A Mothers Gift: Donor Breast Milk


There are two beautiful sides to donor breast milk, the mother that donates the milk and the babies that receive it.  There are many reasons that mothers choose to donate their milk and there are many reasons that babies need this liquid gold. Donated breast milk can be vital to babies are that in the NICU, underweight due to low milk supply, babies with low blood sugar before the mother’s milk supply is established and more.

The mamas that are able to provide this gift are able to for different reasons but they all have the same selfless quality and that is extending their milk to another. For some mothers, they have an over supply and rather than trying to lessen it, they pump after feedings and are able to produce freezer-fulls to donate.  Some will continue to pump and donate after their child is finished breastfeeding. Then there are the stories of loss, mothers that pump their milk during their grieving process. Some find this as a connection to their child that passed. In all of these unique scenarios, the end result is a priceless gift.

Health Foundations Birth Center is a full lactation center, which means we accept donor milk at our location for the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio. We also have breast milk available for purchase.

If you would like to give the gift of breast milk, here are the steps to take:

  • Call the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio at 614-566-0630. They will do an over-the-phone screening first. After the screening they will ship you a kit that includes the basic lab supplies, your donor ID and some containers for your milk. You can use your own containers as well.
  • Once you receive your kit, call Health Foundations and make a quick lab appointment. When your labs have been drawn, we will ship them to Ohio for you. The reason for this is to confirm that it would be safe for you donate milk. They check for certain diseases such as HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.
  • After the full screening process, you can bring in your containers of milk to Health Foundations. The containers must be labeled with your Donor ID. We will ship them for you to the Ohio Milk Bank.

The following are some resources for families looking for donor milk:

  • You can purchase donor milk from Health Foundations Birth Center. We ask that you call ahead to ensure that we have the milk in stock. You do not need a prescription or doctor's order. The cost is $13.53 for three ounces. The milk is frozen. Our staff ensures that you understand how to thaw and handle the donor milk.
  • You can also purchase donor milk directly from the Mothers Milk Bank of Ohio 614-566-0630. If you are purchasing direct you will need a prescription from your pediatrician.
  • There are local organizations that help coordinate mom-to-mom milk sharing which can be useful for long-term donor milk supplementation.

At Health Foundations Birth Center, our lactation consultants and postpartum nurses are here to assist you with any and all questions or lactation concerns you have related to breastfeeding your new baby. 

We also have a group, Mama's Milk Hour, led by Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This group meets every Thursday at 2:30. It is free and open to the public. You have a chance to weigh your baby, nurse and weigh your baby again to get an idea of how much your baby is eating at each feeding. Jan is there for basic questions and advice.

The Birth of Our Second Son, Skyler

Written by Danica Donnelly

In birth there are always things that you do to prepare for it as well as a good amount of letting go to the process of how things will go because it is so unpredictable. It's also so amazing how different births can be even for the same person. My first and second birth were so different and unexpected in so many ways and yet both were perfectly beautiful and couldn't have gone any better in my opinion.

For my first son's birth I had hoped for a beautiful water birth at a birth center and my fear was that I would have to go to a hospital but that it wouldn't be an emergency (obviously if it was an emergency I would want to go!) but I feared that I wouldn't get the unmedicated natural birth that I wanted at a hospital. I feared that an induction would lead to a lot of other steps and not allow labor to progress naturally and it would end in a c-section. It's funny how sometimes God makes us face our fears and then walks with us through the challenge and shows us that it's still ok and all is well on the other side. Well, I ended up being about 42.5 weeks pregnant and labor still didn't start on its own so I had to go to a hospital (for a non-emergency just like I feared) to have my water broken. And yet I still got to have the beautiful unmedicated water birth that I was hoping for. I had to face my fear, was walked through it and everything came out lovely on the other side. 

For my second son's birth I had two birth clients who I was on call for to photograph their births and they were both due the week before me. So my fear was that I would be called to a labor, be there all night photographing and then go into labor myself without having sleep or energy to make it through my own labor. So what do you think happened... ;) 

I got called to a birth and was there all night. The funny thing was that in that birthing room there were 4 of us women who were pregnant (the nurse, the doula, the laboring mother, and me). I thought to myself, if all these pregnant hormones don't put me into labor then I really have no hope of getting an earlier labor this time. I got home and settled into bed around 3am and about an hour later my own contractions started...just what I had feared. But of course I feel like God walked me through labor, gave me everything and everyone that I needed as support and I still got to have another unmedicated natural water birth like I wanted. 

This time contractions started about 4:30am so I laid in bed for the next 2 hours just casually looking at the clock whenever one would start and breathed through them pretty easily, trying to rest as much as possible in between. They were about 7 minutes apart for 2 hours.

