by Jessica Martin-Weber, illustrated by Jennie Bernstein
Summer is here. And maybe your new little baby is here, too. Snuggly and warm.
Oh, so warm.
Almost suffocatingly hot.
Dear God, is that a baby or a furnace you’re holding? The temperature outside is a stifiling 100+ degrees and holding that little fireball while also living on the approximate surface of the sun might be a bit much for you.
But you want cake.
Except it’s summer and who has the time or energy or heat capacity to use an oven?
But you still want cake.
Enter your new BFF – The CrockPot.
Yep. Make your cake IN THE SLOWCOOKER.
There is no need to turn your house into an incinerator while taking care of your miniature lava ball on top of the erupting volcano we call Earth just to have a tasty and relatively healthy treat.
This recipe utilizes the amazing benefits of oats, lowers the glycemic index with the use of coconut palm sugar, and gives you the fun milk-boosting benefit of stout beer without actually consuming it. Plus, after baking it for several hours in a large pot, a majority of the alcohol dissipates so you don’t have to worry about you (or your other kiddos) getting a buzz when eating it. All of this, just by using your crockpot.
Now, to be clear, this is a dense cake. It’s almost more of a bread. Should we call it a cake bread? Either way, it’s satisfying and just perfectly sweet. You can add chopped up apples or nuts if you want to give it more texture. I prefer to top my crockpot cake with a bit of homemade whipped cream, sweetened slightly with honey.
The best way to store this is pre-cut in storage containers. Once completely cool, you can slice it and use parchment or wax paper to separate the layers inside the container. It’s easy to grab on the go, and you aren’t using up that valuable crockpot or counter space to store. It refrigerates well, and also freezes well. You can eat it in the morning with your yummy lactation tea, or as a late-night nursing snack while you cuddle your tiny newborn/thermal nuclear reactor.
What’s in your CrockPot?
When I was exclusively pumping, I lost interest in oatmeal around month four. Completely. It went the way of my sex drive. Gone. Poof. The end. Oats and penises were unwelcome guests in my body, and it took a while to come back around to both.
As it turns out, I just needed to spice things up a little. Well, okay. That’s not entirely true. I needed to spice things up more than a little. I needed a major boost to my palate, my milk supply and my sex drive.
After doing some research, I discovered a small amount of maca root might boost my sex drive, as well as my milk supply. After having a chat with my doctor and midwife about the possible side effects of maca in breast milk, I felt safe trying it in very small quantities.
I bought some organic maca powder from my favorite local health food store and tasted it. It was pretty gross. I tried mixing it in my coffee. That was worse. I added a half teaspoon to my oatmeal. It wasn’t bad. In fact, I couldn’t taste it.
I choked down quarter of a bowl of oatmeal with the maca. I was still weary of eating oats, so I needed to reinvent them. But what can you do to oats? I mean, at the end of the day, oats are oats, right?
I pumped an hour later and got two ounces more than I typically did at that time of day.
That night, my husband and I were watching TV after putting our son to bed. I had the sudden urge to jump his bones. And I did.
Obviously, the next morning I was determined to make my oatmeal taste decadently delicious. Because it was doing good things for my baby, my body, and my marriage, I needed to make it do good things for my palate. I played with some spice combinations, continuing to add (barely more than a pinch of) maca to my breakfast bowl, and tried dousing it with Indian spices, fresh fruit and nuts. I wanted my oatmeal to taste the way I felt: warm, complex, and sexy.
I know. HOW CAN OATMEAL BE SEXY? But I wanted to dress it up in its most alluring dress with a bra straps slipping, biting it’s lip with smoldering eyes. Ancient maca root and lots of spices do just that. My post-partum body NEEDED me to do that.
Disclaimer One: Too much maca might make you a little testier than usual. It can ramp everything up, including your emotions. It stokes the fires. ALL THE FIRES. So, use restraint when adding it to your oats.
Disclaimer Two: Maca has been used for centuries to naturally support hormone balance, and but you might want to run it by your doctor to be on the safe side. If I took too much, it revved my son up for a few hours. If you or your trained medical professional person feel uncomfortable with the maca, you can omit it. It will still work great with the flax and oats.
Disclaimer Three: Be sure to stock up on condoms or your favorite birth control. Or don’t and make another baby. Either way, this could possibly boost your libido, so be prepared.
Disclaimer Four: Sex after baby can be tricky (some tips from HIM on better sex after baby here, some tips from HER on better sex after baby here.). While a little maca helped my struggling libido, it doesn’t work for everybody. Because everybody’s body is different. So, go easy on yourself, and know there is support for you wherever you’re at.
