Apple Cider, the old fashioned way!

ImageLast weekend I met up with some girlfriends for a Sunday afternoon of apple pressing in the country.  It was a blast!  Love getting together with other ladies who enjoy organic foods, gardening, home food preservation, good company and fresh air!  While I had a fun time, apple pressing is hard work.  Megan was gracious enough to open her home and farm up to us and share with us her apple press and grinder.   We all came with local and organic apples, glass jars and a pot luck meal. 

We had an assembly line going beginning with washing the apples and cutting off any wormy, bad spots.


Next we ran the apples through the grinder. 


Then we filled the pillow case-lined wooden bottomless barrel with the ground apples.

Image   Image   Image

They are ready to be pressed!  We turned the crank as far as it would go then inserted a stick for a leaver to crank it down further.  We had to then loosen and repeat with a wooden block under the press to squeeze out all of the juice.  Megan’s husband, Ian helped us get every last drop!  We repeated this over and over again until all of our approximate 4 bushels of apples were processed.  This may sound quick and easy but ittook 7 of us about 3 hours to make 6 gallons of cider to share.  We also had many unwanted guests there, and it wasn’t the fruit flies from my kitchen.  Bees!!  Honey bees everywhere!  Including many that probably got pressed along with the apples.  There were more and more of them by the minute.  We made it through with only one person getting stung once, not too bad.

With the 3/4 of a gallon of apple cider I took home last week there’s maybe a cup left!  DH thought it had a “weird aftertaste” but the boys and I loved it and made some apple cider popsicles too.  I had a great time pressing apples in the country, but I do also appreciate that I can do the same in a fraction of the time with the Jack Lalanne juicer in my kitchen.


Our garden fresh potluck!  Love the handmade from reclaimed barn wood giant kitchen table too!

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Homesteading & Sustainability

Ready to dry/freeze

Hello blogging world. It has been a while but I have had homesteading on my mind and decided to write about it.  I have been on a homesteading and sustainability mission lately.  We are trying to slowly increase our self-sufficiency now that we have settled into our first home.

In case you were wondering, here is the definition of homesteading via Mother Earth News and the EPA’s definition of sustainability:

  • Homesteading is “….a lifestyle that promotes greater self sufficiency – wherever you live. It’s about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you.”
  • Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

We choose to adapt this lifestyle as much as possible for several reasons:  to leave a small carbon footprint on this planet, for better health, and it’s good knowledge to have and to pass onto our children.  We have a lot of respect for those who came before us who homesteaded out of necessity.  And in some respects I feel it has come full circle.  As a health practitioner, and health conscious individual, it is frustrating and scary the amount of toxic chemicals that surround us:  in the grocery store, the cleaning isles, garden centers, the make-up counter, they are everywhere.  In a way, I feel homesteading is a necessity, not in the same way as our ancestors, but as the best way to reduce the toxins in our lives and to not contribute to the growing toxins entering our environment.

 What we have done so far

We have been making small steps toward becoming more self-sufficient and sustainable.  Here is what we have accomplished:

  1. Vegetable and herb garden

    Photo by Elizabeth Bernstein Photography

  2. Green house
  3. Line drying our clothes in the summer
  4. Composting
  5. Well water and septic
  6. Canning
  7. Homemade candles
  8. Homemade vanilla extract
  9. Shopping at local farm market
  10. Homemade household cleaners
  11. Some woodworking and handy work
  12. We buy pantry items from amish and online co-ops with organic and fair trade products.
  13. Homemade gifts
  14. Rain gauge and barometer (does that count?!)

What we want to do in the future

  1. Plant apple, pear, cherry and maybe peach trees
  2. Build and instal 2 rain barrels
  3. Chickens! And build a coop first
  4. Find new ways to reduce electricity usage
  5. Grow some mushrooms
  6. Make our own soap
  7. Sewing
  8. Grow more and new produce
  9. Save seeds
  10. Grow herbs indoors in the winter
  11. We are installing a portable generator this fall (thanks to my generous in-laws)


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Boy’s Blue “Green” Train Room

I wanted to share our boy’s new bedroom with everyone.  I am not the best decorator  in the world so I was pretty proud of how this room turned out!   Well, I have to confess, I was not the creator of this decor, only the executer.  I know when I see something I like but if I am given a blank slate, I don’t know where to begin when it comes to decorating.  Thankfully, our wonderful receptionist, Evelyn also has MANY talents!  One of those is decorating!  She enthusiastically helped us create the perfect room for the boys.  I love, love, love how it turned out!  Check out Evelyn’s Blog and Etsy store to see more of her talents!

