Stars and Stripes Forever Edition! (and a HUGE giveaway bundle!)

by Kileah McIlvain

We’re gearing up for some HOT Independence Day celebrations this weekend here in the States! (Also, a shout-out to our Canadian Leakies today-July 1st! Happy Canada Day!) So much excitement going on around here that we decided to do a super patriotic #LeakyLooks theme as well as celebrate with Summer Magic Giveaway Bundle just for YOU! (Also, if you’ve joined our TLB Community on Facebook, I gave a super awesome hint about our Newsletter-exclusive secret code words for FIVE EXTRA ENTRIES for all running giveaways! Yeah. If you haven’t signed up for our Newsletter yet, you may just want to if you want to increase your chances of winning this super sweet bundle!)

This week we’re all about the patriotic stars and stripes and the good ol’ red, white, blue for our #BoobOutFashion! Take a look, see what we put together for you. Share, comment, repost on Instagram and Pinterest and show us YOUR patriotic #LeakyLooks this week! (and seriously. go sign up for the Newsletter. You won’t wanna miss this!). Scroll down to the bottom and enter that giveaway! Ready? Set? GO!

Grand Ol’ Flag Neighborhood BBQ

BBQ

 

Here’s a great collection to help you feel put-together as you attend that neighborhood BBQ to celebrate the 4th festivities! I paired this GREAT Milk Nursingwear Contemporary Knot Top with a pair of cropped trousers from Old Navy! A beautiful Tula ring sling in Eclipse to show off your patriotic stars and a Bebe Au Lait nursing cover to give some shade for you and baby in that great July sun! A You!Lingerie bra and Babymel ‘Cara’ diaper bag complete this great red, white, and blue ensemble!

Patriotic Pool Party!

Patriotic Pool Party!

It’s ALL about the vintage and pinup bathing suits this year! Why? Because they’re so complimentary for YOU and they show how FABULOUS you are! I immediately went to Modcloth for this gorgeous pinup suit (and it’s easy boob access!) and paired it with a lightweight wrap skirt from Peace Love World for when you want some poolside sunbathing options! And since I’m a huge babywearing fan, I had to put TWO different carriers in-A great version of another Tula ring sling and one of the newest polkadot Ergobaby carriers! Pair these with some patriotic-themed chewbeads, some sunnnies, and a great Orla Kiely bag from Target, and you’re ready for a fantastic day on the lake, river or backyard pool!

Stars and Stripes Evening Gala

Stars And Stripes Evening Gala

I couldn’t help but put this gorgeous evening look together for a beautiful evening dance set to the patriotic tunes of the night with fireworks booming in the background! I put this look together using this gorgeous navy dress from Modcloth paired with a fantastic pair of peeptoe vintage red pumps from them as well! A beautiful navy nursing bra from Cake and a small metallic clutch for the essentials. And I couldn’t resist finishing off the look with a beautiful silk ring sling from Sakura Bloom! Now you’re ready for an evening that is feeding-friendly and fashionably gorgeous!

Ready for our giveaway? Scroll down!!!

 

LeakyLook Summer Magic Bundle

________________________

#Leaky Looks Summer Magic Giveaway Bundle includes items from AppleCheeks, Bebe Au Lait, and Naked Tank!!!

AppleCheeks

2 AppleCheeks Infinity Nursing Scarves – Retail Value: $64

1 AppleCheeks Swim Diaper – Retail Value: $19.50

1 AppleCheeks Little Bundle Bamboo Diaper – Retail Value: $28.95
For more information visit www.applecheeks.com

Bebe Au Lait

1 Muslin Bedtime Sleeper – Retail Value: $32.00
 1 Muslin Carseat Cover – Retail Value:  $35.00
 1 Muslin Swaddle Blanket (set of 2) – Retail Value:  $32.00
 

For more information visit www.bebeaulait.com

 

 Naked Tank

 1 Black Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank – Retail Value: $40.00
For more information visit www.nakedtank.com 

Total Retail Value of Bundle: $251.45

 

 

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from July 1, 2015 through July 5, 2015. A big thanks to AppleCheeks, Bebe Au Lait, and Naked Tank for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women.This giveaway is open to participants in the USA and Canada.

