photo (11)Three years ago today I wrote a post on easy ways to help mother earth. One of the things I started doing that month was I began to compost. I bought an inexpensive, small compost bin, compost starter , a glass jar to put waste in the kitchen (before transferring to the compost) and began the process. (My old post has details of what I bought which all came from Ebay and was easy peasy). But I will be honest. At first I was a bit disgusted by the dirtiness of it all - It took a little getting used to seeing the moldy food turn to mud and spinning the compost weekly to aerate the dirt and help along the process. But I stuck with it and though I admit I don’t compost each and every piece of food waste, I do consistently add to it and am amazed by how easy and effective composting is for our planet! It is incredible how much food waste it takes to make a small pile of compost “mud” as I like to call it.  It’s true that at least one-third of our waste has been reduced by the simple act of composting. This weekend for only the second time in three years, I emptied the “mud” onto our grass and plants around the yard.  I was surprised how moved I was while doing it; I was giving back to the earth this rich beautiful compost that was made from the scraps of all of the same beautiful food the earth had given to our family. I felt just a little more connected to nature – the way I do when I go for a long hike or walk by the water.

If you haven’t been out in nature in a while, do yourself a favor and get out there.  If you can’t get near the ocean or mountains, go outside and take in the moon and stars tonight. Go camping. Go swimming. Watch the birds, check out the flowers and trees. It will help remind you why it is SO important that each and every one of us do our part to protect our gorgeous planet. In honor of Earth Day find something easy you can do to help our planet. Check out my suggestions from my older post. There are so many easy things you can do. And if you aren’t motivated by doing it for yourself, do it for our children, grandchildren and all children of the future.

Happy Earth Day.

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This Post was originally written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

 

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This month marks the fourth year since I began writing this blog. And sadly, this is only my second post of the year. But what can I say- life took over. Life with a baby that is now a toddler majorly took over. And I have missed writing. I have missed sharing my stories and my journey toward greater health and I miss hearing regularly from my readers.  I miss the creative expression part of me that has most recently been replaced with Mommy time. But I have been on an amazing journey these past few weeks that is bringing me back to my writing and to my creative side.

I have been following Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s free 21-day meditation for the past two and a half weeks and have been meditating regularly for the first time since well before Beckett was born. Wow, it really feels great. Back in ­­­­July of 2011 I posted about my first experience meditating after taking a weekend course on Vedic meditation. While I enjoyed the feeling that came with meditating regularly, it was the way I felt when I stopped meditating regularly when I really noticed what a positive impact it had had on my life.  (Here is my story). Anyway, jumping back into these past few weeks of meditating have had a greater impact than ever before which became very clear to me this past week.

Beckett, my nearly twenty month old, and I were on our way home from a lovely lunch with my cousin in law that was in town from Australia. It was minutes before Beckett was due to take a nap so I was singing my heart out trying to keep him from falling asleep and melting down in the car as he was clearly very tired from all of the morning’s fun.  All of a sudden out of nowhere I see an SUV grill speeding VERY quickly in my rear view mirror that in no way looks like it is slowing down. Moving at the speed limit we were suddenly slammed into by the speeding SUV behind us. Crash! We were hit hard but thankfully it became quickly clear to me that both Beckett and I were okay. I got out of the car and went around to grab my screaming, very scared toddler to calm him and make sure he was okay. I then went to check on the driver who hit us who was still sitting in the driver’s seat very upset.  I told him as I had repeatedly been telling Beckett, “Take deep breaths. It’s okay. We have all been on our phones while driving”. No panic on my part. No anger. No feeling bad. No worry. Just calm.

I am not positive whether it was being a mom in this situation with my child in the car that needed to be cared for immediately and/or the meditations that had made the difference but this was by far the most calm I have ever been in a high stress situation. I felt nothing but grateful that everyone was okay.  I have to believe the regular meditating that I have been doing played a part. The old me would have gotten mad at the upset college kid that was illegally on his phone or felt really bad for myself for being in this situation (Please don’t text and drive!). But not this time: I just felt happy everyone was okay and that we only had a minor pain in the neck (pun intended) to sort out.

There is so much busyness in our lives today. As a society we are addicted to being busy. What do you do to calm your mind and your body? There are so many ways to help us slow down – meditation, yoga, prayer, deep breathing – what works for you?

In light of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I just wanted to say that I am so grateful to have found meditation again so that I am mindfully grateful every day, not just during this time of year (Check out the free meditations from Deepak and Oprah! They are good for five days after they were posted so you still have some time to enjoy the last week and they are short and sweet with beautiful messages and music for each day).

I am so grateful for all on my first Merci Beaucoup post, Deux, and Trois, and am particularly grateful for my family’s health this year.  Thank you for still reading, four years later, despite the gaps in the posts and the life that has distracted me from my passion for sharing my health and wellness journey. I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

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“Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.” ~William Faulkner

Written By Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 8.40.24 PMMany moons (and sleepless nights) ago, I wrote a post about my battle with breastfeeding. After five-and-a-half months, I had to completely stop. When the breastfeeding issues peaked, I began to research how to make my own formula. It was a devastating decision at the time, but looking back now, it was definitely the right one for our family.  With the permission of my pediatrician, and under the guidance of my trusted clinical nutritionist, we found an excellent recipe that has since proven to be a complete success.

