Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Natural Ways to Increase your Milk Supply

Note: Please refer to and consult with a lactation specialist and/or pediatrician before assuming that your milk supply is low attempting these remedies. Also, be sure that you are getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and drinking a large glass of water with each feeding/pumping session.

Nutritional and Brewer's Yeast

Nutritional or brewer’s yeast frequently leads to a significant boosts in a mothers’ milk supply. Mothers sometimes say that they feel much more energetic and emotionally balanced while taking yeast. This may signal a l
ack of essential nutrients in their diet, in particular, chromium, vitamin B complex, and especially vitamin B12, found in some brands of fortified nutritional yeast. Brewer’s and nutritional yeast also contain protein and good levels of phytoestrogen.

Allergy: Persons who are allergic to yeast should avoid these products.

Side-effects: Occasionally, mothers or babies become gassy, more so with brewer’s yeast than nutritional yeast. To be on the safe side, start with a small dosage and slowly increase.

Sources: Vegetarian stores and health food stores. 

Oats (Avena Sativa)

The humble oat is one of our most nutritious foods, and contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements that nourish the nerves, support the metabolism of fats, and uplift the spirit. In traditional medicine, both the see
d and the leaf—called oat-straw—are taken. Oats are prescribed as a nervine tonic in the treatment of nervous exhaustion. In Europe, women traditionally take oats after birth. Oats are taken today in the US to increase milk production, both as food and as a supplement. Like other galactagogues, oats are antidepressant, antispasmodic, and they increase perspiration.

Allergy: Occasional. Persons sensitive to gluten in wheat are frequently able to tolerate oats.

Dosage and Preparation:

Taking large dosages of oats is helpful in kick-starting milk production.

Oatmeal can be taken for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Oat-straw is especially rich in minerals. It is available as capsules or as an ingredient in so-called “green-drinks.” Take as indicated on the package.

Fluid extract: 3 – 5 ml (15 – 35 drops), three times a day.


Spices in your kitchen can be used to support milk production. Try adding marjoram and basil to your meals, and anise, dill or caraway. Black pepper, taken in moderation, is helpful.



Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked, for instance, steamed, or sautéed in butter and then simmered in a bit of water. Fennel seed is well-known as an herb to increase milk production. The vegetable, containing the same pharmacologically active volatile oils, acts as a gentler support.

Carrot, Beet, Yam

These reddish vegetables are full of beta-carotene, needed in extra amounts during lactation. Carrot seed has been used as a galactagogue, and the vegetable, also containing the volatile oils and phytoestrogen, acts as a gentler support. The beet is a wonderful source of minerals and iron. Taking raw beet can help alleviate iron deficiency. These vegetables are naturally sweet, and they support the liver.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green vegetables are a potent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes, as well as phytoestrogen that support lactation. Dandelion and stinging nettle leaves are diuretic, and can help reduce edema during pregnancy and after birth. They can be plucked from your garden in early spring and eaten whole, chopped into salad, or used to make tea. Stinging nettle can be harvested for salad or cooked as spinach. In your market, you'll find arugula, beet leaves, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, chicory, collard greens and others.

Grains and Legumes

Grains and legumes have a long history as galactagogues. The most commonly used grains include oats, millet, barley and rice. Oats are the most widely used lactogenic food in the US. Legumes to include in your diet are chickpea, mung beans and lentils.


Nuts that support milk supply include almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts. As much as possible, eat raw nuts, not roasted or salted. The taste of raw nuts will grow on you.


Garlic is famous for its medical benefits, and has a long history as a galactagogue.

In one study, babies were seen to latch on better, suckle more actively, and drink more milk when the mother had garlic prior to nursing(2). If you do not wish to eat garlic, try adding a capsule of garlic extract to a meal eaten about an hour before breastfeeding.


Ginger is helpful for the letdown and milk flow. Some mothers benefit from drinking ginger ale. Even commercial ginger ale is flavored with “natural flavoring” that is real ginger. Don't use ginger or garlic if you are on a blood thinner.


New to Cloth Diapers?

Here's a link to a list of cloth diapering terms:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Crunchy Recipes

These are recipes shared and discussed by our community on Facebook. The group, as a whole, does not necessarily endorse these practices and viewpoints. We hope that you find them useful for your own research.



How to respond to naysayers (funny!)

“Co-sleeping is weird. Don’t you have a crib?” Response: “Yes, and we prefer to use it to store laundry.”

“Co-sleeping is unhealthy. Everyone needs their own bed.” Response: “Said the bed factory.”

“Homebirth? Ew! What will you do with the mess?” Response: “Make candles for Christmas gifts. What’s your address again?”

“Homebirth? So dangerous!” Response: “Don’t worry, after baby is born we plan to raise her inside of an actual hospital. Just to be safe.”

