Noonday Jewelry Giveaway…

Almost every girl loves jewelry! A statement necklace, simple stud earring, or layered set of bangles-each has the potential to perfectly complete or transform your outfit. What if in addition to adding beauty to your wardrobe, your jewelry could improve the quality of life for other women and their children? “Fashion that creates economic opportunity for the vulnerable”…that is the mission at Noonday Collection. If your jewelry could fight against poverty and injustice, wouldn’t that make everyone feel a little more beautiful…on the inside and out?photo 4 photo 3

Last year I commented on a friend’s necklace. It was gorgeous! The story behind it was even more breath taking. I then learned that Noonday Collection works with 2000 artisans in over 10 underdeveloped countries, providing them with a fair wage and an opportunity to provide for their families. In one country, jewelry is made by a group of “outcast” HIV positive men and women who find a new sense of dignity when they are given a job, a fair wage, and medications to treat their illness. Artillery is melted down and turned into masterful pieces of art, taking something meant for evil and turning it into something beautiful…what a gorgeous concept!photo 2photo 3

When fashion can improve lives by putting food on the table, placing orphans in loving homes, and empowering women through meaningful and fair employment who wouldn’t want to spend their money where it makes a significant difference. For more about the Noonday Collection story, check out their website. Each piece of jewelry has a unique story. Each story is attached to a life impacted by this organization.


AURORA WRAP BRACELET hand made in Kenya from glass beads and adorned with the Noonday Collection charm. GORGEOUS and FREE for one special winner!

Just because Noonday Collection is so amazing, one of their ambassadors, Tasha, has agreed to team up with The Mom in Me, MD for a free giveaway! She didn’t have to twist my arm. I love the jewelry…and can’t wait to start shopping! Although I would love for all of you to win the gorgeous Aurora Wrap Bracelet that Tasha has so generously gifted…I’ve only got one to share. However, you can do some of your own shopping now and here’s how. IMG_4238Try to get your shopping in by this Monday, September 1, 2014 using my name Emma Hostetter-Hall while my trunk show is open. If you miss that deadline…don’t worry, you can still make purchases at anytime through Tasha at this link

Happy shopping and good luck with the giveaway! Click on the link below for giveaway entry details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

From The Mom in Me, MD

Breastfeeding a Preemie: thoughts from a mom who has been there!

Don’t be fooled by the title. This blog is helpful for all breastfeeding moms! I have been asked on several occasions now to touch on breastfeeding a preemie or a baby who is in the NICU. Mommies ask…I answer! While I’m not a lactation consultant, my role as breastfeeding mom to a preemie has given me quite an education. I’ve decided to address some of the common challenges that go along with breastfeeding a preemie. Some of these challenges also exist for non-preemie babies…so, all of you nursing moms may want to keep reading.Newborn baby boy covered in vertix inside incubator

1. Not Yet Ready To Breastfeed

Many moms with preemies have a sense of helplessness. They want to protect and take care of their newborn, but this is incredibly challenging in the NICU setting. Breastfeeding is one significant way for moms to impact their preemie’s health. But, one of the major challenges of having a preemie or sick infant in the NICU is that they are not yet physically ready to breastfeed. Many little ones require a feeding tube and IV nutrition for their early meals. Eventually, many preemies will be ready to breastfeed, but in the meantime, moms can have an incredible impact on their preemie’s health by pumping breast milk to be given through the feeding tube. Research tells us that infants (specifically preemies) that receive breast milk have better outcomes. Since preemies are already at a disadvantage from day one, giving them any extra health benefits is MAJOR!

That being said, pumping often feels like a task rather than an opportunity. Having your breasts hooked up to a suction machine for thirty minutes, twelve times a day is far from pleasant. It doesn’t afford the same bonding that actual nursing creates, but don’t give up. Eventually your baby will be at the breast, and you will be able to pump much less frequently.

This is often a slow process and starts with nonnutritive feedings, where your preemie is simply put to the breast but not expected to actually transfer milk. Be patient. With time, your preemie will figure things out. In the meantime, I can’t say this too many times, pump, pump, pump. Be diligent in establishing a good milk supply from day one. Pumping every several hours for at least 20 minutes to start will help ensure a good supply. Being in the room with your preemie while pumping can also increase the amount of milk that you produce. The times that I sat looking at my preemie while pumping I often was able to pump at least an extra ounce of milk.

