Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Lactation Cookie Recipe

Lactation Cookie Recipe Chocolate Chip Peanut ButterLast week I shared my journey from breastfeeding to exclusive pumping due to Carter's latch issues and my initial low supply. One of the things that has really worked to increase my milk production has been homemade lactation cookies. I initially purchased cookies from Milkin' Cookies, but at almost $2 per cookie I knew I could make a more cost-effective batch from scratch.

I had most of the ingredients in my pantry, but did have to make a trip to the local health food store {Health Foods Unlimited} to grab some of the more specialized ingredients.


I'm not sure of just how many cookies you'll need to eat to get results so you'll need to experiment with that. For me, 2-3 cookies per day has made a difference. When I woke up the first morning after starting these cookies, I had actually leaked milk for the first time ever. That was a good enough sign for me that they were working!
Lactation Cookie Recipe Brewers Yeast

If you decide to modify this recipe, keep in mind that brewer's yeast (or nutritional yeast) is the star of the show for milk production. The rolled oats help too. There's some debate about flaxseed, so you can decide for yourself if you'd like to use that.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brewer’s or nutritional yeast 
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 3 cups thick oats
  • 2 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar, packed well
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix water and flaxseed in a small bowl. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Beat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix in the flaxseed and water until well blended. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and yeast. 
  • Combine dry mixture to butter mixture and blend for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix in oats, chocolate chips, and peanut butter until well blended.
  • Spoon into tablespoon sized portions. Place rounded cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet spaced 2 inches apart. 
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on pan 3 minutes before serving. 
  • Makes 4 dozen cookies.
Here's a close up of the key ingredients, if you're like me and haven't purchased them before.
Lactation Cookie Recipe Ingredients


Lactation Cookie Recipe Chocolate Chip Peanut ButterThe best news? Even though these cookies can boost your milk supply, they're perfectly safe {and delicious} for the whole family to enjoy.

Just remember, they are cookies and have calories. I purposely didn't calculate how many calories are in these. But you'll burn those extra calories off breastfeeding anyway, right? ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Crying Over Spilled Milk

from Breastfeeding to Exclusive Pumping
I never thought I'd be talking about my boobs on the internet, but here it goes. My husband and I joke that we pretty much learned to be parents from our friend, Google. It's especially true for me when it came down to breastfeeding. Let me tell you friends, it was hard. My late night internet searches ended up being exactly what I needed, so I'm hoping that by sharing my journey it can help someone else too.

When I was pregnant, so many people asked if I'd be breastfeeding. And I'm not talking about my doctors. When I said I was going to try, the results were mixed. Some quickly assured me that formula was just as good and their kids turned out fine. Others told me to prepare myself for endless days of leaky boobs and bleeding nipples. Yay. When I confessed to one friend that I was toying with the idea of exclusively pumping, she promised me that I'd change my mind for the convenience of "from the tap" feeding.


Then Carter was born two weeks early via induction, and I realized just how unprepared I was. It took about 45 minutes from the time Carter came out until the time I got to hold him. When I finally did get to hold him, I did not have that initial gush of maternal feelings. I mostly just felt tired, jittery, and hungry. I looked at my husband holding our son with tears running down his face {the same man who didn't even shed a tear at our wedding} and I just felt... nothing? It's hard to explain. Carter was so cute, and his hair was so soft, and he smelled like a heavenly little baby. But the two of us didn't really get the glowing crawl to the boob moment that was "supposed" to happen during skin to skin.

Enter stage right... the nurse who had given Carter a bath while I was being put back together. She proceeds to squeeze my nipples like nobody's business in search of colostrum while perching Carter's mouth on there like a baby bird. With mild success, he drifted off to sleep and I finally got something to eat.

After that, Carter didn't show much interest in nursing. He would suck on his bottom lip or his tongue instead of latching. During the next 24 hours, I would meet with two lactation consultants a few times. They could get him to latch, but again he'd stop shortly after and suck on his own tongue. I wasn't able to express much milk on my own either, but they assured me it would come in and to keep trying. We dutifully tried to nurse and charted the time Carter spent on each side throughout the day. I wasn't convinced he was actually drinking anything, but newborns have tiny stomachs and he had enough wet/dirty diapers so no one was worried. The pediatrician told us that we might be told that Carter has lip tie by one of the consultants, but he assured us everything was fine and Carter would catch on.

However, by Carter's second full day we started to get worried. He hadn't eaten much after his circumcision, which they told us was totally normal. But when checked, his blood sugar was down and he only had two mildly wet diapers overnight/through the morning. After consulting the pediatrician again, we decided to try formula. And let me tell you... that kid sucked down almost all of the 2 ounces. It resulted in another night in the hospital, but his blood sugar was back up and he was moving urine again. For the first time, I cried my eyes out. I had been starving my baby. I know you hear "breast is best" but in our case, FED was best.

I was still determined to get Carter some breastmilk though.  So during our last day in the hospital, we consulted with lactation consultants again and also tried to pump. I got nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. They told me to keep trying and that it would get easier once my milk finally came in. With that, we were on our way home with bags full of formula samples.