“Homebirth? Are you crazy?” Response: “Have you seen gas prices? This will save TWO trips.”

“Your baby will never learn to walk.” Response: “We’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. Well… I’ll cross… he’ll be in a carrier.”

“Can’t you just use a stroller?” Response: “When the zombies come, being hands-free is going to be essential for survival.”

“She’ll never WALK!” Response: “How else will I make sure she never leaves me? (must be said with a straight face).

How to make milk!

Health Humor

Cervical Dilation Guide

Source: Spirit of Ilithyia Birth Services

Babywearing Humor

Newborn's breastmilk/colostrum intake

Natural Birth Humor

Cost comparison of cloth vs disposable

Cost comparison of cloth vs disposable diapers

 So if we assume we are always using 1.98 KWH per load (average machine uses 0.256 KWH/load with really old and inefficient machines listed at 0.91-1.98 KWH/load according to one website) and also assume a load everyday, to give ourselves the worst case scenario, according to last month’s bill we would be adding $3.60 to our electricity bill every month. If we use dryer this will be more [at the time we hadn’t planned on using a dryer to prolong the life of the diapers, but now we realize it would take WAY too long for them to dry otherwise].
If we assume we use Charlie’s soap (recommended) to wash our diapers (not the cheapest option) then it will cost us $0.19/load. With a load everyday (again, an overestimate) it would cost us $5.79/month.
Total maintenance cost= ~$9.30/month
Start up costs of cloth diapers: 4 diaper covers @ $15 ea. (not the cheapest)=$60 + 24 Gerber prefolds@ $1 each =$84 + wet/dry tote for convenience [hadn’t thought of pail liner at the time] ($10)=$94 total.
Comparison with Costco diapers assuming baby with an average use of 10 diapers/day (an underestimate given the range of 8-15 stated as average) for the first six months. Cost of Costco diapers (a cheaper option to give disposables the best case scenario) therefore equals about $57.69/month.
Disposable /Cloth Overall
1st month $57.69 $103.30 -45.61
2nd month $57.69 $9.30 +2.78
3rd month $57.69 $9.30 +51.17
4th month $57.69 $9.30 +99.56
5th month $57.69 $9.30 +147.95
6th month $57.69 $9.30 +196.34

Breastfeeding Humor

Foot Zoning for babies

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Birthing Poem

Can I labor over there?
Can I labor on the chair?
No! No labor over there!
Don’t labor on the chair!
Sit there, sit there, you will see,
You must labor with this IV!
I do not like this sharp IV!
I need to move, to dance, to pee!
Doctor, Doctor, let me be;
Say, get your pesky hands off me!
No! You can’t move, or dance, or pee!
You must labor with this IV!
Not over there, not on the chair,
Not with the ball, you’ll have a fall!
Can I labor with a doula?
Can I use some calendula?
Can I labor on hands and knees?
Can I birth just how I please?
No! Not with a doula! No – what’s calendula?
Lay back, lay back, count to ten,
Breathe – he he hoo – push again!
No thank you, doctors, nurse, and crew,
I’ll go and labor without you.
I’ll labor here, I’ll labor there!
In the shower – everywhere!
I’ll labor standing, squatting, sitting
I’ll labor on my couch while knitting!
I’ll have a doula – I’ll have three!
They’ll let me eat and bring me tea.
Try them! Try them! You will see!
You can go shove that darn IV.
Author Unknown

Birth Humor

Fermenting Veggie Class

Fermented Recipes

 Cortido (the spicy Latin American kraut) I did not put the red cabbage in and added about 1/2 t red peppers:

Fermented Carrot Sticks: This recipe does not add any flavoring to the brine solution. Last night the carrots had garlic and ginger added in, you can also add fresh dill, or any other flavor that sounds good to you. Remember to buy your carrots whole and peel and slice them yourself, rather than the baby carrots that have been preserved in a choline solution, which is not good for your ferment.
Basic sauerkraut recipe from Wild Fermentation, one of the books that I brought last night:
Recent research conforms the benefits of probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I would argue that we should eat them not just during pregnancy and breastfeeding though, but throughout life! I would also rather eat delicious fermented foods than take a daily supplement because fermented foods are yummy, simple, and inexpensive. :)
Japanese Sauerkraut / Tsukemono

1 med. cabbage, cored and shredded
8 green onions, chopped
2 TB unpasteurized soy sauce
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 TB sea salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl and pound down with a meat hammer to help draw out juices. Transfer to a quart-sized mason jar and press down firmly, add non-chlorinated water if need to keep cabbage covered in water. Leave 1" space at top and cover close lid tightly.

Leave at room temp for 3-7 days. Keep an eye on it make sure the liquid is fully covering ingredients and to make sure it is not bubbling over and making a mess. Transfer to fridge when done.
Some more:

Thanks Angie!