Bartlett Farms

LEARNING CENTER

One Announcement and Two Recipes

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Happy news! We have conceived our third child and he or she is due sometime in February. Our family is growing so quickly…what a blessing. 🙂

In preparation for this baby, I’ve come up with a couple recipes that I’ll be using to prepare myself and our little one for our journey ahead: a regimen and belly butter recipe to treat and prevent stretch marks, and a smoothie recipe to fuel the growth of my child and provide good nutrition for myself.

To prevent and treat stretch marks:

A few times a week, I dry brush my belly and then slather some luxurious DIY stretch mark belly butter. My old stretch marks have already faded significantly.

Balm recipe:

1 cup hard oil (tallow, cocoa butter, mango butter, or coconut oil)

1 cup soft oil (olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or sweet almond oil)

2 tablespoons vitamin e oil

.75 oz shredded or cut-up beeswax

*If you are using coconut oil as a hard oil, increase the amount to 1.5 cups and decrease the soft oil amount to .5 cups.

In a double boiler or a pan with a bowl on top, place the hard oil, soft oil, and beeswax. Turn on the stove to medium/medium-high and allow the oils and wax to slowly melt. You want the oils to melt together, not begin to boil; this is a gentle process used to avoid damaging the ingredients with too much heat. This could take up to 20-30 minutes. Then, add in vitamin e oil, stir, and pour your ingredients into a glass or metal mixing bowl. Allow it to cool off on the counter for 1-2 hours, and blend with a hand mixer every 2 hours if you desire a whipped consistency. Once the cream is totally opaque and cooled to room-temperature, your belly butter is ready to use. I like to store mine in a mason jar. Enjoy!

Smoothie for pregnancy and beyond:

Though I can’t tolerate this smoothie right now (morning sickness–ick!), I plan on re-implementing it into my diet as soon as I can. Hope you like it!

Ingredients:

2 cups raw milk kefir (or yogurt)

1-2 tablespoons organic unrefined coconut oil

1-2 (frozen) bananas (2 bananas for a thicker/creamier consistency)

1 tablespoon flax seeds

3 dates

2 egg yolks from healthy free-range chickens (optional)

In a blender, place all ingredients and blend well. This makes a large smoothie that I share with my children, so adjust the size as needed. Sometimes, I add 1-2 tablespoons of organic cocoa powder and/or peanut butter to change the flavor. Sometimes, I add in a whole avocado if I want more of an ice cream consistency. Delicious! PS– don’t be afraid of adding a lot of coconut oil. It blends right in and only imparts a slight coconut taste.

Here’s why I added each ingredient:

Raw milk kefir (or yogurt): To provide b vitamins, calcium, loads of probiotics, and many other important nutrients. All of these things are important in pregnancy, especially for those who suffer from constipation and hemorrhoids from the weight of the baby in the womb. I am not sure what I would do if I didn’t have access to this tremendously helpful and much-needed superfood. Speaking from personal experience— it is an absolute gut-saver!

Organic unrefined coconut oil: To provide energy, fight pathogens (such as Group Strep B (GBS)), and decrease the brain fog the comes with pregnancy. It’s also fantastic for both mother and baby while breastfeeding. Here is a great article summarizing more benefits of coconut oil in relation to fertility, pregnancy, and beyond.

Bananas: Because they provide potassium and they’re delicious! I like to add two frozen bananas to my smoothies because it creates a creamier consistency.

Flax seeds: To boost omega-3 consumption, provide naturally occuring DHA (so good for mommy and baby!), and add fiber to the diet.

Dates: Especially important in third trimester, dates have been known to not only act as nature’s most unprocessed sweetener, but also improve the chances of a faster labor. Delicious and useful!

Egg yolks (optional): Cholesterol is an essential building block for the nervous system of a developing brain. I also add these to provide b vitamins for myself and the child and help keep my frazzled nerves in a state of healing. Pregnancy is hard work and nutritional demands are high.

Hopefully these recipes can help you in your journey to health! Of course, these are not only for mothers…anyone can benefit from them. Stretch marks often show up due to weight gain or puberty, and we all know that good nutrition is important for everyone. Plus, who doesn’t want smooth skin and a smoothie that tastes like a peanut butter cup?

What are your DIY lotion recipes? Do you have a favorite smoothie flavor?

