Increasing Your (Breast) Milk Supply



If there is one things you have determined from my blog is that I am a pro-breastfeeding Mommy. In working with new Moms and newborns for the past fifteen years, I have always loved helping others and sharing my knowledge with those who enlist my postpartum services. When I learn of a new “trick to the trade”, I am always the one to get the word out. For me, I did have a a lot of school under my belt; however nothing was a better crash course in breastfeeding than nursing my own children. With my oldest, Gabriella, In the first six weeks we literally had every nursing problem thrown at us…and we overcame. All of them! Sure I could have given up, give her formula and go on with my life- and that would have been easy. However, what is easy; is not always right. As you may remember from previous posts, my daughter had horrible acid reflux that was causing her a great deal of stomach discomfort and me, a lot of sleepless nights and heartache. The Doctors and specialists wanted me to use a very expensive line of formula, wanted me to keep pumping my newborn full of prescription drugs and “watch her for surgery”. Thankfully, I found the tools to make more milk and feed my daughter less formula. Like magic, Once formula was fully eliminated, my daughter, Gabriella never needed any zantac or supplements, ever again. Now that I know what formula has in it, the awful cancer causing ingredients, the traces of bleach and arsenic, the long list of warnings, the several recent recalls, baby deaths  and all the lies of marketing propaganda that goes into it, I am every so thankful I stopped formula and found a solution that worked better for us. That solution was increasing my breast-milk supply.

-Please note that low milk supply is determined by the babies diaper output. If your newborn is wetting less than 5 diapers a day and has less then 5 poops a day, then please see a Lactation Consultant for a weight-feed-weigh.

If I had a dollar for every time a new Mom asks and tells me of having a low or no supply, I’d be a millionaire. I first think that this “problem” is so common is because there are a lot of myths around breastfeeding and ‘having enough milk’.

