Monthly Archives: March 2016

GIVEAWAY! Boost Your Morning Brew, with Lifeboost!

Successful parenting can be chalked up to several things.  Patience, love, creativity, flexibility, and coffee.  Let’s be real, coffee should be at the top of that list.  I don’t think ours is the only household for which coffee is a near-sacred ritual.  It goes beyond the caffeine in our home.  For some reason 3 weeks after Captain was born, I developed a serious intolerance to caffeine in coffee.  We aren’t quite sure why, but when I’m pregnant I can tolerate half-caf, but by 2 weeks postpartum, I get hugely jittery, nervous, and sick while drinking caffeinated coffee.  I am pretty much sure this strange reaction will last for my breastfeeding years!  So, when I say I am a coffee nut it’s true– because I’m willing to drink caffeine-free just to get the taste every morning.

 

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I’ve loved coffee my entire life.  I have super vivid memories of sipping the cold leftovers of my dad’s black coffee with sweet ‘n’ low in it.  My mother is hispanic, and in many Mexican cultures, children start on coffee very young with a high milk to coffee ratio.  I remember Saturday mornings, headed to church with my mom for meetings and her packing me a travel mug of hot cocoa with coffee in it.  In fact, my kids and nieces enjoy “Nana Coffee” when they stay at my mom’s house overnight.  Mornings always come with a cup of milk, coffee, chocolate, and lots of whipped cream!  Needless to say, just because I had to stop drinking caffeinated coffee, didn’t mean I was going to give up coffee altogether– coffee is in my blood.

 

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In the last 4 years since becoming a nursing mother, I have tried a lot of decaf coffees.  Everything from light roast store brand to extra dark espresso beans from Starbucks.  I love trying new coffees, and just because I can’t have caffeine doesn’t mean I had to give up on finding some good beans!  But, I’ve found a new favorite in the last month with Lifeboost Coffee.

 

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Lifeboost is single-sourced.  It is from a 6-acre farm in the highlands of Nicaragua.  The farm is surrounded by one of Nicaragua’s National Protected Areas, so the land is totally clean and pesticide free. Did I mention it’s organic and Fair Trade?  Because it is!  The Arabica beans are grown, harvested, cleaned, and roasted all on site.  Unlike other coffees, this is free of mycotoxic presence.  Myco-what?  Mycotoxins are produced by molds which are not great for your health and show up in other lower-quality beans.  This coffee is pure, unadulterated, Arabica goodness.

 

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So how does Lifeboost Coffee taste?  We have enjoyed a few different brewing methods with both the decaf medium roast and also regular roasts.  (Milkman is reveling in having some good, fully-leaded beans in the house!)  I didn’t think I could enjoy it much more than I did with a coarse grind in the French Press, but over the weekend, Milkman used a slightly finer grind and made it using the pour-over.  This was ridiculously satisfying.  Maybe pour-overs and presses aren’t for you, maybe you just like to have a down and dirty machine-drip first thing in the morning, and guess what?  Still good like that.

 

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This is the kind of coffee where, if you are used to drinking coffee with cream added, you don’t have to.  It’s not bitter.  Delightfully mild without tasting weak.  Nutty and heady while still being delicate on the palate. You can taste the quality, and as an added bonus to your caffeine (or DECAF as the case may be) fix, you can rest assured that the coffee you are drinking is 100% Certified Organic and Fair Trade.

 

I enjoyed this coffee so much that after drinking it for just a few days I contacted Dr. Charles Livingston at Lifeboost and asked him if he would be willing to share some Lifeboost coffee with my readers!  We agreed that no one needs a coffee pick-me-up more than parents, and because they offer both regular and decaf coffee, this is suitable for the parents of toddlers who need all the caffeine they can get or the pregnant or nursing mama who wants the flavor and comfort of coffee without the caffeine!

 

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Huge thanks to Dr. Charles at Lifeboost for supplying us with the coffee for the giveaway!  Make sure you check out Lifeboost on Facebook, on Instagram @lifeboostcoffee, and go to their website or their Amazon store to try out their coffee (it’s on Amazon Prime!  HELLO! No shipping charge and delivered to your door?  That’s how I like my coffee!)

 

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So, head to She Rocks the Cradle on Facebook, and check out our giveaway for Lifeboost and enter for a chance to win the roast of your choosing absolutely FREE!
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Matcha Chocolate Chunk Greenies 

I’m a mom, therefore I’m tired.
  
