Monday, August 03, 2015

Mommy Mondays: Breastfeeding Pitfalls

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

In honor of this week, I thought I'd do a breastfeeding post.  Because it's been a while.

I've been really lucky when it comes to breastfeeding.  Not because it came naturally.  Or because my boys were the world's best breastfeeders, but because I had amazing, fantastic resources.  Both times I have been so surprised by the people around me who had such a strong desire to breastfeed, and quit within the first month.  Because they didn't have the resources.  So let me share with you some of the common traps that cause people who want to breastfeed to quit.

*Weight Loss - Medical professionals don't like to see babies lose weight.  It makes them antsy.  Weight loss after birth often causes hospitals to push supplementation.  The problem is, all babies lose weight after birth.  For a variety of reasons.  And the reasons mean some babies lose more than others.  For instance, a mother who is on an IV usually has some swelling from the intake of fluids.  Guess what?  Baby gets that extra fluid and swelling too.  Which means the "birthweight" is inflated from those fluids.  Can you imagine having to put your swollen, water weight weight on your drivers license?  It's not an accurate weight, and those babies tend to lose more, because they lose their regular weight as well as that water weight.  Both my kids lost a lot of weight, Thatbaby lost 9 oz in the first 3 days.  Instead or worrying, my doctor noted that babies lose consistently for the first 3 days, and then start gaining. 

*Not Gaining Quickly Enough - Ideally, babies regain their birthweight a week or so after birth.  And when they don't some health care providers push supplementation.  But there are so many factors involved in this, and I was lucky enough to have a doctor who recognized that.  "As long as they're gaining, and not losing, then you're on the right track."  Thatkid, who was always a little baby had JUST hit his birthweight at 2 weeks.

*Milk Slow to Come In - I am not a quick milk getter-inner.  A lot of people (*cough L&O cough*) have their milk before they even leave the hospital.  That's not me.  And that's true of a lot of women. Which can make you feel like you have supply issues and you need to supplement.  That's rarely the case.  I know someone who started supplementing in the hospital because her milk hadn't come in, and she stopped breastfeeding before her child was one month old.  She was pretty upset about the whole thing happened, feeling like a failure.  But the truth is, she didn't have good resources.  But it can take a week for the milk to come in.  And really, before then, your colostrum is enough.  Even though you barely make any of it, it's really nutrient rich.

*Supply Issues - This one kills me.  And I want to give so many women huge hugs, because they think they have supply issues when they don't.  And that can be so frustrating.  But no one has told these women how very little babies eat.  Very very little.  They have teeny tiny little stomachs. 

The first day, your baby's stomach can only hold half a teaspoon at a time.  Go take a look at one, I'll wait.  Back?  Yup, that's small.  Their stomach maxes out at one month - if you need an easy way to remember the size, that's the size of your baby's fist.  2.5-5oz.  It doesn't get any bigger until they start solids, which stretch the stomach out more.   

Some people start pumping to see how much they're producing, but this is a terrible way to determine your supply.  Women just don't respond to the pump the way they respond to a baby, so what you pump doesn't coincide with how much your baby is getting.  Instead of worry about amount, the surefire way to determine if you're producing enough is to look at output.  How many diapers your baby is going through in a day.  After the fourth day, baby should be having 6-8 wet diapers and 3-4 soiled diapers.  (And the soiled diapers isn't the important one since a breastfed baby can go a week without pooping!)  If your baby has wet and dirty diapers, and is gaining weight, your supply is fine!

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Homemade Life: Italian Grotto Eggs

To keep up with our fruit picking week, Thatkid and I headed out for more.  This time we went green.  Watermelons!

When I went looking for strawberry fields I found Kenny's Strawberry Farms.  Which sounded very promising.  The only problem was that Kenny's strawberry season ended July 4, which is when their watermelon season began!  Watermelon?  I've never heard of watermelon picking, but at the rate we consume watermelon it sure sounded like a good idea!

