Herbal suggestions are:

Reishi mushrooms are super-powerful medicinal mushrooms that both stimulate the immune response and reduce the histamine production in the body. They are available in capsule form, which makes them easy to take, and are best taken two to three times a day.

Freeze-dried nettle is a green plant filled with chlorophyll that has been shown in clinical studies to be as effective as today’s allergy medicines. The positive side of taking nettles is that most people feel clearing in their nose, eyes and sinuses within 20 minutes, and nettles don’t have the side effects of most modern anti-allergy medicines, like sleepiness and dry mouth. The downside is that the effectiveness of nettles can wear off in four hours, so they need to be taken more often than conventional medicines. And while taking nettles can be likened to eating a wild salad, they also come in an easy-to-take capsule form.

Homeopathy is not taken preventatively, but can help alleviate symptoms at the first sign of allergy. It may take a little trial and error before one finds the correct homeopathic remedy that suits your specific symptoms, because homeopathic remedies target an individual’s reactions to a sickness rather than attacking the ailment directly, but the relief can be wonderful and worth the effort.

Some Homeopathic remedies choices are:

Allium Cepa 30c is used for constantly tearing eyes, sneezing and liquid that is coming out of the nose.

Sabadilla 30c is used for a stuffy nose that also drips, constant sneezing and dripping eyes. It’s also used when the allergy can be felt in the lungs.

Arundo 30c is used for that annoying scratching that can be felt in the back of the mouth by the soft palate, inside the nose and ears.

Sara Chana“I believe that the natural path for a woman who decides to have children is to breastfeed them. Girls must be educated to understand that breastfeeding, where possible, is not only psychologically and physiologically advantageous for the infant but amazingly healing, balancing and fulfilling for the mother. Girls must be taught that they can pursue the career they want without having to sacrifice childbirth and breastfeeding.”
— Sara Chana Silverstein

Sara Chana Silverstein is a Brooklyn-based, international board-certified lactation consultant, birthing instructor, classical homeopath, herbalist, businesswoman, wife and mother of seven children.

Sara Chana empowers and teaches thousands of women, many of whom were told their babies would never breastfeed, how to improve their breastfeeding experience. She shatters breastfeeding and birthing myths, and encourages women to make smart choices while guiding them in the art of juggling breastfeeding with a career. In her 15 years of practice she has strengthened women by educating them on how to treat and heal their children naturally, and how to ask the proper questions of their doctors, ensuring that they themselves and their children receive the most comprehensive medical care.

She is a birthing instructor and consultant to many obstetricians, midwives, and pediatricians in the New York metropolitan area as well as an adult education teacher, columnist, and community advocate for women and children. Sara is a highly sought-after public speaker who is funny, provocative, and exciting.

Q. Don’t breastfeeding woman need to drink milk in order to make milk?

A. The answer is “Absolutely not!” Mammals (including human women) do not have to drink the milk of other mammals in order to make milk. Cows do not drink goat’s milk to make milk. Sheep do not drink cow’s milk, and goats do not need to drink human milk in order to make milk. All mammals need vegetables or grasses to survive and create milk. So, woman who are breastfeeding need lots of vegetables (and protein) to make enough milk for their child.


Q. Won’t vegetables cause gas pains for the baby?

A. I believe the answer is no and yes. I believe very much in the blood type diet for breastfeeding moms. After 18 years of working with colicky babies I see that when woman eat correctly for their blood type babies do not have colic. For instance: Blood type A moms should not eat tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes. Blood type O moms should not eat cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes and cucumbers. Blood type B can eat all vegetables, and blood type AB need to also stay away from peppers, cayenne, and avocado. All blood types can eat all kinds of lettuces and I advocate one or two large salads a day for nursing moms that include garlic and onions.

