Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Birthday Boy & Contemplating Intentional Living

The Add man just turned seven, and he informs us that he can now do more farm chores because he is older.  Sounds like a good plan to me. :-)

Here he is with his birthday cake of choice a Banana Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips. Naturally, at birthdays I think back to the baby days and about how much has changed since then.

Several days ago I found this picture taken in May 2005 when we visited family in Pa and spent an afternoon with my Granny.  She is no longer with us, and Add won't really remember her but for me the picture is special.  In this picture Add man is about 8 months old. Nick 19 months and K. is 3 years old.

I looked at the picture and I had a flash back of those very busy toddler days when all the boys were three or younger.  It is funny that I am just as busy now, but it is a different kind of busy. Can I say more stressful? I am not sure.

Then it struck me that in another seven years the boys will be 14, 15, and 16 1/2 and Itty Bits will be almost 8 years old.  WOW!

I really want to make the most of these years and not to allow myself to simply be carried on the wind of the next pressing task or duty.  I want some perspective and want my days to be filled with purposeful and meaningful choices.

But honestly, so many times I am just getting through the day and feeling overwhelmed with all my responsibilities.

Do you know what I mean?  How do YOU stop and really live intentionally every day?

Friday, September 23, 2011

11 Months of Adoptive Breastfeeding

I have previously  blogged about the amazing privilege of breastfeeding my little girl and my early experiences with induced lactation.  You can read all about it  by clicking on the links below
Part 1 Induced Lactation
Part 2 Adoptive Breastfeeding
Part 3 Adoptive Breastfeeding/ Induced Lactation

These three posts have seen a lot of traffic from all over the world. I have received quite a few emails and comments  from others interested in attempting the same thing.

In this blog I will be answering some of the questions I have received in hopes that it will benefit others who may be searching the limited available data on induced lactation and/or re-lactation.
All questions will be in burgandy italics.

Was your experience a relactation, after previously breastfeeding? If so, how long was it since you breastfed your bio child?

Yes, I have previously breastfed two bio children but my last son was completely weaned over five years before Lexie joined us. The shorter time span  between a previous breastfeeding and relactation the easier and more successful relactation will be.  It is possible however to breastfeed with induced lactation without ever having given birth or breastfeed previously!

How long were you able to continue breastfeeding your adopted daughter?
Lexie will be 12 months old in just two weeks and I have continued to breastfeed her exclusively.

If she were eating solids I don’t think I would be supplementing at all. But she still refuses solids (the little silly head).  I have continued to use a supplemental nursing system to supplement a few ounces of milk each day.
Lexie is also adamantly opposed to the bottle!
 Maybe, just possibly, I was too concerned about nipple confusion in those first few weeks?
This  refusal to eat solids or take a bottle has been a source of annoyance to my wonderful guy, who would really like a baby free date like we had with the other kids. Honestly, I kinda think that would be nice too.   I/we  have tried every bottle you can imagine.  No luck! A friend even loaned me one of those Boob Bottles.  Haha!  But no, it is just not good enough for the princess.
So breastfeed I do…. and quite happily.  Lexie is growing and thriving and developing on schedule, albeit she is still small for size, but this is genetic given her family medical history.

I saw on your blog that you did not use domperidone? Is that still the case?

I do NOT take any Domperidone or any other drug!
As I noted in my previous blogs I have used herbal tinctures and teas with success. 

What herbs did you find to be the most helpful and are you still taking them today?

In my first blog on Induced Lactation I shared what I have personally used to support lactation. You can read the full list here

Fenugreek, Fennel and Alfalfa would be my first herbs of choice. As with any herb be mindful of your body as you take them and increase slowly watching for any possible side effects.  I took a lot and had no side effects save the Fenugreek scent of maple syrup that is common and harmless.
 Normally each time I sat down to nurse I would drink tea  (hot or cold), take tincture and/or herb capsules.

I highly recommend the Nurse-Me Ryme Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs scroll down the page on this link and you will see this tea listed towards the bottom of the page
or Mama's Milk Tea from Bulk Herb Store. 

Don't forget that your diet and liquid intake will impact your milk in a marked way.  Check out this Lactogenic Food List.  

I have not continued to take herbal supplements and teas on a daily basis after my milk supply was well established – around 4 months I stopped taking these supplements on a daily basis.
 I still rely on herbal supplements each month just before my cycle.  I have found that my milk supply is reduced significantly about two days before my monthly cycle and the first day or two of my cycle. During this time I have found it helpful to use my herbal tinctures and/or tea.  I also supplement during this time with a bit more homemade formula  than I would normally give.
 Lexie normally takes a grand total of approximately 6 ounces of supplemental formula each day while nursing using the SNS Medela Feeding System. During this low milk supply phase of 3-4 days she will take closer to 10 or 11 ounces of supplement. This ounce amount is a grand total for a 24 hour period and is in addition to the breastmilk that she gets from me. She is always offered as much as she likes with each feeding.  I frequently nurse her on at least one side, sometimes both before adding supplement. Some feedings we use no supplement but normally she takes about 1-2 ounces of supplement with each feeding.  
At 7 months we stopped using the supplemental feeders completely and she was eating a tiny bit of baby food.  She quit eating and we ended up needing to supplement again.  This is no big deal since we are very used to it now and it doesn’t feel at all cumbersome.

