Beating Candidiasis (fungal infection) with Breastfeeding-Friendly Supplements

Beating Candidiasis (fungal infection) with Breastfeeding-Friendly Supplements

Candidia albicans is a common fungus. It can live in parts of the body such as in the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. When it overgrows, however, it can penetrate the intestine, enter the bloodstream and colonize internal organs such as the kidney, heart, or brain. Candidiasis is the clinical name for this overgrowth. 

Many breastfeeding mothers are familiar with the painful fungal infection of the nipple called thrushHowever, when I lived in Switzerland, I learned that nipple thrush is practically unknown there. That’s probably because Swiss doctors do not prescribe antibiotics as frequently as doctors in the US, (antibiotics make the body more vulnerable to fungal infection). The Swiss mostly ate a whole-foods diet, which include condiments, (onions, garlic, ginger) that are naturally anti-fungal.

Candidiasis contributes to a condition called leaky gut or a permeable intestinal lining. With a leaky gut, the cells of the intestinal lining are not tightly bound together. This allows tiniest food molecules and toxins to pass through the lining into the bloodstream.

Candidiasis is opportunistic, that is, it overgrows and invades the body if the immune system is unable to fight it off. Many people who have a compromised immune system, chronic fatigue, inflammatory conditions, or foggy brain have a candidiasis infection. Resolving fungal infection can be tricky – but it’s absolutely worth the trouble.

The short-term use of a medication called Nystatin is considered safe for a breastfeeding mother, but many fungal infections require a long-term approach to eradicate the problem.

A successful, long-term approach is:

1) eliminate mold from the home (plus other gut-irritating chemicals);

2) eat a whole-foods diet including gut-healing broths; remove all foods made with refined sugar (but some fruit and berries is okay) and

3) develop a long-term rotation schedule with the supplements described below.

This approach will gradually reduce the candidiasis while allowing your intestine and organs to heal.

 

Breastfeeding, Milk Supply, Herbal Antifungals

Not all antifungal supplements are suitable for breastfeeding mothers. Oregano oil is a case in point. Although oregano oil is one of the strongest anti-fungals, oregano oil sometimes reduces milk supply.  

Keep oregano oil in mind for later, after weaning. I like this particular NOW brand because it also contains oils of fennel and ginger, and both are good for intestinal healing.

 

Grapefruit Seed Extract is a strong antifungal that safe for milk supply. With a liquid product such as this one by NutriBiotic, you can modulate your dosage from just 1 – 2 drops in a cup of water to 5 – 10 drops. The option to create your own best dosage lets you have full control. This may feel strange and uncomfortable for those who have always followed strict dosage requirements, but I do recommend starting a low dose and learning how to listen” to your body.

If you find the acidity of Grapefruit Seed extract to be a problem, combine the GSE with a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. This will neutralize the acidity.

 

Food grade baking soda is available at many Health Food markets or online.

Cautions: do not combine grapefruit seed extract with domperidone or fluconazole.

 

Caprylic Acid is that part of coconut oil that is most strongly antifungal. Many people find caprylic acid to be particularly powerful. Start slowly, just one capsule a day. If you do not experience “die-off” (see below), continue increasing the dosage.

Garlic is an excellent antifungal. However, it is also effective at lowering blood pressure, so take care. This Garlic oil product is odorless.

 

Acacia Fiber (also called “gum arabic”). Take up to one tablespoon daily in yogurt, juice, or water, or blended into juices and smoothies. Acacia fiber has many benefits. It is antimicrobial both against bacteria and fungus. It “smooths” and “coats” the contents of the bowels, relieving constipation. In a study1 from 2012, a daily snack of acacia fiber in yogurt with Bifidus lactobacilli improved both constipation and diarrhea in persons with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Good to know!

Turmeric: To fully eradicate a fungal infection, we have to dissolve the biofilms where they hide throughout the body. Some enzymes achieve this, and another way is to use turmeric. It is antifungal, antibacterial, a biofilm-buster, plus it supports lactation.

Turmeric relieves muscle aches and joint pain by acting as an anti-inflammatory. It is protective against brain damage and memory loss. Overall, it is worthwhile to learn how to “stomach” a simple dose of turmeric every day, or as needed.

“Golden milk is a popular way to drink turmeric. This product is made with dates, cardamom, ashwaganda, and other herbs that are both immune supportive and lactogenic.