We wanted to create a room that was all boy, highlighting J’s favorite color, blue (also Granville School colors – blue and white) and favorite interest, trains.  We wanted a room that was clean, simple, somewhat non-traditional, and flexible (easy to update as boys grow).  I did not want a super mainstream look or character theme.

Key decorative aspects of the room: Train mural,crisp, clean white walls, light blue stripe around the room from the color of the train mural sky, navy accent stripe around room, navy dresser, wood bunk beds, blue and white bedding, navy baskets on book shelf (not pictured), vintage toy signs.

On the Green Side


So the title of this post is the Boy’s Blue Green Train Room. 
It is more of  a easy, practical green room, not super duper greenified to the max-room.  On the scale of green-ness, I’d give it a 7.

We used Sherwin Williams zero and low VOC paint for all colors (except mural).  There is some  amount of VOC in tinted paint.

The spectacular, detailed and colorful, train mural was painted by my amazingly talented artist-sister, Erica Arndts!  J love’s trains and this was the perfect touch to make the room bigger than life!  Erica spent an entire day painting, while visiting from her home in Atlanta.  Yes, you read that right, only one day to create this masterpiece!  I know, impressive!  By the Way, if you like her work and are interested in a mural or a painting and are in the Atlanta area, contact me and I will put you in touch with her.

Notice the ceiling fan (well, I didn’t quite get it in the photo).  A great Green addition to any room to lower your utility costs.  Set it to counter-clockwise to cool your space in the summer time with a downward air flow.  Set your fan to rotate clockwise in the winter to circulate warm air that otherwise would get trapped near the ceiling. I do want to paint the blades white instead of the rainbow of pastel colors they currently are.

The bunk beds were hand made with love by Daddy!

The Navy dresser was repurposed old dresser from when Greg was a boy.  Greg sanded and painted the dresser following tips form Evelyn.  He finished it off with  new hardware.

The vintage toy signs were a find by my mom.

The white roman blinds were finished off with navy vertical gross-grain ribbon stripes by my mother-in-law, Doris.  Another ingenious idea from Evelyn!  I love how it’s the little touches here and there that make all the difference in pulling everything together in the room (Tutorial here).

The comforters I splurged on from Pottery Barn Kids 2 years ago when Greg made the bed’s.  I consider them a little green contribution because they are reversible, simple and classic pattern and nice quality.  I have high hopes that they will last the boys through high school! The green bedside lantern also came from Pottery Barn Kids.  I couldn’t resist that when I saw it (it spoke to my love for camping and outdoors.  I know, it’s not my room but had to do it).  I thought it was unique as a light fixture and added some character.

Of course the room is outfitted with compact florescent lights (CFL’s)

Finally, a Train Room wouldn’t be complete without a train table!  Our train table is mostly filled with trains and accessories from Whittle Shortline Railroad (made in USA), Plan Toys, BRIO, and Nuchi.

Tell me what you think!  Do you think I should add a rug?  What do you do to create a “green” bedroom?


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Healthy Dessert’s Cookbook Giveaway!

Congradulations to the winner, Teslaca, picked from


Yes, you did read that right.  I did use the word’s “Healthy” and “Dessert” in the same sentence.  And, doing so I’m not talking about “fat free” or “sugar free”, which are not health at all, but thats a topic for another day.  Mom-blogger at Modern Alternative Mama, and author, Kate Tietje has just released her 4th cook book “Treat Yourself:  Real Food Desserts”!

Kate’s book is loaded with fabulous recipes utilizing natural ingredients such as honey (with immune benefits, especially when using local honey), pure maple syrup (not the kind that has corn syrup in it), Sucanat (the least processed form of granular sugar) comparable to Rapadura; also, butter, cream, fruit, almond flour and sprouted grain flour and other natural foods.  For those with food allergies and gluten sensitivity or intolerance she has plenty of grain-free and some GAPS-friendly recipe’s too!

