Archive for July, 2011

Podcast: When the “booby fairy” doesn’t arrive – insufficient glandular tissue/breast hypoplasia

We’re very happy to share a podcast on a particularly heartbreaking breastfeeding issue:  insufficient glandular tissue or breast hypoplasia – the incomplete development of the glandular tissue in the breast.

Mothers with hypoplastic breasts often struggle to provide enough milk for their babies, despite ‘doing everything right.’

Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC talked with Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC on the visual markers of hypoplastic breasts, the incidence of it, what to do if you have hypoplastic breasts.  We particularly liked her story of helping her best friend, who coined the term “booby fairy.”  Diana also discussed the use of Goat’s Rue to build glandular tissue.

You can listen to this podcast with the player below, listen to it with Quicktime, or download it from our free iTunes store!

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Motherlove is sponsoring these World Breastfeeding Week events. We hope you’ll join in!

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week, and we’re proud to be sponsoring several events that will support and promote breastfeeding.  We hope you’ll join in!

This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding=Communication.”  This theme recognizes the critical role communication and timely information plays in supporting mothers throughout their breastfeeding experience.

La Leche League USA’s Big Latch On

We’re proud to be an Elite Platinum Sponsor (the highest level) of La Leche League USA’s World Breastfeeding Week events.  This year La Leche League groups all over the country will hold events and activities to mark the occasion.   New this year in the is The Big Latch On.  On Saturday, August 6th at 10:30 am (local time) in locations across the U.S., nursing mothers will gather to try to break the record for the most women nursing simultaneously.

Holistic Moms Network’s World’s Largest Breastfeeding Twitter Party.

We’re also proud to be a sponsor of the Holistic Moms Network’s new World’s Largest Breastfeeding Twitter Party.  The party will be held on August 2nd at 10 pm EST on Twitter. Using the hashtag #BigBFParty, participants can talk to each other, share information and win prizes. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.  The party is open to any and all breastfeeding supporters, past and present.  If there isn’t an event in your area, or if you prefer to show your support online, this is great way to participate in the week’s events!

Will you be participating in any World Breastfeeding Week events?



Eat your dandelions!

While most people see dandelions as a nuisance, here at Motherlove we have a lot of respect for this humble plant and its many uses.

The entire dandelion plant is edible, and it’s higher than most foods in vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A.  It has a number of medicinal uses, too.

Motherlove founder Kathryn Higgins writes, in her Pocket Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, “This recognizable plant is so beneficial that I don’t understand where it got its bad reputation.  Instead of eradicating this useful plant we should all be enjoying its beauty and many uses.”

She recalls:  “I started giving wild edible plant identification classes in 1985 on our land in Rist Canyon.  After class I fed everyone a meal made with the plants that we had previously identified.  The main course was nettle lasagna, along with a wild weed salad of lambsquarter and dandelion leaves.  To this I added sheep sorrel for a lemony taste and bull thistle.  Peeled thistle stalk makes a great substitute for celery. Side dishes were dandelion pickles, the wonderful dandelion muffins, and drinks of cold nettle lemonade and hot roasted dandelion root tea.  The children helped me with the gathering and making dandelion muffins- picking the open flower heads and pulling out the beautiful yellow fluff.”

See below for her recipe for Dandelion Muffins!

Here are some of the many ways you can use the dandelions in your yard:

Edible uses:*

  • Before the plant blooms eat the young greens in salad or steamed.
  • Pickle or steam the unopened buds.
  • Add flower petals to flours and batters, and make them into tea, wine, beer, and syrup.
  • Soak small pieces of the flower stalk in equal parts of water and vinegar overnight for pickles.
  • Dry the root and roast in a slow oven until brown (about 4 hours), grind, simmer 10 minutes for a drink some liken to coffee with no caffeine.
  • Eat the boiled roots as a vegetable.

Medicinal uses:*

  • Dandelion leaf tea is a good diuretic for fluid retention and to eliminate toxins and constipation.
  • The flower oil is good for a stiff neck, skin sores, and back tension.
  • Splash the tea on skin to heal chapped or windburned areas, age spots, large pores, and wrinkles.
  • Dandelion root is an excellent liver and stomach herb to treat liver congestion, to increase bile production, and help weak digestion.
  • The root tea or tincture is recommended for jaundice, anemia, and skin blemishes.
  • Use as a poultice on breast tenderness, cysts, or plugged milk ducts.
  • Juice from the stem clears up warts.

Kathryn’s recipe for Dandelion Muffins:

Mix in bowl:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups clipped dandelion flowers.  Mix the dandelion flowers to into the flour with your hands separating the bigger clumps of petals.

Mix in another bowl:

  • 1/4 cups oil
  • 4 T honey
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Combine dry and liquid ingredients.  Stir to moisten- it should be lumpy. Spoon into oiled muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

*Of course, be sure that your dandelions haven’t been chemically sprayed!

