Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays! Homemade gift ideas

Are you still struggling with some last minute gifts? My favorites are the homemade ones! I have some great Pregnancy and baby crafts as well as older sibling crafts my Pinterest page!

Friday, December 20, 2013

And the free breast-pump goes to...

Check my Facebook page to see if you won.

I gave away a FREE brand new double breast-pump: The First Years Breastflow Memory Pump valued at $179.99.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to get 2x the milk from breast pumping!

I am sharing a great video from Stanford on how to get almost 2x the milk from pumping for premature babies and moms immediately returning to work outside the home. Of course only nursing (no bottles) is the best way to have a good supply of breastmilk as the baby can eat on demand and his or her suction is the best type for draining and stimulating more milk. Pumping is not as great at getting milk out. New moms who try to pump when their babies are very small find that little or no milk comes out. These moms should try to keep the baby on the breast as much as possible. If the baby is premature or she is already returning to work outside the home, here is a great "hands-on" method to use your hands and pump simultaneously to maximize output. If output does not increase a Lactation Consultant should be privately hired (pediatricians and OBGYNs are not specialized in milk production).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Anti-Flu Recipe: Elderberry Syrup

Do you wonder why my family doesn’t get the flu? Here’s my secret recipe.

Mainstream medical professionals all agree that the flu shot is safe for pregnancy women. While I was pregnant with my second baby in 2009-2010, it was during the swine flu scare and I had chosen not to get the flu shot. My caregiver tried all sorts of things: “You won the giveaway, it is free!” “No thank you”. It is always questionable as to how much the flu shot works and I personally didn't feel right about injecting mercury (Thimerosal, found in some flu vaccines) and formaldehyde into my bloodstream that would then go to my baby.

So how is it that I have three germ carrying kids and have not had the flu in 9 years? Well 9 years ago, I was going through a transitional time and I was eating so much processed foods. This was just a year after I had been living in Africa, eating mostly unprocessed foods, and was exposed to plenty of Vitamin D daily. Now my body for the first time in several years found itself with an unhealthy diet, lack of vitamin D, and exposure to new germs. I got the flu. It lasted a week and I did not yet have sick time accumulated from my new job so I was working.

Nowadays this is what my family does to increase our immune system. 
  1. We eat whole unprocessed foods including dark leafy greens (we love broccoli and kale!) and healthy fats (raw olive oil, coconut oil, butter) daily.
  2. During the winter months we all take lemon-flavored cod liver oil (ideally fermented) to ensure that we have enough vitamin D. My husband and I both have tested low for vitamin D in the winter and this is a major immune system supporting vitamin so we give it to everyone even the one year old.
  3. This year I discovered astragalus root for colds and we are anxious to really try it when a cold comes our way. The Chinese have been using this root as an immune booster for centuries! I found it at an Asian market in the dried root form but it can also be bought in pills or liquid form. I am automatically adding it to our bone broths to boost our immune systems.
  4. Also during the winter months (or when the kids go to summer camp and are exposed to all sorts of viruses) we take a little elderberry syrup (also known as Sambucus nigra) daily. It has been used for centuries in Europe to treat the cold and flu. Elderberries have proven to have preventative properties for the flu, can short-circuit the duration if taken at the first signs of the flu, and is more effective than Tamiflu. I make it since it is so easy and inexpensive. I buy the ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs, Vitacost ($10 off if you click here first), Frontier. You can also buy it at any natural store and some drug stores. Here’s my recipe:

credit: Mountain Rose Herbs
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Adapted from Mountain Rose Herbs

1/2 cup dried elderberries (or 1 c fresh berries)
1/4 C dried rosehips
2 1/2 cups water
1 T grated fresh ginger
5 cloves
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 cup raw honey

Put all ingredients but honey in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered 20 to 30 minutes until liquid reduced by half. Strain into a bowl. Add honey, pour into a glass jar. Refrigerate, will keep 2-3 months. Take 1tsp daily as a preventative, or 1tsp per hour for flu or virus. Use half the amount for children 60-75 lbs and 1/4 the amount for children under 30lbs. 
***DO NOT eat elderberries that have not been cooked***

My herbalist friend learned from her teacher to use this recipe but with ¼ cup berries. After the liquid has reduced by half she lets it sit for 17 hours before moving on with the recipe. The dosage is the same.

Always check with your caregiver and/or research to find out what is best for you and your family. There is no one-size fits all to health!

12/28/2013- Edited the second paragraph to correct that Ethylene glycol is not contained in the flu vaccine but rather Formaldehyde is.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A FREE Double Breast-pump and My New Facebook Page


You, my readers, have given me so much support!  So much so that I am going to the next level and I am thanking you for it. I set up a Facebook Page and if you LIKE it by December 20th, I will enter you to win a FREE brand new double breast-pump: The First Years Breastflow Memory Pump valued at $179.99.

