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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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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Ergobaby Postpartum and Newborn care chat and giveaway

Ergobaby knows the importance of those first few days, weeks, and months with a new baby and that taking good care of mom is part of taking good care of baby.  That’s why they are sponsoring a live chat on The Leaky Boob Facebook page with postpartum doula and IBCLC Marcy Sauter.  That’s also why they are giving away some carriers and their new Ergobaby swaddlers (designed to allow freedom of movement while still providing a safe, snuggly swaddle), because supporting families from day one is what they’re all about.

Ergo mom cuddle

To check out our chat and the wealth of information and support shared there, check out these links:

Introduction

Preparing for the postpartum and newborn period

Postpartum depression and mom care with breastfeeding

Postpartum and newborn care with older children and family

Postpartum mom and newborn care in special circumstances

What postpartum physical changes moms found surprising

Baby care essentials

Crazy new mom

The importance of rest postpartum and societal support

Moving beyond the postpartum and newborn phase

 

To be entered into the giveaways, click on the widgets below:
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What is Skin to Skin Care?

by Kim Walls, mom and creator/owner of BabyTime by Episencial.  This post made possible by the generous support of BabyTime Episencials.

Kangaroo Care
The most classic definition of ‘Skin-to-Skin Care’ (which is the same as ‘Kangaroo Care’) refers specifically to sessions of 60 minutes of continuous touch between baby and mom in the first moments, hours and days after baby is born. First, baby is placed on mother’s chest immediately after birth, where the cascade of normal hormonal physiological benefits will occur. Baby will show nine distinct stages of bonding including relaxation, crawling (Yes! A newborn will actually wiggle towards the breast!) and rooting to suckle.
The latest research shows that while the 60 minute time frame recommended for classic Kangaroo Care is important, it touches on just a fraction of the benefits available to baby and mom from a more comprehensive understanding of skin to skin care. Even six seconds of skin to skin touch is often enough to raise the ‘love’ and ‘bonding’ hormone oxytocin, which could make breastfeeding easier and reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression. Additionally, it is within the first 48 hours after birth that baby’s skin is first colonized with the beneficial bacteria that will help keep her dermal microflora (skin surface bacteria) in protective balance.
The immediate separation that’s typical in most U.S. hospitals may not be as ideal as time spent snuggling together – skin to skin – for at least 60 minutes immediately after birth, and as much as possible for the first 48 hours. Studies have shown that even brain development is enhanced in babies who had ample skin to skin contact in those early hours and weeks after being born. Your baby instinctively knows that nestling into your chest is the best place she could be.
The natural colonization of baby’s skin with the same bacteria as found on mom’s skin, plus breastfeeding, are thought to help prevent allergic reactions in baby as she ages. Skin to skin closeness with Mom, immediately after birth and beyond, are critical to support breastfeeding and the proper microflora colonization. It also helps bring baby’s heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and breathing rates back to normal after the stimulation of being born. Babies experience stress as they go through the birthing process. After birth and for a long time after, the healthiest place to be is on mom’s chest.

As baby gets older, there are plenty of opportunities for parents to share increased skin to skin contact time, through baby massage, giving baby a bath, taking a nap together, or just playing simple games together (Peek a boo with baby in your lap and a board book!)

_______________________

Did you use Kangaroo Care with your little ones?

How do you enjoy skin-to-skin time with your little ones still?

_______________________

References:

Lozoff B, Brittenham GM, Trause MA, Kennell JH, Klaus MH. The mother-newborn relationship: limits of adaptability. J Pediatr 1977 July;91(1):1-12.

Lozoff B, Brittenham G. Infant care: cache or carry. J Pediatr 1979 September;95(3):478-83.

Morton D, Thierry B, Peretta G, Lankeit M, Ljungberg T, van Hooff J A R A M, and Scott L. The welfare of non-human primates used in research. Report of the Scientific Committee on Animal health and Animal Welfare.  European Commission Health and Consumer Prtoection Directorate-general; 2002 Dec 17.

McKenna JJ, Mosko S. Evolution and infant sleep: an experimental study of infant-parent co-sleeping and its implications for SIDS. Acta Paediatr Suppl 1993 June;82 Suppl 389:31-6.

McKenna JJ, Thoman EB, Anders TF, Sadeh A, Schechtman VL, Glotzbach SF. Infant-parent co-sleeping in an evolutionary perspective: implications for understanding infant sleep development and the sudden infant death syndrome. Sleep 1993 April;16(3):263-82.