  • First and foremost: Labor and Deliver Naturally. It really is better for you and the baby. Drugs given in inductions (pitocin, stadol, nubane, cytotec, epidural etc) are known to cause baby to go into distress and will be hard for the babies to eat in those first days as they come off (withdrawal) from the drugs. Now, not every baby will suffer effects, but most do. Getting induced or any use of pitocin will put the baby into distress and often ends in C Section. Instead, let your baby chose its own birthday. If you are overdue (42-43+ weeks), maybe see an acupuncturist, trying pumping for 45 min/walking for 30 routine- do 5 cycles. (I have known, a ton of moms go into labor from doing pumping/walking cycles after getting a session of acupuncture) Check with your Midwife and explore your natural options.
  • Just say NO! A lot of the culprit for having low or no supply begins in the hospital, so if you are expecting, ensure the hospital you are delivering at is “baby friendly”. Also make sure the nurses know you want absolutely no bottles/formula given to your new baby. Also request that your baby stays with you. (Unless there is a serious medical issue that arises) Put this in your birth plan and give it to the nurses once you arrive at the place you are birthing. Stay Firm! If you deliver  at a birthing center or at home; you won’t need a birth plan. I don’t recommend offering a first bottle (of expressed breast-milk) until baby is 4-5 weeks old and breastfeeding has been well established.
  • Put baby to breast as much as possible. From the first minutes/hours of life, do skin to skin contact. Nothing stimulates your breast to make milk than your baby nursing directly from you. At every single feeding. Some people  forget how pure and gentile breast-milk is and how quickly it digests. Breast-milk digests much faster and easier than formula, so in turn, baby’s tummy will empty faster and he/she will want to eat more. Its is not because you are not making enough and that you’re starving your baby. You are not!  Put that negative thought to rest, because its simply not true! Baby eats a lot because you are cozy, your arms are a safe haven, you are warm and your milk is the perfect temperature for them; it tastes good. You, the Momma, take care of all there needs with one little latch. If you only nurse three times a day then of course, your body will only make enough milk for three feedings. So it is important to nurse and nurse a lot in those first few weeks/months to establish a sufficient supply. Feed on demand. Even if just nursed, feed again. Your baby knows it needs and if it need to nurse all day, let it happen. Frequent nursing is newborn newborn behavior.
  • All or Nothing: Say you have a low supply, it doesn’t mean that you cannot nurse. It does not have to be all or nothing. There are ways to increase supply. Its actually a very easy fix! Feeding your baby some  is better than none. Don’t give up Mom, you got this.
  • Nipple Confusion: If your baby is having issues latching, you can still nurse. Medela makes wonderful nipple shields that you place over your nipple. It helps pull your nipple out, feels like a nipple/bottle to the baby and if your nipples are sore, helps a lot with sore, cracked nipples. They can be purchased online, in retailers like Target and many breastfeeding boutiques. *If your baby cannot latch, please have a Lactation Consultant check your baby for a tongue tie. Hurtful/raw nipples (blisters, soreness, bleeding), latching issues and bottle preference are signs of a tongue tie. When a baby cannot latch properly due to a tongue tie, it will effect your supply. The baby cannot effectively transfer the milk (get the milk out of your breast) and in turn Mom can get clogged ducts, mastitis and low supply. 90% of the time when a baby doesn’t properly latch, it is from a tongue or lip tie. You can also try different nursing positions. Again, have a lactation consultant show you how. 
  • Support  Eliminate those who are not supportive. The nay-sayers and those who say, “I fed my baby formula and they came out fine”, can just wait to see your new baby. You don’t need any negativity around you while you are in a delicate state. I am here to tell you that YES, you can breastfeed. You absolutely CAN! You are not broken and you are not failing as a mother. There are six billion people on this planet, our species is Millions of years old and formula is only 60 years old. What did we do before Enfimil and Similac? We nursed. Our bodies are wonderful works of art that are fully capable of feeding the children we birth. You CAN do this. Go into a quiet room, lay in your bed, Wipe the tears, whip out your boob and latch that baby on. Love and bonding will follow.
  • Supplements There are those who need to up the supply in lieu of going back to work or letting Dad have some feeding time. (Fathers can bond without bottle feeding) For whatever the reason, there are natural herbs out there that are known to increase breast milk production. I highly recommend More Milk Plus (Special Blend) pills, Made by Motherlove Herbal Company. I took 3 pills, 3 times a day and drank a bottle of water (12oz)  every 90 minutes. I also took 3-4 Fenegreek and 3 Blessed Milk Thistle capsules everyday. I also recommend Goats Rue drops  and a few cups of Lactation Tea, everyday. (Again, I am not a doctor so check with your doctor before starting any supplement) If one of my clients is having a hard time producing, (at the recommendation of a trained and certified Lactation Consultant) I will bring them some More Milk Plus Pills, Blessed Milk Thistle, Goats Rue, Fenegreek capsules, raw oatmeal and a box of Lactation Tea to take through out the day. Normally within two to three days, I have a milkin mamma on my hands! These herbs worked wonders for me. Because of my highly medicated birth, My supply was low. Within 24 hours, I went from pumping 2 oz total to almost 11 oz at every feeding. (These figures are not typical for mothers, I have a rare case of over supply) I had so much milk I fed adopted twins and ended up donating over 1,800 ounces to a milk for premature babies in dire need. It can be done Moms! You can find the herbs and  drops at the health food store, on amazon and through the Motherlove Herbal Website. While taking herbs to increase milk production, nurse your baby as much as you can, always put baby to the breast, do a lot of skin to skin and try to stop formula. Every feeding should be at the breast, for optimum results.
  • Pumping Another good way to boost supply is to wait 30 minutes after a feed and pump for 15 minutes after each feed. If your baby is nursing from you frequently, do not pump. Just nurse your baby as your baby is the best simulator. Do not get discouraged if you only get an ounce or two out. That is ok. Please know that pumping doesn’t empty the breast like a baby does. **DO NOT GAUGE YOUR SUPPLY BY WHAT YOU PUMP OUT!**  Some pumps work better than others. Personally, I have not had good luck with hand held pumps. Hygeia and Medela Pump in Style (double electric hospital-grade)seem to be the top two fav’s among Moms these days. Whatever pump you use, Do not get discouraged, do not give up. You are doing a good job.
  • Supplemental Nursing System is made by Medela and is great for moms who are needing to feed there baby and still stimulate there breasts by feeding. This little tool also helps adoptive mothers to lactate. If supply is low, this this a wonderful tool that kills two birds with one stone. An SNS can be purchased at most Breastfeeding boutiques, amazon, diapers.com and on Medela’s website.
  • Eat and Drink  In the days following having my first daughter, my Mom totally took care of me. She did things I didn’t think to do. She put a little basket on the night stand filled with string cheese, crackers, granola bars, Trail Mix, apples and a few bottles of water. I would nurse in the baby’s room, sitting in a rocking chair. When I sat down to nurse I would snack and drink water. I know staying hydrated and well nourished is a key element to keeping a good supply. Feed yourself so you can feed your baby.
  • Breast Size does NOT Dictate your ability to breastfeed. Breast size is a result of fatty tissue and since breast milk is made from Mammary glands, the two are unrelated. Do not believe the myths! Keep nursing.
  • Visit a Lactation Consultant if you have any issues with nursing or if you feel like you need someone to show you how to get the perfect latch. There are tons of great books out there that are available at the library and have great information on breastfeeding. Just do not give up. Seek help from a qualified Lactation Consultant. We are here to help you and support you to a successful breastfeeding experience.
  • You Tube If you are interested in seeing videos and how-to-examples of a good latch, how to breastfeed, positions etc, there are a ton of great videos on You Tube.

A little video for your viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaR-pvh4K_g

Again. I am not a doctor.

I am a Lactation Specialist and a Postpartum Doula. Boobs and Babies are all I do.

We are here to help.

Disclaimer:  Low Milk supply is diagnosed from a Lactation Consultant, please see a IBCLC for an official diagnosis. This page is not intended to treat or diagnose any breastfeeding issues. Please see a doctor or IBCLC, first. 

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Protecting my Family


In past years, I would tell you that I don’t like, agree for feel comfortable around guns. Growing up, we had a “no weapons policy”, meaning my five brothers were never allowed to have water guns, squirt guns or anything that resembled a weapon in our home. My mother was firm with this rule. If we got one for our birthday, it ended up in the garbage. (Yes, I know…totally not ecofriendly!)

I have never shot a gun. I admit, I rolled my eyes when my husband purchased us a six hour 40 caliber hand gun. “Whatever makes you feel like a big boy…”  I told him. Then he got a rifle and again…” whatever makes you feel tough, dude”, I told my husband. Because my husband travels so much for work, leaving me home alone with our two year old for days at a time, he did show me how to load, cock and shoot our 40 cal. “Yeah whatever, I’ll be fine” I told him. I never put much thought into it. We have always lived in nice, family friendly neighborhoods. Thinking that ‘needing a gun’ will never happen to us.

