Friday, October 22, 2010

Foiled by Food!

This last weekend, we enjoyed a great time as a family at the LLL Conference. For the most part. One of the many challenges of food sensitivities is eating right while not at home. It is not usually a problem for us to just avoid the triggers, and usually a little contamination here or there isn't an end-all for our family. Luckily. I know people who suffer greatly by the slightest error.

The hotel we were at did make an effort to accommodate our needs. When a caring friend brought to their attention that my "special order" lunch just didn't do it for me (the lunch spread was chinese food,  I got a plate of iceberg lettuce with a sprinkling of chicken, egg, and olives. Not bad overall, but just didn't seems sufficient.) they had a meal of steamed veggies, rice, and chicken breast delivered to me. The other meals/snacks were great.

No, I was foiled by my own chosen ignorance. I kept thinking "A little bit won't hurt." "He's been ok, he might not even have this problem anymore," or just not bothering to double check when someone said something was gluten/soy/dairy free. I take the blame on this whole episode, and boy am I paying for it.  The saddest part is: so is my helpless boy.

L2 spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night very uncomfortable, tossing, turning, and crying. Our days were filled with whining and crankiness, by all of us. I felt so bad to have caused this episode, and then to be lacking in patience to deal with the aftermath. I just wanted him to settle down, be calmed by nursing, NAP! But no. Nothing seemed to help, and we were running low on sleep.

I couldn't decide if keeping us out and about was best (distraction can work wonders for a toddler, even one with a tummy ache) or to hunker down and work at rebuilding our trust and connection. We kind of did both, and plan to continue it through the weekend. We also started on some probiotics that are just CLEARING out his system (as in horrible diapers even when he sleeps!) and seems to be on the mend. He slept well the last two nights, and seems to have better humor during the day. I also have been very careful about our food consumption this week, and not even risking the small amount of risks.

Sorry L2. As always: Momma should know better, and will work to do better in the future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Le Leche League of Washington Conference 2010: Herbal Galactogogues

LEGAL STUFF: I am not a Doctor, Naturopath or any other person of the sort. This is just information I gathered at a class. These are my notes, so that I can have access to the information later, and share it easily. I welcome any corrections or information I might have missed.

Maximizing Milk Supply With Herbal Galactogogues: Sheila Kingsbury, ND, RH
This was a great session, in that she listed the information simply, and kept the same format throughout the presentation so I could easily gather the keypoints and have them to utilize in the future. However, it doesn't make for good blogging, just lists of herbs, doses, and preparation. Here goes!

Necessary elements should be checked before resorting to supplements. These include:

  • Position
  • Wide Mouth
  • Good Suction
  • Active Suckle
  • Outside interferences
  • Oral Anatomy (tounge tie)
  • Good Gland Funtions (thyroid, mammary, ect.)
  • Good Signaling (feed on demand)
  • Adequate mammary tissue
Best to address any issues in the first 2 weeks, after that isn't impossible, but it gets much harder as time goes on. Herbs should not be the only tool utilized, all aspects of the breastfeeding relationship should be looked into and adjusted in conjunction. 

Galactogogues fall into 4 categories:

True Galactogogues: Actually increases milk supply.
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella fenum-grecum): 1500mg 3x/day. Should work within a few days. Generally a base herb to which others are added, but is usually the only supplement needed. Capsules seem to work better than tinctures. Also works to lower blood sugar.
  • Goat's Rue (Galega officinalis): Range of effective dose can vary greatly, but generally 500mg 3x/day. Also works to lower blood sugar.
  • Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus): 4g 2x/day, but high doses are hard to find so 2 capsules 2-3x per day. Generally used in conjunction with others.
  • Fennel Seed  (Foeniculum vulgaris): 50-150mg 3-4x/day. Not as reliable, but used frequently in culinary purposes. Major player in Mother's Milk Tea, not just as a galactogogue, but as a carminative- it increases digestive enzymes, reducing cramping and gas. For this purpose, it also works well for mother's of babies with colic. 2-3 tea bags a day.
Carminatives/Digestive Aids: thought to increase lactation by way of relieving stomach issues.
  • Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum): Similar to fennel, traditional use around the world. 50-150mg 3-4x/day.
  • Caraway (Carum carvi): Usually combined with true galactogogues.
  • Milk Thistle (Sylibum marianum): Traditionally taught as "Makes waters flow", it helps detoxify as it is known for its ability to regenerate liver tissue. Transference is difficult, and best taken as a capsule. 500-1000mg 2x/day. 
  • Hops Flowers (Humulus lupulus): Of course makes people think of BEER! Really, beer was created to help with digestion. Usually better brewed in a tea than extracted in alcohol. Also helps as a Nervine- calms and relaxed aiding in the release of oxytocin.
Nutritives: Adds nutrients when combines with other supplements to aid in mother's overall health. Never used alone, but combined with other galactogogues.
  • Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis): Nutrient dense. Great for relieving clogged ducts. Best in a tea, but brewed with cold water: 1/4c whole cut in 1 qt water, let sit overnight, drain and drink.
  • Oat (Avena sativa): Use whole pod, not just the straw or oatmeal. Strongest nutritive value. Calming, and a supportive ingredient.
Nervines: Calms the body to allow it to work.
  • Lemon Balm  (Melissa officinalis): Dried or fresh, best in combination with others. Also mildly lowers thyroid hormones for hyperthyroid conditions.
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis): As little as 8mg a day can affect milk levels.
  • Raspberry Leaf  (Rubus ideaus): Though useful in readying uterus pre-labor, care should be taken continuing use postpartum.
Suggested Sources:

    Le Leche League of Washington Conference 2010: Food Edition

    This last weekend I attended the LLL conference with my family in tow. There were SO many GREAT speakers to hear, sessions to attend, and information to learn. It was also an awesome opportunity to spend time with friends and meet other like minded people. 

    Because of the amazing array of topics represented, I am having a little difficulty processing it all, so I have given myself permission to start with the easy stuff, and work into the more technical and then emotional aspects. So, this first post is about the 2 sessions I attended that spoke about food.

    Foods for a Healthy Hormone Balance: Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD
    This was my first session of the conference, and while interesting, I think the information was a little hard to follow. Only because she tried to explain too much for the time limit we had. Eating for healthy thyroid is different than eating for insulin help or over all hormonal health. Much of it was common sense: more whole foods, less process and refined foods, exercise. I didn't get any good resources, aside from her personal site, but that is not short of some great information!

    Eating Like a Locavore: Ami Karnosh, MS, CN
    This was a very fun, light class. We discussed how the Puget Sound is a great area to eat a locavore diet, because we have such an array of possibilities open to us. Using the idea of "Local" being within a 200 miles radius, we have an abundance of fruits, veggies, seafood, honey, grains, and proteins. Food grown in their optimal environment, allowed to grow in their seasonal times are able to fully process their nutrients, and require less fertilizers/pesticides. They tend to grow better, on their own accord. Also, plants that have the chance to ripen on the plant have fully developed flavors that aren't possible when they ripen off the plant. Food also tends to take on the flavors of the areas they are grown in, so native soil better accompanies the taste of the food.

    It was also interesting to talk about food native to the area being nutritionally appropriate for the consumers of that climate. Warmer climates are abundant in fruits and leafy greens, cooler for dense grains and dark greens. This allows for better fat retention to keep warm or moisture rich to keep cool and hydrated. 

    Canning, drying, preserving foods at their peak is the best way to enjoy your favorite flavors throughout the year, when out of season. Also, everything has a peak season, even meat and eggs taste better and offer better nutrition when given time to naturally traverse their life cycles and grow to their optimal range for butcher.

    Some of the suggested sources for more information:

    These were fairly straightforward sessions, with little to now emotional processing to do (though I suspect I would feel otherwise a few years ago...)so this post was fairly simple. I hope the others go as well!

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Body Image

    I feel like I have always been aware of my body as something to be ashamed about. I have always been short and stout, rounded and pudgy. It has always been, and body image issues seem to run in the family. My dad's side has the over eaters, my mom's: the sometimes dangerously under eaters. I grew up hearing my mom talk about how fat she was, how horrible she looked weighing so much. As I was much more rounded than she was, I took that to mean I must look horrible as well. She never intentionally said anything like that about me, it was just the natural conclusion I came to. Even more so, as she always seemed to look slender to me. I rebelled against this ideal of body perfection, at least that is what I told myself. I didn't care what I ate, or keeping active.

    I wore my first bra at 8, with a horribly embarrassing trip to K-Mart where my mom just kind of nudged me into the intimates department and told me to pick something. I bumbled through tears and feelings of shame until a suitable item was found. And the following day, being scoffed at and teased by other girls for wearing a bra to "hold my fat in." I recall middle school clothes shopping, when I was to pay for half of my clothing budget, having picked out items from the plus sized area (already) that rang up the wrong price. My mom was helpful in standing up for the price listed, but I was so ashamed to say they were from the plus size section for the price check I would rather had paid the higher price. Picking out clothes my first year in high school at age 14, I was a size 20.

    During high school, I was more active. Our school was the largest in the state, so to traverse it's grounds within the 5 minute transfer period was a strain. Marching Band also helped (and shut up of you don't think a couple of hours a day with a bell set strapped to you wouldn't help you drop a few rolls!) as well as forgoing breakfast, and usually lunch. Not exactly healthy, but is what it is. So, when I met my now husband as a 16 year old, I was a size 16.

