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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Milk Treats: A tasty way to boost your supply!

As many of you know, I've struggled with my milk supply since our youngest son was born just over 9 months ago.  The short story:  Kael was born with a tongue tie- I realized early on that his latch wasn't "perfect" but because I didn't have any pain I figured that it was fine..... then when he was 3 months old my milk supply almost completely tanked out and I was suddenly faced with a serious problem.  Kaels absolutely refused to nurse on my right breast, which had slower flow than the left, and the left breast wasn't not able to keep up to his voracious appetite.  Luckily I had an excellent support system and had lots of previous breastfeeding experience to fall back on to help me out.  My partner at Natural Mothering, Helen, is currently studying for her IBCLC at the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute with the world famous Dr. Jack Newman.  As soon as I realized how serious the problem was Helen immediate drove almost 2 hours to come see Kael and I and she discovered his tongue tie issues.  I am also lucky because I know Jack  and Edith Kernerman quite well and I was able to get into the clinic to see them right away.  At the NBCI Clinic Jack released Kael's tongue tie- which is a 10 second minor surgery called a Frenotomy- you can see a video clip of a TT release at the Newman clinic HERE.  Immediately Kael's latch improved significantly, but now the really hard work began:  to rebuild my milk supply.  I started taking Domperidone  and the recommended herbal supplements of Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, and we worked on improving Kael's latch which would stimulate my breasts to produce more milk.  It was a long long journey that continues right to this day.

I learned some facts during all of this that have greatly changed my outlook and directed my steps to where I am today:
1- that it is a lot of work to change a baby's latch once they get to be older than a month or two- retraining the baby to latch is hard work!  This makes GOOD breastfeeding support immediately after birth so vital: we need babies to learn to latch the RIGHT way right from birth.
2- That if milk supply issues are not dealt with right away, it becomes far more difficult to rebuild a full supply.

I have had to finally admit that I will probably have to take Domperidone for the rest of my nursing relationship with my youngest son to support my milk production, But.... I have a few tricks up my sleeves that I'd like to share!!!

First of all, one of the most important things I have had to watch to keep up my milk supply is my water intake.  W.a.t.e.r.... not juice, not tea, not milk.... WATER. Every person is different and has different needs so what works for me might not work for everyone, BUT...... It's worth it to try my tricks!!  I drink about 3-4 litres of water every day, and if I don't - for whatever reason- I immediately notice a sudden drop in milk supply within12-18 hours. Another miracle milk maker is oatmeal!!  In previous times while breastfeeding my other children, if I ate a couple of bowls of oatmeal I would wake up the next day with melons on my chest!

A few months ago Peaceful Parenting posted a recipe for "Lactation Cookies" and I thought "Hmmmmmmm... I have a wicked granola bar recipe and I bet I could tweak it to make the perfect "Milk bar"!!!"  And so, that is what I'm going to post for you now: my tried and true "Milk Bars"!!!!  I have a hungry household that loves these granola bars so I always double this recipe.  You can also store the uncooked dough for a couple of days in the fridge, and a friend of mine has also stored uncooked dough in the freezer with excellent success.

Dani's Milk Bars

Cream together:

3/4 cup of butter or coconut oil and butter mix- half and half, or butter and peanut butter half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (or whatever sweetener you prefer- honey etc,)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp molassas
1 egg
3-4 tbs milk (if the mixture is too "dry" add a bit more milk one tablespoon at a time)

Mix in:

3/4 cup of flour
3 cups of oats- large flake- NOT quick oats!  or 2 cups of oats and 1 cup of steel cut oats
1 cup of ground flax seed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
1/4 cup of dried coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
1/8 cup dried brewers yeast
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of nuts- optional
1/2 cup of dried cranberries/raisins/dried chopped fruit

This is a heavy dough to mix!  (hence the fact that my hubby gets to do this part of the job!)

Press dough into a parchment covered cookie sheet- about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick and try to keep the thickness even, lol,  and bake at 325 for 15- 20 minutes- depending on the size of your cookie sheet, the thickness of your bars  and whether you like them chewie or crisp.  Not only are these granola bars full of milk making goodness, they are delicious and full of protein and energy- a great snack for a busy nursing mother .... because we all know that we moms have a tendency to miss the odd breakkie and the occasional lunch!!  Having these handy has kept me from blood sugar crashes many many times!  (and my hubby loves them as a mid- afternoon snack for work!)

Another great way to add oatmeal into your daily meal plans is making your own granola cereal- it's very easy and is delicious by itself with milk, or on top of yogurt or fruit salad.  I even put some on my hot oatmeal to add a bit of crunch!

Dani's Coconut Granola Cereal

7 cups of large flake oats
1 cup ground flax seed
1 cup wheat germ
4 tbs brewers yeast
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1 cup of chopped nuts
1/2 cup of coconut milk (I use canned milk- taking the thickest coconut "cream" from the top to use)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup butter
1 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries, or rasins, or chopped dried fruit
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of sesame seeds

 - heat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

- In a large bowl, stir together the oats,and dry ingredients (exclusing dried fruit/rasins/cranberries). Divide between two large baking sheets, and spread into an even layer.
-Bake for 7 or 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly toasted- half way through shake the pan to stir up the mix.. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then return to the large bowl.

- While the oats are toasting, combine the coconut milk, coconut oil, butter and honey in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it comes to a boil. Low boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla. Pour the syrup over the granola in the bowl, and stir until the dry ingredients are fully coated.

-Divide between the two baking sheets, and spread evenly. Bake for 8 minutes in the heated oven, or until fragrant and toasted. Cool in the pans, then mix in the dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container at room temperature....guaranteed to be yummy!!!

These are tasty ways to help boost your breastmilk supply!!  Combining with making sure that your baby has a good latch and following Dr. Jack Newman's instructions for herbal and natural supplements   should ensure that you have an excellent milk supply!!  For more information about achieving a good latch and how to initiate good breastfeeding positions, please visit where you can read Dr Jack Newmans excellent hand outs and watch video clips of babies latching and nursing!!