Breastfeeding Nutrition – How to get those nutrients on a restricted diet

Before coming home, the lactation consultants at the hospital were adamant that now is not the time to diet. I didn’t need to worry about losing baby weight, I needed to make sure I was getting enough calories for my breastfeeding baby. I had no issue with that! My mom stayed with me for a week and made lots of delicious food – chicken pot pie, roast, mashed potatoes, lots of yummy food that I ate and ate. About 4 weeks in, we realized that Ellie had a food allergy and after lots of trial & error, discovered it was dairy, soy, gluten and beef. One may not realize how many foods in our country contain dairy, soy, gluten and beef. LOTS. And I mean… LOTS. After I cut out dairy and soy, she still had some lingering symptoms and it took me a while to figure out the beef part. Because of that, I went on an elimination diet. What the Dr Sears elimination diet begins with is this:

2 weeks of only eating only:

  • organic, free range turkey
  • organic free range lamb
  • pears
  • sweet potatoes
  • potatoes
  • rice
  • rice cereal products

I only did a week, because that’s all I really needed. I then started adding in foods that I knew were ok such as carrots, green beans/peas, bananas and all other fruit, coconut milk, but staying away from eggs, wheat, tree nuts, beef, fish, and corn. Formula was not the answer 1) because if I can breastfeed, why not do it because it’s 100 times better for your baby than formula (I realize that some situations call for formula and that’s ok, but this one did not, it was just a change in my diet and one that really, is actually very healthy) and 2) in the week that I had to give her formula while the dairy left my diet, she HATED it. She also hates the bottle.  That’s why I was so willing to do everything to continue breastfeeding, including restricting my diet.

After I got Mastitis twice, I felt like that was a symbol that my health was not good. I contacted a nurtitionist that specialized in working with breastfeeding mothers. I recommend you speak with a nutritionist no matter your goals because it gave me a lot of insight on what I need in my diet to stay healthy. If you’re trying to get healthy, it’s not about what you cut out as much as what you put in. The one I found is Nathalie Norris and I found her on Facebook. She gave me a plan to help get my nutrition correct and to ensure I was getting enough calories to feed Ellie and to keep myself healthy. Her plan included getting lots of green veggies for calcium, lots of orange veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, papaya, etc,), sesame seeds and something I never thought of, probiotics.

Getting in the veggies

This has to be the hardest part. I am supposed to eat 2 cups of greens, 2 cups of oranges and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds a day. Whew – that is a lot of food and a lot of cooking. I really was having a hard time doing that so I decided to start eating smoothies. I had a little Oster smoothie machine that did okay. Believe it or not, I really did start feeling better. You hear about people doing these juice cleanses and how much better they feel (FYI, I would never do an all juice cleanse), but I did really feel better after incorporating that amount of fruit/veggies in my day. I have invested in a Reconditioned Vitamix because the little Oster wasn’t interested in blending carrots. I’ve only had the Vitamix a week, but IT IS AMAZING.

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I’ve tried out these recipes:

  • Creamy Green Smoothie
  • Carrot smoothie with carrots, an orange, a few slices of pineapple, spinach, and coconut milk
  • Spinach, banana, strawberries, coconut milk, and sunflower seed butter (my favorite)

Thanks to Pinterest, I have many more to try! I highly recommend the Vitamix over a juicer because it blends the fibrous materials from the fruit/veggies that help your body digest what you’re eating.

Probiotics

First, I had to take a vegan probiotic that did not contain any of the common allergens. It was called HMF Intensive and it really did help with Ellie’s poop. I know that’s weird but her poop was the best way to tell that her tummy wasn’t right and the probiotics helped it turn that yellowy mustard color that it was supposed to be. I knew we were on the right track.

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She also gave me some ideas on how to get probiotics into my diet through the foods I eat. One suggestion was sauerkraut. I’m not going to pretend like I’m excited about this, but I’m going to give it a shot. I know the Reuben is supposed to be delicious but I can’t eat the bread or the beef, so that’s out. She also gave me a recipe for fermented pickles which looks kind of crazy, but I’m going to give it a shot! I’m just a little nervous about “scraping the stuff off the top”. Doesn’t that sound disgusting? Lastly, I just ordered some water kefir grains. I found some recipes on Pinterest and I’m ready to go. I asked if I could go the easy route and buy some Kombucha tea, but she said that contained yeast which is not what I need! I don’t want any thrush going on!

