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This is big, y’all.

Remember how I said you were gonna have a chance to get my new eBook before it’s release?

Well, not only will you be able to purchase Crash Course in Natural Parenting early, but you’ll be getting an entire library of resources for healthy living.

You’ll receive over 70 eBooks on topics including:
  • Alternative Health & Home Remedies
  • Fitness
  • Gardening & Homesteading
  • Green Cleaning
  • Healthy Children
  • Meal Budgeting & Planning
  • Natural Beauty & Skincare
  • Real Food Recipes
  • Seasonal
  • Special Diets
Plus access to online courses on topics including:
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Essential Oils
  • Stress Relief
  • Transitioning to Real Food
  • Healing Diastasis Recti
  • Meal Planning
  • Natural Pregnancy and Birth

On top of these great resources, you’ll get 10 different bonus products with a total value of over $200! Plus, I will be offering my own incentives for purchases made by Feed Me Mama readers :)

Want to be among the first to know when the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is available- and maybe even get yours for free? I bet you do!

This year, we are introducing a ‘refer a friend’ program. It’s so easy, and the rewards are great. You add your email to our “first to know” list, then send your link to your friends so that they can do they same. The more friends that add their emails, the more rewards you get!

Just ONE FRIEND adding their email will get you $7 off of a bundle. 10 friends will give you your bundle FOR FREE- including my new eBook, Crash Course in Natural Parenting! It’s almost too easy. And you aren’t gonna get spammed, either- just a quick reminder email when the sale is live!

Add your email right here and get started towards your own bundle :)

free bundle

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The Secret is Out…

So, I have something I need to tell you.

It’s been no secret that the blog has been a bit….lackluster as of late. Yes, I moved halfway across the country and I’m adjusting to being a farm wife and a stay-at-home-mama to the most adorable 7.5 month old ever (who said mama for the first time yesterday, by the way). Yes, I am running my own at-home business that’s doubling our income. But that’s not my big secret.

You see… I wrote a book.

For you!

Yes you, mama. You who like the looks of natural parenting but don’t know where to begin. You who has seen cloth diapers but feels a little overwhelmed, who likes the sound of natural birth but everyone you know had an epidural, you who looks at a woven wrap like it’s a rubik’s cube. I wrote it for you.

Crash Course in Natural Parenting COVER

My new book is called “Crash Course in Natural Parenting”, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a brief but down-to-business overview of many of the trends and choices that naturally-minded parents make. It’s short. It’s sweet. You can read it in an afternoon, and not just if you’re a fast reader ;)

Each chapter tackles one aspect of natural parenting, starting from natural fertility all the way through maintaining a green lifestyle within your family for years to come. Here’s just a sampling of the topics covered in Crash Course:

Natural Pregnancy
Natural Birth
Baby-Led Weaning
Cloth Diapers
Placenta Encapsulation
Newborn Decisions
Babywearing
Safe Co-Sleeping
Alternative Medicine
Composting
Essential Oils
Herbs
Thrift-Store Shopping
Healthy Diet

The book is meant to kick-start you on your journey to natural parenting. It presents all of the options for you, and lets you decide what appeals to you. Definitely getting an epidural? Don’t worry. there’s still plenty for you to read. Love your disposable diapers? Keep on reading! Pro-meds or pro-vax? Both sides of the story are presented.

I am passionate about natural parenting, and I want to help you and your family discover that same joy. My hope is that Crash Course in Natural Parenting will be the catalyst for helping you discover the connection between parenting and nature, and help you dive deeper into the things that spark your interest!

save the date

Crash Course in Natural Parenting isn’t available yet- the official release date is OCTOBER 1ST, 2014! But, you’ll get a chance to get it early- and maybe even for free! Come back tomorrow to find out how….

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Dear Mama, You Are Enough.

Dear Mama, You Are Enough.

Last week, I broke down.

I just couldn’t do it anymore- the endless days of consoling, changing diapers, trying to stay on top of laundry and cooking and cleaning. Trying to remember the last time I read my Bible. Praying when I remembered to, but only asking for sanity. Balancing being a wife and mother and entrepreneur but really just struggling to keep my head above water. My own negativity, self-pity and jealousy was so thick I couldn’t breathe. Things I would normally be thankful for seemed like burdens.

