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Spring 2015
Let's talk Milk Production!
Here's our resident herbalist Debbie's take:
You're breastfeeding! You're past any latch issues. You've got it down. You are feeling fully recovered from your labor and birth. You are drinking mother's milk tea just to make sure you keep your supply up. Of course you have read about what to to do to increase your milk supply, just in case. So you already know about fenugreek, blessed thistle, oats, fennel, brewers yeast, sesame seeds, and you may have heard about Goats Rue too.
You may know of foods to stay away from too, like sage and oregano, because they will inhibit milk production. Also, a bit of parsley or one cup of peppermint tea is fine, but more than that could stunt your supply. One beer or half glass of wine is considered ok, and all the yeast actually helps increase production, but an alcoholic drink with hard liquor will decrease supply. Oh, and that wonderful cup of coffee that smells sooooo good in the morning, or helps you keep navigating when you are sleep deprived, yep.....decreases production. And as long as I'm on the down side of things, that cute little top that you can finally fit into, which your honey thinks looks great on you. You think, so what if it's a little tight, I feel great when I wear it!  Sorry to tell you.....but if you frequently wear tight clothing , down goes the milk supply.

On a good note, feeling attractive and feeling love gets your oxytocin levels up and releasing. The average pituitary gland contains 6000 mU of oxytocin -- only 50 mU are necessary for the milk ejection reflex. After breastfeeding has been well-established, the first release is within a minute of sucking and continuously releases in spurts. It peaks and levels off about every 6 to 10 minutes during a breastfeed. The hormone goes back to baseline levels within six minutes after nipple stimulation has stopped.

Low thyroid and stress are huge factors in lack of good supply, or slow letdown, too.
Enough of the negative... enjoy your  breastfeeding experience by taking specific herbs to help production, when needed, and eat the right foods, stay away from foods and beverages that inhibit the lactation process, wear comfortable clothing, and have a lifestyle with your family that increases your oxytocin! 

So, say you're plugging along with feeding just like Debbie says, and then one night you wake up with cold sweats, you're feverish and achy and your breasts are red and oh so tender. We've got an answer for that too. If you spend any time on the Bella Vie Family Facebook Page then you've probably seen mention of it before, but here it is again: "Lenore's Doorknob Technique!" Not only can it cure a breast infection without antibiotics, but it has also been shown to prevent them if it is begun at the first sign of infection. Click and save this handout for future reference!
Without further ado...
Let's welcome our newest midwife apprentice, Joanne Byrd. Welcome, Joanne!
My name is Joanne, and I began my journey to Midwifery in June of 2013. I had the privilege of apprenticing with Carol Severson for part of my training, and am now looking forward to learning from the Bella Vie midwives, as I finish up. I was born in Switzerland and grew up speaking French, as well as English. At age 8, I attended the home birth of my sister, which most likely influenced my decision to become a midwife. I aspire to eventually serve as a midwife in Africa or the Middle East. The miracle of birth never ceases to amaze me and I feel blessed to serve women and their families in this special time of life.
One of our midwives, Lenore Charles, has an announcement! 

Recently I decided upon a rather significant change. I am going to go by my second name instead of my first. I’ve considered this for a long time because my first name has always carried some childhood scars. Over the years, as those marks have continued to heal, their namesake fits me less and less. Recently I took a rather large step – I had my first name legally dropped. Niamh, my second name, is Irish. Traditional Irish names have odd spellings, but it’s simple to pronounce: Neev. I hope you will grow to like it as much as I do. 
Looking for something different to bring a new mom after the birth of her baby? How about oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (that also happen to help with lactation). The following recipe was adapted from the one on

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
(makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder                    
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4-6 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • 4-6 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream coconut oil and sugar, then add egg and vanilla and mix well
  • In a separate bowl combine the flax seed and water and let it sit for a few minutes before adding
  • Add the dry ingredients (except oats and choc chips), add more brewers yeast and flax seed if you are specifically trying to increase supply, and mix well
  • Add oats and choc chips, mix until just combined
  • Drop cookies from a tablespoon onto oiled or lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Enjoy!
  • Nurse your baby!
Bella Vie has introduced two Legislative Bills that benefit Birth Centers and Midwives in Oregon. 

Bella Vie has been so blessed to work with Rep. Jim Weidner on two Legislative Bills. Rep. Weidner even came out to Bella Vie with his staff to see the Birth Center and tour the entire property. It is crucial that the Bills HB-3451 & HB-3456 get support from you. The bills are currently in the House Committee on Healthcare and there is a public hearing for both bills on Wednesday, April 8th at 1p.m. in Hearing Room E at the State Capitol. Having a presence at the hearing would be the most effective and bringing testimony for both bills is needed. Testimony sounds like a challenging word, but it really is a letter to the committee on why each bill is needed for Birth Centers and Midwives in Oregon. Those who attend the hearing will have an opportunity to present their testimony or they can hand it in to be read later, by the members of the committee. Testimony can be emailed into the Committee or you can email it to Bella Vie ( and we will print it off and take the testimony with us to the hearing, if you are unable to make it. If you are willing to be at the hearing to support Bella Vie, we would be so grateful. Children are welcome. If you cannot make it to the hearing to show support, please consider writing a letter.  Below is an explanation of each bill. We will post an event on Facebook for the hearing and please post communication and questions there. We need your support to make this happen and for the Legislators to understand why these bills are key to Midwifery and Birth Centers in Oregon. 

HB-3451: This bill requires the Oregon Health Authority to reimburse Birth Centers based on a median cost of all Birthing Centers. HB-3451 is a crucial bill to ensure that Birth Centers are being reimbursed fairly for what it costs to provide care to women on the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Currently, Birth Centers in Oregon are not being reimbursed fairly for the postpartum (facility) stays they provide for women on OHP. This is cost prohibitive for all Birth Centers and needs to change to ensure that women on OHP can have access to care. Women on the Oregon Health Plan need access to Out of Hospital Birth and Birth Centers need to be paid more than $600 for postpartum stays.

HB-3456: This bill requires insurance to reimburse care provided by a Licensed Direct Entry Midwife (LDM) if the care would be reimbursed if provided by licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner in hospital setting. HB-3456 is a bill that would positively effect Birth Centers in Oregon and would ensure that LDMs could be reimbursed for the care they provide. At Bella Vie, we employ Licensed Direct Entry Midwives (Meredith Klein & Desiree LeFave) & a Certified Nurse Midwife (Lenore Charles). LDMs are not recognized by some insurance companies and by some Oregon Health Plan Managed Care Organizations. According to the Affordable Care Act, which became active in 2011, insurance companies are supposed to be reimbursing care provided by LDMs. This bill would make it law for LDMs to be reimbursed by insurance companies.

Please help us change this by writing in or coming to the hearing next Wednesday, April 8th. 

Visit our Facebook page for more information and guidance on letter writing, etc. You are welcome to email us at with questions and copies of your letter. We need your support to get these bills out of Committee and on their way to becoming law in the State of Oregon. 

Upcoming Events at Bella Vie!

Saturday, April 11th at 3pm - Birth Story Circle, Dad's Welcome (free!)
Saturday, April 18th at 2pm - Movie Screening: "Microbirth" (free!)
 (for more information

Saturday, April 25 and Saturday May 2 - Natural Childbirth Preparation Series
 (visit Starlight Yoga and Birth Services on facebook for more information)

Look forward to seeing you there!
Visit us online at for more information, and send your friends!
Copyright © 2015 Bella Vie Gentle Birth Center, All rights reserved.
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