Posted in pregnancy

Why breastfeed for 18 months?

Gotta admit: Breast feeding has both pros and cons. Some of the pros are you don’t have to meal prep, or clean afterwards so it’s less work from for mom. You don’t have to think about what else to cook or pack food especially if you will be outside for extended periods of time. Your don’t have to search for new recipes either because the taste of your milk changes daily based on what you eat. You don’t have to worry about if what you are feeding your baby is good or bad, organic vs. full of additives or healthy vs. unhealthy.

On the other hand, some cons are, you need to ensure you are wearing proper clothing such as a top or a dress that zips or buttons in the front, chance that your nipple may get chewed on, you may want to limit feedings to only 10 min but your little one does not want to let go yet, also if you are exclusively breast feeding your baby will feed more frequently vs, you give them formula or regular food. Lastly, if you are back to work or away from your baby for extended periods, you need to pump so bring along your pump and storage stuff.

Your intestines carry 70-80% of your immune system. We all have good and bad bacteria in our system and we are always under the attack of bad germs. Keeping your gut heathy is #1 step towards staying healthy and fighting diseases. As per dr palevsky and very well known and cited pediatrician, women need to breast feed for 18 months because babies gut flora is being formed and getting all the good bacteria from breast milk is upmost important. Breast milk is the basis for baby’s health and a strong immune system for a lifetime.

Regardless of what your choice is when it comes to breast feeding, one thing I can say is it is not very much encouraged in the US at least in NY/ NJ region. If anything moms are discouraged by their peers, even if they start breast feeding, most likely they are stopped by 6 months and instructed to continue with formula since it is believed to be sufficient.

As humans we have been around for a long time and as much as we undermine our ancestors, we also have to accept that if they had not done some stuff right, we would not be here today. Back in the day, they did not have much info on nutrition, had access to variety or great quantities of food and they still did ok. People did not follow different diets worrying about sugar cholesterol or bad fat intake. Nature worked it’s way, people mostly died because of war or accidents or disease outbreaks. Breast milk was enough for babies and women exclusively breastfed their babies. Let the nature do its job, at least that’s my take.

Thank you for reading, let me know what you think?

Posted in Recipes

DIY rehydration fluid

This is an alternative to Pedialyte or Gatorade

Into 1 quart of water, very diluted juice or herbal tea dissolve the following:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tsp sugar source (maple syrup, organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, or honey (do not use honey if your child is younger than 18 months)

The goal is to make it taste good so your little one will drink it!

1-2 parts organic fruit juice (other than citrus) to 2-4 parts water with the sugar source and salt can be used!

Table salt is adequate for rehydration, but you may want to add a magnesium powder (1/2 tsp per quart of fluid) due to the depletion of magnesium levels from vomiting and diarrhea.

Thanks to Wellnesscare pediatrics for this amazing recipe!

Posted in Recipes

Natural baby powder

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 drop Roman chamomile oil
  • 1-2 drops lavender oil
  • 1/4 cup finely ground oats

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. If you don’t have finely ground oats, combine all ingredients in blender and pulse until finely ground
  2. Put ingredients in shaker style bottle. You can use an empty spice jar with sifter lid for easy application

Thanks to Wellnesscare Pediatrics for this amazing recipe

Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Unwanted baby shower items?

When I walked into buybuybaby to register for my baby registry, sales associate told me moms tend to register for anywhere between 120-140 items. She handed me the scanner and I started exploring the store. Thanks to one of my closest friends, we were able to pick and choose wisely. I ended up with 48 items on my baby registry. I was trying to keep it to a minimum because I don’t like clutter around the house and my goal was to get the items that I was going to use longer than just a couple of months. I thought I was being a very good planner.

IMG_6841But once it came to my baby shower besides getting some of my registered items, I also got many more items that I didn’t register for, want or need. For example, we received 62 bibs, 27 of 0-3 months outfits, 12 bottles of shampoo and baby lotions, 32 toys, 17 blankets and plastic feeding bottles. Talking about not wanting clutter around the house, and being a good planner huh?! I had way too many of everything. Do not get me wrong, I was very lucky to get all the loving and gifts but I did not understand why people did not buy the register items but decided to get creative and get other stuff. I didn’t have any gift receipt or nor I had an idea which store they came from so I was left with bags of unwanted/needed baby items.