Getting enough sleep is also an important part of milk production. Once your milk supply has been established, allow yourself to go one somewhat longer stretch at night (not more than 6 hours-you don’t want to get engorged) without pumping. This extra sleep may help keep your supply up. Drinking enough water is another important component to an adequate supply. Water…Water…Water! Keep refilling your bottle.Mother breast feeding her baby with closed eyes

2. Small Mouth

Most preemies have tiny mouths, making it difficult for them to latch correctly. Make sure that you are using the help of a lactation consultant when teaching your baby how to latch. They have amazing tricks for helping the little one open widely and latch deeply. If your baby is latched too shallowly not only will they be unable to get milk efficiently, they will also cause you incredible pain! You are not going to gag your baby! Sandwich your breast with your hand and shove your baby’s mouth as deeply as possible onto your breast. The angle of their mouth should line up as though they are taking a bite from a sandwich. If you are in extreme pain, simply slide your finger into the corner of your infants mouth to break the suction. Unlatch and try again. Don’t let your baby feed with an incorrect latch! Sometimes a nipple shield may be necessary as well.

3. Lazy Feeder/Tired

Many preemies are tired. They don’t have much of an energy reserve due to their small size and lack of body fat. Overdoing it can definitely tire them out. Don’t expect your new preemie to eat efficiently at the breast for some time. It will come eventually. Some tips to help your little one stay awake to feed include stripping them down to a diaper and tapping the soles of their feet or stroking them.Mother Breastfeeding her newborn

4. Bradys

Many preemies will have bradycardic events (drop in heart rate) while breastfeeding. This is incredibly common. If this happens, take the baby off of the breast and stimulate them either by rubbing their back or the soles of their feet. Eating takes a lot of energy and sometimes if they are not yet efficient at handling milk flow, they may “choke” or “gag” resulting in a brady. Your nursing staff will help you know how to look for the warning signs before it happens. I always knew when I was nursing when my daughter was going to have a dip in her heart rate before it showed up on the monitor. She had the same tell every time where she acted like I was water boarding her with milk. If a very fast flow is an issue for your baby, you may need to pump for just a couple of minutes first to get the fast let down out of the way. This may benefit your preemie anyway, because they will be getting more of the hind milk which is richer in fat. If you notice that your baby is starting to struggle or gag, it may be a good idea to remove them from the breast for a moment and let them recover.

5. Poor Suck-Swallow-Breath reflex

Preemies have a lot to learn. Unlike other infants, they are expected to be high achievers before they were even supposed to enter the world. They shouldn’t have to breath air, suck a breast, or swallow milk yet. Expecting them to put all three of these activities together in a coordinated fashion is incredibly demanding. Most full-term infants are born with a suck-swallow-breath reflex. It happens naturally. For most preemies this is not the case. Give your baby time. Eventually they will figure this out. I was incredibly frustrated because I thought that my daughter would figure it out immediately. It took her nine weeks before this became natural.

The list of concerns and complications goes on and on when dealing with feeding a preemie. I have only touched on a few of the common issues. Please feel free to comment with questions, concerns, and your near mother's breast

From The Mom in Me, MD



Our Infertility Journey (1.10): The “Gunner” in Me…and My Ovaries

I expected things to feel differently. I knew that my ovaries would be working overtime with all of the hormones, so I brushed off the full feeling in my pelvis as “normal.” But as soon as my feet hit the floor on the second week of my IVF cycle I knew something wasn’t quite right. I jumped up and down a little bit beside the bed just to confirm my discomfort. Taking my dog, Bentley, for a short walk around the block confirmed my fears. Every step felt like a jab into my lower abdomen. I could feel each footstep as though it was kicking me in the belly. I had peritoneal signs.Young woman stroking her belly becouse of bellyache

Most people wouldn’t be familiar with this term, but I had routinely ruled this symptom in and out in belly pain patients presenting to my office and the emergency room. Peritoneal signs meant that I now had free-floating fluid sloshing around in my abdomen and pelvis. In my case, this fluid was coming from my ovaries. I was hyperstimualting! This may not sound like a big deal…but it can be. Not only does ovarian hyperstimulation cause discomfort, it can be very dangerous. Ovaries can get so large that they twist on themselves, cutting off their blood supply and ultimately dying if not surgically corrected quickly enough. Body fluids can spill into the abdominal cavity and fluid can pour into the lungs compromising breathing and even leading to electrolyte disturbances (potassium and salt imbalances). If severe enough, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can lead to kidney failure, blood clots, and even death.