Laughlin CD. Pre- and Perinatal brain Development and enculturation: a biogenetic structural approach.  1991.

Schore AN. Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, and infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal 2001;22(1-2):7-66.

Bates E, Thal D, Finlay B, Clancy B. Early language development and its neural correlates. In: Rapin I, Segalowitz S, editors. Handbook of Neuropsychology. 2nd edition ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2005.

Doussard-Rossevelt J, Porges SW, McClenny BD. Behavioral sleep states in very low birth weight preterm neonates: relation to neonatal health and vagal maturation. J Pediatr Psychol 1996 December;21(6):785-802.

J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2001 Dec;6(3):170-4.

Skin microflora and bacterial infections of the skin.

Chiller K, Selkin BA, Murakawa GJ.

J Appl Microbiol. 2013 May;114(5):1241-53. doi: 10.1111/jam.12137. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Bioactives from probiotics for dermal health: functions and benefits.

Lew LC, Liong MT.

PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53867. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053867. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Probiotic bacteria induce a ‘glow of health’.

Levkovich T, Poutahidis T, Smillie C, Varian BJ, Ibrahim YM, Lakritz JR, Alm EJ, Erdman SE.

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 October; 16(4): 658–672.

Potential Uses of Probiotics in Clinical Practice

Gregor Reid,1,2,3,* Jana Jass,1,2 M. Tom Sebulsky,2 and John K. McCormick1,2

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2005 Dec;11(12):958-66.

Probiotics: facts and myths.

Senok AC, Ismaeel AY, Botta GA.

Garcia Bartels N, Mleczko A, Schink T, Proquitte H, Wauer RR, Blume-Peytavi U. Influence of bathing or washing on skin barrier function in newborns during the first four weeks of life. Skin Pharmacology. 2009;22:248–257.

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Babywearing chat with PAXbaby.com

breastfeeding and babywearing, paxbaby.com, woven wrap, ring sling, breastfeeding

TLB sponsor PAXbaby.com brought a live chat with our readers on The Leaky Boob Facebook wall, giving us the opportunity to chat about all things babywearing.  It was great fun with great prizes (the randomly selected winners notified via email) and lots of information.  If you have questions about babywearing, visit these archived threads to hear from other Leakies and Jillian with her PAXmommies sharing their experience and expert advice.  So grateful for the support of PAXbaby.com!

Introduction and sharing favorite carriers

Overwhelming world of carriers- where to start, user friendly, carriers and baby ages, getting started

 

Breastfeeding and babywearing- which carriers and tips

Breastfeeding in a woven wrap hip carry video

Babywearing the newborn- carrier options and safety information

Babywearing past the newborn stage

Babywearing for plus-sized and large breasted moms

Why have more than one carrier?  The benefits of a carrier stash

Back pain and babywearing

General questions for the PAXmommies

Babywearing and weather considerations- hot, cold, and wet

PAXbaby email sign up for more information

 

 

 

 

 

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In Search of the perfect latch

Sugarbaby 1 week old. Photo by Kelli Elizabeth Photography

“I’m really scared of breastfeeding.”  Pregnant with her first my friend subconsciously rubbed her 34 week belly as I made dinner and we chatted.  Puzzled, I asked her why.  She said she googled and learned that it can be so painful, particularly if they don’t have a good latch.

“How do you get a good latch?” she asked me.  She went on to explain that she had read different blogs and forums about how hard it was to get a good latch, women with bleeding nipples, and babies not gaining weight.  She wondered what was the secret to a good latch and what if it didn’t happen for her.  It’s true that these issues do happen and probably far too often but here she was, weeks away from having her little baby, scheduled to take a breastfeeding class in the next couple of weeks, and worried that she was facing a world of pain if she couldn’t get this elusive latch and not find the secret for it ever to happen.

Earlier that same day I had coffee with a good friend, an IBCLC at a local hospital.  The topic of the elusive perfect latch came up and she surprised me by telling me that she thinks we make too big deal about the latch.

“If mom isn’t in pain and baby has plenty of soiled and wet diapers, why do we need to mess with anything?  Sure, if there’s a problem such as pain or a dehydrated baby then we need to fix what we can but so what if that bottom lip is curled in if it’s not bothering anything.”

