Can you smell it?

Fragrance. Such a seemingly innocent word, yet, when you look at a product on any store shelf in the cleaning or cosmetic isle, you’ll see this dangerous word too often. This word which is protected by the government to conceal trade secrets can be a combination of any of the 3000 chemicals found within. Typically, the most popular products contain up to 14 unlisted chemicals on the package. 80 percent of the chemicals used in our country haven’t even been tested for safety.

And don’t fall for the unscented or scent free advertising trick. Most of these still contain fragrances and they add in a chemical to trick our brain to not detect the scent. Reading labels isn’t just for food products.

I’ve taken notice more recently because of our new addition to our family. I’ve always had an issue with certain perfumes, which would always lead to a cold. Having kids though, I’m even more attuned to people wearing perfumes/colognes. The chemicals that make up a lot of products scent are much more dangerous for little ones because they breath a lot more than we do and their undeveloped detoxifying organs have a hard time keeping up, especially if exposure is frequent.

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So when you look at a product at a store, know that you are bringing in a ticking time bomb for possible side effects like increased allergies, organ toxicity, organ failure, dermatitis, cancer, reproductive damage, diabetes and more.

For me, I make my own products like deodorant and I found a company who makes shampoo from plants called Tate’s. I add in essential oils from a company I trust (Young Living) and use that as my perfume and instead of harming my body I’m working with it by using therapeutic plant oils.

Here’s my challenge to you. Go through your household and look at each product to find if fragrance is listed on the back. If it is get it out of your home to protect you and your family. Placing these toxic chemicals on the largest organ of your body isn’t worth it. To find new products, I like to check their safety on EWG website, http://www.ewg.org.

Resources:
http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/fragrance-and-parfum/

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/02/toxic-chemicals-fragrance-cosmetics-safety/

http://www.nontoxicrevolution.org/blog/super-easy-3-ingredient-diy-deodorant

https://www.webmd.com/children/normal-breathing-rates-for-children

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Just take it all in

This week, I wanted to write about my toddler. She became a big sister a month ago and I’ve been excited for a long time to see her in this role. She absolutely loves her little brother and has been so helpful and supportive during this time. I don’t expect her to help out she just volunteers.
We waited to have our second baby and I’m glad we did because she understands that we have to devote time to her brother now and she knows we love her and her brother the same. Don’t get me wrong, she’s had some tough days with this big transition, but all in all she’s doing amazing.
I can’t believe she is already 4 in a few days! After having another baby, it really brought back the memories of my postpartum time and all of the time we have had together as an only child.
It really hammers in the importance of slowing down when you have kids. Even now, I catch myself saying to her, “not now I have to finish doing this.” Which is usually cleaning in some fashion. I wish I was better at saying screw it. The dishes will get done eventually and just play with her. I definitely have days when I’m better and there are days when the kitchen, mainly, is driving me nuts and I have to get it cleaned before it stresses me out. I think being aware of it helps. So here are some ways I’m slowing down and living more in the now for my family.

IMG_06911. Receiving more help from friends and family. Our family recently got the lingering cold that has made its rounds in the area I live so I haven’t been asking for as much help because I don’t want to expose anyone to this. I did have a friend make me some elderberry syrup for us at her home.
2. I’m making more time for self-care because if I’m not taken care of my whole family suffers. Lately, this has been a lot of essential oil baths and going to bed early and eating nice clothes on occasion compared to my tank top and sweats.
3. Putting down the phone more. I’ve gotten into the habit again of being on Facebook and being aware of this I’m able to step back more. This has allowed me to take in the quiet time around my house and appreciate when my toddler is playing. It’s so fun to watch her play and watching my baby make random faces.
4. Ditching the chores to play and laugh with my daughter and just relax and hold my newborn while trying to balance time for both.
5. Breathing and meditating. One of my friends recommended listening to yoga nidra which has really helped me get some more rest. Here’s one of my favorites. http://www.yoganidranetwork.org/mp3/magali
6. When I do cook, it’s been in bigger quantities to make sure we don’t have to cook as often.
Kids aren’t little for long so remember to soak up all the time you have with them but remember to take care of yourself too.

I’m so proud of the little girl my daughter has become and I’m excited to see what will come for her in the future and for our little boy, as well.

This mamas lid was about to blow… plus energy bars recipe

I’m 3 weeks postpartum and man it’s been a doozy! First, baby freaked out the pediatrician because of the amount of weight lost in the first 24 hours, which led to long nights of pumping and syringe feedings. Then, my little brother visited and my husband got sick. Shortly after baby got sick, which I blame on syringe feeding and then I got sick!