 

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#LeakyLooks: Fashion, Fireworks, Fabulous! (And a Giveaway!)

by Kileah McIlvain

 

Can you feel it?! Summer, Fireworks (okok. I know some of you don’t like it, but hear me out. You might like the outfit I put together for the 4th better than the actual BOOM BOOM. lol. That is OK!) and simple yet fabulous outfits that allow you the freedom to explore the outdoors, grill outside, neighborhood movie nights projected on an old white sheet, juicy popsicles running down your chin….yeah. I get a bit excited!

We’ve got such a great collection for you Leakies this week! (Plus….a FANTASTIC giveaway from Applecheeks!). Have fun! Pin, Post, Instagram- let me know how you like these looks and what YOUR favorite summer outfits are for #BoobOutFashion!

 

Saturday Farmer’s Market

Farmer's Market

Isn’t this look adorable? I’ve been enjoying this lightweight nursing infinity scarf from Applecheeks and I put together this look for some great fun at the local Saturday market! I even found purple apple earrings from Etsy! Chewbead bracelets are a must-have for that sweet squish as they ride around in an Uppababy stroller! Don’t forget a chic Namaste mini messenger diaper bag in Caribbean Blue from Luv My Bag and an easy, lightweight pair of bermuda shorts from Old Navy and an easy-to-nurse-in White Flutter Sleeve top from Seraphine! (Yes. I totally added in my favorite Birks…because SERIOUSLY. They are amazing. And I live in them come summertime!)

Fireworks and BBQ

Fireworks!

This one has got to be one of my favorite summer looks so far! I centered this whole look on the Tula baby carrier in Skipper! The striped nursing tank is one of my favorite tops from Figure 8 Maternity and I added in a simple red skirt from SheInside. Comfortable Ink Calf hair blue wedge Toms complete this patriotic look! And you’re probably wondering where that gorgeous striped diaper bag came from? Ikabags on Etsy makes them! Don’t forget an eco-friendly way to transport food and water!

Easygoing Boho Mama

The Easygoing Mama

This beautiful and easygoing look is based around the gorgeous BB Slen sling from Babylonia USA! Made ethically and from sustainable resources, this compliments the gorgeous breezy maxi dress from Maurices! I chose this gorgeous maxi for its range of sizes available and the gorgeous print (and easy nursing access!). Wooden and crocheted chew necklace from Etsy and an easy geometric wedges from Toms (as well as a gorgeous bag from Luv My Bag!)-you’re all set for an easygoing day that’s comfortable and functional AND lovely!

Ready to win a sweet bundle from Applecheeks?!

Here is what the winner gets:

Two Applecheeks Nursing Scarves, retail value = $64

ItzyRitzyAppleCheeks (5 of 6)ItzyRitzyAppleCheeks (4 of 6)

Applecheeks Swim Diaper, retail value = $19.50

apple-cheek-swim-diaper-mojito

Applecheeks Bamboo Little Bundle Diaper, retail value = $28.85

Product Details

Total value = $112.35!

Hurry! It ends Tuesday Night and is open to Leakies in the USA and Canada!

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Leaky Looks: Let’s Welcome Summer Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Hey Leakies! Summer is HERE (ok. ok. It officially starts on Sunday…but around here all of the schools have just gotten out for the summer and you can literally smell the sunscreen and freedom wafting in on the warm breezes we’ve been getting here in the Pacific Northwest!

This week we’re giving you some beautiful looks celebrating the beginning of summer in STYLE! pssssst…..Don’t forget to stay tuned for our Applecheeks Nursing Infinity Scarf giveaway!

 

To The Zoo We Go

day at the zoo!

This look I had to put together as we’re planning a zoo trip soon! Keeping it light and layered with an Applecheeks Infinity Nursing Scarf, a Yummielife.com nursing tank, and a Target.com pleated maxi skirt completed with a J. Crew summer hat andSalt Water Sandals from Modcloth! It’s important to have a simple but capable bag like this beautiful plum colored Juno Blu Pumping Bag and keep hydrated with a Sigg water bottle and I also added in some California Baby suncreen (great for kids AND adults!) and one of my favorite lightweight strollers: the Joovy Groove UltraLight! Set for a day of primate watching and exploring the animal kingdom!

