Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our little miracle

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doula Diary #1: Recommended Reads

I started a vlog series on my Youtube channel called "Doula Diaries". Basically I will be making videos related to being a Doula, pregnancy, childbirth, and answering questions from viewers to my best ability. The first video in this series is "Recommended Reads." I realize that "Recommended" is spelled incorrectly in the beginning, I apologize I must have been really tired... Also I am sorry about the sun in my eyes, cutting off half my head and my mumbling. So if you can get past all of that, hey this is pretty good for an inexperienced vlogger!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to identify, treat, and prevent Mastitis!

What is mastitis?
Mastitis simply means “Inflammation of the Breast.” Usually this inflammation is a result of a plugged milk duct, or of a bacterial infection within the breast tissue.


There are various causes of mastitis. The first common cause is an ineffective latch-on or sucking technique in the baby. Such things can result in inadequate milk transfer and the back up of milk can cause the mastitis. Also, if a problem with latch is causing  nipple pain in the mother, she might be reluctant to feed as frequently as she may have otherwise. This would cause the breast to not be drained well contributing to the build up of milk. Sometimes a ineffective latch can be due to engorgement in the mother rather than lack of ability on the infants part.
Breastfeeding mothers often experience Mastitis when the baby’s feeding pattern changes or becomes very irregular.
Things that may cause this to occur include:

*The baby begins sleeping for longer stretches.
*Ear infections or teething discomfort in the baby.
*Using pacifiers which reduce the time at the breast
*The baby is being supplemented with water or formula
*Imposing a feeding schedule and limiting time at the breast.
*Simply keeping too busy or returning to work

Another common cause of mastitis is pressure on the breast. Pressure that comes from ill-fitting bras, very tight clothing, sleeping on the stomach, and ill-fitting  manual breast pumps can impede the flow of milk through the ducts. Which causes a unnecessary build up of milk. Other causes include being run-down from stress, poor nutrition and cracked nipples allowing infection into the breast.

Signs and Symptoms of Mastitis
Usually mastitis will occur in one breast only., but can occur in both  breasts at the same time. Although mastitis can occur in any part of the breast, it usually occurs in the upper outer part of the breast because  this part of the breast contains the most tissue. The symptoms are different depending on the root cause of the mastitis.

If  a blocked duct is to blame the mother can experience:
  • Gradual onset of symptoms
  • Tender lump or spot in the breast that may move from one spot to another.
  • Redness
  • Pain is very mild and mother feels generally well.
  • Low fever or no fever at all
  • No unusual warmness in the breast

If an infection is to blame the mother can experience:
  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • Tender lump or spot in the breast that is localized and does not move
  • Obvious signs of infected cracked nipple (redness, pus, etc.)
  • The breast maybe be swollen, hot and red.
  • Blood and pus may be in the milk
  • Apparent on the skin are red streaks flaring out from the site of infection
  • The mother has flu-like symptoms and feels unwell.
  • Fever is higher

Treatment Options
Seeking immediate treatment is very important because if mastitis left untreated can lead to a life threatening breast abscess. It is a misconception that a mother  with mastitis should stop feeding. This is actually the opposite of  the truth. Women are encouraged to breastfeed as much as possible and at least every 2 hours.  The affected breast’s milk supply is completely safe for baby and baby’s suck can actually help dislodge any blockage.  The mother can help get the milk flowing through a blockage by changing  the position in which she feeds the baby. Usually it is suggested that  the mother utilize a position in which the baby’s chin points in the direction of the affected area . The suggestion is due to the belief that this will cause a stronger suction in the specific location and help release the blockage. One can also find relief by briefly applying gentle heat like that of a warm damp cloth, a warm shower, or immersing the breast in warm water just before feeding to stimulate milk flow. While applying the heat therapy, it may be helpful to massage the breast in firm circular motions near the affected area and alternate the heat with cold packs to further soothe the area. The mother is often advised to act as though one would in treating the flu; plenty of rest, liquids and eating well. Due to the fact that fatigue is a huge contributor to mastitis a mother can also take this time to spend a day on bed rest with baby to maximize baby’s opportunity to feed and  help her rest. Over the counter pain relieving anti-inflammatory medications can also be used. However if a bacterial infection is present or the mastitis is severe, the mother’s doctor may prescribe antibiotic medication. 


To prevent mastitis from occurring or prevent a re-occurrence, a mother should feed the baby without restriction with a good latch, avoid pressure on the breasts from her clothing, bags or sleeping position and take good care of herself with adequate rest and proper nutrition.

Additionally, if the mastitis is reoccurring or does not resolve after a few days the woman may want to consult with her physician to investigate other possible conditions and treatments.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to Pick a Great and Frugal Halloween Costume for a Baby or Toddler!

