Author Archives: themilkgoddess

When should I give my baby solids?

When should I give my baby solids?


Milk Monday
Milk Moment by Sacred Milk:

When should I give my baby solids?
The intestinal tract of babies is permeable (open) until they are about 6 months old. What does this mean? It means whatever baby eats has an open door into their blood stream until their intestinal tract closes. Why is this important? Baby’s body is designed to consume and digest only the milk of its mother until their bodies are mature enough (the intestinal tract is closed) to introduce other foods. When babies eat foods or artificial baby milk containing non human proteins and other components their body isn’t ready to digest, these substances damage their gut, enter the bloodstream and cause allergic and/or inflammatory responses.


A baby shows outward signs they are ready for solids:
+ Baby is sitting up on his own
+ Baby can pick up food with the pincer grip- using the thumb and his forefinger
+ Baby can chew and swallow- does not thrust out food with his tongue


For more information on beginning solids, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, published by LLLI, Baby-Led Weaning: Helping Your Baby Love Good Food by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, and My Child Won’t Eat! by Dr. Carlos Gonzalez.

Photo credit: Alexandra DeFurio, Elena Rego, and Tnah Louise


Surrender to the Serenity in Simple


Milk Monday
Milk Moment from Sacred Milk:nn

Surrender to the Serenity in Simple:
Today as parents, companies market that we NEED so many products and gadgets to care for our new babies. As we walk down the isles at the baby stores we see items for the nursing baby we can buy or add to our registries. While shopping is fun, and so are gifts, it’s important to balance the marketing with reality. Some of these products are handy or comforting, others distract from bigger problems. It’s the distracting ones that can lead to an avalanche of challenges for a nursing mom. Knowing what is handy and what can be problematic puts mama ahead of the game and allows her to make informed choices about the goodies she chooses. balance

There are Pocket Nannies, Vibrational nursing alarms, and jewelry designed to remind Mom what side to nurse on, when to nurse, and for how long. Their intention is to help the new parents. But, research shows that Milk production is related to how often a baby is at the breast actively nursing. When feedings are restricted or infrequent supply is affected and decreases. When relying on the device or clock to bring the healthy baby to the breast it can have a negative affect. Don’t rely on the time or device, rely on the baby. Moms only need feeding cues as the timer for baby’s next feed. Below is a tear off sheet from La Leche League describing those feeding cues.…/WAB_Tear_sheet_To…/04_feeding_cues.pdf

Daly, S., Hartmann, R Infant demand and milk supply: Part 1 and 2. J Hum Lact 1995; 11(1):21-37.

De Carvalho, M. et al. Effect of frequent breastfeeding on early milk production and infant weight gain Pediatrics 1983: 72:307-11.

De Coopman, J. Breastfeeding after pituitary resection: support for a theory of autocrine control of milk supply. J Hum Lact 1993; 9(1):35-40.

Riordan, I. and Auerbach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Boston and London: Jones and Bartlett 1993; 88.

A Warm Cuppa


Milk Monday

Milk Moment from Sacred Milk :

When caring for a nursling it’s imperative to take time to nourish yourself. A warm Cuppa can provide you with that nurturing practice and assist in filling up your cup. This practice of opening space for yourself and taking time to prepare yourself a warm beverage is good for your peace of mind, and good for your soul. Choose a time early before your little ones wake up, or after they go down for a nap or at bedtime and make it a ritual. Choose a beautiful cup, saucer, and a special spoon. Do you have a daily ritual that includes a warm coffee or tea? Do you have a special cup just for you? Do you get up a tad earlier than your baby just to enjoy your warm Cuppa solo and while it’s warm?


Jennifer’s Milk Story- Going with the (MILK) Flow

Jennifer’s Milk Story- Going with the (MILK) Flow

Going With The (Milk) Flow

By Jennifer Martel

Back in January of 1989, I gave birth to my first child, daughter Toni Michelle. Although I initially tried to breastfeed her at the hospital, I ended up giving up too soon which I credit to being so young at the time. In hind sight, I wished I had stuck with it.

