Lactation Granola Bars

I tried a new recipe last week for lactation granola bars that my friend Aislinn sent to me. This recipe was great because it didn’t require a ton of time or ingredients, which is very important nowadays.

Below is the list of necessary/optional ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe/Ripe-ish Bananas
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/4 Cup All Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
  • Handful of Craisins (optional)
  • Handful or 2 (definitely 2) of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)

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First, turn your oven on and preheat to 400 degrees (I always forget to do this step in the beginning). Then proceed to mash up the two bananas.

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Next, add the ground flax seed and peanut butter.

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After that, add both oat amounts to the bowl. Aislinn said the combination of rolled and steel cut oats really adds for a nice texture to the granola bars, which after tasting them, I agree. If you prefer softer granola bars, I was advised to use a little bit less of the oats, or if you prefer crunchier bars, you should add a little more of the oats. This is one of those recipes where you can experiment a bit. I prefer things softer, so I added a little bit less than 2 cups of each oat.

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This last step is open for interpretation. Aislinn said that she normally adds craisins and Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips. It just so happens that I also love those two things, so that is why I listed them in the ingredients section. Feel free to add nuts, or raisins, or coconut, or anything that tickles your fancy, as long as it’s edible 😉

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After all of these ingredients are mixed up, pour/dump your creation into an 8.5″ x 11″ baking dish. Using your spoon, smash the mixture down into the pan so that it is flat. Then pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

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And Voila!

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JK, I didn’t leave them on this plate, I only put them there so that I could take a pretty picture. I actually put them in Tupperware and stored them in the fridge because they last much longer that way.

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This whole process took me about 25 to 30 minutes, and that was because I was taking pictures at each step. I think this is a great recipe because after you’ve done it once, I can see how it would be really easy to make a batch of these super quick while the little one is taking a nap. They make for a quick easy breakfast or afternoon snack, and I like them best after popping them in the microwave for 15 seconds. I’m not sure yet if they have made a huge difference in my milk supply, but they have definitely been very yummy. I hope you enjoy them!

P.S. The more chocolate, the better!

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Pinkeye

I have a constant fear of pinkeye.

Growing up I never experienced pinkeye. Strep throat was the ailment that constantly plagued us, so I do not have experience in dealing with maladies of the eyes (or the ears for that matter).

My daughter Quinn has just had her second round of pinkeye, which has only intensified my fear of it. These are some of the thoughts that go through my head daily:

Must wash hands 20 times in a row.

Did I touch my eye?

Don’t touch your eyes, Caitlin!

Clean every surface.

Did I touch that dish rag before I washed my hands, or after?

Must do laundry until there is nothing left to wash.

Is my eye itchy?

I think my eye is itching!

When in doubt, just throw it away!

When people talk about how motherhood has changed them, this is one of the things that comes to mind for me: I now strategically apply makeup, so that certain applicators only touch either my right eye or my left eye, incase an infection breaks out. This way, hopefully only one of my eyes will be affected, and I’ll only have to throw out half of my makeup. I think this is called PTPED (Post Traumatic Pink Eye Disorder).

I also feel the need to explain to complete strangers that it is VIRAL pinkeye. Not the bacterial kind. I did not get poop in my eye. I know it is viral because it went away without drops. Each time Quinn has gotten pinkeye, it has started off with a cold and a lot of mucus. This is how the doctor explained it to me: the mucus needs to find a way out, sometimes it will come out of the ears, sometimes the throat, but in my daughter’s case, it decides to come out of her eyes… Wonderful!

I just looked in the mirror, and my right eye looks a little pink in the corner, but that could just be from exhaustion… right?

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Milk Production Down, When Aunt Flow Comes to Town

I know that I recently wrote about how Fenugreek and oatmeal have boosted distribution at “Mommy’s Milk Factory” over here, but milk production has been down today, and I think I know why…

Aunt Flow is on her way to visit me. (Scratch that, she has arrived).

I noticed that this happened last month when my period had just returned after about 6 months postpartum. This led to my first milk scare, but I quickly discovered the correlation between the two (or in other words, I read a million things online that confirmed what I thought). Now it appears to be happening again.

To oppose this outcome, I’ve upped my intake of Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea. I might even try a magnesium/calcium supplement because I have read that can also help. For now though, it looks like Aunt Flow wins again, she always does.

At least now I have a good excuse to eat more chocolate.

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P.S. Here is a recipe for lactation snack balls that a friend recommended:

1 cup of oatmeal

1/2 cup flax seed meal (ground flax seed)

2.5 TBS brewers yeast

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup of honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional or add cocoa powder for chocolate ones)

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Paranormal Monitor

It is 2:37am, and there is a humming glow coming from the monitor propped up next to me. I hear baby girl moving in her sleep. She scooches herself towards the end of the crib, sticks her thumb in her mouth, and with her other hand gently strokes her own head until she settles back down into sleep. I love being able to see her in these peaceful moments.

We have one of those new high tech monitors with a camera and video display (Levana Astra). It allows you to control the camera to look around the room, play music, or even speak soothingly to your child, from the comfort of your living room sofa (or if you would like to be like my husband, you can speak into the monitor as if it is God speaking from the Heavens).