When my husband got up for work I let him know that I thought I was in labor but wasn't sure if this was the real thing because I was only 38.5 weeks and I fully expected to go at least to 41 since last time I went so late. I texted my doula to let her know that this might be labor but I wasn't sure since I had never experienced a labor starting on its own before, but contractions were consistent and hadn't faded or spaced out in the past 2 hours. She suggested I rest as much as possible and relax in the tub so I did. Contractions stayed consistent. I started to time them with an app instead of just glancing and guessing with the clock. After looking at the pattern of contractions on the app they were about 3-5 minutes apart lasting at least a minute. I texted that to the doula, still not knowing if things were intense enough to head to the birth center, yet not wanting to cut it close either since my first labor had been quick and I knew this one could be even quicker. She said let's head to the birth center with what seemed like urgency over text message. 

We gathered the remaining necessities, the 3 year old, some snacks, a few extra outfits in case it was a long labor and headed out the door around 7:45am. The birth center was 15 minutes away and I had 3 contractions in the car which weren't fun but things were still at a point of me being able to breathe through them and manage them without feeling totally out of control. 

We got to the birth center about 8:15am and my doula and birth photographer met us outside. It was such a feeling of joy to see them and know that everyone I wanted to be at my birth was able to make it and that this was actually happening! 

I got inside, had about 10 more contractions, which were manageable and pretty easy to breathe and move through, but slightly more intense. I didn't know you could have a "favorite" contraction but my favorite one was when my 3 year old son climbed up on the bed and held my hand during the contraction and looked into my eyes and smiled at me. I can't remember if he said anything to me but just looking at his sweet face and knowing that he was loving and supporting me and that he wasn't scared, but rather excited for baby brother, it made that contractions so easy to get through it almost dissapeared when I looked upon that sweet face.

Then suddenly the next contraction felt insanely different, like a rocket ship was barreling through my body, trying to make its exit. I felt a bit like I needed to throw up and I thought to myself, "could this be transition already?!" I've been to enough births to know the signs of transition: when things make a big shift, when you suddenly don't have a break in between contractions, when you throw up, and when you think "I can't do this". That's when you've turned a corner and you are close to the finish line; pushing is just ahead. 

I thought to myself, "this is too soon! I am not ready for this! It's happening too fast! I need time to transition!" They hadn't even checked my dilation yet! But there was no time to check, no time to process, my body was already pushing and I couldn't stop it. For the first time in a labor my body tried to resist what was happening and tried to fight everything that was happening instead of working with the labor and relaxing into it. Everything in me wanted to run away but I had no choice.

Suddenly my water bag ruptured with a force of a thousand sons and I knew it felt too intense to have this baby while standing in the air - I wanted to be in the water to help ease the intensity and to create a smoother transition for baby and for me. Thankfully the tub was barely full enough for me to get in so I climbed in, then with one more intense push that felt like my world was ripping in two, I felt a head be born, then a few moments later the shoulders, and the midwife guided my son into my arms! That glorious moment where he was free and I was done (with that part) and my baby was in my arms! 


My first labor was 7 hours total, 1.5 hrs of pushing. This one was 4.5hrs total, maybe 10 minutes of pushing, and baby was born 40 minutes after arriving. Since I never got checked during my labor I'll never know but I think it was a situation where I went from 5 or 6cm to 10cm in just a few moments. It's true when they say that short labors are all the intensity of a long labor packed into the shorter amount of time. I feel like my mind had to process the insanity of what just happened for many hours. 

Having these beautiful photos (and video!) of my birth have really helped me to process it. They also make me so incredibly happy and thankful to have such an artistic and well composed story of one of the most incredible experiences of my life! 

I felt so loved and supported by my birth team and will forever be grateful that I didn't have to do it alone. It was far from the birth and the timing than I expected, but it was just what we needed. 

Birth Story by Danica Donnelly

Photographer: Kadi Tiede

Protein Packed Turkey Taco Skillet

Protein is very helpful in pregnancy. We encourage moms to eat protein with every meal and snack. This recipe is not only yummy and family friendly but also full of protein from the turkey, black beans and quinoa. 


  • 1/2 pound ground turkey 
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ounce can diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup jarred salsa
  • 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro for garnish 


  1. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. When the skillet is hot add in the diced onion and cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to soften.
  3. Add in the ground turkey and minced garlic and cook until the meat is almost cooked through, breaking it up into crumbles with a spoon as it cooks.
  4. Stir in all the spices and the diced green chiles, cooking for another minute.
  5. Add in the black beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, salsa and quinoa, stirring until everything is combined.
  6. When the mixture starts to bubble add in the water, cover the skillet with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low.
  7. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked, it should still have a slight bite to it, but not be hard and crunchy.
  8. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and cover with the lid cooking until the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve as is, in tortillas for tacos, or on top of your favorite greens.

The recipe is suitable to freeze for later use.


