Breastfeeding- The Ups & Downs Told By a Kids Tummy Doc

Mother breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is the recommended form of sole nutrition for babies until 6 months of age.  Once the baby starts solids it is still recommended that breastfeeding continues with the solid foods until at least 1 year of age.

There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the baby.  These include a decrease in the following:

  • chance of ear infections
  • allergies
  • respiratory illnesses
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • meningitis

The benefits of breastfeeding to the mother is:

  • Return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster
  • Reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Less postpartum bleeding
  • The hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract and helps decrease your belly size more quickly

These are the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  They have many helpful links for breastfeeding moms and many FAQs on their webpage that are very useful.  I now want to share with you my experience with breastfeeding as a “Kids Tummy Doctor.”

I see so many new moms come into me exhausted, frustrated and emotional.  I was one of these new moms with my first daughter.  It was exhausting to breastfeed her especially when my milk hadn’t come in yet fully.  She was constantly crying and hungry.  As a Peds GI doctor I should have been able to do this easily, right??  Well I guess not.  I was an emotional mess!! Eventually with taking some some herbal supplements ( I took fenugreek 3 times a day) and drinking Mothers Milk Tea to help my milk production, pumping constantly between feeds and latching her on as frequent as possible it started coming together. BUT I had to supplement her with formula due to her poor weight gain and not enough wet diapers.  As a new mom we try to write EVERYTHING down.  We keep a record of when they pee, poop, eat, burp.  We follow the rules, do what we are told to do by our doctors.

As a doctor, I tell my new moms something and I will tell you guys now, it’s okay if you have to supplement.  It’s okay if you only partially breastfeed because that is what works with your schedule and for your own sanity.  When I see moms with very apparent postpartum depression, sleep deprived and worried to switch to formula because they were told breastfeeding was the “right thing to do” I say to them that as a mom you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby.  I see moms who won’t take their antidepression meds because they don’t want to keep breastfeeding. PLEASE DON’T FEEL GUILTY IF YOU HAVE TO SUPPLEMENT OR STOP BREASTFEEDING!  You can still pump your milk to keep up your supply if you want to return to breastfeeding.  If you tried breastfeeding for 2 months than your baby did receive some of these valuable benefits for the first 2 months.   Please take care of yourself as a mommy so that you can take care of that beautiful, wonderful baby.

Also to those moms that are able to keep breastfeeding and pump and stock pile a freezer full of milk, YOU ROCK!  I was always so envious of you as a mom.  I honestly was breastfeeding my daughter probably for a full month every night towards the end and she would receive probably 2 oz combined from both breasts.  I knew this but didn’t want to lose that bonding that breastfeeding gives us with our babies.  Did I feel guilty when I realized that it was time to stop?  Yes.  I was so sad that I cried. In retrospect why did I feel guilty?  Why did my supply dry up?  It was most likely a combination of things.  When I went back to work when my daughter was 8 weeks old ( yup all i got off was 8 weeks; I had 6 weeks maternity leave plus my 2 weeks vacation that I saved and added on… but don’t get me started on that) I was never able to pump more than once a day during my workshifts when that timespan would cover 3 feeds, and the breastpump also never produced much milk for me.  I was supplementing with formula which can get tricky to do and still keep up with breastfeeding.  I felt guilty because I should have been able to make this work.  I am a Peds GI doctor, this is WHAT I DO!!  AGHHH!!  I was so angry with myself and what I want to say to you is that it’s okay to stop breastfeeding whenever you want.  Everyone’s situation is different.  You have to do what is right for you.   We try our best.  I paid for a private lactation consultant to come to my house, did everything and with my first baby I breastfed til 14 weeks old, with my second I was able to breastfeed til she was 7 months old.   Just because it doesn’t work perfectly with your first doesn’t mean the same scenario will happen with your other children.

Why am I telling you all this you ask??  Its because I don’t feel like enough people tell you their real stories.  They make it seem like breastfeeding will be easy.  That once you become a mommy you are supposed to automatically know how to do this. And if it doesn’t come naturally you feel like you are a bad mother.  I want you to know that it’s not easy for everyone.  It can be painful, so painful that when they latch onto your nipple it can make your toes curl.  That it is difficult and if you are able to experience this with your child even if only for a few weeks, you did awesome!!