In other words, if it’s comfortable and it’s working, it’s a good latch.  There is a wide range of normal.

I love this woman, she often says exactly what I’m thinking.

In general, if everything is working right, babies are ready to breastfeed and mom’s breasts are ready to feed.  It just works and we really don’t need to mess with it, it doesn’t have to be this complicated endeavor.  Maybe it will be difficult but we don’t have to expect trouble.  More often than not moms need support simply because breastfeeding isn’t so common in our society and women don’t see breastfeeding as a part of normal life making the learning curve steeper than it would be if seeing breastfeeding was commonplace.  There would be less stressing about the perfect latch if more women saw what it looks like when a baby is at the breast as they go about daily life.  Their moms, sisters, aunts, friends, coworkers, or even strangers breastfeeding would have already demonstrated a baby feeding well.  The wide range of normal would be seen and experienced.  Today a woman may never see another woman breastfeeding until she’s feeding her own baby for the first time.  Seeking out support she may look online or join a breastfeeding support group, seeing breastfeeding dyads in a very specific setting that she had to find.  If she is experiencing difficulty with pain or ineffective milk transfer for her baby, because she hasn’t been exposed to breastfeeding pairs, she may not even realize that the way her baby is latched could be what’s causing the problem or that it may even be a fairly simple fix.  When there are issues such as poor weight gain for baby or bleeding nipples the first thing to consider is a poor latch.  After I shared a few pictures of Sugarbaby’s latch on Facebook, there were several comments and I received several emails from moms stating that they never knew saw what a latch looked like and had endured pain in breastfeeding because they didn’t realize something was wrong.  Side note: if you are ever experiencing pain with breastfeeding that is more than a brief moment of discomfort or lasts beyond initial latch please seek out help, pain is usually an indication of a problem than can be corrected.  This doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it just means you probably need help.

 I talked with my friend Star Rodriguez, IBCLC of Lactastic Services and WIC peer counselor for the following lists.

When do you need to consider latch issues and improving your nursling’s latch?

  •  When breastfeeding is painful beyond the initial latching.
  • When there is tissue damage to your nipples.
  • When there are weight gain issues for the baby.

What latch pointers can moms try?

  • Mom is in a comfortable position and has brought the baby to her level to her instead of leaning down to the baby.
  • Baby has wide open mouth.
  • Baby’s body is facing yours and baby’s arms are not pushing away at you.
  • It is best to let the breast fall naturally if possible.
  • If large breasted or when milk first comes in, it may be helpful to hold your breast with your hand.
  • Aim baby’s nose toward the nipple; if necessary to encourage a wider mouth, tickle the very top of the baby’s upper lip with your nipple.
  • Latch should be asymmetrical. Chin will touch the breast, nose will be unobstructed. You do not need to push your breast away from your baby’s nose in a good latch.
  • You will hear or see baby swallowing – short sucks/swallows at first, longer ones as milk starts to let down.
  • If using a nipple shield, ensure that the nipple and surrounding tissue is being pulled into the shield.

What can a mom do to try to improve a painful or ineffective latch?

  • If baby isn’t opening mouth wide enough, attempt to show baby by opening your own mouth wide.  Many babies will subconsciously mimic this.
  • Make a “breastwich” with your hand in the shape of a C behind the areola to help baby get a bigger mouthful.
  • Get baby as naked as possible for skin-to-skin or lightly dressed.
  • Hold baby securely, a snug, close hold will help.
  • Pull baby in quickly when mouth is open wide.
  • It is common to experience some discomfort at latch in the first few weeks of breastfeeding.  It should go away as the feeding continues.  If it does not end after around 30 seconds, you may need to remove the baby from the breast and reposition the baby.  Break the suction by placing your little finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth and trying to latch again.  Some lactation consultants can show you ways to fix a latch without taking the baby off the breast, but those are easier to learn from being shown rather than told.  You may need to put the baby in a different nursing hold or position.

When should a lactation consultant be called?

  • Repositioning doesn’t work
  • If there is sudden soreness after there has been painless nursing
  • If you feel stabbing or burning pain in breasts or at latch
  • If you have cracked or bleeding nipples
  • If your latch is not painful but your baby is not having a good amount of wet and dirty diapers

Check out these other resources on latch:

11 Common Pitfalls When Latching a Newborn

 

Latching and positioning resources

Latching: Thoughts on Pressing Baby’s chin down

 The Mother-Baby Dance

 

Coming soon a photo gallery of latched on babies and their mother’s commentaries on their latch experience illustrating the wide range of normal and potentially problematic latches. 