There was no joy in my spirit.

I felt no freedom.

I was exhausted.

There was no end in sight, either.

The time came. I was sinking. I was giving in.

Do you feel like this today, mama? Like you carry the weight of the world, and nobody even notices?

I feel it. And so does every other mama I know.

Why do we feel so alone, so isolated? Why, when we know that our kids probably aren’t harder than others, that their days are just as demanding as ours? We all have the same hours in the day, right?

I think, if I really trace my feelings back to their root, I feel like I need to be supermom, because everyone else looks like supermom. I know in my heart that this isn’t true, of course, but social media bombards me with everyone else’s photos of smiling, stimulated children that are perfectly dressed and eat all organic diets, magazine-worthy decorating and cooking and all homemade cleaning products, developmentally-engaging activities, perfect date nights, flowers from husbands, much-needed girls nights. My conscious is ravaged with the thoughts that, yes, everyone is having fun without me, and I am here Cinderella-ing away in my little farm house, heating up leftovers and praying for a nap to last 10 more minutes.

Why?

Why do we hold ourselves to these ridiculous standards?

Why do we think that everyone else has their junk together just a little bit more than we do?

Because that is all we see!

We don’t see the disobedient children. We don’t see the arguments in a marriage. We don’t see the price tags on the designer clothing or the frozen pizza from the night before.

We don’t see the desperate turning on of a movie- or three- or the hiding in the closet to sneak some chocolate. We don’t know when the last shower was. We don’t hear desperate prayers for sleep in the wee hours of morning. We don’t know!

Daily, I find myself comparing my private, worst moments as a homemaker with everyone else’s social media highlight reel- and it’s killing me. It’s telling me that my marriage isn’t good enough, that I’m not a good mother, that our diet sucks, that my clothes are cheap, and that my baby is sad because her clothes are from Goodwill.

It’s ridiculous. It’s lies. In moments of clarity, I know it’s not true.

But what’s the solution?

Take a step back.

Or twelve.

Unplug. A lot!

I’ve started a new initiative in our home called “Unwired Parenting”. It has been born out of a desire to, yes, be more intentional and attentive to my daughter and my marriage, but also to remove myself from everyone else’s highlight reel broadcast and focus on what matters: my joy within my own home. The goal is, when the baby is awake, to only use the phone and computer for necessary communication: phone calls or necessary texts, business communications if necessary. Maybe play some music. But not for distraction!

It’s time that we, as mothers, strive to support one another, encourage one another, and be honest. That doesn’t mean you have to post pictures of your crying kids on Facebook, on tweet about your leftovers, but instead perhaps adopting a spirit of vulnerability within our communities so that other mamas know that they aren’t alone in their struggles. I’ve been thinking a lot about the verse in Revelation that tells us that we “overcome by the word of our testimony.” How true is this for our daily struggles?! We survive our hardest days by leaning on grace, and knowing that grace got us through our last hard day, too.

Reach out. Ask for prayer. Receive advice with a spirit of humility. Have grace with yourself. Be thankful. Be joyful! Cuddle your children. Take some quiet moments with them. Take some moments for yourself, too! You can do it, mama. You are covered in the Lord’s grace. He is enough. You are enough. You’re not alone!

Have you ever felt alone in motherhood? Do you feel alone now? Let’s encourage one another!

 

 

Day2Day Joys

Originally published at Day2DayJoys!

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WILLET s e a r c h l i g h t REVIEW

s e a r c h l i g h t REVIEW

Today, I have the privilege of taking a slightly different direction here on the blog! An album review is pretty far out of my normal realm of content, but I think, in this case, it’s a fun leap to make that I hope will both challenge and encourage you!

The three brothers that make up the band WILLET are not just talented, Jesus-loving dudes, they are also my friends. I worked alongside of them in their nonprofit for several years, and my husband served as their drummer as well. During this time, we all spent several months on the road while the band was touring- and, let me tell you, when you cram 6 people (and all of their stuff) into a 15 passenger bus for a few months, you really get to know each other! We witnessed many different displays of character out there on the road, but let me tell you- there aren’t classier guys in the music business than the Willet brothers. We’ve all been through a lot together in the past few years, and their upcoming release, SEARCHLIGHT, is a beautiful tribute to the powerful things that the Lord has done in their lives.