Staying Comfortable in Pregnancy: The Natural Way

Morning Sickness

“Morning Sickness” is the term commonly used for nausea and/or vomiting that can occur at any time of day and may even last all day. It is a common symptom of early pregnancy, and can begin as early as the first missed period. Nausea and/or vomiting typically starts during the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy and persists until the 14th to 16th week. Some women only experience nausea, but no vomiting, and some women don’t experience these symptoms at all. For some women, nausea and vomiting continues throughout the entire pregnancy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is the name given to more severe cases. Dehydration and malnutrition are serious concerns, and persistent severe vomiting requires medical attention. If you are vomiting, be sure to drink lots of water or hydrating fluids to avoid dehydration. Avoid highly sugared and caffeinated beverages, as these can actually worsen dehydration. Safe remedies to consider for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy include:

  • Acupressure or motion sickness bands (Sea Bands) may be beneficial.
  • For nausea first thing in the morning, try keeping crackers at the bedside and eating one or two before your feet hit the floor.
  • Get up slowly, as dizziness is common in pregnancy and can cause nausea.
  • Dry foods chewed slowly. Try rolled oats, crackers, or whole grain ginger biscuits upon waking.
  • Low blood sugars are associated with nausea and vomiting. Eat small snacks frequently throughout the day, and aim for foods high in protein and fiber. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, crackers, cereal mix, and cheese are often helpful.
  • Maintain high protein intake throughout day. Additionally, a high-protein snack at night can help prevent low blood sugar in the morning.
  • Avoid strong smells that may make you nauseous.
  • Drink hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon to promote alkaline balance in your body.
  • Herbal teas and nutritional supplements can be helpful:
    • Ginger root tea: Simmer 2 tsp. of grated ginger root in a saucepan of water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Add honey and lemon to taste. Drink hot or cold as desired.
    • Fennel seeds: eating these can help balance the digestive tract.
    • Yeast supplements and yeast products are thought to worsen morning sickness.
    • Vitamin B6 is known to help.


Tiredness is a very common symptom during the first and last trimester of pregnancy. In early pregnancy, the hormonal fluctuations and increased blood flow can be exhausting as your body adjusts to these changes. In later pregnancy, carrying the extra weight demands much more energy. Many women, however, say the first three months of parenthood are the most tiring of all! These are recommended strategies to cope with fatigue in pregnancy:

  • Get plenty of sleep, ideally 8-10 hours, with as many hours as possible before midnight. This is when your body best recovers from exhaustion.
  • After the first trimester, take an aromatic bath before bed, using 2 drops each of lavender, neroli, and mandarin essential oils. As a precaution, AVOID using essential oils in the first trimester.
  • Use extra pillows to support your tummy, low back, and legs, especially in the last trimester.
  • Drink 2-3 liters of water daily to encourage digestion. Constipation is a common cause of bloating and fatigue.
  • Exercise increases blood flow and boosts energy levels, and can also relieve constipation.
  • Include complex carbohydrates in your diet to supply adequate energy.
  • Avoid coffee, as it can leave you feeling tired after the initial energy boost wears off.
  • Eat small meals regularly through the day to maintain a balance of glycogen and insulin levels. These are the hormones that regulate your blood sugar levels. Carry healthy snacks with you, and eat small meals every 2-3 hours.
  • Peppermint tea is refreshing and boosts energy levels naturally.
  • Meditation and yoga are energy-boosting practices that reduce stress and improve mood.


Pregnancy hormones soften the ligaments that connect your skeletal bones, and this makes it easier to strain all major muscles. Your abdominal muscles also separate during later pregnancy, forcing your back muscles to take on extra work. As your baby grows, increased weight alters your posture and places pressure on your spine, which can inhibit blood flow and nerve signals to your organs and tissues. These changes make low back pain a very common complaint in pregnancy. Here are some suggestions to alleviate back pain and discomfort in pregnancy:

  • Deep tissue massage and chiropractic or osteopathy work well together to alleviate chronic back pain and improve posture.
  • Assess your posture in front of a mirror:  Stand tall, facing forward with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Drop your shoulders and pull them back. Lengthen your spine by elongating your neck and tucking your tailbone under. Avoid the sway-back posture of pregnancy by keeping your growing tummy closer in over your hips.
  • Sit up straight without slouching, and, whenever possible, sit with your legs elevated.
  • Stretch your back in cat-cow postures.
  • Sleep on a firm, supportive mattress and use pillows to improve comfort.
  • Sleep on your side with one knee bent and your upper leg supported on a pillow.
  • Wear flat, comfortable shoes.
  • Use proper body mechanics when lifting objects – bend at the knees and lift with leg muscles.
  • Encourage toddlers to stand on a chair before you pick them up.
  • Avoid dehydration – drink 2-3 liters of water daily to keep your muscles working optimally.
  • Low backache can signal constipation – eat small meals throughout the day, drink plenty of water, and get lots of physical activity to promote regular bowel movements.
  • Swimming is a low-impact activity that is highly recommended to relieve backache in pregnancy.
  • Freshly squeezed pineapple juice helps eliminate lactic acid that accumulates in overworked or cramped muscles. Blend with fresh ginger for a tasty refreshment!
  • Pregnancy girdles can help support your abdomen and improve posture during pregnancy.
  • Apply heat, cold, or pressure to sore areas to provide relief.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are quite common in pregnancy and can occur in response to carrying extra weight, changes in circulation, or mineral deficiencies. These suggestions may offer some relief:

  • Discuss supplementation with liquid calcium/magnesium with your care provider.
  • Walk daily to promote circulation, muscle strengthening, and relief of cramping.
  • Stretch your calf and thigh muscles by standing with legs straight and then flexing your toes up toward your head without bending your knees.
  • Massage cramped muscles while flexing your ankles and toes up toward your head. Full-body massage improves circulation throughout the body as well as to cramp-prone leg muscles.
  • Elevate your feet while sitting/resting at home and at work. Be sure to rest frequently if you stand on your feet for long hours during the day.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes.
  • Soak feet in hot water – add Epsom salts if desired. Also try applying low heat to affected area with hot water bottle, heated rice bag, or heating pad.
  • Increase water intake to 2-3 liters daily.
  • Eat foods high in calcium and magnesium – spinach, broccoli, tofu, dairy products, sardines, tahini, cooked egg yolks, watercress, dried figs, cashew nuts, parsley, and chard are all good sources.
  • Try sleeping with your feet elevated above your heart. You may wish to add padding or pillows at the food of your bed, or incline the bed itself.

Swelling of Ankles & Feet

Water retention in body tissues causes puffiness in the feet, ankles, hands, face, and vulva. Mild swelling in the extremities is a common discomfort of late pregnancy. Sometimes, however, significant or generalized swelling can be a sign of preeclampsia, especially if it occurs with other symptoms including high blood pressure, reduced urine volume, and high levels of uric acid in the blood. To prevent or alleviate swelling, try the following recommendations:

  • Drink 2-3 liters of water daily – increased water intake actually reduces water retention by the body tissues.
  • Include brisk walking in your daily routine to promote circulation and lymphatic drainage.
  • Avoid standing for long periods and rest your legs regularly, with your feet elevated higher than your waist.
  • Eat fresh, wholesome foods and avoid pre-packaged meals that are high in sodium, which promotes fluid retention.
  • Fresh watermelon juice is a good kidney tonic and diuretic to flush excess fluid from the body. A combination of cucumber, carrot, and celery juices helps reduce fluid retention.
  • Many body therapies reduce swelling and promote circulation and elimination of excess body fluid – reflexology, massage, pressure-point therapies, shiatsu, and acupunctures can all help.
  • Supplementation with vitamin B6 has proven to help reduce swelling due to fluid retention.
  • Swelling is often worse at the end of the day and reduces overnight. Raising the end of your bed can help fluid circulation and drainage.
  • Avoid commercial diuretics, as they often make the problem worse.
  • If your hands or face become puffy, call your care provider, as this could be a sign of a more serious complication.

Join guest host Dr. Amber Moravec, DC on the Mom Show this Sunday, April 23rd at 10am as she further discusses ways to naturally alleviate the most common discomforts and complaints in pregnancy!

Big River Farms CSA at Health Foundations!

Written by Lebo Moore

Written by Lebo Moore

Have you ever seen First Taste, the video of babies tasting different foods for the first time? It’s precious. The babies try everything from yogurt to anchovies and their reactions, displaying the vast emotional range of food, reflect an honest beauty.

I stumbled upon that video at the Terra Madre conference, where I learned the importance of introducing food and eating at an early age. Not only does this establish a diverse palette which is  linked to healthy eating behavior as an adult, but the acculturation of welcoming a child at a dinner table, even if they are still in infancy, teaches children how to eat and care about food. It places food at the center of human development.

I care a lot about food. I work with farmers so I’m a little biased, but also, I love to eat. After years of working on farms, I’ve witnessed how farming shapes our environment. Irrigation is the biggest use of water on the planet. The way we farm, and use that water, really matters. I am not a farmer, its way too much work, but I do know that as a lover of food there are many ways I can support the kind of farming that builds resilient and healthy communities. One way is by becoming a member of Big River Farms Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.

Big River Farms is a program of The MN Food Association, and is located in Marine on St. Croix. We run a training program for beginning farmers providing education in production, post-harvest handling, business planning and marketing. Our mission is to build a sustainable food system based on social, economic and environmental justice through education, training and partnership. Farmers enrolled in the program represent over ten cultures around the world, most have immigrated to this country in the last thirty years and they all take pride in working the land to provide food for their families. We focus on providing resources for immigrants and farmers of color as they face significant barriers in land access and starting a farm business.

Through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members receive weekly deliveries of Certified Organic produce grown by farmers enrolled in the program in addition to a Fruit Share. This summer we are honored to partner with Health Foundations as a new drop site for our CSA. Each week from June-October, we will deliver produce to Health Foundations Birth Center along with recipes, farm stories, farmer biographies and invitations to on-farm, family friendly events.

We believe that our commitment to farmers and to building small-scale local food systems pairs well with the commitment Health Foundations has in providing wellness and educational services for expectant and new moms. We take great care of our land and farmers to ensure that healthy food is accessible to even the newest of eaters. Everyone at Big River loves to eat and we want to share our food with you so that your family can explore the beauty of eating together. We’d love to welcome you as a member of Big River Farms for the 2017 growing season.