I feel like when a momma strictly breastfeeds we are expected to have the baby attached to our hip for the first few months because they eat so frequently. Yesterday was a nightmare though and I am now thinking differently.

My help didn’t show up two days in a row and with my cold, I felt like a garbage truck took a dump on me and ran me over multiple times on top of being exhausted. I planned on taking a bath and nap once my help got here, but since that didn’t happen I got to hang out with a sick, but happy sleeping baby and a tantruming, violent toddler.

Other than the few days that we were syringe feeding the baby, I have been up every 45minutes to 3 hours nursing, burping, changing diapers, and then possibly nursing and burping again before I fell back asleep. Which is fine because my husband is back at work and he needs sleep and he helps with our toddler.

My husband tends to stay up until 10-11pm so I decided to hand over the baby and toddler, while I went to bed at 630 last night. I had a bath before we ate dinner and then I fed baby and went to bed. I woke up about an hour later to go to the bathroom and shortly after baby was hungry. I fed him and when I tried to set him down next to me to sleep he woke up shortly after. Usually we cuddle but I sweated out from my cold that I didn’t want him to get too warm. So hubby took baby again and dealt with irritable toddler until 1130 when he was ready to nurse again.

WOW! I feel like a million bucks compared to the day before! I’m still sick, but I’m not emotional and exhausted.

From here on I’m going to hand off baby to my husband so I can get more sleep for a while. Just because I breastfeed doesn’t and should mean I have to sacrifice so much sleep. I have a wonderful husband that will help. I just need to ask. Also, since nursing is going so well, I was told that we can start bottle feeding at 4 weeks, which is next week! This means I can get around one night feeding for a longer stretch of sleep than I’m used to! No more 2 or 3 hour stretch! I might be able to get a 4 or 5 hours in a row if I go to sleep early enough!

Energy Bars
1 c gluten free rolled oats
1/3 c coconut pecan butter (see below)
1/2 c cacao nibs
1/2 c ground flax seed
1/3 cup honey or brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of salt

Mix everything together and press into 8×8 glass dish. Place in refrigerator until set. Cut into desired size squares. Store in fridge.

For coconut pecan butter place 1/2 c shredded coconut into food processor. Run on high until smooth consistency. You’ll have to scrap the sides a few times. Next add 1 cup pecans and run until smooth, scraping down the sides if needed.IMG_0702

The Beauty of Breastfeeding

My first baby nursed like a champ shortly after her delivery. I was stoked at how easy it came to us! Then a few days in, the pain I experienced was awful! Thankfully, I was able to get help right away and my midwife and doula noticed that the latch wasn’t quite right and that she wasn’t opening her mouth wide enough before latching on so she was actually sliding the nipple into her mouth which was causing the horrible pain and sores. After that was determined, we had an amazing nursing experience. My goal was to nurse until she was ready to be done, also called baby-led weaning. There are so many benefits for nursing past the first year and I was determined to be that mama for my daughter.

After about 2 years, I was getting to the point where I was done, or so I thought. I tried to encourage weaning and realized I wasn’t really done yet. I got very emotional every time my little wanted to nurse and I tried to explain she could have something else to drink. She didn’t like this response and it caused her to become very emotional which just made it harder for me to be okay with quitting. That didn’t last long before she was back to nursing randomly throughout the day for short periods of time, by this time we had long said good-bye to night nursing so that was a plus. Mornings were the regular times to nurse and soon, just about 3 months later, she stopped asking for it. I was a little sad, but definitely ready then. A few months after, she again asked for nursing and I explained to her that it was all gone. Thankfully, she was old enough to comprehend this and was a little bummed, but understood.

The bond that we had then and still have, I know was partly due to our nursing relationship. Being able to give your baby this amazing gift is so special. I am so grateful that I was able to do so and also, that I had the support and encouragement to keep going when the days weren’t so easy. Breastfeeding isn’t rainbows and butterflies all of the time, heck no part of parenting is. The point is, if nursing is something that you are determined to do, don’t give up when it gets hard! Get help right away if you’re feeling like things aren’t working well and if for some reason you can’t continue, don’t beat yourself up about it! Give yourself some grace and know that you did everything you could. Or if nursing was never something you wanted to do, that’s okay too. The big thing to remember is, you’re the mom and you need to do what is best for you and your baby. Critics and even close family and friends sometimes like to lend a “helping” ear/hand and say things that aren’t helpful and can lead to you not listening to your mama intuition, which can be traumatic. Find some people who will lift you up and help you with meeting your mama expectations and goals, not anyone else’s. If you need help finding someone or a group, please let me know! There are so many resources and groups forming on Facebook or Meet-up, I know that you can find your circle!

