Homemade Chicken Stock

November 9th, 2014

DSC_9476

Roast chicken on Sunday evening is a tradition in our family.  Chicken is regularly on sale in local grocery stores, sometimes for as low as 99¢/lb.  But, grocery store chickens around here are all hefty, meaty birds.  A single roast chicken can provide enough meat for multiple meals for our four person family.  Adding to the bounty is the utility the carcass has as the foundation for homemade chicken stock.  Once you’ve had homemade stock, and homemade chicken soup made from it, you’ll never want to eat stock or soup from a can again.

After experimenting with recipes from cook books and online resources I’ve settled on the following:

Ingredients

  • Carcass of one roasted chicken cut into 6-8 large pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion minced
  • 1 large (or several smaller) yellow onions
  • 1 large (or 2 smaller) parsnip
  • 1 large (or 2 smaller) carrots
  • 1-2 stalks of celery
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of dill paste
  • 2-4 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 spring of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed with the skins removed
  • 1tblsp minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Montreal Chicken Seasoning

Preparation of carcass: Roast one 6-8lb chicken with one medium onion quartered and peeled stuffed into the cavity and a generous rub of Montreal Chicken Seasoning on the outside of the skin.  Have a delicious roast chicken dinner.  Pour pan drippings into a separate container (or a Ziploc bag) and refrigerate to allow the fat to separate from the gelatinous drippings. Remove most, but not all, meat from the carcass.  Meat can be refrigerated for later use in soup, sandwiches or whatever–this meat will nto be used in the stock.   Cut the carcass into 6-8 pieces and refrigerate (keep the onion with the carcass!) or freeze if you will not be making stock within the next few days.

To make the stock: In a large chicken fryer place 1tblsp of chicken fat (saved from the roast chicken), 1 splash of olive oil, 1 minced yellow onion and 1tblsp minced garlic.  Add chicken carcass parts to chicken fryer and cook to brown edges of chicken (and/or until the garlic turns golden brown). You will know when it is ready by the delicious fragrance emanating from the pan. Add the entire contents of chicken fryer to a large stock pot. To the stock pot add the remaining chicken drippings, 1 large yellow onion (quartered), 1 large parsnip (peeled), 1 large carrot (peeled), 1-2 stalks of celery, dill paste, parsley, 2 cloves of garlic (smashed with skins removed), salt and pepper (to your own taste).  Fill stock pot with water.  Bring just a boil, but do not allow the stock to actively boil.  The temperature of the stock should be between 180 and 200 degrees.  Simmer at this temperature for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably 6-8 hours.  Fat will rise to the top during simmering.  Skim the fat from the top of the stock as it cooks.  After the stock has sufficiently simmered strain it through a colander lined with cheesecloth.

Stock can be used immediately, frozen (if frozen in glass jars leave headroom for expansion or your jars will break), or canned using FDA approved methods.

 

A camera is a tool…

November 16th, 2013

I am an amateur photographer.  I really enjoy photography.   I have been steadily working away at improving my skills for years.

My first digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera was a Nikon D70s.  I shot thousands of images with that camera, including this one:

DSC_2052

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, the D70s had limitations and I eventually outgrew its capabilities as a tool.  In 2008 I replaced my D70s with a Nikon D300.  I have now shot many thousands of images with that camera, including this one:

 

robin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The D300 is a fantastic camera.  Coupled with the Nikon 18-200 VR lens it is a flexible tool.  It is also very heavy.  With the aforementioned lens it is about 3lbs.  It isn’t a camera I can always have with me wherever I go, because it doesn’t really fit in my purse and it’s not always practical to carry my camera bag.

Several years after purchasing the D300, with the intention of having a camera that would be easier to take along with me, I purchased an Olympus PEN EP-2.  It certainly fit the bill for portability.  Here’s an image taken with that camera:

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PEN EP-2 is a great little camera, but it has drawbacks and a major one is the length of time it takes to save an image.  It’s great for landscapes (see above), but for taking a sequence of shots of anything fast-moving it’s not ideal.