I’ll be writing about this process in the months ahead as I am sure it will be interesting growing my own healthy bacteria 🙂 – I mainly want people to know that there are others way to get your nutrients when limited in a diet. Sometimes, I think it does suck that I don’t get to eat donuts (Krispy Kreme – yum) or lasagna or pizza or whipped cream (I can go on and on), but in reality, I feel wonderful. I don’t have to take my allergy medication any more and it’s rare that I have a tummy ache. I’ve also lost my baby weight plus 20 lbs and while weight is not my goal AT ALL, it is a nice little result of eating for your health.

How being a new mom made me a better stepmom

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot over the past couple of weeks. I want to write about those thoughts, but can’t seem to get them out without rambling. I want it to be honest, so I’m just starting stream of consciousness. Before I had Ellie, I married into a family of 3, a husband, and 2 little girls. One was 6 and the other was 8 years old. We’d a couple of times, but really didn’t have a relationship. James only got the girls every other Saturday and every Sunday, and I think I was also a little scared. I grew up an only child to a single mom and I always had jealousy issues with her boyfriends (though she didn’t have many because she was devoted to me). I didn’t want the girls to feel that way hence, the reason I was a little distant. I think it’s a very normal emotion to have as a child of a dating parent, but still no fun.

After we got married, I didn’t know how to build the relationship. I didn’t know how to be a stepmother. Am I supposed to tell them what to do, what are we supposed to do together, where does my place fit in with their father/daughter relationship and even their mother/daughter relationship? I was also scared. I’ve spent a lifetime building up little walls to protect myself, and kids are scary because they can see through them. Children represent such unconditional love and THAT IS TERRIFYING, to someone like me anyway. So it went very slowly. I think the easiest thing for me to do was be fun The more comfortable I felt, the more fun I could be. I started to feel more comfortable with them, and I think that overall, I’ve done a really good job of becoming a stepmom. I’ve got a good relationship with their mom, and I have a better understanding of my boundaries and where I need to assert myself.

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Christmas time years ago – I think around 2008, maybe 2009.

What has changed for me since having Ellie is my parenting philosophy. So maybe this isn’t a post that’s as much about how I changed as a stepparent as it is, how my parenting philosophy changed after actually having children. I am the typical “thought I knew everything there is to know about how to raise kids without actually having any” person. If you know me, I think I know everything about everything until I actually experience it. I think a lot of people are, but of course, I’m also super vocal about my thoughts so I get to be a hypocrite all of the time – isn’t that fun! Anyway, whatever you want to call it, I had lots of thoughts in my mind about how children should learn to be responsible. They must learn to make their beds, brush their teeth, eat what’s been put in front of them, blah blah blah. Every time we interacted, there must be a lesson that we’re learning. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that (if it’s done in the right way). Where I believe I went off into the weeds was that I wasn’t listening to them and their little personalities growing. I was listening to my own character defects reflected in them, and then trying to correct that. While I had good intentions, it was more me lecturing vs listening. How annoying that had to have been. They both are very loving towards me, so I’m not sure that it affected our relationship too much (I certainly hope not), but I feel like my time could’ve been better spent just loving them and validating their emotions.

I have never in my life learned a lesson from someone else. I’m so hard headed. My grandfather used to always tell me “a hard head makes a soft butt”. I never knew what he was talking about, and maybe still don’t, but I get that I’m hard headed, a know it all, gotta learn it the hard way. And I’m actually grateful for that because I believe that I have turned out to be a pretty good person. I’ve gone through a LOT of stuff in my life, and it could’ve been a lot smoother, but who wants easy, am I right? How that translates to parenthood is this – instead of constantly correcting their thoughts and emotions, why don’t I just listen to them? If they ask for my advice/suggestions, I’ll give it to them. But if they’re just venting about why they’re frustrated, I don’t have to fix it. I can just be that ear they need at the time. I think having Ellie opened me up to a certain level of compassion I didn’t’ have before. I see the girls as 2 humans, making their way through life, learning all of the things I had to learn. My function as a stepparent for them is to provide a safe place to return to after making a mistake. As a parent, I provide security, a home base, so that they can have freedom to learn as I did. Yes they’re going to make mistakes, yes, we could’ve probably helped them not to, but isn’t it more important for them to know that they will always be loved in spite of what happens and the mistakes they make?

