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 *exactly* how much your baby is getting without a bottle (there are ways to estimate though…), 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!

4 Easy Steps to Starting With Cloth Diapers

4 Easy Steps to Get Started With Cloth Diapers

Hello, my friends! From baby wearing to intentional parenting to essential oils, we’ve got a lot of series’ going on here at Feed Me Mama! Today, I would like to introduce one more to you: Cloth Diaper Basics! Cloth diapering is one of the most rewarding choices I have made so far for my daughter, but I know that it can be a very overwhelming choice in the beginning. Over the next month or so, we will be looking at different types of diapers, common issues, and the best places to find diapers on a budget. But, for today, we will answer everyone’s first question: Where do I start?

Cloth Diaper Guide

Get a crash course on the basics.

A little googling and blog-reading will show you the different types of diapers- we are going to be profiling some of them in the next few weeks. For a little overview, you can read into my decision to use cloth diapers here.

Take a look at your family’s lifestyle.

There are many different kinds of diapers, and each lends itself to a particular family style or need. Pockets and All-In-Ones are great for families where cloth diapers may be a bit foreign, as they are the most like regular diapers. Likewise, prefold diapers are the most economical, making them a great pick for a family on a tight budget. If you are concerned with eco-friendliness, there are several options for you as well. If you’re on the go a lot and need to be able to change quickly, maybe a hybrid diaper with flushable liners is a good idea for you. Look at what stands out in your mind as a reason to cloth diaper or something that is important in your family, and keep that in mind.

Cloth Diaper Guide

Get advice from veteran cloth diapering families…

…and don’t just ask the moms! Dad’s opinion is important, too. If you know families that use cloth diapers, ask them what they like and don’t like, what they would do differently, what their favorite kind of diaper is. Some families prefer velcro, others like snaps, still others pins or snappis. Their reasoning might help you see the advantages of a certain type for your family, too.

Finally, read this book.

This has been my go-to resource for all of my cloth diapering questions! You really could skip most of the other suggestions in this post and just read this 🙂 From detergent recommendations and money-savings breakdowns to overviews of the different types of diapers and everything in between, Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert will win you over and have you feeling confident in no time!

What questions do you have about cloth diapering? Leave them in the comments so they can be answered later on in the series!

Cloth Diaper Guide

5 Tips For Hiking With A Baby

5 Tips For Hiking With A Baby

This weekend, my husband and I took our 3 month old daughter on her very first hike! I like hiking, but this is something that my husband absolutely loves, so it was a very special day for him as well. Hiking and outdoor exploring are great ways to spend time together and enjoy God’s creation as a family. It was a beautiful day here in Maryland, so after lunch we set out on our journey!

Pretty much as soon as we got to the park, I realized that there was a lot to think about for the day- I had forgotten sunscreen and snacks, and left my water bottle in the car. However, I wasn’t the most unprepared person in the woods that day- we actually ran into a couple who were pushing their baby in a stroller, trying to cross a stream! I thought to myself, “there’s better ways to do this than fighting with a stroller in a stream”. And with that, I give you my 5 tips for hiking with a baby!

Follow me over to Whole Family Strong to read my 5 Tips for Hiking With a Baby!

Herbs to Boost Milk Production (plus GIVEAWAY!)

increase milk supply

Today’s post is the second in a series on making more milk! Join us over the next few weeks as we look at different ways of naturally increasing milk supply.

One of the most common worries of mothers is that they are not producing enough milk for their babies. Many things can effect milk supply- stress, diet, baby’s eagerness to nurse, schedule, sleep- and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and just want to throw in the towel.

This, in conjunction with a good diet, is a great way to ensure that your supply stays up and is meeting your baby’s needs. Adding in foods like oatmeal, leafy greens, flaxseeds, and brewer’s yeast will also help your supply- but more on that later!

Using herbs is a great way to boost your supply, too. There are herbs that are considered ‘lactogenic’, meaning that they increase the production of milk in humans. Some of these herbs include:

Herbs can be taken in several ways, the most common being capsules, teas, and tinctures. Today, we are giving away an amazing milk-increasing herbal mix called Mama’s Milk Tea from the Bulk Herb Store, and it can be taken any of these ways!