My risks were low. I wasn’t too old. I wasn’t too young. I wasn’t too skinny, and I wasn’t to heavy. I didn’t have polycystic ovary syndrome. I was a model patient for IVF. This couldn’t be happening! But, it was. My estrodiol levels were off the charts and climbing! Just stopping the medications wouldn’t necessarily stop the hyperstimulation right away. These medications would continue to work for hours and even days before they would no longer have an effect on my ovaries. Moving forward with the IVF cycle would only make things worse and compromise my health and safety. It was over. The only option now was to cancel the cycle and wait for my ovaries to calm down. Wait…Wait…Wait…Woman Suffering From Stomachache On Sofa

What now? That was my big question. Over a week of shots, thousands of dollars spent, and nothing to show for it except for a medical complication….what now? I needed a plan. I needed an answer. I needed to know that we could move forward. If IVF wasn’t an option, then what was?

Although my infertility specialist had used tiny doses of the stimulating medication on me since I was considered fertile (funny for someone undergoing infertility treatments!), my body’s response to the small doses was like a rocket launching for the moon. The next time around I was told that we would simply use even smaller doses of the medications. I was ready. “Sign me up. When can we get started?” Those were my most pressing questions. In medicine, this mentality is referred to as a “gunner”-someone who is dug into the trenches ready to give it their all no matter the cost. I was an infertility gunner.Close Up Of Woman Inject Drugs To Prepare For Treatment

I had been gunning for things for years-medical school, residency, Hopkins admission-this wasn’t any different…other than that it matter so much more. Motherhood mattered more to me than any degree or job ever could. I longed for a baby more than I had longed for anything. As soon as my ovaries calmed down, I gladly grabbed my injections ready to get started again. IVF was my ticket to motherhood, and I was going to make it work. I had to…what other option did I have? Guns blazing was going to be my style. I warned Angelina Jolie to watch out; I was about to steal her role for Mr. and Mrs. Smith II. The baby making scenes weren’t going to be quite as sexy…but we WERE going to make a baby!

From The Mom in Me, MDShot of a sexy military woman posing with guns.



Am I a Bad Mom if I Give my Baby a Bottle?

With Le Leche League advocates, physicians (myself included), lactation consultants, and many moms pushing the breastfeeding agenda…where does that leave the bottle feeding mom? Many moms that I know have been unable to nurse their babies. Some had preemies who were unable to nurse. Other moms’ milk didn’t come in. Some moms gave breastfeeding a great effort before “quitting,” while others decided from the start that they only wanted to bottle-feed. Although I’m a strong supporter of breastfeeding, I’m also a strong supporter of moms, their health, and their sanity.

Cute Baby At Hands Of The Mother In An Embrace, MonochromeEvery woman should be able to decide how she is going to feed her baby-without judgement or criticism! Several of my friends have adopted babies. Clearly, breastfeeding isn’t even an option in their situation without going to incredibly great lengths. The stares and comments that they have received for feeding their babies formula is insane. The fact that strangers feel comfortable criticizing how a baby is fed (breast vs. bottle) without even knowing the whole story is shocking to me.

Since I had a preemie, I was required to give my daughter two formula fortified bottles a day. Granted my bottles were breast milk mixed with formula, but all that most people saw was that I was mixing formula into a bottle. I could tell that I was getting disapproving looks. The idea that I felt guilty over feeding my baby formula (that she actually needed for the phosphorus and extra calories as a preemie) now makes me shake my head. I was doing what was best for my baby. I didn’t need other people making me feel like a bad mom.

I definitely don’t want anyone to think that I’m bashing breastfeeding! Quite the opposite. I do believe that breastfeeding provides infants with incredible benefits and that breast milk is the best nutrient option for most babies. But, I do want to give a shout out to all of the amazing mothers who either chose not to breast feed or who couldn’t. A formula fed baby can and will still grow, be healthy, develop a healthy immune system, and potentially go on to win a Nobel Prize! Baby Bottle And Milk With Clipping Path

As moms…we are all doing our best. We all have our children’s best interest at heart. Bottle feeding moms are just as amazing as breastfeeding moms. Don’t let anyone tell you differently or make you feel differently.

From The Mom in Me, MD

Is Salmonella in Your Peanut Butter Jar…3 things you need to know about the recent outbreak

Unfortunately for the peanut butter and almond butter lovers among us…we may have a problem! No one wants to get diarrhea, fevers, and belly cramps from their almond butter dipped banana! Here is what you need to know about the recent (August, 2014) Salmonella Outbreak linked to certain brands of peanut butter and almond butter.Woman Suffering From Stomachache On Sofa

1. What is Salmonella and what to do about it?

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause infection in the intestines, leading to diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal cramping, fever, blood in the stool, and headaches. Not pleasant. Salmonella infections usually come from “food poisoning,” or eating food that has been contaminated with Salmonella. Often times, people who are exposed to Salmonella do not get sick. Some people may not get sick until three days after they have eaten a contaminated product such as peanut butter. Usually, an infection with Salmonella only lasts for a few days to a week and doesn’t require any treatment. However, for children who are younger than five; those who are pregnant; those with weakened immune systems (for example: autoimmune diseases, undergoing chemotherapy etc); and the elderly, a salmonella infection can be more severe, leading to dehydration and other serious complications that mandate hospitalization.