Sign-up for your 2017 CSA: http://www.mnfoodassociation.org/2016-share-information

Use these coupon codes at check-out for a special Health Foundations Discount!

fullhealth to receive $30 off a Full-Acre Share

halfhealth to receive $15 off a Half-Acre Share

Dr. Amy's Guide to Food Introduction

photo credit: Big River Farms CSA

photo credit: Big River Farms CSA

One of Dr. Amy’s passions is food introduction. It is a fundamental building block for a baby’s development, their immune system and has long-term health benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding (no formula or solid foods). Breast milk contains antibodies that support immune function as well as optimal nutrient ratios that change as the child grows. Until approximately 6 months of age, a baby’s digestive tract is not able to adequately digest most foods. Early introduction of foods may result in food allergies or sensitivities. Around six to nine months, breastfed and formula-fed infants will begin to develop their gastrointestinal track in a way that makes them ready to start some solid foods.

Food introduction is one of the most important times in your child’s health; it becomes the building blocks and foundation of health for the rest of your child’s life. The gastrointestinal tract is an extension of the immune system. Introducing foods in a way that will not cause allergic reactions will help build a stronger and more solid foundation than if your child is always fighting off immune reactions. So many early health problems in children are related to food introduction. It is pertinent that you observe your child for signs of a reaction, such as red marks around their mouth, red cheeks, eczema, diaper rash, constipation or diarrhea, etc. (see below more complete list). If these early warning signs are not headed, more serious reactions may result as the immune system becomes more and more compromised.

Signs Baby is Ready for Solid Foods

•      Is at least 6 months old

•      Able to sit unsupported

•      Can push away food

•      Can turn head from side to side

•      Shows interest in what you are eating

Since breast milk is all your baby needs in terms of nutrients, there needn't be any rush to start your baby on solids. Let your baby lead. If she is always grabbing for your food, then allow her to explore it. But if she isn’t interested, don’t force her to try it. Most babies will become interested in food between six to nine months. If your child hasn’t started trying solids by nine months, start offering it to him and see how he responds.

This transition in life can be a source of stress for many parents. Take your time and be patient with your child. Know that she is getting all the nutrients she needs from your breast milk or formula.

Up until the first year, the benefit to babies of trying solids is being exposed to new textures and learning hand mouth coordination; prior to a year most babies gastrointestinal tracts are not mature enough to be absorbing many nutrients from solids, so if your child isn’t eating a lot of solids, it is not compromising his nutrient intake as long as he is still drinking breast milk or formula.

Introducing Foods

New foods should be introduced one at a time. Wait a few days after introducing each new food to see if your baby reacts to the food. If your baby has any of the following symptoms below, remove the food from baby’s diet for 2-3 months, then try again.

If your child has a life- threatening reaction to a food such as difficulty breathing, call 911.

Your baby will show you he has had enough to eat. Stop feeding him when he spits food out, closes his mouth, or turns his head away.  Let him control how much he eats.

Symptoms that may indicate a reaction to a food include:

•      Rash around the mouth or anus

•      Hyperactivity or lethargy

•      “Allergic shiners” (dark circles under eyes)

•      Skin reactions/rashes

•      Infections/cold/flu

•      Diarrhea or mucus in stool

•      Constipation

•      Runny/stuffy nose or sneezing

•      Redness of face/cheeks

•      Ear infection

•      Other unusual symptom for your child

Use the following schedule as a general guide for introducing foods to healthy, full-term babies. You can hang it on the fridge and put a date next to each new food introduction so that it is easier to remember what your child is eating and for reference if your child develops a reaction. If your child has chronic illness, special needs, or has signs of allergies or sensitivities such as asthma, chronic respiratory infections, or chronic ear infections, a modified schedule may be necessary.

Even though it is a common practice in our culture to give babies powered rice cereal, this is not an evidenced based practice and is not recommended by nutritionists. Start with vegetables and fruits. When it is time to introduce grains, use whole grains whenever possible, instead of processed grains.

Finally, enjoy this new time in your baby’s life as he explores new textures and tastes. Be playful with your child and let meal times be a fun game or a time to be social and sing songs about foods. Use it as a time to learn colors or numbers, instead of always focusing on getting your child to eat. If they don’t like something, introduce it again in a few months. Try to make it easier on yourself by modeling good nutrition to your child and giving them some of your meal, instead of always having to make something completely different for them. Enjoying our meals improves digestion and overall quality of life, so do what you need to for yourself to de-stress mealtime and enjoy.

Join us on March 26th at 10:00am on the MyTalk, 107.1 Mom Show to learn more and visit https://www.health-foundations.com/mom-show/ after the show to download a specific food introduction schedule.


Birth Slings at Health Foundations Birth Center

As a part of our innovative maternity care at Health Foundations Birth Center, we have recently installed a birth sling in our birth suites.  There are many amazing benefits to using a birth sling in labor. At Health Foundations we encourage mothers to be upright and moving during labor; the birth sling allows for her to remain upright while adding some extra support. It can also be a helpful tool for squatting, providing resistance. These upright positions can be greatly effective during pushing as well.

The birth sling promotes wider hip capacity and optimal fetal positioning which creates more effective labor patterns. For example, the "supported squat" or "dangle position" where the woman's weight is supported completely under her arms thought to be very effective for helping change baby's position when the baby is posterior or asynclitic by removing pressure from the pelvis. It also helps with slow descent. 