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“Breast milk is alive … Breast milk is dynamic”, states Dr. Harry Pellman, MD in Pediatrics for Parents. “Breast milk is different the first day of life than the seventh or hundredth day. It is different in the morning than at night. It is different in the beginning of a feeding than the end of the feeding. The milk even adapts and changes depending on the infant’s health.” Breast milk is completely adaptable to the needs of the infant. If a mother gives birth prematurely, the vitamin and mineral content of colostrum (the first milk that a woman produces after giving birth) will be different than the colostrum of a mother who gives birth to a full-term infant. Mother’s breast milk tastes differently at each feed which is a nice variety for the baby. The baby who is fed formula experiences the same taste 8-10 times per day for an average of 18 months … boring!

Colostrum is the wonder food of the world!

  • Colostrum is the yellow/gold fluid that nourishes the infant’s first few days of life.
  • Colostrum has high concentrations of nutrients and protection against infectious disease.
  • It contains more protein, less sugar, and much less fat than mature breast milk. The baby receives teaspoons, not ounces, on purpose. Not feeling full encourages the baby to nurse frequently, which assures that the baby gets the colostrum he needs.
  • Colostrum coats the intestines, protecting them for the rest of the child’s life.
  • Colostrum is rich in vitamins and minerals that help ensure a healthy gastrointestinal tract as the child ages.

Nursing a baby is a learned art. Although it is the “natural” way to feed a baby, most women are not born with an innate knowledge of how to nurse. Babies are born with the natural need to suck, but can have difficulty nursing with medicated births and poor birthing positions. Once the nursing couple overcomes these difficulties, the benefits of breastfeeding are remarkable and definitely worth the extra effort. Just to name a few:

  • Breastfed children are said to have fewer instances of diabetes mellitus and Crohn’s disease.
  • Breast milk contains special mucins that make it difficult for intestinal bacteria to attach to the infant’s bowel; attachment is necessary for infection to occur.
  • IQ scores appear to be higher in breastfed infants.
  • Breast milk is always the right temperature for the baby.
  • Breast milk saves you money.
  • Breast milk is available and ready for the child 24 hours a day. And breastfeeding is good for the mother.

A study conducted by Romieu et al (American Journal of Epidemiology) found that “Duration of lactation, even short-term was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer.” The hormones secreted by the mother to make breast milk also benefit the mother in many ways. Prolactin and oxytocin are relaxing hormones that make the nursing mother feel calm and secure. After the mother has mastered the art of breastfeeding the mother will see how nursing the baby not only calms the baby, but also calms the mother.

Breast-feeding should never hurt! The breasts were created to feed from. If the baby is latched on properly and coordinating his suck correctly, the nipples will not hurt. Therefore breasts require no creams or lotions during the breastfeeding experience. The breasts have tiny bumps around the areola called Montgomery glands or Montgomery tubercles. These glands become enlarged or look like small pimples that secrete a substance that lubricates and protects the nipples and areola during pregnancy and lactation. A small amount of milk may also secrete from these glands. Creams and lotions could block these brilliant glands so it is best to stay away from creams. If there is pain and the baby is latching deeply onto the breast, the mother may have a yeast infection behind the nipple. Dr. Ruth Lawerence in her book, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, teaches that the incidence of fungal infections has increased dramatically in the past decade probably due to the widespread use of antibiotics. Anytime a woman is exposed to antibiotics during her last trimester of pregnancy or during delivery she is prone to develop yeast overgrowth. You cannot see yeast overgrowth on the nipple and you may not see thrush in the baby’s mouth. The mother may experience burning, biting, sharp, shooting or stinging pain while nursing. The pain is usually the only sign that the mother is experiencing a yeast infection. Your doctor can prescribe an antifungal cream for the mother and baby. An antifungal cream is the only cream that may ever be needed during lactation.

Breast-feeding is an art that needs to be learned and developed by each nursing couple. It is a learning experience for both the mother and the baby. Some women learn the art faster than others and some babies learn the art faster than other babies. But, with diligent effort, patience, and help from a knowledgeable nurse or Lactation Consultant all women can master breastfeeding and learn to enjoy the wonderful gift that women have been given: the ability to nourish and comfort their babies.

By Sara Chana Silverstein, IBCLC, BA, Herbalist and Student of Homeopathy. She is a licensed Lactation Consultant helping women and babies with breastfeeding problems. She also works with children and adults with chronic ear and strep infections, stomach problems and emotional issues. She can be reached at 718-467-1455.