Halloween is almost here and panic sets in when you think of picking the perfect costume. You know that your child will be too young to remember yet it is still important to you. Price also comes into play.. do you want to spend an enormous amount of cash on something that will be used once? Well stop panicking and read on to learn about  some great options you have this year to save you money and keep that cutie of yours comfortable and warm! I will share with you some options that I have come across in my search.

Double Duty
Many popular brands of clothing are creating pajamas that double as costumes. Giving you the most for your money and ensuring that your child is extremely comfortable. A comfortable child means that they might actually keep the costume on!
Here are some options like this I have found:

The "Glow in the Dark Skeleton" 
You can buy this in either the traditional black with white bones or you have the choice of pink for a girl! finish the look with some face paint.

The "Race Car Driver"
Your little guy (or gal!) will be ready to go! Finish the look with a ball cap.

The "Little Dancer"
For the sweetest little girl. Complete with a tiny tutu!
A great finishing touch would be some ballet flats and pinning up a bun in any hair she has!
(more like this can be found on

Sweat Suit Costume
Another money saving option is to use a plain colored sweat suit as your base and add on various things to create a custom costume. Then once the events are over, you can simply remove what you added and your child can wear the sweats all winter long!

You can add create animals easily by adding a oval to the tummy, ears to the hood or spots all over! Safety pin a tale on that you make from a stuffed pantyhose. Pipe Cleaners make great antennae and you can attach these to a hood or a headband. You can then paint the childs face or add whiskers with your eyeliner! To make "Veggie" suits, be creative...for example for a Carrot put the child in a orange sweat suit and a orange beanie cap and poke green pipe cleaners through the top of the beanie sticking straight up.

Here are some adorable examples of Sweat Suit Costumes:

A "Red Hot Chili Pepper" is easy, all you need is a red sweat suit a dark green hat and take a piece of green felt and cut a circle in the center and leaves on the edges and just like that you are done. What a cutie!

A Crayola Crayon is fairly easy. You can use solid colored pajamas or sweat suit. This one is definitely one of my favorites! And versatile because you can use any color! How great would it be to get your child's friends in on it and each a different color?

Another of my absolute favorites this year is this Octopus idea! Which is good for really young babies that aren't mobile or older children. Because the hanging parts might trip a wobbly toddler and confuse a crawler. You can make the face simply with adhesive backed felt or you can sew it on and your child can wear it all winter with the cute face left on.

Here are some additional links to DIY costume ideas!

Kaboose: Homemade Halloween costumes
Parents Connect: Extensive list of costume ideas
Rookie Mom: Amazing resource for Costume ideas and inspiration

So you could go out and spend $20, $30 maybe even $50 on a costume for your child this year, but why would you?  There are many frugal options that make more sense. Options that are homemade with love and options that a reusable.  If you insist on a store bought costume, why not host a "Costume Swap" with all your local mom friends to switch costumes that you have from previous years withe each other. Then switch back after the festivities. If all else fails save some money by shopping at a local consignment shop or Craigslist. There is bound to be tons of costumes is near perfect condition. This has inspired me to make my sons costume every year and I hope I inspired you as well. I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween. Happy Tricks and Treats! ;)

Friday, August 20, 2010

How time can go by so fast...

  August 15th, 2010. Exactly 1 year since my baby was born. The thought of this is bittersweet. I have enjoyed watching him grow and learn but at the same time my eyes fill with tears at the thought that my baby is now my toddler. Where did the time go? One minute I am nursing my newborn baby in a stuffy hospital room and the next I am chasing after this little person that says words and eats what I eat!
   We celebrated by throwing a birthday party in my mother's home. I spent the past couple weeks creating the decorations myself. If you really knew me, you would know that this was due to my obsessive compulsive perfectionism. Those store bought decorations with that pooh bear guy holding balloons and skipping around didn't even seem the tiniest good enough. Sure it would be easy, head over to party city and drop a good amount of money, pick up all the  party necessities and then just worry about the food. That is not me.
  I bought a package of eco-friendly scrapbook paper, colored cardstock, ribbon, a hot glue gun, and a few other things and I was good to go. I made a birthday banner,Ceaghan's Birthday crown, cupcake picks, party hats, a birthday card and a photo display with 1 photo from each month of his life. All with a "woodland animal-eco friendly-foresty-naturalish type of theme.
   As for the party food, I planned his party only a couple hours long which I think is a good idea for a 1 year old. So I opted to only provide appetizers and cake.  I made fruit kabobs with orange flesh honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and grapes and mini wraps with spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers and rep pepper hummus. (YUM) Then to go along with the theme I made "toadstool mushroom appetizers." I did so by taking hard-boiled eggs, then topping them with a hollowed out tomato cap and piping on dots of miracle whip. I think they are adorable. Then instead of one large cake I decided to do cupcakes and a mini "smash" cake for Ceaghan. The cupcakes were half "regular" yellow cake with red and white icing decorated as toadstools and Sugar-free Vegan carrot cake with sugar free vegan coconut creme icing. The smash cake was also made from the Carrot cake. Our guests seemed to love the food and the toadstool appetizers were a big hit!
   Ceaghan had a blast at the party and that was all that really mattered. I know that he can't appreciate the decorations yet but I had so much fun making them I do not care!   It was a great party and I couldn't have asked for it to go better. Even though he is technically a toddler now, he will always be my baby. I am amazed by him, so in love, and excited about the future!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How small steps can make a huge difference...

