Dear Healthcare System, Moms with Depression Need You

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Last week, there were two celebrity deaths related to suicide, both possibly linked to depression, one of which has personally left me quite stunned.

The world lost a colorful fashion designer by the name of Kate Spade.

She impacted young women like myself, who she gifted a sense of confidence when they sported a piece of her artwork over their shoulders. Her vibrant handbags and accessories always had a cheerful quality to them, which seemed to be a representation of this iconic woman’s personality.

This was a person who appeared to exude happiness through her products and it is a heartbreaking reminder that someone with a seemingly successful career, marriage and parenthood could be suffering enough to take her own life.

It’s a reminder of the harsh reality that depression spares nobody. There isn’t a “type” of person who is impacted. It can happen to anyone.

Depression is a common and serious illness.

A study conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) back in 2012 shows that 1 out of 10 women in the USA experience signs of depression. That statistic is even higher at 1 out of 9 women, when focusing only on postpartum depression. That is nearly 14 million adult women.

Just let that sink in for a moment. 14 million.

That statistic jumps to an outrageous 1 out of 5 women in certain states across our nation. It is almost hard to believe as high as 20% of new moms experience postpartum depression, depending on where they reside.

As a mom of young children and being around many women who are also in this season of life sprinkled with hormone changes, massive shifts in responsibilities, and a lifestyle overhaul, I have seen and witnessed what depression can do. During a time that is supposed to be joyful and fulfilling, this new mom is left feeling anxious, sad and guilty.

I can admit that there were times when the responsibility of a new baby and the pressure to juggle just about everything else was absolutely overwhelming.  The highs brought joy that was unmatched, but the lows were extremely depleting. It was easy to become filled with despair.

Postpartum depression isn’t talked about nearly as enough and as openly as it should.

Then there are times when brave moms confide in a medical professional for help and are left mortified and scared.

I read an article earlier this year about a woman in Sacramento, CA and her devastating routine postpartum visit with her OB-GYN. Her 4 month-old baby joined her on this appointment when she told the nurse practitioner that she was having symptoms of postpartum depression, including bouts of anger. She wanted to understand her treatment options.

What happens next is shocking.

Instead of offering her a mental health assessment or referring her to a mental wellness practitioner—basically, providing any kind of constructive help– the office called the cops on her.

Her belongings were confiscated and she was treated like a criminal.

This is someone who was asking for help. She was raising the white flag to her medical team. She was humiliated and was most likely discouraged to ever speak up again.

Although I hope that this type of circumstance is rare. It happens. And it’s a disservice and shame to a population—moms– that quite often get neglected by our healthcare system and infrastructure.

This just can’t happen anymore.

We tell moms to ask for help, but then we fail them. We tell them to talk to someone, but then we hear stories like this. We tell them it will get better, but sometimes it just takes too long.

If you know someone that is suffering from depression, please encourage them to keep talking about it and get the help they need. If they are not getting the treatment and results they desire, encourage them to try something different. Don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged. Our system can only get better from here and we need you to keep raising that flag. These women make our world a kinder, more beautiful place.

We need them. And they need us.

I only wish that Kate Spade was able to get the help she needed. The world definitely lost someone special and my love and thoughts go out to her family.

 

There are resources out there. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone close to you appears to have signs of suicide.

For more information regarding the references to the CDC and the incident earlier this year, visit:

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/index.htm

https://slate.com/technology/2018/01/when-she-asked-for-help-for-postpartum-depression-the-nurse-called-the-cops.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Secrets for New Moms to Survive & Enjoy Newborn Life

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The reality is, there is absolutely no solution to avoiding an emotional meltdown at some point after you’ve popped out your warm, cuddly little angel baby.

Whether it happens moments after you’ve squeezed out this giant watermelon from your body or a few months later when you’re covered in turd the color of mustard (or what they are now calling Gen Z Yellow), that meltdown is coming.

And you will inevitably then feel “mom guilt”.

