It can be a challenging time in many ways to have your baby placed in the NICU. It isn’t the new beginning that a new mother had hoped for when she pictures her precious cherub entering the world! Dr. Alan Greene, a practicing pediatrician and the author of Feeding Baby Green offers some helpful suggestions to families whose young infant has been placed in the NICU. There are things that the new mother and her supporting family members can do to that can make a difference – as outlined below. For more information, please visit Dr. Greene’s website.

Helpful Tips for the New Mother Whose Infant Is in the NICU

By Dr. Alan Greene

1) Breast milk is a powerful gift for babies in general, and all the more so for babies who start life in the NICU. If possible, it’s well worth the effort (for your baby’s health and for your own).

2) Many babies in the NICU can’t feed by mouth yet. Others can take oral feeds, but aren’t strong enough to nurse. Others could nurse but need extra fortification mixed with their feeds. In all of these situations, start pumping and saving breast milk as soon as practical.

3) Ask to see a lactation consultant, even if you’re not ready to start pumping or nursing. This could easily fall through the cracks in a NICU, so don’t wait, ask. They’ll be glad you did. (So will you and your baby!)

4) Be sure the containers you use to store and feed breast milk are free of BPA and phthalates — like all of the products made by BornFree. This goes for the pump and tubing too. BPA and phthalates act like hormones. No one benefits from being exposed, but this is especially true for vulnerable babies.

5) Hold your baby when you can, as appropriate. Skin-to-skin contact, also known as “kangaroo care” is even better. Sometimes the only contact may be a brush of your finger, but even that can be powerful.

6) Get the rest, food, support, and help you need for yourself. You deserve it. And it will help your baby too. Airplane instructions remind us, in the event of an emergency, to put on our own masks first, and then help our children. This wisdom applies to the NICU. First taking care of yourself helps your baby (and your milk supply) in many ways.

These NICU days may seem very long right now, but they will end and soon become a memory. Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of these unrepeatable moments.

Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician, the author of Feeding Baby Green, and the founder DrGreene.com. He is a Founding Partner of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, and on the Board of Directors of The Organic Center, and on the Advisory Board for Healthy Child, Healthy World. Intel named Dr. Greene the Children’s Health Hero of the Internet.

Dr. Greene is also affiliated with BORNFREE, BPA-Free feeding products for babies. BornFree’s bottles combine naturally with breastfeeding as the natural shape of the silicone nipples allows baby to alternate easily between breast and bottle. For more information, visit www.newbornfree.com.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient grain that has grown in South American for over 5000 years. The Incas actually considered it sacred and called it the “mother grain.” Although it is considered a grain, it is actually a “seed” that comes in a variety of colors, the most popular being white and red.

Quinoa contains many nutrients, including high amounts of fiber, iron, phosphorous, and protein. It actually contains 5 grams of protein per ¼ cup (dry) serving. It tastes great both cooked and sprouted.

Like all grains, it is important to RINSE them prior to use. Rinsing the Quinoa releases a soapy coating called “saponin.” In South America, the saponin collected after rinsing is used for washing clothes and as a healing aid.

Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa (either cook or sprout)
1 large ripe tomato (chopped)

1 small red onion (chopped)

½ red pepper (chopped)
Cilantro to taste (chopped)

1 TBSP olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

Preparation

  1. Mix sprouted or cooked quinoa, olive oil and salt in a stainless or glass bowl
  2. Fold in chopped vegetables
  3. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
  4. Enjoy!

*This recipe and photo were provided by Health and Nutrition Counselor Gina Van Luven. You can learn more about Gina and her healthy recipes by going to www.YOUniqueNutrition.com.*

Soothing relief for sore, cracked and dry nipples is in sight with miniOrganics Nipple Balm! Made with 100% organic ingredients, so it is safe for mom and baby, this award-winning balm is enriched with organic shea butter, jojoba, avocado and infused calendula oils. A little goes a long way when seeking relief from irritation, and the jar is sized just right for tucking into a diaper bag or purse. Moms’ will love the fact that all of the ingredients are certified organic, which means the balm does not need to be washed off before baby starts to breastfeed again.