I WAS WRONG

About two months ago, I got an email from our HOA, telling of a few home burglaries in the next neighborhood. Again, we live in a very safe, typical suburbia neighborhood. Its like “Leave it to Beaver”, upper middle class around here with white picked fences, people bring you cookies when you move in, neighborhood ice cream socials, a community pool where all the town gossip happens and our house track has the best trick-or-treating, ever.
I woke up in the early morning of Thursday March 29th at 12:55am, turned off the tv in our room, checked on my two and a half year old daughter, covered her up and went to the bathroom. While I’m sitting there, half alseep, my doorbell rings, frantically. About 8 times in a row. “Who the F rings a doorbell like that, especially at this hour?” I thought to myself. My husband slept through the door bell ringing so I woke him up and told him. Like a ninja, my husband springs out of bed, instantly grabs our gun, goes to our front door (didn’t open it) and no one is there. Hmm that is odd. I looked out the upstairs window and our court looks quiet. The kids were on spring break here- so maybe they are just door bell ditching? I only see a Prius circling the court. I thought it was our teenage neighbors getting picked up or dropped off. It is spring break, after all.

So we both go back to bed.

As we both lie in bed- we then hear our door to the basement open! (the door knob squeaks and the door is loud) we both jump out of bed. Dan springs into action again and stays posted at the top of the stairs, in front of our room and our daughters room. I run into my walk0in closet, hide behind two racks of clothes, call 911 with my rifle in my right hand…. My husband has the .40 cal, cocks it (that is loud!) and hides at the top of the stairs.  “I have a gun. A big gun. Get the F#$& out of my house!”
We hear the basement door close and shut.
Whispering on the phone to 911.. I was so scared that I could barely hold the phone up to my ear. I look at my phone, I have been on the phone for six minutes. So far, it feels like 60 hours.
The dispatcher tells me the police are surrounding my house, and say they saw some movement in the back of our house. We are upstairs, I am in my closet so the movement is not us.
The police checked inside/outside our home and could not find anything. Everything was locked up tight. Nothing out of the ordinary. We both heard the door open and close, so where did they go? How did they get out?
It’s 2am and the police leave. We set up a boobie trap in front of the basement door. (Thank you Kevin McCalister and Home Alone for the inspiration!!) I didn’t go back to sleep. My husband did. Of course.

I get up in the morning and re-read the email from our HOA. I cringe as the details of the other home invasions in the area. All at 1-2am, everyone noted a silver hatchback vehicle and all were broken into through the front door. It was an exact detail of what happened at our house.

I called ADT security and thankfully they were at our house, setting everything up by 4pm the next day.

My husband bought me this for my birthday. Now, normally I get pretty pink things from Nordtsroms or a new Coach bag. But this year was different. And I am ok with that. At least it’s still pink 😉

Come back motherf*cker, I dare you. I was fully prepared to kill that night. A feeling that scares me to this very day. I have never felt that feeling before. A feeling of protection that was so strong, it did not involve a second thought. Honestly, its because I am a mother now and I will stop at nothing to protect my family, especially my precious baby girl. You picked the wrong house.

 

 

 

 

I want to stress the importance of gun safety. Our firearms are in a locked gun safe. The guns are never loaded and have trigger locks on them that will only unlock if I or my husband unlock them. They are 100% child proof. Please, if you have guns in the home always keep them out of reach and sight of children. And please, take a gun safety course to learn the ins and outs of your firearm. Always assume a gun is loaded and always check it first. Look down the barrel. Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Be safe, please. 

How to Travel with a Baby…and Have A Great Flight!


As parents, we are nervous about everything. We question everything we do.

“What diapers to do we use?”

“Did we pick the right doctor for her?”

“Is this an ear infection?”

“Did she eat enough?”

“Am I doing this right?”

“Ugh, your mom wants us to fly out and see her??? <groan>”  Then there is the ill fated first plane flight.

Well, no worries Mom, I have you covered.

Ella and I, we are pros at this travel thing! So I thought I’d share with you our recipe for success! My daughter has been flying since she was 9 weeks old. She has flown so much; she has her own frequent flyer number on Southwest Airlines. She has flown 20 times now and she is only two and a half. We have flown to and from the East Coast from the Bay Area quite a few times, back and forth from Denver to the Bay Area, from Denver to Orange County, from the Bay Area to Orange County a few times and a vacation to Hawaii. Each and every flight, Ella does awesome!