Now at a year old, I see that my son, Beckett, didn’t just “get by” on his formula, he thrived. Beckett is in the twenty-fifth percentile for weight and ninetieth for height, which is pretty much where he has been since his first four months of life when he was exclusively breastfed. He loves and eats all foods and is allergy-free. He has never been to the doctor for illness. Beckett is strong, active, happy, and everything I hoped he would be despite the switch to the homemade formula early on.

When Beckett reached the one year mark, he seamlessly transitioned from drinking his formula to plain, raw goat milk. I still use the leftover ingredients from the formula recipe for his late morning smoothie so I know he’s still getting the benefits of all the wonderful nutrients that went in each and every bottle. He drinks his milk from a sippy cup and it was very easy to get him off his beloved bottle. The transition was far easier than I imagined! His body has adjusted perfectly.

Before becoming a new mom, I never considered the possibility I’d have issues with breastfeeding. I imagined this perfect little dance between mom and baby with both sides enjoying the benefits and the bond. When it wasn’t going my way, I became a total emotional mess and was convinced that Beckett was going to suffer tremendously because of it. I am sure he experienced my stress and anxiety during that time. It really was a battle in our house with this lady putting far too much pressure on herself to try to make it work. And when it was no longer under my control, I researched an alternative that seemed to be the best choice for our situation.

If you find yourself in a similar boat, please be kind to yourself and know that there are excellent alternatives besides commercial formula, if that doesn’t feel like the best option for you. You aren’t a terrible mother for supplementing or not breastfeeding if you’ve done your best (as I am sure you have – don’t we all try to do what’s best for our kids?) There are great ways to supplement or feed your baby what I believe to be the next best thing to mother’s milk. Having said that, I am in no way suggesting you don’t breastfeed. Breast milk from a healthy mother is definitely the best option. I still would have chosen that path if things had been different, and should I have another child, I hope to breastfeed exclusively for a far longer period of time! Even with all of the many problems I faced while breastfeeding, I really loved it.

In addition to my homemade formula recipe, the Weston A. Price Foundation has created a few other excellent recipes: a similar goat milk recipe to mine, a raw cow’s milk recipe and a lactose-free liver based one for babies that can’t tolerate dairy. I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t an inexpensive choice to make my own formula, but neither is buying the canned stuff! Planning and thinking ahead was an important part of making my own formula.  I traveled with my formula pre-made and frozen in a bag on one trip, and on another trip I made it fresh by packing all of the ingredients so I could whip up a fresh batch once I got to my destination. I treated it just like breast milk as it consisted of many raw ingredients; it never went through x-rays at the airport, never sat out for more than a few hours and I never froze it for more than a couple of months. Like anything with babies, it just meant a little more preparation. It really was easy and quick to make and there was never any resentment on my part. I can proudly say that making my own formula was a process I loved and enjoyed and I hope you have a similar experience, no matter how you choose to feed your baby!

Excellent Resources for Formula feeding (commercial and homemade) and Breastfeeding:

More questions answered on my specific recipe (slightly altered from the Weston Price one) on Organic Thrifty’s Site

FAQs on homemade formula recipes on Weston Price Foundation Site

How-to video for making the same formula recipe that I used

Wonderful Yahoo Group, WAP Healthy Babies, for information and support on making homemade formula with like-minded parents

Fantastic formula feeding support site

Great article for those of you that formula feed and have any feelings of guilt or shame about it (Thanks for this one, Hillary!)

Information on raw milk versus pasteurized

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Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

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Happy New Year! It has obviously been quite some time since I have written a post. In fact, I have been contemplating giving it up all together. It isn’t that I don’t absolutely love to write – because I do – but that I was putting pressure on myself to post more and the pressure was actually what was keeping me from writing. That and doing the best I can to be an awesome mom and wife (among many other things). So I have been debating writing a post to let you know that I need a time out.

But then I began reading Gluten-Free Girl’s blog again recently and was inspired to post. (Whether you eat gluten-free or not, she is a fabulous writer with amazing recipe ideas!) Similarly, she has made some changes on her blog recently and has decided to write about her passions and tell more stories instead of feeling limited to writing certain recipes because her readers are requesting them. Though nobody is demanding posts from me, I felt I could only post when I had the time to write a long, well thought out and edited post.  With this new year I am making the choice to post the only way I can these days – when something inspires me; when I have something I just can’t wait to share or some health secret that I feel the world has to know (or at least my nice little world of readers). So forgive me if my posts may be few and far between here and there (and perhaps not always well put together) but as I continue to work toward balance in my life, I will post when I just can’t help myself. And I am hoping that means more often but I can’t make any promises.