So, I decided to give my EP-2 to my son and buy myself an Olympus OM-D EM-5, another micro four thirds system camera.  Like my D300 the EM-5 is weather sealed, so I can shoot in the rain.  It is a huge improvement over the EP-2.  I particularly love using it in macro mode:

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, I have never truly adjusted to shooting the native aspect ratio of the micro four thirds format.    My “eye” is trained for 3:2, the aspect ratio of 35mm film.  I could change the aspect ratio of the EM-5, but that wouldn’t be ideal, because it would essentially squeeze 3:2 out of 4:3.

Meanwhile… for a number of years I have actually carried another photo tool in my pocket: a smartphone with a camera.  For many years my smartphone of choice was an Apple iPhone.  I have owned the original iPhone, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s.  But, last month I jumped off the iOS merry-go-round and switched to the Nokia Lumia 1020.  My iPhones were the equivalent of a point-and-shoot camera: nice for snapshots, but not really for serious photography.  The Lumia 1020 is a different matter altogether.  For example:

WP_20131114_16_47_49_Pro

Notice that I didn’t post anything from my iPhones?   I have some great snapshots, but I wouldn’t call anything I ever shot with an iPhone a great photo.  In less than a month I already have a number of shots I would consider to be great photos taken with my Nokia Lumia 1020.

The camera app in the Lumia 1020 allows for more control over the resulting image than a point-and-shoot and more so than does the camera app in an iPhone, even an iPhone 5s.  So, I now have a truly portable little camera with me all the time, because like most people today I always have my cell phone with me.

What does this mean for my other cameras?  Cameras are tools, and as far as tools go cameras with exchangeable lenses are like pocketknives: many options.  My camera phone has a nice 26mm f/2.2 Zeiss lens with digital zoom capability (and with a 41 megapixel sensor you can do quite a bit of crop-zooming), but it has definite limits.   I am not giving up on exchangeable lens cameras any time soon.  Going forward I am, however, going to focus on one manufacturer’s system, and that manufacturer will be Nikon.

DIY Earl Grey Tea Sugar Scrub–experimental recipe

August 11th, 2013
Early Grey Tea Sugar Scrub

Earl Grey Tea Sugar Scrub

 

Last holiday season I gave 4oz jelly jars of homemade sugar scrub to friends and family as gifts.  I used a recipe I found online customized for the fragrances that I thought friends and family would enjoy.  Recently I have started to experiment with the recipe.  This is my current experiment.

Ingredients:

Sugar Scrub Ingredients

Honey, Organic Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Sugar, Vitamin E, Earl Grey Tea Flavoring, Lemon Essential Oil, loose Earl Grey tea leaves

1 1/2 cups of organic sugar

1/4 cup of organic coconut oil

1/4 cup of sunflower seed oil

1 tblsp of local honey

6-8 drops of lemon essential oil

8-10 drops of Earl Grey tea flavoring

a few drops of Vitamin E oil (optional)

2 tsp of loose Earl Grey tea leaves

 

 

 

Place sugar in the bottom of a large glass bowl and drop the coconut and sunflower oils in on top.

organic sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add drops of lemon essential oil and tea flavoring to the top of the coconut oil.

coconut oil  in organic sugar

Coconut Oil is a solid at temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wear rubber gloves and mix by hand.  Add the honey and Vitamin E oil and continue mixing.

When the sugar, oils and fragrances are thoroughly combined add the loose tea leaves and continue to mix until the tea leaves are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

thoroughly combined sugar scrub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put my sugar scrubs in glass canning jars.  The blue jar at the top of the page is a limited edition Ball Heritage Collection pint jar.  If you don’t have canning jars you could use any container with a lid that seals.

Sugar scrubs are great for dry skin.  They leave your skin soft and smooth.

What nursing a toddler really looks like…

May 28th, 2012

I am sure that by now anyone who does just about anything online, anyone who watches the news on TV and anyone who visits bookstores, newsstands or libraries has seen the cover of TIME magazine for the week of May 21, 2012.  I am not going to link to the magazine or the cover here, because they certainly are not in need of the traffic and if you haven’t seen it you can easily use your favorite search engine to find it.  What I am going to do here is show you what it is really like to nurse a toddler:

 

Nursing Toddler

This is what nursing a toddler really looks like.