Mama’s Milk Tea contains red raspberry leaf, fennel seed, nettle leaf, fenugreek seed, dandelion leaf, and blessed thistle- so many herbs to boost your supply and the quality of your breast milk! I am using this as a tea regularly, and I notice an almost immediate  boost in supply each time I take the tea. It has a pleasant, palatable taste- not too sweet or bitter, and not overwhelmingly green or maple/pancakey (from the fenugreek) either. However, if you’re looking for a flavorful tea to have with your afternoon snack, this probably isn’t it 🙂

As milk production goes, using herbs is an easy, affordable way to boost your supply without choking down large pills or rubbing yourself with oils several times a day. Make a quart of tea in the morning and drink it throughout the day, and you’ll be good to go!

Some more information on Mama’s Milk Tea from the Bulk Herb Store:

  • This dry herb mixture can be made into a tincture. As a tincture, it would be even more effective than as a tea. Directions for making tinctures can be found on the Preparing Remedies page. Just remember to drink lots of water with it.
  • The mixture can also be ground up into powder and encapsulated.
  • Because of the Fenugreek, avoid using it internally during pregnancy.
  • This recipe is not just for nursing mamas. Because of the cleansing properties of these herbs, anyone can benefit from their cleansing effects on the liver, gall bladder and kidneys.
  • It can be used to benefit anyone: men, women (except during pregnancy), children and animals.
  • It can be used as often as you would like, and in any way you choose.
  • As is the case with most herbs, this mixture should be stored in a dark, dry, and cool place. Refrigeration or freezing is great, but certainly not necessary. Following these suggestions will delay the loss of its highly valued nutritional and medicinal properties.

So, you wanna win a bag of Mama’s Milk Tea? Here you go! Giveaway is open to anyone living in the US. Giveaway winner will be announced on Facebook on Sunday, as well as contacted by email. If there is no response within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Good luck and happy nursing!

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Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

The Busy Mom’s Tool for Real Food Meal Planning

The Busy Mom's Tool for Real Food Meal Planning!

Good morning, my real-food loving, busy bee mama friends!

You don’t have to read this blog for very long to know that I am passionate about feeding my family wholesome, nourishing food- but also sticking to my budget. Meal planning has been a true God-send for me- sitting down and taking stock of what I have in my home and planning meals and shopping accordingly allows me to diversify my menu, not waste food, and be more efficient in the kitchen. Here’s the problem: I get stuck in ruts. There are several things I make on an almost weekly basis: curry, chili, and some type of pasta dish top the list. While these foods are good and satisfy our family’s dietary needs while still being frugal, they are tired. And I’m tired of them.

Today, I want to introduce you to a new real-food-mama tool that I am really excited about: Tradishen! Tradishen is your premier real food recipe and meal planning site. There’s nothing quite like it out there right now!

The Busy Mom's Tool for Real Food Meal Planning

We’re so excited to be able to bring you all the great features that Tradishen offers!

100% Real Food, No Compromises

Tradishen is committed to offering only 100% real food recipes. No compromises and no short cuts. That means that if it’s not a whole food, you won’t find it on our site. You will never find:

  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors
  • Vegetable oils
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • GMOs
  • Premade “ingredients” (canned soups, spice packets, cake mixes, etc.)

We include only wholesome, real ingredients. You’ll never have to wonder if our recipes are healthy for your family, or sort through “cheater” or less-than-nourishing options — they’re all high-quality! So far we have over 500 recipes in our database, and we’re continually adding more. There are plenty of options to feed your family well!

Find The Recipes You Want, Easily

If you have special dietary needs — or are just in the mood for a certain food — you can find it easily on Tradishen. Search our database by checking “flags” to filter your results. You can choose the ethnicity that you want, the main ingredient, or the course. You can also find recipes that are:

  • NO Soy
  • NO Dairy
  • NO Gluten
  • NO Grains
  • NO Wheat
  • NO Sugar
  • NO Seafood
  • NO Tree nuts
  • NO Eggs
  • Vegetarian
  • GAPS-friendly
  • Kosher-friendly

Select as many of these “flags” as you want, so that you only get the recipes that will work for your family. You could choose “chicken,” “beef,” and “fish” (avoiding pork recipes) plus “gluten free” and “dairy free” to find recipes that are based on chicken, beef, or fish but contain no gluten and no dairy. This saves you lots of time sorting through recipes that don’t work for your dietary needs — no other site out there offers this!

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Save, Print, Rate

Every recipe can be saved to your personal recipe box, so that you always have your favorites easily available. Your recipe box is viewable from the “my recipes” tab. You can scroll through them, or if you start typing, it will suggest potential recipe titles that you’ve save and may have forgotten about!

You can rate each recipe you try, as well, so you can find your favorites (or the ones that others love, too).

Plus, every recipe is printer friendly. Print out your favorites and add them to a binder so that they’re easily accessible in your kitchen.