Like the strawberry fields, watermelon picking involves rows which you wander down to pick your fruit.  It reminded me a lot of going to a pumpkin patch.  And so I invoked the same rule.  We can only bring home what you can carry. 

Thatkid picked watermelon after watermelon.  "Woah there, how many watermelons are we taking home?"  I asked him.  
"As many as I want" was his response.
I drew the line at 2, one for each of us.

Thatkid and I have been enjoying his part time preschooling this summer, with all sorts of activities like this.  However, it is so difficult to get him ready in the mornings.  We have a rule that in order to do anything he'd like to do (like watch television or play with his toys) he has to have breakfast, brush his teeth, and get dressed first.  Which means once he's up I need to be up and ready to get him ready.  His choice of breakfast is interesting.  On the weekends, when Thatboy is in charge, he always wants cold cereal.  On the weekdays, with me, it's usually something more elaborate - like oatmeal, or peanut butter toast, or "white eggs." 

We're weird about eggs in this house.  Thatkid only likes egg whites.  I like my eggs dry and brown.  You really can't take us anywhere.  These eggs didn't go over well for either of us.  Of course, I made the mistake of putting pepper on Thatkid's eggs, which means even if he was willing to taste them, I had already ruined them.  As for me, they were a little too soft and runny - it's a consistency thing.  But I know that most other people would love them, since Thatkid and I are, like I said weird about eggs.  Soft, fluffy, and creamy, these eggs are exactly how most people seem to prefer them.  And I do love cheese with my eggs.

Italian Grotto Eggs (From A Homemade Life)
1 Tbsp butter
5 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp heavy cream
3 Tbsp goat cheese

  1. Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and beat them lightly with a fork.
  2. Add the salt and cream and beat to blend.
  3. Pour the eggs into the hot pan and swirl.  Reduce the heat to low and stir gently until they are loosely set in large, pillowy curds.  
  4. Remove from heat and scatter cheese over the eggs. Give them one more gentle stir to melt and distribute the cheese.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Homemade Life: Jimmy's Pink Cookies

I've been lucky in that I get to spend a ton of time with my friends this summer.  Because of summer birthdays, and holidays, I feel like I see someone every week.  And since M is a stay at home mom, Mrs. Pirate and L&O are off for the summer, and HorseWhisper had some time between graduation and starting work, we've been commiserating about being home with the kids and keeping them entertained.

So we've been trying to meet up to let the kids burn off their energies together.  Mrs.Pirate and I took the boys strawberry picking.  In reality, this was more an excursion for me than Thatkid, who is a little meh about strawberries.  They are his least favorite of the berries, falling behind blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.  But I love fruit picking, I love strawberries, and Carlsbad has some of the best.  Besides, getting him outside is a must for days when we're home.  He cannot be kept cooped up inside all day.

We got a bucket for each boy, told them what to look for in terms of strawberries (red, not mushy) and turned them loose in the fields.

Little Pirate loves strawberries.  He's a strawberry fiend.  And it didn't take too long before Monkey See wanted to be Monkey Do.

The two of them stopped picking and just ate.  Mrs. Pirate and I took up the picking, and the boys were eating them almost as fast as we could get them in the bucket.  Nevertheless, we managed to walk away with a respectable haul.

Mrs. Pirate texted me to let me know they used their strawberries to make popsicles.  We didn't have any left for "making" things, since Thatkid started requesting strawberries at every meal, and snack.  "I only want strawberries for lunch."  Then of course Thatboy got a hold of the bucket, popping them in his mouth like candy.  Sweet summer candy.

So instead of sharing a great strawberry recipe with you (that is more complicated than "take off the green part and put in mouth) we'll just go with something pink.  Pink cookies.  Jimmy's pink cookies.