So in the spirit of the new year and the motivation that generally follows for people to get in better physical shape, I wanted to post this video that absolutely inspires me. It was created and shot by five, beautiful, strong, intelligent colleagues of mine and I love it for so many reasons. Not only is it incredibly sexy, but it also demonstrates just how amazing Pilates is and what you can accomplish when you commit to learning. Pilates truly is an art on top of being the perfect way to get in fantastic shape, a way to prevent future injuries as well as being great for those with chronic weaknesses including bad knees, back, shoulders, etc… In the same way I am working toward balance in my life, Pilates restores balance in the body. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do each time I watch it and become re-inspired.

http://q.equinox.com/articles/2012/12/pilates-video

Wishing you all an inspired start to 2013.

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

November marks the third year since I first created this blog. I can’t believe so much time has passed as it feels like just yesterday that House of Health was only an idea.  Never before have I been so aware of time and how truly quickly it goes by. Having had my first baby just under eight months ago, time feels more valuable and yet more fleeting than ever. My son, Beckett’s,  ever-growing and changing mind and body are a constant reminder to cherish each and every moment. The changes are going just as quickly as they are coming. I am so grateful for these passing, memorable moments not only with my son but with all of my friends and family.

I am incredibly thankful for the friends and family members who have helped me get through the first challenging months of becoming a mom. Thank you to you, mothers, that have taken the time out of your busy lives to help me navigate my new role as a fellow mom. And thank you to those friends and family members that aren’t moms that have given me just as much of your precious time as I have needed you, too, to help me find balance with who I was before I had Beckett and life beyond baby.

I can’t thank you enough for the irreplaceable time you all take to support my blog. It has been such a great year of receiving so much positive feedback and makes it worth the time I take away from the rest of my life to share with all of you. And thank you for continuing to share your stories, too, as I learn so much from you!

Beyond the miracle of my new little man and being grateful for this amazing time in my life, there are so many other things that I am grateful for; many of which are listed in my previous Thanksgiving posts, Merci Beaucoup and Part Deux.  I will be brief so we can all get back to enjoying this special day with our loved ones, which will be over before we know it.

I am thankful that despite our differences politically, we live in a country where there is peace. It is something I often take for granted and I am especially grateful to those that sacrifice everything to protect our peace every day.

Merci Beaucoup.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,
Lana

With the election just around the corner, I thought it very important to address one bill on the California ballot – Proposition 37 – the bill that will determine whether or not genetically modified foods must be labeled as such.

If you are unfamiliar with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), I wrote a post about what they are and why they can be harmful to us back in 2011. To summarize very simply, genetically modifying food began when farmers were trying to find a way to keep insects from spreading disease across their crops.  As insects were increasingly able to tolerate the pesticides that were intended to keep them away, farmers decided to start genetically modifying food. These farmers also realized that by genetically modifying crops, they could grow things more quickly.

Before even addressing Prop 37, it is worth noting that there are two issues at play – one being that our food is sprayed with poison (which is now fairly common knowledge) and two, that our already sprayed food is also being genetically tampered with, taking it even further from its natural state. Prop 37 will not put an end to GMOs but it will at least give us our most basic right to know what is being done to our food by requiring companies to label whether or not there are genetically modified ingredients.

Do you know which foods you eat contain GMOs? Did you know canola and soybean oil are typically genetically modified? When was the last time you looked at a food label of something that comes in a box or a bag? There is a very good chance one or both of these genetically modified oils are in there. How about corn or corn oil? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Take a look at who is campaigning against Prop 37– the big corporations that produce gmos. Below is a pie chart that shows who is funding each campaign.  (For a better view of the charts click here). The number one financial contributor against Prop 37 is Monsanto – the nation’s leading GMO producer. It’s no wonder they don’t want us pushing this bill through…it will negatively affect their company (along with companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi)! Conversely, check out who some of the major companies funding YES – companies like Mercola, a vitamin and alternative wellness company and awesome companies like Organic Consumer’s fund and Nature’s Path.

Because producers of organic food and foods sold for immediate consumption (such as restaurant food) are exempt from labeling, opponents of 37 claim the proposition serves certain special interests. Why should organic food need labeling if it has already been through the rigorous process required to earn an “organic” label, which by definition means that there are no gmos in it? In response to the opponents’ ridiculous claim that restaurants  are “special interest” groups because they’re not required to label foods – rarely is anything labeled when we go out to eat so why would this standard be any different? I don’t go to Houston’s and order a steak knowing exactly the calorie count and ingredients used. That’s the choice I make when dining out. Until restaurants are required to label the nutrition and ingredients in their food, they should not have to label whether or not their food is genetically modified (though I am hopeful that some day all labeling will be required in restaurants should the consumer want this information).

Yes, it will cost us money if the bill passes; there will be lawsuits when companies don’t comply and food costs may go up if companies opt to produce food that isn’t genetically modified. Companies will also have to be monitored which will also cost money. Wouldn’t you rather pay a little more for your food if it means you won’t be eating genetically modified food?  GMOs have only been used in our food since the mid-nineties so the long-term effects on our health are still not known. While claims have been made that GMOs are not dangerous to our health, how can we possibly know when they haven’t been around long enough to be sure? By tampering with the natural state of our food, there may be consequences to our health and I’d like to know just what those are before I decide whether or not to consume them. In the very least, I’d like the freedom to decide whether or not to buy foods containing GMOs. Right now companies have the ability to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients as “natural”; it is dishonest and by passing Prop 37 this will no longer be allowed.