 


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

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Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

 

Why I Chose To Raise My Family Naturally


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I must admit: raising my family naturally has been very fun. I love reading about health, preparing traditional foods, and experimenting with new health-related projects. One of my favorite things to do and learn about is fermenting food, especially kombucha, milk kefir, and my latest interest: Moroccan preserved lemons. Yum!

Though entertaining, this journey did not start because it’s fun. I wish I could say that my fire for learning fuels all of my interests, but it stems from a less happy root: fear.

Everyone has certain things that they struggle with. One of mine, though I’ve gotten much better at controlling it, is my wild–and, at times, despairing–imagination. I remember many points in my childhood that were filled with tears because I was afraid that I’d lose the people I love. It’s natural and common for the tender hearts of children to ache as they learn and grow, and mine certainly did once I learned and understood that death would one day claim those that I loved most. When I wasn’t busy playing with friends or challenging my parents (I probably wasn’t the easiest child!), I sometimes found myself wallowing in bouts of sad nostalgia and stirring up fears in myself that gave me nightmares, even though I have had an exceptionally blessed life. Unfortunately, these obsessive and unhealthy thought patterns followed me all the way into adulthood and my married life, where they expanded into a greater pool of possibilities, allowing me to indulge in intensely tragic thoughts of losing my husband and our children. Especially after learning about the illnesses of my sweet husband’s parents, my bad habit of despairing increased. My father-in-law suffered from multiple sclerosis for 10 years and died young, and my mother-in-law has been battling cancer for 10 years now. I suppose this is where my health-kick really took off.

In order to counter my husband’s poor genetic disposition towards cancer and autoimmune diseases, I felt very compelled to do everything I could to maintain his health. I was afraid of what would happen if we didn’t try our very best, for his sake, and for the health of our children.

Starting out in my journey, I was a vegan. Fully convinced that the movie Forks Over Knives was the answer to avoiding disease, I strictly followed a vegan diet and got my husband (who was my fiance at that time) to join me. In another post, I describe some of the damage that veganism caused my body. Anyway, after experiencing more negative effects than positive ones on a mostly unprocessed vegan diet, I learned about the GAPS diet and the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). This was the turning point for us in our healthy-food journey: instead of eating only plants, we started to learn and experiment with traditionally prepared, hearty, flavorful, and filling foods that include animal products. We never stepped back into the world of plant-based diets again. 🙂

In our journey to finding a truly wholesome, delicious, and nutrient-dense way of life, I’ve learned some useful things:

1. Pick something and stick with it. Do NOT overwhelm yourself with obsessive research. I discovered that my anxiety related to health and finding the perfect diet for our family had turned me into an irritable vampire of a wife and mother. As it is my main duty to raise my children and care for my husband to the best of my ability, I realized that I was failing at being the positive influence that I needed to be. In order to be correct about nutrition, I was sucking the happiness out of my family! This lesson was hard to learn, but I was able to improve our family life by refusing to be overwhelmed with the latest conflicting research about nutrition. Here was our solution: only research necessary nutritional questions, and then stop and do something else. It’s tempting to fall down the rabbit-hole of health and research topic, after topic, after topic…just say, “no”! New health ideas come up all the time. If you’re interested in one, look into it as long as it’s not detracting from other areas of your life and duties. We finally chose to follow the well-researched WAPF recommendations, and it has been great for us healthwise and tastewise. Now, we can focus on reaping the benefits of this delicious way of eating, but there are no more big decisions to make. That’s a HUGE weight off my shoulders!

2. Take back control of yourself. This seems like an obvious point, but for somebody who is vulnerable to heavy influence by feelings, I need to be sure that my logic–not my emotion–is my base. Emotions can be deceiving and this is proven over and over to me as I reflect back on my entire life. I spent too much time concerning myself with tragedies that hadn’t even happened yet, and focusing on insignificant inconveniences that caused me much grief for no reason at all. I wasted my own time. Really, our responses are 100% our responsibility, and though we can’t control our circumstances, our reactions to our circumstances are what matter. Choose to take back your life from the deceptive waxings and wainings of irrational emotions! Of course, not all feelings are worth ignoring, but I’ve discovered that the majority of the negative ones are not based in truth whatsoever. You can choose the easy rational route without being derailed by untrue, negative, parasitic thoughts. Health is not only physical, but deeply related to the state of our souls.

