June 18, 2011 (7:57 pm)

Reader Question About Feeding Baby

by Kristen Suzanne
I was emailed the following recently and thought I’d answer so others could read…

I am not a raw foodist, but our family eats mostly organic. I would value a video post from you that shows you preparing (what products to use that don’t have plastics, etc., making it, storing it, and feeding it to your child. I don’t believe in microwaves and I can’t imagine taking the time to toss a frozen food cube in a saucepan every time. Can you help with any pointers to make the process, fast, easy and healthy.

Answer: Actually, I breastfed exclusively for so long that she’s at an age now where I usually just share what I’m eating with her, while getting the majority of her calories still from breastmilk. At that young age, you could start with simple raw organic foods like peeled apple, banana, or avocado. I’m more or less following baby led weaning. Even with that though… I still keep pieces uber small because she only has a few teeth. She’s not using sippy cups or anything like that. When I share my smoothie with her, I use a spoon or a teeny tiny cup (the kind you might use with mouthwash, it’s BPA free)

I also recently wrote a blog post for Raw Moms discussing a bit about our practices. It should be on their website on July 1.

Do any of you moms have additional advice?

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May 31, 2011 (11:32 pm)

Breastfeeding in Public – 11 Tips

by Kristen Suzanne

I’m becoming something of a pro with breastfeeding in public nowadays… just whip it out and FOOMP (that’s the sound of putting her on with precision and speed lol). But, twas wasn’t always the case. A few months back, I inquired with my awesome facebook friends for tips and advice.

Here was the question I posted with the following bullets as some that I thought were good:

What are your tips for getting baby comfy (in the literal, physical sense) nursing in public. More specifically, at home I use a big nursing pillow, but when we’re out, the small pillow I bring isn’t always easy. Is there an easy way to do this that I’m missing (without the pillow)?

  • Crossing a leg so an ankle is resting on the opposite knee and resting the arm cradling baby’s head on the crossed leg… so the baby is propped a bit.
  • Nurse in a Moby or sling which serves as a cover.
  • Prop arm on purse or diaper bag. If baby is easily distracted, cover up with a blanket.
  • Try to either lean back a little so baby’s weight was off mom’s arm.
  • Try to find a chair with an armrest.
  • When baby is a toddler… baby just stood and nursed.
  • At even a very early age: Nursing while baby sits up on a knee, head supported in hand… I find this position works great in public situations when you dont have a pillow on hand but it also helps prevent gas-keeping baby happier, longer.
  • When they were old enough to sit up, I would let them sit on my lap/vertically to nurse.
  • Use a blanket as a pillow.
  • Had a ring sling also called a William Sears Sling designed by Dr William Sears, breastfed my daughter in it till she was 27 months.
  • Personally, I have also found that I prefer normal shirts or tank tops that I lift up, as opposed to the breastfeeding tank tops that unsnap on the strap and you pull down. I think it’s more obvious and attention grabbing with the latter.
Do you have any tips for other mamas out there wondering the same thing?
  • Oh, and in case you missed this post from December, there is some great breastfeeding info here, too.

Image credit: Naturemandala

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March 14, 2011 (2:21 pm)

Introducing Solids To Babies: Kamea’s First Foods

by Kristen Suzanne

I’m very excited and proud that I exclusively breastfed Kamea for so long. Over 8 months. But, the time has come and it feels right (last time I wrote about timing and introducing solids here). My little baby isn’t so little anymore. She cut her first tooth at 8 months, she started crawling at the same time. She’s big time! I’m a tad sad… lol… but excited, too. Geez, if I’m this way because she’s tasting solids, how will I be when she goes to college?

Kamea tinkering... aren't her feet so cute?!

Kamea is a little over 8 1/2 months now. For the past week or so, I’ve been introducing tastes to her. For example, when I’m eating an organic apple or pear, I let her lick it after each of my bites. She really likes that! I made a green juice with mostly cucumber, some celery, and a bit of swiss chard… I gave her a little tiny spoonful of it. Some made it into her mouth and some went on her shirt. Oh yeah… put a bib on me, mom! ;) But, I wouldn’t consider those examples to be eating solids. After all, her poop didn’t change.

Then, I tried to officially introduce her to smashed organic banana with breastmilk. We decided to use our new high chair (I scored a great deal on it at MamaBargains.com) – more on that below. We used her little wooden bowl and spoon. We took the camera out. I thought this would be a big day! Read More »

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March 6, 2011 (9:43 pm)

Kamea’s Baby Scale & Percentiles for Breastfed Babies

by Kristen Suzanne

At six months, Kamea’s rate of weight gain decreased a little, to just under 50th percentile. Her two doctors (a naturopath and an allopath) had different reactions. Her naturopath wasn’t concerned. In fact, it didn’t even really come up. He just mentioned that as she became more active we might see a drop in weight gain. Her allopath, however, thought it was worth keeping an eye on. He said that babies/kids eventually find their natural steady spot on the percentile chart based on things like genetics, but that a consistent decrease in percentile over time could indicate a problem. Ok, nothing to be concerned about… right? (I’m a mom. Moms worry. That’s part of the job.) Then, he admitted that he was not using (in fact, does not even possess) the growth chart for breastfed babies, and I did a little private eye roll in my mind. Modern pediatricians push breastfeeding pretty hard, which is great… you’d think they’d download a more relevant chart off those Interwebs. A chart which, incidentally, I was able to find in 2.3 seconds on Google when I got home.