If you have any of the signs or symptoms above, fit any of the high-risk groups, and have recently consumed potentially, contaminated peanut butter or almond butter…you may want to give your doctor a call…just to be on the safe side.Peanut Butter On Bread With Peanuts

2. Is my peanut butter/almond butter contaminated?

Many different brands of peanut and almond butter were contaminated. Some of the more common brands included Kroger, MaraNatha, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 365, and Arrowhead Mills. The list continues…

First you need to check what you have in your fridge and pantry. Pull it all out so that you can look at the brand and the skew (UPC) number on the jar. Here is a hyperlink to the FDA with a full list of contaminated brands. Just because you have a brand on the contaminated list, this doesn’t mean that your peanut butter is bad. Only certain lots were contaminated. That is where the skew or UPC number comes in handy. Simply compare the skew number on your jar to those provided by the FDA.

3. If I have bad butter…what to do?

If you have a contaminated jar you need to throw it out…NOW! It doesn’t matter if someone has eaten some already and not gotten sick…still throw it away. Don’t take it back to the store. Instead, put it inside of a plastic ziplock and put it in a sealed trash container. You don’t want an animal to get to it…they can get Salmonella poisoning too! For a replacement, refund, or more information you can call this number 1-800-937-7008.

Unfortunately, food contamination happens. Spread the word and get other people digging through their pantries! Although Salmonella usually isn’t life threatening; it is miserable and could land the young, the old, and those with weak immune systems in the hospital. For more information check out this hyperlink to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

From The Mom in Me, MD

Boy Eating Peanut Butter Sandwich

When breastfeeding doesn’t go your way…

Seeing other moms discretely breastfeed their babies while sipping lattes, answering text messages, and having in-depth conversations with their friends left me wondering what I was doing wrong. Why couldn’t I make breast-feeding look this easy? I wanted to sit at Starbucks perfectly covered by a pretty, Petunia Pickle Bottom nursing cover! Instead, I was still working on getting my baby to latch correctly without biting off my boob in the process. Would it ever get easier?SCARSDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 15, 2013: A tall Starbucks coffee in f

I know that you are all expecting me to say, “Yes, my daughter became a model breastfeeder! I was sipping my own lattes at Starbucks in no time.” But, the reality of the situation was that breastfeeding was always a challenge for me. My daughter eventually figured out how to latch correctly, but then she decided to start biting me! YES, BITING! After we had a pretty heated chat about how naughty it was to bite mommy, she then decided that home was the only place she liked to nurse. Each month it seemed like a new breastfeeding challenge arose. Each month, we muddled our way through.Mother breast feeding her baby with closed eyes

I was determined to breastfeed for at least a year. And, although I loved the bonding that breastfeeding brought, I couldn’t help counting down the days until her first birthday. Because she was a preemie, I still had to pump in order to give her fortified bottles with breast milk. The extra step of pumping several times a day in addition to nursing left me feeling akin to a dairy cow. I was exhausted, moody, and sometimes downright irritable.Cute Baby At Hands Of The Mother In An Embrace, Monochrome

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! Reminiscing about my love-hate relationship with breastfeeding reminds me that most things worth doing are challenging. Although breastfeeding doesn’t always get easier for some of us, neither does motherhood! Poopy diapers, skinned knees, toddler melt-downs, teenage rebellion…as moms, we are in it for the tough stuff. Although I love the beautiful moments that motherhood brings such as cuddle time, kisses on my nose, and a little hand to hold; I’m also grateful for the challenges. These remind me of what I’m made of…or at least what I’m becoming…someone a little less selfish, a little more genuine, and a lot more determined to be the best at my biggest title…MOMMY!

From The Mom in Me, MD



Mediterranean Tabouleh that Cleopatra would approve!

If you aren’t familiar with Tabouleh…you are missing out! This is one of my favorite Mediterranean side dishes. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, it is also deliciously healthy! I have tried numerous tabouleh recipes, but it always tastes the best when I cheat! Yes, cheat! For some reason, The Near East Company has the perfect combination of spices that I just can’t find in other recipes. Using their box mix (cheating) and then adding my own twist to it always makes the best tabouleh! This mix is a little hard to come by, but I usually can find it at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Earth Fare, or other organic grocery 2 photo 2

Near East also makes some awesome couscous, rice pilaf, and lentils! These boxes double as fun shaker toys for your toddler! Ayla was entertained the entire grocery shopping trip! I’ve got quite the percussionist on my hands! photo 1






What in the World Goes Into Tabouleh? 