I have tried the Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce from Kate’s dessert cookbook, her version of Nutella, a favorite in many households.  It was extremely easy to make, and no artificial unpronounceable ingredients!  It MIGHT have taken me 6 minuets.  We dipped banana’s in the Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce for an after dinner treat.  Kate also suggest trying it atop her crepe recipe or as a frosting on a cake.  This is definitely a great recipe if you want to impress the family and throw together a quick dessert in a bind.

Tonight my husband requested Lemon cake so I whipped out Kate’s new book and was happy to make Kate’s version of this classic dessert,  loaded with wholesome ingredients and a great fresh taste for the summer.  It turned out very moist and very lemony! Her recipe called for a bunt pan which I didn’t have so I used a 11×8 glass baking dish and enjoyed the same great taste, toped with homemade whipped cream (without white sugar).

GIVEAWAY (starts 9/12, ends 9/16/2011)

Kate has generously donated a free copy of “Treat Yourself:  Real Food Desserts” for one lucky reader.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. To be entered go to Modern Alternative Mama and leave a comment at this post of which recipe from the Table of Contents you would most like to try.   Be sure to leave a valid e-mail so I can contact you to claim your prize.

For Extra entries:

  1. Subscribe to Mom Going Green and leave a comment stating that you did.
  2. Blog about this giveaway and linking to Mom Going Green using  ” Healthy Dessert’s Cookbook Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave a comment here with a link to your post.
  3. Go to Modern Alternative Mama and subscribe and comment here that you did so.
  4. Go to Modern Alternative Mama and Follow on Twitter, and comment here that you did so.
  5. Follow me on (DrHeatherP) on Twitter and Tweeting about this giveaway.   Then comment with a  link to your tweet.
  6. Add Mom Going Green to your blog roll and comment that you did so, with a link to your site.

Discount Code

If you do not win the giveaway but would really like to own this fabulous cookbook you can purchase the book at Modern Alternative Mama and receive 25% off using the following code: GREENTREAT.  It expires on: 9/19/1

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Classic Starts

Story Time

While the boys and I were at the lake earlier this summer and Greg was home, managing our Chiropractic office he came up with a great idea!  I think he was missing his family and it inspired him to come up with a valuable, educational, and fun way we could spend some time together, and at no cost too!  Greg decided he would like to read classic stories to us every night.  Most of them book that he had never read but always wanted too.  Classic stories in literature such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, “Treasure Island”, “Oliver Twist”, “Black Beauty”, and more.  He told me his idea over the phone one night and I thought it was perfect.

He went to the library and checked out “Gulliver’s Travels” from the library.  The first night we were back he tried to read from the book with Jack, Walt, and I.  It was a fabulous idea but the book he checked out was the original written in old english and slow to start.  Jack was off the couch, wondering the room and talking about his trains after a few minutes.  However it was still a great idea for some quality family time so I got on the library’s website and looked for a juvenile version of that story.  I reserved it along with Greg’s choice for our second book, “Around the World in 80 Days”.

photo from amazon

When the books arrived a few days later Greg chose to start with “Around the World in 80 Days” because he continued to read the adult version of “Gulliver’s Travels” himself and didn’t want to spoil the ending.  The Juvenile books we checked out were from a series called Classic Starts.  They are chapter books, maybe a reading level of 4th-6th grade (just guessing).  They are about 150 pages.  They were perfect for Jack.  He could understand the story line.  It moved fast enough that he could follow but not too fast.  Greg read 1-3 chapters a night of “Around the World in 80 Days” until he finished.  We asked Jack questions throughout the story to make sure he understood what was going on.  We all really enjoyed it.  Upon finishing the story we checked out the movie and watched it.  It was great to see Jack remembering various scenes from the book and he enjoyed watching the show.

We have now started Gulliver’s Travels.  I think this one is a little harder to follow but Jack is hanging in there (he is only 3).  I have been really impressed that he has been able to sit there through several chapters listening.  We thought it would be good for him to listen to the story and use his imagination.  A nice change from the picture books he also enjoys.  I am looking forward to Greg reading us the rest of the Classic Starts and following up with the movies.

The library is such a great resource for families.  My family didn’t frequent the library much and it is something I definitely want to take advantage of with my kids.  Besides kids books there are story time’s for kids, interactive computer games, and adult books and movies too.

Do you visit your local library?  What is your favorite thing about the library?