This lovely, soothing nipple balm by miniOrganics was created in Australia, along with an entire line of infant products, organic goodies for the new mother, and a gorgeous gift selection. The philosophy is simple – miniOrganics only formulates pure, natural and certified organic products! Every single product is free from genetically modified ingredients, pesticide residues, petrochemicals, sulphates and parabens. You can learn more here.

To order, please visit their website.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Melissa Rojas is Certified Medical Assistant and a Certified Lactation Counselor working at a pediatric primary care office in Takoma Park, Maryland. She offers practical tips and suggestions as the new mother prepares to breastfeed her newborn infant. A BIG thanks to Melissa for providing such detailed tips for this article!

10 Steps to Simple Breastfeeding

By Melissa Rojas, CMA, CLC

1. Nurse often.

  • Feed my baby ON DEMAND.
  • Feed my baby every time she/he:

+ puts hands in mouth

+ turns head to the side and opens mouth

+ makes lots of eye movements while sleeping

  • Keep my baby close to me.

2. Get help.

  • Get help from a professional, (someone who has breastfed exclusively).
  • Make sure my doctors can inform me about breast milk and breastfeeding.

3. Enjoy my baby.

  • Spend time with my baby. SKIN to SKIN.
  • Politely ask friends and family to help with errands and housework.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • Keep my baby close.
  • If I need a break, pump then take a break.

4. I have confidence in MYSELF and my milk.

  • My early milk IS enough.
  • I do not need to give my baby any artificial milk.
  • Keep my baby close.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • I CAN do this! I CAN give my baby the best!

5. Tell the nurses at the hospital.

  • “I am going to breastfeed.”
  • “I want to keep my baby SKIN to SKIN until my baby latches on.”

6. Talk to breastfeeding moms.

  • Talk to moms who only breastfeed.
  • Ask questions.
  • Go to next La Leche Leaque Meeting: ______________ Call (301) 589-8675 for more information.
  • Check if my hospital/birth center has breastfeeding clinics.

7. Make friends with my breasts.

  • My breasts are a part of my body and were made to feed babies.
  • I should not be ashamed to feed my baby in public.
  • Wear comfortable bras and clothes.

8. Buy a good pump.

  • What pump is best for me?
  • How many hours will I be working?
  • How often will I use it?
  • Start pumping and storing 2-3 weeks before I go back to work. (Never pump while pregnant.)

9. Tell everyone I am going to breastfeed.

  • Tell my family and friends.
  • Tell my babysitter and my job.
  • Tell my OB and my baby’s pediatrician.
  • Let them know, “I am going to feed my baby.”

10. Make a plan.

  • Why do I want to breastfeed?
  • What is exclusive breastfeeding?
  • How long should I breastfeed? How long do I want to breastfeed?

In addition, Melissa Rojas also recommends the following as a basic starter kit for breastfeeding:

Baby wearing gear (sling, etc.)

Comfortable and ergonomic nursing bra

Breast pads

Dual electric daily-use breast pump (if you are returning to work for > 30hrs/week)

Nursing tanks (to be able to wear your regular clothes over and not expose your tummy)

A good support network (friends and family that are aware and support your commitment to breastfeeding, this means you must tell them before the baby is born)

A breastfeeding knowledgeable OB/pediatrician

New moms will love this fresh frittata for breakfast (or anytime!) that packs 16.7 grams of protein per serving. This light, airy egg dish by Linda Eckhardt of The Silver Cloud Diet is ready in about 20 minutes – perfect for the time-crunched family!

Asparagus Frittata

Ingredients

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Preparation

Heat olive oil into a 10-inch oven-proof frying pan over medium high heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until the asparagus are barely tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour in eggs and cook until almost set, but still runny on top, about 2 minutes. While cooking, pre-heat oven broiler.

Sprinkle cheese over eggs and put in oven to broil until cheese is melted and browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven with oven mitts and slide frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.

*Recipe courtesy of Linda Eckhardt of the Silver Cloud Diet. Please visit The Silver Cloud Diet for more delightfully simple and healthy recipes!*

Moms, drink to your baby’s good health! Mamatini™ is the first-ever, doctor-designed, ready-to-drink, organic herbal infusion created to help women breastfeed better, easier, and for longer. This lovely drink is best served chilled or over ice, so not only is it good for you and for your baby, but it is refreshing, as well! Mamatini™ contains fenugreek, fennel, chamomile and ginger – herbs that have been used for centuries to address the challenges that can accompany breastfeeding. Mamatini was designed by a pediatrician to help increase milk supply, increase energy and increase overall good health for mom and baby. Full of zip, with a delightful gingermint flavor from both organic ginger and organic spearmint – this will definitely become your postpartum drink of choice!

