Successful Breastfeeding

As a mom I breastfed my babies–learning more with each child. As nurse and grandma I have had experience in helping new moms to establish breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has many health benefits, but sometimes there are hurdles to get over. I have collected some articles that address problems and best practices.

Have you heard of the breast crawl? Research has shown that if newborn infant is placed on its tummy, skin to skin with mother following birth, the infant is has built in reflexes that help him seek and suckle the breast. This should take place within 90 minutes of a healthy birth.

photo credit: T. Adriaenssen
photo credit: T. Adriaenssen

This finding has led to a new understanding of best positions for breastfeeding. In an article in Mothering, Nancy Mohrbacher writes:

Every brand-new baby comes into the world with a whole repertoire of responses that are custom designed by Mother Nature to make baby an active breastfeeding partner. Baby is born with what’s needed so that–when conditions are right–breastfeeding and bonding happen easily and naturally. These responses work best when baby lies tummy down on mother with gravity anchoring baby there.  Read more here.

It is also important over the next 48 hours, to observe the infant for cues that show an interest in breastfeeding. The baby should breastfeed on demand–8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours.  Sometimes problems occur in the first month.  I have been aware of moms that gave up. They were breastfeeding frequently but the baby wasn’t satisfied.

It could be an incorrect latch at the breast. The baby might be restricted in achieving a good suck because tongue is tied more closely to the gums. Heather at Mommypotamus.com has written a post with detailed explanation of tongue and lip ties. She includes photos and advice from an expert doctor. Click here to read her post.

After persevering through the early weeks and then months of breastfeeding, a mom can be surprised when the baby suddenly refuses to breastfeed. This could be a nursing strike. To understand this phenomena read Nancy Mohrbacher’s article. Click here.

Many moms have to return to work. The breast pump offers a way to continue. One mom worked out a schedule for maintaining breastfeeding by successfully pumping. She shares her story here.

It is true. Breastfeeding requires patience, commitment and support from the family. Sometimes expert help is needed. During times of difficulty it is good to remember the health benefits for mom and baby.

A Swedish study demonstrated that women who breastfeed their     babies have a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Click here.

A Canadian study explained the role of healthy bacteria in the gut.    Infants that are breastfed develop healthy microbes in the gut and are less likely to develop allergies. Click here.

Whether a mom breastfeeds or bottle-feeds her infant, she needs the support and encouragement of family and friends. Mothering a newborn is both wonderful and very demanding.

Linking with Ladies Collective Link-upWholeHearted Wednesday,  Titus 2sday,  the Art of Homemaking,  MYHSM

Rock and Salvation

Lake Superior
By Lake Superior

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory;

my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62: 5-7

Linking with Wordless Wednesday,  Good Morning Mondays,  Sunday Stillness and Weekend Whispers

Herbal Home Health Care

This summer my husband and I were in a bulk food store. He wandered around while I chose whole grain flour, spices and coconut oil. He brought a book to me and said, “I think you would like this.” The title of the book is Be Your Own “Doctor” An informative Guide to Herbal Home Health Care. The back cover explains that the author is an educator and midwife.

Be Your Own Doctor

When I flipped through the book I agreed with my husband. It is a good resource. The book has chapters on a number of herbs including chamomile, comfrey, echinacea, lavender, red raspberry leaf and slippery elm. Rachel Weaver describes the way she has used these herbs and the results she achieved. Throughout the book Weaver gives recipes and instructions on teas, salves and tinctures.

Weaver covers pregnancy, infant care and common ailments with her suggestions for supporting health. Some of the treatments I was already familiar with.

Garlic has been part of our home health for many years. The chapter on garlic provides a good review of information that I have read in other sources. The new feature in this chapter is a Super Duper Tonic, a combination of garlic and herbs that acts like an antibiotic.

Weaver provides a recipe for a gallbladder flush. It is similar to one that I have used over the years for a colicky gall bladder. My doctor recommended that I have gall bladder surgery after my youngest son was born. I was breastfeeding him and didn’t want to have surgery. I decided to try a gallbladder flush first. I was able to avoid surgery.

The book contains common sense, but it is good to keep in mind that every family is unique and may find some information more helpful than others. A paragraph in the foreword explains the benefits and limitations of the book.

Be Your Own Doctor is not intended to give you any medical advice. The FDA prohibits me from doing that. I am not a medical doctor and the things that I am presenting here were not scientifically tested at the cost of thousands of dollars. I am only passing on to you common sense information that is the result of common sense living and has been used by many mothers and grandmothers for hundreds of years to heal their families. The proof that these things work, lies in the successes of people, not in the million-dollar tests of the laboratories. But remember that you are responsible for whatever information you choose to use from this book.

I was happy to see that the book is available from the Bulk Herb Store. Just click the button to visit the this store.