Then, our second baby was born (two weeks ago) and he weighed in at 5# 8oz. and wasn’t warm enough and had a hard time regulating his temperature. This caused him to lose 8 ounces in his first 24 hours Earth side. His pediatrician was concerned he would lose anymore weight because it could cause him to throw his sodium and sugar levels. If this happened it could cause seizures according to the doctor. So we were told to supplement with nasty formula and feed him by a tiny syringe until he started gaining weight. The next few nights were awful as I was pumping to feed him every three hours and my husband and I were taking shifts to feed him. It too him a week to gain 2 ounces, and man were we grateful to hear that I could start nursing him. I’m still not getting much sleep, but my little guy is getting exactly what he needs and I will get sleep eventually. It’s a sacrifice I’m happy to pay, especially since I know what bottle feeding looks like and it’s a lot more work. So we nurse on!

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The syringe that we used to feed baby for a few days  

My experience with my second baby has definitely made me grateful that I am able to nurse him. I had such an amazing and relatively easy nursing experience with my first kiddo so my heart goes out to mamas who planned on nursing and it just didn’t work out for some reason. Just know, there is hope if you are determined to nurse! Help is out there if you need it!

If for some reason, you’re having problems with nursing, please contact an IBCLC (International Breastfeeding Certified Lactation Consultant) if you’d like to continue your breastfeeding experience. Click here for other benefits of breastfeeding for mama and baby.

Not sure if breastfeeding is something you will do with your baby? Read some of the benefits below.

How amazing is breast milk for you and your baby? In breast milk, there are things called oligosaccharides which are within the milk which has a big job of feeding one type of bacteria located in the lower digestive tract. These bacteria are called lactobacillus bifidum. This is a probiotic that protects the baby from a myriad of infections and disease. It absolutely is amazing how amazing our bodies are able to support our babes. On top of that amazing benefit the baby’s saliva communicates with the mother during each nursing session which tells the mother’s body exactly what baby needs at that time of the feeding. These are two things that you can’t get from formula feeding.

My circle of loves is vast and strong

I’m continually surprised at all the love and support we receive from family and friends. I don’t know why this surprises me, but I am so grateful for each and everyone in my circle! Last weekend, my mom and sister organized a baby shower for me. I wasn’t expecting much since this is our second and last baby. We had such a great turn out and were spoiled with gifts for this little guy who is due in just a little less than two weeks. My husband is convinced that he will make his appearance on Labor Day, which I’m hoping doesn’t happen since our photographer/videographer, his mom, is supposed to be visiting friends across the state for the weekend.

At the baby shower, we did what is called a bead ceremony and a few games. The bead ceremony is when each guest brings a bead and a blessing or words of encouragement to help during labor. Traditionally, it’s a women only event, but I was lucky enough to have a few male friends there as well. After you collect all of the beads you can use them to make them into a bracelet or a necklace and use that as a focal point during birth. I decided I would wait to read the blessings/words of encouragement at the birth and leave them a surprise for now. My lovely sister, who was at my first birth of my daughter, told me hers and her mom told me hers as well, but the rest I’m leaving a surprise.

I’m not really nervous for the birth at all, I just thought having something different for a baby shower that my mom insisted on throwing for me would be fun. Having the special beads makes for a beautiful keepsake and it inspired my toddler to get creative and improve her eye-hand coordination by making a bracelet of her own.

Have you ever been to a bead ceremony? Or another non-traditional baby shower? Tell me your thoughts and experiences!

 

The importance of postpartum care

Last week I was able to attend a postpartum doula training with a group of lovely ladies! What is a postpartum doula, you may be wondering? Well, first, let me tell you about the postpartum period and how other cultures around the world treat this precious time.

Postpartum is the time after a baby is born up to about 6 weeks. This crucial time when a mother and their new baby, or babies, learn more about each other and both rest and heal as much as possible. Now in our society the postpartum mom is typically left to fend on their own doing daily activities that they had to do before baby arrived and on top of that learn how to take care of this new little person, while trying to heal from the birth process. Women in many different cultures and countries are known to care for moms starting the day baby is born up to 21-40 days. This time allows the mom to bond with the baby and gives her the time to heal and get the nursing relationship down (if mom plan is to breastfeed) before anything else. Plus, these women that come into her home (usually mothers, aunts, grandmothers) make healing foods and take care of the housework so the new mama doesn’t have to deal with this stress like our Western culture does. How amazing does that sound?!