 

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10 signs that your newborn is super smart

 

Photo by Kelli Elizabeth Photography

It seems that parents start worrying about their kids being super geniuses earlier and earlier.  Programs for teaching your baby to read, your preschooler how to work complicated math in their heads, and your kindergardener how to engineer the world’s next tallest building are marketed to parents all the time as though their child’s future happiness depends on having some kind of early academic advantage over all the other kids.

But it turns out they usually are born with just the right amount of smarts to have their needs met, grow well, and find all the happiness they could ask for at that moment.  It’s just that us adults sometimes don’t realize how incredibly smart our tiny bundles really are.

10 signs that your newborn is already super smart

1. She wants to ditch the pretty crib with the adorable bedding set and prefers to sleep as close to you as possible.  On your chest, snuggled by your side, in a carrier, where ever as long as she’s touching you.  Food, warmth, help regulating her breathing and heart rate, and you’re right there to snatch her to safety should a lion show up looking for a tasty baby snack.  Hey, you never know!

2.  Pooping just as soon as you changed him and put him to the breast- gotta make room!

3.  Her answer to every possible distress (including her own sneeze) is to breastfeed… again.  Just making sure you’re going to have all the milk she needs!

4.  Screams bloody murder if you try to put clothes on him but is most content in nothing but a diaper cuddled up to your bare chest.  Skin to skin contact promotes maternal-infant interactions,  encourages the breastfeeding relationship, improved bonding, maintaining body temperature, keeps him calm, breathing more naturally, allows mom (or other care taker) to respond faster to early cues of distress or hunger, boosts immune system development, and is just plain nice, way better than even the softest pajamas.  You can read more about how this all works here.

5.  Aims to get poop on her outfit at least once a day, more often 5.  She knows you have too many newborn outfits, she’ll never get to wear them all if she doesn’t have multiple outfit changes a day!

6.  You feel stressed about something and he suddenly needs to eat, timing couldn’t be worse!  But that glorious release of oxytocin means you relax while he’s feeding and though you get a bit drowsy, you’re able to think more clearly and focus on what’s really important.

7.  She’ll let you set her down or permit someone else to hold her just long enough for you to pee and if you’re lucky, maybe get a shower.  Anything longer is unacceptable though, everything in her says to stay close to your smell, your breasts, you.  Good thing too, she spent most of her life inside you so far and she knows you as safe which helps her identify her food source and keeps her bonded to you.  Her life depends on it.

8.  Cluster feeding: feed, doze, feed, doze, poop, feed, poop, feed, doze, feed doze… repeat.  You may think you have more to do such as house cleaning, keeping up with an older child, work, shower, or change out of your pajamas but when cluster feeding hits it means some serious growing time ahead and your baby doesn’t have anything more important to do.  Make a safe area for your older child and let your baby get his work done.

9.  Car seat = torture device.  Or best friend.  Either she hates not being with you or she loves the motion.  Whatever it is, she’d rather be snuggled against your chest, best to just stay home and take your time recovering from giving birth anyway.

10.  He can’t fall asleep without you and likes it best when he gets to breastfeed his way to the land of dreams. Once again, because of that lovely release of oxytocin, you get sleepy.  Baby’s sleeping, you’re sleepy… just give in and surrender.  That super smart baby of yours just wants you to catch a few Z’s!

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Babymooning- 12 signs you are the mother of a breastfeeding newborn