Thank you for giving my son life.
I don’t want to get crazy on you here, but let me be totally transparent: I can’t imagine what my family would look like without that liquid gold. Your gold. Your life-force alchemy.
I know what it’s like to hook yourself up to a pump every day, mulitple times a day, for months on end. Extracting that milk, creating extra steps, extra dishes, extra work while engaging in the most extra energy exerting time of your life with a newborn clutched to one breast as the pump cranks on the other. You never even hinted at the burden I knew it was for you. You handled it with an elegant grace I unreservedly admire.
Last year, I found myself stuck in a nightmare with my eight month old son. My sweet baby had severe food allergies (here’s what I want you to know about FPIES), and needed more milk than I could produce. My breasts, the ones that were meant to feed him, began to fail us both. Even after all of the nutrition and support and finally pharmaceutical medication, I could not raise my milk supply to keep up with his demand. Exclusive pumping, unimaginable stress, sick baby, hormone shifts, whatever. You name it, it contributed to the decrease in my milk.
Formula was a risky option for my son, even the expensive elemental ones that work for 99.9% of infants with food allergies. We had no guarantee my son’s compromised system could tolerate the pre-digested proteins, as many other babies with his syndrome are unable to. I prayed. I researched. I lit candles and called formula companies and looked into every conceivable way to feed my son that did not require actual food.
And then my phone rang and you were on the line, understanding with your medical knowledge and feeling it all with your tender heart, and asked if you could give my son your milk.
I cried. With my back literally against the wall, sitting on the floor of my bedroom, muffling my relieved sobs, I accepted your gift with the undeniable knowledge there was no way I could ever pay this gift forward, much less pay you back. With a newborn baby who needed your milk and a toddler who needed your attention, a full-time job and active community involvement, you offered to close the gap for us. You added one more thing to your very full plate and you did it with grace and strength and love.
Every few weeks, a box would arrive, overnighted from Texas to Oregon, dry ice all but disintegrated in a custom styrofoam cooler. (One of many coolers you recruited your friends to save for you to ship your milk to us.) You pumped your milk, froze it, picked up the cooler from your friend, loaded it all into your car, bought dry ice, carefully constructed the layers of dry ice and newspaper and milk inside the cooler, put that cooler in a box and took it to the shipping place with a hope and a prayer that all your hard work and irreplaceable milk would travel 2,000 miles and still be frozen when it arrived. You, who had a million and one things to do, found time and capacity to do one more (hard) thing. And you never complained.
I followed a strict elimination diet, and at one point I could only safely eat 11 foods without causing my son’s gut to bleed and his weight to drop. You altered your diet, too. You ate the same tiny list of foods because you loved my son that much. You restricted your menu and dilligently read every label and questioned every ingredient before eating a single bite in order to keep my son safe. You were full of encouraging words and creatively figured out what to eat when you couldn’t really eat anything and shared your food hacks with me.
Last summer, after seven months of pumping and freezing and shipping, you called me in tears. Your milk was almost gone, drying up to barely a trickle. I cried, too. I offered to send back what milk I had left in my freezer for your daughter. The milk belonged to her. YOU are HER mama. That milk was made for her. I was adamant.
You said no.
Unbeknownst to me, you had already tried other supplemental options and she responded well. “My baby is healthy. We can still nurse. And two more weeks of freezer milk will buy you time to find another way.” And you were right. We found another way. Another donor, (your sister). And another donor after that, (my best friend). And eventually, another supplementation my son’s body accepted.
by Kileah McIlvain
August is all about transitions. For some of us that means a new baby and learning how to care for yourself and your new little one. For some it means exploring new places as a family or returning to work after an end-of-summer vacation. Whatever you are transitioning to or from, you want a wardrobe that functions and feels great no matter the scene you find yourself in! A big shout-out to the ever-soft Naked Tank and the classically beautiful MelindaG for joining with us this week as we transition into autumn and all of the new possibilities that lay ahead! (Plus, If you haven’t already, subscribe to our latest newsletter just released yesterday and find an exclusive coupon code for Naked Tank!)
Love our #LeakyLooks? Share, Pin, tag us on Instagram and show us how YOU like to rock your #LeakyLooks!