Captain is 4 years old, so that means I haven’t slept well in 4 years. My sleep debt is probably close to 13.6 million hours. I had to give up caffeinated coffee since nursing because it makes me super shakey, but I seem to be able tolerate small amounts of caffeine in other forms! 
  

Also, tired people want sugar. I know, I know, sugar is evil and bad for you, but when you’re nursing and sleep deprived and haven’t had a shower by yourself in a week, you want something to perk you up, and what better than something sweet?
  

But caffeine and sugar have little redeeming value in and of themselves, so I decided to healthify my cravings when I bought some matcha powder on Amazon, and created these chocolate chunk “greenies”. 
  

These are seriously delish. If you don’t like the flavor of strong green tea, I recommend eating these once they have cooled. The flavor kind of milds itself out after its cooled. I’m sure you can adapt this with your favorite GF flour if needed and use your favorite sugar substitute if you prefer! These are tasty with a pinch of energy. Enjoy!

8 Tbls butter or coconut oil 

1 cup natural sugar 

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup whole wheat WHITE flour (you can get this at Trader Joes!)

2 Tbls culinary grade matcha powder 

1/2 cup of chocolate chunks or chips 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8×8 pan or 9 inch pie pan.

Melt butter or coconut oil on the stove or in your microwave and stir in sugar til smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add salt, flour, and matcha until thoroughly mixed. It’ll be a lovely green color! (Add more matcha if you want a stronger taste and/or darker green color). Fold in chocolate with a spatula and spread into pan.

Bake for 22-26 minutes or until set in the center. Cool and slice. Enjoy warm for a stronger taste, or completely cooled for a milder taste with the same energy kick!
  

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4 Years 

Four years ago, within an hour of giving birth, I latched a tiny baby boy onto my breast and he began to nurse. At that moment I had planned on nursing 6 months, if I could make it that long. 

And he nursed. And then the next day he did. And the day after. And at 2.5 months we had a nursing strike that lasted 17 days, but we made it through. And some times we nursed every 30 minutes all day. And some times we nursed 20 times a night. We nursed at parks and in church. 

And then when he was 8 months old, I got a positive pregnancy test, and I wondered if we would be able to nurse through the pregnancy. And I had aversions and I didn’t want to nurse my little boy. But he needed me. So we nursed. And we nursed through toe curling, awful feelings of being touched out. We nursed through my milk drying up completely. We nursed as my colostrum came in.

And then his baby sister was born. And within an hour of giving birth to her I latched her tiny angry mouth onto my breast, and she calmed down and opened her big eyes and nursed. And it was hard. We nursed through a lip tie, and we nursed with mastitis. We nursed through ductal thrush that lasted months. We nursed through a bleb that became a rock, and after I removed it with a sterile needle and it bled, we nursed. I nursed them two at a time. I nursed them one after the other. I nursed at Disneyland and at the grocery store and in the ergo. Some days I felt like there was always someone latched. So hungry. So thirsty. So drained of everything. But we nursed.
And then when my baby girl was 10 months old I got another positive pregnancy test. And I was pregnant and I nursed two children. And I nursed through morning sickness, and extreme fatigue. I nursed as my milk dried up and my body was working hard to grow a baby. 

And then I lost that baby. And I delivered his sleeping body and I put one drop of breastmilk in his tiny little 17 week old mouth.
When I came home from the hospital I nursed my big girl and held her and breathed in her sweet sweaty head, wet with my tears as I mourned her baby brother’s death. She eagerly nursed as my milk came in, a couple days later, a gift from my still baby. 

And then it was time to wean my oldest. And we weaned slowly and it took a long time. We weaned gently and through many tears every time his little sister got to latch and he didn’t. We weaned with rocking in our rocking chair and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” together. We weaned by kissing booboos instead of nursing through them. We weaned while I nursed his little sister and we counted and learned our ABCs.
And then I got another positive pregnancy test. And I nursed my second born. I nursed her on days when I hadn’t eaten, and on days where I was throwing up constantly. I nursed her in between appointments with specialists and physical therapists. I nursed her as my milk dried up and my belly grew. I nursed her through prenatal appointments and in the backyard.