I’m babymooning.  Sugarbaby and I are doing very well, now 12 days postpartum.  I’ve been trying very hard to take it easy and respect this postpartum time for myself and it has been paying off.  Over the last almost 2 weeks I’ve been simply enjoying my baby, my family, and resting.  Cherishing this newborn time that goes too fast has been my priority.
I wanted to share some observations I’ve made during my babymoon, maybe you can relate and I’m sure you can add some of your own.
You know you’re the mom of a breastfeeding newborn when…
  1. You finally get to take a shower and within 10 minute of getting out you already have leaked milk all over your clean shirt.
  2. As much as you like the longer, thicker hair you grew during pregnancy, hacking it off with a dull pair of scissors is starting to sound like a good plan between the frequency of showers you get, the death-like grip of a tiny handful of hair your baby is capable of, cleaning spit up out of it several times a day, and the nagging fear of a hair tourniquet.
  3. You wonder why you didn’t invest in more yoga pants and are certain you will never wear blue jeans again.
  4. Your favorite food is: “anything someone else made.”
  5. Any time someone hugs you any way but with a side hug you wince.
  6. The old adage “never wake a sleeping baby” doesn’t apply when your boobs are rock hard boulders crushing your chest.  Yes, you will wake your baby for some relief.
  7. You wish you had jedi powers for every time you forget to grab a drink of water before you sit down to breastfeed… again.
  8. “Sleep when baby sleeps” seems like a good plan but you wonder when you’d get to pee or brush your teeth or eat.  Then you realize that sleep trumps everything else and decide you’ll pee, brush your teeth, and eat while holding your baby.
  9. Something seems really funny and you laugh hysterically only to forget what was so funny 5 minutes later.
  10. Shirts are “clean” unless the smell is too bad or there is obvious spit-up or poop on them, dried milk leaks don’t count as “dirty.”
  11. The stash of reusable breastpads that seemed so impressive before giving birth is used up in one day after your milk comes in.
  12. You’d rather sniff your baby’s head snuggled on your chest than even your favorite flower any day.

The Leakies on The Leaky Boob Facebook page had plenty more here and I hope you’ll add your own in the comments below.  Now back to my baby head sniffing!

 

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Sugarbaby Introduces Herself

by The Piano Man

Hello world, Sugarbaby here.  My name is Arden, or so I’m told.  Most of the time Sisters call me baby, but Mommy and Daddy are trying their hardest to get them to use my name.  I have 5 sisters!  And there’s never a lack of hands to hold me close, but my favorite place to be in the whole world, as I know it, is in Mommy’s arms.  Daddy’s ok, but there’s nothing like the smell, the touch, the feel of Mommy.  I’m pretty sure she feels the same way, because I can feel her face touching my head and I can hear her breathing me in as well.  I can’t imagine a happier place.

Mommy and Daddy noticed that I already dream when I sleep, but I’m not telling them if I dream of the last couple of days where everything is so bright, or of the day I left my first home, or of when I was still in that warm and comfy place before that.  It was getting really crowded in there, so it’s nice to be able to stretch out my arms and feel the emptiness around me in between my fingers.  But sometimes that makes me scared, and so Mommy or Daddy hold me close with my arms tight against my tummy, and I feel much better.  I really like being close, really, really close.  When I’m awake, and when I’m asleep.  All the time.

I really didn’t want to come out of Mommy’s tummy at first.  It was crowded in there, but I didn’t want to leave.  I would wiggle my head and refused to go through the right way.  But in the end, I decided to come out anyway, but it had to be my way.  And my way was without my head being squished.  Plus I waited until absolutely everything was just right, which took a while, and then I came out in one push.  Everyone was so surprised!  And then they said things like how big I was.  I guess I’m just a bit ahead of the curve, full of surprises.  They measured me and weighed me and determined that I was actually a week and a half older than they estimated.  But that was after I got some serious cuddle time with Mommy.  It was a little strange feeling her from the outside, but I really love the way she smells, and the way it feels to be against her chest with her arms around me.  Oh yeah!  I can smell!  And breathe!  I practiced all that before but it’s really different when you breathe liquid.  But all that practice really paid off.  The world is lot bigger than I imagined, but it’s ok because I have Mommy to hold me, and feed me.  Oh, and I eat!  That’s new too, but I really like it.  I could do it all day.  And don’t worry, this is all totally normal and your own baby can tell you all about that right here.

Anyway, when everybody saw me, they said things like how big I am, and how my head is perfect – which, of course it is, I worked hard to keep it that way! – and then later they said how I looked like a 3-month old Cosette!  That’s so funny.  She must have been teeny!

Well, I’m getting sleepy again.  I love to sleep.  I could do that all day too!  But before I go dream my secret dreams, I’ll give you some of the other information that those Other People seem to think is really important.

my full name: Arden Credence Martin-Weber – Arden is the name of a forest in England and the setting of a wonderful Shakespeare play they say is called As You Like It.  I’m going to read it later.  Arden means “ardent,” “passionate,” or “excited,” and I think I’m living up to that pretty well so far.  Credence means belief, faith, credibility.  Not sure where I stand on that one yet.

birth date: April 19, 2012 (I share a birthday with my godfather.  We were born 31 years and 30 minutes apart!)

birth weight: 8 lbs 10 oz – record breaking Martin-Weber baby! I may be the littlest but I’m the biggest too!  I rock.

birth length: 21 1/4 inches – not a record breaker, but still, I’m sure I’m long for my age.

