That does not make the loss of these children, or the loss of anyone we love, less painful. Even Jesus wept when He heard of the death of His friend, Lazarus. After all, we are the ones left behind to mourn. But for me, the pain of these losses is mitigated by the knowledge of the new life into which these children have been born and which is available to all. (1 Corinthians 15: 21-22; John 3:16).

The Psalms are full of laments to God, as well as praises. Our God is a God who can handle our cries and fears and pain and loss. And He gives us back peace and blessing, in spite of the pain. "Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning."**

My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have recently endured the loss of these precious little ones. May God send His peace that is beyond all understanding to them in their time of grief. And may they know that their children are dancing in Heaven at the throne of God.

*Psalm 139:7-15 "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

**Psalm 30 "I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name.... [W]eeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.... To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy.... Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help." You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever."

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Today I tweeted this:

Disappointment is not about "what happened", it is about one's expectations about what happened. Still painful and annoying though.

Some people on Facebook thought that I was referring to some sort of potty training setback (because we have embarked upon that lovely challenge at the instigation of the two year old). The situation I was referring to actually had nothing to do directly with the kids.

I realized that the oblique nature of my Tweet made the statement relevant to so many areas of life and that those who read it could immediately apply it to their own personal situations.

That silly tweet doesn't say anything deep or new. In fact, a former boss of mine once said to me: "All the problems in the world are the result of unmet expectations."

I guess the real question is how we deal with the disappointment of our unmet expectations. Do we stomp around and pout like a child? (Sometimes.) Do we wail at the unfairness of it all? (More often.) Do we burst into tears as if our best friend has died? (Depends on how much sleep has been had. Or not.) Do we decide that we are never going to expect anything good again and always assume the glass is half empty? (Been there, done that.)

It probably depends on the nature of both the expectation and the depth of the disappointment. Also depends on what you think you deserve.

Parenting is full of expectations. Of ourselves, of our children, of our spouses. Of our parents, if they are still around. We are probably more forgiving of ourselves than others -- at least I am -- yet I disappoint myself on a daily basis.

Sometimes I wonder how often I disappoint God. I mean, He gave His only Son to die for me, and I can't muster the energy to thank Him as frequently as I should.

But that is where grace comes in. Getting something beautiful that I definitely don't deserve on my own merit. By any human calculation, I fail and disappoint on a regular basis. And God extends grace to me in the form of Jesus.

Although this morning I was very disappointed because my plans were thwarted and I was tired, today is still Holy Thursday, and tomorrow is Good Friday. Good Friday is called "good" because it is Christ's death which paid the price for all of our failures. And in three days we will celebrate His Resurrection, which sets our expectation for eternal life with Him. And that expectation is one that will be fulfilled, because it was promised by the Creator Himself.

Easter reminds me that the disappointments of this life are fleeting, but the promises of the next are forever. And at the end of this life I want to be able to say what Paul said to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV). And so, during the disappointments, I look to the Father. And this life becomes less disappointing.

*Apologies to Veronica for sortof stealing the title of her last post at 5 Minutes for Parenting.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I just cannot seem to write anything these days, though I do have a list that I keep in my iPod of possible posts. So y'all will just have to content with pictures of the boys:

This was taken just a few days ago, so Thomas is just about 12 weeks old. His big brother Jonathan is on the "3" side of 2 1/2, but his birthday isn't until the end of August. I love the nonchalant look on Jonathan's face. Needlesstosay, we don't let them sit like this without close supervision.