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Breastfeeding Foe’s: Mastitis and Plugged Ducts, My Experience

PART 2:  The Second Time Around – New Challenges

Ok, so I will warn you, this is REALLY long!  I tried real hard to condense it but I wasn’t very successful.  So read on if you like!  It is very interesting in the end though!

When I found out we were expecting our second, I didn’t think twice about the decision to breastfeed, it was a given.  I also thought it would be much easier this time.  I thought I could prevent any mastitis/plugged duct issues by using the hand pump if I had some engorgement in the first weeks.  I felt confidant that I knew what I was doing the second time around.  I had both a hand and electric pump, plenty of breast cold packs if needed, and Greg made sure to check Walt after birth for any vertebral fixations/subluxations and soft tissue inflammation to ensure he would be comfortable nursing on both sides and to avoid the problem Jack had.

However, it wasn’t that simple.  Nursing was going pretty well the first few days, then, when my milk came in, just like with Jack, I had quite a bit of engorgement.  At least I knew what it was this time and some methods to try to control it.  Although, I wasn’t expecting the engorgement to be so bad the second time around.  I thought my body would know what to do by now.  I think some women, me included, just produce A LOT of milk!  However, I did find out later there was another variable this time causing the problem (keep reading to find out what).


During these early days of milk and engorgement I tried to nurse as often as I could but Walt was very sleepy all the time.  It was hard to keep him alert as often as I needed him to nurse.  I  also tried not allowing Walt to sleep long periods without nursing.  Well, I did allow him to go 4 hours at night (this kid wanted to sleep and after 2 yrs of sleep deprivation with Jack I really didn’t want to interrupt that) yet I didn’t want mastitis either but I thought 4 hours would be ok at night.   I tried to nurse on both sides at each feeding.   I mistakenly cut him off  early on the first side and switched sides for fear he would fall asleep and not nurse on the 2nd side.  I was using the hand pump a little to relieve some pressure but I didn’t use it to empty my breasts completely (mistake again).  I also tried hand expressing in the shower and using cold pack’s to decrease inflammation and prevent inflamed ducts.  However, I was a milk producing machine and my efforts could not keep the engorgement under control.  I felt like Walt was latching on alright and to me, appeared to be sucking the same as Jack did (although that was 3 yrs ago).  I didn’t think the problem was Walt.  Also, he didn’t have trouble being uncomfortable while nursing thanks to Daddy’s adjustments.

I was getting desperate though.  The engorgement was getting out of control very quickly despite my efforts and experience. I talked to my midwives and told them I was struggling with the engorgement.  Abby gave me several articles on different nursing techniques and info on mastitis and plugged ducts all from La Leche League.  It was great to have so much info but it was a little overwhelming because I didn’t know which of the many tips to try first, but it was all great info to have! (I will share some more of that in a future post).  It reaffirmed I was doing some things right, a few things I needed to change and it gave me new techniques to try for relief of the engorgement.  I did try some of the suggestions in the articles but continued to be engorged.  I was really worried I would end up with a fever and the whole cascade of symptoms that followed with Jack.  I had already started to get a small headache, the first sign I had with mastitis with Jack. Midwife Kelley then suggested calling Jessica Buell, a lactation consultant-in-training (and apprentice midwife, and doula – lady of many talents).  I was feeling VERY desperate by the time I called her, and probably hormonal and emotional from just having given birth less than a week prior.  She was fabulous on the phone.  She listened, asked me questions, then gave me a regimen to follow for 24 hours then I was to check back in with her.   I felt so much better after talking to Jessica.  I think the 24 hr. regimen gave me a focus and she seemed very confidant in it on the phone which made me feel confidant and a little more in control of things.  I followed her  instructions exactly and started to feel some relief.  I checked in with Jessica the next day and she modified my regimen slightly for the next 24 hours (I was better but still over-producing milk).  By the third day I felt back in control, engorgement was nearly gone and Jessica gave me some tip’s to continue doing and said to call if I had a future problem.  I was SOOOOO thankful to have avoided mastitis, fever, aches, ect.