Nursing your baby can be stressful, but the hormones released during nursing actually allow mothers to stay calmer in stressful situations! Studies at McGill University shows those who do not nurse their babies have more difficulty dealing with stressful situations. Research from McGill’s Douglas Hospital Research Center in Montreal suggests that nursing moms react less to stressful situations than moms who bottle-feed. Fifty mothers of babies less than three months old were each asked to give a speech, solve math problems, and watch a video showing hurt and lost children. During the tasks researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in each mother’s saliva. Nursing moms had lower levels, and the effect was greatest in moms who had nursed with more than one child. According to senior researcher Clair-Dominique Walker, PhD, “mothers should consider nursing for their own good as well as their babies.”

By Sara Chana Silverstein, IBCLC, BA, Herbalist and Student of Homeopathy. She is a licensed Lactation Consultant helping women and babies with breastfeeding problems. She also works with children and adults with chronic ear and strep infections, stomach problems and emotional issues. She can be reached at 718-467-1455.

As summer approaches and the weather gets warmer moms and their babies begin to spend more time outdoors. Breastfeeding mothers often wonder whether or not their babies need to be supplemented with water at this time. The answer to this question is, no! Breast milk contains 88% water and is perfectly formulated to satisfy a baby’s needs no matter what the weather is. Giving water to a breastfeeding baby six months and younger is actually more dangerous than helpful. A breastfeeding mother who herself is well-hydrated and is allowing her baby to breastfeed as often as the baby desires will ensure a well-hydrated baby no matter how hot the weather becomes.

A number of studies have been done in various locations (both humid and dry climates) at temperatures ranging from 22-41°C (71.6-105.8°F) and 9-96% relative humidity, questioning whether or not breastfed babies need extra hydration. These studies have determined that an exclusively breastfed baby absolutely does not need water in addition to breast milk. Giving supplemental water to a newborn (under 5 weeks old) can actually be dangerous. Too much water can dilute the sodium in the baby’s bloodstream to the point where “oral water intoxication” develops. Oral water intoxication can lead to symptoms like low body temp, bloating, and seizures. Breastfeeding babies who have reached the six-month mark also do not need water, but it is not harmful if they occasionally sip water from a cup.

Although breastfed babies do not need any supplemental water, it is interesting to note that formula-fed babies sometimes do. Formula has a higher salt level that can be harder on their kidneys and therefore some babies may need extra water to help them excrete it. Formula fed babies also have less efficient metabolisms than breastfed babies, so they use up water faster. (Ask your doctor for recommended amounts of water in this case.)

So, go outside with your beautiful baby, and enjoy the much-anticipated sunshine. Be stress free and happy and know the only thing your baby may need in the sun is a hat J (and perhaps an extra diaper!).

By Sara Chana Silverstein, IBCLC, BA, Herbalist and Student of Homeopathy. She is a licensed Lactation Consultant helping women and babies with breastfeeding problems. She also works with children and adults with chronic ear and strep infections, stomach problems and emotional issues. She can be reached at 718-467-1455.

Breastfeeding can be one of the most challenging parts of being a new mother. There is a lot of pressure to do it, to do it well and to reap all kinds of benefits like bonding with your child, providing the best possible nutrients to your child etc. etc. etc.

Together Family recently spoke to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Sara Chana, about some pressing issues surrounding breastfeeding.

TF: What is the most common mistake or misunderstanding that breastfeeding mothers have?