You will question your mental stability. You will question how this tiny 8 pound creature who doesn’t do anything but eat, sleep, and poop could possibly be the cause for you to be one straw away from going bat crap crazy.  As if you’re watching a movie on Netflix (remember those?), you see yourself beginning to unhinge, but somehow you just can’t grab the remote control quick enough to turn it off.

The good news?

You are still human despite feeling like a drunk sloth. A human that loves her child dearly and is adapting to this new role of putting somebody else first. Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day.

More good news?

There are ways to minimize these meltdowns and work through your emotions to build a positive experience for you and your family the way you, once upon a time, pictured it in your head before you actually became a parent.

Here are 7 secrets to surviving and enjoying your baby’s first 3 months of life at home. It’s possible, I promise. I am living, breathing proof. I have played the star role in this tear-jerking movie many of times, which brings me to this conclusion with great conviction:

1. Accept that it’s hard and that it will get harder before it gets easier. Once you fully accept that you’re not doing everything wrong, but that this season of life is actually that difficult, you will be more mentally relaxed to face the challenges. Accept that you will be at times emotionally and physically exhausted. Accept that things will go wrong at times. Accept that you will make mistakes. Accept that you will learn from those mistakes. Accept that you will succeed at being the best darn parent to that sweet, little cherub. Everything takes time.

 Nobody said it will be easy, but it will be worth it. And if they did. They lied.

The forecast is “scattered showers” for the next few months. You might get drenched at times, so just do a little dance and splash around. The reward is little rainbows along the way that will guaranteed, melt your heart.

2. Enlist help. Nobody is expecting you to be a martyr. Eat well. Replenish. You are the Mommy and there is no doubt you will be leading the show. You will be tempted to be the Super Mom that you are in all her glory without giving your body the rest it needs. Your body has housed this absolute miracle and then has undergone intense measures to debut this beauty to the world. Give gratitude to your body by allowing it to heal. Nourish yourself so you can nourish your child. And sometimes that means you need to enlist help.

Find a Mother’s Assistant if you can afford it. Enlist family and friends for some babysitting and meals. Lean on those around you to support you and your family.

 Then take it one step further.

Try to remember who you were just a few weeks before you became a mom. What were your interests and hobbies? What did you do to relax and unwind? What made you happy before you experienced this new form of happiness with your baby?

Find a way to bring that back into your day, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes. Do some yoga stretches if that is what takes you to your happy place. Do you love to sing? Are you an avid reader? Does doing your hair put a bounce in your step?

Allowing yourself to pull from your “old Self” into this new experience of motherhood will be comforting and rejuvenating.

3. Set daily goals and keep them small and achievable. When baby takes over your life, it’s easy to feel like a hot-mess. You know in a past life you were a fully, functioning adult that was able to accomplish more than taking a shower but it’s almost hard to remember her.

Write down goals for the day that are achievable. They can be as simplistic as “Eat a balanced meal”. “Do one load of laundry”. “Make a phonecall to a friend/family member.”

Cross off these goals as you accomplish them. Since you are mommin’ so hard day and night, it will feel satisfying to know that you were able to be productive outside of this new role.

As time goes on, your daily goals can become more detailed or ambitious. The key is to feel accomplished.

As much as you know keeping a tiny human-being alive all day is the most important job in the world, knowing you were able to that and more will feel satisfying.

4. Keep the social outlets open because it’s easy to become isolated. You were probably going to some type of workplace before you had your baby and now you’re on maternity leave or maybe you’ve decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Not only have you just acquired a brand new job with responsibilities far greater than any other job description (i.e. Keep Human Alive…yeah, that’s a big one), but now it’s just you and your baby. As much as that sweet pea’s coos are precious, you are really going to need to hear another human’s voice that sounds more than a little gargle.

Find a mom’s group. Invite a friend over for a playdate. Try to keep a decent spread on the social calendar, despite the temptation to throw in the towel. Your friends and family will lift you and pull you forward.

Does this mean start hosting potlucks every weekend? Oh, heck no.

But keep the communication lines open with family and friends, because this will energize you when the going gets tough. I unexpectedly made a group of SAHM friends once I had my baby and it was the biggest blessing because we were on similar schedules and I had people to talk to throughout the day, even if it was just through text messages.