To learn more about the benefits of drinking Mamatini™, or to order, please visit www.drinkmamatini.com. Their website is chock full of tips and additional information for the breastfeeding mommy! Right now, you can get free shipping on your first order of Mamatini™ with the promo code SHIPFREE. Drink up!

Mamatini was created by Erica Duignan Minnihan, a former venture capitalist, MBA and mother of 3 who was frustrated by her inability to find a delicious and convenient beverage to support her body’s needs while she was breastfeeding. Tired of brewing fenugreek tea at all hours of the day and night, she decided to collaborate with her pediatrician on a formula that would support a woman’s milk supply and take a holistic approach to her needs as a new mom, helping her body absorb more vitamins and minerals and increasing her energy. The result is Mamatini.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers was created by Danielle Heller to provide solutions to everyday challenges facing working mothers. The Toolkit is filled with easy-to-use tools including planners, tear-off pads, a CD with downloadable templates, wallet-size forms, and much more.

Within the Smart Solutions Toolkit there are a number of resources to help new moms continue to breastfeed after returning to work. The creator of the Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers, Danielle Heller, is a working, nursing mother of two. She nursed both of her daughters for two years (as recommended by the World Health Organization) and pumped at work for 18 months with each child. When she re-entered the workplace after her maternity leave, Danielle, like so many other working mothers, returned to a workplace that did not provide adequate breast milk pumping space. She created a Breast Milk Pumping Space Proposal Template (one of the resources provided in the Smart Solutions Toolkit) to help gain the support of her employer as she worked to provide her daughters with the optimal nutrition that breastfeeding provides. As a major supporter of working breastfeeding mothers, Danielle has incorporated a number of resources to help other mothers successfully breastfeed/pump after returning to work. Among them are the following tips.

Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

Breastfeeding Tip 1:

Gaining worksite support for moms who wish to continue to breastfeed after returning to work can make a tremendous difference in decreasing the challenges associated with pumping at work. More and more, forward-thinking companies are realizing the significant benefits of providing support for their working mother employees. The Breast Milk Pumping Space Proposal Template outlines the business case for why employers should support breastfeeding mothers and how it can ultimately improve their bottom-line.

Breastfeeding Tip 2:

As my mother always told me, practice makes perfect. Pumping is no exception. One of the worst mistakes new mothers make is not “learning” how to pump before they go back to work. It takes practice, and trying to figure it out on the first day back in the office, or the week before starting, can be a recipe for failure. Nursing moms should start pumping weeks before returning to work, not only to store-up on breast milk for the baby, but also to get used to learning how to pump efficiently and effectively.

Breastfeeding Tip 3:

Thank goodness for convenience items when it comes to pumping at work. Some favorites: Microwavable Steam Sterilizer and Microwavable Sterilizer Bags (to sterilize bottle and breast pump parts at work), travel sterilization wipes, zip-lock breast milk storage bags, breast milk car adapter/battery pack. I would also suggest purchasing a hands-free pumping bra and a trendy pashmina or large scarf for extra security and privacy (perfect for pumping in the car or other less than ideal locations).

On a personal note from Danielle:

I am a firm believer that nursing (when possible) provides major health benefits for both the infant and mother. Expressing breast milk not only has a positive impact on the immediate health of the infant and mother, but also establishes the basis for a healthy future. It’s not easy, but it is worth the effort, and the Smart Solutions Toolkit is there to help.

To learn more, visit www.smartsolutionstoolkit.com. The toolkit is available online as of August 1st, 2010.

*Company provided information and images for this article. This is not a paid advertorial*

Nourish the new mama with this quick and healthy Zucchini Mash, provided by Linda Eckhardt of The Silver Cloud Diet. This lovely dish makes an excellent side to any entree and is ready in minutes!