SC: Oh my gosh, I’m glad you asked that because this happens ALL THE TIME! The biggest mistake that I see, breastfed babies gain a lot of weight between 0 and 5 months. And very often babies that are fully breastfed stop gaining a lot of weight after five months. Then doctors go berserk and so do moms. But breastfed babies and formula fed babies gain weight at different rates. So if I’ve got a baby who starts slowing down at five months in their weight gain but they’ve gained enough weight in the first five months, that’s when women and doctors say start adding solids. And I say NO WAY! And this is my philosophy why: babies get nice and pudgy from 0-5 months if they’re fully breastfed and they’re doing well. Then they put on a bit of weight between 5 and 7 months. Then they start crawling. And they start losing a lot of that body fat and they pull themselves to standing, and they start gaining muscle structure. So if babies gained a lot of weight between 0 and 5 months and continued to gain a lot of weight from 5 to 7 they would have a harder time crawling and a harder time standing up. So my breastfed babies that have good internal development from 0-6 months, I say let them go. They will slow down [gaining weight] between 5 and 7 months but it doesn’t mean they need solids, it means they are preparing to crawl and stand up. If babies are not doing well between 0-6 weeks we know we have a problem then, be it a problem with the mom or a problem with the baby. But if that baby has done gloriously until five months and hasn’t had bouts of diarrhea, hasn’t had Strep Throat, hasn’t had ear infections, the mom is doing very well, you can’t get me to add solids before nine months, you can’t.

TF: What other common mistakes or misconceptions do you see with breastfeeding mothers?

SC: When the breasts start to go back to their previous shape and size, then women feel like they don’t have any more breast milk. So as the baby gets a little more independent the breasts go back to smaller shape and women are sure they have no more breast milk. And that’s wrong. Their breasts are fine. The breasts will get very soft and smushy because the breast milk is only made upon compression. So women need to just know that they have enough milk even when their breasts get floppy. And, sometimes when babies are around six months, they are so proficient on the breast that the mothers say they have no milk. Then they weigh their breasts after nursing (I have a very high-tech scale here to weight breasts before and after feeding) and it turns out the babies are taking six ounces of milk in three and half minutes! Did you know that an eighteen-pound baby can take in a minimum of fifty ounces of milk in a day? So that’s another thing, when women feel there’s no milk left, there’s usually tons.

By Sara Chana Silverstein, IBCLC, BA, Herbalist and Student of Homeopathy. She is a licensed Lactation Consultant helping women and babies with breastfeeding problems. She also works with children and adults with chronic ear and strep infections, stomach problems and emotional issues. She can be reached at 718-467-1455.

Medicinal HoneyHoneys healing properties have been touted for generations. People world-wide claim that honey helps with colds, sore throats, and coughs. Modern science shows that honey contains antioxidants, acids, proteins and minerals that help heal and strengthen our bodies. Honey can also fight bacterial infections thanks to its antimicrobial properties.

Adding herbs to honey turns ordinary honey into “medicinal honey” and is a powerful tool for the winter months. Medicinal honey is easy to make and you can customize it to your personal physical challenges and taste.

For Coughs Try Onion Honey. Onion honey is suggested if you tend to be challenged with winter coughs, garlic if you tend to get sinus infections or mix both if you tend to get both in the winter. Take a glass bowl and make a layer of either onions and cover with a layer of honey. Cover the bowl with either a plate or plastic wrap and let it sit on the kitchen counter overnight. By morning the honey will begin to turn into syrup. You can leave this mixture right on the counter and take one tablespoon two times a day as prevention or up to four times a day if you are ill. If you will not use up the batch you made within the week you can strain out the onions and put the honey in a glass container and keep the mixture in the fridge. Onion honey works well for children and adults but the honey can sometimes be a bit sharp for children under age 6.

Yummy Honey for Kids – (over one year old only). Medicinal honey is a great kid-friendly way for children to take herbs. Making a medicinal honey together with your children is a great activity for kids and parents and children love to watch the herbs melt into the honey. Kids tend to be more compliant with taking ‘healthy-stuff’ if they help their parents make it. For children’s honey I make the honey as above (use less onions for your kids batch) and add gentle kid-friendly herbs to the mix like elderberry, lemon balm or linden flowers and I also add cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. Elderberry is a great source of vitamin C and antiviral, lemon balm is calming and antiviral, and linden flowers helps with fevers and flu. Cinnamon tastes great and also helps with stomach flus and vanilla is just yummy. (If you use fresh herbs after a week or you will have to strain the honey and refridgerate).