Also, know that some of your current friends simply may not understand the changes you are going through, and that’s okay. But you do need to find a tribe that can relate and help you recharge. They are out there, you just need to be open to receiving.

5. Take a deep breath. Say I love you. Put your child in a safe place. Walk away for 1 minute. Give yourself a time-out. When you have tried everything- changing a diaper, giving milk, rocking, swaying, playing music, pulling out different toys, running the sound machine, taking a walk outside, singing a song, and whatever else you can think of that would look completely absurd to an onlooker (and you secretly thank God nobody is watching)—it’s time to walk away. Changing sceneries and being in silence may inspire a new solution, so give yourself a time-out. Don’t feel guilty about it. You are doing it to be the best version of yourself for your baby.

When your laptop freezes and you’ve tried every darn key on that keyboard, you finally hold down that power button for a few seconds, and voila—back in business.

Hold down your power button for a minute. It’s okay.

6. Openly communicate with your spouse/partner. At the end of the day, this is your person. When the tensions are high, and the sleep quality is low, the first person to end up in the line of fire is the beloved spouse/partner. When hormones are flailing and your milk jugs are leaking and your husband can’t remember where he put the burp cloths, you can’t help but unleash the dragon. But remember, this man right here is trying to help you and he’s also going through some major changes himself. Let him know how you’re feeling and be direct about how he can support you.

Dads, cut your lady a little slack…she has performed no less than a miracle to deliver this child and now her body is adjusting. It’s called 4th trimester. She needs you in the same way she’s needed you in the last 9 months. Remember those foot rubs you were doling out just a few weeks ago? Keep them coming. You think you’re being helpful by taking the baby for a feeding and doing diaper changes, but remember, your wife needs you too. Ask her how she is doing. Give her some extra hugs. Tell her she’s doing a good job. Communicating and being there for her is just as important as pitching in with your new responsibilities as parents. Trust me, this will go a long, long way.

7. Remind yourself that this is just a phase and it will get better. And no, you don’t have to love every second. Being a new mom is hard. People will tell you to cherish every moment.

 Let’s be real.

Who is thinking to themselves when the baby is incessantly crying when you’ve tried everything under the sun, “Oh man, I’m really going to cherish this right here. Because I’m going to really miss this.

Yeah, nobody.

It’s okay to not cherish every single second of the day. Don’t feel guilty for it. You are human and this doesn’t mean you love your child any less than those “other moms”.

It is however important to have gratitude for the peaceful moments with your baby. To cherish the cuddles, the new little movements and quirks you will discover each new day. To surrender to the deep love you are now experiencing which you didn’t even know existed in the world. And to be open to learn about yourself because you are growing just as quickly as your little baby.

Having gratitude is what will allow you to get through the hard times.

 

There you have it. A laundry list of ways to successfully survive those first few months after you’ve welcomed your newest and cutest family member.

Be kind to yourself. Allow help. Take breaks. Have gratitude. You have got this, my dear. You’re strong like a Mother.

Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression should always be addressed with a trusted healthcare professional. The thoughts and ideas in this article are not meant to be used as medical advice.

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Amazing Face Wash in Your Baby’s Bathroom!

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Happy Monday, Guys!

So, I just got the baby down for his morning nap and the older two are playing with their toys, so I just had to share with you guys a beauty a hack I discovered a week ago.

I completely stumbled on this by accident. I was in the shower and my normal face wash wasn’t in my shower, so I looked around for the next best thing. I saw a bottle of my baby’s Burt’s Bees Shampoo & Wash and thought to myself, “well, that should be gentle enough for the face.”

Oh. Em. Gee.

It is awesome. I’ve been using it on my face ever since! It smells great and it is extremely mild so it leaves my face clean yet not dry. I haven’t had any breakouts or dry patches. And why should it? It’s designed for babies so it makes sense.

It’s literally the best thing ever.