Here are my tips: 

  • I always booked flights that are at her nap time so when we lift off, I give her some boo, her blankee and shes out. That is a good two hours of silence.
  • Call me crazy but when we fly, I always preboard- so it gives me a chance to wipe the seats, seat belts/buckles and tray tables off with anti bacterial hand wipes. I also spray lysol on the seats, arm rests etc. You can get anti bacterial hand wipes and the little lysol spray by the check out counters at Target. I have watched grown men pick their boogers, roll em up and wipe it on the seat. One woman sneezed everywhere and then wiped her snot filled hand on the arm rest. F*cking foul. Sanitize everything, Mommy!! People have no shame and are so gross.
  • Depending on the flight, we both wear cozy outfits. Me: yoga pants & a zip up jacket, (makes for easy nursing) comfy tennis shoes or flip flops. (Depending on the weather and where we are going) I do not dress up, cozy is the easiest. The airport is not a fashion show and I am not there to impress anyone.
  • Baby: I prefer PJ’s; when Ella was a baby, I put her in a one piece outfit. (Something easy for diaper changes. Remember space is limited.) Your best bet is to put your child in a pair of zip up, footed pj’s with a onesie under so that if its hot on the plane (or perhaps you are flying to a warm destination) you can rip off the pj’s and your baby is now cool and comfy. For me,Yoga pants are easier, makes for easy trips to the restroom- when you are peeing with a baby on your lap.
  • Pack 2-3 extra outfits/pj’s for the baby. One time we were flying and Ella got horrible diarrhea and thank god I “over packed”, otherwise she would have been naked…or wearing a shitty outfit.
  • Pack a nice cozy baby blanket. Sometimes flights get chilly and your baby is small. Best to keep baby warm and cozy.
  • Depending on the flight, pack 6-8 diapers and a full thing of wipes. I like the costco wipes, they work well and never cause rashes.
  • Get a window seat closer to the front of the plane. I let Ella look out the window, say good bye to her friends and family “were going up, up, up …and away!!!”
  • Always ask a flight attendant as you board if this is a full flight. If its not, I always put Ella in the middle seat (again we do Southwest) and if the flight is not full, she got her own seat.. for free! (Before she was two years old, she was a lap baby) If we got lucky, it was wonderful for naps. I made a pillow on my lap and made Ella a little make-shift bed. Again, naps on the plane have never been a problem for us.
  • Make sure you pack bottles for take off and landing. Sucking helps their ears relieve pressure so if you are nursing or bottle feeding, save it for take off and landing. It will help a lot and maybe put your kiddo to sleep. (wink, wink) If they are older, give them gum. It is always a treat to them and it helps relieve air pressure in the ears.
  • If you are flyin Southwest, they will let you preboard before everyone else; if you tell them you have anxiety and claustrophobia. I have a doctors note. This *really* helps us in getting on the plane and getting situated without being rushed. Pregnant mommies already get preboard privileges regardless, so make sure you tell the ticket counter if you are expecting so you can be the first on the plane.
  • Don’t forget to get your stroller tagged before you board.
  • baby wear! Throw him in an ergo (piggy back rides work well, depending on the age of the child) When we were about to board the plane, I always put Ella in the pack (when she was young enough) and have the stroller already folded up so I just put it off to the right, (where the strollers go…) and then hop on the plane. Makes for an easier boarding.
  • Depending on where you are flying, the TSA has regulations on what you can and cannot bring on the flight, in terms of food. Breastmilk is allowed but will be tested as you go through security. Just tell a TSA attendant that you have human milk to be tested. They have never given me issues and are so helpful if I am traveling alone, which is often.
  • We feed Ella before we fly. Airports are really picking it up these days and are now offering nice, healthy restaurants with edible options. A baby that has a full tummy, will be less likely to cause a fuss.
  • Before I fly, I go to the dollar store and get new (small) coloring books, crayons, little toys, stickers etc. Then I go to the market and get all her fav snacks. (something small and not messy) I pack her own little backpack with her goodies in it. It has to be new stuff so she is interested. The best thing I bought was (washable) window markers. I let her write all over the tray, window…everything and with a baby wipe…it was gone! Ella sure thought it was cool. We drew our family on the window. Flight attendants flipped out until they saw me wash it away. =)
  • Another thing that has saved our life, one word : IPAD!!! Honestly, the  best money I have ever spent. I always download/rent new movies and games and it keeps her occupied for quite some time.
  • Go to tj maxx or Marshall’s and get 3-4 new books. I get great books there for 3 and 4 bucks.

The key is to keep them busy. There has been a few times I have got snarky glares from passengers and one time an older couple said as they passed us, “Oh god, theres a baby on this flight…groan” and they sat right behind us. The best part was that Ella nursed and slept the whole time we were on the plane and when we got off, I stood up with her in the baby bjorn and someone else said (really loudly) “wow, your baby did great! I had no idea there was a baby on this plane, everything was so quiet!” I looked at the old couple who complained behind me and said, “Yes, she IS always this good!”

So there it is Mommies. Have an awesome flight and be safe!

An Ode To My Daughter


My Dearest Gabriella Grace,

I love you more than life. More than there is sand at the beach. More than there’s water in the ocean. More than there are stars in the sky. More than anything. You were a wanted, prayed for, carefully planned soul. The day you were born, I promised God that I would give you the world. And I plan to give you nothing less.

