Thursday, July 18, 2013

Breastfeeding: What I do to Keep A Healthy Milk Supply

Breastfeeding offers great benefits for baby and mother. Here are some things that I do to keep a healthy milk supply. I also notice a boost in supply while doing these things.


Staying hydrated is important for nursing mothers. Think about it, how is your body going to make and give another person fluids if it doesn't have enough for itself?

Tip: Fill up a giant water bottle and carry it around with you. That way you only have to fill it up maybe twice, depending on how much it holds. My husband fills mine up for me. This is a good husband job.

Breast-milk Boosting Foods

Certain foods really benefit a nursing mother. The ones that I have researched and noticed a boost with are oatmeal, carrots, cashews, other raw nuts and seeds, beans, brown rice, asparagus, and other healthy foods. Basically, the vegan diet. Healthy vegans are the epitome of healthy milk making.

Tip: Healthy instant oatmeals (Rachel Ray makes one), individual pouches of trail mix (Trader Joe's makes them), and portable produce (bananas, apples, carrot sticks, etc.) make healthy eating easier when you are a busy momma.

Continuing Prenatal Vitamins

I continue to take my prenatal vitamins as a back-up or insurance of sorts. For the days when I want to eat Italian ice as a snack instead of granola with almond milk and blueberries.

Tip: Carry a few around in a pill box or zip baggie in your purse for when you are on the go and forget to take your vitamin. Don't just throw them in there, however. Your baby will soon be getting into things and thinking ahead about how to store things safely, is always a good thing.


I notice a huge difference in my milk supply when I rest versus when I can't. Your body has a 24 hour job to do, so rest is key.

Tip: Sleep when the baby sleeps. I would tell people that was easier said than done until I actually started doing it. I get in a safe position for naps and the baby nurses and we sleep at her nap time. She'll latch on and off if she wake up and still wants to eat. However, if you cannot do this safely, I would not recommend doing so. When baby is sleeping in the swing, I also take that opportunity to rest. Even sitting with your feet up and relaxing when you can, is better than nothing.

Milk Making Tea

I love Mother's Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals. What a noticeable difference when I consistently drink the recommended 3- 5 cups per day. Plus, that is an added 3- 5 cups of fluids per day to add to your hydration.

Tip: In the morning, brew 3- 5 cups and keep it in the refrigerator to drink as iced tea throughout the day. I make mine with my Keurig's hot water, so there is always one brewed there at all times and I just go and grab it when I get a chance.

Stay Calm

Staying relaxed and stress-free does wonders for me. When I am relaxed, comfortable, and happy I notice lots of let downs during nursing.

Tip: If you are worried about something, give your lactation consultant, your baby's pediatrician, or the maternity ward at the hospital a call. The hospital where my baby was born offers a 24/7 baby hotline that you can call whenever for whatever. I also really adore my lactation consultants and the baby's doctor office. They have been really helpful if I have a quick question and would like to set my mind at ease, rather than worry about it. I've come to realize that things are often no big deal and nothing to be concerned about, however the support of others is important for any new mom. There is also a free breastfeeding support group at the hospital. I also found mom and baby yoga class to be a great way to bond with baby and other moms, and nursing your baby during class is encouraged. Things like that will help you become comfortable nursing in public so that you will have successful feedings. I can recite my state's breastfeeding laws so in case anyone gives me a hard time I can respond to them in true momma bear fashion. I think confidence helps with all this as well.

I love the feeling while nursing (especially during my baby's first morning feed), having full breasts and seeing excess milk in the corners of her mouth. What a wonderful feeling to no longer worry about milk supply like in the first few days and weeks, right? Staying hydrated and taking good care of myself will ensure that I can breastfeed my little one for as long as she wants to. The longer you breastfeed, the more the benefits percentage increases for you and baby. The risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer also decrease even more the longer you can breastfeed. That is a win win for all of us! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Wishing lots of milky success to my fellow breastfeeding mommas!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Attachment Parenting? Just Me Being Mom.

Before I had my baby, I hadn't ever heard about Attachment Parenting. Apparently, calling it this is a "new thing" these days. I prepared very well for the arrival of my little one. I read lots of books and articles but mostly learned about infant care. I chose to leave most of my actual parenting method to instinct. My instinct told me to nurse my baby on demand, pick her up when she cries, and basically love her with every fiber of my being. I've recently discovered that I have been Attachment Parenting all along and hadn't even realized it.