While we had a lull in preparations for dinner yesterday evening I brought my camera outside to take a few photos of my peonies.  By that time Sprunchie had been gleefully running around the back yard with her big brother for about an hour.  Seeing me squatting near the flowers she came running and nearly toppled me as she threw her arms around my neck and whispered, “Can I have some mama milk?”  I sat in the grass next to the flowers and handed her the one I had already picked.  I handed my camera to my husband.  She wasn’t even on my lap nursing for 5 minutes before she was satisfied, thanked me for the “mama milks” and ran off waving her peony like a magic wand.  This is what nursing a toddler really looks like.

 

Thoughts on Research on the Web (Part Two)

February 21st, 2012

In Part One of Thoughts on Research on the Web I talked about information literacy, what critical thinking is, and how critical thinking is applied to research on the web.  Now I’m going to search for information on the Web to provide an example of these research guidelines/principles in order to illustrate their importance.

Let’s start with a research question: Is goat’s milk a suitable alternative to breast milk or commercially available formula for an infant under the age of 12 months?

Step One: Search for “goat milk” using a search engine.  In less than a half a second Google returned 7,280,000 results.  That’s a lot of information to sift through.  Obviously I need to pare that down by using additional search terms.  Adding the word “baby” to the search yields 3,680,000.  Better, but still a lot.  However, in the interest of time I decide to start looking at the results from this search.

Step Two: Start reading.  Here are the first few links from my search:

Goat Milk | Ask Dr. Sears®

Goat’s Milk for Babies – Feeding Babies Goats Milk – Parenting.com

Can babies drink Goat Milk instead of commercial infant formula 

OK, so let’s see what they have to say.

1) Dr. Sears

The first link goes to a page on Dr. Sears’ web site about Goat Milk.  Dr. Sears, for those who are not aware, is a pediatrician who has written numerous books about attachment parenting, childbirth, breastfeeding, and other topics related to infants and children.  Dr. Sears’ Goat Milk page starts out with a thorough description of the contents of goat milk.  Towards the bottom is the following paragraph:

Parents of babies allergic to cow’s milk and other commercial formulas often ask if it’s safe to use goat’s milk as an alternative. In theory, goat’s milk is less allergenic and more easily digestible than cow’s milk, but it should not be used as a substitute for infant formula. Like cow’s milk, it can cause intestinal irritation and anemia. If your baby under one year of age is allergic to cow’s milk-based formulas, try either a soy-based formula or a hypoallergenic formula. If your baby can’t tolerate either soy or hypoallergenic formulas, in consultation with your doctor and/or a pediatric nutritionist see the goat’s milk formula recipe below.

Below this paragraph on Dr. Sears’ page is a recipe for formula made from goat milk.  The goat milk recommended in the formula recipe is the one being advertised right on the page, which, one assumes, makes it easy to find said goat milk.

2) Parenting.com

Parenting.com is part of the Bonnier Group, which is a publishing company.  Bonnier publishes Parenting magazine and the affiliated Parenting.com web site.  Clicking the link to the Parenting.com page I discover that the information is also from Dr. Sears!  Much of the same information that appears on Dr. Sears’ own page appears on this page, with the same conclusions.

3) FoodForKidsHealth.com

FoodForKidsHealth is published by Annika Rockwell, who is, according to the About page on the site, a Certified Nutritionist.  This page states:

In brief, yes, RAW goat milk can be used successfully, but it should be made according to the official, time tested and proven recipe for homemade infant formula in order for it to match breast milk’s protein/fat/water/nutrient ratios.

The page refers to the additional links available at the bottom of the page, one of which, also on FoodforKidsHealth, states:

Breastmilk is the ideal milk for baby, but if he cannot be breastfed, the second best option is clean, whole raw milk from old-fashioned cows (or goats), certified free of disease, that feed on green pasture. For sources of good quality milk, see www.realmilk.com or contact a local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

OK, so thus far we have two answers to the question:

1) Goat milk formula can be used as an alternative to breastmilk or commercially available formula if the baby cannot tolerate other formulas, but only in consultation with your child’s pediatrician or nutritionist.