Fast forward about twenty-four years. I felt called on a spiritual level to bring another precious life into this world. My current husband Andy and I decided we would in fact like children. This time around, I was wiser, healthier, and living holistically. I knew about GMOs and processed foods and knew that my breast milk was the perfect food for this baby that was entering the world. So I had every intention of solely breastfeeding our baby.

After our sweet Emma Rose was born in July 2014, I had to learn to go with the flow and learn to accept that despite our best efforts, sometimes things just don’t go as planned- and that everything will still work out okay.

When Emma was born, we initiated breastfeeding in the delivery room at the hospital. It would ebb & flow. We weren’t able to get her to latch consistently to get enough milk overall. Emma had dropped some weight initially so the hospital staff was monitoring her weight each night. At one point a staff member mentioned the possibility of formula at some point and I said no. When asked why I didn’t want to use formula, my reply was “the ingredients.” They did not understand my concerns about processed baby formula, nor my vow to NOT give up this time on breastfeeding.


Fortunately we had attended a breastfeeding class by a remarkable woman Beth prior to giving birth. And it just so happened that she did private consultations. So the day after we arrived home from the hospital, we had this lactation specialist come to our home.

She helped with breastfeeding techniques, as well as setting me up to pump breast milk to increase milk supply (including fitting me for correct shield size, etc.). Additionally, she weighed Emma at each visit and expressed the importance of our main objective, which was to get Emma fed- regardless of the type of milk. Although it was devastating to me, we went out on day 4 and bought the best organic baby formula we could find after researching online.

Beth also suspected that Emma may have a lip or tongue tie (neither of which I had ever heard of). She referred us to a pediatric dentist that specializes in this. So at not quite a week old, we took Emma to this dentist, and it turned out that she had both a lip and tongue tie which was interfering with her ability to latch and breastfeed. Emma had the laser procedure that day and we continued our breastfeeding as best we could, in addition to supplementing with organic formula.

Due to delayed latching, my milk supply, once very abundant, had dwindled, so I worked to increase production by pumping. It added even more stress trying to find time to pump in between breastfeeding attempts. I pressured myself to make this work, vowing that I would not give up.

We rented a commercial breast pump, had several lactation consults, I tried acupuncture, frequent breast-pumping, and amidst all of this, I was realizing that the time I was spending trying to increase my milk supply was not only very stressful but also insanely time-consuming. I was ultimate losing time with my precious daughter because I could not pump and hold Emma at the same time. It deeply saddened me to be missing time holding my baby in an effort to give her the best most natural food- my breast milk. When I came to this realization, I had to decide what my priority was going to be.

I chose loving contact. I had to let go of feelings of failure and guilt and instead allow myself to be more relaxed and flexible with the process. I decided to pump less to reduce my stress level and get to cuddle my sweet Emma Rose more. Eventually I stopped pumping all together and let things flow as they would, knowing I had tried so many things and that this was not giving up- I was simply surrendering. Even the lactation specialist was impressed with my efforts, commenting on my devotion to making breast feeding a success.

10940609_10205908699182420_1238015613816792688_nEmma and I still breastfed each day (no matter how much or how little the milk output) for the remainder of my 12 week maternity leave. And although she did not receive enough breast milk to sustain her on that alone, we had the loving skin-to-skin time that was so very precious- and supplemented each feeding with organic formula.

I had to learn to go with the (milk) flow. Even with the best intentions, unforeseen circumstances can occur which derail our original plans. Our loving, healthy intentions for Emma are surely infused in her organic formula (just as the water crystal experiments demonstrated the effect of our thoughts and intentions on water).

Most importantly, our sweet Emma Rose is happy, healthy, strong and thriving. The love we nourish her with every day feeds her body and soul beautifully. My husband Andy and I are very blessed.