A week or 2 passed and then it started again, UGH!!!  I know many moms out there would love to be overproducing so I shouldn’t complain so much.  I woke up in the middle of the night with mild engorgement (yep, Walt was sleeping through the night woo hoo!). I immediately got up and pumped, emptied my breasts and felt much better and went back to bed.  I thought it wouldn’t be a problem since I pumped as soon as I noticed the mild engorgement.  Well, I have a really sensitive system apparently!  The next evening, even thought the engorgement was gone, I started to get a headache and slight fever this time, Whaaat?!  One little mild engorgement and I was proud of myself for pumping right away…I did not expect this at all!  I wasn’t even engorged anymore after pumping but I still was having the familiar unpleasant symptoms.  I immediately went back to Jessica’s 24 hr regimen she gave me a few weeks prior (I should have called her).  I continued this for several days but continued to feel worse.  I thought there was no use calling her since I already had what I thought was mastitis and couldn’t prevent it anymore, it was here.  Well, that was a bad idea, should have called her.  Should have looked up natural remedies, should have asked friends.  I wasn’t thinking and gave up too soon.  I figured it would just go away after a week like the episodes I had with Jack.  I started taking ibuprofen to reduce the fever which was going on 7 days now.  I REALLY did not want to take any medication while nursing.  I felt defeated and desperate.  But I wanted to avoid an antibiotic even more so I tried the ibuprofen.  It did control the fever but any time I tried to get off of it the fever was right back there.  Man, this thing was stubborn.  And all along I should have called Jessica, don’t know what I was thinking.  By day 11, still with a fever and been on ibuprofen for way too long in my opinion, I did finally contact Jessica.  I didn’t give her a fair chance at helping me by calling her so late in in the game.  But she tried and gave me a regime to follow.  I did but I think it was just too late. I also gathered some tips from friends at this point too and tried lecithin supplements (supposed to possibly thin out the milk) and Poke Root Salve, but neither helped me (you will learn why if you continue reading).  By 14 days straight with a fever and completely worn out, Jessica and I  decided I had to go to the doc for an antibiotic.  I was extremely disappointed that I had to do this but it was necessary.  I actually hadn’t taken an antibiotic in 8 years, which I was very proud of!  It killed me to make that appointment and drive to the doctor’s office.  I was so mad at myself and I felt HORRIBLE that Walt would be exposed to an antibiotic at such a young age but I also had no choice at this point.  I did not expect to be in this position being what I thought, a breastfeeding veteran.  I took the antibiotic and the fever and symptoms improved in a day or 2.  I did wonder if they would have improved anyway without the antibiotic but I was just torturing myself by thinking that way.  I did need it after 14 days of a fever, maybe should have gone in a little sooner.


I was so confused as to why I was having so many problems.  I felt like I was doing everything right by now and didn’t understand how one mild engorgement could lead to 14 straight days with a fever and mastitis/plugged duct.   About 1-2 weeks after taking the antibiotic it was deja vu!  How on Earth could this be possible, I was incredibly annoyed!  Again, I woke one night with very mild engorgement and a day later the dreaded headache followed by fever a few hours later.  I went back to the frequent nursing and Icing, pumping when needed and gave it a day or 2 before I called in the troops.  I emailed Jessica to tell her it was starting again.  I told her exactly what was going on and shared my frustration, wondering why I continue to have problems despite following all the recommendations.  I also mentioned to her that at Walt’s postpartum midwife visit, we were told he may be borderline Tongue Tied.

Tongue tie can be defined as a structural abnormality of the lingual frenum.   When the frenum is normal, it is elastic and does not interfere with the movements of the tongue in sucking, eating, clearing food off the teeth in preparation for swallowing and, of course, in speech. When it is short, thick, tight or broad it has an adverse effect on oromuscular function, feeding and speech. It can also cause problems when it extends from the margin of the tongue and across the floor of the mouth to finish at the base of the teeth.” –