I’m a girl – duh.  : )  And that’s just perfect for me.

I have a red birthmark on my forehead (wherever that is – I can’t see it), and it’ll probably fade with time, but it’s the same birthmark that my biggest sister, Ophélia, had, and also my wonderful uncle Preston.  It’ll probably fade with time, and pop up when I get angry, er, passionate about something, because that’s my name.  Arden.

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Gear up, baby!

I’m a simple kind of gal.  There is very little I feel we need for a new baby and then some things I want for a new baby.  Really it comes down to something for the pee/poop, boobs, and something to keep the newbie tied to me.  But there are somethings beyond that we get to help care for our newest little person.  Some are our basics, others make it easier, and still others are a luxury.  Most of this can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, craigslist, consignment shops, and hand-me-downs from friends, we rarely buy brand new. Everyone’s list will look a bit different, what works for one family won’t for another.  Here’s our breakdown.

Basics:

diapers- we cloth diaper, here’s what we find essential

  • snappis
  • prefolds, hand-me-downs and from Green Mountain Diapers
  • wool covers- mostly homemade hand knit or repurposed wool, some PUL covers from Thirsties (I ordered some new Duo Wraps from Lullaby Kisses)
  • detergent- trying Thirsties Super Wash this time, also ordered from Lullaby Kisses as well as Rockin’ Green.
  • cloth wipes- flannel squares work well as do baby wash cloths
  • diaper ointment- my babies always have sensitive skin, I love Motherlove Herbal’s Diaper Rash and Thrush, cloth diaper safe, works well, gentle on my babies’ sensitive skin, and you can’t beat these ingredients.  Oh, and a pot of it lasts forever!
  • Wetbags- dirty diapers need a designated spot.  Wetbags do the job without nasty pails of soaking diapers.  We have one big one (from Goodmama ages ago) and 2 medium ones for the diaper bag, and 1 small one to hold wipes, all WAHM ones. (Lullaby Kisses has a good selection of these too.)

clothes

  • 5 or so gowns- baby in a bag, easy for changing in the middle of the night
  • 5 or so footed PJs
  • 5+ t-shirts
  • dozen socks (because there is always one missing)
  • 3 hats (1 on their head, 1 in the laundry, 1 ready- because they somehow get poop on them)
  • 8 or so bottoms- most of ours are hand knits, have extras for poop accidents

sleep

  • Moses basket- typically a hand-me-down or borrowed, can be moved room to room or outside.
  • carrier- because they usually sleep on me or their daddy and with work and family I need to be able to multitask.  You really only need one versatile carrier.  We already have a Moby, my go-to carrier for a newborn (also available at Lullaby Kisses), a Beco, my go-to carrier for longer excursions when they are a bit bigger; a homemade mei-tai, and was recently gifted my first woven wrap (a Didymos– so pretty).  I lost my ring sling (that I’ve had for years!) and so I’m getting a new one from Paxbaby.com (they carry EVERYTHING and have great personalized service) because it’s my “fast” carrier.
  • baby blankets for light swaddling, warmth, and to throw down wherever baby ends up sleeping when not on mommy or daddy.

bath

  • water- breastmilk poop is water soluble, doesn’t even need a cleaning agent besides water.
  • bath tub- I usually bathe with my babies the first few weeks so I just hold them on my lap in the tub.
  • 2-3 wash clothes to gently scrub the neck folds.
  • 2 hooded towels, because they WILL poop on one leading to another bath and the need for another towel.