But I will warn you: My job as your mother goes far beyond the love I have for you. I will always be your biggest cheerleader. I will always be the one screaming the loudest for you at your games. I will always be the Mom who puts notes in your lunch box. I will always be the Mom who feels like she won the jackpot the day you were born. I will always be the Mom who wakes you up with cupcakes in bed on your birthday. I will always be the Mom who stays up late, worrying about if I’m doing things right. I will always be the Mom who is the class “Room Mother”. I will always be the relaxed Mom, or at least the Mom who tells herself to relax. I will always be the Mom who literally gets sick to my stomach at the thought of you dating, driving and ‘being out in the real world’.  I will always be the Mom who tells you to stand up for what you believe in, even if that means you are standing alone. I will always be the Mom who, God help any kid that bully’s you. I will always be the Mom, who screams (loudly out the car window) “Bye honey, have a good day…LOVE YOU!!!”, as you walk up the stairs to school. I will always be the Mom who has lunch dates with her kids. I will always “check in” with you. I will always make sure you are protected from the evil of this world. I will always check on you, tuck you in and kiss you good night, one last time before going to bed for as long as you live in my house. I will always be the Mom who hides your favorite candy in her purse and eats it with you when we go to the movies. I will always be the Mom who pushes you, because I know you can do it. I will always be “that mom”: The Mom who is obsessed with their children. I will always be the Mom who believes in not judging others and will teach you not not judge as well. I will always be the Mom who teaches her kids values. I will always be the Mom who loves life, and I love it even more because you are in it. I will always be the Mom who shows you all the beauty God gave us on Earth. I will be the cool Mom. I will always be the Mom who encourages you to fill your mind with knowledge. I will be the Mom, running behind you screaming with joy as you petal your bike, alone, for the first time. I will always be the Mom who lets you win board games. I will always be the Mom who creates a magical Christmas, every year for you. I will always be the mom who goes the extra mile for you, just because you deserve it. I will always be the Mom who enjoys the simple moments. I will always be the mom who has to Google the latest trends to make sure I am “in the know.” I will always be the Mom who learns every word on the CD, decorates her SUV, makes t-shirts and blasts Justin Bieber all the way to his concert. Because, secretly…I like his music too.

Sure, you will call me embarrassing, sometimes you’ll wish you had a different mother, and probably at times even hate me. But the truth is. I don’t care. I am your mother. I am not your friend. I will listen, offer advice and will genuinely care about the events going on in your life. I will always be there for you. My shoulder will always be yours to cry on. I will bust my butt to give you the many things I didn’t have. I always be there to pick you up when you fall.  I am your mother, the only one you will have. I know the day will come when you will disappoint me, let me down, frustrate me and even upset me to no end. But I am your mother and I will love you through it all. No matter what.

I am strict. I believe in inspection and high expectations. I believe in motivating, pushing and exposing. I believe in chores. I believe in trying, giving everything your best shot and never ‘half assing’. I believe in 100% or nothing at all. I believe in instilling responsibly. I believe in cleaning up after yourself. I believe in consequences. I believe in rewards. I believe in leading my example. I believe in showing/teaching you to be healthy. I believe in giving you make up lessons, so you don’t look like a clown. I believe that less is more. I believe in modesty. I believe in loving your neighbor. I believe in teaching you to accept others. I believe in charity. I believe in allowing my children to decide their own religion, but still giving them a foundation. I believe in YOU! Not because I am mean, lazy or want to be your drill sergeant. I do it because I love you and want you to grow into a successful, powerful and strong woman. Just like the meaning of your name. Gabriella means strength. Sure, you’ll moan and groan as you do your chores, study inside while the other kids are out playing,  but just know that one day you’ll thank me for it. I know the day will come and you will thank me, appreciate me and maybe even regret some of the things you did. But you will never understand the love I have for you, until you experience the love you have for your own child.

I love you, forever and ever…To the Moon and back.

❤ Mommy

Life After Miscarriage


Upon our marriage, my husband and I spoke in great length about our future plans. Up until now, we have followed those plans, almost to a T. (With the exception of all these corporate moves we made, but hey…life is an adventure and everything has been an awesome experience) When our daughter was born it was agreed that our children would be three years apart, and a third child was debatable, given where we were in our lives at that part. But two kiddos, three years a part was our plan. After Ella was born and in the wake of my PPD, the thought of having another child scared me. I got a Mirena IUD at my six week check up and loved it! It was the perfect form of contraception for us.

This past summer, we starting talking more in depth about having another baby. Our daughter is getting older, shes very independent, goes to pre school and my husbands career is secure. We have our house, money is good, health care accepts midwives and birthing centers, so yeah, our ducks are all in a row! All is good! The only thing left to do was get my IUD out. For us pregnancy is/was a planned event. I do not do well with surprises and we are planners. I have never liked the idea of having an unplanned pregnancy.  So on October 13th 2011, I had my IUD removed. At the appointment, My midwife suggested I wait until I had two cycles before we started trying- after having an IUD for so long, I wouldn’t have much of a uterine lining; with a possible insufficient uterine lining it would increase our chances of miscarriage; so the longer we waited to get pregnant, the better. All though, I never got to the second cycle.

I was taking organic prenatals, organic fish oil and eating a well balanced mostly organic diet. I ended up getting pregnant right away. After four pregnancy tests saying “negative” despite having all the symptoms, I finally got a positive pregnancy test, and another..then another and another. It was November 15th, 2011. I took the tests and stared at them all for what seemed like hours. The line was faint, but it WAS there. I was pregnant! Due July 22, 2012. Just a week before our daughters third birthday. We were over the moon. We made phone calls, I text my friends with the picture of the pregnancy test and we started to plan our “pregnancy announcement video”. Excited doesn’t cover it. We were joyful and  the anticipation of planning for the next nine months was starting to sink in. This baby was wanted, planned and already loved so very much. While I had some fears, mixed feelings (now I call it mothers intuition) I just didn’t feel the same as when I was pregnant with my first child. “Your second pregnancy never feels like your first”. I kept telling myself. But something just felt off. Not right.