In the end, we all do and will suffer to varying degrees. Contemplating the difficult realities of life is not only good, but also a necessary pain. However, we can make whatever we want of life: there are opportunities to learn from our weaknesses if we choose to, or we can allow our circumstances to defeat us. As for me and our family, I choose health, and you can, too!

“Sorrow is a sanctuary as long as self is kept outside. […] let us not foster, embrace, rekindle and indulge our grief. For then our sorrow is a selfish and luxurious fiction, a ground in which the Holy Spirit will not dig.”

― Father Frederick William Faber

Are you considering raising your family naturally? What inspired your decision?

Article Summary:

1. My grapple with fear

2. Overcoming personal obstacles

3. Choosing health for our family!

 


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

family24Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

 

Tummy Troubles or Tongue Ties? How I Helped My Baby Sleep

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*There are no affiliate links in this post. I mention certain items and sources because these are what worked best for our family.*

       Last night, my sweet baby girl woke up upset. Like so many times before, we picked her up, held her, and tried to identify why she was crying. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that she was having tummy trouble, so I resorted to my go-to remedy, and, like always, it worked within minutes. After cuddling with her a little more, we put her back in bed and she quickly fell into a peaceful sleep.

       This was a mild episode compared to the difficulties my baby girl, now almost 2 years old, had when she was an infant. Remembering those early days conjures up many emotions in me…happiness, nostalgia, gratefulness, and relief. Early on, I remember being extremely anxious about hurting my baby because I didn’t yet know how to care for her. The learning curve for a new parent is steep! What a gift it is that children are so resilient and patient with us. 🙂

       Along with learning all about breastfeeding, diapering, the postpartum experience, et cetera, the thing that challenged me most was baby sleep (or, rather the lack of it). A couple weeks after birth, my little Jane got over her night-versus-day confusion and began to sleep well at night; she would wake up once or twice, I’d change her, and nurse her back to sleep. No problems there. Those sweet nighttime cuddles are such warming memories! However, I knew this problem-free schedule would not last forever. Sleep regressions awaited us and I hoped we’d cope with them well. Maybe they’d be painless. I read they should only last a few days.

       Finally, my precious girl turned 4 months old and she hit her first sleep regression. She was waking often and was clearly distressed, which I wasn’t sure was normal. Groggy and exhausted, I dived into books, Facebook “mommy groups,” internet forums, and articles to try to understand what I should do about my baby’s constant night-waking. This went on for a lot longer than a few days…slowly, the weeks turned into months.

       After seemingly endless searches, I compiled a list of potential ideas as to why my baby girl was waking up in pain. I tried almost everything to help her. To my dismay, nothing on my list worked. My sweet baby was waking up 4 to 8 times a night from 4 months old to 7 months old. I started to feel hopeless. On top of being discouraged because none of my remedies worked, I felt guilty for wasting the family money on potential solutions. It’s amazing how easy it is to have such irrational and negative thoughts when you’re tired; lesson learned: keep your imagination under control! A poor disposition won’t help you solve anything.

       Finally, we decided to try out a couple of remedies that were less popular: a remedy recommended by the herbalist Susun Weed and a visit to a pediatric dental specialist in East Grand Forks. Our record with finding solutions was about to turn from a losing game to a dominating victory! Without further adieu, I present to you our successes:

1. Slippery elm bark: Our little one was waking up from gas pains, not just sleep regressions. Like I mentioned, we tried almost everything to help her. My poor girl! 🙁 Suggested by Susun Weed in her Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, slippery elm bark powder “has restored digestive ability and strength” in my baby girl and is known to aid infants with severe colic and even allergic reactions to food. Better than any remedy I’ve ever tried for my children, it’s also cheap, very gentle, and impressively effective.