I still needed some register items and decided to find a way of get rid of extra items and use that money to purchase what I needed. I went online. My good reliable friend GOOGLE!  Searched for the brands online to see which stores carry what brands and figured both Walmart and Target take the items back if they have it in their stores as long not opened/ damaged of course. That was a really good start! I was able have to return the shampoos- I preferred all organic and they were not-,some bibs, blankets and toys to Walmart and Target and got store credit. Then I head to T.J. Maxx followed by Marshalls. It was a bit of http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sites/womenshealthmag.com/files/images/birth-expense_0.jpgwork both for you and the sales associates but as long as they can match the brand with similar items in the store, they will also give give you a store credit. At the end of the day, I did not get cash back but I got almost $300 store credit. I did some shopping for the house, then I was able to purchase more baby items that I needed. That way I was able to return the items that I wasn’t going to use and I was able to purchase what was left on my baby registry and I completed my shopping. I still had some extra items but I made great progress with completing baby’s room!

Walmart, Target, TJ Maxx and Marshalls- I thank you very much for your cooperation and care! You all made a new mom very happy!

 

Posted in Recipes

Black Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Thanks to my midwives for this amazing cure! IMG_8295

Ingredients

-1 cup dried elderberries

-4 cups filtered water

-4 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger

-2 cinnamon sticks  3 cloves

-1 cup raw honey

Add all ingredients except for the honey into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to medium. Continue simmering for 30-45 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half. Before the liquid cools, strain through a fine mush strainer. Allow the liquid to cool to about 118 F to preserve the enzymes in the raw honey, and gently combine the arm reduced berry liquid with the raw honey. Store in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks. For longer storage, freeze into ice cube trays to defrost for later use!

First I bought this elderberry syrup for $18 in wholefoods store. Then got this recipe from Midwives of NJ. The whole bag of elderberry ($15) bag yields 6 cups which turns out to be much cheaper.

Here is anti-flu recipe from my midwives:

For all adults (including pregnant women): elderberry syrup 2 teaspoons a day, Vitamin D3: 4000 IU per day, Vitamin C: 1000 mg per day

For children: Elderberry syrup 2 tablespoons a day, Vitamin D3: 2000 IU per day,Vitamin C: 500 mg per day

If the baby is still feeding and mom is taking the syrup, then baby does not have to take the syrup.

Posted in Sweet child o' mine

Best time to put my new born in his room?

There are two main reasons why we had our little sleep in our room. Being first time parents, we wanted to ensure we were going to hear our little one when he woke up. img_8256Also, waking up very frequently at night time, I did not want to walk to another room and make it as convent as possible for myself. I just wanted to feed the baby and fall back to sleep without leaving my cozy bed. Therefore, 3 of us started sleeping on our king size bed, plus the cat would show up to sleep on the footrest so there would be 4 of us. The research suggests that babies should start sleeping in their room past three months to facilitate independence, self sufficiency and personal growth as well as to have some privacy & connection for the new parents.

Regardless of what the research suggests, these things don’t always go as planned. We were planning to keep our little one in our bed for the first couple of months however, he chose to sleep in his room after a month. How can a newborn choose to sleep in his room, right?! We realized that when he slept in our bed, img_8257he woke up very frequently. During daytime, I would put him in his crib and he would take 2-3 hours naps versus he would wake up every half an hour when he slept with us. One night I decided to put him in his crib when he fell sleep. That night he slept three hours straight so mommy slept 3 hours straight. From that time on, he started sleeping in his room. It was possible that we were waking him up since our bed time was different than his. When he turned about three months old, he obtained a new habit of cuddling with mommy to sleep. Now, he does not sleep past an hour unless he is in our bed. Throughout the night, he sleeps very well; only wakes up twice to feed for about 10 minutes then falls right back to sleep. It is such a big convenience for me because I am no longer sleep deprived but at one point, we will have to get him used to sleeping in his crib on his own.

Regardless of what the research says or whatever ideal is, things do not go as planned because of so many reasons.  The bottom line is, this is a journey not a project. Just take a seat back and enjoy this ride! Make every moment, everyday memorable with fun memories!

Please share what your thoughts & experiences are! I want to hear from you. comment and let me know!

Posted in Sweet child o' mine

Does your baby want to sleep in your arms and refuses to go to bed?

f430ac8e-8e9b-417d-ac79-be1e882e4e09Does you little peanut clings on to you and wakes up as soon as you put him in his crib? For some time this was the story with us. We tried many different ways so that he would go to sleep and most importantly stay asleep without mommy. Here are five steps that worked for me:

Golden rule #1 is to ensure you change his diaper. If your little one is sitting in a lot of pee or worst case poop, he is most likely to get fussy and less likely to fall asleep. The reason why he is not sleeping may be because he feel wet and uncomfortable which keeps him from getting cozy and falling asleep.