On Thanksgiving night I got very, very sick and could not keep food down. I had a fever, stomach cramps and was up all night throwing up and having bad cases of diarrhea. It was clear my body was clearing itself out. My husband had to go to work on “black friday” so as I laid on the couch with my two year old cuddled with me, watching the ipad… I felt a warm trickle down my leg. Then a drip and another. Did I just pee myself? I raced to the bathroom and was bleeding. It was bright red and it was heavy.

My heart sank. I fell to the floor. Tears were running down my face. My worst fear had come true. I have been around enough pregnant woman in my line of work to know what this was.

Two sonograms, two bags of IV fluids, three “exams”, four viles of blood and six hours later at the ER, it was confirmed.

I Miscarried. 

The news hit me with a ton of bricks. I was only six weeks along. I had hopes that maybe there was a mistake, maybe the sonograms were wrong. Maybe the ER doctor just wasn’t pregnancy savy… I prayed and prayed for a miracle. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I had done everything right, ate well, took my pills, even added fish oil (which is known to lessen your chances of miscarriage) drank water, read the books. Sheesh,  I did everything by the books! This baby wasn’t a burden, an accident or an oops. Our baby was wanted. Why did this happen? Is it my karma for something I did, something I said? Was this Karma for being so vocal about others who did careless/selfish in pregnany by doing drugs, drinking or smoking when pregnant? (Something I could never fathom doing and admit to judging those who do/did) Am I not meant to be a mom of two? Was the timing not right? Is Gabriella going to be an only child forever? I had and still have many thoughts going through my head.

I recently read Michelle Duggar’s blog about the baby they lost, Jubilee, at 18 weeks. I can relate to the pain because at 6 weeks pregnant or at 20 weeks pregnant, a loss of a baby still hurts your heart. Her blog really spoke to me. She too, wonders if putting birth control in place was God’s warning to let HIM be in control. Was my miscarriage God’s way of telling me that he is in charge of my life, and to leave it all up to him? But then I tell myself that God doesn’t purposefully inflict punishment or pain on his children. Miscarriages hurt. Emotionally and psychically.

For me, the hardest part was knowing that I had a life inside me, a little soul who was sent to us from our creator. A little person who I had many dreams about. Dreams that started before I was even pregnant or knew I was pregnant. I dreamed of a little girl, a newborn with little bits of brown hair. She was perfect and so incredibly beautiful. I remember the dreams like a memory. I felt and feel like I already knew her.

But now, I have nothing. But an empty feeling in my heart. I cry and cry. Some days I don’t think about it. Other days, it is on my mind non stop. Some days, I get upset, sad and angry, watching pregnant woman in the mall or when I am picking up my daughter from school. They all seem to be very happy. Why didn’t they miscarry? Why did I? What about all the poor babies born addicted to Meth or Heroin? Why didn’t they miscarry? What about all the pregnancies that were not planned?  Why didn’t they miscarry?  What about all the irresponsible “16 & pregnant” girls we see glorified on MTV, why didn’t they miscarry? My baby only got the best for the little time I was growing her…and still didn’t make it. Life is full of unanswered questions, and at times, life can be so unfair. I simply don’t get it. And I don’t think I ever will.

What Is Next?

Well, I recently joined a gym and started working out 5 days a week again. (Working 0ut when my daughter isn’t sick, which has been frequent lately) I am doing yoga, trying Pilates and once I get pregnant again, I’ll do prenatal yoga 2 times a week. I am still taking my prenatals and eating very good. I am waiting to get my next cycle then taking the herb Soy Isoflavones to help boost ovulation with the hopes of getting pregnant in the next few weeks and having a healthy baby at the end of September. I pray. I pray everything works out well. I now realize how fragile pregnancy is. What a miracle life is.

I have been so distraught after my miscarriage that I called my psychic two weeks ago, looking for answers (who is always so good and spot on, BTW http://www.ushaji.org/ ) Last year, at a reading Usha told me that I was to have four children. I already have one, then a miscarriage and possible twins. Possible twins, as in, the baby souls have not decided if they wanted to come together or a part. Recently, she told me I may have some problems in future pregnancies but they would subside, and that she saw a healthy baby in my arms before the end of October. Just the thing I needed to hear. It gives me hope that I will conceive again and will hold my baby. For me, the only way I can attempt to heal from this miscarriage is to go on and have another baby. So here we start again, back to square one, watching my cycle, trying again, doing “the recipe” and taking it day by day. I have hope for the future and know that many people have miscarriages and then go on to have healthy babies. I keep telling myself that it will happen when it is intended to. Until then, I will just live. And snuggle my two year old a little closer each night, so very appreciative of the gift our children are.

I have hope. I have faith. I have God. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

A Letter to my second baby:

Dear Little One, While our time together may have been short I want you to know how loved you were. We prayed for you to go come into our lives and we are appreciative of the short time you were inside me. I know we will meet again and when we do, it will be right. I look forward to feeling you grow in my body, watching my body change  with your every milestone, decorating your nursery, preparing for your arrival, birthing you as my body intended, seeing your face and feeling your skin on mine. I know the day will come when I can put a face with the name. And what a beautiful name you will have. We, as your parents love you already and know the day will come when we meet again. Until then, we will wait; letting you and our creator decide for when the time is right. Please come back to me.               All my love, Mummy xoxo

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This Mommy Is A Breastfeeder


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Breastfeeding for me did not come easy. Before my little one was born, I always thought I’d try nursing and see what happens. I had many issues in breastfeeding and I believe my troubles with nursing my baby began before she was even born.