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I give this to my babies when they struggle with gas, constipation, or diarrhea starting at around 4 months old. It works very quickly to relax the child and has a naturally sweet taste and smell, much like diluted maple syrup. Slippery elm bark powder is my go-to remedy for all childhood digestive ailments, but it is not the solution to the root cause of the problem…

2. Getting Jane evaluated for a lip/tongue tie:  

       This might sound a little weird at first. A tongue and/or lip tie is a notably short, thick, or tight band of tissue (frenulum) that exists under the tongue and lip. It is NOT every frenulum, which exists normally in everyone; a tie is present when a frenulum causes restrictions in normal mouth movement and development. Restricted mouth movement causes difficulty while eating/nursing, learning to talk, and, of course, with digestion because of swallowing lots of air. There are many symptoms for both a breastfeeding mother and the child with tie(s); but, interestingly, our only symptoms were difficulty staying latched to the breast and painful gas pains that disturbed Jane’s sleep every night. Failing to correct something like this can lead to tooth decay  and possibly speech problems. Here is how to check for ties and here’s how to fix them

       Back to our story: our suspicions of lip/tongue ties were quickly confirmed at Jane’s appointment with Dr. Chelsea. At the same visit, Janey got her ties revised via laser and a few days afterwards, she no longer had nightly gas pains. This means that she SLEPT! We haven’t slept in such a long time! Dan and I were absolutely elated when our girl could finally sleep pain-free.

       Learning that Janey had such significant ties was very surprising to me because neither our family doctor, nor any lactation consultant (we met with a few of them) knew what a tie was! We had struggled for such a long time trying to find a solution for this seemingly simple, and actually very common, problem. According to Dr. Chelsea, “those treating [ties] feel its probably closer to 20% [of the population]” that have them and that “it’s an increasing issue with environmental factors as a potential cause.” I even explained to our family doctor that Jane had ties fixed, and he didn’t seem to care to know what a tie was, why they’re important, or even how to fix them. I mention this in order to give you confidence in your own research; if you suspect something wrong with your child’s or your own mouth, it’s up to you to investigate the possibility that you’re right. Listen to your gut. If you are looking for a professional to help you or your children with ties, reference this list of recommended specialists in your area. As I’ve mentioned, many health professionals are unaware of this problem and therefore will not help you properly identify it and fix it, so save yourself the hassle by visiting a recommended practitioner. 🙂

       Though we strongly avoid unnecessary medical intervention, such as circumcision, the lip/tongue tie procedure has proved to be very beneficial for my little Jane. We were so astounded by Janey’s results that we took our little Thomas in to get evaluated soon after he was born. I remember calling the dentist’s office to schedule an appointment while still in my L&D hospital bed! His mouth looked even more restricted than Jane’s, but he has had no symptoms of ties since getting his fixed. He sleeps well, he eats well, isn’t gassy or “colicky”…he is the opposite of how uncomfortable Janey was in her first few months. We’ve saved ourselves a lot of unnecessary trouble.

       All of these new and bittersweet challenges were for the better, as is everything else in life… 20/20 hindsight! Through our difficulties, opportunities to better ourselves in many ways (especially in patience) arose and allowed us to work on our faults. There’ll be many more of these opportunities in the future. I really hope this post can help you if you’re experiencing similar pains…there’s hope! This beautiful time in life is brimming with possibilities to learn and help each other. Mamas, unite! 🙂

       Since we are on the topic of baby sleep and gas, here are a couple more remedies that may help you:

1. Gripe water: I found that store-bought gripe water was more effective than my homemade recipes. This version is free of any nasty synthetic ingredients that I wasn’t comfortable giving Janey. It appears they’ve changed the ingredients list. (Tip: beware of chamomile! I am allergic to ragweed, which is a relative to chamomile. If you’re allergic to ragweed, it’s a good idea to be cautious about using chamomile with your baby, who may also be allergic. My poor Jane got hives from chamomile. 🙁 )

2. Epsom salt baths: This solution worked very well to get Janey to relax before bedtime. We gave her a calm bath, took her out, rubbed her little body in coconut oil as lotion, and I nursed her to sleep. We called this Janey’s “spa treatment.” Tip: epsom salt baths or magnesium spray are incredible at easing growing pains!

3. “Kick-Kick-Kicks”: This is our own title for the “bicycle legs” baby massage move. Just place the little one on his/her back, raise one leg at a time, and gently press the baby’s knees on his/her cute little baby belly. You can also raise both legs at a time.

       One last thing: Breastfeeding is so special! It creates such a close bond between me and my babies. Nursing can be tough when you’ve got a baby with a tied-up mouth…but don’t give up! Here are a couple resources to support you and your baby on your journey together: 1, 2

Have you had experiences with slippery elm or tongue/lip-tied babies? How did you cope with tummy trouble?

 


Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

family24Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.