Babymoon. It’s all about the comfort. I don’t know about you but recovering from one of the biggest body-marathons EVER should mean some major pampering and self-care for both you AND baby as you’re getting the hang of breastfeeding. I started out with this unique Cami Sutra Nursing Tank from MelindaG. This is the only tank I’ve ever personally used on the market that has a separate adjustable bra underneath the tank layer! This makes for a much more comfortable fit as your supply is adjusting and it layers so well with just about anything else in my wardrobe! I’m currently obsessing over comfy jogger pants like these ones from H&M that double as both sweats and break the mold of just yoga pants! Layering with a favorite cardigan and keeping your tootsies warm with Target’s slide slippers is a must. Need some extra care for sore nipples, sore bottoms, or milk supply? Earth Mama Angel baby has a great Postpartum Recovery Essentials Bundle that is PERFECT for taking care of the recovering mum! Needing extra support while you and baby are getting the hang of nursing? Ergobaby has JUST recently released their Natural Curve Nursing Pillow and we here at TLB give it the Leaky Stamp of Approval!
First Friday Art Walk
Here in Portland, we have a great art scene and regularly have what we call “First Friday” every month! There are local art walks and bistros open to wine tastings, curated food samplings, and great live music in the local squares and street corners! This look starts out with the Fresh Flow Dress (Best Zipper placement EVER!) layered with the incredibly soft Naked Nursing Tank! This tank is lightweight, breathable, and makes for quicker access to feeding baby while walking around in the Beco Soleil Scribble carrier-enjoying the sights and sounds around you! Throw in some great patterned leggings, some colorful chewbeads, and a small Ju-Ju-Be Quick Olive Juice bag (You can buckle it to your carrier and it holds all of your essentials for mama and baby!).
Office Space-Leaky Style!
Whether you’re returning to work as a teacher, back in the office after an end-of-summer vacation, or meeting your next client, I created this great transition look to be comfortable, classy, and trendy! I started with a great lightweight blouse from Torrid. It has a hint of summer with all the great qualities of a shirt that can be dressed up with belted Midi skirt, or dressed down a bit for date night with a pair of jeans and heels (these green heels from Modcloth are my current fave!). If you’re working long hours at the office, having a comfortable nursing bra like the MelindaG Smoothly Divine Bra is so important! (I have this one and seriously. It’s sooo flattering! Plus I have larger breasts and I LOVE the sizing range!). Finish your layered look with a beautiful jewel-toned cardigan or coat, DON’T forget some great nipple butter, and carry your favorite pump in a chic bag like this one from Juno Blu!
For the BRAND NEW MUM, or for the NEWLY-MADE-MOTHER in your life, this newsletter edition is just for YOU. Resources curated to keep, share, and change lives plus some special discounts! We welcome you and your new bundle. If that new baby stage is over for you, scroll down to our contribution from our sister sites that have nothing to do with babies and infant feeding for recipes, relationship stories, and reviews.
How will parenting change you? Let me count the ways. We’ll start with 4 for now though.
Whether everything went according to the serene picture in your head or nothing like it at all, becoming a new parent is an experience like no other. Largely because all the preparation in the world doesn’t really prepare you and before you know it, parenting is sink or swim.
So you start swimming. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep SWIIIIIIIIIIIIIMING!
The reality is no matter how much you envisioned being a perfect parent, you will fail. I know, not very encouraging. But the sooner you accept that, the better it will be, you are not going to ever be a perfect parent. Parenting will change you and though you won’t be a perfect parent, you ARE the perfect parent for your child(ren). Flaws and all. There are glorious, amazing moments in parenting that will take your breath away. There are sweet, tender moments in parenting that will make you smile and treasure the little things. And yes, there are horrible, nightmarish moments in parenting that will cause you to question what you were thinking getting into this gig in the first place. All of the moments need the other moments.
Three ways parenting will change you:
You will redefine a good night’s sleep. And you’ll be amazed at how little can feel so good. Four months into parenting our second daughter, who had a personal vendetta against sleep, we had our first night with 4 hours in a row. Plus another 2 after that. It was amazing. I celebrated. Never mind that a year before a good night was 10 uninterrupted hours of sleep.
Clean takes on a new meaning too. So just how much like sour milk does that shirt you wore yesterday smell? On a scale of 1-10 if it’s a 7 it may likely pass as wearable.
You will need more storage on your phone. Sure, it’s popular to be annoyed with your friends posting pictures and videos of their kids all the time on social media but, OMG, you should have seen the way she discovered her fingers! You’re going to need more room on your phone.
Patience for yourself. At least I hope parenting changes you this way. If you are a perfectionist, this is particularly hard. In the end though, if you wouldn’t want someone treating your child the way you treat yourself, then you’re going to need to model that with how you treat yourself. Patience is key.