travel- leaving the house

  • Car seat- no exception.  I’ve never started with a convertible, always an infant car seat AKA bucket.  It stays in the car most of the time.  This time it’s the same Chicco we had with Smunchie and then we’ll be going to clek’s new Foonf when Sugarbaby is ready for a convertible and it will last us years.  It doesn’t have to be the best of the best or top of the line but a good seat with a high safety rating is an essential for our family.  This is one area where we see spending big dollars to be essential for ultimate safety, it’s not a luxury.  As a major yarn lover I’ve sold yarn in the past to be able to afford the kind of seat we could feel good about.
  • carrier- we don’t keep our babies in the bucket seats, they go from the car seat into a carrier.
  • bag for diapers
  • 2 wet bags- wipes and dirty diapers
  • 2 changes of clothes
  • thin blanket- to lay down for changes if need be.
  • top for mom- I’m going to leak and I want to be prepared just in case.
  • breast pads- I have a pair in my bra and a pair in my bag.  This is vital as I leak a lot.  I’ll be wearing Bamboobies most of the time and trying out Posh Pads for the first time.
  • burp cloths- spit up happens.  Whether it’s a diaper or a fancy boutique burp cloth, it’s essential to have something to clean up with.  We already have some special ones that were made for different babies along the way.

play time

  • blankets- all types: thick, thin, big, little, homemade, store bought, etc.  I like to have a nice stack of blankets for time on the floor, making a nest in a basket for time outside, for peek-a-boo, and for anything else that seems useful.
  • toy/lovey- no, they aren’t playing or interacting with these things yet but I have found one way to help older siblings respect the new baby and their space is to have something that is brand new for them, set apart as “theirs.”  Often my big girls pick out the item and often the item (sometimes items) actually do become the lovey object of choice.

feeding

  • my boobs
Nice to have

diapers- cloth

  • different styles- while the basic prefold is our workhorse diaper, it’s nice to have different styles.  We have some fitteds, a couple of pockets (LolliDoo’s eco pockets are great!), and an all-in-one.
  • cloth wipes, specifically for wiping up little bums, these are thicker than wash clothes.  Happy Heinys has some nice basic wipes you just throw in with your diaper laundry.

clothes

  • a few special pieces, just for the new baby, something I’ll save to give them for their children one day.
  • a couple of cute outfits they can poop on for you.
  • a few handmade/hand knitted/hand sewn items from me and other family member/friends.
  • extras of everything so I don’t have to do laundry as often.

Sleep

  • a special blanket designated as new for the baby, usually handmade.  My mom has a friend that loves to crochet blankets and so I pick out the yarn, my mom buys it, and this friend makes something beautiful with it.  I love this more than I can say.  It helps a lot too, everyone knows it’s the baby’s blanket, and it gives the new big sisters a way to help take care of the baby too.  Then, as the baby gets older, they love hearing about how it was made for them, why I picked the colors I did, and how it’s all their own.  These are treasures in our home.  But if you don’t have someone to make you a handmade blanket and won’t be making one yourself, I love these blankets from Sarah’s Silks and have quite a few friends whose children grow up loving their special soft blankets.  But since you don’t lay babies down with blankets anyway, these really aren’t for sleep in the first year, more like for cuddling to sleep.
  • cosleeper- we borrowed one of these from a friend with Squiggle Bug, loved it.  It was particularly nice when my hormones went crazy and I was having the night sweats.  We haven’t been able to budget for one since but it was really nice to have then.
  • I also think one of those moses basket stands would be nice to have though the cosleeper and the stand would be overkill.  Either one would be nice.
  • a variety of carriers.  Since I’m going to be wearing my baby more than I am anything else, it’s nice to have some options in carriers.  Like maybe something that will go with everything: a Girasol Rainbow wrap. (I might lust after that one.)

bath

Travel- leaving the house

  • diaper bag- something with lots of pockets and compartments and I really like to have a big one for longer outings with room for a carrier, and a small one for shorter outings.
  • stroller- I usually wear my babies, it’s true, but sometimes I like to put them in a stroller for various reasons (i.e. bra shopping while babywearing is a tad difficult) and sometimes it’s for nothing more than holding various paraphernalia including the diaper bag.  We’ve had the same stroller for ages, it’s falling apart so I’m hoping it makes it through one more baby before we trash it.  If not I’ll be checking out craigslist, thrift stores, and yard sales.

Play time

  • swing or bouncy seat- while we wear our babies most of the time, sometimes I have to set them down for my own sanity, shower, or just a change of pace for all of us.
  • play gym or activity bar- they can’t really do anything with it but throw down a blanket and put them on their back under that toy bar and I get enough time to cook up some bacon as they stare in wonder, particularly at the one with the mirror.  But my favorite thing?  How the older siblings get in on the action by talking to baby, jingling the toys dangling, and showing them how it all works.
  • a couple of natural wood rattles like this one, this one, this international breastfeeding symbol one, or the classic favorite Sofie.  These become heirlooms and fun to share.