If you are a California voter, I hope you will vote yes on 37.  If you are still on the fence about it, below are some great places to read why you should consider changing your mind. It should be our right to decide when we want to eat something that has been genetically modified and this bill is a step in the right direction. Thank you!

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

Any new parent will probably tell you that the first three months of your baby’s life are the most challenging. Newborn babies eat very frequently around the clock and therefore sleep is sacrificed for Mommy and Daddy. Many newborns can be fussy, especially in the evening, gassy and have colic making the beginning of your journey as a new parent even more challenging. And no matter how the baby came into this world, the new mom has to heal from the trauma of delivering her child; in some cases, such as after a Caesarean, the recovery can be quite painful. All of these factors can make those first three months feel like they go on forever, and that is without even mentioning another major factor for many women postpartum – the emotional roller coaster that follows birth due to a major shift in hormone levels.

According to the research I have done most mothers will experience some sort of postnatal mood disorder with an estimate as high as 80% of women. How could we not given the fact that we carry this bundle of joy for close to ten months, provide it with its own entire organ of nutrients that literally gives it life and the ability to thrive in the womb (the placenta) and then we lose a ton of blood along with this amazing organ when the baby is born. Our hormones go completely out of whack, our bodies experience an incredibly traumatizing event and then instantly we become completely responsible for another life, not to mention the toll breastfeeding takes on us physically as well. Add this to what I mentioned before – fussy baby, sleepless nights and physical recovery from childbirth – and it’s enough to make anyone lose their mind! If it weren’t for my miracle postpartum pills, I would definitely have been one to lose my mind for sure!

My miracle pills were my placenta – encapsulated and taken daily just like any other vitamin I take. Now before you decide to judge me and write me off as just another crazy hippie, it’s worth reading on as the history of placenta encapsulation and benefits are truly amazing!

For centuries the placenta has been revered as a symbol of life in many countries around the world. In Nigeria and Ghana, the placenta is treated as the “dead twin” of the live child and ceremoniously buried under a tree. In Korea the placenta is often burned and the ashes are kept and later given in liquid form to the child when he or she is ill. Many Arabs believe that the future fertility of a woman is connected to the disposition of the placenta; it is believed that if something should happen to it, the woman may not be able to produce any more children. (Here are more ways the placenta is celebrated and used by cultures around the world).

The most popular use of the placenta today is encapsulation, which is a longstanding tradition of the Chinese. In China, the placenta is considered a powerful and sacred medicine for the healing mother; placenta encapsulation dates back to the 1500’s. There is also documentation that dried placenta was a prescribed remedy in Europe in the 1700’s. It wasn’t until the mid 80’s when an American midwife that had studied traditional Chinese medicine, Raven Lang, began promoting placenta remedies during a conference for the Midwives Alliance of North America.

The long list of benefits of having my placenta encapsulated was enough of a reason to give it a go. Here are many benefits:

  • significantly reduce post-birth bleeding
  • been shown to increase milk production and enrich the quality of milk
  • replenish essential hormones such as oxytocin and CRH(stress reducer)
  • replenish essential nutrients such as vitamin B6 and iron
  • reduce stress levels
  • prevent the baby blues and postpartum depression
  • leave new mothers feeling calmer
  • Energy booster
  • Hasten the return of the uterus to postpartum state

Here are the healing properties, which result in the benefits above*:

Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone

Prolactin: promotes lactation

Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others

Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events

Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores

Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections

Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory

Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition

Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing

Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections

Once I decided I was going to do it, the process was very simple. I used Jaqueline from The Sanctuary (jaqueline@birthsanctuary.com) who was referred to me by someone I trusted. It took one phone call to set up, $300, and she came to the hospital to collect the placenta when Beckett was born. Two days later, she showed up at my doorstep with my miracle pills. From the minute I started taking them, I immediately felt the difference. It was truly amazing how much energy I had almost instantly after ingesting one. For the first three months plus I took one every morning and one in the afternoon. I really did feel like a happy healthy mama. My milk supply was abundant. My body was healing easily from the delivery and I was very active from the instant we returned home from the hospital. It wasn’t until I stopped taking them that I realized how much they helped me those first three months. My miracle pills gave me so much energy! I felt ready to return to work part-time, six weeks postpartum, and I think a huge part of the reason was my miracle pills.

Mark my words – placenta encapsulation will become mainstream in America in my lifetime. The benefits are so outstanding and women are catching on. More celebrities are speaking out about it (January Jones has been a major advocate after her own success which was also recently written up in US Weekly), which will definitely help change the perception of this vital organ that is just thrown away in our country.