Please, make sure you ask for help when you need it.  Call your pediatrician, they can recommend a lactation consultant if they can’t help you.  If your are feeling sad and overly depressed and emotional please go back to your OB/GYN and tell them.  You may be suffering from postpartum depression and need help.  As women, professionals and mothers please lets start to help build each other up as a society.  Share your true stories with your family and friends.  Don’t sugarcoat it, lets help each other become better moms.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Breastfeeding

It’s Fall, that means it’s time for Pumpkin!! Delicious Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta

This weekend was beautiful.  We are finally done with the 90 degree weather and it’s starting to feel like Fall!  So of course that put me in the mood to start decorating.  I pulled out all my Halloween and Fall decor.  The girls had a blast putting the clings on the windows and helping me put out the decorations on the table.  I tend to keep my decorating on the kid friendly side still. Big, bright colors and happy looking figures.  Can’t wait til the girls get older and we can go a bit more scary but for now they love it.

My Fall Table

Once Autumn comes around I also start thinking of all the great things I can make with pumpkin.  I have tried many different sauces to go with my favorite fall dishes.  Many of them include a brown butter sage sauce.  This however is definitely not great for cholesterol with the large amounts of butter they typically call for.  This recipe I love uses pumpkin puree and coconut oil.  It is delicious over your pasta of choice, whether it’s spaghetti or your favorite seasonal ravioli.  And this recipe is Dairy & Gluten free!!

Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta

Creamy Pumpkin & Sage Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 15 oz can of pumpkin puree or 1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1.5 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped finely
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound of your favorite gluten free pasta

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute onions until they begin to turn translucent, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and place onion and garlic mixture in a high speed blender.  Add the pumpkin puree, almond milk, sage, pepper and salt.  Blend until smooth.
  5. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, drain and return pasta to pot.
  6. Add the pumpkin sauce and stir well over medium heat until hot.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #Celiac #GlutenFreeLiving #Glutendairyfree #Recipes

Potato Pizza Crust

As promised here is the Potato Pizza Crust for the previous recipe that was a hit – Gluten Free Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza.  This crust is super easy, especially if you use the Simply Potatoes shredded potatoes.  They do all the hard work for you by pre shredding it!!

simply potatoes

Potato Pizza Crust

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of shredded potatoes for hash browns (Simply Potatoes is Gluten Free)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together. 
  3. Grease bottom and sides of a large skillet.
  4. Press potatoes mixture evenly on bottom of pan and up to about 1 inch high on the sides of pan.  Spray potatoes with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F until browned or for about 20 minutes.

#KidsTummyTroubles #Celiac #GlutenFree #GlutenFreePizza ##Recipes #GlutenFreeLiving

When Should I Call and When Can It Wait??

Answers to Your Questions About Your Child’s Tummy Aches

littleboybellypain

It’s been a busy week for everyone.  My Facebook feed is flooded with back to school pics of their kids holding the cute back to school signs.  So of course I posted my pic also.  My oldest daughter went back last Thursday.  Here she is holding up her sign.  She started the 2nd Grade this year. She was looking forward to seeing all her friends again.  The summer was great but after multiple trips to the pool, swim lessons, music lessons, vacations and staycations I think we were all ready to start this school year.  It is a bittersweet time.  I loved spending those lazy summer days with my girls, but they DEFINITELY need to get back to school for everyone’s sake.  The amount of fights I have broken up between these 2 sweet little girls is now in the DOZENS!!  So the school grind will do them both some good.
Back to School

This is her second year in this school, she knows the principal, all her teachers from last year, this year should be a stroll in the park for her.  Yet not even one week in and I have already had 2 phone calls from the school nurse and 5 visits to the nurse’s office. Living in the Northeast, this has been a brutal week hitting temps of 90s every day, no AC in the school (except the nurses office…..hmmmm I maybe onto something here).  The classrooms are very hot, but when should I be worried??  It is way too early in the school year to start a precedent of running to pick her up with every phone call and visit to the nurse.  But my inner mommy doesn’t want to neglect her pain and leave my baby in school if she is sick.

In my practice the start of school year is a busy time, especially for kids complaining of “tummy aches.”   As a “Kids Tummy Doc” I am going to share with you when to be alarmed with your child’s complaint and when it’s ok to wait and watch before calling your doctor. 

When should I call and when can it wait??