Create Your Variations

Love a recipe but made a few tiny changes to suit your family’s tastes better? Don’t forget what you did — save a copy of the recipe and add your changes. This variation of the recipe will be in your personal recipe box so you don’t lose it.

If you have special allergy needs, this is a great option too — choose a recipe that needs a little tweaking to meet your needs, then save those changes, so that even more recipes on the site work for you! (Many of our dairy-containing recipes have been tested with coconut milk or oil and work great dairy-free too.)

Add Your Own Recipes

Do you have a family-favorite recipe that you just love, but isn’t in our database? You can add it! Simply type (or copy and paste) your recipe into our system. It will be visible only to you.

This way, you aren’t just limited to the recipes we offer when creating your meal plans — see more below!

Learn About Real Food

If you’re new to real food, you might feel overwhelmed when you see recipes calling for soaked beans, sourdough starter, homemade chicken stock, and other real food ingredients. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find both written and (eventually) video tutorials, showing you exactly how to do these things.

Create Your Meal Plan

Nothing saves more time in the kitchen (not to mention money at the grocery store) than having a meal plan. With Tradishen, you can quickly and easily create your own meal plan, pulling recipes from your personal recipe box. Select the date and time of day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.) and begin typing a recipe title, then select the one you want from the drop-down list that appears. It’s that easy! This feature is part of our “basic” and “premium” membership packages.

Get Meal Planning Help

Do you find meal planning overwhelming? We can help! Every week, we release two new meal plans — a “traditional” menu, and a gluten/dairy free menu. Get 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners, and 1 dessert on every plan! Choose which one(s) you want to use. You may use only the dinners, or you may use all the recipes, or anything in between.

Found a recipe your family doesn’t prefer? You can easily delete and replace it with any other recipe from our database.

Throughout our meal plans, we take your budget into account. We choose recipes that use seasonal and frugal ingredients, and we repeat the same ingredients in different ways throughout the week. That way, you’re not wasting a bit of leftover chicken or spinach, nor do you have a bunch of “food waste” at the end of the week. We often use dinner leftovers in the next day’s lunch, to keep it quick and easy. We made the meal plans the same way we meal plan for our own families, because we understand your needs — we’re right there with you.

You’ll get access to both meal plans, too, so you can choose whichever one works better for you, or even pull from both! This feature is part of our “premium” membership package.

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Get Automatic Grocery Lists

Once you have a meal plan, the next step is making a grocery list, so you know what to buy at the store. Guess what? We’ve already done it for you! With the click of a button, you can add all the recipes on your meal plan to your grocery list. It’s so quick and easy.

Plus, you can edit the grocery list yourself. Your recipes might add spices to the list that you already have in the kitchen — you can delete it. Or, if you want extra carrots for snacking on, bump up the number to buy! This feature is part of our “basic” and “premium” membership packages.

Take Tradishen With You

Have a smart phone? Tradishen will travel! Tradishen has been designed to be mobile-optimized, so you can view it easily from any screen, anywhere. If you find a sale at the grocery store, you can automatically update your meal plan and grocery list to include the sale item. Save paper by accessing Tradishen from your phone in the kitchen, too. With the touch of a button, pin your favorite recipes or share them on Facebook so your friends can see them, too. Tradishen is everywhere you are! And if you’re not into smart phones, remember that Tradishen is printer-friendly too. 🙂

Save Time and Money

Tradishen will save you major time and money. Having a meal plan saves you money; you only buy what you need. We create the grocery lists for you. We create meal plans for you. Tradishen will revolutionize your kitchen.

New Features Coming

Is there even more you want to see from Tradishen? We’re adding new features regularly, and new recipes too. We’d love your feedback on how we could make Tradishen even better for you, so feel free to send us an email! We already have plenty of new features in the works. If you’re a premium member, you’ll get full access to every new feature as soon as it’s released.

Sold? Here’s What You Need to Know

Most of the features above are FREE. All you have to do is hop over to Tradishen right now and sign up for an account. You’ll have immediate access to view, print, save, and share all the recipes. You’ll also get one week of premium access for free just to say, “thanks for giving us a try.” This is a no-risk free trial. If you love it, sign up for a basic or premium membership today! The longer the membership you buy, the more you save.

Basic (See Features Above)
One Month: $10
Six Months: $51 (save 15%)
Twelve Months: $78 (save 35%)

Premium (See Features Above)
One Month: $15
Six Months: $76.50 (save 15%)
Twelve Months: $117 (save 35%)

We hope you love Tradishen and stick with us forever (after all, we’re constantly reinventing the world of real food recipes and meal planning — we’ve got everything except the food!), but if you don’t, we offer a 7-day money-back guarantee. You love it, or we’ll refund your money. See all the FAQs about Tradishen for more details.