Concert On The Lawn

Summer Concert On The Lawn

This look was one of my favorites as here in Portland we get the treat of sooo many wonderful summer concerts outside! I centered this look around the Floressa Ayana Maxi Dress from Queen Bee, a Chambray jacket from Lulus.com, and Kokoro wrap in Mon Cheri. Our delicate grass around here can get a bit dry after the hot weather we’ve been having so I added in a soft blanket from Urban OutFitters. Best part about this ensemble? The Custom wrap conversion bag from Smiling Octopus. Isn’t it just amazing?!

Summer In The City

Summer City mama

This look I curated around this beautiful lightweight button-down blouse (easy to nurse in!) fromAshleyStewart.com, the Anita Stretch microfiber nursing bra Bare Necessities and distressed jeans from Torrid.com. The cute summer hat is from Forever21.com and my current favorite suede wedges from Toms.com. When you’re trecking the concrete jungle in warmer weather, you don’t want a big bulky diaper bag to clunk around your midsection! I added in this gray canvas leather tote from Pottery Barn Kids as a sleek and understated option for carrying your essentials. Beco Soleil in Steps is one of the best lightweight carriers to explore the best haunts and food carts in with your baby!

Have a great week, Leakies! Don’t forget to enter our Applecheeks giveaway when I give the signal! Watch for it!!

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Carrot Fennel (Lactation) Slaw – Feed Your Whole Family

by Carrie Saum

What do you do when you have multiple food needs in your family?

For example: Dad wants protein.  Kids want carbs. Mom could use some milk boosting foods. And EVERYONE needs veggies. You can’t spend a fortune or the energy accommodating everyone all the time, right?  Because you are a mom and you have to feed yourself and your family and maybe the neighborhood, too.

We joined a co-op a few years ago to purchase high-quality animal protein that was raised properly, humanely, and that was affordable.  That might not be possible for you, and that’s okay.  But it felt very important to us and we made the switch, even though it meant eating slightly less meat.

As a new mom, I fell in love with my crockpot.  I love the idea of putting a few ingredients into a pot, walking away for the day, and then eating a fantastic home cooked meal that night.  It seemed to meet all of the criteria for feeding my family: inexpensive, tasty, satisfying, balanced, and full of nutrition.

My favorite crockpot recipe by far is this Pulled Pork.  It’s incredibly versatile and easy to serve, reheat, remake, and freeze.  I make this fennel slaw recipe for the family and use it in pulled pork tacos.  The sweetness of the slaw pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the pork. It has a fighting chance of pleasing the whole family, and boosting your milk production, too!

pulled pork

Ingredients:

  • 2 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced (I recommend using a mandolin.)
  • 2-3 carrots, shaved (I use a veggie peeler.)
  • Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Sea Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine fennel, carrots and as much cilantro as you’d like in a bowl.  I like LOTS of cilantro.
  2. Add vinegar, honey, S&P and mix thoroughly.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving to set.

My favorite preparation is this on top of pulled pork tacos with a little goat cheese a an ice cold limeade  to wash it down with.

Enjoy your summer, enjoy your family!
Carrie

If you like this recipe, check out this recipe for brussel sprouts or Charlie Brown Bars over on Our Stable Table.

__________________________

*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.

___________________________

IMG_2895Carrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices and health knowledge.
Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical and service fields. With background in paramedic medicine, Carrie spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. As an AWC, Carrie currently coaches her clients and their families about topics including nutrition, weight loss, and stress management. In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and author. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son and writes atOurStableTable.com.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Lactation Granola Bark

by Carrie Saum

In my house, anything I make or bake will get eaten either by family or friends.  But it is a very rare occurrence that anything I bake goes in the trash.

When my son was born, I made plenty of lactation goodies (including this lemonade and these cookies) and it was impossible to keep them to myself.  First of all, I didn’t WANT to keep them to myself because I’m a sharer by nature.  Then I couldn’t because all of the people coming in and out of our house knew about the goodies and wanted to partake.

However, that became expensive.  FAST.