Here are some position options for labor:

To learn more about our innovative services at Health Foundations Birth Center visit our website or call us at 651-895-2520 for a free consulation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.

Thank you Anna Botz (Health Foundations Birth Assistant) for being our model! And a special Thank you to Rochelle Matos (Health Foundations Birth Educator) for taking these awesome photos!

Innovative Care at Health Foundations - Using Low Intervention Approaches in Childbirth

Care at Health Foundations Birth Center is evidence-based, holistic, and founded on the premise that women’s bodies know how to give birth and should be enabled to do so without needless intervention. We have many different options for comfort measures during labor and birth. Each of our birth assistants and midwives are knowledge in the use of these tools that can greatly impact the sensations of labor. It is important to know that these things are available at all times at our birth center.

Eating / Drinking During Labor 

It is essential in labor to keep your body nourished and hydrated. During early labor it is a good idea to have a protein rich meal to enable your body with sustained energy. Throughout active labor it is good to have bites of easily digested foods. This helps maintain your strength and energy. We strongly encourage women to drink during the entirety of labor. Taking a sip every 15-30 minutes is ideal. Our birth center has a kitchen area that is available for use by our families that deliver here. It is equipped with dishes, an ice/water machine and a microwave. Each suite has a small refrigerator for your personal use. We also have coffee available for dads to help keep him up!

Continuous Labor Support

In addition to the care provided by our midwives and nurses, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor. Benefits found in randomized trials include shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries, and a greater satisfaction with the experience of labor. Health Foundations has a doula intern program that offers families the option of having a doula at their birth at a reduced cost.

Water Birth / Laboring in the Water 

Each of the birth suites at Health Foundations has a large tub for use during labor and birth. Warm water during labor and birth greatly reduces discomfort and also promotes relaxation. It is know as the “Midwife’s Epidural”. Along with pain relief, water also provides a gentle space for the baby to be delivered in, replicating the warmth of the mother’s womb, creating an easier transition when born. It can also help the perineal tissues stretch, resulting in lower incidence of tearing.

Birthing Slings

A “birthing sling,” is a soft ribbon of cloth that dangles from an ‘O’ ring in the ceiling of a delivery room. Capable of holding more than 500 pounds, the sling supports the expecting mother in an upright position during labor. There are many different positions that you can get into in the sling. These positions can help make contractions more effective and also help the baby into a good position.


Health Foundations has a TENS Unit available for use during labor. The use of this can cut the discomfort of contractions in half. It can also be a wonderful option for women experiencing back labor. Four electrodes go on to your back and they are connected to a small handheld device. The frequency is as high or low as you would like. During a contraction, there is a “Boost” button that increases the sensation. The electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain and also stimulate your body to release pain-relieving endorphins. You can use the TENS Unit at any time in labor, just not in the water.

A TENS unit is a handheld machine, connected by wires to electrodes that stick to the skin on your back. TENS works by sending electrical nerve stimulation through these electrodes; it doesn't take away the sensation of contractions, but essentially interrupts the pain signals your brain is receiving, possibly reducing your awareness of them or producing endorphins that allow you to cope better

Nitrous Oxide 

Health Foundations offers Nitrous Oxide during labor, which is a safe pain relief option that many women find helpful. It can be used during any stage of labor. You can use it anywhere in the birth room, including the tub. Nitrous does not “take the pain away” but actually alters your perception of the pain and can help reduce anxiety. The effects are felt immediately and also dissipate within a few minutes of fresh oxygen. It does not inhibit labor progression in any way.

Birth Stools

A birth stool helps you into a physiological upright posture during labor and birth. They can help provide balance and support to laboring women. Different positions and various movements can help with progress and comfort during labor. The benefit of gravity is helpful in labor and the stool allows for that while giving your feet and legs a rest! We have two different types of birth stools available at our center.

 Sterile Water Injections

If a laboring woman is experiencing back labor, sterile water injections can ease the pain instantly. They are quick, easy, safe and effective. Sterile water is injected just under the skin surface at four points over the lower back. The injections cause an intense stinging sensation that lasts for 30 - 90 seconds. If it works to relieve back pain in labor, the relief will be felt within 2 minutes. The pain relief generally lasts 2-3 hours.

Essential Oils

There is a large list of the many benefits essential oils can have in labor. We have an essential oil kit available for use in each of our birth rooms. Oils can be used to reduce nausea, help with stalled labors, calm and focus the mother, increase energy, relieve pain and more.

We are thrilled to be able to offer all of these options at Health Foundations Birth Center and invite you to contact us for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center to learn more. The remarkable physiological and psychological benefits that these comfort measures provide to mom and baby make birth a truly unique option for you and your family.

Meet Our Lactation Specialist, Jan Kaste, APRN, IBCLC

Name:  Jan Kaste

Hometown:  Galesville, Wisconsin

Family: My son Justin, daughter Erin, 4 grandsons (Oliver, Andrew, Johannes and a baby boy due in 6 weeks) and one granddaughter (Lilje). 