2) Goat milk is the second best option to breastmilk for babies.

These two answers seem to somewhat contradict each other.  From the first it would appear that goat milk alone is not a suitable alternative to breastmilk or commercially available formulas, but homemade goat milk formula might be suitable if those options are unavailable or unsuitable for a particular infant.  From the second it would appear that goat milk is more suitable than commercially available formulas.

Step Three:  Think about the information.

So, if we go back to A Guide to Critical Thinking About What You See on the Web and for the sake of demonstration skip the first step (which is to ask if we are seeking the information in the right place, meaning is the Web the right place to seek this information in the first place), the second step is to question the accuracy/authority of the source of information.

1) Dr. Sears

The source of the first two links is Dr. Sears, who is a pediatrician.  He received a medical degree, which definitely requires a rigorous education and requires that he be licensed to practice medicine. Does this make him an expert on infant nutrition?  Not necessarily.  Is there anything else that should make us question the information that Dr. Sears is providing?  Possibly.  It seems that Dr. Sears is highly recommending one particular brand of goat milk and that that goat milk is advertised on Dr. Sears’ site, which probably results in ad revenues for Dr. Sears.

2) Annika Rockwell

In considering the source of information for the third link, the author has a BA in psychology (pre-med) and is a Certified Nutritionist.  A BA in psychology doesn’t make one an expert on infant nutrition, even if it was pre-med.  But, what is a Certified Nutritionist?  Ms. Rockwell’s site states she received  her certification from American Health Science University in Colorado.  Is this an accredited institution and/or valid certification body?  To answer that question I looked at the web site of the American Health Science University.

The AHSU web site contains almost no information about its academic program(s).  There is nothing specific listed about the courses, programs or degrees that it grants.  There is also nothing listed about the faculty.  With so little information it is difficult to say whether the program has any academic rigor.  In addition there is nothing listed on the site about the accrediting body.

Because I am a librarian working in higher education I happened to know that the US Department of Education has a database called The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs that allows you to search for accreditation information about all types of postsecondary institutions and programs.  By searching this database I found that American Health Science University was accredited by Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), but resigned from accreditation in 2008.    I could find no other verifiable details about AHSU’s DETC accreditation or lack thereof online.  It is also not listed on the Colorado State Department of Higher Education’s list of accredited institutions.

The certifying authority listed on the AHSU web site, the National Institute of Nutritional Education (NINE), appears to be inseparable from the AHSU.   That is, it does not exist separately from AHSU.  I could find very little other information online about NINE.   It is very unclear to me from the little information that is available what authority NINE has that validates its existence as a certifying authority.  Even with a past DETC accreditation this is questionable due to potential conflict of interest when the educational institution and the accrediting body are one and the same.

What does all of this mean about Ms. Rockwell?  It means that Ms. Rockwell received her education from a distance education program and her certification from an authority that is essentially one and the same with the educational institution, and that the institution from which she received said education and certification are now, apparently, defunct according to the state of Colorado and the national accrediting body.

I would not consider Ms. Rockwell to be an authoritative source of information in regard to infant nutrition.  There is no evidence to indicate that she has appropriate education, training or certification to label her as such.

OK, so what does this mean?

This means that we do not have a definitive answer to our research question.  There are also 3,679,997 more pages to look at in our Google search results.  But, looking at that many pages is going to be very time consuming.  Maybe we better take a different approach.

Step Three: Seeking Information from Other Sources

Instead of using a search engine this time I am going to look for information from other sources.

1) Kellymom

Kellymom.com is a very well known site for parenting and breastfeeding information.  Kelly Bonyata, the site’s author, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with undergraduate education in mathematics and physics from Mercer University (a higher education institution that has been accredited since 1911).  The IBCLC program requires rigorous training, testing and continuing education for certification and the certifying authorities (the IBCLCE) are separate from the educational bodies.  Kelly also has an extensive list of her own continuing education available on the Kellymom site.