I will mention that I tend to have dry skin and so with my skin type, it works fantastic. I’m not sure if it would be strong enough for those with oily skin but definitely worth a try.

Anyway, I’ve included a photo of my bare face. I’m not wearing any powder or foundation. I took a quick selfie while on a hike in Northern Arizona this past week 🙂

I try to take care of my skin and will test out different things occasionally. I’m picky about what I use on my face and usually use the same few products. Who would have thought I’d be sharing products with my baby boys. Oh, how life is unexpected!

Baby wash for my face was a total surprise. If you try it out, I would love to hear how it works for you. Enjoy!

 

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

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A Walk To Remember

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It was a gorgeous day filled with clear skies and cool breezes.

In Phoenix, a day like this at the end of April is unfamiliar but greeted with much excitement. The skin smiles as it’s kissed by gentle winds and our hearts sing as we mingle with nature.

On days like this, the boys and I jet out the door to spend away our time under the sympathetic rays of the sun.

We coat our bodies with sunscreen, throw on our sneakers, and start the day with a long walk in our gorgeous community. My boys point out the occasional geese soaring above us, the butterflies crossing our path and the planes jetting through the sunny sky.

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Recently on one of our walks, my 4 year old pointed out a milk gallon lurking beneath the oleander bushes. As we continued on our path, we noticed more containers, newspapers, and plastic bags inhabiting our street.

He immediately proclaimed that this trash should have been placed in a dumpster and how terrible it was to see it floating around in our neighborhood. You see, it had only been a week since my son celebrated Earth Day at school and learned the importance of taking care of Mother Earth.

Those wisdoms were fresh on his mind and he felt that we should do something about the unpleasant scene in our neighborhood.

I agreed.

Our children are taught about the importance of taking responsibility to nurture our planet, but in an individualistic culture, sometimes we fail to encourage the collectivism that is needed to impact actual change. Looking out for one another, taking leadership even when we’re not obligated, and yes, sometimes doing something out of our scope simply because “it’s the right thing to do” is what my 4 year old reminded me on that warm yet breezy afternoon.

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With latex gloves protecting our hands and a big garbage bag, off we went to confiscate the litter we had seen on our walk. It only took a few minutes to bag up bottles and newspapers to restore the beautiful landscape on our street.

Once we returned back to our home, we played a game of “recycle or trash?” My son declared each item’s destiny and then with his budding basketball skills, shot them into the appropriate dumpster.

It indeed was a gorgeous day and I like to think Mother Earth smiled a bit brighter that day because of my son.

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My Vegan Diet Changed My Baby

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pizza

The worst feeling in the world is the sense of helplessness you feel when your child is in pain or danger and you can’t fix it in that moment.

I know, because I remember the agonizing hours spent with my son RJ, in those early newborn weeks, when he would cry incessantly and I couldn’t instantly take away the pain.

It was gut-wrenching.

In an attempt to relieve the irritation in his stomach, he would expel the milk he had just ingested  by “spitting-up”. On occasion, we even witnessed projectile vomiting.

Stress and worry consumed me and my husband as we tenaciously tested different ways to comfort him around the clock. Nothing seemed to help very long.

Singing, dancing, loud music, white noise, patting his diaper, gripe water, loosely fitted clothes, rocking, swaying, upright positions, squatting positions.

Nothing.

Sure he found temporary relief from some of these on occasion, but none prevented his pain and crying. We were only reacting to his discomfort. How could we prevent it?

I knew about ‘colic’ but every cell in my body challenged the idea that he would be crying for “absolutely no reason”.

I started to track my food intake to cross-reference adverse reactions in my son after consuming my breast milk. There was a chance his little belly was having a hard time digesting the protein and lactose that he was ingesting from my breast milk and it was worth a shot to give up my much loved cheese, eggs and milk. I had a goal to breastfeed for one year, so I wanted to do everything I could to supply him with this nutrition while keeping him comfortable.

After hours of research, and talking to my son’s pediatrician, I decided to cut out dairy from my diet completely. I was willing to try anything if it meant my baby would feel better.