I feel as though I’m beginning to ramble, so I’ll end with this – I’m not saying that we should just let kids go and do whatever they want without consequences at home. But what I am saying is that sometimes, when they’re telling me something about their feelings or emotions, I should listen and appreciate that it’s happening. If every time they come to me and tell me something, and I tell them they’re wrong for feeling that way, are they going to stop that emotion? Or are they going to stop coming to me? I’d rather them know that I am always available as a sounding board.

The last thing I want to say is that having Ellie has increase my capacity for love a million fold. I know I’ve said this so many times but one can never understand the love of a child until having one. It’s greater than anything I’ve ever felt. Having Ellie opened my heart enough to see the girls in a different light, and having the girls prepared me to feel that love. For that, I am grateful.

Chicken Pot Pie Stew (non-dairy, non-soy, non-gluten)

Since I had to cut out all dairy, gluten and soy from my diet, I have been on the lookout for recipes that can, at least, make me think I’m eating the good stuff. Pinterest is my best friend! (side note, if you want to follow me, please do so). I found this recipe that was linked to the blog Stacy Makes Cents. It was really good and I actually had to change a few things to make it a little more Ellie friendly.

Chicken Pot Pie Stew

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(I unfortunately did not take photos but I will do better, I promise!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of boneless chicken, cubed
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
  • 2 cups, chopped potato (I peeled mine but you don’t have to)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 can coconut milk (the can, because it’s thicker)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • gluten free bread (optional)

1) Throw the chicken, onions, carrots, potatoes, pepper, chicken broth, and salt/garlic salt into the crock pot

2)Cook for 6 hours on low

3) The last hour, add the coconut milk and peas

Serve with gluten free bread to finish the pot pie affect (my husband ate regular biscuits because he’s not eating like me)

This recipe is different from the original but I 1) had to cut out the dairy to make it Ellie friendly and 2) didn’t have garlic powder, so I just used garlic salt. It was really really good and I felt like I was eating chicken pot pie! It’s obviously not as good at my mom’s home made chicken pot pie, but since that makes my baby break out and gives her terrible reflux/stomach pain, this is what I eat!

I hope you enjoy!

p.s. next time, I’ll take pictures, I promise!

New Blog!!

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My family (two stepdaughters, 12 & 14, and my infant, 3 months)

Welcome to my new blog. You may have been a follower of my previous blog, but I’ve decided that I’d like to take a new direction. The purpose of this blog is to talk about my journey as a new parent. When I first had Ellie, about 4 months ago, I was so lost! I cried the day we came home from the hospital because I didn’t know what to do. I had no nurses to ask, no lactation consultants to help me, NOTHING! I had read some baby books, but to be honest, they didn’t resonate with me. So, I kept reading, kept searching, kept asking and finally a friend told me about Dr Sears and Attachment Parenting. From there, I found blogs supporting those ideas and I finally felt a little bit of comfort. I wanted to add to that community, even in a small way, simply because of the relief I got from finding like minded parents! This blog is my journey through parenting a newborn in a gentle way, healthy eating as a breastfeeding mom, and learning how to be crafty as well.

I want to qualify one thing – I was going to originally entitle this blog “somewhere in the middle” (it was taken) because I am exactly that, lost somewhere in the middle. I had a medicated birth. I don’t cloth diaper. I vaccinate my child. I don’t follow all of the “rules”, but that’s why I wanted to start this because we all have to find what’s best for our child and I don’t think there’s a one size fits all. I’m tired of the mommy wars, and so I’m hoping a I can present a balanced view for those seeking the same thing.

I welcome all comments and hope that y’all enjoy!!