Motherlove Replies to E. Coli Outbreak in Europe

As many of you are aware, there is an outbreak of E. Coli in Europe that appears to be tied to Egyptian fenugreek. Since we’ve been getting calls from our customers around the world, we have issued the following press release about the issue. The short story is that no Motherlove products are affected and that we do third-party tests to prevent this type of problem. Full details below.



July 8, 2011 — Laporte, CO — Motherlove® Herbal Company ( issued the following statement today regarding the E. coli outbreak in Europe that has been linked to fenugreek: “We want all our customers and retailers to know that Motherlove products are not affected by the Egyptian fenugreek implicated in the outbreak,” said Kathryn Higgins, CEO and founder of Motherlove. “We do not use Egyptian fenugreek in our products and our products undergo testing before being approved for shipment,” Higgins added.

At this time, there has been no E. coli contamination linked to products used or sold in the US, only in Europe.

Motherlove Herbal Company, located in Laporte, Colorado, near Fort Collins, manufactures the bestselling herbal supplement for breast milk production in the US (according to Spins data), and uses fenugreek as a central ingredient in several supplements. “Any agricultural product carries the potential risk of E. coli if not handled properly,” said Higgins. “Extensive testing is done on both the ingredients and final products we produce,” she said.

This particular outbreak of E. coli appears to be limited to sprouted seeds, which are used mostly for culinary purposes. The fenugreek used in Motherlove products is not sprouted, but extracted from un-sprouted seeds.

Before being accepted for use in any Motherlove supplement, each ingredient undergoes quality testing. Then, the finished product is tested for bacteria, E. coli and salmonella by a third-party lab.

Manufacturing and packaging of Motherlove supplements is done in a GMP certified and FDA registered facility, and all herbs used in the products are 100% USDA certified organic.

“As the oldest company in the US specializing in herbal products for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, we take our responsibility to provide safe products very seriously,” said Higgins. “Certification and testing, as well as insisting on only the best ingredients allows us to be confident every day about the safety and effectiveness of our products.”


Doulas’ comfort measures for labor, and what to do if you can’t afford a doula.

Are you preparing for your baby’s birth?  Looking for comfort measures you can use for labor and birth?

Having a doula (a trained support person for birth and the postpartum period) present during your labor and birth can make it a much more comfortable experience.  Doulas have long been associated with shorter labors, less interventions, fewer c-sections, and more positive birthing experiences.  They’re also great for breastfeeding support.

We asked Ananda Lowe, doula and co-author of The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know, to share some comfort measures for labor, as well as some tips for finding a low-cost or free doula if you can’t afford to hire one.

What are some comfort measures that any mom can use in labor, whether or not she has a doula?

Studies show the most effective form of natural pain relief is to take a warm bath, and the rate of epidural use goes down when baths are used.  Stay in a long time, up to 90 minutes for the best effect.  Warm water provides relaxation by stimulating the skin on your entire body (like a water “massage”), increasing blood circulation, and reducing blood pressure and muscle tension.  A shower can provide similar effects.  However, only 10 percent of women report they used warm water in labor.  At one of our hospitals in Boston, there are no showers in the birthing rooms, so you have to walk down the hall to a shower room.  I remember standing in the hall while my client was showering, and another woman in labor walked by.  I told her there were two showers and she could use one.  She said, “No thanks, I don’t need a shower.”  I realized afterward that she thought I meant she could take a shower to get clean, but she had no idea it was a type of pain relief.

What are some lesser known comfort measures that a doula might use with a laboring mom?

When a woman is having her first baby, I tell her to expect to be in labor overnight.  She might not experience it, but most likely labor will be long enough that she will.  Sleep is very important so she will have enough stamina to finish labor.  Believe it or not, a doula might inform a mother that a glass of wine is known to be a tocolytic, or labor-inhibiting agent.  It usually slows down labor for the few hours it takes to by metabolized by the body.  A woman can sleep a bit, and she will wake up in labor again.  (Doctors formerly gave alcohol to women by IV injection to stop premature labors.)  A mother can ask her doctor or midwife about the option of drinking a glass of wine at home.  Alternately, taking a warm bath for more than 90 minutes can have the same effect, due to the way the brain responds after a long period of immersion of the body.  Doulas believe that sleeping in labor is possible, and a very good idea!

If a mother wants a doula but can’t afford to hire one, what can she do?

Most doulas-in-training offer a reduced fee until they are certified.  A trainee has enough education in birth to be a valuable presence at a woman’s labor.  Contact the national doula organizations to find a trainee or an experienced doula, at,,, and  Otherwise, ask a friend who had a positive birth experience or a natural childbirth to be at your birth.  Our culture thinks of birth as a private event between a woman and her mate, but hospitals are full of staff who are strangers.  In past eras, it was a woman’s experienced female friends who guided her through birth.  I strongly encourage women to bring a friend or two to their labor.  Birth is such an intense experience, and hospital procedures can seem so overwhelming, that it is probably asking too much of a pregnant woman and her mate to get through labor alone.

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