Baby Wearing with Rockin’ Baby {GIVEAWAY!}

Win a HERO RING SLING from Rockin' Baby- {GIVEAWAY!}Hello, my friends! This weekend will not only be my first Mother’s Day, but my five year anniversary of marriage! I wanted to do something really special to celebrate, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. This weekend, we are giving away a beautiful Rockin’ Baby Orange Hero Sling!

If you’ve never heard of Rockin’ Baby before, you’ll soon see why their company and mission is the perfect fit for this Mother’s Day giveaway. Rockin Baby makes baby wearing slings- both pouch slings and ring slings– their signature sling being their Orange Hero Sling. But what sets them apart is when you purchase a sling from Rockin Baby, a Hero sling is donated to their mission in Haiti, where they educate mothers on the importance of baby wearing and teach them how to do wear safely. This not only increases productivity for the women, but increases the baby’s health as well. Rockin Baby’s “mother to mother” vision is a beautiful one- so we’re celebrating them, and all mothers and babies around the world!

I was blessed to receive an Orange Hero Sling to review before this post, and I have to say- I really enjoy it. The sling is very high quality, comfortable, very easily adjusted, and best of all- not too hot! My only complaint was that it didn’t come pre-threaded into the rings, so if this had been my first ring sling, I might have been a bit confused- however, there are instructions on their website to help. On the whole, we really love this addition to our babywearing collection. I’ve even worn it on decently long walks with very little discomfort- which says a lot for a ring sling! And it’s great for wearing around Baltimore during baseball season too 🙂 I especially appreciate knowing that the high quality of this product is the same as the slings that my sisters in Haiti are receiving as well. This is a company that is truly making a difference!

So here’s the exciting part- you can win a Orange Hero Sling of your very own this weekend, just in time for Mother’s Day! The winner will be announced via Facebook on Sunday night, and also contacted by email. Good luck!

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10 Herbal Remedies for Common Pregnancy Complaints

10 Herbal Remedies for Pregnancy Complaints

This past year, while I was pregnant with my daughter, I was determined to have the most natural pregnancy possible. This was as pretty daunting goal, give that there are so many different symptoms that women can face during pregnancy. Luckily, many of them can be treated naturally!

Today I want to share, not 10, but TWELVE natural remedies for some of the most common pregnancy complaints with you in hopes that you too can strive to have a more natural, healthy pregnancy the next time around!

Follow me over to the Bulk Herb Store Blog, where you can find all 12 remedies 🙂

Intentional Parenting: 25+ Hands On Activities to Do With Your Toddler

25 Hands-On Activities to Do With Your Toddler

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by Kathleen Willet, a dear friend of mine. Kat and her husband, Jeremy, adopted their son, Evans, from Ghana this past year, and are in process to adopt their daughter from Ethiopia this spring! You can read more about their family and ministry right here. Kat and Jeremy are great examples of parenting with intentionality and they are constantly seeking to redeem the things of the world for the glory of Christ.

Before I get to this months “Intentional Parenting” piece, I wanted to share how our all naturally dyed Easter eggs turned out. Here is a photo of the finished product and I would say they turned out great! We ended up using beets, turmeric, chili powder and red cabbage. We wanted to use our chicken’s eggs, which caused a slight issue since only one chicken lays completely white eggs. The colors would have been much more vibrant with white eggs, however, we still found them to change colors pretty well.

Hands On Activities with a Toddler

Something we have been doing with Evans is to try to let him be “hands on” with as many things that we do as possible. He isn’t one to sit and play with toys all day but he loves to read and be a part of everything we are into. I believe most kids want that as well. They want to be involved in what their parents are doing and it gives them a sense of helpfulness in the home.

For my husband, who is a musician, “hands on” means allowing Evans to play on the drums and piano in the basement studio as well as at live concerts after sound check. Evans knows there is a time for playing the instruments and that he has to have Poppa with him if he wants to play. Seeing him on the drum kit trying to mimic his Uncle Jordan is just priceless and he feels like a big boy being allowed to experiment with Poppa’s instruments. Unfortunately it’s the drums that he is drawn to and not something quiet like the acoustic guitar 😉

Intentional Parenting: Hands On

As I go about my day cleaning, cooking and making our home a place of rest, “hands on” means allowing Evans to help me vacuum, cook and make our homemade laundry detergent. When it is my day to vacuum, Evans walks around the house with the vacuum extension piece and runs it across the floor trying to pick up dirt (if only that truly worked!) When I am baking or making dinner I let him either watch and sometimes event let him stir ingredients and roll out dough. For Easter we made the Grandparents some Easter cookies and Evans was just so excited to help roll out the dough and use the cookie cutters. About once a month I do batch of our laundry detergent bombs and recently he has started helping me grate the soap and stir in all of the ingredients. He is such a big help and even makes those jobs fun for me to do.