I got smart about it.  I made all of the treats I could that were inexpensive.  I could buy oats in bulk for super cheap.  My mom gave me a giant jar of local honey from a farm (also very inexpensive), and the rest is history. I made little crunchy granola bars that resembled Nature’s Valley but without any added junk.

But here’s the thing. I GOT BORED. Since I needed the fuel to keep my supply up while exclusively pumping, I tried my hand at different recipes.  Because boredom is the master of invention.  I think.  No, that’s not the right quote.  But it’s the right idea.  I love trying new things, but I also have to try new things to keep the game interesting. And feeding yourself (and your baby) is always interesting.

So, when boredom struck, I struck back.  I added sunflower seed butter.  And chocolate.

Then I got a little crazy and instead of cutting them, I broke the granola into pieces that were pretty and irregular and made me feel decadent.  And every new mama needs to be made to feel decadent, right?  And maybe even a little fancy, too.  They’re also a breeze to make, and very affordable.

DarkChocolateGranolaBark

 

Ingredients for Granola Bark:

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp molasses (optional, but adds depth of flavor)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey

Ingredients for Chocolate Layer:

  1. 6 oz 90% cacao chocolate
  2. 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1 Tbsp raw honey

Directions for Granola Bark

  1. Combine all dry ingredients, and mix throughly.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients.
  3. Spread granola mixture in a 7×12 inch parchment-lined dish.  Pack it down hard, leaving no breathing room.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Allow to cool completely in the pan.

Directions for Chocolate Layer

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in your home-made double boiler
  2. Add vanilla and stevia
  3. Once melted and stirred well, pour into the pan of chilled nut butter mixture (Optional and delicious step: Spread a thin layer of peanut butter or sunbutter over the granola first, then pour your chocolate over it.)
  4. Allow to harden in the refrigerator for an hour, then break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For an extra milky boost you can add 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast and/or 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal to the granola bark. Be warned that some tummies don’t respond well to the brewer’s yeast so if you or your baby tend to have sensitive stomachs, it may be best to skip it.

*Note: These do NOT keep at room temperature because of the coconut oil the chocolate layer. If you want the chocolate to keep at room temperature, consider using (sustainably and humanely harvested) palm oil instead of coconut oil.

You will be impressed with yourself when you make these.  Better yet, make these for a friend who just had a baby and she will be forever grateful.

Barking up the Lactation Tree,
Carrie

If you love this smoothie recipe, you might like this recipe for Paleo Chocolate Chip Granola or these Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake on Our Stable Table. 

*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.

_______________________

IMG_2895Carrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices and health knowledge.
Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical and service fields. With background in paramedic medicine, Carrie spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. As an AWC, Carrie currently coaches her clients and their families about topics including nutrition, weight loss, and stress management. In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and author. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son and writes at OurStableTable.com.

 

 

 

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Boob Out Fashion: Spectactular Summer Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Last week when we released our Special Occasion Edition,  a leaky on our Instagram feed asked me about nursing SWIMWEAR. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! What IF there WAS such a thing as beautiful, functional swimwear for nursing mamas…or outdoor gear that is breastfeeding-friendly…or workout wear that made it easy to access the milk…what IF?!

Well, @megfyfewatkins ….THANK you for the idea that wouldn’t leave me. I FOUND the droids…err…clothing…you were looking for! (Yes. I’m a Star Wars nerd. More on that, later!)

 

By the Poolside

Swimwear

 

This gorgeous look is centered around the beautiful Pez D’Or La Mer 3-piece tankini set! Provides extra support for your lactating breasts, easily makes milk accessible and really compliments a wide range of figures! I added a Dotti Lazer-cut Kimono cover-up and a simple Sanuk white sandal (so dang comfy. seriously.) In the summer, chances are you’re going to want both you AND baby to cool off in the nearest cool water, so what better way to carry your squish than in a Beachfront Baby Water Ring Sling! Lightweight, dries super-fast, is easily adjustable for comfort and weight of baby and looks effortless. Add in a beautiful and functional Jelly Strands chewbead necklace, a Storksak diaper bag and some EWG-approved Badger Sunscreen and you are good to go for a beautiful day at the beach or by the poolside!