Our midwives weren’t too concerned because Walt appeared to be nursing fine and was WAY ahead of the game in the weight gaining department.  Most babies with tongue tie have A LOT of trouble nursing and gaining weight.  They did suggest we talk to Dr. Hazelbaker (more about her below) or our pediatrician about it.  We planned to ask our pediatrician to look at his tongue at his appointment in a few weeks.  In the mean time we also Asked 2 dentists and both took a look and said it looked mild at worst and probably wouldn’t need treated.  Jessica responded and recommended the same regimen that helped before but also suggested I schedule an appointment with Dr. Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, a lactation consultant who does lymphatic drainage, and happens to be an expert on the condition of Tongue Tie.  She also is a CranioSacral Therapist.  I promptly contacted Dr. Hazelbaker and scheduled an appointment for Monday.  It was friday and Dr. Hazelbaker was kind enough to give me her cell phone number in case I ran into problems over the weekend before my appointment (which I did).  Despite the icing and frequent nursing my fever was climbing Saturday evening.  I took a hot shower to calm the body chills I was getting and that hot shower really spiked the fever, 104.2!  I typically like to let fever’s run their course.  The body is smart and creates a fever for a purpose – to kill an infection.  But this was a bit high for my liking (damage can start to occur above 105 deg).  I took 2 Ibuprofen but the fever was still holding strong.  I wanted to take a cold bath (well didn’t really want to but needed to) but just my luck, a thunderstorm was in our area so that was out.  I could have called my doctor but it was Saturday evening and I figured they would just have a recording saying something to the effect of “In case of emergency call 911, otherwise call back during business hours”, neither of which I thought sounded good.  I decided to take a 3rd Ibuprofen and started icing my neck and groin areas where a lot of superficial blood vessels exist.  It appeared to be working because I was starting to sweat!  Within 20 minutes the fever was down below 102 and dropping, wheeew!  I was so glad when Monday finally arrived and I could get to my appointment.  Dr. Hazelbaker was great!  Right away she noticed a very deep plugged duct.  She did a lymphatic drainage technique and I could feel immediate relief!  She also observed me nursing Walt and gave me some tips on how to hold him so he stays latched on (I didn’t even realize he wasn’t staying on appropriately).  She then checked Walt with her own Tongue Tie Assessment method (Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function (ATLFF)) and determined he was Tongue Tied.

Tongue Tied

Photo from

There was a definitive deficit in the function and range of motion of his tongue, despite his tongue appearance not scoring too bad.  This is why we weren’t in a hurry to get his tongue looked at initially.  2 dentists and 2 midwives, 4 practitioners had looked at his tongue already and it appeared to be mild tongue tie if that.  They all had seen much worse cases with many more obvious symptoms so Walt’s was tricky and not that obvious even to a trained eye.  Dr. Hazelbaker has done extensive studies on this condition including writing a book.  She concluded the Tongue Tie was not allowing Walt to suck appropriately and he was unable to empty those deeper ducts causing the frequent plugged ducts and all of my symptoms.  She mentioned it could also cause him to have large belches and increased drooling, both of which I had noticed – some monster burps and drooling at 10 weeks like a teething baby!  It all made sense and I was relieved to finally know what was causing all the engorgement.  If left untreated it could cause speech problems in the future. The solution was simple, to have his tongue clipped.  It was a vary simple procedure and was quick and painless (for Walt, but harder for me watching).  He is now 4 months and we haven’t had a problem sense!  I hope to write more about tongue tie and the clipping procedure in the future.  I am so grateful to have figured out the cause of my nursing challenges and to have it all taken care of now.  Thanks to Jessica for all of her help and Dr. Hazelbaker for her expertise and care, and of course to our wonderful midwives who gave me info and directed me Jessica and Dr. H.

Lessons Learned – Quick tips if you are getting engorged

  1. Before giving birth, find a lactation consultant to have incase you need help.  Ask them questions before birth and don’t be afraid to call them if you have a question. 
  2. Nurse often if – every 2 hours – 24 hours/day when engorgement is bad
  3. Completely empty one side before switching to the second
  4. If needed, pump to get both sides emptied
  5. Ice your breasts if you have signs of inflammation/plugged ducts/mastitis i.e. redness, heat, hard nodules, pain, swelling.  Intense icing 15 minutes EVERY hour may be needed for 24-48 hours or longer
  6. Anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen may be needed.
  7. Monitor your temperature
  8. Lymphatic drainage works!  Find a practitioner in your area if you get plugged ducts
  9. If your baby might be Tongue Tied have it checked out sooner rather than later.  (some cases can look mild but still be problematic!)


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Breastfeeding Foe’s: Mastitis and Plugged Ducts

PART 1 – Be More Prepared than I was!

First of all, I have so many experiences to share with you on this topic that it was getting WAY too long for one post so I had to split it up (and probably will have many more to come)!  And, before I start, you should know I am a huge fan of breastfeeding!  I think it’s sad that so many moms out there either don’t do it or stop after a short time.  This post is not intended to scare anyone away from breastfeeding but to help you be better prepared for challenges than I was.  I hope this post will help prepare moms-to-be and help those who have had similar troubles to get through them successfully.  I nursed Jack about 26 months (my initial goal was 12 months).  I am now nursing my 2nd baby, Walt, who is 3 months old.