Intentional Parenting: Hands On

The crazy thing about Evans being “hands on” helping Momma and Poppa is, most of the time when we allow him to help he is doing the action out of pure observation. I never sat him down and showed him how to use a rolling pin but he has watched me many times. My husband didn’t sit him down and teach him that each part of the drum kit makes a different noise, he just observed his Uncle Jordan. Our children are so observant! Instead of pushing them towards their toys or even the television, it’s better to let them be “hands on” helping you around the house.

Will it take extra time to let them help?
Yes.
Will they make a bigger mess then you had intended on?
Yes.
In our case – will my house always be filled with the noise of Evans drumming on anything that makes a cool noise?
Yes.
Will our children grow up to be a helper in the home and feel pride for all they can accomplish?
Yes!

I challenge you to take the opportunity the next time there is something you are doing that your little one can help and be “hands on” with. They will have so much fun helping and your chore will also seem like more fun for you too.

Here’s some ideas of activities you can try with your little one:

  1. Help stir ingredients together when cooking. Just this morning, Evans helped me stir the batter for pancakes. He loves to see the ingredients come together.
  2. Vacuum or sweep floors
  3. Let your child help with watering the garden and even placing seeds/transplanting seedlings. Giving them a little plot of their own is also a good idea!
  4. Make the bed. In the morning, Evans throws all of his stuffed animals back into his crib. He also helps me place the pillows on our bed when I am done making it.
  5. Let your kids help put the laundry in the dryer with you. Evans loves to push the clothes in when I place them on the dryer door. If we are line drying, he likes to hand me the clothes from the basket to place on the line.
  6. Put away non-sharp silverware and unbreakable dishes. I give Evans our plastic containers and he places them in the right cabinet. It’s at his level and I do have to re-adjust them but he is helping get them there!
  7. Roll out dough for pizza.
  8. Get the mail (with you!)
  9. Pick flowers from the garden.
  10. Feed and water pets, or groom if applicable.
  11. Make sandwiches (PB&J is an easy one!)
  12. Wipe windows, tables, or countertops. They might not do the best job, but give your little one their own cloth and let them practice.
  13. Set table. Little ones can put out placemats or non-sharp silverware.
  14. Make natural cleaning products, like laundry bombs,
  15. Cut out and decorate cookies.
  16. Shake up homemade dressings or butter- they may not be able to help for very long, but teaching a little one where their food comes from, and how it is made, is an important value!
  17. Pick fresh herbs from the garden (with supervision!)
  18. Feed the chickens and collect eggs. Evans loves helping to put the food in their barrel as well as hold the egg basket.
  19. Play an instrument- if you have musicians in your home, supervise a little jam session.
  20. Make smoothies or fresh juice- let your little one help you put the ingredients in the blender, or push down on the pushed for your juicer.
  21. Help water plants around the house.
  22. Wash the car- give your little one their own little sponge!
  23. Pick up rocks from garden bed.
  24. Paint a canvas with finger paints.
  25. Help knead dough for bread.
  26. Help pick up the house. Before nap/bedtime we make sure all of Evans toys are picked up and put away. He is at the age now were we give him a few items to put away. It makes for a fun family game before bed 🙂
  27. Say prayers.  We believe in instilling importance of prayer into your child at an early age. At meal time and bed time, my husband will have Evans repeat after him during the prayer. Evans says the last word of every phrase, but he understands!
  28. Yard work. We have a lot of trees in our yard, which means lots of sticks! Evans and I go out and pick up sticks and place them in his wagon so Poppa can mow the yard.
  29.  Playtime. It’s great to take time out and just sit with your little one just to play. When your day is filled with demands, play time can help you refocus.  Let your child be creative and remind you how to have fun during your day!
  30. Take a nature walk and collect flowers, leaves, or rocks. Look for birds, frogs, or fish. There is nothing that compares to discovering the world through a little one’s eyes!

What fun hands-on activities do you do with your toddler? How have you seen them grow and learn through these fun times?