You’ve got this. You will keep swimming.
And for some of the more fun parts of parenting a newborn, see these 12 signs that you’re breastfeeding a newborn here.
Scroll down for more support for new parents, a great coupon code (20% off!) for a top that will convert all your shirts into breastfeeding tops, and for topics well beyond those baby days, see the sections from our sister sites OurStableTable.com andBeyondMoi.com.
by Kileah McIlvain
It’s the end of summer! We can all feel it. The anticipation of cooler days, school supplies, hot tea, and ALL OF THE FLANNEL (okok. I’m from Portland. Like THAT wasn’t obvious! Ha.). But – it’s August. Which means, for a lot of us, it’s still fairly warm and dry outside. We’re getting some of our older kids ready for a new school year, all of the extra errands we’re running to sign our kids up for fall sports, physicals, dentist appointments, end-of-summer-getaways, considering more versatile clothing to facilitate pumping at work….August fills up pretty fast when you think about it!
To kick off #WorldBreastfeedingMonth, I asked our Leakies in our Facebook Community to share with us what they wanted to see in our latest pics-and here they are! Be sure to tell us what you liked and what you’d like to see! Want to submit your own ideas for us to feature? Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and use #LeakyLooks! xoxo -Kileah
Leaky At Work
This look features a great neutral-themed collection of “transition pieces” that are pumping-friendly and versatile. I started with some great ankle trousers from Gap that can be paired with a boot, heel, or ballet flat. This particular trouser style and print are really versatile, fashion forward and can be dressed up or down while remaining uber comfy in various work environments – even at home! This great light-blue cotton button-down tunic top from H&M+ works really well for pumping in a Hot Milk Chic Ivory Nursing Bra without a lot of fuss and looks classy paired with a minimalist color pop of jewelry like this teething necklace from Vintage Honey Shop! When transitioning to autumn, it’s a great idea to combine both layers and texture – so pairing a lightweight structured shirt with a woven blazer like this one really keeps the outfit alive and functions to keep you warm if you need it! Don’t forget to complete the outfit with a chic durable pumping handbag like this Juno Blu Esalen bag in “Steel Snake”!
Boutique Business Owner
This look captures such a chic and comfortable vibe in tones of stone, deep plum and blushed peach! I wanted to highlight the nursing mama who may be a small business owner. This beautiful viscose navy tie-back nursing dress from Seraphine is incredibly soft and really works well with a variety of body shapes and is easily adjustable to celebrate your beautiful mama body! Long hours means every piece you wear needs to work to your advantage and comfort, which is why I chose this Leading Lady Molded Sport Nursing Bra from Herroom. It provides breathable, comfortable all-day support in a GREAT range of sizes, and is a great price as well! I couldn’t resist these great stylish flats from Modcloth (oh, Modcloth: Let me sing the ways I love thee!). Who doesn’t want a cute bag that doesn’t cost you your firstborn? This Skip Hop diaper bag is a chic, cost-conscious option for carrying essentials for both you and baby. Building relationships with local shop owners and your little one wants to explore with you? This beautiful Wildbird.co 100% Linen ring sling in Cockatoo is a beautiful and inexpensive option for keeping your sweetling close! (Plus, I have this thing for bees and honeycombs! Again, Modcloth accessories are GENIUS. And adorable!)
Pine State Mama
If you know me AT ALL, Leakies, you know I have a love for Leyton Doc Marten boots, Portlandia, and all things Plaid. This look came to me after contemplating how much I love a local haunt called Pine State Biscuits. Because giant biscuits. And gravy. Just….google it. I know it isn’t the same as stuffing your face with them, but maybe you should start planning a foodcation here? Asap? I thought so The Your My Lumber One dress from Modcloth passes the #boobouttest worn with a comfortable pair of boyfriend jeans and this GREAT Elomi nursing bra! I just recently bought this great black wool hat at H&M (seriously. it goes with EVERYTHING. Even sweatshirts!). And basically Beco baby carriers WINS with Herman. Because vintage octopuses? Yeah. Be still my beating heart! Plus, with my growing little ones, I’ve been needing to upgrade to a more toddler-supportive carrier option. Beco really takes the cake with comfort in my book-for both parents AND kids!
I hope you love these looks! Remember! Tag @TheLeakyBoob on Instagram with #LeakyLooks to show us how YOU rock your workwear, boobwear, and anything in between! WE want to feature YOU! #LeakyLooks #FashionForAll #YOUmatter #BoobOutFashion #MaternityWear #NursingWear