    After high school, my weight climbed again, then would drop off when I changed jobs or started fashion design school. (Walking around downtown Seattle, and spending class time with mostly size 2 girls, and being told I would only being taught how to design clothes for that size did little for my self-image.) But slowly, it climbed up and up. In early 2006 I stepped on a scale to the shock of the answer being 287. I decided that "it didn't matter" and went on, surely gaining a few pounds after that point.

    It wasn't until a few months of failing to get pregnant that I realized that maybe my weight was the issue. So, I finally started thinking about what I ate. And the weight started coming off. I was pregnant 4 months later. By 6 weeks postpartum, I was 50lbs less than my first exam. Someone told me if I did that with every baby, a few more and I could be a super model.

    Fast forward! (I'm done with the sob story.) L2 is born, with all his food sensitivities/allergies.  But, more than that story, was the birth of PRIDE in my body. It wasn't until recently that I even made that realization.

    That realization came when I decided I wanted to do more than my twice weekly Zumba. I wanted to run. My doula suggested looking into the Couch to 5K.  I am working on week 2. It is still early in the plan, but I am feeling great about it. I choose to run at random times as well. I push myself when playing with my kids. When parking is scarce in my complex, I will jog the short distance home around the pond.

    Moreover, I LIKE my body. I still fall to thinking that I am still a "fat girl" and head straight for the plus sizes when shopping, or shirking from photos. I grasp at compliments, sometimes to the annoyance of my husband, to bolster my new self-image. I don't need that plus size section anymore. I take pictures of myself, for the pride I feel about it. I am so proud in fact, that I LOVED finding these pictures to share with you:

     This is almost 4 years, 2 babies, and plenty of lessons learned about body image ago. I once believed my body didn't work. I was then convinced of that by Dr's who told me I couldn't birth my baby as nature intended. Then, I found out we were wrong. My body is amazing. It will continue to amaze me, the more I value it. In fact, my body is one of an athlete. It may not (yet) be slender and toned, but it has endurance, strength, and stamina beyond what I ever imagined. Now, I am determined to continue that theme into a new realm of fitness that I have never known. I might even do a marathon. Soon. Want to join me?

    When did you discover you LOVED yourself? How can I support you in loving yourself MORE?

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    10 Tasks, 10 Minutes Working, 10 Minutes Playing

    So, the numerical significance of the day has inspired me. I like when things match up. So, I have decided to make a list of 10 tasks I want to complete today. Then, I'll set a timer, and work my way down the list. 10 minutes on task, then AT LEAST 10 minutes focused on my boys. I won't set a timer for the playing part! And, if my list goes undone for the quality time spent with my boys, so be it. But, I invite you all to join me. Let's encourage each other!

    1. Wash diaper covers
    2. Make Bed
    3. Dirty clothes in hamper
    4. Wipe surfaces in bathroom
    5. Reboot laundry
    6. Pick up living room
    7. Pick up toy space
    8. Clean entry way
    9. Reboot laundry
    10. Vacuum

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    I hereby dub thee: "Intacterrorists".

    Here it is: my first "I'm so mad I could spit, but too sad about the events to let them pass idly by" blog post.

    You might have heard this horribly sad story about a mother who lost her baby just a few days ago. A sweet boy who was fighting a Congenital Heart Defect, and his Dr's gave them the ok to circumcise, which may or may not have been the reason for his death. And the horrible comments that followed, blaming this mother for "killing her child by deciding to circumcise."

    Most people know that L1 is circumcised. L2 is not. We live, we learn, we do better in the future. I now take efforts to ensure other parents have the chance to avoid the feelings of regret I have about hurting L1 in this way by providing them with the information I never even thought to look up before I became a part of a gentle parenting circle.

    I never want to accost people about their decisions, or judge them. Same for bottle feeding. We do what we can with the information we have. So, I continue to provide information and speak out about the dangers relating to these decisions. All the while *trying* to not judge those who decide, or have no choice to do otherwise. (I'll admit, I'm not perfect at this, but I damn well know when to keep my mouth shut about it.)

    To those who have taken their activist soap box to the extreme of accosting a mother in her darkest hour, I now revoke your name of intactavist. You are now INTACTERRORISTS. You have gone beyond working towards a greater good and made this about attacking people who don't show themselves to be fully aligned with your views. You do nothing to further the cause, you quite simply make the case for those saying the cause is for sensationalists. Go, take some time to contemplate how you would feel if you made a decision that ultimately cost your child their life (like getting in the car, 10x riskier by statistic). Then maybe think about apologizing. Personally, I am going to go hug my boys extra tight, and pray that I never have to think about losing them.