These cookies definitely live up to their reputation.  They were fantastic.  And we shared them with friends who enjoyed them as much as we did (the recipe makes a ton).  Thatboy and I share a love for cream cheese frosting, especially the sugary kind found at Sprinkle's Cupcakes.  This isn't quite as sweet - which is probably a good thing in terms of mass appeal.  The color and flavor comes from food coloring and kirsch, but I would put money on the fact that using strawberries instead would give a similar pink tinge and a delicious flavor.

This is also the first cookie I've made that used powdered sugar in the cookie itself.  I think this helps lead to the flakey softness of the cookie, but I'll have to try using it in a couple other recipes - just to be sure.  Oh the hardships I put myself through.

Jimmy's Pink Cookies (From A Homemade Life)
3 sticks + 6 Tbsp butter,room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
8oz cream cheese, at room temp
1 1/4 tsp kirsch
red food coloring

  1. Combine 3 sticks of butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in a stand mixture and beat at low speed, increasing to medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a medium in a separate bowl.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until the flour is absorbed. 
  4. Add the vanilla and beat well.  Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pre into a thick disc, wrapping well. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.  Line 2 baking skeets with silicone liners.  Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.  Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into whatever shapes you'd like.
  6. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet, baking one sheet at a time for 16 to 20 minutes.  Transfer pan to cooling rack and let cool completely. 
  7. Combine the remaining butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth.
  8. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat on low speed to fully incorporate, then increase speed to medium and beat until their are no lumps. 
  9. Add the kirsch and a couple drops of red food coloring and beat well. 
  10. Spread onto fully cooled cookies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Crave Wednesday: The BBQ Yardbird

There's almost nothing easier than barbecue chicken pizza.  And it's even easier when you make it with prepared...everything.  It's a total cheater pizza.  Which is perfect for our Monday nights.  Monday nights are more of my scramble nights because I've got both boys to entertain while I make dinner.  Friday nights I also have both boys, but if dinner is a little bit late, well it is Friday night.

So on Monday nights, having something like this in my back pocket is a boon.  Pizza, which everyone likes, topped with ready-made chicken, cheese, and bottle of barbecue sauce.  Thatkid even eats the red onion ("purple onion mom")!

The BBQ Yardbird (From Cooking Light)
1 lb refrigerated pizza dough
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup sliced roasted chicken breast
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    1. Preheat oven to 425. Roll dough into 14 inch circle.  Spread BBQ sauce evenly over dough, leaving 1/2 inch crust.
    2. Top with chicken, cheese, and red onion.  Bake for 15 minutes.
    3. Sprinkle with cilantro, cut into 8 wedges and serve.

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Mommy Mondays: 6 Weeks

    Getting Bigger
    I can't help but compare the boys.  I know this is going to get me in trouble, but it amazes me how different they were/are as babies.  And a lot of this is related to size.  At 6 weeks, Thatkid was still going to the doctor's for a growth check.  Thatbaby got the ok at his 3 week appointment, so I actually have no idea how much he weighs now.  Thatbaby was almost a full pound (14oz) heavier that Thatkid, and 1.5 inches longer at birth.  So it's no surprise that Thatbaby outgrew his newborn clothes before Thatkid did.  For the most part.  I make stringbean babies, so the problem is that due to his length, he's too long for newborn clothes (but really a little too skinny for 0-3 months).  He's been in size 1 diapers as soon as we ran out of his first package of newborn sized. 

    Speaking of diapers, I made the rookie mom mistake of not checking my bag to make sure there were diapers and wipes when I went to pick Thatkid up from preschool.  So of course there was a poop on the way there.  Using my quick thinking skills I figured one of the backup pullups in Thatkid's cubby would do to keep the carseat dry until we could get home to diapers.

    Meet the Family
    Because his Bris occurred on a Tuesday afternoon, Thatbaby still hadn't met most of the family until this past weekend.  Thanks to Baby B's first birthday he got to meet most of his cousins!  At this point he's met almost all our friends and family, with the exception of the families of Thatkid's preschool friends.  Thatboy and I were discussing getting them together sometime soon for a little "Meet the Baby." 