I was induced. My OB tells me at my 39.5 week appointment that she was getting concerned with the size of my baby and my narrow hips. Her conclusion? I need to be induced before this baby gets any bigger. I was naturally pretty thin and my hips are rather narrow… I believed her. After all she, the doctor has medical degrees from Ivy league medical schools. I, on the other hand,  do not.

I wish I had done some research before getting induced because as I know now, the drugs given in inductions are known to cause breastfeeding issues, Postpartum depression and withdrawals. I experienced all of the above. Plus, my induction was not even medically needed. My “huge” baby turned out to be 8 pounds, 1 ounce. When I read my moms notes of my delivery I became incredibly angry.

Notes from July 30th, 2009

  1. 6am water broke 7:30am Pitocin up to 18
  2. 8:30am PAIN! Epidural –> 9am Pitocin up to 22
  3. 10am-3pm No progression, 4 cm
  4. 4pm Pitocin up to 24 –>5cm
  5. 5pm Litocane shot, more epidural
  6. 4:30pm-8:30pm 6 cm Statal injection
  7. 8pm if no baby by 10pm, c section is certain (“failure to progress”)
  8. 9pm 9 cm
  9. 10pm 100% efaised, -2 station time to push turned off all pain and pit
  10. 11:07pm Gabriella Grace is here! 8pounds 1oz 19 inches (stage 4 epi)

This diagram pretty much my experience in a nut shell, it fit me to a T. I was induced and a cascade or issues followed.

After a hard, long 23 hour labor, It was 2am and everyone left. I was put into a lovely postpartum room and after getting zero sleep for 3 days, I felt uncomfortable with my ability to take care of my hours-old newborn. So I asked the nursery nurse to take my baby so I could get some sleep. They did and my husband and I went to bed.

At 4am, while in the nursery, my perfect little girl stopped breathing and went gray. She was immediately taken over to the NICU for monitoring on an Oxygen machine. While in the NICU, they gave her a bottle. (Knowing what I know now, I should have done skin to skin and slept with my new baby on my chest, she probably needed her Mom and wasn’t thriving because she wasn’t close to me.)

From that point on, I tried to put my baby to the breast but she wasn’t having it. I even tried nipple shields and the Supplemental Nursing System. But my milk was not coming in and my baby was starving. And here came the postpartum nurses with more free formula. I am appreciative of them helping, offering advice. When the lactation consultant came in, I fell asleep. (Gotta love those hormones!) When I was discharged, they gave me 4 boxes of ready-to-feed formula and some paperwork on breastfeeding. As I tried to pump and put my baby on the breast, the more frustrated we both became.

Before having my daughter I didn’t take any classes offered at the hospital because I had taken so many classes in college, in doula school and privately while getting my several certifications. I am a “lactation educator”. (Once I have the next baby I am going back to school to become a Lactation Consultant) I worked as a Certified Infant Sleep Coach, Certified Newborn Care Specialist and Certified Postpartum doula for 5+ years as well as being a professional infant/toddler nanny for over 13 years. I worked with 50+ sets of twins and hundreds of newborns. I thought I had this baby thing down. Wrong. I didn’t have anything down. I couldn’t even get a let down! I opened all my breastfeeding books and starting reading websites from Le Leche League. I was still pumping and doing 50/50 bottles, figuring the less formula I was giving her the better. I started researching formula. When my baby slept, I was a google manic. What was in formula, the several warnings released over the years, the term “organic formula” is a proven Oxy-moron and plus…its man made, genetically altered. My breast milk was not. There was no warnings on breast milk, no oxy-morons, no alterations, no “ingredients”. I had to do something, this just didn’t feel right. I noticed when I saved my pumped milk and only gave my baby girl a bottle of strictly breast milk, she ate better, had less gas and slept a good 3 hour chunk. The light bulb went off, it was my first of many mommy “ah-ha moments”. Formula and Ella just do not mix.

Then I called the Boob Guru. The formula was giving my baby horrible acid reflux. My pediatrician wanted me to put her on very expensive formula that was for reflux babies, it was $49 a can plus reflux medication that was $94 a month. When I said I was “saving money for a baby”, it wasn’t involving formula and medication. (“Why buy the milk when momma makes it for free?”) My stubbornness kicked in and I said enough was enough. It was becoming a horrible vicious cycle. For what?

Seeing “The Boob Guru”:

I call her the “Boob Guru” but everyone at Milkalicious calls her Jennifer. I swear this woman should be inducted into sainthood for all the good she does for Moms. I first learned that my positioning was not what my daughter liked. We fixed that in literally one minute and what an easy fix it was. My daughter is very meticulous, even now. I find it interesting to learn the textbook way of breastfeeding but experiencing for myself was like a wonderful crash course. I learned more by actually doing then by reading.

Then we learned my daughter wouldn’t latch because she was never taught how. In 20 minutes, she was on the boob, eating like it was her last meal. Once we got a good latch, we removed the nipple shield and my baby went to town! chomp…chomp…chomp! The best part was that in a correct latch, there should not be any pain.

Mastitis: Easy fixable with a few herbs, warm compresses and lots and lots of nursing. Never had it again. I got warm towels, put them in the microwave, cut holes for my boobs to fit through and then nursed with the heat only touching my breasts. It feels like heaven!