Over his first week at home, we continued to try to nurse without any success. I did begin to get some milk when pumping though. I was lucky to get an ounce total all day, but we'd give Carter whatever I had pumped first and then top him off with formula. By a week after delivery, I was pumping 3 ounces a day. My right side was primarily the one producing, so my body was only doing half its job. The lactation consultant called to check on our progress. I told her I had switched to exclusively pumping for our sanity and that I was supplementing with formula. She said it was totally normal and that many women only had one side that produced well. I was pumping every 2-3 hours, drinking water like crazy, and also trying Mother's Milk Tea. So she said it sounded like I was doing everything I could and wished me well.

The end of the first week home is when things got the darkest. Guests would visit and say things like, "You're giving him a bottle already??" or "Why are you using formula too?" Um... because my baby would be starving without it. But instead, I just cried. And pumped. And cried. My husband would go to sleep after feeding Carter in the night, and I'd still be up pumping away long after they finished. When the bottle tipped over and we spilled milk, I sobbed. Every drop felt like gold. While my supply DID increase, I couldn't stay ahead of Carter's needs so we were still supplementing.

We were doing 50/50 milk to formula by the time Carter was two weeks old. The pediatrician made me cry when we had Carter's 2 week checkup. His first question was how I was doing. He didn't judge me for formula and told me that Carter appreciated everything I was trying, even though he couldn't tell me himself. Carter had gained weight as expected. We were doing just fine.

By three weeks, my supply was finally catching up to his needs and I was just trying to stay one bottle ahead of him. We tried nursing again, but he still had trouble latching without sucking on his own tongue. So I accepted that I was just one of those exclusive pumpers and pumped 7 times a day. Around this time, I discovered lactation cookies that worked so much better than the tea and didn't upset my stomach. Finally, finally, finally my supply was established and we were able to stop using formula altogether by Carter's 2 month checkup. I was also able to reduce the number of pumps per day to 5, which meant sleeping through the night again.

It wasn't until 10 weeks that I was able to begin storing some milk. While I'll probably never have a freezer stash, I'm pumping on average an 4 extra bottles each week. Even though pumping is still hard and far from convenient, I'm glad I stuck it out. I questioned if it was worth it when I was getting just a few ounces per day. Our goal had been to breastfeed for 1 year, then I changed it to 6 months, and finally I had hoped just to make it to 2 months when Carter got his first round of shots. We've now passed that milestone and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I don't know how long we'll make it, but I know that I've done my best.

No matter how you feed your baby, be gentle with yourself and shut out those people who tell you it's not good enough. Carter is a chunky, happy, thriving little man and he doesn't care that he drinks from a bottle instead of a boob.

What has helped me exclusively pump:
-good quality pump (I use the Medela Pump In Style Advanced)
-correct flange size
-spare parts so I don't have to wash bottles, collection jugs, or flanges all the time
-sterilizer (yes, the dishwasher CAN do it but it's much easier this way)
-bottle warmer (again, for convenience)
-Boob Ease
-sticking to a schedule (pump as frequently as baby eats to establish supply)
-lactation cookies (I'll share my DIY recipe soon)
-sleep (5 hours at a time really helps your supply)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two Months Old

We did it again... we moved through another month. Carter is growing like a cute little weed. He weighs in at a whopping 12.2 pounds and is 23 inches long. This means he's officially busting out of his size 1 diapers and 0-3 month cloths. He loves to eat and polishes off 25 ounces of milk a day. Fortunately, he also still loves to sleep so we're all staying pretty rested around here in spite of the new addition.


Can you tell he had just eaten and had a nice, fully belly here? Look at that little attitude... stomping on his blocks already. 

It's so hard to narrow down my favorite pictures from the month, but here they are. First of all, YAY for Carter making me a momma. He turned 2 months old on Mother's Day. He knows the way to my heart because he made sure Daddy bought me chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. 

I thought this one was pretty cute. He was giving Daddy the business. If you catch him in a good mood, he's starting to work on those vowel sounds. Ooohhh.... 

I also managed to catch his first big, authentic smile on video. I grabbed a screen capture of it. Gosh, I had been waiting for this moment!! 

He still loves his stroller rides...

...but hates tummy time. Poor thing FELL ASLEEP like this. Like a good momma, I had to take a picture before rescuing him. 

He still digs his swing too. He's really starting to watch the mobile, but loves looking outside the window too. Side note, we BOTH really love this purchase. It's the Ingenuity InLighten model so it's both a swing and detachable rocker. It plays music/sounds, vibrates, has lights, and you can hook up your iphone if you want to play specific stuff. We have the teddy bear one, but it also comes in lions and elephants.

As you can probably tell, he has quite the personality. This little sweetie made sure we were all up at 5am to celebrate Mother's Day together. I tried to tell him it was too early, but he was all, "What do you mean?! Let's party!" So of course we did.

Just love this smiley little boy!

What's new this month?
-He gives us smiles all the time
-He's starting to work on vowel sounds and chats with me a few times a day
-He is busting out of his 0-3 month clothes. Slow down!!
-He loves music, particularly pop like Maroon 5.
-He's paying attention to his toys-- mobiles, carseat, play mat
-He really loves our dogs too. He watches them intently and loves it when I help him stroke their fut.