    With the exception of Saturday night, when Thatbaby went back to his every 3 hour routine, he's been doing amazing with sleep.  He usually goes to bed around 7pm and wakes up around 1 or 2am.  Then again around 4:30/5am.  He tends to be up for the day around 7am.

    While Thatkid couldn't be put down drowsy but awake, Thatbaby is fantastic at it.  After I feed him at night, I can put him right in his crib and he'll fall asleep.  

    During the day he's been napping on me, either on the couch, or in the carrier, but trying to take advantage of his ability to fall asleep on his own, I've been trying to put him in the crib this week.  I am very successful for his first morning nap.  Except it only lasts for 45 minutes.  The rest of the day I can't seem to put him down without him waking up, smiling, and ready to go.  But I'll keep working on it.

    My Checkup
    I had my checkup this week and almost passed completely.  I still have a weak bladder, so I've got 2 more weeks of strengthening that before I can do jumping jacks or the like.  Which means that this week I've been really focusing on squats and core strengthening.  I'd love to start back running again, but I need to figure out a time to do so.  With Thatkid, I could head to the gym after Thatboy got home from work, but now I have to take care of Thatkid during that time.  And weekend mornings aren't as easy for me to leave the house, since I can't guarantee when Thatbaby is going to wake and need to eat.  I'm hoping things get more regular soon. 

    Our Nighttime RoutineThatboy h been back at work for weeks now.  And the first week back, it was hard.  I kept asking to implement a routine and he really wanted to put that off.  But now we're back in the swing of things.  When Thatboy gets home from work, he takes Thatbaby, gives him a bath and bottle, and puts him to bed.  Meanwhile I'm starting dinner with Thatkid.  Thatboy comes out and joins us for dinner.  I give Thatkid a bath, and we all do storytime together.  That gives Thatboy and I an hour to relax (and me to pump to make up for that bottle Thatboy used) before I head off to bed at 9pm.

    Thatbaby went on his first train ride this week!  He also got to visit his new friend, Little Little LO.  And take a trip up to his Aunt and Uncle's house for his cousin's first birthday.  Thatbaby still HATES the car, however he fell asleep in the car several times this week, which is a HUGE deal for me!  Although once he wakes, he's completely an inconsolable mess.

    Weight (me): +11
    Weight (Muppet): +1lb (at 3 weeks)
    *REAL smiles!
    *Naps in crib! (kind of)

    Friday, July 24, 2015

    A Homemade Life: Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille

    Back when I was pregnant forever, and having contractions that went nowhere, I tried the various stereotypical "ways to induce yourself" in the hopes of getting the contractions to continue and getting Thatbaby to make his way into the world.  This is despite the fact that none of these induction techniques worked when I was pregnant with Thatkid.

    I walked, I ran, I ate pineapple, I ate spicy food.  I bounced on a ball for weeks.  Knowing the eggplant is often touted as being the "last meal" before people went into labor, I even made Wizenburg's Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille.  And dumped crushed red pepper on my serving.  The ratatouille did not send me into labor, but it definitely impressed.  This was my favorite ratatouille I've ever had.  In part, it was the ease of the recipe.  This was the easiest recipe I've encountered for ratatouille, with just adding various veggies.  And the eggplant wasn't overpowering, as it often can be with ratatouille.

    The other labor trick I tried was a pedicure.  I had a 2:30 hearing, and since we all thought I'd be done with work weeks earlier than I was, there was little to do in the office and my boss told me I should just head home after the hearing.  At that time, Thatkid would have still been napping at preschool, so I killed some time by getting a pedicure.  When I picked him up from school he was so upset I had gone without him.  I promised I would take him on a special pedicure date after the baby came. 

    While I have often painted his nails at home, this was the first time he had them professionally done.  He loved every aspect of the experience.  It took him a while to pick out his colors, but he finally settled on glittery orange and glittery purple.

    He's so little, he could only dip his toes in the water, but he was so entertained by the fact that the lights kept changing colors.