 

Yoga For Two

Workout

This was such a fun look to put together! I pulled this look together based on this Old Navy Burnout Tank I JUST purchased last week! It’s really easy to breastfeed in and pairs really well with the Melinda G Sports Nursing Bra that I picked out (Yes. there ARE actually sports bras that are made for the breastfeeding and pumping mama!). I love the easy cuteness of a good Bolder Band to keep sweat out of my face as I’m working out. REI has Hugger Mugger Batik yoga bags that I seriously want like…all of. I added an Echo Vessel water bottle and a great gym bag. My first carrier I ever had was an Ergobaby Original carrier. They still remain one of my go-to carriers and after birthing 4 hobbits, it has always held up to our busy lifestyle!

Take A Hike

Hiking

Living in the Pacific Northwest is kind of like saying “I live in a mecca for all things lush and outdoors.” An hour to the misty mountains. An hour to the soft-sanded coast. Deep lakes, temperate rainforests, and internationally-acclaimed hiking trails are one of our trademarks in these parts. Imagine my HAPPINESS when I discovered there is an actual clothing line designed for the active, pregnant/breastfeeding mom! Mountain Mama has an impressive line of great outdoorwear for the active outdoors mom! Crafted well from durable material and versatile for just about any wardrobe. I included the Salomon Ellipse GTX women’s hiking shoes (top-rated by Outdoor Gear Lab!) and the Lillebaby All-Seasons carrier in Stone as it’s incredibly breathable and the dimensions work so very well for both mums and dads! (see a GREAT review my husband did on them HERE!). Throw in a GORGEOUS Tekhni Pax Delta Hip Sack, some chemical-free thinksport sunscreen, and a double-insulated Kleen Kanteen stainless-steel bottle and you are set to explore the great outdoors with your family!

Are you inspired, yet?! Want to show us your summer-friendly #LeakyLooks outfits? Inspire the Leakies and tag us using our hastags on instagram or facebook! Now get outside and enjoy life in all of its summer beauty in all of your #booboutfashion awesomness!

PSSSSST: we have some super-awesome exclusive stuff coming soon (As in, next week!). (a giveaway? a Leaky feature? What could it be?!)…so keep watching our #LeakyLooks space and get your share-button ready! It’s going to be GOOD.

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Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: When No One Knows

by Kileah McIlvain

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains experiences of depression and anxiety and loss and may be triggering to certain individuals. Please read with care.

postpartum depression postpartum anxiety, monster within.

photo: urban bay photography

I sat there. On the park bench in the middle of Laurelhurst a year ago today. He sat on the other end. I felt like a NOTHING. A Void. A Black hole from which and out of which nothing good could come. I wanted to hurl myself into the quiet duckpond while the local shakespeare players were acting out a scene from Macbeth on the other side of the trees. The feelings of exploding, of darkness, of drowning, of feeling like nothing but a walking corpse never felt more present. What was the point? Why the hell was I put on this earth if God was going to play russian roulette with my life? What the hell was I supposed to do with this gnawing grief of  a past miscarriage and the overwhelming demands of  trying to meet my family’s needs? Why couldn’t I just be kind? Why couldn’t I be strong and be good and just BE who my kids and my husband needed me to be? The questions that had taken root in the dark and walled-up places of my heart began to erupt. The rotten rags that I’d used to stuff up all of the leaks and holes riddling my soul began to surface from these murky depths. I was thrashing around in the gaping maw of my own personal monster. I couldn’t move anymore. I was going to sink. I wanted to sink…and be nothing. It was terrifying.

I. Wanted. To. Die. 

The strange thing is. No one tells you. Either because they don’t know what to say or they don’t even KNOW. It’s easy to smile and nod, and pretend you’ve got it together. Because that’s what you do. It’s invisible, this monster. It chews at your mind and sucks your soul until you feel hulled out…like a painted eggshell that looks great to everyone around you…but you’re hollow and fragile. And no one has a clue. They don’t know that you want to run away. They don’t know that it terrifies you to say anything because you’re sure that if you do, someone will call CPS or SPCC and take your children away. You’re convinced you’re a bad mom. That you aren’t capable of caring for these little humans you gave birth to. The yelling, the blackouts where 15 minutes later you don’t know what was done or what was said. The deeply-ridden shame and anxiety and the panic attacks triggered by the hot water in the shower. I remember the earliest days of my darkness when I laid my son down two weeks after becoming a new mother and cringing because the thought of touching him repulsed me. Because I didn’t want him to touch me. His crying and my exhaustion and me feeling like I couldn’t do anything right (including breastfeeding challenges)…it was overwhelming. And it didn’t stop. With each new life I birthed into this world, my darkness found new depths and more desolate places to dwell. This happened to me. This silent inner monster had blackened everything…and it didn’t go away.