If you want a brief overview of the album, look no further than what I feel is the working “thesis”, found in the bridge of track 4, “Show Us Your Unfailing Love”. The words read:

All my works are done in vain,
If not done in Jesus name
All my words will come undone,
If not sealed by Jesus blood

Though the songs on SEARCHLIGHT vary in theme from adoption and miracles to grace and ministry to the poor, the uniting thought is the overwhelming need for the Lord’s love to work in us and through us, to give our words and deeds life and to bring the Kingdom here on earth. You should know, too, that these guys really live these words out- they make it a great priority to use their platform as musicians and speakers to challenge the church to serve the least of these, and frequently travel overseas to share their music and love of Christ with the nations. In addition, any purchase of WILLET music and merchandise will also fund hunger relief meals for their 1 Million Meal School Feeding Program Initiative.

Unlike most contemporary worship albums, there are some deep theological questions that are raised within the songs of SEARCHLIGHT. For example, “Come Quickly” questions the modern church’s silencing of the Holy Spirit and ignorance of modern prophecy. A few songs later, “I Won’t Withhold Anything” looks at how greed affects our faith and, in turn, our ministries- encouraging us to cast away our riches and seek simplicity instead. Finally, the haunting album finale “Did You Mean What You Said?” boldly questions assurance of salvation in a vulnerable and passionate song for an old friend. If you’re looking for another album of emotion-driven fluff, look elsewhere. But, if you are craving honest worship that questions, that seeks, that challenges your faith, and calls you to act, the songs of SEARCHLIGHT will not disappoint.

My quick breakdown:

Songs fit for community worship:
Searchlight
Blessings Flow From Grace
Lowest Moment
I Won’t Withhold Anything
Holy (Strengthen My Weary Arms)

Songs for personal reflection and challenge:
Miracles
Empty Grave
Show Us Your Unfailing Love
Come Quickly
Lowest Moment
Did You Mean What You Said?

I really feel like all of these songs could go in either category, but those in the first list would likely be the easiest and most fitting to place in a contemporary worship setting. That doesn’t mean they don’t provide ample thoughts for personal reflection, though! That said, I don’t feel that any of these songs are going to blend seamlessly into a contemporary worship setting, either, as they are much more specialized- and I think that’s a good thing. These are songs that have been written to stand out in their content and boldly challenge the church with their lyrics. I look forward to seeing them used in contemporary worship settings, and I applaud the congregations that choose to do so.

SEARCHLIGHT is officially being released on August 26th, but you can preorder the album today and get it early!

merch-ad

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Basic Medical Supplies for a First Aid Kit

Basic Medical Supplies for a First Aid Kit

Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve come to more fully understand the phrase “be prepared for anything”. Whenever we leave the house, we can’t be without spare diapers, wet bags, wipes, outfits, toys, and baby wearing gear- because we never know what we might need!

We’re looking at herbal first aid this month on the Bulk Herb Store blog, and the “be prepared for anything” philosophy is a great one to bring to our first aid kits! All of our writers this month will be sharing beautiful, useful herbal blends with you, but first- what basic medical supplies should you have on hand?

Follow me over to the Bulk Herb Store Blog to find my list of must-have basic items!

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Babywearing Comfort and Luxury: The Woven Wrap

The Woven Wrap

Welcome back to Babywearing Basics! Today we’re talking about Woven Wraps :)

If I had to sum up my initial impression of woven wraps in one word, it would be “intimidating”. This would be closely followed by “complicated” and “expensive”. Thankfully, one company decided to let me put a woven wrap to the test, and boy, did they prove me wrong!

The lovely ladies of Wrapsody sent me a gorgeous Breeze woven wrap to try out with my Halle girl. My first impression: the wrap was beautiful, and VERY high quality. Because the price point of the Wrapsody Breeze is significantly lower than many woven wrap competitor companies, I had worried that I would be sacrificing quality, but that’s definitely not true. As I was told by the Wrapsody team, the fabric started out a little on the stiff and starchy side, but has since worn into a beautiful, comfy wrap, much like breaking in a new pair of sneakers (but without the blisters).