Huge Zucchini Mash

Ingredients

1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large garlic clove, smashed
2 pounds zucchini (can be one big baseball bat sized one or several smaller ones) whacked into pieces
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/3 cup finely sliced green onions and tops

Preparation

Saute the pepper in oil and butter in a wide 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add zucchini, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, then cook at a brisk simmer, covered, until tender. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, transfer the mixture to the food processor. Process zucchini to a rough puree then stir in green onions and more butter to taste. Serve hot.

*Image and recipe courtesy of Linda Eckhardt of the Silver Cloud Diet. Please visit The Silver Cloud Diet for more delightfully simple and healthy recipes!*

From Traditional Medicinals® comes Organic Mother’s Milk®, a delicious tea made of a combination of fennel, anise, and coriander that supports healthy lactation* and traditionally encourages breastmilk production* in the breastfeeding mama. Slightly sweet, with a hint of spice, Organic Mother’s Milk® is simply delightful and perfect for sipping while enjoying those first tender moments at home with your newborn. Certified USDA Organic, Traditional Medicinals® Organic Mother’s Milk® is recommended by lactation consultants and medical herbalists.

To brew a cup of Organic Mother’s Milk® properly, pour 8oz. of boiling water in a mug over the tea bag, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Gently squeeze the tea bag to allow any remnants remaining to be extracted, and sweeten lightly, if desired. Simply delightful!

Organic Mother’s Milk® can be found at retailers nationwide, such as Whole Foods and other health food stores. For more information, please visit their website.

*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

This is Chef Jacques Haeringer’s favorite late-night snack after a day of cooking in a hot kitchen!

MY FAVORITE CHEF SALAD

By Chef Jacques Haeringer

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette:

1 small garlic clove, chopped

½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

½ teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon or parsley

3 teaspoons vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

For the Salad:

4 ounces beef tenderloin or flank steak

2 ounces raw milk cheese (gruyère or cheddar)

2 ounces salad greens (small handful)

2 tablespoons each julienne carrot, beets, and celery

4 stalks raw asparagus

1 tablespoon of bean or spicy sprouts

Preparation

TO PREPARE THE VINAIGRETTE:

Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a small bowl and beat together with a whisk until they are well blended. Gradually beat in the oil. Taste and adjust seasonings.

TO PREPARE THE SALAD:

Place beef in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to facilitate slicing. While beef is chilling, prepare the salads.

Wash and thoroughly drain the salad greens. Divide the prepared greens between two serving plates. Wash, peel, and julienne the vegetables and scatter over the salad greens.

Julienne the cheese and set aside.

Remove the beef from the freezer and thinly slice. Divide the beef and then the prepared cheese and scatter over the prepared vegetables and salad greens. Place a small bunch of sprouts on top of the cheese.

Pepper the salads and pour the vinaigrette over the two salads. Serve at once. Serves 2.

Hint: Plate the salads, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate ahead of time. Pour the vinaigrette over just prior to serving.

Copyright Chef Jacques Haeringer from Two for Tonight,

Bartleby Press; $26.95; ISBN: 0-910155-43-7

Chef Jacques is one of America’s most respected and innovative culinary personalities. Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Jacques loves to create and serve contemporary French fare at his restaurant, L’Auberge Chez François, in Great Falls, Virginia. His menus feature reinterpreted Alsatian and French cuisine for American palates. When he isn’t in the kitchen, he can be found teaching his popular gourmet cooking classes. Jacques is often asked to author magazine articles, cook up recipes at culinary events, and to be a guest on television and radio shows across the country.

Jacques is the author of Two for Tonight, a collection of recipes that inspire romance through food and togetherness, and the Chez François Cookbook, the bible of classic Alsatian cuisine featuring some of the restaurant’s most popular recipes. He lives in Northern Virginia and is currently working on a new cookbook and television show.

“Tradition Lives on at L’Auberge Chez Francois” – The Washington Post features L’Auberge Chez François in their Spring 2010 Dining Guide. http://tinyurl.com/2fymvxy/ And for a video visit of the restaurant, go to: http://tinyurl.com/33wta6l

For more information on L’Auberge Chez François, Chef Jacques, and his books and cooking classes, visit him online at www.ChefJacques.com, Facebook @JacquesHaeringer, and Twitter @ChefJacquesH.