1 box of Near East Tabouleh Mix Wheat Salad

3 Roma or vine ripened tomatoes-finely chopped

3 tablespoons (at least!) fresh lemon juice. I love lemon so I usually squeeze in the whole lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil (optional). It will be a little dry if you don’t use this, but if you are watching your fat intake it’s okay to skip the oil.

1 cucumber chopped

1 bunch of freshly chopped mint

1 bunch italian parsley finely choppedphoto 3

Cleopatra’s Recipe: 

1. Prepare the tabouleh bulgur wheat and spices as the box instructs, but don’t add anything else until I tell you! To prepare the box mix you simply combine the wheat and spice pack in a bowl. Add 1 cup of boiling water to the mixture and cover. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. After your wheat has been in the fridge for 30 minutes, take it out and add your chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, cucumber, mint and parsley. Mix it all together.

3. Cover it again and put it in the fridge again for at least 1 hour. Letting it sit in the fridge overnight will guarantee the best marriage of flavors!

Want a long life, healthy arteries, and beautiful skin???? A Mediterranean diet is said to guarantee all of these things! So, dig in. Who knows, every bite may give you an extra year to live!

From The Mom in Me, MD





Grilled Peaches…with honey and mint

Looking for a healthy, quick dessert on the grill? Grilled peaches drizzled with honey and sprinkled with fresh mint…need I say more!

Pick and Prepare your Peaches: 

1. Make sure that your peaches are ripe but not smooshy

2. Wash and dry your peaches

3. Cut them in half with a sharp paring knife. Try to make the sides even.

photo 54. Brush both sides lightly with olive oilphoto 2

5. Heat up the grill to medium high and place your peach halves directly on the grill

6. Grill for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side or until you have nice looking char lines

7. Remove from the grill, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with fresh chopped mint

8. Serve immediately…best when warm

What a peachy idea for a healthy dessert!

From The Mom in Me, MD

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies…plan to double this recipe!

This yummy chocolate cherry treat has been making its way into my mouth for the past two days now! I need to stop…but they are just so good! When you aren’t sure how many cookies you have eaten that is when you know the answer is…TOO MANY! This was a new recipe for me. I stole it from the Williams and Sonoma Complete Grilling Cookbook. Strange indeed! These cookies are baked in the oven. Not sure why they made it into a grilling cookbook. Maybe they are just that good!photo 5photo 3photo 2

Chocolate Cherry Yummy Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used light since I was out of dark and they turned out just fine)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

8 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (if chunks cut into 1/2 inch pieces-this will make about 1 1/2 cups)

6 oz dried sour cherries or dried bing cherries (you can chop them up or throw them in whole. If chopped this makes about 1 1/2 cups)photo 1


How to Bake Chocolate Cherry Goodness: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, backing soda, and salt. Set aside.

Next combine your butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. (I love using my Kitchen Aid Stand Up mixer) If you don’t have a stand up mixer, a hand-held will work just fine. Beat on high-speed until fluffy. Then beat in your egg. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add in your flour mixture. Make sure not to over-beat the batter. You only want to add the flour mixture until it is just incorporated. Next throw in your chocolate and cherries, mixing them in at a low-speed.

Drop spoonfuls of slightly rounded batter onto an ungreased baking sheet. Space out by 2 inches. Bake for about 16 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer immediately to a cooling rack. These should stay good for up to 4 days when kept in an airtight 4

How to Eat Cherry Chocolate Cookies:

With a complete lack of self-control!photo

From The Mom in Me, MD

Livie and Luca Giveaway…

photo 4As you many have noticed by now…I love shoes! Baby and toddler shoes are my favorite. I’ve already ranted and raved about Livie and Luca in a recent blog, and now I’ve decided to give you a chance to win a pair of their OH SO CUTE shoes!photo 1

photo 3This giveaway only applies to those with little girls who will be needing a size 4! Long story short…bought these for my daughter…lost them for a month…bought a replacement pair…found lost pair 2 days later in our house…daughter’s foot grew! So, I just repurchased same shoe (for the third time) but now in a size 5!!!! NUTTY MOMMY!

Click this link to enter the giveaway and for more details! a Rafflecopter giveaway SORRY EVERYONE!!! GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Winner has been contacted and shoes have been shipped! Check the Blog Giveaway tab to see if any other giveaways are currently open.

photophoto 2

From The Mom in Me, MD