Having used a stretchy wrap in the early newborn days, I was familiar with the basic wrapping technique and figured that the experience would be basically the same. Little did I know that there are SO MANY WAYS to wear a woven wrap! Heart-to-heart carries, forward-facing front carries, back carries, side carries, rebozo carries- the possibilities are practically limitless. You can even carry two babies at once! The best part is how informative the Wrapsody website is- there’s great step-by-step videos that show you how to use each carry and get in and out of it safely. These videos made learning how to use my wrap with confidence so much easier.

Why do I love my Wrapsody Breeze?

It’s incredibly comfortable.

I think my Breeze is actually the most comfortable baby wearing accessory I own, especially for a long carry. In a heart-to-heart carry, you can spread the fabric out across your back and it almost feels like you are wearing a snug t-shirt. Weight is evenly distributed across the back and shoulders, leaving no specific “sore spots” like some other carriers may develop.

The Woven Wrap

It won’t break the bank.

Many woven wraps will cost you upwards of $125, but a brand-new Wrapsody Breeze is just $83. As baby wearing goes, this is completely reasonable, especially considering that this wrap can be used from the newborn days to toddler years.

It’s versatile.

Some days, I need to have my daughter on my back. Others, I just want to cuddle her close to me all day. With the Breeze, I can easily do both!

It’s socially and environmentally responsible.

Not only am I really impressed with the Breeze, but I really appreciate Wrapsody’s company philosophies as well. They are committed to fair labor practices, promoting small businesses, and using eco-friendly materials when available. For more information on Wrapsody’s social responsibility commitments, click here.

It’s pretty!

There’s no denying it, these beautiful wraps look like a work of art when wrapped around you and your baby. I always get so many compliments on my wrap- I feel like a bohemian mama goddess! This carrier is especially great for wedding or for a formal church service.

So, how often do I reach for my woven wrap? It depends on the day. This is the perfect wrap for a long shopping trip, a day out sightseeing, church, a wedding, or doing housework. However, now that I have gotten the hang of wrapping, I will often use this for quick trip to the store as well- even if it takes me an extra moment or two to wrap.

The Woven Wrap

so sunny today!!

If you’re interested in using a woven wrap with your little one, here’s some things for you to think about:

PROS

  • Very very comfortable, especially over long periods
  • Almost limitless carry possibilities
  • Breathable
  • Infinitely adjustable to both baby and adult user
  • No sizing needed
  • Folds down fairly small for portability
  • Variety of patterns and colors
  • Come in sustainable/eco-friendly fabrics and dyes

CONS

  • Can be pricey, depending on the brand
  • Take some practice to learn different carry wraps and how much room to leave for child
  • Lots of fabric- can be difficult to maneuver if in a hurry (weather outside, need to make a quick trip, etc)
  • Each user must know how to use properly (grandma can’t just pick it up and use it)
Have you ever used a woven wrap? Did you like it?
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Reflections on Our Miscarriage: 2 Year Anniversary

Reflections on our Miscarriage: 2 Year Anniversary“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse lately, meditating on it’s truth and how this “overcoming” is accomplished by action: telling our testimonies. It seems that the Lord has built in a natural healing process for us, as believers, when we choose to tell our hard stories and rejoice in the work that the Lord has done through painful times, and the ways that he has redeemed them.

This week marks 2 years since Matthew and I lost our first baby. I wish there was a specific date that I could set aside specifically to mourn this little one each year, but the way that it happened, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint. Was it the fateful doctor’s appointment that showed us a life not fully formed? Or sometime before that? Or perhaps the date of the surgery, which gave the miscarriage finality? No, I believe the Lord left some ambiguity in this season for me for a reason- to give me time to reflect, to meditate, to ponder what might have been and yet rejoice in the truth of what is- the work that the Lord has done.