This is what Kellymom has to say about goat milk:

Using goat’s milk before 6 months or regular use between 6 and 12 months is not recommended. Goat’s milk is no more appropriate to give baby than cow’s milk. If you need to supplement and breastmilk is not available, formulas are a more nutritionally complete product. There are several comparisons of goat vs. cow vs. human milk in the links below. Using this information, goat milk is much closer in composition to cow milk than human milk. Goat’s milk is high in sodium (like cow’s milk) and is very high in chloride and potassium, which makes the renal solute load too high for babies. This can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and can result in anemia and poor growth (these problems are usually undetected until months later). Goat milk is also deficient in folic acid, which can lead to megaloblastic anemia. Also, infants who are allergic to cow’s milk protein are often allergic to goat’s milk too.

2) The American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is the professional organization for pediatricians in the United States, and according to their web site has about 60,000 pediatrician members.  AAP publishes policy statements, books and journals on topics related to pediatrics.  The official journal of the AAP is called Pediatrics.  In a search of Pediatrics I found an article about the use of goat milk for infants that was published in March 2010.  The article entitled Fresh Goat’s Milk for Infants: Myths and Realities–a Review concludes with the following statement:

An exclusive, unmodified goat’s milk diet can cause significant morbidity and even mortality in infants, including electrolyte imbalances, metabolic acidosis, folate deficiency, and species-specific and nonspecific antigenicity. Unpasteurized goat milk has its additional infectious risks. However, information supporting this practice abounds on the Internet and in specific cultures. Our case report and literature review support the need to strongly advocate against this practice.

The case report referred to in this citation was that of an infant who was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with metabolic acidosis and hypernatremia (elevated sodium levels), and the baby had suffered strokes from severe hypernatremic dehydration.  For 3 to 4 weeks prior to admission to the hospital the baby was exclusively fed raw goat milk as his mother was unable to pump enough breastmilk for him (he was tube fed due to birth defects).    Just prior to his admission he suffered several days of diarrhea.  Essentially, the baby’s kidneys were unable to adequately process the higher (than breastmilk) levels of protein and very high sodium levels in the goat milk, which was compounded when he developed diarrhea.  As the authors of the article state,

infants fed fresh goat’s milk are at substantive risk for hypernatremia and azotemia, particularly in the face of dehydration (as in the case described here), which may in turn result in major central nervous system pathology, including diffuse encephalopathy, intraparenchymal hemorrhage, or thromboses10 as manifested in our patient

It should be noted that this article is considered both a case study and a review of the literature.  What does this mean?  This means that the authors researched the published literature in regard to the use of goat milk as an alternative to breastmilk (or commercially available formula).  They cite the first instance of a case report in the literature when they refer to an article from 1906 that describes the case of a 7 month old baby boy who weighed 4lbs (yes, FOUR) when he died as a result of being fed raw goat milk as an alternative to breastmilk.

At this point I do not feel it is necessary to pursue this research question any further for the purposes of this blog post.  The answer to the question according to more reliable resources is:

No, goat milk is not a suitable alternative to breastmilk or commercially available formula for infants under the age of 12 months.

 

 

Thoughts on Research on the Web (Part One)

February 18th, 2012

Tens of millions of books have been published across the world.  The World Wide Web reportedly contains billions of pages (1).  The same principles that apply to conducting research in the print world apply to conducting research online.  The ability to effectively find, evaluate and utilize information is the same whether the source is printed on paper or exists only in a digital format.  However, the glut of information available electronically makes it easier for the researcher to become overwhelmed or lazy and less likely to think critically about the information.   According to the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, an “information literate” person must:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally (2)

Critical thinking skills are an important part of information literacy.   What does it mean to think critically?  Here is an excellent 5 minute YouTube video that defines and explains critical thinking by YouTube member QualiaSoup:

As QualiaSoup says, “critical thinking refers to a diverse range of intellectual skills and activities concerned with evaluating information as well as our own thought in a disciplined way…” .