I will definitely be doing it again when I have another child. If all you have to lose is a little money, why wouldn’t you? Especially if someone told you could feel better post birth, have a greater, healthier milk supply, and heal more quickly and easily? If nothing else, I hope my story will intrigue you and perhaps change your point of view about women who choose to encapsulate their placenta. And if you do decide to do it, please share your story with others so we can spread the word about these incredible postpartum miracle pills!

Here’s a great video about it:


Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

*(Taken straight from Placentabakery.com)

If you read my latest post about my battle with breastfeeding, I recently had to give up breastfeeding and decided to transition Beckett onto an organic, homemade formula. I decided that the time I had spent both pumping and breastfeeding could be put to great use by making Beckett his formula, rather than buying in a can. Additionally, I did not want to put Beckett on a cow milk formula as I didn’t think it would be a good match for him. From the beginning he seemed to be sensitive to dairy (I cut out dairy early when breastfeeding as I noticed he was significantly less fussy  once I did) and since I too have always had a sensitivity to it, I felt goat’s milk would be a better fit for him. Plus, I wanted to do what I believe is the next best option to breast milk by giving him something homemade and fresh.

Goat milk is believed to be more gentle on the digestive system and has more similar nutrient qualities to breast milk than cow milk. Dr. Sears (famous pediatrician and author) wrote a great page on goat milk as it pertains to feeding infants, toddlers and children. To summarize, he breaks down the qualities of goat milk and compares them to cow’s milk pointing out that goat milk is easier to digest due to the different fat and protein content. It also has many higher levels of nutrients such as the antioxidant selenium, potassium, Vitamin B-6, calcium, niacin and copper and in some cases the nutrients are more than doubled the percentage in cow milk. It does however have less folic acid and B12, which is why commercial goat milk infant formula is not sold in the United States. In the recipe I use below you will notice there are great sources of B vitamins to make up for what is lost in using goat milk. (Additionally, I have Beckett supplemented with a multi-vitamin and fish oil).

In doing the research for a goat-milk based formula recipe, I came across the one below on a nutritional therapist’s health blog, Organic Thrifty. It is adapted from my most trusted and favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, so I immediately knew it was the right recipe for us. With the permission of our pediatrician and clinical nutritionist, I found a local co-op that sells raw goat’s milk and began making Beckett’s new food.

In a nutshell Sally Fallon is a founder of the Weston Price Foundation, which is a nonprofit charity dedicated to restoring nutrient dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.  Dr. Weston Price was a dentist who wanted to figure out what was causing the tooth decay he was seeing in his practice and decided to study cultures around the world. In his studies he learned that beautiful straight teeth free of decay were prevalent in cultures that were eating traditional, organic diets much like those of our ancestors, full of healthy natural fats.

In another post I will go into detail about the differences between drinking raw milk versus pasteurized but if you are curious as to why, Realmilk.com is a great website that breaks down the facts. If it is something that makes you nervous, that is completely understandable as we live in a country that has instilled fear in us about eating/drinking raw dairy. This recipe can still be made with pasteurized goat milk which may be the only thing available to you anyway. It isn’t easy to find raw goat milk everywhere and may have to really research it if it is important to you.

The Weston Price Foundation also has a non-dairy homemade formula alternative on their site for those interested. They have a very handy page that compares the nutrients of their cow milk, goat milk and non-dairy liver based formulas versus commercial formula and breast milk. I found it super interesting!

Weston Price Infant Formula Nutrient Comparison

I am very happy to report Beckett has been thriving on his new food with no issues on it whatsoever. As with any transition from breast milk to formula it took a couple of weeks for his body to regulate but is now doing fantastic and he LOVES the taste. In fact, I have been drinking it a few times a week as well since it is so nutritious and I don’t mind the taste at all. I can’t believe how much energy I have after drinking a bottle!

Happy Formula Making!

(Taken straight from Organicthrifty.com and a few of my notes added in red as well)

Disclaimer: It must be said that you should consult your health care practitioner for any and all infant feeding questions, and be certain that you have taken all measures in order to increase your breast milk supply if in fact you are supplementing for lack of milk as I was. Since I had thoroughly exhausted my efforts at increasing supply, I sought the most high-quality alternative under the supervision of two naturopathic doctors. Also, make sure to get a supply of goat milk from a farmer you can trust. If you must use pasteurized goat milk, you can do so as well.

Raw Goat Milk Formula**
36 ounces:

2 cups raw goat milk

2 cups filtered water

1/4 cup liquid whey from goat yogurt or kefir (contains lots of good probiotics and is very nourishing; making it more like breast milk.)  HERE IS THE RECIPE I USE FROM NOURISHING TRADITIONS

 1 -2 tsp organic blackstrap molassas (start with less, add more if needed. This provides B-vitamins, iron, trace minerals, and helped relieve constipation.) BECKETT GETS THE FULL 2 TSP.

2 tsp raw agave nectar (adds carbs, necessary for brain growth. Alternatively, you could use lactose, but I wanted to avoid this as I could not find a source that was made from goat milk since Jonathan was reacting to anything made from cow milk. Organic Brown Rice Syrup is also an option, but I didn’t like the processing involved here. Obviously honey is out.)