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

Linking with Titus 2sdays,  Friendship FridayBooknificnent Thursday,  Whole Hearted Home, A Little R & R,  the Homemaking PartyTuesdays with a Twist and the Art of Homemaking

Honor or Riches

Honor or Riches

Last week I quoted half of this verse in Proverbs because I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the second line. I was glad to have the opportunity to attend a class on Hebrew poetry. The class gave me new insight.

Our teacher, Tim Sigler, gave an overview of Hebrew poetry. One of the features is parallelism. One verse contains two lines; when they are placed alongside each other, they expand the meaning. Each verse can have a nugget of wisdom that applies to many situations. This is especially true of Proverbs.

The parallelism can be affirming, opposing or advancing. The verse that had been playing in mind all week is an example of opposing parallelism.

A gracious woman gets honor,
And violent men get riches. Proverbs 11:16

Gracious is in contrast to violent. Honor is in contrast to riches. I have been thinking about the controversies in our culture.

The abortion industry. The vaccine industry. A connection exists between abortion and vaccine development. Click here. I grasp at ways to pray about these issues.

In real life a medical researcher that refused to be paid in return for omitting data from a research study demonstrates the characteristic of honor. Is bribery and deceit a form of violence? Consider a quote from an interview with this doctor. The interview appeared in Der Spiegel, a German magazine (September 5, 2015).

SPIEGEL: In your early years as a researcher, a pharmaceutical company offered you a bribe equivalent to two years of your salary: They wanted to prevent you from publishing negative study results. Were you disappointed that you weren’t worth more?

Peter Wilmshurst: (laughs) I was just a bit surprised to be offered any money, really. I was a very junior researcher and doctor, only 33 years old, so I didn’t know that sort of thing happened. I didn’t know that you could be offered money to conceal data.   Click here to read more.

A whistleblower, who was part of a research team for the CDC, has claimed that some data, significant to the safety of vaccines, was omitted from a published study. Is the pursuit of success and money at all costs a form of violence?

Proverbs 22:1 offers another angle on riches.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

I am troubled by the impact that the pursuit of riches has on our health care system. Children and families experience the consequences. Perhaps out of fear we submit our children to more and more vaccines. Yet chronic disease and immune system disorders are on the rise. It seems that the family is under attack by forces that are veiled.

And so I pray for children and the family.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you love the children and have entrusted them to our care. I pray for truth in medical research. Give parents wisdom as they care for their family. May we understand our limitations and seek to support health with a deep respect for life. You have created us and we seek wisdom from you.

Linking with Words with WinterSunday StillnessWeekend WhispersFriendship Friday and Thought Provoking Thursday

Grace in Marriage

Gracious Woman

A gracious woman gets honor. Proverbs 11:16

This week I listened to a webinar on life coaching. This was the basic question being addressed: How do we help people make healthy changes in their lifestyle? The program was designed for health care workers, but it applies to family life as well. I took notes as I listened and identified practical tips for encouraging changes in behavior (mine and my husband’s).

It is easy for me to get frustrated with my husband’s way of doing home repair. We have different perspectives. It’s the engineer with great designs vs. the manager of home and hospitality.

The first thing I need to do is, to listen to him explain his plans. Then I can ask questions—helping both of us to see a project more clearly. The conversation should include two reflections for every question. A reflection restates what the other person has said and confirms understanding.

Making demands or instructing my husband on what needs to be done doesn’t work. Instead demands throw a wedge in our relationship and can shut down our communication. We can both be pretty self-centered. I want a project done yesterday. Hubby wants to work on his own time-line. The appearance is important to me and hubby is satisfied when it is functional. We need to listen to each other in turn and compromise.

I am not going to get everything I want, but we can stay us on a path of progress, working together. We can increase our understanding of each other’s strengths.

Dialogue works (supporting motivation) when positive comments are in a 3:1 ratio with negative comments, for relationships in general. In a marriage relationship the positive to negative comment ratio needs to be 5:1. I was startled when the lecturer said this. I need to improve!

How often do I notice the good things my husband is accomplishing? Do I let him know? Do I affirm his strengths?

The word I chose for 2015 is gracious. I have been paying attention to the way I interact with people that I meet.  And I can still grow in    graciousness toward my husband in our daily life.

The apostle Paul’s letters to the Christians at Ephesus and Colosse    addresses  husbands and wives. They struggled in their relationships too!

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.                     Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.                      Colossians 3:18

Linking with MYHSM, the Art of HomemakingWholeHearted Wednesday, Dance with Jesus,  A Little R & R,  Titus 2sdayMotivation MondayWeekend Whispers and Sunday Stillness

Potato Salad with Apple

L of L

The apples are ripening. So many good recipes include apples, but have you ever added apples to potato salad? A Finnish chef shared a recipe for potato salad with an apple at a conference I attended. Here is my version of the recipe:

6 medium size yukon gold potatoes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 apple (I like pink lady for this recipe)

1 large dill pickle

2 Tablespoons of chopped chives

1 garlic clove, peeled and diced (optional)

1/3 cup whole milk yogurt

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Steam the potatoes until tender. Immediately peel them—the skin will slip off with a little effort. (I use a fork to stabilize the potato and a knife to gently remove the skin.) Chop the hot potatoes coarsely. Mix the olive oil and vinegar and add it to the potatoes. Mix. Then add the mayonnaise. Mix. A southern chef taught me this process of working with the potatoes while they are still hot to preserve the creamy quality of the potatoes.