For me, this is the easiest thing you can possibly do. I guess from what I am reading, this style is not for everyone (maybe because our society lacks patience and compassion?), but it works awesome for us. I actually find that following my instinct as a mother, makes parenting pretty simple. Baby cries, you figure out why, and soothe your baby. If all else fails, breastfeeding fixes everything. It is like magic! Nourishment, hydration, comfort, soothing, bonding, cuddling, love, all in one. Personally, I can't fathom the so called "cry it out" method, if you even want to call that a method, it's arguably child abuse. I say that because scientifically when babies cry their blood pressure rises and they get very stressed out. Then a baby will actually lose hope and withdraw if he or she cries for too long and doesn't get help. That is just sad. Do you really want to instill a lack of hope in your child this early? Also, statistically you are not able to spoil a baby until about 1.5 years old. However, what mother doesn't want to spoil their child with love? Babies are only this age for such a short period of time and all they want is you; you are their everything. So go ahead and pick up your baby for crying out loud (no pun intended)! Your instinct is telling you to. Did you know that a baby's cry is designed to make mom and dad feel unsettled and anxious? It is human survival in order for a baby to be cared for. In fact, a human baby's development is the longest of all mammals. Think about it, babies take a long time to build up the strength to do things like hold up their head and neck, crawl, and walk. Scientifically, human babies should be cared for this way since they are built for it. However, on a purely emotional level, I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with my baby. I don't want to see or hear her cry because I want her to be happy and to feel safe and loved. It is my instinct to care for my baby in a way that makes this time about her. Again, such a short time.

Other cultures have been Attachment Parenting since forever. Why is our society so rigid and strict? Why so much hate on AP from all these Joan-Crawford-types?

Maybe it is just the way that I was raised. But if that is the case, it is more of a motivation to be a loving mother because then your child might grow up to be a loving parent. Around the holidays, my father was sitting with us and talking with us about babies. Basically preparing us for our adventure. He told me and my husband, "Babies mostly sleep the first few weeks or so. Then, they have a crying phase. But you discover that, that is the most beautiful sound in the world, because far too soon you are sitting on your child's couch, in their home, and they are having a baby of their own. They are starting their family." This brought tears to all of our eyes. It also put a lot of things in perspective for me. This time is so precious and brief. Cherish the time with your family. Most days I'm exhausted and running on fumes, however I'm always smiling. I am a happy and blessed momma. How can you not smile to see the face of your baby? If your baby is crying, be grateful that your baby needs you and begin to soothe your baby quickly and lovingly. That little sound is your superhero siren calling. You are truly the entire world to your child. You come to the rescue. In your child's eyes, you are the most wonderful and important person ever. I think Attachment Parenting, or parenting by instinct, keeps it that way. I think in your child's eyes you will always be a hero, because you are not perfect but you try to be. And as long as you try your best, that is perfection.

Mayim Bialik - a voice of Attachment Parenting and author of Beyond the Sling, puts it perfectly, AP is an "umbrella term" its not an all or nothing parenting method.

Love Mayim Bialik! What a rock-star. What she says here just sums it up and is short and sweet but super powerful. I myself personally, can totally relate to her method. People do need to understand that parenting methods are flexible and different for everyone. Everyone does what works best for them and for their lifestyle. I just so happen to be a very go-with-the-flow type of person, so an instinctual parenting method works awesome. I have so much love to give and often think I was born a mother. One of my mother-in-law's, Marilyn, said something that really touched my heart and made my day recently. We were sitting there as I was breastfeeding and we were chatting about babies and motherhood and she said, "You were made for this. For breastfeeding, for motherhood. This is what you were built for and it suits you.". It is nice to find a place where I belong and motherhood just feels right. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Sending big hugs and peek-a-boos your way!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New Products I Am Loving

When you are a new mom you need nutritious snacks that are easy, especially if you are a breastfeeding mom because your nutrition is important to your milk supply and energy levels. That's why I wanted to share these newish vegan products that are great on-the-go and fun snacky items that just happen to taste extremely delicious.

