As a breastfeeding mama, I try to keep an eye on my diet as best as possible. I try to limit caffeine, cut down on sugar, eat lots of fruits and vegetables because I know that whatever I eat, my son will receive. Fish contains vital nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals such as iron. Those nutrients help to foster healthy development. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing eat 8 to 12 ounces a week of a variety of low-mercury seafood.

Tuna is higher in Omega-3s and nutrients that most other fish, but the FDA advises no more than 6 ounces of canned albacore (“white” tuna) a week due to mercury concerns (canned light tuna is okay though). The American Pregnancy Associate recommends the “Safe Catch” brand of tuna as the company undergoes rigorous testing – they screen each wild tuna for their mercury levels.

I never had canned tuna growing up. To be honest, before I started breastfeeding, the most exposure I had to canned tuna was when my mom would buy it as a treat for the cats. Living on the coast and being the granddaughter of a fisherman, our seafood was always freshly caught and prepared. Spoiled, I know. But I’ve learned to enjoy canned tuna over the past few months.

Another company that I use on a regular basis for my salmon and tuna is Vital Choice. They preserve the freshness of their sustainable harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood by cleaning and flash-freezing it within hours of harvest. The fisheries are certified sustainable by either MSC or the State of Alaska. Vital Choice is also a “B Corp” meaning that they have to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Use this link and enter “LEANCHOICE” at checkout for 10% off your order!

If you’re looking for recipe inspiration on using canned tuna, you are in luck! I’ve compiled 12 ways to use canned tuna below from some of my favorite bloggers.

Ashley over at Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen has a super simple TABLET Sandwich (Tuna, Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, Egg, Tomato) that she says even her 6 year old enjoys!

Looking for a healthy, gluten free dinner recipe? Check out Sharon’s Roasted Zucchini Tuna Melts at The Honour System.

As a mom of three young children, I know that Samantha of My Kitchen Love understands the need for a quick meal. Her Sustainably Caught – Spicy Tuna Tostadas are a fresh way to use canned tuna.

Denise of My Life Cookbook has an amazing and vibrant Low Carb Tuna Spring Roll Salad that is a great way to fit a rainbow of foods in your diet.

I fell in love with Amy’s Tuna and Potato Cakes. She runs Healthy Little Foodies and so many of her recipes are perfect for baby-led weaning but the whole-family can enjoy them as well.

Artichokes are rich in antioxidants which assist in detoxifying the body and helps to aid constipation and indigestion. I love artichokes but rarely include them in my diet. Patty at The PKP Way has a great way to use canned tuna and artichokes! Check out her Tuna Stuffed Grilled Artichokes.

Craving something with a bit of spice? Jenny at Honey and Birch has a recipe for Jalapeno Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes that is simple to make!

Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen has a Tomato Salad with Avocado, Tuna, Cilantro and Lime that is dairy-free, gluten-free, low-glycemic, Paleo, Whole 30, and South Beach Diet friendly (whew)!

I love Mediterranean flavors. Heidy at McCallum’s Shamrock Patch recently shared a Tuna and Orzo Salad that is packed with great ingredients!

Linda and Christina are a mother and daughter team that run 2 Cookin’ Mamas. They posted a Easy Hot Tuna Dip that would be a perfect recipe when you are looking for something creamy, cheesy, and a little naughty.

This recipe roundup wouldn’t get complete with a recipe for a tuna burger or a tuna noodle casserole, now would it?

Patti from Hearth & Vine has a Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe that is made with a homemade sauce!

Also, make sure you check out Rosemary at An Italian in my Kitchen’s recipe for Healthy Delicious Best Ever Tuna Burgers.

So let’s say that you don’t like fish or are vegan. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans include:

  • flaxseed oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • soya oil and soya-based foods (like tofu)
  • WALNUTS (my personal favorite)

What is your favorite way to get those omega-3s?

This past Saturday, I found myself breastfeeding in public for the first time. Well, public in this sense. I have breastfed Caleb in the car many, many times when we have either been coming or going somewhere. It’s not like I have been avoiding breastfeeding in public, it’s just one of those things that never needed to happen. When I’ve gone somewhere, typically I will feed Caleb before leaving. Now that he’s a little bit older, we usually are able to give him a little something from our plates.

On Saturday, however, a local coffee shop welcomed a group of breastfeeding women as part of the Global Big Latch On.

Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world, where people gather together to breastfeed and offer support to each other. 20,562 children were counted as breastfeeding during the one minute count (and quite many more were attending but snoozing during that moment). The purpose behind the event is to promote and support breastfeeding families. There were a couple of lactation consultants attending this event available for question.