Losing our baby was the darkest, most painful time in my entire life. We had been trying to get pregnant for what seemed like ages, and when it finally happened, we were filled with so much joy- only to have it shattered all too soon. We were very blessed to have faithful friends walk through this time in our lives, though I can’t say that I had anyone particularly close to me (that I could lean on on a daily basis whenever needed) that really, truly understood- which was very difficult. It was through that pain, that loneliness, that the Lord spoke and gave me hope- that He would use this loss of life to let me be a voice of truth in the life of other women experiencing loss. I won’t say that it made our loss easier- not at all- but knowing that the Lord was going to redeem this time of sorrow allowed me to more easily process the loss as something that would build the Kingdom at some point. I rejoice in His faithfulness to fulfill that promise.

I first spoke out publicly about our loss the following Mother’s Day- partly to voice my own struggles with the day as a whole, but mostly to let other women know that they weren’t alone. Since that time, I have spoken and written for several different venues about our miscarriage, as well as simply being a listening ear for many women enduring loss.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I want you to know:

The Lord is faithful to redeem the deep and enveloping pain of the loss of a child.

As women, we are not promised biological children. When we were struggling through that first year or so, wondering if I would ever get pregnant, there was no promise that we would. After our miscarriage, there was no promise that I would conceive again. Even still, after having Hallelujah, there is no promise of another biological child.

But our Father, who is the author and the giver of life, who gives and takes away as He sees fit to build his Kingdom, promises us that if we abide in Him, He will fill us with peace that surpasses understanding, joy in the midst of sorrow, and that He will take our painful moments and redeem them back into times of praise.

Do I praise the Lord for the loss of that sweet life? Of course not. I grieve that sweet baby daily. But I praise the Lord for the many lives that have been ministered to through that loss. I praise the Lord for the women who know that they aren’t alone anymore, because of the testimony that has come through our loss. For the families who no longer feel isolated. For the mothers who know that it’s okay to be angry, hurt, confused, or frustrated on Mother’s Day. I praise the Lord for the privilege of this ministry, for the privilege of being a mother to that sweet baby: if only for a few short weeks physically, but forever in my heart.

If you are enduring the pain of a loss, please know that you are not alone. I am praying strength and peace over you, and that someday, you too may enter into the ministry of “overcoming”, by the words of your testimony. For all of my sisters in the battle of infertility, waiting for your first Mother’s Day, I am praying trust in the Lord over you. Our Father is good, my friends, and He loves you! You’re in my thoughts and prayers today.

I’ve put together a list of resources for families who have experienced loss, and for their family and friends. Please be encouraged and know that there is healing. You can view that list here.

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8 Ways to Have a Waste-Free Baby

8 ways to have a waste free babyHave you ever thought about just how much waste a baby creates? If you have ever changed a diaper, the answer may be yes- and I’m not talking about #2, either! The modern way of raising a baby is full of “throw-aways”, from disposable diapers to toys used for just a few months to clothing that never fits and beyond. Babies can create a lot of waste!

When I found out I was pregnant with Halle, I decided to make it my mission to have a “waste free baby”. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been all that hard! Here’s some choices that we made to cut down on our waste and make raising our girl as sustainable as possible:

Get hand-me-downs whenever possible.

This one is HUGE. It’s so easy to want to buy all of the cuteness for your incoming bundle of joy, but in reality, they are just going to poop and spit up on it. And not just clothing, either- big baby items like bouncers, swings, even strollers. Check with friends to see what they can lend you before filling out a registry so that you can only ask for what you need.

If you have to buy it, don’t buy it until you need it.

Keep receipts for everything you get at your shower! then, if you don’t need it, take it back. Resist the temptation to go out and buy things that you think you might need at some point. Instead, wait until you know you need them, then decide if it’s worth the cost. This cuts down on tons of extra purchases.

Breastfeed exclusively.

This is a touchy one, but if we are talking sustainability, you can’t beat breastfeeding. Breastfeeding exclusively for as long as possible is one of the greenest, most healthy decisions you can make for your child. It takes some babies and mamas up to six weeks or more to get it all figured out, so find help and don’t give up if you’re having trouble- it’s worth it. Here’s some things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding.

Practice Baby-Led Weaning.