Photo credit: Stefanie Lynn Photography

A BOLD Milk Step


Stepping out of my comfort zone!
Getting real, finally.
CELEBRATING a BIG part of my life!
Taking a deep breath and BEing BOLD!

Have you noticed that it is World Breastfeeding Week? I am realizing I often live with my head in the sand of the lactation community. It is my business, my profession and my daily reality. It sometimes startles me that not everyone lives my reality (what?!). I realize that even people who I am close to and see me often do not “get” what I do.

Yes, the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week and if you are in mothering and parenting circles you may find yourself flooded with memes and images of breastfeeding. This gets a bit controversial. It strikes a nerve. It triggers many women. I have been criticized and questioned for not supporting all mom’s despite their feeding choices (But I DO, so hold that thought). Sacred Milk has been criticized for using the word “sacred” as if we are proclaiming ourselves exclusionary or elitist. Then there is an argument that all of the nursing photos glamorize and victimize the true reality of the majority of women. This leads us to the “brelfie” movement. This is where mom’s are posting “selfies” of them breastfeeding. These “brelfies” presents some pretty raw material and even more controversy! Normally I just try to ignore the controversial conversation and keep doing what I do.

This year for World Breastfeeding Week I am welcoming all of this conversation and controversy in a different way.

I realized that for all of my work with Sacred Milk and nursing my 6th baby….. Many of you don’t know this core part of me. Most of you don’t even know I am an IBCLC or what that means. I have kept it all in it’s own little box, in effect defeating my purpose. I have been careful to keep the possibility of controversy out of my personal safe zone.

<<< So here is my FIRST offering.>>>>
The breastfeeding week
Why? Because this is my raw reality. It is MY celebration!
My personal trigger with Milk out in the open (public breastfeeding) is that for all of my promoting, writing and encouraging. I have not always walked my talk.
I have hidden.

It still brings fire in my belly and shots of anxiety to be open nursing in public in the way I am in private. Anyone who has been on retreat with me or in my home knows that I am NOT SHY about my breasts, or my body. But I do get stuck in public. Why? Because there is STILL a shame seed deep inside that screams “big breasts can not be discreet and discreet is your only safety outside of law” or “large breasts are sexual and only woman of questionable morals “flaunt” them” or that obvious large breasts are BAD or DIRTY or MORE OVERTLY SEXUAL than breasts that can more “easily” be discreet. The stories associated with shaming of women breastfeeding in public often include quotes like “I was being discreet” or “hardly any breast was showing”. As if that is what makes feeding their baby in public justified. Well screw that. It is stressful for me to constantly be on guard of my level of “discreet”. Trying to be comfortable, not drip sweat or milk, and meet my baby’s needs all while covering my BELLY and my BREAST. The whole time this shame seed needling me with judgement. I KNOW better but this little seed keeps screaming at me! So with my last baby and after almost 14 years of lactating I am finally breaking through this barrier. IF it has taken me this long (as a lactavist) then how can I expect to ever really make the impact I so passionately teach if I am not willing to get real about it?

There will be no more hiding.

I will not allow that little voice of shame to say that somehow my body shape should ever cause me stress. FACT: My breast is still bigger than my baby’s head. Hiding my breasts is just not possible outside of wearing a tent or staying home. Even under clothing they are obvious. Don’t try and moralize or shame me into covering up or being discreet. It’s not comfortable for me and I am not in charge of your comfort. I’m over it. I’m stepping out of my box (and jumping up and down on top of it!) If you are uncomfortable with this then please move along. I’ve got work to do and a baby to feed.
Be Bold!

Share your ‪#‎MilkStory‬ at Milk Stories

Much Love – Sara

There are no advantages to breastfeeding


Allyson Frances photo Advantage noun

  1. a condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.