All in all, there were 17 babies attending this event with about 12 breastfeeding at the same time. Our local newspaper was present to cover the event and we even had someone taking pictures of the moms and their babes. It was great getting to meet with other women and share our experiences with one another. It’s been hard for me to find other moms to connect with in person since this is a small town. There typically aren’t a lot of opportunities out there for connecting.

These photos were taken by Amanda Kielar Photography. She took a ton of great photos that you can view on her Facebook page. These are just some of the ones featuring me and little man (there are a couple more on her page).

I’m so glad that I was able to attend this event. I had a hard time breastfeeding when Caleb was first born. To be honest, without Robb encouraging me and pushing me, I think that I would have given up. Yes, I do give Caleb formula on occasion at daycare (when I’ve had a stressful day at work and just can’t pump much) but at home, he is 100% on the breast. I use a special organic formula sourced from Germany that I’ll feature in another post.

The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…

Print Recipe
Elderberry Oxymel
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Instructions
  1. Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.
  2. Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it's done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.
Recipe Notes

I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It'll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

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Breastfeeding can be hard for so many women, myself included. I still have days where it hurts or I just feel drained, literally. Typically those days come after a long night and in my hurry to get Caleb back to sleep, I don’t take the time to make sure that he is properly latched. On those days, I find myself switching out one of Caleb’s normal feedings with a bottle of formula just to give myself a break.

Those days are thankfully fewer and fewer now that I realize how to correct that issue. Overall, I believe that breast is best but when it comes down to it, I’d rather make sure that Caleb isn’t going hungry.

My biggest piece of advice to you as a breastfeeding mom (or mom-to-be) is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. If you find yourself having a difficult time breastfeeding and are in pain constantly when you nurse, don’t be afraid to speak with a lactation consultant in your area.

These are some of the products that have saved my sanity when it comes to breastfeeding.

Kindle E-Reader with Built-in Light – When you’re breastfeeding, there really isn’t much else you can do at that moment (unless you have a sling or a carrier and then it’s game on). My Kindle has been a lifesaver, especially at night when Caleb needs to be fed and I don’t want to cut any lights on. It’s easy to control a Kindle with one hand and it allows my brain to relax/focus on something else for a bit. I’m currently working my way through Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family which was recommended to me by Robb’s cousin.

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner – The Boppy pillow was one of the first items that I added to my baby registry. I didn’t use it as much as I thought that I would the first week or so but I’ve been using it more and more lately. It helps me put Caleb in the perfect position to feed. It also gives my arms a break from holding him and Caleb likes to rest in his Boppy pillow.

Milk Drunk – Chocolate Protein Powder for Breastfeeding – This is a delicious protein powder for smoothies filled with lactation-boosting ingredients such as fenugreek, flaxseed, brewer’s yeast, and oat flour. Bonus – it’s vegan! I also recommend Mother’s Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals as well for lactation support. I’ve used both to help boost my milk supply. I still haven’t managed to have enough extra milk to start storing some for when I go back to work but that’ll be my goal for February.

Nursing Bra – I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see the need for a nursing bra until I actually purchased one for myself. When I’m at home, I don’t bother with a bra unless I feel that I am needing the compression support. But I’ve found that with a nursing bra, I can wear it out in public for just in case or wear it around the house and it leaves me feeling a little less exposed to the elements. With the temperature in the house around 65°, that’s a pretty nice feeling to have.

Medela Tender Care Lanolin Tube – There are dozens of nipple creams out there for your tender bits and I recommend that you have something to keep your nipples from being chapped. I’ve been using Medela’s because I have received so many samples of it (nearly time I went to the doctor, I received more samples). Medela lanolin (lanolin is wool wax) is a thick, almost salve-like consistency that provides  soothing relief. I’ve also developed my own nipple butter that I will transition to once I’m all out of Medela lanolin (coming soon to my Etsy shop).

Did you have any issues breastfeeding?

During the first few weeks after giving birth, you probably have a million questions and worries running through your head. I know that we did. So what I’ve done is compiled a list of websites that answered some of the questions that I had.

Note: The internet is a wonderful thing but it shouldn’t take the place of you taking your child to see his/her pediatrician if you feel that something isn’t right or if you are looking for advice on how to handle something. In my mind, having someone physically be able to look at my child beats me just searching something up on WebMD.

How To: Moby Wrap with a Newborn ♡ Newborn Hug Hold – NaturallyThriftyMom

8 Essential Tips for Successful Babywearing After A Cesarean

10+ Things No One Tells You About C-sections

Cesarean Birth After Care

Kangaroo Care: 9 Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact

Cluster Feeding Tips – 7 Tips To Cope With Cluster Feeding

Cleaning a Breast Pump

The Cause and Treatment of Infant Hiccups in Babies and Newborns

Diaper Rash | Baby Center

7 Tips for Diaper Rash Treatment

What are some websites that helped you out when you first had your little one?