After about 6 days into my newly vegan diet (it can take several days to a few weeks to completely eliminate dairy from the body), my little guy was a changed man. My darling became the epitome of the term “happy baby”.

The spit-up reduced by 80%. The crying stopped by 90%. The projectile vomiting completely resolved.

Our hearts sang.

I never imagined such a drastic transformation would occur from such a small change like my diet while breastfeeding.

There is not a doubt in my mind that it was the vegan diet that had everything to do with my baby’s transformation. It took some research, perseverance, and patience. It also took educating myself on food impacts to breast milk and educating others along the way to get the support I needed.

 

Here are the top 5 changes I made to successfully convert to a vegan diet until my baby’s stomach matured enough to handle dairy:

  1. Convert to Almond Milk instead of Cow’s Milk. There were several options for cow’s milk replacement such as soy, rice and almond milk. I opted for the almond milk. I have heard that excessive soy intake may interfere with hormones and I don’t like the taste much anyway. I’ve had rice milk in the past but I was more familiar with almond milk. My favorite was Califa Farm’s Unsweetened Almond Milk. I still use it for some of my smoothies. It is delicious.
  2. Skip out on Eggs. This was a bit challenging for me because eggs are my go-to when I want a quick, filling meal that can be prepared within minutes. Instead, I ate more whole wheat pancakes, cereal with almond milk, and toast. Tofu scrambles were great egg replacements once in a while. Avocados became my best friend for a quick and hearty snack.
  3. Stock up on vegan-friendly foods from the grocery store. Again, when hunger strikes, especially after a good breastfeeding sesh, what I really wanted was something quick and healthy. Sprouts Farmer’s Market and Whole Foods had some great options. One of my favorite foods on the vegan diet was Amy’s Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza. It is a cheese-free pizza but it is so phenomenal that I didn’t even miss the cheese. It’s just that good.
  4. Find some local vegan-friendly eateries. With veganism on the rise, it’s fairly easy to find a vegan restaurant if you live in an urban city. Having a favorite vegan restaurant where you can pick up a good meal or even eat out as a family (when you’re ready to take the baby out…phewf!) makes mealtimes enjoyable.
  5. Reintroduce dairy and eggs slowly into your diet. Every 2-3 weeks, I would have a small amount of cheese to test out if his body was ready. It was around 5 months of age when he was able to tolerate small traces of dairy in my breast milk. Eggs had a much stronger effect on him, so I waited until he showed full acceptance of cheese before reintroducing eggs into my diet.

My little man is now 14 months. His favorite foods are cheese and yogurt and he downs these quite happily. He is also now on cow’s whole milk. In case you’re wondering, he didn’t develop any sort of intolerance from my dairy hiatus as some people had warned me. The only side effect we witnessed was a happier, smiley baby.

**I am a mom of two and enjoy sharing my experiences of motherhood with my readers. The information provided on this website, although are researched and backed with personal experience, are presented for inspiration and ideas only. ALWAYS consult a medical professional before introducing new foods to your baby and changing your diet while breastfeeding.

 

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A Day in the Life of a Parent as Told by my Fitbit

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Fitbit

Today is Day 1 of sporting a new, black piece of expensive rubber on my left wrist. One that makes me appear quite athletic, when I’m probably just barely above average.

The painful memories of my classmates one by one sitting down in the outfield as I awkwardly made my way to bat, come rushing back like they were only yesterday. Well, take that you little monsters. At least I can dress the part these days thanks to my trendy, cool Fitbit.

Nevertheless, I feel like a rock star as I hit nearly 12,000 steps on my very first day. A very typical day.

It has been both reassuring and entertaining to have access to my activity level, heart rate, and calories burned throughout the day. This little band has also proved what I already knew about being a parent of young children by offering metrics to support my preconceived notions.