1/4 tsp of bifodobacterium infantis (I used Metagenics “Bifidus” which is a dairy-free culture and of high quality. Also, Bio-Kult is a strong probiotic that has been used with infants as well. Consult your ND! Available through naturopaths, chiropractors, and other practitioners. I GET OUR PROBIOTICS FROM OUR NUTRITIONIST AND CHIROPRACTOR’S OFFICE. DELSON INSTITUTE FOR WELLNESS

1/2 teaspoon high-vitamin cod liver oil

1 tsp unrefined sunflower oil (Rapunzel brand)

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp virgin coconut oil (this is very important, as it contains lauric acid which is a medium-chain fatty acid. It’s an important antiviral, antifungal that’s found in breast milk)

2 tsp nutritional yeast (this is also very important as it contains the B vitamins. I like Bob’s Red Mill “Food Yeast” and Frontier as well. They are MSG-Free ) I LIKE LEWIS LABS AS IT IS GLUTEN-FREE

1/4 teaspoon amla or acerola powder (I prefer amla, as it does not contain any extra additives, and I found this for cheap in an Indian store) I WAS ABLE TO FIND ACEROLA WITHOUT ADDITIVES AT THE LOCAL HEALTH FOOD CO-OP

Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Pour into individual glass bottles or one large. To warm, place in a pan of simmering water. Never use a microwave. This formula is best made daily to preserve freshness and to optimize nutrition.

**With my busy work and life schedule, I can’t always make it fresh every morning as is suggested so I will often make one or two big batches for the week and freeze the week’s worth.  I then take it out the day I need it and use it within 24 hours of defrosting. I basically follow the same rule as I did with breast milk but just to be extra cautious, I try to use what is fresh within a couple of days of making.

It may seem like quite a commitment to make but the more you make it, the faster you can do it. I can make two days worth in less than twenty minutes from start to finish. My amazing mom went out and found me 42 glass bottles so that when I make it to freeze, it is already in an individual 6 oz serving. If you don’t have the freezer space for that but still would like to be able to make ahead, you can also use 36 oz glass jars and freeze the day’s worth that way.

Making the whey is the only thing that really takes time and planning. I like to start it at night and by the morning I have at least one cup of whey (4 days’ worth) and by the end of that day I can get up to another 4 days’ worth. I never clean the spoons between ingredients and get everything out before I start to save time. If you’d like more info about my efficient routine and experience, feel free to email me!

Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

Lana@housepilates.com

Before giving birth to Beckett, every parent had told me that the first weeks of your new baby’s life are the most challenging. Though that was definitely a very difficult time, the next weeks that followed were also quite challenging with one thing being the constant – more struggles with breastfeeding.

At ten weeks post partum my breastfeeding experience took an unexpected turn. As you may have read in my last post, breastfeeding began with many different obstacles for me to overcome. The latest one came when I had the joy of discovering my period had returned less than three months after giving birth. I knew it was a possibility that you could get your period even when exclusively breastfeeding but never in a million years did I expect to get it that quickly after having a baby. If you know me and have read my previous post, From No Period to Pregnant,  you may think it is a bit ironic that I would be one of the few to get my period back so early after having had such challenges getting it regularly not that many years ago. And so alas, the lovely red witch decided to make her grand re-entrance into my life at Beckett’s young age of ten weeks. And boy did she produce all kinds of new problems for my life as a breastfeeding mommy.

When I got my period back, my milk supply almost disappeared completely. It had been going down for the week prior (which apparently happens to those who get their period while breastfeeding) and I wasn’t really aware of it. I didn’t realize Beckett wasn’t getting enough milk until I figured out that he was dehydrated. I noticed he looked thinner so I took him to the doctor and sure enough he had lost almost half a pound. I stressed out and my milk supply was affected even further to the point that I had basically no milk left to feed him. Luckily I had stashed a ton away in my deep freezer when he was first born so I was able to supplement with frozen milk while I worked diligently to get my milk supply back up. The first step I took was to call back my favorite “Boobie Mobile”, My Nursing Coach. Linda, the lactation consultant, recommended I take a medication called, Domperidone, to help get my supply back up. DP is a medication meant for gastrointestinal issues and happens to have the side effect that it stimulates prolactin (milk production) and can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I have always tried to do things the natural way and not the medical way. In my moment of desperation, I began taking Domperidone without a moment’s hesitation. Beckett was still so young and the thought of no longer breastfeeding was devastating. So I started taking the medication immediately and within a couple of days, my supply was back to where it had been before. I was so excited to be able to share this special bond again and yet in the back of my mind a bit concerned about what this medication might do to me over time. I had done a ton of research and with the exception of minor side effects while on it, I learned there have been no long-term effects on the mother; less than .01% of it makes its way into the milk, making it also safe for Baby as well.

Just before Beckett’s four month birthday I was at a crossroads; I needed to decide whether to re-order more medication or try to get off of it and see if I could still produce naturally as I had done so abundantly at the beginning of Beckett’s life. I decided to try and get off of it by slowly cutting back on the dosage. In a matter of days I realized that the only way to keep my supply up at this point would be to continue on DP as my body had become dependent on it. I had an incredible amount of anxiety during this time and wasn’t sleeping well. I was still concerned about the unknown affects it may have on Beckett despite what I had researched since I hadn’t discussed it with his pediatrician before taking it.