 

I personally make for myself the simple, fast, and inexpensive version: a half-teaspoon of turmeric powder, stirred into a cup of water and quickly swallowed down. If you don’t mind the taste, a very small shake of black pepper into the turmeric improves its bioavailability.

 

Olive leaf extract is a home-remedy must-have, and Herbpharm is one of my favorite brands. Although olive leaf has not been safety-tested for breastfeeding, it is widely used as an herbal antibiotic by breastfeeding mothers. It is also a powerful antifungal. I would use it at a low dosage along with the other antifungal products, several times a day.

When I did this treatment, I alternated the products, a few of the supplements one week, another few the next week. You have to see how you react to the supplements; everyone is different.

About Fungal “Die-Off”

Some people go through a phase of feeling tired, foggy-brained and toxic when using antifungal supplements. This can be due to a large and sudden die-off of the fungi.

“Die-Off” is a period of time in which your body is dealing with a flood of dead cells from the fungi. They are now in your blood and as they pass through your body and organs, you may notice sudden fatigue, brain-fog, or even a flare-up of a rash or arthritic pain.

This is a sign that the supplements are working, but that your detox organs need time to catch up with the extra detox work. Eventually, your liver will neutralize the toxins. Depending on the degree of the infection, and the pace of your liver, the symptoms of Die-Off might last 1 – 3 hours or 1- 3 days.

If this happens to you, back off the supplements, drink a lot of water, and rest. Trust that you will soon feel better.

While “die-off” sounds like bad news, it is actually very good to know about the possibility and to be mentally prepared for it. As you go forward with the treatment, the periods of Die-Off should become less strong and less frequent.

If you have access to a healthcare practitioner or MD with a foundation in “functional medicine,” they are your best bet for clarity and continuity of treatment. Functional MDs are trained to connect the dots and get a handle on these somewhat mysterious health conditions and opportunistic organisms.

 

  1. Min YW, Park SU, Jang YS, et al. Effect of composite yogurt enriched with acacia fiber and Bifidobacterium lactis. World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(33):4563-4569. doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i33.4563

 

 

Food Molecules pass from Mom to Baby: one cause of Infant Colic and Infant Allergy

Food Molecules pass from Mom to Baby: one cause of Infant Colic and Infant Allergy

Nursing mothers often ask if the food they eat might be triggering their baby’s fussiness, digestive discomfort, and allergies. The answer is a cautious yesquite possibly.

We know that during pregnancy, large molecules from food can pass from a mother’s intestine into her bloodstream and reach the baby in the womb.

These molecules do not belong in the womb. Naturally, they trigger a defensive immune reaction in the baby, pre-conditioning the baby to launch another immune reaction when they encounter these same food molecules in their mother’s milk.

Leaky Gut and Prenatal Exposure

Please note: whole food molecules are not supposed to be present in the bloodstream or in the womb. They are supposed to be broken into their smallest components while in the intestine – into amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins – before being allowed into the body.

When food molecules leak into the bloodstream, it is a sign that the intestinal lining is damaged, is perforated with tiny holes that allow these larger molecules to pass through.

A permeable intestine also called a “leaky gut,” is sadly not rare. Many of us have a permeable intestine to some extent because of the foods we eat, the medications we take and the toxins we are exposed to. This means that many of our babies are exposed to food molecules while in the womb.

Researchers believe that prenatal exposure to food molecules may be a major cause of infant colic and allergy. They believe that this exposure pre-conditions unborn babies to respond with inflammation when they encounter these same food molecules later on in their mother’s milk. This is particularly the case if there is a history of allergy or autoimmune disease in the family.

A study from 2016 affirms this association. Researchers looked at the amniotic fluid from several mothers mid-pregnancy and were able to identify ten major food allergens in the fluid, including from cow’s milk, fruit, egg, fish, nuts, and wheat.1 This means that these babies were being preconditioned to respond with inflammation to these foods–and indeed, that colicky babies are in a state of mild “systemic inflammation.”7

Inflammation, Flora, Colic

Inflammation can show up in different ways in a baby. It can show up as insomnia, wheezing, rashes, eczema, fussiness, restlessness and unhappiness, and also infant colic: the severe digestive pain that repeats nearly every day in about 20% of babies, starting at 2-3 weeks after childbirth and resolving at between 3-4 months of age.

Decades ago, infant colic was a medical mystery. Even today, many pediatricians, MDs, and pediatric nurses are not up-to-date on the research and do not know the causes or best treatments for infant colic. Because it is fairly common (20-40% of all babies worldwide) infant colic has been normalized. Instead of receiving useful information, parents are often patted on the back and assured that colic is normal and will pass.

