Sunday, August 24, 2014

You're A Good, No Make That Great, Mom!

Not sure who I can attribute this piece to since it's been doing the rounds on social media without any citation as such but it fits my mantra and the theme of this blog so well, I couldn't pass up the chance to share! Here's to moms everywhere! (If anyone does know where it originated from, please do let me know!)

To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.
To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.
To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.
To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.
To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.
To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.
To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.
To the mom who gave her kids a home cooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.
To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.
To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.

Be the voice of encouragement!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Outstanding Oil of Oregano

I've always been one to keep my word :-) In my last post, I mentioned that I had a lot to share since my pregnancy with baby K and that includes some new and rediscovered 'tools' of the (holistic) trade I've picked up in my time away.

We had a bout of the sniffles in the house a couple of months after K was born and in true chicken and egg style, everyone just kept reinfecting everyone else. Don't you just love when that happens? K went through a few weeks of alternating between a runny and a blocked nose and although he didn't have fever thankfully, he was uncomfortable enough for me to drop everything else and focus on fixing it (Cue Frozen's "Fixer Upper"). The issue with an infant is that you can't really use many of the remedies I listed in my My First Aid Box post and even though you could technically take huge doses of Vitamin C, Echinacea, garlic or GSE when you're breastfeeding, you can't help but wonder what that will do their little, fragile tummies. Sigh.

So there I was, yet again, on a journey to find something that would be gentle yet effective. Enter Oil of Oregano. Hmm not a new remedy to me by any means. I had taken it internally a few times during a stubborn case of sore throat some years ago. I had also used it on R & Z externally when they were sick with a similarly stubborn case of flu. I even mentioned it in an old post as a go-to for very stubborn infections!! I hadn't ever used it when R & Z were babies however and when we got hit by this latest viral attack, I was desperate. One option would have been to take the Oregano myself; since I was breastfeeding, baby could reap its benefits via me. As I said above though, there was still an indirect effect on his tummy to consider PLUS (and probably more importantly) Oregano can decrease milk supply. Well that effectively killed the idea. Who would have thunk it? So upon doing some research and reading through my various books at home, I came to the conclusion that the oil can be quite effective when applied to the skin. Of course infants are still very sensitive in the early stages of life and so all you really need is 1 drop massaged onto the soles of each foot or 1 drop massaged down the spine. Both sites are good choices as they absorb the oils effectively and the soles, in particular, enable the oil to enter the bloodstream quicker. Remember that all pure essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil e.g. almond, sunflower oil. Use a ratio of 1 drop to a tablespoon of oil. Or you can buy a pre-mixed oil like the one I recommend in my Where to Buy section. It took 2 days of doing this continuously to see a vast improvement in K's demeanour (yes with a u!). No more waking from sleep screaming due to a blocked nose=more sleep for me. Yay!

So, why does it work?

The oil is distilled from the flowers and leaves of the Oregano plant and contains a compound called Carvacrol. Carvacrol has the ability to arrest the growth of bacteria and other pathogens which makes it invaluable in both the prevention and cure of infections. This compound can also be found in Thyme which is why it is one of my favourite oils for chest infections.

A recurring theme in my past musings has been "prevention is better than cure" and I would be remiss if I didn't point out that incorporating this oil into your regular routine with baby or your older children can do wonders in warding off the nasties, especially during the winter. Happy to say that since I started this regimen, K hasn't had a single cold despite being in close proximity to flu-ridden hubby!

"So he's a bit of a fixer-upper,
But we know what to do
The way to fix up this fixer-upper
Is to fix him up with Oil of Oreganoo!"


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Three's A (Hazelwood) Charm

So, the cat's out of the bag. We had Baby # 3. Yes, that explains why 2013 (and half of 2014) was essentially non-existent as far as blog posts go. I had a pretty crappy first few months with every first trimester symptom you can think of! Nausea, dehydration, fatigue, anemia (which probably caused the fatigue) - you name it, I had it!! Didn't make for a perfect pregnancy story but then who needs perfect, right?

Baby K was born on 17th February after a speedy delivery that left me rather reeling! I had what is called "prodromal labour" {oh my goodness, I spelled labour without the u to begin with, nooo} for a few days prior; those lucky few who have experienced this know that it is probably one of the most frustrating things ever!! It is really just another term for early labour - as a student of English Literature it is my duty to let you know that it is derived from the Greek word "prodomos" which means the forerunner to an event. Prodromal labour can go on for a few weeks (yes you heard me) and in my case it went on for an excruciating week of constantly thinking "this is it" and then falling asleep and waking up and saying "oh guess it wasn't!". The good news though - there's always a silver lining - is that actual labour didn't last long at all and I did most of the heavy lifting in that week prior to K's arrival, at home and in my PJs, eating and drinking when I liked. I would take that over labouring for hours in the hospital any day.

My delivery was quick and painful and I forgot my main mantra during labour - stay relaxed! I panicked and that didn't help. I know it's hard to remember with all that's going on during this time but please, please try to remind yourself that keeping calm is so very important! Despite having my Rescue Remedy and my birthing homeopathy kit (Aconite would have been a good remedy in my condition) in my hospital bag, I threw all my Naturallysta-ism out the window and fell victim to good ol' fashioned distress. Ugh!

Still, here I am almost 6 months later with a happy (well, most of the time) baby who is a source of much joy in my life. I truly love him. Yes I know that sounds silly. D-UH I hear you say. Seriously though, I cannot put into words how much this little being already means to me.

I have much to write about and much to share and hopefully, baby K will give me some respite so that I may pen it all down. For now though, to make up somewhat for my absence recently, I do want to share a new discovery that I am bowled over by. Drum roll, please:


Hazelwood is an 'alkaline wood' i.e. one that has the natural property of absorbing and neutralizing acid via direct contact with the skin. The wood comes from a shrub that is native to Quebec, Canada and for those of you who are interested in Botany, here is a Wikipedia link that gives some more detail. Back to why I love it though - given its alkalizing ability, conditions that result from acidosis in the body can benefit from one wearing the wood. A list of such conditions, I hear you ask? Here are but a few:

-- Joint pain inc. arthritis and osteoporosis
-- Acid reflux/heartburn/digestive issues
-- Diabetes
-- Weight issues
-- Low energy/chronic fatigue
-- Allergies
-- Eczema/acne
-- Teething!!!!!!

Oh this was a Naturallysta mission just waiting to happen! Imagine my glee upon discovery!

Happy to report that since wearing the necklace (you can put it on baby's ankle during nap and at night for safety), K has been drooling less and sleeping better! Not really placebo when there is a marked difference in nap duration (30m vs 2h), eh? The necklace that I bought also had Baltic amber beads in it which are reported to have analgesic qualities that can help ease teething pain as well. You can buy Hazelwood necklaces on Amazon and if you're breastfeeding, consider getting one for yourself too since any hyper acidity in your body is likely contributing to baby's (tell tale signs: sour stools, raw bottom after stool, red rash around baby's mouth because of drool).

'Wood'ja try it?