Luckily, when I visited the pediatrician that week she gave me her blessing to stay on it and wrote me a prescription. I was an emotional mess in her office that day as I had been having a terrible week of getting Beckett to nurse (he had fallen in love with the bottle when I had to supplement back at ten weeks) and was also having extreme difficulty with getting the milk out with the pump. I told her I had been dealing with a ton of anxiety and mood swings, which we both just figured was due to hormones and the stress of whether or not to continue on the medication.

When the pediatrician returned with my prescription, she mentioned that Domperidone could cause anxiety and/or depression; something NOBODY else had mentioned to me between the lactation consultant and other women that had been on it. My nutritionist and wonderful friend, Debra Delson, further investigated the medication when I mentioned that I was on it and was able to tell me more about what can happen on the drug. I was having major letdown issues (when the milk takes a long time to come out) so much so that Beckett was losing patience and it was constantly a battle with him to breastfeed. I was having difficulty sleeping and was moody and anxious. I dealt with minor stomachaches. I would become engorged and not be able to pump the milk out – all things caused by the medication.

Upon learning this I decided that in order to be the best mom I could be for Beckett, I needed to take care of me as well. It was a heartbreaking decision but I decided staying on the medication wasn’t the right thing to do and would have to give up breastfeeding. I needed to stay true to who I am and what I always preach on House of Health…you are the only person that stays with you for your entire life so you must first take care of YOU and then others!

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the milk didn’t entirely disappear upon quitting breastfeeding. I managed to continue pumping and giving Beckett a decent amount of milk until this past week when I got my period again and the milk supply almost completely diminished. It has been a sad week of packing up my breastfeeding supplies but I keep reminding myself to look at the positive – he had a great start to life with over five months of breast milk and I did the best I could.

There is a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed today. It is wonderful that women are being encouraged to give this gift to their babies but the flip side to it is that it creates tons of guilt when it doesn’t go well and a mom chooses to or is forced to quit. I know women who have had no chance at breastfeeding due to breast surgery, cancer or the baby is allergic to its mother’s milk. I will be the first to admit that before Beckett, I judged women for not nursing; I felt they were robbing children of the amazing nutrition that comes with breastfeeding. I had no idea the challenge that was ahead of me and that sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

It’s amazing what we will do for our children. I was very close to continuing on a path of taking a medication that had already proven to be bad for my physical and mental health just for Beckett’s sake. Even today I sometimes still question whether or not I did the right thing by going off of DP and I ask myself where things went wrong; and then I snap back into reality and remember that I made the right decision and it wasn’t my fault! I tried everything!

As a society, and particularly as moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything perfectly. Whether you are a parent or not, I hope in reading this you will be kind to yourself about whatever thing that hasn’t gone exactly as planned for you. I had the pregnancy of my dreams, the delivery of my dreams and have a perfect, health, happy baby. Just being able to have a baby at all is such a gift! I’d say I am three for three so it’s time to move forward and focus on taking care of me so I can take care of Beckett.

I am happy to report that I have been making Beckett a homemade formula for the past several weeks. I decided that since quitting breastfeeding freed up some time I wanted to give him what I found to be the next best thing: fresh goat milk based formula. I will post the recipe for those interested in my next post and tell you more about it (and promise it won’t take me as long to post again! Been busy battling breastfeeding ;) ).

I hope that whatever happens in your life that doesn’t go according to plan, you can find peace within yourself and enjoy the new plan that unfolds. And that you take a second to check yourself before you judge others on their choices because as clichéd as it sounds, you just can’t truly understand another person’s path without walking in their shoes.

After having a fairly easy, uneventful pregnancy, I just assumed breastfeeding would be the same way. I had heard it could be difficult but I had mentally committed myself to the process, no matter what. I had a very rough start to my breastfeeding experience and even though I had taken breastfeeding classes and learned so much about it, there was little mention of how difficult it can be at the start. Fortunately, over time, and with proper instruction, breastfeeding has become fairly simple and something I really love.

Throughout my breastfeeding adventure, I learned that approximately 70% of women struggle with breastfeeding while only 30% succeed without any issues. I wanted to share my breastfeeding struggles to help other women be prepared for the parts of the process nobody warned me about – latching, and waiting for the milk to come in.

In my birth plan I had made a point of asking my doctor to bring the baby to my chest immediately after birth so I could bond and breastfeed. I had learned that those first minutes were crucial in making that connection with my child and beginning the breastfeeding bond. My son, Beckett, was not in the mood to make this connection just yet so though he was bright-eyed and ready to take on the world, he didn’t want to breastfeed. I tried not to stress out about it and was relieved when he finally did come to the breast within the first hour of his life. He latched right away so I thought we were off to a great start!