There are no advantages to breastfeeding.  No, that is not a typo; there are no advantages to breastfeeding.  Look at the definition of the word advantage above.  It is something that “puts one in a favorable or superior position.”  Nourishing our babies with our Milk is not an advantage, it is physiologically normal.  But, we have always heard, “Breast is Best.”  What does this imply?  It simply implies Artificial Baby Milk (ABM) is the baseline, and human Milk is just an additional, extra special add-on.   Words have meaning.  Milk is now considered the exception, not the norm. Wait!  There are no advantages? Consider the following questions:  How does Milk

  • reduce a Mother’s risk of breast cancer and postmenopausal osteoporosis?
  • reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as Type I Diabetes, Celiac Disease, and Crohn’s Disease in children?
  • lower the baby’s chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in half?
  • protect your baby from infections and diseases such as respiratory infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, ear infections, urinary infections, late-onset sepsis in pre-term infants, and childhood overweight and obesity?

Milk is not an extra nutritional substance you give to simply help prevent infections or disease.  Rather, Milk is made naturally to grow an infant and help him thrive.    Think about this statement taken from a Pediatric Research article, “Thymus size is dependent on whether the infant is breast-fed; the thymus size of breast-fed infants is twice the size of formula-fed infants at 4 mo [months] of age.”  The thymus gland is vitally important to the development of a child’s immune system.  The thymus size should be baselined from that of Milk-fed infants, not the other way around.  This is a paradigm shift that needs to emphasized:  The thymus is not “extra large” because it is twice as large as the child who receives ABM; it is the normal size. As late as 2003, The World Health Organization established guidelines detailing the best alternative to an infant obtaining Milk at the breast.  The WHO prioritized these options as:

  • Milk from own mother by breastfeeding,
  • Milk from own mother, expressed,
  • Milk from a wet-nurse, or
  • Milk from a milk bank, or
  • Breastmilk substitute

However, when a baby is unable to be at the Mother’s breast, the next option offered tends to be the last on the list of alternatives.  If we embrace the paradigm shift by changing the language used to describe and detail the feeding of infants, all  of us (parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, lactation specialists) can better demand and defend the need for more acceptable and accessible postpartum care, lactation support, and more options for the advancement of donor Milk options.  Access to Milk Banks is far less than the number of those that want or need such services.  As such, we need to demand more Milk Banks.  Even though Artificial Baby Milk continues to be an option that has saved many lives,   it should not be the baseline; it is an alternative substitute.  I once had the opportunity to hear CNM Nancy Giglio share,  “We must respect technology, but preserve physiology.” We should say the same for Milk. We must preserve and protect what is physiologically normal.  It’s time for a paradigm shift.

In a society where there are many demands on new Mothers, who are often times away from extended family and support structures, there needs to be a shift back to what is normal.  When Milk is seen as something that is an extra or taken by new Mothers as an additional pressure to be a “good Mother,” then the biological needs of the dyad are strained.  Milk then becomes a concept of something that is viewed “above-and-beyond” or something that is “more than enough.”  As Mothers, just being “enough” – in and of itself – is challenging in its own right.  Using words like “best” or “superior” to describe Milk only goes to further create environments or situations that become almost unreal or unattainable to many new Mothers.  Under such scenarios, ABM companies can then find it easier to market their products and push their brands in efforts to alleviate these so-called burdens felt by  new Mothers.

Relying on words such as “advantage” or “benefit” when describing Milk insinuates a certain level of superiority or privilege.  We, as a community, need to be cognizant of language and how we use it.  Doctor Wayne Dyer states, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I encourage all of us to undertake the paradigm shift of how to care for infants.  In doing so we can better articulate what is physiologically normal, and provide with is biologically intended for these Little Beings.

Austin Rees, IBCLC

Sacred Milk Co-Founder

References: Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, et al. Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 1994;330:81-87 ‘The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding’, bullet 18 states: “The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative –expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat –depends on individual circumstances.” [] Hasselbalch H,

Jeppesen DL, Engelmann MD, Michaelsen KF, Nielsen MB 1996 Decreased thymus size in formula-fed infants compared with breastfed infants. Acta Paediatr 85:1029–1032