With Health Foundations Since:  November 2015

My role at Health Foundations:  My biggest role is that of the Postpartum Nurse. I see families in their home between 24 and 48 hours after they deliver their baby at Health Foundations at which time I provide education and support to the new family regarding breastfeeding, baby care and making sure mom and baby are doing well.  Newborn screening is done at this visit as well.  I am also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and I see patients in the clinic for lactation consults when moms are experiencing difficulties breastfeeding and require additional one on one support.  I teach PumpTalk 101 once a month for moms who are going back to work and want to continue to breastfeed successfully.  I also teach the Early Home Care Class on Mondays and provide breastfeeding support and education during Mama's Milk Hour every Thursday. I see clients in the clinic for prenatal and postpartum visits when the Midwives are called away from clinic to do a delivery and I routinely see each client at their 20 week visit. That visit gives me the opportunity to meet clients before they deliver and find out if they have experienced nursing difficulties in the past or have concerns about breastfeeding.  This allows me to make a plan with the mom to proactively deal with potential breastfeeding issues before they occur. I wear lots of hats and I love them all.

Educational Background and Training:  I became a registered nurse in 1975, which means I have been a nurse longer than most of my patients have been alive!  Yes, that's a long time! I have spent the entirety of my career in OB, NICU, Infertility and other areas in Women's Health. I became a Certified Women's Health Nurse Practitioner in 1999 which gave me an expanded role in providing care to women.  My IBCLC certification provides another avenue to make a difference in my patient's lives. 

Favorite Thing When Not at Health Foundations: I love spending time with my grandchildren!  I am also an avid horseback rider. I love to trail ride but I also compete in working western disciplines (reining, working cow horse and ranch riding).

Travel Anywhere:  I would go to New Zealand for it's spectacular scenery.

Super Power: Time travel!

Inspiration to be a Nurse:  I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a little girl. It was the only thing I ever wanted to be (well, except for being a cowgirl and riding horses all day). I love the art and science of medicine but also the deeply personal aspect of providing care to a person or family at a a critical time in their life. What a privilege to be in that position of trust. 

What I Love About Health Foundations:  I love Health Foundations for the way it provides the opportunity for women to find and experience their inner strength and resolve when becoming a new mom. It is life changing for the woman and her partner and impacts her for the remainder of her life. I love being part of an amazing team where everyone contributes to bring these miracles to fruition. 

Birth Philosophy:  Women are wonderfully made and equipped to bring babies into this world with a minimum of outside interference. By nurturing and affirming that strength, women can experience the birth they choose.  A birth that is empowering physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Advice: I would advise women to envision themselves as powerful, capable women and mothers.   Surround yourself with people who will love and affirm you and help you be the best you can be.  And be that for others in their journey. 

Overnight Oats to Boost Your Milk Supply


1/3 Cup Steel Cut Oats

1 TBSP Flax Seed

1 TBSP Brewer’s Yeast

1 TBSP Maple Syrup or Honey

1/2 TSP Cinnamon

1 Cup Milk of Your Choice

1/4 Cup Dried Fruit of Your Choice



Mix the oats, flaxseed, brewer’s yeast, maple syrup or honey and cinnamon thoroughly. Add the milk, stirring to ensure an even mixture (you don’t want the brewer’s yeast to clump). Add in the fruit. Place in a sealed container like a Mason jar overnight in the refrigerator. By morning, the oats are ready to enjoy!

It can be helpful to make up a few jars at a time so that you can eat this throughout the week. The oats, flax seed and brewer’s yeast are great breast milk boosters. Even if you’re not trying to boost your milk supply, this is a great breakfast option for anyone! (just maybe leave out the brewer’s yeast)

Breastfeeding? Going Back to Work? Here is What You Need to Know

If you’re like most working moms, you might be feeling anxious about returning to work after the birth of your little one. Adding pumping and bottles into the mix can seem downright overwhelming. You might be wondering how you will fit pumping sessions into your schedule or maybe you are concerned about maintaining your breast milk supply. Although it may be a challenge to adjust to your new routine, you can be successful and find balance with a little pre-planning. The following are some basic tips to get you started.

Supplies: There are some very handy supplies available to pumping moms. Try and stock up on these things ahead of time to relieve some stress when going back work.

  • Electric Breast Pump: Most insurance plans cover breast pumps. Call your insurance company and find out where to get yours. This can be done before you have your baby.
  • Easy Expression Bustier Hands-Free Pumping Bra by Medela: This bra is very convenient whether you are pumping at home or at work. It allows you to easily pump both breasts at the same time while giving you time to read a book, browse the internet or take a little "me" time while you pump.
  • Extra Breast Pump Supplies: Supplies can get lost or broken which is inconvenient when you need to pump, keep a few extras on hand:
    • Replacement Membranes
    • Connectors
    • Breast Shields
  • Breast Milk Storage Bags: You will want to keep a box of these on hand in your breast pump bag.

Maintaining Your Milk Supply: Are you concerned about your milk supply decreasing when you head back to work?  The following are ways to increase and keep your supply strong.