On behalf of anyone who has young kiddos, especially those who are stay-at-home parents, here is what a “day in the life” looks like as told by my Fitbit:

  1. We are constantly on our feet. When a SAHM protests that she “hardly had any time to sit down”, she means it. If you don’t believe me, my Fitbit will tell you it’s real. Very real. If my puffy feet, aching back and less than bubbly personality by 9pm wasn’t evidence enough, well then here you go. 12,000 steps, baby. BAM.
  2. Our caloric intake and burn-down is pretty much a wash. Those quick lunches over the kitchen sink fuel us for walks to the park, climbing up and down the stairs all day, picking up toys, loading and unloading the car multiple times a day (I think this should count as exercise) and having those family room dance parties with the kids (Oh, how I live for those). Food goes in, energy comes out, and calories are burned. I’m no math genius, but basically, everything cancels out. Hello, skinny jeans.
  3. We need more sleep. This goes for parents across the board, regardless of their employment status. No wonder the grays seem to mate and multiply. The circles only get darker and the wrinkles only deeper. And when we shampoo our hair and re-shampoo it because we can’t remember if we already shampooed it, well, it’s because our quality of sleep can really use some help. Interrupted sleep cycles and “restless” bouts keep us from feeling fully recharged. Hello, coffee.
  4. We love a little friendly competition. Having my friends and family “taunt” me is quite hysterical. Um, no way. I’m going to taunt you. Let’s do this. It’s on like Donkey Kong.
  5. We feel completely satisfied at the end of the day. As exhaustion sets in and all we can daydream about is that short window of “free time” at night once the kids are having sweet dreams of their own, we realize how important we really are to those boogers. We kept little humans alive and mostly smiling for twenty-four hours. If that’s not crazy cool, I don’t know what is. We loved, kissed, disciplined, chauffeured, fed, cleaned and cuddled our kids. We have the most important job on this planet. Mic. Dropped.

Every step that was recorded by that Fitbit had meaning and I’m ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

Now it’s time to begin my less than adequate night of sleep. Sweet dreams.

 

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My Baby has a Helmet and It’s Not for the Super Bowl

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I’m currently a parent of a baby who’s sporting a cranial helmet twenty-three hours a day, seven days a week. Any parent who has gone through the internal dialogue of reasoning and finally acquiring this head accessory, can agree that the entire experience of getting the Doc Band, is really not so bad and there’s actually quite a few chuckle worthy moments.

Every Mom and Dad of a little linebacker has probably had every single one of these thoughts at some point.

  1. What in the world is that? Why is my baby’s head flat? Freaking out, but just a little…
  2. You stroke your hand against the flat spot over and over again as if it’s going to feel less flat with each pat. Come on magic hands, make it go away.
  3. No, it didn’t change. It’s still flat. Well, let me pat it one more time. Nope, still flat. Ugh.
  4. You feel your own head. You give your head a rubdown like you’ve never done before.
  5. You feel your partner’s head, your other children’s head. You secretly hope that everyone has flat spots that have been disguised by all the thick hair that baby just doesn’t have yet.
  6. You realize everyone else’s heads are pretty round. Dang it.
  7. You take your baby for a cranial evaluation. He looks like a little bank robber with that stocking over his head for the cranial images. What a cute little robber. You take pictures with your cell phone.
  8. You go home and continue staring at it. Eventually you realize that this flat spot isn’t transforming by your laser beam eyes and decide to get the custom fitted helmet.
  9. Baby finally gets comfortable with the helmet. He almost doesn’t even notice it anymore. Score!
  10. You go home and absolutely nothing has changed except that your sweet little munchkin has a plastic head accessory. No big deal.
  11. He tumbles over and is saved by the helmet. I love you, helmet.
  12. You, your baby and his lid make his big debut in public.
  13. Why are they giving me sympathy looks? Oh my God! They think he has a skull fracture. Great. Oh well.
  14. You want to tell people you didn’t drop the baby on his head. Then you decide to just let it be.
  15. What is that smell? Why does my baby smell like feet?
  16. You scrub the helmet with rubbing alcohol. It doesn’t help much but you feel satisfied that it’s clean.
  17. You realize that your baby’s head is starting to look round. There’s progress!
  18. Baby doesn’t really need to wear it twenty-three hours does he? Maybe we can cheat a little.
  19. You realize that’s a bad idea and grumpily put the helmet back on his less lopsided little head.
  20. You keep your fingers crossed that the helmet will be off by his first birthday. That would be fan-freakin’-tastic.
  21. You daydream about his future. First baseball game, prom, graduation, his wedding. He’s going to look so handsome with that beautiful, round head of his.