Then refrigerate the potatoes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel and chop the apple, dice the dill pickle and garlic clove. Add the apple, pickle, garlic and chives to the potatoes and mix.

Make sure the potatoes have cooled down before adding the yogurt. When it is cool add the yogurt, salt and pepper.

If you make the salad a day ahead the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Potato Salad with Apple

Potatoes have these nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin B-1, Niacin, Potassium and Iron.

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission has these tips for storing potatoes:

  • Handle gently. Bumps and bruises can lead to rot.
  • Store at a temperature between 40 to 50 degrees. Storing in the refrigerator may be too cool, causing the potato starch to turn to sugar. (I don’t really have room in my refrigerator for a bag of potatoes.)
  • Store in a dark, dry place. It is a little challenging to store potatoes in the summer! How do you store your potatoes?

Linking with The Art of Home-Making,  Motivation MondayFriendship Friday,  From the Farm and Real Food Friday

Pilgrim’s Inn: Book Review

When I picked up the book, Pilgrim’s Inn: The Herb of Grace, at a resale shop I didn’t realize that it is the second book in a series about the Eliot family. Elizabeth Goudge wrote a trilogy; the first book is The Bird in the Tree and the third book is The Heart of the Family. Pilgrims’s Inn was published in 1948 and is a good read by itself.

Pilgrim's Inn

Rue is the herb referred to in the title. The leaves on this herb have narrow green lobes, and in the summer it blossoms with small yellow flowers. According to the Complete Herb Book, “Rue was known as Herb of Grace, perhaps because it was regarded as a protector against the devil, witchcraft and magic. It was also used as an antidote against every kind of poison from toadstools to snakebites.”*

The story reveals that the Inn was once managed by a group of monks, offering hospitality to travelers. The Inn contains a secret, a wonderful room with hidden art.

The Eliot family in postwar England is burdened and weary. Through the manipulation of Lucilla , matriarch of the Eliots, her son’s family settles in the Inn.

I read a couple chapters each evening and began to appreciate the careful drawing of each character as they worked through trouble and frustration. The author has a keen perception of children and writes a forgiving description of their mischief.

Elizabeth Goudge has painted a picture of Pilgrim’s Inn, ascribing to it an attitude of hospitality and healing. She has written about the forest behind the Inn and its animals with fine description. A love of nature permeates her words.

Like the Inn, this book was a peaceful welcome for me. It took me to a place that I enjoyed. The closing chapter contains a message about children and the family.

There were still children in the world, and while there were children, men and women would not abandon the struggle to make safe homes to put them in, and while they so struggled there was hope.**

The book has a soothing quality, clearly conveying the value of family life.

cover-image

*Jekka McVicar, The Complete Herb Book, Kyle Cathie Limited: London, 1999 p. 166

** Elizabeth Goudge, Pilgrim’s Inn: Herb of Grace, Coward-McCann, Inc.: New York, 1948 p. 331

Linking with The Art of Homemaking,  Friendship FridayGrace & TruthBooknificent ThursdayWhole Hearted HomeA Little R & R,  Not Just Homemaking Party,  Tuesdays with a Twist and Roses of Inspiration

Morning Devotions: Psalm 119

 

Rhythm of the Waves

God has given us rhythm in nature and in his Word.

This summer my husband and I have been reading from Psalm 119 for morning devotions. It is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. The verses have a poetic rhythm that is just partially revealed in the English translation. In Hebrew one letter of the alphabet marks each section. Verses one through eight each begin with aleph. Verses nine through sixteen begin with bet, and so on through the alphabet.

Psalm 119 is a tutorial on the word of God—arranged in a manner that encourages memorization.

Ron Hirschhorn, a member of our church, has written a devotional book, Psalm 119: The Supremacy of God’s Word. The devotions cover 22 days. Each day focuses on one eight-verse section. Hirschhorn reflects on the meaning and application for that section.

On day 17 the title of the devotion is “10 Reminders to Keep Pressing On”. Here are the verses for the day (129 -136).

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,

and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts,

Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes,

My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

The last first verse stirred my thoughts about the chaos in our country. Hirschhorn directs the reader to press on to have a merciful heart for people that ignore God’s laws. We must care.

We have enjoyed the devotional book. It was easy to do together in the morning, and it encouraged discussion.

Linking with After my CoffeeWords with WinterSunday StillnessMake My Saturday Sweet,  Weekend WhispersGrace & Truth and Booknificent Thursday


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