I reached that breaking point a year ago today. I realized that I was unwell. That it wasn’t normal to want to die. That it wasn’t normal to be experiencing panic attacks and blackouts and physical pain because you didn’t want to move or deal or face anyone or anything. That running away from bonding emotionally through touch wasn’t normal.

I’ll tell you what didn’t help.

  • The very cautious ventures into the world of mental health and community before my breaking point had so far amounted to bible verses being shoved down my raw throat (If you just do ABC, God will make it all better!) and people frustrated with my questions because “How could you think this about God? It just isn’t true, and you have to figure that out!”
  • I was told “You’re breastfeeding! There should be tons of lovey warm hormones flowing through you. That isn’t possible!”
  • I was told “Well I got over it, I just had to make up my mind to pull myself up out of this funk.” To which I said “Really? Because I’ve been trying for 5 years and 3 more kids now…and it isn’t working.”
  • I was told “It’s just the baby blues. You just need  YOU-time.” And while that may be the healing ticket someone needs to start getting better…it wasn’t mine. It was only a small number in the equation that was my situation.

What did I do? Well, nothing huge to start with. But talking to someone about it helped. (for me, that was my partner.) No, he wasn’t perfect, but he sat there. And listened. I told him that I was terrified. All the time. I was angry. Angry that God allowed my life to experience what I have. That it wasn’t necessary. That everyone’s life would be better off without me in it. That I wasn’t what anyone needed and I wasn’t healthy for anyone to deal with. I was scared of repeating the harm and emotional and relational damage that was done to me in my own childhood. That started my own journey to health. Reaching out, finding resources, wanting better.

I found a few resources online to point me in the right direction. I was currently breastfeeding my 4th little one and didn’t even know if there were medication options available for me. I didn’t know WHAT I needed, exactly. I just knew that up to that point? Nothing was working. And it needed to change. This had been going on for 5 years. FIVE. YEARS. I didn’t even know what normal meant for me anymore…I only knew THIS. I found a therapist through my state’s mental health resources. I was connected with people that didn’t look down on me like I was some unfit mother…but as a valuable human being who had a condition and in need of help navigating through my depression and anxiety so that I could be healthy again.

Postpartum depression and anxiety isn’t just in your head. It isn’t imagined or something you can just will away or pretend it doesn’t exist.

Postpartum depression and anxiety IS real.

Postpartum depression and anxiety IS a monster.

But it’s a monster you DON’T have to try slaying on your own.

photo: urban bay photography

photo: urban bay photography

Am I there yet? No. But some days I am better.

Sometimes I can look up now and notice that the way the wind moves through the trees is beautiful. I can catch glimpses of hope in my eyes when I look in the mirror. Some days are dark. Really dark. But they are not ALL dark, now. I am not alone. I know now that it’s ok to reach out to the people in my life who are helping me through this. My husband. My therapist. My councilor.  My mind…is better. Medication,therapy, counseling, therapeutic touch, acupuncture, babywearing, herbal supplements, meals…those are a few things that are helping me.  The biggest catalyst for me? Speaking up. Spreading awareness of just what postpartum depression and anxiety feels like and what it can do and resources that are out there to help mothers struggling. Because I am there. WE are there. And things CAN get better. WE are not alone.

Photo: Urban Bay Photography

Photo: Urban Bay Photography

Speak. Don’t stay silent.

Your voice may shake. Your knees may buckle. The monster inside may scream at you. But know you are enough. There IS help. The world IS more beautiful because you are in it. Courage, dear heart. You are enough. And this heart of yours is being forged into a masterpiece. You. Are. LOVED.