And then her baby sister was born. My third living child. And within an hour of her birth she latched on to my breast and looked at me with one eye, like Popeye. Her tired sleepy face suckling to comfort as she adjusted to her new surroundings. And when we got home from the hospital I nursed her and her big sister on the rocking chair. And they nursed through engorgement and cracks. I nursed my screaming new baby seconds after her tongue tie was released by the ENT. And we nursed in hotels and on the couch while we read books to big siblings. We nursed in the shower and on our big family bed. We nursed through 23 clogged ducts in 4 months. And still we nurse. And right now I’m nursing. Always nursing.

It’s been 4 years straight of nursing. My longest break from nursing was 48 hours. I have tandem nursed for 18 months. I have loved it. I have hated it. It has been exciting. It has been mundane.

But most of all– it’s been wonderful. Here’s to many more years of cuddling, nurturing, being close… And nursing.
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This post is dedicated to all 4 of my babies, and also to their papa. Without whom I would never have had the support it takes to nurse. 
I also want to thank the women who have inspired me to nurse to full term, tandem, and through tough times. Ashley who answered my late night nursing questions with Captain when he was a newborn. My mother in law Christina, who always has a glass of water waiting for me when I nurse around her and introduced me to the concept of nursing past infancy. My own mother, who wanted to nurse longer than she did, so she encouraged me to continue. Serena Tremblay, whose story kept me nursing through hospitalization, and inspires me still today. And to the many women in nursing support groups online, but especially to those in VCNM who introduced me to the concept of tandem nursing. 
   
    
    
   

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It’s Not a Season, It’s a Baby.

“It’s just not your time.”

 

“It’s only for a season.”

 

“It doesn’t last forever, this is just how it is for all of us.”

 

“You can get spiritual feeding in AFTER your kids are older.”

 

These are just some of the responses I have received many times when I have lamented that I am struggling with my place in the church since having children. But guess what? I got sick of it.  I’ve talked to my spiritual advisors, to my elders, to my husband, I’ve cried out to the Lord about it, and here’s what I came up with in response to those statements:

 

This is absolute crap.

 

Okay, okay, so maybe that’s not the nicest way to put it, but that’s what I’ve wanted to say.

 

When I had Captain in 2012, I spent an entire year worshipping apart from my husband.  I use the term “worshipping” very loosely.  I spent a year in a room either alone, or with 2 other wonderful nursing women and their babies that had a TV with the sermon being piped in, while my husband sat in the service and got to listen to the sermon like the rest of the church, because he wasn’t lactating and I was.

 

At the year mark, after countless Sundays and Thursdays being stuck in a room apart from my husband where the audio or the visual wasn’t working at times, I had had it.  I went to my wonderful husband, my sweet spiritual head and with tears pouring down my face I said, “I can’t do this anymore. I haven’t heard a whole sermon, let alone a quarter of a sermon in a year.  My daily devotional time suffers, I never get to fellowship with the body anymore, I am sick of being in a room apart from you and not hearing the word preached.  I need help because I feel like I am drowning.”

 

My husband held me while I cried and we decided it was high time I made my way back into at least the lobby, if not the sanctuary of our church.  Thankfully, the lobby of our church at the time has two large glass windows and the sermon audio piped in, so we were able to take Captain into the lobby from the sanctuary if he got too loud, without me being segregated from my husband, and without feeling shut up in a dark room by myself.

 

Once we had Mamitas, we were told by a well meaning woman that there were people uncomfortable with me nursing in the lobby– even with a cover.  Back to the nursing room I went– feeling alone, defeated, and an outcast.

 

Even for women’s functions, I was told were for adult women, and to leave my nursing child home with daddy.  Women’s teas, retreats, and social events weren’t the place for my nursing baby.

 

I began to see a common trend.  The people who were the most unsupportive of me in my young motherhood were not some chauvinistic, patriarchal men– it was women.  Every time. And not just women who didn’t have husbands or kids, no!  It was always middle-aged to older women, who had children at one point in their lives too.  These same women had probably sat in the same dark rooms, nursing under blankets in bathrooms or lobbies or hallways, not hearing the Word preached, longing to be fed, and they were probably placed there by other older women themselves.

 

I’ve talked to many young mothers about this in the church, and we all seem to be frustrated with it, but for some reason, the squeakiest wheels seem to be the older women, and so, we young moms end up in a dark back room because we have noisy babies and milk in our breasts.