Another area of research has looked into the intestinal flora of colicky and non-colicky infants. It turns out that the intestinal flora of colicky babies is colonized by fewer strains of helpful bacteria and yeasts compared to the flora of non-colicky infants. The “depleted” flora of colicky babies makes their intestine more permeable and more prone to inflammation.

Research shows that the quality of the intestinal flora is better in babies who have been born vaginally and who are breastfed and that these babies have less infant colic. However, not all vaginally born and breastfed babies are free of infant colic–far from it.

In any case, a 2020 study examined the very first stool of meconium after childbirth of babies who went on to develop infant colic and those who did not, and found that the difference already exists at this time.2

Mom’s own Health Impacts her Baby

Other research has noted connections between the mother’s diet during pregnancy as well as her long-term health history and her baby’s tendency to develop allergies and develop other health problems.3 4

Researchers are actively looking into ways to improve the mother’s diet and intestinal health, so as to bring improvement to both the mother and her prospective children.5

This is doubly important because research now also documents that infant colic–once considered normal and harmless–is predictive of digestive problems, allergy, and even learning and neurological problems later in life.6

I personally take infant colic very seriously, having gone through it with my first-born and wishing I had known then what I know now. In my book Mother Food I describe many of these entangled factors and suggest ways to unwind them and improve everyone’s health and wellbeing. I believe it is possible to prevent infant colic or to improve the symptoms of infant colic, in almost all cases, and that this should be a top priority for new parents and their healthcare providers.

For more information about treating candidiasis naturally (fungal infection is a common component of a permeable intestine and the proclivity for allergies and autoimmune disease) see the article here.

*

This blogpost began by answering the question: does the food that a mother eats somehow get into her milk and trigger her baby’s colic? The short answer is yes. The long answer has to do with the mother’s permeable intestinal lining, with a baby’s depleted flora, and with other factors that influence the baby’s proclivity to develop allergies. Indeed, many areas of research today are describing links between a mother’s health and her baby’s tendencies toward health or disease.

The good news is that parents can improve their own and their baby’s intestinal flora and resilience to inflammation and that the long-term benefits for the entire family are significant.

  1. Pastor‐Vargas, C, Maroto, AS, Díaz‐Perales, A, Villalba, M, Esteban, V, Ruiz‐Ramos, M, de Alba, MR, Vivanco, F, Cuesta‐Herranz, J. Detection of major food allergens in amniotic fluid: initial allergenic encounter during pregnancy. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2016: 27: 716– 720.
  2. Korpela, K., Renko, M., Paalanne, N. et al. Microbiome of the first stool after birth and infantile colic. Pediatr Res 88, 776–783 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-020-0804-y
  3. Kim et al., Maternal Perinatal Dietary Patterns Affect Food Allergy Development in Susceptible Infants. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 7:2337-2347.e7 (2019) 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.03.026
  4. Rhoads et al., Infant Colic Represents Gut Inflammation and Dysbiosis, The Journal of Pediatrics, 2018: 203: 55-61.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.07.042.
  5. 1.Hurd L. Optimizing the Microbiome and Immune System With Maternal Diet in Pregnancy and Lactation May Prevent Food Allergies in Infants. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. 2015;7(4):212-216. doi:10.1177/1941406415595861
  6. Savino, F., Castagno, E., Bretto, R., Brondello, C., Palumeri, E. and Oggero, R. (2005), A prospective 10‐year study on children who had severe infantile colic. Acta Pædiatrica, 94: 129-132. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb02169.x
  7. Pärtty, Anna; Kalliomäki, Marko; Salminen, Seppo; Isolauri, Erika Infantile Colic Is Associated With Low-grade Systemic Inflammation, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: May 2017 – Volume 64 – Issue 5 – p 691-695 doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001340

Blue Borage Prayer

Blue Borage Prayer

Your furry leaves and blue starflowers,
summon bees at all the hours,
throughout spring and throughout summer,
summon all the honey mummers.

Look how their nimble legs alight
on tiny flowers’ azure shade,
they stay to taste your honeydew,
then zip away.

Whilst bumbles, yellows, tiny blues
are drunk, imbibing your sweet nectar,
they take no note of this defector,
absorbing in the view.