    Oprah has created a contest for people to get their own TV show on her new network. Kerry Tuschhoff , a childbirth educator of over 20 years and Founder/Director of Hypnobabies LLC has entered the contest with a video titled "Every Mother, Every Baby!" Her idea for a show is about teaching expectant parents about "taking responsibility for their own decisions and care during pregnancy, birth and baby care".  She urges on the informational section for this video... 
"We need a fun and interesting show about "healing the earth through birth", teaching expectant families in fun ways how to have a safer pregnancy and easier childbirth, take responsibility for their own healthcare during pregnancy(just like Dr. Oz says!) There are over 4 million babies born every year in the U.S. and their moms are just crying out for representation and ways to make pregnancy easier! Let's do it!"
   What a fantastic idea! It would be an amazing way for ALL mother's to gain valuable knowledge about pregnancy and birth! Knowledge they would not receive otherwise. Knowledge is power! This could help expectant families make INFORMED choices! We can cause change to this current birth crisis that our culture has acquired! It is small steps like this that each one of us can do to help!

Please go HERE and VOTE for her video!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How raw garlic can cure...

Recently I suffered with a unfriendly infection known as Mastitis. This infection affects the breast tissue. I acquired this by not being able to unblock a blocked milk duct.
It all started one morning when Ceaghan decided to refuse his morning feeding and skip it entirely to play with his toys. This was very random for him and I didn't think much of it at the time. However, when he did decide to nurse, he did so lying down with me in the bed and we both fell asleep. When I woke up I noticed immediately that my breast had a lump, was swollen and was very tender. I realized that this was a blocked milk duct. I knew that I had to try and relieve the blockage as soon as possible because I knew it could turn into Mastitis. I spent the entire day trying my best to unblock my duct. I used heat, cold, compresses, showers, soaking it, compression massage, and had Ceaghan nurse on that side first during every feeding. However, nothing would help. I was very frustrated and in a lot of pain. About 30 hours later I started noticing symptoms. I had a fever, chills, and I was very achy. I knew that these were signs of Mastitis and I felt very upset that I could not prevent it from occurring.
I decided that it would probably be best to go to the Emergency Room (as it was the weekend) and have a Doctor prescribe antibiotics. When I was seen the doctor gave me shocking misinformation. She stated that I had mastitis indeed and that if I did not want to risk "passing" it to my child I should pump and dump my milk on that side for 24 hours! This indeed proves that most doctors do not have training in lactation as it is impossible to pass this infection to the infant and it is beneficial to continue to nurse on the affected side as much as possible. I took the prescription and went home, it was too late to fill it.
A little while after I got home my symptoms got intensely worse. My fever spiked very high and I felt extremely ill. I decided that I could not wait to get the antibiotics and decided to look up natural cures. Upon doing so I found multiple resources explaining how Raw Garlic is a natural antibiotic and has cured many ailments. After reading so many positive reviews on it I decided that it was my best option.
I chopped up 4 cloves of garlic as small as I could and put them on a tablespoon with honey. I then swallowed it all without chewing. Raw Garlic is gross, it tastes awful, hurts going down and makes you smell for a week. However you must eat it raw in order to obtain the benefits. Cooking garlic removes these properties and makes it basically useless. Also contrary to what you would assume, Raw Garlic when eaten by a lactating woman is said to make her milk taste sweeter not gross. In doing so this has been said to draw the infant to want to nurse more frequently.
About an hour or so after consuming the Raw Garlic I suddenly felt almost completely better! I was shocked! My fever plummeted, my chills and aches were gone, and although my duct was still blocked I felt so much better! I went to sleep and when I woke up about 8 or 9 hours later I felt even better! The blockage was gone by the next morning and I have been great ever since! Chris picked up the antibiotics in case and I never needed them. I would have been on them for at least 10 days and I hate taking antibiotics. I hate the risk of thrush as well.
I am so thankful for this cure. It could not have been a coincidence that my symptoms went away so suddenly on their own. I know that the raw garlic cured my infection and I am so amazed!
Raw garlic has been used for centuries to cure many things. I will definitely be using this amazing herb in the future when needed.
I almost wish I could go back to that Emergency Room and have a talk with the doctor that I was seen by. I hope to never suffer from Mastitis again.

Try Raw Garlic, what can it hurt to try the natural remedy first. What do you have to lose?