 

I can’t help but think this has only become an issue in the last 100-150 years in the westernized world, due to two things:

 

  1. The change from biological feeding with breasts to bottles and thereby making breasts single (and sexually) purposed in our societies.
  2. The popularity of segregating children from adults into their very specific age groups– namely because of the public school system and the rise of Sunday School and mandatory nursery care in churches.

 

Tell me that Ma Ingalls had to nurse her baby in a cry room, or that Mary had to take Jesus to the nursery each Sabbath.  That just wasn’t a thing.  This has not been the norm for thousands of years, and because of tradition and popular culture, the church now has no place for young mothers and babies.  How is a church to grow and sustain itself without young families?  It can’t.  It will die out without children.

 

What other sector of the body of Christ do we tell, “It’s not your season to listen to the preaching of the Word of God”?  What if we told teenage boys that they were excluded for this season, or old women, or elementary aged children?  We would all be in an uproar.  The gospel message and preaching of the Bible is for ALL Christians.  Its commanded that we be in fellowship and following good, solid teaching and doctrine, and yet, I hear it constantly. “It’s just not your time– we all go through this.”

 

As for the claim that I have heard the most: “It’s just a season in your life”: I hear the “season” comment mostly from women who have chosen to have 1 or 2 babies.  Most of these women either didn’t breastfeed at all, or they did for a very short period of time. That was the perfect amount of babies for them.  That was the perfect amount of time for them to nurse.  Milkman and I desire a large family.  Thus far, I’ve been nursing 2 days short of 48 months straight.  We choose to let our kiddos wean sometime after 2.5.  What if my “season” is 10 years?  Is it okay for any Christian to miss out on preaching for 10 years?  My grandmother had 15 pregnancies, and raised 13 children over a course of 21 years.  TWENTY-ONE YEARS.  By the season argument, if my grandmother had been in a modern Evangelical church, her season would have been about 23 years.  

 

23 years of no women’s retreats.  23 years of not sitting with my grandfather in church.  23 years of audio/visual mishaps on the CCTV in the nursing room.  23 years of not getting spiritual feeding with the rest of the congregation.  Many years of also not sitting with her older children in church, leaving my grandfather with 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, kids to manage on his own. Many years of being alone and lonely and told by her older sisters, “Sorry, Panchita, it’s just not your season.”

 

Let’s be real, sitting in a sermon with young children and babies is still going to have you struggling to get the full message uninterrupted each week.  I’m not ignorant of the fact that children distract us in church and need parenting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week– meaning I’m not off duty for 2 hours each Sunday, and my kids are still going to need my attention.  But if my husband and I are tackling the parenting in church together as a team, we can support each other, be encouraged that we aren’t alone, be with the rest of the congregation on a Sunday (what a concept!), and most importantly, we can worship together, teaching our children of the importance their parents place on the preaching of God’s Word, and honoring the Lord’s day.

 

I don’t think we should do away with nursing rooms, I appreciated ours when I was in the early stages of nursing and needed 17 hands and a boppy to get a good latch.  I don’t think we should do away with nurseries.  I think they are excellent options for parents of children who are happy to go into childcare.  I don’t think we should do away with Sunday School, I loved Sunday School as a kid, and it serves a wonderful purpose for families who would like their child in a more kid-friendly environment.

 

In fact, this isn’t even so much about where to nurse as it is about women tearing down other women.  I see it constantly, not just in the church, but I see it there a lot.  I am incredibly thankful for a husband who advocates for me, for elders who have listened to me while I weep, and for the few, very special older women in my church who have been there to encourage me and help me through this sometimes lonely journey of being a nursing mother.  But the naysayers are always the ones whose comments seem to be what sticks with you.

 

To those older sisters, I just want to say, I know kids can be a distraction.  I know they can be annoying, believe me I have personal experience in dealing with their frustrating behaviors!  I know it is easy to forget that you were once in my shoes, but dear older sister, would you show me some compassion?  If not on me, then on my helpless infant. She needs love from her church, to hear as a baby what the Word says.  She needs to hear her pastor praying and she needs to see her parents lifting their hands to the Lord in worship.  She needs to hear the Psalms read, so that one day she can say, “There was never a day I could remember that I didn’t know the love of Jesus.”

 

Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.

 

–Joel 2:16

 

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**as an addendum, I would like to share that after meeting with our elders and lots of prayer, we are happily worshiping with the congregation each Sunday, and it feels so good to be with my brothers and sisters while still nourishing my youngest, tending to my olders, and standing next to my husband.**

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