All I long for, all day long –
as here I sit, and hear their song,
(the buzz and zip as they fly past,
performing their important task) –

Is just to sit, and sit just here
‘til your blue starflower light appears,
and I imbibe its Grace.

Oh, nurturing Light! So brief, and clear!
When furry leaves wilt and winter is near,
renew my strength to love, and grieve,
for all starflowers gone to seed.

And so I stand, and now I go,
from bees, and light, and furry leaves,
return to children, love, and strife —
and all the tasks and joys of life.

-Hilary Jacobson, 2020

Borage is a beloved vegetable garden plant although only minimally used as food or medicine. It is beloved because of its flowers, called starflowers, and its ability to call bees into the garden, which are needed to fertilize the flowers of the fruit trees, peas, tomatoes, and so on.

Borage leaves however can be dried and infused as a tea, and the flowers can be plucked and added to salad or also infused to make tea. Their effect is mood-lifting and energizing, PLUS borage is also a galactagogue, that is, the leaves and flowers encourage milk production.

My book on growing and using lactogenic foods and herbs is almost ready for publication in November 2020. It will encompass both indoor and outdoor gardens, with easy-grow plants and protocols to support milk supply. I pray it will help families succeed in maintaining a good milk supply through any second or third waves or shut-downs during this coming winter and all following winters and years.

This poem, Blue Borage Prayer, is a tribute to the experience of the gardening parent. Pausing in the middle of a busy day, she is absorbed into the dance of sunlight and bees on the indescribable blue color of borage flowers. OK – full disclosure, this describes me.

Calcium – its role for lactation

Calcium – its role for lactation

 

 Apricots — one of our strongest lactogenic fruit, and especially rich in calcium.

Calcium and magnesium work together to maintain healthy nerves, strong muscles, and a rhythmic heartbeat. In the brain, they promote neural activity and act as a natural antidepressant. A lack of calcium and magnesium can lead to insomnia, irritability, exhaustion, mental confusion, heart rhythm problems, and depression, among other difficulties, in adults. In children, a lack of these minerals has been implicated in allergic and behavioral disorders.

Calcium and magnesium may also be crucial to maintaining a good supply of milk. It is recommended that we supplement these minerals together, in a ratio of two or three times as much calcium as magnesium, or 2-3:1. Some experts, however, suggest we supplement on a ratio of 1:1, as many people are sorely deficient in magnesium.

 

 

 

 

Black Sesame – rich in calcium, and a strong galactagogue food

1000 mg of calcium is the daily requirement—1200 mg for breastfeeding women—in the US. Many adult women are deficient in calcium in spite of a diet rich in calcium-fortified foods. What is wrong with this picture? Traditional peoples around the world get far less calcium than we do: 400 – 600 mg of calcium per day is the norm. Even so, there are seldom signs of calcium deficiency in cultures that have maintained their whole-foods diet.

Check out Weston A. Price’s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration for photographic documentation of the teeth of indigenous peoples, before and after they began eating a diet of refined foods. In the before pictures, we see wide jaws and beautiful strong teeth, free of cavities. The after pictures feature the narrow jaws and crooked teeth so common to industrialized societies.

The reason Americans lack calcium is not that we eat too little calcium-rich foods, but because our diet causes calcium to be leeched from our bones and teeth. We can make better use of our calcium intake by improving our dietary habits.

 

 

 

Almonds are calcium-rich, and a very lactogenic nut.

Foods that Deplete Calcium:

Fibrous bulk is sometimes taken to reduce appetite and to promote regular bowel movements. Minerals bind to this fiber in the intestine, so that they pass through the intestine rather than into the bloodstream.

Protein. We often eat meals that are too heavy on protein (meat, eggs, milk). Excess protein is acid-forming. In order to protect tissues in the body from acidity, the body uses calcium to neutralize the acid. This is another reason that a high-protein diet can lead to a depletion of calcium.

Diuretics. Foods and medication that stimulate the kidney will cause minerals, including calcium, to be excreted into the urine. Herbal diuretics, such as nettle and dandelion, restore the minerals that they cause to be lost. Excessive protein will also cause the kidneys to go into overdrive and will lead to a loss of calcium.

Caffeine causes calcium to be excreted with urine. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and most carbonated beverages.

Excessive salt also causes calcium to be excreted with urine.

Phosphorus has to be in the right balance for calcium metabolism to work. Too little phosphorus prevents the body from using calcium. Too much and the excess phosphorus binds to calcium, pulling it right out of the bones.