Earth Balance has done it again folks! Not only are we hooked on their buttery concoctions, now we are completely addicted to their snacks... And loving it by the way. These cheesy curls, buttery popcorns, and absolutely addicting peanut butter popcorn balls are so darn yummy! I take stuff like this with us in the car to munch on and put the popcorn in little baggies to keep in the diaper bag so that I don't forget to nourish between meals. I can totally see these going into my child's lunch box when she is school age. Great snacks to bring camping, on picnics, to the beach, really anywhere the summer takes you this year. Vegan cheese curls have been longed for, for quite some time now. Bravo, Earth Balance! Glad I had the pleasure to get my hands on these tasty treats. They were delish!

The Clif Bar company has made vegan protein and nutrition bars for a while now. Luna Bars and the mini version have fueled my entire pre-pregnancy and pregnancy (and now my nursing mom needs), and I always love a good Clif Bar, or Blok, or their other vegan products. Right now I'm loving the new Luna Fiber bars! These are 7g of fiber for only around 100 calories! And all of us Ladies who just had babies know the importance of fiber right now to ward off that inevitable constipation that happens after baby arrives. And yes, even if you are vegan and eat all your fruits and veggies, you still get it, it's from hormones, so fiber is amazing right now to help with that situation. The flavor combinations of these bars are awesome. Raspberry and chocolate, peanut butter and strawberry, vanilla and blueberry... Oh my! I love them all and am totally guilty of eating multiple bars in one sitting. Hey, Momma needs her fiber. Ain't no shame in it.

So, have you tried any of these new vegan offerings yet? If not, what are you most excited for?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Easy White Pizza

We were coming home from the baby store and I smelled pizza through the air. I betcha one of the neighbors was cooking a pie on their grill or something. I just had to have pizza after getting a whiff of that! We had a 3 pack of pre-made mini pizza crusts and no pizza sauce, so I decided to make mini white pizzas. These are very similar to how my dad made white pizza, which was always my favorite growing up, however he didn't use the cheddar. You can make this on mini crusts, bigger crusts, on dough, bread, you name it. So here is what I used to make mine. 

  • Crust of your choice
  • Olive oil to oil crust with
  • Slices of "cheddar cheese" - I used Teese by Chicago Soy Dairy and it was amazing!
  • Sliced onion caramelized in a pan with Earth Balance, crushed garlic, sea salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
  • Vegan Parmesan by Go Veggie/ Galaxy Foods to sprinkle on top 

I cooked this in the toaster oven according to the directions on the pizza crust package. It came out great and was super easy to make! Yum!

What is your favorite kind of pizza to make? What vegan cheese do you use?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Get Rid of that Bloat...Duh, Drink Water!

So, I make this fruity water that I always like to drink when I'm in need of some cleansing or flushing out of my system. It also promotes hydration because if you like what you are drinking, you are more likely to drink the recommended daily amount. A lot of people tell me that they do not drink enough water because they feel that it has a boring taste. Well, this concoction of mine is anything but boring, and you also get some of the antioxidant benefits from the fruit as well.

After delivering my sweet little baby, I drank this along with plain water, and I found that it really helped get rid of the postpartum bloat and fluid retention you get after baby and from receiving IV fluids at the hospital. Also, it is really important during breastfeeding to stay well hydrated. So here is how I make my special citrus water. Enjoy this refreshing beverage!

My Not So Dirty Fruity Citrus Water Recipe

What you will need:

  • A pitcher
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 10 mint leaves
  • (other additional fruits that you might like to add)
  • 8 cups water
  • Muddling tool (optional)
What you will need to do:

Clean your produce well (choose organic, if not be sure to peel your fruit). Place your lemon, orange, cucumber, ginger, and mint in your pitcher. If you choose to use a muddling tool, muddle (mash) together your ingredients so that they release their natural juices and extracts. This does make the water cloudy, so if you are looking for more of a clear water or a nicer presentation, you may not want to muddle. Add the water to the pitcher, cover, and let chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (the longer it's in there, the more potent and strong of a flavor). Sip throughout the day.

I chose these ingredients for their nutritional and antioxidant benefits. When I really want to amp up the antioxidants, I add things like blueberry, raspberry, or pomegranate. Sometimes, I just change up the fruit for a different flavor. Let me know what you think if you try this recipe. It is not sweet or all that Dirty, but it is definitely refreshing!