Breastfeeding

  • as far as baby is concerned, nothing is nicer to have than boobies.

 

Luxury

diapers- cloth

  • some fun, fancy diapers in fun fancy prints or with embroidery.  There are so many brands out there, I just picked a few to try and bought the prints I liked.  We’ve had ours for years though and didn’t buy any for Sugarbaby this time.
  • pretty colors, super soft fabric, maybe even custom made… velour wipes are so pretty, clean up so well, and are quite the splurge.  Hazelbee Baby has a great selection in all the colors of the rainbow and then some.  Simply beautiful.

clothes

  • a line of clothing- picking a line from a company and getting a few pieces from that line.  I fell hard for some stuff from Zutano this time around and was so excited when it came up on Zulily.  Plus, this incredible company truly supports breastfeeding and has a breastfeeding/baby friendly work environment for the moms that work for them.  Beautiful clothes and an amazing company that supports a cause close to my heart?  Yes please!
  • special yarn that gets made into a special outfit.  Luxury for both me and baby plus it becomes a keepsake.
  • soft shoes- they don’t walk anywhere but they sure are cute!  Plus, they help keep those baby socks on that we’re losing otherwise.

sleep

  • I have long admired, though never been able to afford, a baby hammock like this one.  We cosleep but in a combination of room sharing and bed sharing and since we often still have company from our big kids in the middle of the night, I would love something like this for Sugarbaby.  This is definitely one of my luxury wish list items.
  • I’m big on blankets I’m noticing.  The last 3 of our babies (including Sugarbaby) have gotten a custom bamboo velour blanket from Zaichiki Baby.  We pick out the colors as a family and order them a toddler size blanket.  So they get the handmade crochet blanket and one bamboo blanket.  These become best sleeping buds as time goes by and let me tell you, the bamboo velour is divine.  This one is Smunchie’s and this one is Squiggle Bug’s.

bath

  • these and these– can you imagine?  We don’t have them but they sure seem nice!
  • hooded baby bathrobe/sack- someone gave us one of these when Earth Baby was born and I was surprised to discover I loved it.  Put her in it right out of the bath, zip it up, and snuggle!  One of the cutest things and it seemed to instantly calm her.  We’ve had it ever since, it’s a little worn looking these days.
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Bundle of Suds and/or the Non-scents Head to Toe wash, and the Angel Baby Oil because baby massage is awesome.  I also really love all of Weleda’s baby products (and then some) and am so grateful we were given the Baby Starter Kit with an earlier baby and now a couple of Weleda products are on our wish list with our new babies.  (Pssst… they have a baby massage video on their site plus if you buy 2 baby products and use the code “BABYDOLL” at check out they’ll include a cute little free baby doll with your order!)
Travel- leaving the house
  • Ness Diaper Bag– because they’re gorgeous and incredibly well designed! (I want one, totally drooling over these bags.)
  • JuJu-Be Diaper Bag– because they’re fun!  This hip messenger style would probably be my pick.
  • I got to play with some luxury strollers at the ABC Expo this past fall and wow, I had no idea what I was missing.  Still way out of my price range but totally dreamy, I loved most of the ones I got to try.  Check out Phil and Teds, iCandy, and Bugaboo, if you’re in the market for a stroller that really does make your life easier.
Play time
  • Lambskin cuddle rug- I have wanted one of these for a long time and this past fall even figured out what brand I’d get if I could.  I love the short cut of the Lamby cuddle rug and this would be my choice to have to lay down for play times and sleepy time.  On my wishlist!
Breastfeeding
  • my boobs

 

As Sugarbaby is expected any day now I find myself checking to be sure everything is ready for having a new baby, even things I know won’t be used right away.  “Stuff” doesn’t make a home ready for a new baby but there is a lot of “stuff” that helps a family care for their new arrival including helping with the transition of adding a family member.  The tangible preparations can go a long way in helping with the mental and emotional preparations for a new baby.  Sugarbaby won’t be interested in playing with the new wood rattle waiting on the shelf in our room but every time I look at it I look forward a little bit more to my sweet babe being in my arms.  Coming up I’ll be sharing my lists for me and for the family because having a baby isn’t just about the baby, you have to take care of everyone.

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What does your list look like?  Basic, nice to have, and luxury, what would you put on your list of baby gear to have?

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