Foods that are high in phosphorus are: dairy, meat, white flour, and carbonated soft drinks. These foods cause calcium to be pulled out of the bones—which is why people who eat meat regularly need to supplement with higher dosages of calcium.

Sugar decreases phosphorus in the blood. After eating sugar, phosphorus is so low that the body is unable to utilize calcium.

Keep Calcium in Your Bones

Reduce caffeine, white sugar, and table salt. Most people overdose on the sugar and salt found in processed foods, snacks, candy, and junk foods. Eat a whole-foods diet, and chose natural sugar sources that are rich in minerals—blackstrap molasses, malt syrup, maple syrup or honey. Use a quality, contaminant-free ancient sea salt, such as the affordable and easily available product RealSalt, derived from the ancient sea beds of Utah.

Limit animal protein—roughly three small to moderate servings a day, balanced with vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruit.

Sunlight. At least twenty minutes of sunlight each and every day on exposed skin, such as bare arms and legs, will provide the vitamin D necessary to utilize calcium, if you are a young, healthy person. (Sun through a window is not adequate.)

For most of us, sufficient daily exposure to sunlight is not possible and it is necessary to supplement with vitamin D.

Building sufficient amounts of vitamin D is essential to having a fully functioning, robust immune system.

 

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Premenstrual Dip in Milk Supply

Premenstrual Dip in Milk Supply

At about 3 – 4 months postpartum, some mothers get their first period. The taste of their milk changes temporarily and their supply can take a dip.

Afterward, her periods might recur in their monthly rhythm, or they may remain several months apart and only slowly become monthly.

To prevent the dip in milk supply, mothers take calcium and magnesium at a ration of 2:1 when they begin feeling hormonal or at ovulation (two weeks before the next expected period.)

Mothers whose diets are calcium-depleting (drinking caffeine, soft drinks, consuming a lot of sugar and refined carbs, or meat) should take 1000 mg of calcium a day, together with 500 mg of magnesium.

Larger body sizes may need more, and mothers on very healthy diets may need only half this amount.

You can use supplements that you may already have–or try the one linked just below. It uses four capsules for a full dose, making it easy to spread the dose throughout the day with one capsule taken before meals.

Calcium/Magnesium plus Vit D3

The way the dose is divided into small portions, you can increase or decrease the dose according to your individual needs :

By the way–if you tend toward menstrual cramps, the delicate herbal tea, Vervain officinalis, is milk-boosting and especially cramp-soothing. 2 – 3 cups a day. (You want Vervain officinalis, or Verbena Officinalis, not Blue Vervain or other variety.)

AVOCADO: HEALTHY BUT NOT LACTOGENIC

AVOCADO: HEALTHY BUT NOT LACTOGENIC

It is very tempting to add healthy, popular foods to a list of lactogenic foods and believe it’s okay.

But what if it’s not? What if not all healthy foods are actually lactogenic?

One likely candidate (healthy but not lactogenic) is the avocado. Though a wonderful food, delicious, nutrient-rich and healthy, does avocado, in fact, support milk supply?

I had chronic low milk supply with each of my four babies and my supply was very sensitive to the foods that I ate. Sadly, I found that avocado did not support my supply. In fact, I would notice a decrease in my supply on the days that I ate avocado.

Through my studies, I learned that anti-lactogenic foods are often acidic or astringent – they tighten, narrow and constrict tissues in the body. Lactogenic foods do the opposite: they soften, soothe and open the tissues of the body.

Avocado can have an acidic taste and astringent mouth feel. On research databases, I learned that avocado does have some astringent components.

More importantly, I learned about “persin,” a toxin concentrated in the leaves of the avocado tree. When avocado leaves are fed to lactating animals, persin damages their mammary tissue leading to mastitis and loss of milk production.[1] [2]

Persin is also found in the avocado fruit, though not in high concentration. Still, it’s there.

Is this why my milk supply dropped whenever I ate avocado?

I don’t know. Without research, it’s just my own personal experience.

For more evidence, we can look at the world’s pharmacopeia, meaning, at records of how a food or herb is used in traditional societies around the world.

It turns out that the avocado is not named as a lactogenic food or a galactagogue in world medicine records. In contrast, the other fruit on my lactogenic foods and herbs list – figs, dates, papaya and mango – are all recorded in world medicine as galactagogues.

Now we have a degree of evidence that avocados are not lactogenic. They are astringent, they contain persin, and they are not included as a galactagogue in the world pharmacopeia.