How do you apply critical thinking skills to online resources when seeking information on the Web?  On the Ithaca College Library web site Reference Librarian John R. Henderson at Ithaca College Library has published “A Guide to Critical Thinking About What You See on the Web,” which concisely (and excellently) reviews the topic.  This guide asks, “Is the Web a good research tool?” and responds, “The answer is a qualified yes, and only if you are careful.”

This all sounds very academic.  What does this mean in the real world?  How does this apply when the research you are conducting is not for an academic purpose, but for a personal one?  The answer to that is this doesn’t actually change if your purposes are personal rather than academic.  It is still important to think critically and be careful.

In Part Two of my Thoughts on Research on the Web I will use a specific research topic to demonstrate critical thinking and the principles of information literacy for conducting research on the Web.

Two thumbs up for Exederm & Aveeno Baby Eczema products

February 18th, 2012

First, I am in no way connected to Exederm or Aveeno, and they didn’t send me samples to test for free or anything like that.  We generally buy the Exederm products at a nearby ShopRite grocery store and the Aveeno products at Target.   I decided to post this, because I am sure that there are a lot of other parents out there who have tried numerous over-the-counter products for their little ones’ eczema and haven’t yet found a product that works well for them, and we have now been using Exederm products for more than a year with great success.

Both of our kids have eczema, but our daughter’s is worse than her older brother’s was.  She has classic infant eczema from behind her ears to the tops of her feet.   She started having problems with it when she was very tiny and at that point the pediatricians called it atopic dermatitis and advised using milder baby wash intended for use on babies with eczema.   The atopic dermatitis improved for a while, but then as the weather got colder outside and we had the heat on indoors it got worse… much worse.    There were areas of her skin that she started to scratch until they bled.

At that point we were told by the pediatrician that she had classic infant eczema and that we needed to moisturize her skin with lotion.   Thus began my search for something that worked.  We tried numerous products including a number that were advertised as all natural.  Nothing worked well.  At one point despite our best efforts it was so bad she had to have two prescription ointments, one antibiotic ointment and one steroid ointment.

At that point I started doing further research into eczema care.  I found the National Eczema Association web site.  Based on information I found on the NEA web site I decided we needed to adopt an eczema care routine for our daughter.  We already understood that a rigid routine of preventative care was necessary to control our son’s asthma.  I learned from NEA that a rigid routine of care for our daughter’s eczema might do the same.  I also learned that the products we used as part of the routine were key to keeping her condition under control, that not all products are equal when it comes to eczema care and that NEA has a Seal of Acceptance program that rates products.

The NEA web site contains an extensive list of products that have been awarded the NEA Seal of Acceptance.  While reviewing the list I discovered that Exederm products were rated 5 stars out of 5, the highest rating for the Seal of Acceptance.  With that endorsement I decided we had to try Exederm products.

At the time we started trying the products they were not widely available in stores in our area.  After a bit of shopping around we found that the ShopRite grocery store in a nearby town did carry the full line of products.  We tried the Baby Eczema Wash, Baby Eczema Shampoo, Baby Eczema Lotion and Baby Eczema Intensive Moisturizer.  Over time we learned that Aveeno Baby Cleansing Therapy Moisturizing Wash worked better as a body wash than the Exederm wash, and the Aveeno Essential Moisture Shampoo worked better for her hair, but the best product for her skin and the only thing that prevents her from having constant itchy, cracking, bleeding patches, is Exederm Intensive Baby Moisturizer Cream.

So, now our eczema care routine is: wash daily in warm (not hot) water with Aveeno Baby Cleansing Therapy Moisturizing Wash and Aveeno Baby Essential Moisture Shampoo, pat dry with a soft towel, immediately apply Exederm Intensive Baby Moisturizer Cream, and dress in cotton pajamas.  In the morning when I dress her I apply cream to areas that are more likely to develop patches.

With this routine the flare-ups are much less frequent, usually precipitated by illness, and they are much less dramatic.  She only has one area that itches so badly during a flare-up that she scratches it til she bleeds, and even that we can get under control much more quickly using a small amount of prescription ointments.