Golden rule #2 is to ensure he is not hungry. If your baby is full, he is more likely to fall asleep and sleep for an extended time. If he is hungry, he will eventually fall asleep because he is exhausted but he will wake up sooner or later. If you are putting that much work into putting him to sleep, you would not want him to wake up shortly after you put him in his bed.

img_7663Golden rule #3 is to make sure to burp him after nursing. One thing I kept forgetting is to burp my little one. After I nurse him, I would try to rock him to sleep but he would continue to cry, kick and punch. I would think he does not want to sleep and when I stand him up, he would burp and fall asleep on my shoulder.

img_7385Golden rule #4 is try swaddling your baby. Infants have a lot more involuntary motions that are jerky in nature. Any type of loud noise may startle them and wake them up. I believe that babies also dream so once they fall asleep, they tend to wake themselves up by jerking their arms/leg. Once I swaddled my little one, his movements did not wake him up and he slept for longer periods of time.

img_8139Golden rule #5 Babies know their moms by moms scent. My little one would periodically open/close his eyes to make sure I was not laying him down. Once he really fell asleep, I would lay him down and try to leave the room and he would wake up immediately. I started leaving my worn-couple-of-times shirt or cardigan in his crib right next to him. That did the trick. He thought I was laying down with him I guess so he did not wake up.

I would love to hear about your comments! Your tricks, what worked for you and your little peanut!

Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Hemorrhoids: not a girly topic to talk about, Ha?

Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are very common to have during pregnancy due to increase intra-abdominal pressure. They are also likely to happen during labor, as you bear down to push the baby out, you can imagine that you’re very likely to get hemorrhoids. They are the most common reason of rectal bleeding.  Once they swell, they bulge even more and they can start bleeding especially after going for number 2.

I did not have hemorrhoids when I was pregnant but was blessed with them after labor 😦 After giving water birth, I felt very sore on my bottom that somewhat improved in about 2 weeks. As my soreness improved, hemorrhoids still caused pain, difficulty going for number 2, and decreased my sitting tolerance on the bed nursing my little one.

Being discharged home, I was given two packs of witch hazel pads and Dermaplast pain relieving spray. After using the bathroom, all you have to do is to dab the pad on your behind then discard it. Witch hazel pads helped with recovery by decreasing itching and swelling as they alleviated the pain.

I was also instructed to do potty baths in warm water to clean out my bottom. Since you cannot wipe yourself due to increased tenderness in the area, sitting in a potty in warm water will help you relax and allow any discharge to come out.

Using potty bath and witch hazel pads definitely helped with hemorrhoids but they returned after a month. Ouch! I realized that the diet is also very important because your stool needs to be loose so once it’s coming out, it’s not irritating the area even more. After your hospital stay, you are prescribed laxatives which is great until you run out. Eating fiber rich food and drinking lots of water is the key.

Even though hemorrhoids are not a girl’s best friend, there are ways to get rid of them. Be consistent and have patience. They sure do not go away as quickly as they appear, but sooner or later they will be gone.

 

Images retrieved from:

http://www.onhealth.com/content/1/hemorrhoid_treatment

Posted in Super Momma

Want to increase milk production?

The first 48 hours after labor, you produce colostrum.  Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk that is more yellowish in color and thicker in consistency filled with a lot of good nutrients for your baby. Colostrum is not much in quantity so do not freak out about not producing enough. Most likely, the nurse will help you to hand express it so you can cumulate the colostrum on a spoon then feed it to your baby. After 48 hours you start producing more milk, the look of what you produce changes from yellow to white with a more viscous consistency. Do not let people freak you out that you do not have enough milk for your baby! It takes time.

colostrum-handmilk-foremilkMilk production is a supply demand mechanism meaning, more often your breasts are emptied either by nursing or pumping, more milk your body will produce. Meeting that demand takes time since your body will not go from producing an ounce to 3 ounces over night so be patient.

My son had difficulty with latching on due to he had tongue tie and I almost lost all my milk production. Hand expression was not enough to stimulate my milk production and I almost lost all my milk in a weeks times frame. I also did not have the pump yet so my breasts were not stimulated to produce more.Once he had the revision done, he wanted to feed more but I did not have enough milk. We had to supplement until I was able to meet his demand. To boost up my production, I had to visit whole foods store to get some supplements, and I did a lot of praying. If you feel like you’re not producing enough and going through similar struggles, here is what I used:

1- Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water. When I say plenty, I mean half of your body weight in ounces is your bare minimum. Soups and herbal teas count towards your daily water intake since they do not dehydrate your body. Unfortunately, juices are not very good for you since you do not want to overload your system with sugar. Remember to limit your caffeine intake as well.