Some resources that helped me understand my postpartum depression and anxiety:

-Artistic infographics on what it feels like to live with depression and anxiety. Good for people who want to help but don’t know what to do.

-A helpful collection of comic strips because a different perspective and sense of humor can help.

-A great checklist and resource page that helped me in recognizing PPD and PPA.

 

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Strawberry Fennel Salad

by Carrie Saum

It’s springtime, which means everything is blooming, alive, and vital. My body starts craving fresh green veggies, berries, and other seasonal vegetables. One of my favorite salads for this late spring and summer?  Strawberry and fennel with baby kale and goat cheese.  Salads are fast, easy to prep and it doesn’t take much to make them a little fancy.

Getting enough green leafy veggies can also be a challenge for breastfeeding or pumping mamas, and we need those powerful plants to bring nourishment to our babes. Iron is a key component to maternal and infant health, and pregnancy and breastfeeding can take a massive toll on our iron stores. It’s important to keep that in mind as we care for our tiny people and also care for ourselves.

One key component of iron absorption that is commonly overlooked is the necessity of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a powerful role in assimilation of iron in the body. Think about it this way: Your body produces milk, but the milk doesn’t do much without a way to move it. We use our babies mouths or breast pumps to deliver the milk to the right place so it can be utilized.   In the same way, iron needs vitamin C to deliver it to our bodies’ cells for maximum benefit.  (If you’re interested in learning more about the important role of iron and vitamin c, read this great info from the CDC.)

This salad uses plenty of fresh, iron-rich green veggies, and seasonal strawberries, which are loaded with vitamin C. The addition of fennel provides a gentle boost to your milk supply as well as slightly sweet, bright crunch with a hint of licorice flavor that makes all of the flavors pop.

FennelLactationSalad

If you’re steering clear of cheese, I suggest ripe avocado to add creaminess and healthy fat.  I also have a bottle of pomegranate balsamic vinegar that I use for things like this.  As far as berries are concerned, I tried this with blueberries because we went berry picking last summer and found ourselves with five pounds of blueberry goodness.  IT WAS AMAZING.  I regret not getting a photo of it. But strawberries are a great addition to this salad, and have enough vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron in the greens.

If you use baby kale, this salad stays fresh for 48 hours in the refrigerator, so it’s convenient to make one large salad and snack on it for a couple of days. If baby kale is too much for you or your little one, try baby spinach for a milder flavor and tender texture. It just won’t keep longer than a few hours once it’s dressed.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups baby kale (Baby kale is more like spring greens and less like…kale.)
  • 10 fresh strawberries, sliced and halved
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced thin (I recommend a mandolin)
  • 3-4 oz goat cheese crumbles, or one small avocado, diced
  • small handful of microgreens (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • red wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Herbs d’Provenance
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Combine all prepped produce in a bowl.
  2. Top with goat cheese and herbs and chia seeds if you’re using them.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegars. Finish with a few shakes of salt and pepper.
  4. Let everyone know you’re a salad magician.

We don’t need to make this harder than it absolutely has to be, mamas.  Keep it simple, easy, and tasty.  The fact that it’s packed full of nutrition just makes it that much better.

It’s Not Easy Being Green,
Carrie

If you like this recipe, check out this Kale Waldorf Salad or Roasted Cauliflower Soup over on Our Stable Table.

*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.
IMG_2895Carrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices and health knowledge. Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical and service fields. With background in paramedic medicine, Carrie spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. As an AWC, Carrie currently coaches her clients and their families about topics including nutrition, weight loss, and stress management. In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and the voice behind OurStableTable.com. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son.

 

 

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“The One Where We Nurture The Nurturer <3” The Leaky Times Newsletter, Vol. 4

Welcome to The Leaky Boob’s latest newsletter: “Weaning and Beyond!”

Some of the formatting didn’t adjust to our website just right; to see it in a new window the way it was meant to look, click here!

Tell us what you think in a comment below! How do you like it? What feature would you include in future newsletters? What is your favorite feature?