Because of this, I would not include avocado on any list that is meant for mothers with true low milk supply – as from anemia, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, diabetes, PCOS, IGT, obesity or thyroid condition.

For me personally, if I were struggling to build my supply for any reason, I would avoid eating avocado until my supply fully stabilized.

Are you a mother who struggled to build her supply, and did so easily including avocado in your diet? Join me on my Mother Food facebook page and comment on this post. I’m eager for your feedback.


[1] Oelrichs, P.B., Ng J.C., Seawright A.A., Ward A., Schäffeler L., Macleod J.K. Isolation and identification of a compound from avocado (Persea americana) leaves which causes necrosis of the acinar epithelium of the lactating mammary gland and the myocardium. Natural Toxins. Volume 3, Issue 5 Sept/Oct 1995, pg 344-349

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persin

Soup Glorious Soup

Soup Glorious Soup

This November I had a thought: why not try eating the way mothers do in traditional postpartum diets – soup, soup, and more soup, every day, day after day, more soup. Let’s just do it and see what happens.

To my surprise, what happened was my getting incredibly filled with energy, being able to sleep better, and being more positive and optimistic in general. Essentially, what people describe happening with green drinks and celery juices has been happening to me with very many bowls of soup.

The recipe is simple (I love recipes that take no effort or brains to make).

  • I put water in a pot – about two quarts.
  • Then rinse off and add in some white rice, just a 1/4 cup.
  • I dice up whatever onion is left-over in the fridge and throw it in.
  • Then I slice in maybe two handfuls of whatever vegetable is begging to be used before it goes off – zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli.
  • And add a portion of whatever protein I have on hand: some fish, a bit of meat, a cut up hard-boiled egg, or legumes.
  • For flavoring I add a bay-leaf perhaps, a couple cloves of garlic maybe, about a teaspoon of sea-salt, and here’s the final touch: I also throw in seaweed, usually nori as it tastes the least like ocean water.
  • Let it simmer quite a while. The rice should be really soft, even “exploding” and the fats and juices of the protein and vegetables will permeate the water. Now it’s ready.
  • If you possibly can, don’t add any dairy or butter or other oil. Let the ingredients create the broth. If you want more taste, add a pinch of a non-GMO broth cube.

The main thing to watch for about this soup is that it is not thick like stew. It’s watery, light, drinkable. But so nourishing. And absolutely hydrating because the rice and the seaweed help to maintain internal hydration.

I do like lazy cooking. But most of all, I appreciate the way that this typical postpartum diet makes me feel: light but not hungry, energized without nervous energy. It’s easier to get going. I also find myself dancing through the rooms of the house. Too much information?

I like it so much, I wanted to share the idea with you. You don’t have to be a new mother to try this experiment. Maybe you are a nurse, or lactation consultant, or doula. If so, wouldn’t it be great to try out how mothers in traditional cultures eat to recuperate after childbirth?

If you decide to try the postpartum diet of soup, wonderful, soup – let me know how it goes. Find me on FB and write a message on my Mother Food page.

Aboard the Motherhood Train

As we grow up and become adults, we think we are arriving at a place where we are in control of our lives – like at a station or a platform where we can confidently gauge and react to what’s going on.

But then we have children, and slowly it downs on us that we are not actually on a predictable platform but that we have boarded a train, a train rumbling along of its own volition, coming to us from the foggiest beginnings of time and leading we know not where. And we become aware that whereas before we might have thought we were the pulling engine and the driver of our life, we are really just one car in a long sequence of cars – our grandparents’ car is close behind us, behind them all the previous generations, and before us is a line of uncountable cars of future generations. We don’t know where the train is heading, there’s no way to know. We only know it is our job to give the best we can now to our children – and to figure out what that is while meeting multiple hurdles and challenges. And that takes all our energy and then some.

We sometimes wonder how past generations ever managed, how humanity survived to today, considering how challenging and mysterious it all is.

This post is just my way of saying to new parents, and older parents, that the way may be hard and confusing, but one we know in our hearts of hearts, that it is worth it.

A Tour of my Galactagogue Garden in mid-Spring

It’s the end of May, and I’m letting weeds grow out so I can identify what grows here and learn how to use them: wild mustard, wild lettuce, horsetail, sow’s thistle and more. I put together this little film as a first try – if the summer fires allow, I’ll spend time showing how to harvest and use these common medicinals for breastfeeding moms and our babies.