Do you just want to support me and don't need a pump? No problem. You can pass on the pump or have it shipped anywhere: a friend, a relative or a women's shelter.

I had the opportunity to try this pump and it turned the head of every woman in the pumping room. The entire ensemble is incredibly light weight which was great for lugging around all day at the conference that I was at. The handle allowed for me to easily pump one handed. It's battery is rechargeable and was able to hold enough charge for me to go all day without plugging in although I had the light-weight plug in my bag just in case. It makes a great travel pump.

The First Years® Breastflow® Memory Pump is designed to make breastfeeding more comfortable and efficient. It features an easy-to-use digital touch screen that automatically tracks and stores data for up to 10 sessions, automatically recording important information including the date and time, suction and speed. For a complete profile, mom can enter milk volume for each session. Plus, the unique handle allows double pumpingwith one hand. Breastflow Memory Pump comes with a custom designed tote bag, plus a cooler bag with removable ice pack, two 5oz. Breastflow bottles with storage lids, 2 sizes of Flexi-fit™ breast shields and a rechargeable battery pack for ultimate portability. MSRP: $179.99, in Target stores nationwide

Win it by liking my Facebook Page.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to Guarantee that your Baby will have a Higher I.Q.

As parents we all want to see our children reach their highest potential. We know that we cannot protect them from every danger, toxin, and heartache. We all want to make the decisions that will have the best long term outcome on our children.

Some moms and dads have known the secret to a higher I.Q. for thousands of years. Yet it comes as a news-breaker in papers such as the NYTimes when JAMA Pediatrics, a major mainstream medical journal, publishes a study about it. The World Health Organization recommends doing this for at least 2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doing it for at least 1 year. 

Breastfeeding 1+ years WILL increase your child's I.Q.
(for those who have already chosen the formula path, have adopted, or have serious medical issues I am in the process of writing a post on how to pick the healthiest formula so check back and don't feel left out!)

Below is the latest study including the results and conclusion (the important part). The outcome has taken into account factors such as socio-economics and parents education level. They are looking at exclusive breastfeeding (no formula/bottles) compared to just formula feeding for the first six months followed by then breastmilk and solids. If you need another reference, the World Health Organization already found the relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and higher I.Q. (and as adults are less likely to be overweight or diabetic).

Infant Feeding and Childhood Cognition at Ages 3 and 7 Years: Effects of Breastfeeding Duration and Exclusivity.
 2013 Jul 29. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.455.
Belfort MBRifas-Shiman SLKleinman KPGuthrie LBBellinger DCTaveras EMGillman MWOken E.
Division of Newborn Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

IMPORTANCE Breastfeeding may benefit child cognitive development, but few studies have quantified breastfeeding duration or exclusivity, nor has any study to date examined the role of maternal diet during lactation on child cognition. 
OBJECTIVES To examine relationships of breastfeeding duration and exclusivity with child cognition at ages 3 and 7 years and to evaluate the extent to which maternal fish intake during lactation modifies associations of infant feeding with later cognition. 
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Prospective cohort study (Project Viva), a US prebirth cohort that enrolled mothers from April 22, 1999, to July 31, 2002, and followed up children to age 7 years, including 1312 Project Viva mothers and children. MAIN EXPOSURE Duration of any breastfeeding to age 12 months. 
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Child receptive language assessed with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at age 3 years, Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities at ages 3 and 7 years, and Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test and Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning at age 7 years. 
RESULTS Adjusting for sociodemographics, maternal intelligence, and home environment in linear regression, longer breastfeeding duration was associated with higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test score at age 3 years (0.21; 95% CI, 0.03-0.38 points per month breastfed) and with higher intelligence on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test at age 7 years (0.35; 0.16-0.53 verbal points per month breastfed; and 0.29; 0.05-0.54 nonverbal points per month breastfed). Breastfeeding duration was not associated with Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning scores. Beneficial effects of breastfeeding on the Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities at age 3 years seemed greater for women who consumed 2 or more servings of fish per week (0.24; 0.00-0.47 points per month breastfed) compared with less than 2 servings of fish per week (-0.01; -0.22 to 0.20 points per month breastfed) (P = .16 for interaction). 
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Our results support a causal relationship of breastfeeding duration with receptive language and verbal and nonverbal intelligence later in life.

Related Posts:
Why Breastfeed? - Includes 10 steps to successful breastfeeding
Pumping at Work - It is the law!
Breastfeeding in Public - So much easier than dealing with bottles.
Parenting School 101 - Includes a great breastfeeding book to read!
Nursing Tea Recipe - One recipe for pregnancy, postpartum, and to increase milk supply.