It wasn’t until later that night that we started having problems. All of a sudden, he didn’t want to latch anymore and began screaming at the top of his lungs, most likely due to his frustration and hunger. Thank goodness (or so I thought) the hospital provided a lactation consultant to come help us. I wish I could say she was amazing and did the trick, but far from it. She convinced me that Becks was having trouble latching due to the shape of my nipples and handed me a “nipple shield” and wished me luck. I was a bit perplexed. We hadn’t had an issue with my so-called inverted nipples earlier so why now had my nipples decided they need this stupid plastic thing to get my baby to eat? Regardless, I was happy to feed him and put a stop to the screaming so I took the shield and got the job done.

The next day I requested another lactation consultant to come and give me her opinion. Just like the last one, she gave me very little of her time and saw that I had a screaming frustrated baby so she essentially gave up on me and said to keep using the shield for now. I felt so confused! Upon leaving the hospital, I had met one final consultant very briefly who got the baby to latch immediately and sent me on my way. When we got home, he wouldn’t latch the same way again. I used the shield and did the best I could to just make sure he was getting the food he needed and that was all.

Because of using the nipple shield, my milk was taking longer to come in than it normally would. On that first night home from the hospital, Beckett became hysterical with hunger but as a new mom, I couldn’t calm him down enough to get him to eat more. I assumed he must have just been overly tired, as he had slept very little compared to most newborns in the hospital. He spent the entire first night at home alternating between sleeping and screaming, and ashamedly, I admit he went almost seven hours without eating. I kept trying and trying but to no avail.

At around 5:30 the next morning when Beckett woke up after a good long sleep, I prayed to every spiritual being known to man that he would take the boob and get the food that he needed. Thank goodness he did but my milk still wasn’t in! I called a lactation consultant that my pediatrician had referred me to, and though she was completely booked for the day, she made time for us knowing this was a baby who was starving and not yet getting milk.

Linda, the lactation consultant  (known as “My Nursing Coach”), was a godsend! She showed up in her hippie van known as her “mobile breastfeeding center”, fully stocked with everything one could need for breastfeeding, and Linda was full of incredibly helpful knowledge. With her help, Beckett immediately latched on, without the shield, and by the end of our two hours together my milk had come in with a vengeance! Finally he was getting the nutrition he needed and gained back the significant amount of weight he lost within the first week. Phew!

After nine weeks, I can finally say we have breastfeeding down but the issues didn’t stop after that first week. I barely dodged a breast infection twice, have had to deal with overactive letdown (too much milk) causing gas pains for the little guy, had engorged breasts that caused bleeding (that I didn’t even know about until it showed up in Beckett’s spit-up – scary!) and sore nipples. It really took me a solid two months to get in the groove completely, and I wanted to share my story so any new or expectant mothers know that they aren’t alone if they have a similar battle with breastfeeding. I have heard many other stories of women struggling with lack of milk, bleeding nipples, babies refusing the breast, etc…so just know it may not be the dream situation you hoped for at the beginning.

Becoming a mother is overwhelming as it is. Then add on the fact that this tiny person’s entire being is relying on you and your milk to survive and the whole situation can become very intense quickly. Supplementing with formula was not something I wanted to do, so if you’re like me, the pressure is 100% on you to feed this new little life. To this day, I still feel a little pang in my heart when I think about that first night home with Beckett, when I didn’t know any better and essentially let him starve for several hours. If I could do it over again, the one change I would make would be having the lactation consultant come see us that first day we were home, when the baby still wasn’t latching properly. Doing so, would have saved us a very stressful first night home and odds are, my milk would have shown up sooner.

I feel incredibly fortunate that we’re past our breastfeeding issues (for now anyway) and that I can share this incredible bond with Beckett. I hope you don’t have such a dramatic battle with breastfeeding and if you do, you have the access to help. Our insurance paid for our first visit with Linda’s mobile breastfeeding van (my husband calls it the “Boob-mobile”), so it is definitely worth looking into if you don’t get the help you need at the hospital.

Please share your stories to help educate women for their journey so they feel more confident and ready once their little bundle of joy joins us in the world.

Thank you for reading my story. Below are some tips I have learned for a better breastfeeding experience.

Written by Lana House

Studio owner, House Pilates

HEALTHY TIPS FOR BETTER BREASTFEEDING

  • Make sure you drink tons of water while breastfeeding. It is the most important thing for a great milk supply
  • Don’t go hours without eating and make sure you eat lots of healthy fats. Remember that baby is still eating what you are eating just like during pregnancy so eat plenty of healthy foods and eat often. You are burning a lot of calories!
  • Motherlove Nipple cream is AWESOME for sore and cracked nipples. Made only of organic ingredients such as olive oil and shea butter, it is completely safe for baby to eat should there still be some left on your nipple come next feeding
  • More Milk Plus by Motherlove is a fantastic herbal product to help increase your milk supply if yours is low and works almost immediately. Also works later if your milk supply seems to slow down. (They also make More Milk teas as well).
  • There are plenty of other great tips on Linda, the lactation consultant’s, website which include dealing with a breast infection, how to pump and save milk, etc… mynursingcoach.com

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