He told us to introduce solids and come back in 6 weeks for another visit just to weigh her.

Even though I felt deep down that she was fine… breastmilk is the best option for her, she’s great at nursing, her naturopath (Kamea’s “official” doctor) wasn’t concerned, and many breastfed babies go through exactly what she was going through (a drop in her weight gain growth)… I couldn’t help but… wonder. I made the appointment for the weigh in and we left the office. Read More »

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January 10, 2011 (6:57 pm)

Introducing Solids to Babies… Not Yet For Kamea But Getting Ready

by Kristen Suzanne

Sorry for my lack of posts the past couple of weeks. Between Kamea, taking care of household duties, and maintaining my Kristen’s Raw blog… time sure does fly, eh? Kamea turned 6 months of age at the end of December 2010 – yowza! It’s so exciting to watch her grow and see her little personality coming out. It’s been a non-stop blast with her.

Traditionally, this is the time that many parents are excited to try giving their baby solids to eat. But, we haven’t followed that tradition. She’s about 6.5 months now and I don’t feel the need to introduce solids yet. I’ve read a number of sources that state a mom can breastfeed her baby exclusively for up to a year. While that is not my goal or intention, I do feel a strong pull in the direction to go beyond the conventional 6-month mark of exclusive breastfeeding.

There are a few markers that many parents look for before introducing solids:

1) Teeth – Kamea doesn’t have any teeth yet. However, some babies don’t start teething until close to a year old. This doesn’t mean you don’t introduce solids before that, but some people use it as one indicator (of a few) as to the readiness of baby to have solids.

2) Sitting up unassisted and having solid head control – Kamea started sitting unassisted just before she turned 6 months. She’s had solid head control for awhile.

3) Interest in foods – Many babies show their eagerness towards solids by reaching for mama’s food. Kamea hasn’t really done this. She definitely eyes us when we’re eating, but she doesn’t grab for it specifically. She pretty much grabs for everything within reach, so her reach for my smoothie cup doesn’t tell me she’s trying to reach for it to drink it.

4) Hunger – If a baby seems hungry beyond the normal feedings of breastmilk then it could be a sign of readiness for solids.

Most importantly though, I’m simply following my own mama intuition. Read More »

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December 15, 2010 (3:02 pm)

9 Breastfeeding Questions Answered (And Then Some…)

by Kristen Suzanne

Breastfeeding is such a magical experience. Truly one of the best I’ll ever have in my life. I cherish each and every time Kamea wants to feed. But. It wasn’t always easy. Those first few weeks were a learning curve compounded by postpartum fatigue, painful nipples at times, anxiety over whether Kamea was feeding enough, and trying to get a great latch. I’m so glad (seriously… soooo glad!) that I kept at it and stuck it out. The reward has been enormous. I remember one time during the beginning where I had nipple pain and was thinking of ways on how to endure another nursing session. Then, a friend of mine via Twitter wrote to me about how there were times she cried while nursing and she squeezed her husband’s hand to get through it, but that it was temporary and would get better – she promised. Now, I don’t want to scare any mamas away with the thought of crying while breastfeeding. I doubt this happens often. I had tenderness in the beginning weeks, but it seemed to go away as quickly as it came. But, you know me… I keep it real on this blog. Breastfeeding had its challenges for me in the beginning. On top of the tenderness, Kamea liked to feed every couple of hours much of the time. This meant very little sleep for me and very little anything else. Who cares I thought? I had a baby! My happiness trumped any breastfeeding discomfort I had. (Besides, side-lying breastfeeding while co-sleeping is a dream come true – in more ways than one.)

Kamea nursing in the side-lying position. Pure joy.

And, as I wrote, it got better. And better. And better. Now, I can’t wait for those moments to connect with my daughter.

Averie with her daughter, Skylar

So. I wanted to share some helpful information for all of the breastfeeding mamas out there. I asked one of my dear friends, Averie*, if she would mind answering a few questions for us. Oops… those “few” questions quickly turned into 9 questions, of which some had multiple questions. Sorry, Averie, my bad. Thank you so much for being a trooper though and answering them all. You rock the lactation house!

Here we go!