Things that make me go hmmm…

October 26th, 2010

An over the counter drug manufacturer cannot verify consistent dosing in the formulation of one of its popular drugs for infants.  No adverse events were reported. The FDA gets involved and the manufacturer issues a voluntary recall of the product.  News spreads like wildfire and people vilify the manufacturer online.

An over the counter drug manufacturer cannot verify consistent dosing in the formulation of one of its popular drugs for infants. Adverse events were reported. The FDA gets involved and the manufacturer issues a voluntary recall of the product.  News spreads like wildfire and people vilify the FDA online.

Hmmm…

I stopped pumping at work.

October 10th, 2010

I hesitated to share this, because I know that there are many who will judge me harshly for it, but I think it’s important to share so that other mothers out there know that they are not alone in having made this decision: I stopped pumping at work.  Last week was the last time I brought my pump and cooler bag to work with me.  My daughter now receives formula in all of her daycare bottles.

It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to squeeze pumping sessions into my schedule and increasingly difficult for me to express a reasonable amount of milk.  I often have meetings away from my office and it was not always possible for me to find a suitable location to pump when I was out and about.  The last day that I pumped at work I pumped 3 times and got 5 ounces of milk total.  Two weeks ago I was unable to pump at work for two days in a row and scrambled to pump after nursing the baby at home in order to give her at least some of my milk in her daycare bottles.   It was while pumping at home the last time that I decided to stop pumping altogether and give her formula for her daycare bottles.  And I am not ashamed to admit that I am relieved.

I am relieved not to be reminded of how poorly I respond to a pump every time I finish pumping and look down at the bottles to find only 1/2-1 ounce of milk per side.  I am relieved because I won’t have to squeeze pumping sessions into tiny windows of time between meetings and rush to clean everything up before someone arrives at my office door.  I am relieved because now instead of pumping for more than half of my lunch hour I can take time to eat something healthy instead of whatever I can inhale before pumping.  I am relieved because now instead of pumping for a half an hour every morning before work I can spend and extra half an hour cuddling my baby.

She was breastfed exclusively for more than six months.  She is still breastfed at home and will be until she weans on her own.

Am I aware that breastmilk is best?  Yes.   But this is the right decision for me and I believe it is the right decision for her too, because I am a lot less stressed now than I was when I was trying to keep up with her need for my milk for daycare.

Thoughts on Babywearing

October 8th, 2010

This is International Babywearing Week, so I thought it was a good time to post just a few thoughts about babywearing.

I wore my son when he was an infant and toddler and I wear my infant daughter.  I’ve used ring slings, stretchy wraps, Mei Tai carriers and woven wraps.  Babywearing makes it so much easier to meet a baby’s need for the comfort of closeness while having an arm or two free to do other things.

Today I have worn my baby a number of times.  I spent the day at home with her, because she has her fourth ear infection in four months.  After we left the pediatrician’s office we had to go to the pharmacy to pick up her antibiotic.  While we waited for our turn at the pharmacy I did some grocery shopping all while wearing her in our BabyHawk Oh Mei half buckle carrier.

She fell asleep at some point during the grocery shopping and when the grocery store pharmacy informed me that they did not have the antibiotic that the pediatrician prescribed I went to the grocery checkouts and then walked across the parking lot to the free-standing chain drug store where the prescription was transferred.  In the drug store I was told that there would be a 10 minute wait to get our prescription, so I continued to walk around

wearing her while she slept.  At the pharmacy counter I overheard a mother with a young teen daughter explaining to her own not-so-little one that the baby was peacefully sleeping and happy, because she was being held close to her mother.  I knew they were talking about us, so I turned and we chatted a bit about babywearing.

After a day of nursing, playing, and napping I fed her some yogurt, gave her her bath and am now wearing her again in our favorite woven wrap, a Didymos Natural Linen Indio dyed pink and lavender.   I literally am wearing her right now while I type.  I can lean down and kiss her little baldy head while she leans against me.

Forgive the meandering nature of this post.  Let me sum up my thoughts on babywearing by saying: I highly recommend it!