I felt my supply was low or not making enough to sustain a growing baby; Probably because I was only pumping at this point. But first, I needed to eat more, drink lots of water. (Hard to make milk for your baby if you’re not feeding yourself first!)  I started taking More Milk Plus pills (3 pills a day, 4 times a day) and goats Rue drops (3 times a day), both made by Motherslove Herbal Company. I got a basket of granola bars, nuts, a few apples, a banana and 4-5 bottles of water by my rocking chair. When I sat down to feed my baby, I also ate a bar, some nuts and an apple along with a drinking a bottle or two of water. Within a full 24 hours, I was a milking machine! We stopped all formula feedings. And two days of having only breast-milk, my baby started sleeping all night. (What a magical feeling a good night of rest is!) By this time my daughter was 5 weeks old. She would get a warm lavender herbal bath at 7:30pm, lavender oil massage, soft ocean waves on the sound machine, warm jammies and a swaddle. By 8pm she was out. She would wake at 4am, nurse and empty both breasts then sleep until 7:45am. Everyday. And she has been an awesome sleeper ever since.

I started to nurse more, pump less, on my babies terms. Sometimes she’d want a bottle or sometimes she nurse all morning. (I was working at the time, sleeping coaching twins for a celebrity client and I pumped through out the nights I was working, this helped me build up an incredible supply) I had a pretty good feeling of what my baby wanted, some “boo” or a “ba-ba”. I felt so close to my baby while nursing, she’d hold my breast, stare into my eyes, thanking me for my efforts with every swallow/gulp. For me, nursing my baby initiated such an incredible bond. I miss that to this day.

My baby stopped taking the breast at 13 months, I was not ready to wean her and at 17 months, I stopped pumping all together. I ended up with a freezer full of milk, donated to preemies in need twice and still had some left over that I thawed and gave to my daughter until she was 19 months. This momma was a breast-feeder.

Breastfeeding: It wasn’t easy but it was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful I didn’t give up. It would have been the easy thing to do…but this Momma is stubborn! Sometimes being stubborn isn’t such a bad thing. But reaching out, researches resources and obtaining as much information was my remedy. I was a mother and I needed to feed my baby, the way my body intended.

With my next baby, I am doing things differently and I feel very confident in my breastfeeding capabilities. I have done a lot of research on breastfeeding, the science of it, how to videos, reading blogs, reading books etc.  I am changing it up. For the next pregnancy, I am not delivering in a hospital, not seeing an OB and not getting induced. Next time, I am seeing a Midwife, delivering at a birthing center, in a birthing tub, all natural (zero interventions/100% drug free) and will deliver on my babies terms. I have a new pediatrician who breastfed her three kids until age 3, two of them she did tandem!  Support is key! I feel so ready. Ready to feed my new baby, stare into their eyes and fall in love all over again, all while he/she eats from my breast. To call the feeling of breastfeeding-bonding “magical”, doesn’t even cut it. I am addicted.

I welcome any comments from Mommies who are having breastfeeding troubles. I’d love to help you. If perhaps you are ‘on the fence’ about which decision to make (formula or breastfeeding) maybe this video will help you with your choice. (Disclaimer: grab a few tissues before watching!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcjKeDyTZP8

Some helpful resources for breastfeeding mothers:

“When in doubt, whip it out!” 

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Cooking With Jessica


I am not Julia Child.

I am not Paula Dean.

I am not Giada De Laurentiis.

I am Jessica and I cannot cook worth shit.

The aftermath often looks like this…..

But I really want to get better. I want to learn how to cook. When I was a child, our kitchen was small and with six children around, my mom was more into cooking alone than giving all six of us any cooking lessons. And my mom is an amazing cook, by the way. When she was cooking it was “get out of the kitchen”, mostly out of the safety concern with having seven people in the box, known as our kitchen. She was not just being mean or anything.

But I never learned how to cook. We ate a lot of fast food and often had simple dinners on the table. Sunday night dinner was a different story, though. We always had a good Sunday Night dinner that consisted of Roast, whipped Potatoes and warm brownies with vanilla ice cream, for example. It was like a ritual. Oh the brownies…damn they were good.

Boy did I luck out when I married my husband. The man can cook anyone under the table. (Food Network Personalities not included) He makes such delicious dinners, lunches and breakfasts. His cooking is so good I instantly gained 15 pounds after dating him for a few months and was fired from my modeling contract.

“A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”  Bullshit. The way to Jessica’s heart is through her stomach. Feed me.

I love comfort food. Its my all time favorite. And this year I have made a commitment to learn how to cook. (The local Fire house is on high alert) I have many things I plan to learn but I will start taking cooking classes, first. I am committed. I need to be a better wife who doesn’t rely on her husband for cooking dinner. And Mac N Cheese aint gonna cut it. So I bake cookies. Not trying to toot my own horn but damn! They were good! (toot! toot!!) Over the summer, I made lemon cupcakes with blueberry creamcheese frostings, ALL from stratch, might I add! And for our family’s fall tea coming up, I am trying my hand at making a pumpkin cheesecake. wish me luck =D

Its a work in progress. This is my two year old daughter, making cookies with me.

(Boy was she excited to wear that apron!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I will start with easy stuff and see how it turns out. This momma will learn to cook…without a fire alarm going off.

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