When it does come time to introduce real food to complement your breastmilk feedings, skip the purees and head straight for the real food. Baby-Led Weaning is essentially allowing baby to introduce themselves to different foods at their own pace- so, you simply give the baby what you’re eating, and let them have at it. While some may get on the floor, and technically be “wasted”, you aren’t wasting time, resources, or half a jar of baby food at each meal.

Use cloth diapers…

This is another huge one! The average baby can go through up to $3,000 worth of disposable diapers before they are potty trained. A very nice cloth diaper stash will run between $4-500 and will diaper multiple children over the years. Yes, you will use water to wash the diapers (which you can then line-dry) but this is nothing compared to filling landfills with poopy plastic chemical diaper bombs. Here’s some more reasons to choose cloth, plus some easy steps to get started!

…and cloth wipes!

Once you’re using cloth diapers, you ought to just make the leap to cloth wipes as well. It’s easy to make your own, or buy them cheaply. You can even make your own wipes solution! Simply use a wipe and throw it in with the dirty diapers. Wash them all together. Easy peasy.

Invest in toys that will stand the test of time (and development).

This is something that I feel very strongly about- not surrounding my child with mindless plastic toys that are meant to entertain her, not help her grow and develop. Instead, we use toys made from sustainable materials and that are (for the most part) battery-free. These are toys that are made from wood, recycled BPE-free plastics (very few), and natural rubbers. They are “imagination builders”- stacking cups, rings, blocks, etc- that can grow with Halle, as they serve as tethers now, they can later become castle blocks or rings for stuffed animals to jump through. They are investment pieces, but they will last. Here’s some more great reasons to choose wooden toys, as well as some of my favorite brands.

Lead by example.

It’s an incredible value to instill in your children- that people and experiences have lasting value, compared to the waning value of toys. This starts with us, as parents, focusing on being waste-free in our own lives, and leading by example!

What is one small change you could make to keep your home more waste-free? How about in your children’s lives?
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Get a FREE Wild Orange Essential Oil or Terrashield Blend!

Good Morning, Friends!

I want to let you know that now through the end of the month (that’s Saturday night!) I am offering a FREE bottle of Wild Orange Essential Oil or Terrashield Blend to anyone who enrolls with me with a 100PV order! This is a great opportunity to grab the amazing Family Physician Kit- which also comes with a FREE bottle of Slim & Sassy Metabolic Blend when you enroll- and ensure yourself 25% or more when you purchase oils in the future!

get rose

When you enroll with the Family Physician Kit, you’ll be getting:
Lavender
Lemon
Peppermint
Frankincense
Melaleuca
Oregane
Deep Blue
Digestzen
On Guard
Breathe
Slim & Sassy
PLUS your choice of Wild Orange or Terrashield!

..all of this for just $150! This includes a wholesale membership, which brings the value of this package to well over $200. What an amazing investment to your health :)

Hurry, because this special promotion is only available through me until Saturday night!

To enroll today, click the photo below!

oils join the family

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The Ultimate Lactation Smoothie

The Ultimate Lactation Smoothie

One of the biggest worries of a new breastfeeding mom is whether or not her little one is getting enough to eat. It’s impossible to tell how much your baby is getting without a bottle, so you are left to count wet diapers and look at weight gain- it can be a little stressful!

Because of this, many new moms rely on different foods and supplements to boost their milk supplies. There are many different tactics, ranging from ‘power pumping hours’ to drinking a responsible amount of dark beer (my favorite). There are countless recipes for muffins and cookies and what have you.

Eating baked things just makes me feel bloated, so I concocted my own lactation booster: The Ultimate Lactation Smoothie. It’s chock full of galactogogues- foods that boost milk production. One of these babies each morning is not only full of great nutrition for you and baby, but will keep you full AND, hopefully, boost your supply.

Put all ingredients in blender in the order listed (this makes blending easier). If necessary, add extra liquid- water is fine, but almond milk or coconut water will add nutritional benefits, too. It tastes a lot like an oatmeal cookie :) Drink up!

Please remember that every body is different, and how you react to certain food may be different from how I react.

Do you have a surefire way to boost milk supply? Share with us in the comments!