140654522- Mothers milk tea has lot of good ingredients. Drink 3 to 5 cups a day as the instructions say. Many stores such as whole foods, target or walmart has it or you can order it online. You can also get the ingredients of mothers milk tea separately which I found to be more helpful for me.

fenugreek-owh180-13- I got FenuGreek which is one of the ingredients in Mother’s milk tea. You can find it in wholefoods store or order online. Mine came as capsules and I took three capsules a day with meals. Fenugreek really helped me boost my milk supply.

a8133630-db7d-4dc2-8a11-92308ffb8314
loose fennel

4- The best of all is loose fennel. You can just brew it at home, and one cup in the morning and one cup in the afternoon helped a ton. Fennel apparently helps with a lot more stuff so I may continue with fennel tea even after I stop breastfeeding.

5- Another remedy that I used is Milk thistle. I also got this from whole foods and probably you can find it online for a better price. It’s a drop so you drop for drops in a cup and drink it. I honestly did not feel like it helped much and for some reason on the bottle it says beware if you are breastfeeding?!!

fennel

 

Images obtained from:

https://www.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/fenugreek-OWH180.html?afd_number=27141&gclid=CjwKEAiArIDFBRCe_9DJi6Or0UcSJAAK1nFvVIv-TzXrleXeMRCbZNs-PCmi7GDMJg4H42Du1ujdrhoC1CHw_wcB

http://www.target.com/p/traditional-medicinals-organic-mother-s-milk-herbal-tea-16-ct/-/A-14065452?sid=1263S&ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Grocery%2BEssentials%2BShopping_Local&adgroup=SC_Grocery&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9003522&fndsrc=tgtao&gclid=CjwKEAiArIDFBRCe_9DJi6Or0UcSJAAK1nFvZh8PIXxVj0_yV1U8njj44NanHsBDNsga0Typu_qv_xoCimHw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-fennel.html

Posted in Super Momma, Sweet child o' mine

Benefits of tummy time

 

img_7060-jpg
Afraid of tummy time? I was!

Are you afraid to put your little one on his tummy? I was! Once my mom told me to put my son on his belly I was afraid that he would suffocate. I knew babies needed to spend some time on their tummies but I was afraid and I didn’t know how and where to start.

There are many reasons why tummy time is very important for babies. First of all, it is important to achieve, complete and advance his movement skills set. There is a sequence in a baby’s development where he has to achieve pushing on his elbows before crawling, or standing before walking. In order to advance to the next skills set, he has to achieve the previous one. For example, in order for the baby to crawl has to be able to push to move his arms support his weight, master how to wight shift from one arm/leg to the other arm/leg in order to move. Unless he spend adequate time on his belly, he’s not gonna be able to master those skills. after spending some belly time, my son started gaining more head control; he was able to lift his head up, prop himself on his elbows and also turn his head to find a more comfortable sleeping position.

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Supervised tummy time

Another importance of tummy time is developmental. Babies are born without any spinal curvature. You can appreciate that adults have curvatures. Our neck and lower back are lordotic while our mid back is kyphotic. In order for the babies to develop proper spinal alignment and posture, they need to move against gravity. Since the gravity is always pulling down towards the floor, against gravity would be moving one’s body towards the ceiling. Tummy time allows for the baby to lift his head, push into his hands/elbows to lift his chest that will develop that neck and low back curvature.

Once my son was three weeks old, he started getting a lot of gas. Not are if it was a growth spurt or my food choices. Gripe water and Windy helped but it was becoming a routine that he almost appeared to be colicy. Moms know it all right?! So when I talked to my mom, she suggested supervised tummy time. First time I put him on his stomach, I checked on him periodically. I was nervous. After an hour, I realize that he started passing gas like there’s no tomorrow. I let him sleep on his stomach during daytime and he became less and less fussy. In about two weeks he was able to lift and turn his head, and I started getting more confident and less worried about letting him sleep on his stomach. Tummy time assisted with passing gas as well.

f430ac8e-8e9b-417d-ac79-be1e882e4e09My pediatrician encouraged tummy time then to put him on his back to sleep because the medical world is afraid of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you do a little research about SIDS, they don’t know what really causes it. Was I worried about it? Absolutely yes! So what did I do? I made sure I eliminated all the factors that may have led to SIDS. I laid him only on a firm surface (his mattress is firm). I made sure to take off his hat and bib to eliminate the possibility of airway blockage. Also I removed all the toys/stuffed animals so he wouldn’t be able to get to them. I also periodically checked on him.

Let me know what you think! As mothers we know our children the best because we have this gut feel/ instinct that tells right apart from wrong. I chose to put him on his stomach to sleep because of previously stated reasons. My purpose in sharing my experience is not to convince any one to put their infants on their stomachs. Just like my other blog posts, I would like to share my experience and hear about yours.

Please comment below and let me know what you think!

Until my next blog. Stay awesome mama!