Sometimes when I sneak a peek at her, she looks so dreamy and peaceful, it’s as if she is about to float away on a cloud:

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So Precious

But other times, I look and see this:

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I mean, what is she doing here? Is she trying to scare the life out of me? That is one creepy sleeping position, my dear.

Too many a night, I have found myself gazing at the monitor for way longer than necessary. Often trying to make sure baby girl is still breathing, but other times I find myself waiting to see some sort of paranormal activity. I’ll nudge my husband, waking him from slumber to look at an orb of light in the corner of the screen, only to remember that it is merely the night light.

Sleep deprivation can really play tricks on your eyes, and sometimes it literally feels like I’m living in one of those “Paranormal” movies, which I have never seen, but I have seen the commercials, and that is enough to get my imagination working…

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love this monitor. It gives me so much peace of mind, and I would recommend it to any new mama out there. It’s my own imagination that I can’t handle.

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My Intentions

Hello, my name is Caitlin. I probably should have started this blog with this post to explain what my intentions are with it, but I really did not know what I was doing at first…

To begin, I would like this space to be a positive space injected with a little bit of humor because let’s face it, this world is crazy, and the best way to get through life is with a few jokes here and there. I am by no means a comedian, but I do make my husband laugh (he thinks I’m funny :)).

I imagine if I ever attempted the art of telling jokes, the audience would look something like this:

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This is my friend, Michael Somerville’s, third comedy album, it is available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify, he is much funnier than I!

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, humor. Everyone has a different sense of humor, and not everyone can see the same humor in any given situation. With that said, I promise I will never purposefully shame anyone with my humor. And if anything I write is ever perceived in the wrong light, I apologize now because that is, and never will be my intention. I just want to make you laugh, and share some of my experiences with you. I want to build connections. I want to remember how funny these early days were when we were crawling through the trenches of young parenthood. I want to root you on, and tell you good job at the end of a long day because in the end you have to do what works best for you and your family.

So Cheers, Proost, Cin Cin, & Salute to all the mamas and papas out there giving it their all every day. You all amaze me. I hope I can provide some entertainment for you.

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Risky Business – Diaper Days

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You know the few seconds between taking that dirty diaper off of your seven month old and replacing it with a fresh new one? Those few seconds where almost anything can happen. Appendages are flailing, tension is high and adrenalin is pumping. In some ways, I think I live for those moments. I am constantly tempting fate, the fate that one day I will have taken one second too long to get that new diaper in place before I am assaulted with pee, or poop, or both.

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Don’t get me wrong, it has happened (mostly to my husband), and it has been as terrible as you can imagine. One time she hit the door five feet away with one serious blowout, missing my face by a millisecond! Though somehow, it has not stopped me from taking that risk.

In the monotony of the early days of child rearing, life can become a little predictable and tedious. Feed, burp, swaddle, change, pump, wash dishes, and repeat. My younger more adventurous self still craves a bit of excitement, and I stress the word “bit” in this sentence because deep down I believe I am really an old lady stuck in a 30 something body. If it weren’t for my wonderful husband, I would most likely spend my evenings knitting and petting one of my 20 cats. But I digress… my daily dose of excitement now comes in the few seconds where my child is briefly un-diapered (I know, I’m really living on the edge here).

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Sometimes I change her on her play mat or on the floor in her room, with a tight grasp on her legs and her little bum hovering in the air, knowing that the consequences for not having a fresh nappy already arranged under the dirty one could mean schlepping out some serious cleaning supplies, but does that stop me?? Nope. Right now I am living for the thrill.

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“There’s a time for playing it safe and a time for… Risky Business”

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The Sweet Smell of Syrup

I smell like sweaty maple syrup. I imagine that this is what a maple tree smells like after a long arduous day of being tapped. After almost 7 months of exclusively breastfeeding and pumping at work, my milk supply is diminishing. The herb Fenugreek is recommended to help boost milk supply at times like this, with the main side effect being that you will begin to smell like an Ihop, or perhaps a Waffle House? I made sure to highlight this fact when I told my husband about my latest experiment (he loves pancakes :)).

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I won’t lie, when I first started to notice that the bottles were not filling up quite as much as they used to, I was a little bit relieved. I thought “ohh, maybe I’ll be able to fit into my old bras again soon” and “finally a break from washing pump pieces 5 times a day.” I imagined cutting back from 5 pumps a day to 4, and the thought made me giddy.

Alas, I turned to google to see what could be done to bring my milk back, and instead of resigning myself to the fact that it was time to start supplementing formula, I ordered a big jar of Fenugreek, new pump pieces and 8 boxes of Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea (in my defense I thought I only ordered 1 box of the tea).

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If these were the last few seconds of a soccer game, I had just scored the tying goal to take us into overtime. I was going to give it one last good effort, win or lose, and then I would allow myself to let nature take its course.

Thanks to the help of my online purchases, and oatmeal for breakfast in the morning (I read that oatmeal also helps with milk production), my milk supply has improved. It is not as good as it once was, but it seems to be maintaining at the moment. So for now, I will continue to enjoy my 5am pump session, the quiet moments that I get to step away from my desk during the busy work day, and the fact that I smell like maple syrup.

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