A Guide to your Kids Tummy Aches

  • Is it only after she eats? If so I would keep a careful eye on frequency and try to keep a record of what foods cause her to have the belly ache (fatty foods, spicy foods, dairy, etc)
  • Is it when she wakes in the morning prior to school? Make note if it only occurs weekdays, if she is symptom free on weekends this may be school related and due to stress or anxiety. I recommend talking to your child about her classmates, reach out to the teacher if this occurs excessively and always ask your child about bullying.
  • Is it after physical activity? Make note of when last meal was prior to onset of pain.  Send your child to school with water daily to avoid dehydration.
  • Does the pain wake your child from a sound sleep?  If this occurs there may be some organic etiology occurring.  Call for an appointment immediately with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI
  • Is it occurring more than 2-3 times a week?  Call for an appointment with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI
  • Where is the location of your child’s pain?  Think of the stomach as having 4 sections with the belly button at the center.  Each area helps the doctor narrow down the source of your child’s pain.  An example is that most commonly pain in the Left Lower Quadrant indicates issues with stooling or bowel movements and this patient may be suffering from constipation. Make sure to ask your child where the pain is and report this to your doctor.Quadrants
  • Does the pain radiate or spread to any other areas?  Many times it may start right around or above the belly button or in the Left Upper Quadrant and can radiate up to their chest.  This indicates gastroesophageal reflux and occasionally occurs with gastritis, and YES even kids can get stomach ulcers.  This child needs medication and a strict reflux diet to be followed.  Call for an appointment with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI.
  • Does the pain improve with eating? This may indicate gastritis or possibly a gastric ulcer, contact your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI.
  • Has your child lost weight since the onset of these symptoms?  Unintentional weight loss should always indicate an immediate appointment with your child’s Pediatrician or Pediatric GI. 

Children are commonly not able to completely explain their pain to us.  I usually feel like a detective trying to get info from my patients regardless if its a 4 yo or a 16 yo (but it’s way easier to get info out of the little ones than the teenagers, believe me…. the teenagers require me to go into interrogation mode).  However, if you keep a watchful eye on their symptoms and think about these questions you will definitely know when to call for that appointment.

Now that school is back and I am trying to schedule all my kids after school activities, I think to myself that I don’t want to overload their schedules. I want them to have time to focus on school work and still have playdates with friends.   As parents we all want to offer our kids the world, but what we forget sometimes is that too many activities for children can lead to stress about their school work, their inability to keep up academically and the first way they may exhibit this, before even telling mom and dad, is by having GI complaints.  Be mindful when putting together their schedules and even with your high school kids look over how many times the teams and groups they want to join meet for practices and games each week.

Please let me know your thoughts regarding today’s post.  Did I miss any questions that your kids always complain of?  Is there something you would like me to add to this list?  Leave it below. Stay Healthy & Be Well!

#KidsTummyTroubles #bellyaches #whenshouldicall #abdominalpain

What’s for Breakfast? Pizza Anyone! Delicious Gluten Free Bacon & Egg Breakfast Pizza

It’s been a busy week with getting the girls ready for school.  They are in 2 different schools this year and surprisingly my older one is more upset about it than my baby.  She said she is going to miss seeing her in the hallways at school.  By the way they are only in Pre-K and Second Grade.  But I love that they are so close and that my older one feels protective over her.  We went back to school last week and then had our last summer weekend to enjoy.  So this weekend we wanted it to be the perfect summer weekend.  We had a pool day.  The girls had a blast jumping in the pool over and over again.

Jumping

After the pool they basked in the sun to dry off in the company of the family dog.  It looks like they were conspiring something, not sure what but definitely deep in conversation.

pool

The next day we were invited to a Labor Day BBQ but not until the late afternoon.  My BIG MISTAKE, which I am sure every mom has done is that I actually told my children about these plans. They were bothering me about it from the second they woke up!! They couldn’t wait to get there to play with their friends.  But we had to wait until after lunch.  This is when I realized my kids were a captive audience so I decided to try out a new recipe for breakfast for the family.

Morning bliss

The girls are “Pizza Lovers” so who wouldn’t love Pizza for breakfast.  My girls consider pizza its own food group so just calling this pizza to them makes it enticing.  This recipe is Gluten Free.  To make it Dairy Free substitute milk for Almond Milk and omit the cheese at the end.  This recipe is easy to make, not time consuming and delicious. image

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk (may use almond milk if desired)
  • 6 oz gluten free bacon, cooked and crumbled (select a gluten free brand such as Jones or Applegate Farms)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, mozzarella and cheddar (shred your own to ensure no wheat ingredients are added to prevent caking; omit completely if desire a Dairy Free recipe)
  • Potato Pizza Crust (recipe to follow)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the onions in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat till translucent.  Add garlic and decrease to low heat for 30-45 seconds.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Combine the eggs and milk and beat.  Add to the skillet.  Cook until eggs are just set, stirring occasionally.  Add the crumbled bacon and add in the onion and garlic back to the eggs.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the mixture onto the previously prepare Pizza Crust and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese is melted for approximately 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

#KidsTummyTroubles #GlutenFree #celiac #Glutenfreeliving #Glutenfreepizza