I previously took a labor doula training (about 8 or 9 years ago) because I am super passionate about helping new mothers or those who have had a baby(s) already. Unfortunately, I am not able to be on call, I am very particular on a day shift job and struggle with being on call and/or missing out on family events. I have been wanting to take a postpartum doula training for quite a while now (probably 7 years or so) but all trainings were never near the area I live so when I found out, only a week before, that a training was coming to town, I was so excited!

I talked with my husband and with his support (Gosh I love him for so many things and his support for me has always been up there) I signed up. Unfortunately, I misread the dates and after I signed up I noticed that we had a family day planned to catch a free train ride on one of the days of the training. I wasn’t able to cancel my training because I was the reason the training could happen. We needed at least 4 trainees and I was number 4. So I cried a little (lovely mama hormones and like I said above, I don’t like missing family events) and then I went to the training. Yes, I’m a little bummed I missed out on family day still, but I had such an amazing time learning about how I will be able to support the postpartum moms in the area I live in. Postpartum support is so necessary and I know I will be an asset to the mothers and families that I will be serving! Not sure if postpartum support is needed? Look at the huge benefits!

Benefits of a postpartum doula/support:

  1. Increased bonding between mom and baby
  2. Decreased risk of postpartum mood disorders
  3. Increased confidence in parenting choices for both mom and spouse/partner
  4. Increased success rate and longevity of breastfeeding
  5. Increased ability for resting/healing

I remember shortly after I gave birth to my first baby, I started doing too much around the house and neglected sleep and I still regret it. For this, I am changing my tune this time around and I plan on resting more and getting help from those around me!

Are you pregnant and needing postpartum help? I’d love to discuss this with you!

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Resources:
http://www.ravishly.com/2015/08/18/postpartum-practices-worldwide-how-world-takes-care-moms-and-babies

http://www.parenting.com/blogs/show-and-tell/desiree-parentingcom/postpartum-traditions-around-world

http://www.uppitysciencechick.com/how_other_cultures.pdf

Happy Anniversary to me (plus, vegan sausage recipe)

Last week, I celebrated my 8th wedding anniversary to my wonderful husband. It’s incredible to think I’ve been married for almost a decade! It sure isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but all and all, he is my cheese to my macaroni and I couldn’t imagine my life with some other person by my side. He loves me for who I am with all my baggage and flaws and he supports me whenever I have a new idea about nutrition or parenting or anything, really. I couldn’t have been more blessed when it comes to my spouse!

Typically, we rotate taking on the responsibility of planning the annual events for our anniversary. This year was my turn. I struggled to decide what to do. I really wanted to go into the hills for a romantic getaway, either the family cabin or a bed and breakfast, but being at the end of my pregnancy I decided we probably should keep it in town and on a low budget since I have no paid time off after the baby is born and am still planning on taking 12 weeks off work.

I Googled some ideas on the internet and looked on Pinterest, but nothing in particular stood out. So day of, I came up with some ideas and here is rough idea of what our lovely 24 hours looked like.

Breakfast: My husband made some gluten-free, vegan cinnamon rolls for the family, which turned out more like doughnuts, but we really liked them.
9ish: He drove our little one to his parents for the night, while I got some groceries for the week.
10ish: Met back up with my hubby and gave him my gift, which was 6 pieces of paper. On each, I wrote out two choices he had to pick from to decide what our day would look like. Example: Going Frolfing or Geocaching
11ish: We walked downtown and he found a geocache and then he decided he’d rather wander downtown and window shop. We ended up buying a birthday present for my little one who will turn 4 soon… CRAZY how time flies!
12ish: We ate a peaceful lunch at a Mexican spot and met a friendly crow who was very interested in our food.
1ish: We played video games for a little bit and then watched a movie on our couch.
5ish: One game of Phase 10… I won by the way…
6ish: My husband started dinner for us
7ish: Ate a delicious dinner of homemade sweet potato fries and veggie burgers with a fresh garden salad
8ish: We ran over on dinner, so instead of following the plan of going to improve, we watched Nick Offerman’s Standup on Netflix… hilarious!
10ish: Went to bed
I woke up early the next morning and made some awesome vegan sausage and whipped up some pancakes for breakfast!
Around 10, my mother in law met us at a park to take some family pictures and then some play time in the park for our little one.

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It was such a great time being able to focus on my husband and me. We don’t get this often, but when we do it is cherished and very appreciated. It’s so important to make alone time with your spouse, especially when you have kids. Just having an uninterrupted conversation was nice, but we were able to reconnect again, which is so important. So here’s to the beginning of another beautiful year with my love!