After Jack, my first born, I had 3 uncomfortable and frustrating bouts of what I thought was mastitis.  Breastfeeding was something I knew I wanted to do and would do but I just thought you put baby to breast and voila, thats it.  I didn’t read up on the topic, techniques, didn’t ask anyone for tips or advice on breastfeeding while I was pregnant.   I didn’t know anything about how to hold baby, what engorgement was, mastitis, that it could be challenging.  I think I just thought breastfeeding, you just do it and thats that.  I didn’t expect it to be hard or to run into any problems.

So when Jack was born, I tried to let him nurse right away, which he wasn’t interested in at first but an hour after birth he figured it out.  The first few days were a piece of cake.   It might sound weird but I was excited for my milk to come in.  It was all very intriguing to me, everything that was happening with my body related to pregnancy, birth and now breastfeeding.  It was empowering and amazing to me how my body would produce nourishing food, milk, that my baby would thrive on exclusively for some time and I was eager for it to come in and to nurse my baby boy!  However, when my milk did come in it was chaos!  Jack started becoming partial to the left side and avoided the right like the plague!  We later discovered it was due to his C1 vertebrae being fixed and tissue around it inflamed and it was easily corrected by chiropractic adjustments (by mom and dad).  This lead to engorgement.  All of the sudden my right breast just got huge.  I thought I was going to explode!  It became very painful.  I did have an electric pump and figured, that must be what those things are for!  Pumping gave me some temporary relief.  However I didn’t know anything about pumping either.  I don’t think I completely emptied the breast.  I just continued to pump when I started to get huge and painful again and did that repeatedly (it took a day or 2 to figure out why Jack wouldn’t nurse on my right side and to get it corrected).  The frequent pumping with my electric pump seemed to cause me to just produce more (supply and demand) and I was really getting fed up and could not get things under control for the life of me!  At our postpartum visit with our CHOICE midwives they suggested a hand pump (which they had several available in their awesome resource room) and to have Jack nurse on both sides each feeding and to nurse often.  I WAS only feeding Jack on one side per feeding (don’t know why, I guess I just thought that was how it was done and don’t know where that thought came from) and if he fell asleep for long periods (he only did that the first few days, then I don’t think he slept a full night until 2 yrs old!) I didn’t wake him to nurse.  So I would go sometimes 6+hours before nursing on one side, ya, no wonder I had problems!  Like I said, I knew nothing about techniques or protocol for breastfeeding.  Hint, hint, if you’r pregnant get advice, read, go to La Leche League website to get info BEFORE your baby is born.

After Jack was adjusted and willing to nurse on both sides and once I started nursing on both sides each feeding, nursing about every 2 hours, icing to reduce inflammation, and using the hand pump to relieve pressure if he didn’t empty both sides everything cleared up.  By everything I mean the flu-like symptoms I experienced including: fever, head ache, body ache, and extreme fatigue.  These symptoms came on shortly after the initial major engorgement I experienced.  I was never checked out by a doctor or lactation consultant to determine if it was a plugged duct or mastitis but whatever it was, it was resolved within a week thankfully (no meds required).  I had a similar experience 2 more times while breastfeeding Jack.  Both of which I believe followed weekend trips I made in which I had to bring my pump and not my baby.  I really felt that electric pump caused an increase in demand and therefore supply followed by engorgement and the rest of those “fun” symptoms.  While each episode I experienced was not fun at all, they all did manage to resolve themselves in about a week by nursing often, using the hand pump and icing when my breasts felt hot and sore.  I also did go to a few local La Leche League meetings.  It was nice to be around other nursing moms, many with years of experience.  I enjoyed talking with them and listening to their advice.  The rest of the 26 months of breastfeeding Jack went very smoothly!

Come back soon for Part 2:  The Second Time Around – New Challenges-  I thought it would be easier but new challenges presented themselves.  Come back to learn what they were!

I am also planing more posts on the benefits of breastfeeding, what exactly is mastitis and plugged ducts, natural remedies, and more!  So don’t forget to subscribe so don’t miss a post!

What challenges have you faced while breastfeeding and what did you do?

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