    He was pretty good about sitting still, only splashing a little when his foot got tickled by the pumice stone, which he loved.

    And then he sat ever so nicely waiting for his nails to dry.  I love the juxtaposition between his glitter nail polish and his super hero flip flops.  That's pretty much my son to a T.

    Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille (From A Homemade Life)
    1 lb eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
    olive oil
    1 lb zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick half-moons
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
    4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    5 roma tomatoes, seede and chopped
    3/4 tsp salt
    3 sprigs fresh thymes
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 cup finely chopped basil

    1. Preheat oven to 400.  Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
    2. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small bowl and brush onto eggplant.Flip the slices and brush the second side as well.  Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool. Chop into rough 1 inch pieces. 
    3. Warm 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven.  Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally 10-12 minutes.  REmove it from the pan, taking care to leave behind any excess oil, and set it aside.
    4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes.
    5. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally about 6 minutes.
    6. Add the tomatoes, salt, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
    7. Add the eggplant and zucchini, stir to incorporate, and cook until everything is very tender, 15-20 minutes more.
    8. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the basil.

    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    A Homemade Life: Dutch Baby Pancakes with Lemon and Sugar


    I've already written about my love for the New Children's Museum, so when I heard there was another children's museum in San Diego I knew we had to check it out.  The Children's Discovery Museum is similar to the New Children's Museum in that it is all about hands on experiences for young kids.  Thatkid was the perfect age to enjoy it.  And boy did he enjoy it.

    The inside is divided into various areas, "Experiment" houses Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math exhibits, like the magnetic ball wall, magnatiles, and a wind tunnel.

    "Imagine" is home to the play stage, puppet theater, costumes, and instruments.

    "Explore" is where you'll find the Global Village, the Pirate Ship, and the Toddler Tide Pool.

    Outside is "Discovery" with a garden, chickens, a water table, bubble station, hula hoops, foam blocks, and a dinosaur excavation site.

    Thatkid really got into the foam blocks, using the round ones to create a track for ball rolling.

    And although Thatkid is a little young to understand the concept of a watershed, he did like playing with legos in the water.

    Inside, Thatkid tried to combine the various areas, playing dress up with the costumes and wearing various costumes throughout the museum. 

    The pirate ship is a big draw to the museum.  You can even go underneath the deck where a table is set up, like on a real ship.

    Thatkid found himself a pirate hat and made himself right at home.  We sailed to Legoland and Disneyland.

    I loved the fact that the deck came complete with brooms, so the kids could actually swab the deck.

    We spent all morning at the museum and Thatkid was really reluctant to leave.  But lunch and nap awaited us, even if I did push them back to give him more time.  I only managed to cajole him out with the promise that we would return, and bring Thatboy, who doesn't get to join us on our week day adventures. 

    We're so busy during the week, that our weekends often find us sitting around the house anyway.  (Which I love).  Lazy mornings at home are generally a thing of the past, but every now and then we manage to all eat breakfast together.  On mornings like that, something special is called for.  Thatboy first introduced me to Dutch Baby Pancakes at The Original Pancake House.  Before he discovered the 49ers, which is his choice now, he always ordered them.  And they were always enough to feed a small army.  I was pretty excited to see a recipe for them in A Homemade Life, and even more excited that the recipe looked incredibly easy.  And it was.  And we all got to sit down with a big "slice" of the pancake, warm and sweet.

    Dutch Baby Pancakes with Lemon and Sugar (From A Homemade Life)
    2 Tbsp butter
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup half-and-half
    1/4 tsp salt
    1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Put the butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place over low heat. As the butter melts, use a pastry brush to coax it up the sides of the skillet.
    2. Meanwhile, in a blender, mix together the eggs, flour, half and half and salt until well blended.
    3. Pour the egg mixture into the warmed skillet.  Slide into the oven and bake for 18 to 25 minutes, until the center looks set and the edges are nicely risen and golden brown.  Remove from oven.
    4. Drizzle with lemon juice.
    5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.