 

Move, baby, move! Recipe for Mouthwatering Vegan Lassagna

When I was pregnant with my first baby, my midwife made me make sure baby’s head was down by 30 weeks. With the help of Spinning babies, she moved into position by 28 weeks. This time around little ones head was down during this same time and then, like babies do, he moved into an uncomfortable transverse position (head to my right with the butt on the left) at 33 weeks! My new midwife didn’t seem concerned but had me start the spinning babies exercises and recommended chiropractic adjustments (has success rate of 82%) to help baby move down. Lucky for me, I have an amazing chiropractor, Dr. Sheila Schielke! After a few weeks of spinning babies, YL peppermint essential oil on the top of my belly, and two adjustments baby has moved down! Not only am I excited that he is in a great position for birth, since amniotic fluid tends to decrease in production leaving less room for a big movement, but I am a lot more comfortable!!

If baby didn’t move down soon there were some other options that have great success, which I was about to do and would highly prefer over a version. A version is a procedure done in an OB clinic and a baby is moved into position outside of the belly, but has an only 58% success rate. I’ve heard they are very painful and sometimes don’t work. However, there are some more gentle ways of turning baby, like I mentioned above along with acupuncture (81% success rate), daily activities recommended by spinning babies, massage (therapeutic or maya), homeopathy, moxibustion, and hypnosis.

The great thing about these techniques, is that you can continue to do them to ensure that baby stays in the optimal position for birth, without fear of baby flipping back to breech. It’s recommended to do so to make a more comfortable birth for both you and baby. I have been keeping up with walking and will restart the forward inversion exercise and keep on top of my chiropractic adjustments.

My family went crazy for this Vegan Lasagna I made a week back. Hope you enjoy!

 

Don’t give in when it comes to your baby or your body

In my community, it is difficult to find a pediatrician that is on the same page with my parenting philosophies and beliefs, so getting pregnant again, I knew I would need to start looking for someone who would be open to the decisions that I believe are best for my family.

When my toddler was a newborn, we took her to a facility that I had heard was relatively open so we gave it a shot. We only went a few times before we decided to stop taking her there. Every time we went in the physician tried to guilt trip us into doing something we weren’t comfortable with. I don’t know about how many of you are parents, but I feel like I get enough guilt about other parenting aspects, I don’t need to hear false information from someone who obviously hasn’t done the research on both spectrums of what they preach.

My midwife, urged me to find a new pediatrician before I reached 36 weeks into my pregnancy and gave me a few recommendations. Both are out of town between 40-50 miles away, but if they are going to support me and my family as best as possible with our beliefs in mind, then I will go the distance!

I met with a doctor on Monday and right out of the gate… LOVE her! She is on board with all of the big decisions and also very caring and honest! Not only am excited that my newborn will be in safe hands, I can confidently start taking my daughter to her, as well.

Being that I work at a hospital, I know how important it is to do your own research and to not be bullied into something that you don’t feel comfortable with about your own body or those you love. It’s sooo important to be your own advocate, or one for a loved one, especially in a medical setting. Never okay something you haven’t done the research on, on both sides before making a decision. You’re the one who will have to take care of the baby if something goes wrong in either decision that you make so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Have you ever had a hard time with a doctor and not giving you choices?

Here is a link to provide you with questions to ask a potential pediatrician for your family.

Going vegan is delicious and nutritious! With our favorite 7 amazing recipes so far

It’s been almost 3 weeks since I gave up meat again and have been really impressed with all of the amazing food my husband and I have been making. I’m super proud of his commitment and a little shocked every time I hear him say that he doesn’t miss meat. My little one is having a harder time adjusting to our faux meat meals. She loves beans, but like here mama, she is very sensitive to the texture of her foods. My mom, who is living with us, is mostly on board with going vegan, but she isn’t home for dinners most nights because of her work schedule and she gets all of our leftovers. Even she, a carnivore at heart, has been impressed with our meals as well and said it’s not difficult going vegan when we are the ones cooking. To make it easy on anyone else who might be interested in either eating less meat or going all out vegan, here are our top 6 favorite meat to vegan recipes that we have really enjoyed. I hope you do too!

From Meat to Vegan Meals:
1. Pulled BBQ Tacos

2. “Fish” Sticks

3.  7 Layer Taco Dip

4. Breakfast Skillet with “Bacon”

5. Chickpea Nuggets

6. Burgers

By far, the Pulled BBQ tacos have been the most favorite recipe in my family so far. For the BBQ “pork” the recipe calls for jackfruit. This looks and tastes just like it’s fleshy counterpart! I’ll be using jackfruit more in other recipes to come, for sure! Not only does the taste and texture match up to pulled pork, jackfruit is jam packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and even has some protein!

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/jackfruit.html