  • Eat good protein rich meals and snacks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Try a supplement such as Motherlove More Milk Plus.  Take 2 capsules, three times a day.
  • On working days, make time to pump approximately every three hours.
  • During evenings, nights and weekends breastfeed your baby on demand.
  • Eliminate other things that could decrease your milk supply, such as:
    • Peppermint or Sage Tea
    • Decongestants
    • Parsley

Storing and Thawing: It is important that you know how to safely store and thaw your breast milk and that the person taking care of your baby knows too.

  • When pumping at work keep your bags of milk in the storage section of your breast pump bag with an ice-pack. If you do not have that kind of pump, bring a small cooler with you to store your milk.
  • Once home, place milk in the fridge. It is okay to keep in the fridge for 72 hours. If the milk hasn’t been used by then, put it in the freezer. Breast milk is safe to store in the freezer for 6 months.
  • Remember to always label each bag with the date, time and quantity.
  • When thawing or warming up the milk, never microwave it. This destroys the nutrients. Put the bag or bottle of milk into a bowl of very warm water.

If you would like to learn more about pumping and returning to work, come to our class PumpTalk 101 with Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This class is taught every first Thursday of the month at 3:30pm. It is $10. To sign up, contact our office 651-895-2520. Health Foundations Birth Center also offers lactation visits during the week and many other services to help with your breastfeeding needs.

The supplies mentioned above can be found on our on-line store, as well as our PumpTalk 101 Kit. This kit contains the pumping essentials at a great price! Get yours here.

Cold and Flu Fighting Ginger Soup

This ginger soup in a great way to fight colds and the flu this season! It is a safe way to fight sickness during breastfeeding and pregnancy. 


  • 2 inch piece of fresh garlic, sliced thin
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cups of chicken bone broth or chicken stock

Instructions to Prepare:

Combine ginger, garlic and mushrooms in a pot with a small amount of the broth or stock. Simmer until the ingredients are softened. Add the rest of the broth or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes. 

This soup can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Enjoy and be well!


Banana Bread for Healthy Lactation

This banana bread recipe promotes healthy lactation in nursing mamas. Some of these ingredients are known for increasing milk supply.  The milk boosting ingredients are highlighted. Enjoy warm with some butter!


  • 2 TBS Flaxseed Meal
  • 4 TBS Water
  • 1 ¾ C Flour
  • 1 ¼ C Oats
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 4 TBS Brewer’s Yeast
  • 1 tsp Ground Fenugreek
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ C Softened Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 C Sugar or ¾ C Maple Syrup
  • 3 Medium Mashed Bananas (the riper the better!)
  • 2 TBS Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ C Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10-inch loaf pan. Mix dry ingredients together first then blend in all other ingredients. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the bread. Let cool and remove from pan.

Breastfeeding: How Do I Know My Baby is Getting Enough?

Breastfeeding a newborn is an incredible boding experience between a mother and her baby. One of the common worries for a mom is whether or not her baby is getting enough to eat. Unlike bottle feeding, the actual amount is unknown. This can feel concerning. Especially is the baby is fussy or not sleeping. Occasionally, due to milk supply or a poor latch, the baby may not be getting as much as they need. Thankfully there are things you can do to help if that is the case!

 Comforting Signs That Your Baby is Getting Plenty to Eat:

Wet / Dirty Diapers: Your baby should have on average 6 wet diapers and 4 stools per day. The urine should be light in color and mild smelling. By about day 5, your baby’s stool should have transitioned from meconium to yellow and loose.

Alert / Satisfied Baby: When your baby is hungry he will be active and alert, giving you cues to demand feeding. Afterwards, your baby should appear satisfied and probably sleepy.

Breasts Feeling Empty: Once your milk is in and your baby nurses, your breasts should feel empty at the end of the feeding. They may feel harder and full at the beginning and soft at the end.

Your Baby is Gaining Weight: Although there typically is slight weight loss in your baby before your milk fully comes in, around day 5-6 your baby’s weight should slowly start creeping up on the scales. Every baby is different but the goal is to have your baby at least back to birth weight by two weeks of age.

If your baby shows any of the above signs that he is not getting enough to eat, it is important to see a pediatrician and a lactation consultant.

At Health Foundations Birth Center, our lactation consultants and postpartum nurses are here to assist you with any and all questions you have related to breastfeeding your new baby. 

We also have a group, Mama's Milk Hour, led by Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This group meets every Thursday at 2:30. It is free and open to the public. You have a chance to weigh your baby, nurse and weigh your baby again to get an idea of how much your baby is eating at each feeding. Jan is there for basic questions and advice.


Super Purple Lactation Smoothie

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Start your day with this yummy Lactation Smoothie! The ingredients chosen for this recipe are great for boosting your milk supply! If you are dairy free, you can add some almond milk or coconut milk instead of greek yogurt. 

1 Large Banana

1 Cup of Blueberries

1 Cup of Strawberries

1 Tsp of Flax Meal

1 Tsp of Brewer's Yeast

Drizzle of Honey

Handful of Spinach

1 Heaping Tablespoon of Plain Greek Yogurt

Combine all ingredients in your favorite blender, blend until smooth and ENJOY!