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The following is a little preview of what’s included in this week’s newsletter:

Hey there, Leaky! This week we’re talking about Nurturing the Nurturer. YOU. Taking care of yourself so that you can thrive in this season of your life! We have some fantastic interactive links and articles designed to encourage you in self-care and celebrate in anticipation of Mother’s Day on May 10th! Keep scrolling for some YUMMY recipes, new Leaky Comic, our upcoming MILK conference, and our LAST giveaway for TLB’s Birthday celebration. You don’t want to miss out! 

In The One Where We Nurture The Nurturer you will find:

Newsletter exclusive: letter to the Leakies from TLB founder, Jessica Martin-Weber.

Our BEST articles and advice on taking care of YOU.

Information on MiLK: An Infant Feeding Conference.

Ask The CPST Feature.

Boobs and Bottles Around the Web.

Leaky to Leaky Tips for Self-nurturing.

Leaky Chronicles.

A special recipe from Our Stable Table.

Highlights from our sister sites.

TLB Comics.

To access all this and more, read the newsletter here and be sure to sign up to have it delivered directly to your inbox.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

by Carrie Saum

This post made possible by a partnership with The Leaky Boob sister community, Our Stable Table.

Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Colleen Photography.

Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Colleen Photography.

 

Confession:

I am a cookie snob.

Lactation cookies are no different.

I found a recipe in my mom’s kitchen recipe box on a raggedy old index card. It wasn’t in her handwriting or my grandmothers’ handwriting.  I snagged the card and kept it for a few years.  But let’s face it.  I made these cookies SO OFTEN that I committed the recipe to permanent memory.

When I had my son, we were too stressed and busy to think about lactation cookies while he was in the NICU for the first week of his life.  We came home from the hospital, and I had to get serious about boosting my milk supply, especially since I was not sleeping or eating regularly, and pumping exclusively. (I know, I know.  Not a great way to start motherhood, but those days were SURVIVAL. And it got better.)

My husband, who just happens to be an amazing baker, took over making the oatmeal cookies while I was working around the clock to feed my baby.  My husband and I ate these cookies by the batch, a bright spot in a wild season, and I would wake up in the middle of the night to pump and feed my baby with a spoonful of the cookie dough in one hand and my newborn in the other.

These are ADDICTIVE.

Oh yeah.  And the cookies totally boosted my milk supply. Which, let’s face it, was a bonus.

There are three versions of this cookie.

Version 1: The Regular Version. This version is perfect for eating in any form, raw, cooked, frozen, etc.

Version 2: The Lactation Version. This version gives extra milk-boosting power with the addition of flax meal.

Version 3: The You-Will-Never-Love-Another-Cookie-As-Much-As-This-Cookie Version.  I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  And it will still make you milky.  Is that even a phrase?  It shouldn’t be.  I immediately regret writing it.

I’ll give you the base recipe with the tweaks (which are minor) along the way.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour ( 1.5 cups for V3)
  • 2.5 cups old fashioned oats, not instant (3 cups for V3)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (You can use dark or semi-sweet chocolate but it’s less awesome.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk (4 Tbsp for V2)
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal (ONLY for V2)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Using an elctric mixer or a lot of elbow grease, cream butter and sugars until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine flour, (flax meal if you are making V2), baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl.
  3. Slowly add flour mixture to the sugar mixture until it’s incorporated. Be careful not to over mix. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  4. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, put dough in 1 inch rounds, making sure to leave plenty of room to expand.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  I’ll let you decide what kind of doneness you like but I pull them promptly at 13 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, and cool completely on cooling rack.  Or until you can reasonably eat them without burning the crap out of your mouth.
  7. Skip baking them altogether and just eat the dough straight.

These are also pretty awesome to make and bring to your friends who have just become parents, so just go ahead and bookmark this recipe and plan to make them.  You will be the favorite friend, possibly ever.  This is also a great way to love your newly lactating Baby Mama, too.

If you like this recipe, head over to Our Stable Table for more great recipes and some great conversation.

Happy Lactating!
Carrie

 

IMG_2895Carrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices and health knowledge.
Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical and service fields. With background in paramedic medicine, Carrie spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. As an AWC, Carrie currently coaches her clients and their families about topics including nutrition, weight loss, and stress management.In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and author. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son.

 

 

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