1) Everywhere I turn, when looking for details on what I “should and should not eat” while breastfeeding, it seems there is contradictory information (wheat, soy, citrus, garlic, broccoli, kale, beans, avocado, pineapple, etc – to name a few that I found mixed reviews about.). At the end of the day, it looks like the only things that are safe to eat are cucumbers, apples, and bananas. I’m exaggerating, but you get my point. When I was first starting out, I would google a food to see if it was safe for breastfeeding and I could usually find a site saying it was not a good idea or it could cause problems with baby’s digestion. (Let’s ignore caffeine, alcohol, etc – I know those are bad.) So, in your opinion, is there a list of true no-no’s that a mama should avoid eating while breastfeeding? And, does this change over time? For example, if I avoided chocolate or beans in the first few months, could I eat them in later months?

There are no foods a mother should absolutely avoid just because she is nursing. Some foods a mother may find may bother her baby such as cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc), but until a mom notices that yes, this food is definitely not agreeing with my baby, eat it and enjoy! So-called “gassy” foods have no more potential to cause gas in a baby, i.e. beans, broccoli, cabbage, because milk is made from what passes through mother’s blood, not from what passes through her stomach or digestive tract. Again, if you notice an issue with certain foods and your baby, do what you see fit but don’t swear off certain foods just because of what you’re “heard.”

2) Talk to me about colostrum and those first days of breastfeeding before a mama’s milk comes in. Can you allay any fears about baby getting enough when they consume so little in the way of quantity?

See this chartAnd realize that most women produce enough milk.  Make sure the diaper counts are there, that you are nursing frequently which means at least 8 to 12 times in a 24 hour period (not 6 to 8 times in a 24 hour period) in those early days.  Make sure the baby is gaining weight (note a slight weight loss of 5-7% is normal), but trust in the biology of our bodies to support our babies from our milk.

3) Do you have some recommended galactagogues for mamas not producing enough milk?

Fenugreek, fenugreek seed, anise/fennel, fennel seed, alfalfa, ginger, oats/oatmeal – common and easy to find almost anywhere. Also effective and most any health food store or Whole Foods will have these: astragalus, blessed thistle, chasteberry, flaxseed oil, Goat’s Rue, hops, nettles, red raspberry leaf tea. More Milk Plus Tinctures and Capsules by Motherlove are excellent and contain a balanced blend of herbs.

Note that some of the “nursing teas” on the market contain peppermint or mint which can reduce supply in some women (the opposite effect of what they intended).

4) What do you think about pumping? Should a mama stick to breastfeeding on demand, only from the breast? Or, should a mama pump and freeze some in case of emergency? Is there any truth to nipple confusion if a baby has a bottle and breastmilk from the breast? Read More »

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November 21, 2010 (8:54 pm)

Our Trip To The Art Fair – Nursing In The Ergo

by Kristen Suzanne

I’m getting more excited about taking Kamea out to different places. I like that she’s seeing different things, smelling different smells, and hearing different sounds. I think the beige walls of our home are getting a bit old – lol. One of our more interesting trips out was last week when we went to a big art fair. I didn’t know what to expect so we took her stroller, packed our ERGO baby carrier, and I donned a nursing tank top.

It ended up being a little hotter than I originally expected. And, the sun was shining very bright. By the time we arrived, parked, and had a bite to eat, Kamea was getting a little fussy. I put her in the ERGO, but she wasn’t super stoked about that either (it’s a great carrier, but not the best fit just yet. I’ve since bought another carrier and practiced with it for over a week now. She is so comfy in it and lasts the longest in it… I’ll blog about it soon when I do a comprehensive post with videos about all of the baby wearing carriers I have – what I like and don’t like, etc.). As I walked along, I thought perhaps I could try nursing her in the ERGO. Without knowing much about it, I pulled the sun cover over her head, did a little shimmy shake, and you can guess the rest. Voila – she nursed! I was so excited, although it only lasted a couple of minutes. I know now that I could’ve made it a little easier if I’d lowered the straps a bit.

As our time started to run short and I was sensing that it was time to go, I found a booth with a local gal selling organic baby clothes. She had a clearance rack and I immediately grabbed a cute onesie with a watermelon on it. The lady’s company is called Tiny Tater Tees and the prints are made using real potatoes… hand carved, hand stamped, and hand made for little ones. Pretty nifty, eh? I love supporting local companies when possible.

I made my purchase and we headed out. All in all, it was kind of a difficult trip. But, I was glad that I had a semi-successful experience nursing in the ERGO. That’s cool.

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August 24, 2010 (7:00 pm)

My Postpartum Must Haves

by Kristen Suzanne

I wanted to share some of my postpartum must haves. These are things I use all the time these days. This list isn’t all inclusive… for example, I’m not listing diapers, stroller, car seat, and stuff like that. This list is simply to highlight a few things that I find very helpful as a new mommy.