Which  supplemental feeding system do you recommend, the Lact-Aid or the Medela SNS?
From birth to 7 months I supplemented with donated breastmilk and during this time I solely used the Lact-Aid, and kept  the SNS on shelf as back up.  The Lact-Aid is my favorite because of how easy it is to prepare milk in advance, transport it easily and feed discreetly  but…
For the last five months  I have been using the Medela SNS because I am making Homemade Goat Milk Formula and it is too thick to feed properly in the Lact-Aid.  I was forced to switch to the Medela SNS and use the larger tubing which is designed for older babies and a faster flow.  It does not flow faster with this formula but we have had no trouble with the tubes clogging.

However, the design is weak and after 3 months I had to order  replacement tubing because the tubes separate near the lid were they are attached and it starts leaking.  It has been three months since replacement and once again the tubes are leaking, so maybe the life expectancy of the tubing is around 3 months. If you know you will be using the SNS for any extended period of time,  I highly recommend that you buy several replacement tubing pieces. I no longer use the string around the neck and hold the bottle, this keeps baby from grabbing the tubes (read breaking the tubes) and really it is easier when you have been dealing with this contraption for months anyway.

You mentioned homemade formula, please explain.
The formula that I make is from - “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon

I have made several adaptions – I swap brown rice syrup in place of the lactose sugar.  Lexie did not do well with the Lactose sugar and handles the brown rice syrup fine. On the same note, I use Goat milk and cream in place of cow milk, as well as goat milk derived  bifidobacterium infantis, in place of the typical cow milk derived version.
I have chosen to make her formula because I am very uncomfortable feeding my baby Chinese sourced dairy products (just check out all the recalls), milk that has been processed at high temperatures, soy products or corn syrup. I will not belabor the point.  If you are interested, here is a great blog with the recipes and some explanations.

I believe that this answers most of the questions that have been asked. Feel free to leave additional questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

All In A Days Work

The air is crisp and cool and the back of the truck is filled with baskets and baskets of apples. It is a perfect Saturday for working outdoors.............for making applesauce with our friends. 

I hear myself assuring Kimberly (or maybe I am actually trying to re-assure myself) that doing 100 quarts of applesauce in a day is completely within our range. 

Only.....there is another factor (or maybe three or  four factors) that have not been taken into consideration.  
We are actually trying to do more than  just 100 qrts of applesauce today.

We will make a bit of cider, too.

Our little bit of sweet cider = 13 gallons.

We hung a couple sides of bacon and laid out a load of ham hocks in the smoke house to smoke while we are doing the sauce and the cider.

....and the previously smoked Canadian Bacon really must be sliced and packaged today.

                       photo courtesy of Kim B.                                                                     
And since we are outside doing all of this, someone (no, it was not me) came up with the great idea of making stock from all the bones we saved from meat processing.

We do have a formidable crew of 4 adults and 10 children. Two of which are under a year and none over 13 years of age.
That Is plenty of hands, I assure you.  It shouldn't be THAT hard, should it? 

Is it possible that someone around here is an over-achiever? or maybe they are just to dumb to know when enough is enough. 

photo courtesy of Kim B.

Either way, we really did do it, ALL of it, including the 112 quarts of applesauce.

photo courtesy of Kim B.

W couldn't have done it without our guys, they were awesome! and the kids were a big help as well!

photo courtesy of Kim B.

It's been another crazy adventure............. one we won't soon forget.

 I'm so glad today is Sunday!  It is lovely to rest and do a lot of nothing. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

August in Review

The month passed in blur of heat waves, food processing, homeschooling and reoccurring infections for me.  I think August might have more accurately been spelled Exhaustion.

During especially difficult periods of life, I find that small things become more vivid and meaningful.  Like this rose bush that Jenn gave to me this spring before she moved to KY. It's simple elegance is inspiring and makes me smile each time I pass by.

Or the fragrant leafy green of an amazing basil plant. I do love basil! It will dress up the simplest poached egg and toast and transform them into something truly lovely.

 and of course, there is always Lexie.  (Smile)
 Here she is at 10 months.

Did you want to see how big she really is?   Rrrr..... I mean, how small.
I present to you THE Itty Bit with my dear friend Kim's Mr. cutie pie..........

.........will you believe me when I tell you that Lexie is oldest of the two of them?
In all fairness, Little W. is actually bigger than average and Lexie is truly "Itty Bitty" so the contrast is rather striking.

We also celebrated Nick's 8th  Birthday last month.  He was thrilled to make his own cake - Double Chocolate with Sprinkles.  Served with a large scoop Mint Gelato.  Most of the pictures didn't turn out for some reason, but I did get one decent shot.

It's been a hard month in many ways...
BUT GOD.......  (I am so glad for that qualifier, it makes all the difference in the world)
He truly has been there and has seen us through.  We are breaking new ground and seeing advances in areas we have prayed and agonized over for a long time. RAD is so complex and I am truly grateful that we serve a miracle working God who gives back the years that the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25) and is a God of mercy and restoration.  That doesn't make things necessarily easy but it gives hopes.  Hope is what keeps me going through the extra difficult days.

We have also made some great progress here on the farm.

From laying block to

Sealing the block in preparation for back filling,

And now working on the roof.
It appears that our root cellar will be finished before cold weather arrives and I am so excited.  This project has taken ever so much longer than either of us anticipated and cost more than we calculated as well.
  It reminds me of my Dad telling me that if you want a realistic figure you should always estimated how much you think a project will cost and then add half of that amount again to your estimation and you will be about right.  If you really want to be safe, just double your figure.  In this way you will never be unable to finish a project or  be forced to borrow.
So far, my limited experience would second his observations entirely to well.