Organic cloth prefolds | Organic cloth wipes | *Organic blankets | Breastfeeding pillow | Baby Bottom Balm | Cloth wipe warmer | Rocker swing | Salt lamp | Foot Stool

*The brand I love is Pixel Organics. I bought mine on Amazon, but I don’t see them there now. I also love this one though (I have the veggie one)

By the way, if you’re interested in the Orbit Bassinet I talk about in the video, here it is.

UPDATE: From one of the comments below… here is another rocker option, eco friendly. (I haven’t tried it.) Thanks, Katie!

What are your postpartum must haves?

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July 26, 2010 (2:30 am)

Breastfeeding Pillow Wars

by Kristen Suzanne

As a green mommy, I like to get as many things as possible organic (and/or sustainably made) for my family… especially my baby. When I was researching breastfeeding pillows, I came upon this groovy pillow which looked great. It’s filled with organic buckwheat hulls (this helps keep baby cool and not over heat I’ve heard) and organic fabrics. Sweet! So, I ordered one before Kamea was born. My husband took an immediate liking to it for sleeping, so I ordered another (this time for Kamea!).

However, I wasn’t sure how much I loved it after using it for a week or so. The issue was that because I was a first time breastfeeding mommy, I was still learning the ropes to breastfeeding. Basically what would happen is… Kamea would latch on and I’d be so grateful that I didn’t take time to get comfortable myself. Hence, neck and back aches and major uncomfortableness while breastfeeding. I also wasn’t great at positioning her on the pillow.. it’s very pliable as you can imagine since it’s filled with buckwheat.

As a tired and anxious new mom, I was (and still am) quite willing to buy whatever I can to make life easier right now (you have something to make my baby more comfy or to make my life easier – I’M SOLD!). Therefore, I started researching other breastfeeding pillow options. I decided to check out the Breast Friend pillow, which I’d heard many great things about. I bought one – of course. After it arrived I put it on and felt downright silly wearing it – lol. It’s like a tu-tu. I still laugh when I put it on. I was also disheartened that it’s not organic and far from sustainable from what I can tell… which I pretty much knew going in. Still, I wanted to try it. After getting used to the Blessed Nest pillow above, the Breast Friend was very stiff. I pretty much had to hold on to Kamea while she was on it because I feared she’d roll off. On the Blessed Nest pillow, she settles right in. However, I did notice that the first few times I used the Breast Friend, it was indeed quite nice on my back. I was excited to experience that. But, as with many things… trade one issue for another. Give up organic, quality manufacturing, and softness for Kamea versus relax my back. Read More »

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July 10, 2010 (11:09 pm)

Breastfeeding Throne

by Kristen Suzanne

I have set up my breastfeeding throne. I have an awesome reclining chair that I use (I don’t recline while feeding, but after when Kamea lays on my chest, it’s perfect). On both sides of it are tables where I have my iPhone, iPad, water, tiffin full of snacks, Kamea’s nail clippers, breastfeeding pillow, burp cloths, books, lip balm, paper, pen, blanket for Kamea (these blankets are awesome – organic and perfect texture/thickness for the hot weather. I bought 4 of them! I had no idea a baby gets things so dirty so quickly – lol – I needed backups), blanket for me, foot stool (so needed with breastfeeding for me! I’m extremely grateful that Greg’s friend bought this for us as I didn’t know how much I’d love/need it), remote control, and sometimes my computer. Now, most of the time, I just stare at her while she’s feeding, but sometimes I get a little work done, too. It took me a few days to get into my groove, but not that my throne is set up, I’m good to go! We’re getting into our routine and she’s feeding just wonderfully. All on the breast. :)

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July 6, 2010 (1:44 am)

Breastfeeding Mission – Basically Accomplished!

by Kristen Suzanne

On July 4, I decided to go back to solo breastfeeding (i.e., no pumping) and having more confidence in both my body and Kamea. The first few days of having Kamea in our lives, I did some pumping and that was indeed helpful because, as I wrote in the last post… it gave my ta tas a rest from being sore, family members were able to bond and feed her, I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep, and it encouraged my milk supply. But, I decided to stop the pumping because I want my breasts to make enough milk for Kamea, based on her natural feedings, and I want to get back to that closeness I have while breastfeeding her.

So… how are we doing? We’re doing just great! The goal is 8-12 feedings a day which we have accomplished and 6 or more wet diapers a day, which we’re on track for doing as well. I’m so happy about it. We’re getting the hang of things as I get more practice every day of being a mom and Kamea gets stronger. I’ve even ventured into babywearing a bit. I am trying out my Gypsy Mama wrap by putting Kamea into it a few minutes at a time. I’m certainly no expert, but each time it seems to get a little bit better and easier.

Well, I’m off to nap while my sweet darling sleeps. Catching my zzzz’s when I can. :)

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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