A Doc Band, or cranial helmet is used for cosmetic purposes to fix flat spots that develop from baby loving a specific sleep position or even his position inside Mommy during pregnancy. Much like braces, it’s a medical device for cosmetic benefits. After sporting the helmet for a few months, baby benefits from having a more evenly, round head.

A big thank you to friends, family and even strangers who have shown concern for my little munchkin. Seeing his sweet little face underneath a helmet all of a sudden can be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with a Doc Band.

If you’re considering a cranial helmet for your bambino and have questions about our experience, feel free to send me a message. Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Deal Alert: 50% off Earth’s Best Body Products at Sprouts

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Sprouts Farmer’s Market has Earth’s Best children’s body care products on clearance at 50% off.

I have used the vapor ointment on both of my kids which works well. I have not used other Earth’s Best body care products but I picked up a few to try them out (items are pictured). I buy products that use the least amount of chemicals and preservatives possible, opting for naturally derived ingredients and paraben-free. These met the criteria. The lotion and bubble bath smell really nice too.

I validated for you that all Sprouts locations are participating in this deal, since these items are being discontinued. However, check your local Sprouts Farmer’s Market for availability, as items will vary depending on location.  If there’s a specific item that interests you, you may choose to call them in advance for availability.

Let us know if you use any of these products and how you like them!

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Baby Food Recipe: Banana Hemp Oatmeal

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Hemp

My little guy is 9 months old so he’s been eating blended baby food for a few months now.

When I’m in a hurry or on the go, jarred baby food works just fine too. However, I enjoy making a variety of baby foods at home as much as possible. It’s satisfying to know that I prepared his meal with love and I know exactly what is in it. I can introduce him to more flavors, and being vegetarian, I try to provide a variety which can be limited if relying on only store-bought.

I’ve been trying to get more protein and fat into his diet, now that he’s eating more solids throughout the day.  I recently started adding hemp into some of his food. I use Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts (Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds). I usually get the organic version, however, sometimes my local grocery store only has the non-organic, and so I use that as well.

Hemp hearts are packed with plant-based protein. 3 tablespoons equate to 10g of protein and 10g of omega fatty acids (“good” fats). I only use about one tablespoon worth in the baby food, but it’s enough to pack in a little extra protein and fat in his food.

Here is my latest recipe that my guy enjoys…most of the time anyway.

Banana Hemp Oatmeal

½ Banana

2 tbs. baby oatmeal of choice

1-2 oz breast milk (or formula)

1 tb. Hemp Hearts

A dash of cinnamon

Blend up the banana and hemp. Add a little bit of warm water to help get a smooth consistency. If you’re using formula, you may choose to add that in as well. Make sure the hemp is blended up real well, which is important to make it easy to eat. If it’s the first time for your babe, you may choose to sprinkle a little less.

Add the breast milk once the puree is complete. Breast milk should not be blended in order to avoid diminishing its natural properties that are so good for our little nuggets. You may add 1 or 2 oz. of milk, depending on the consistency desired. Add a dash of cinnamon.

Masala Mommy Tip- I usually warm up baby food using my bottle warmer via the steam. I pour the contents into a small glass bowl (I don’t use plastic) and place it on top of the warmer. That bottle warmer has so many uses. Facial anyone?

Happy Eating. I’d love to hear if you try out the recipe and if your babe enjoyed it! Leave a comment.

 I am a mom of two and enjoy sharing my experiences of motherhood with my readers. This includes a few triumphs in the kitchen. The recipes provided on this website, although are researched and backed with personal experience, are presented for inspiration and ideas only. ALWAYS consult a medical professional before introducing new foods to your baby.

 

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Quick Tips for Looking Refreshed Even When You’re Not

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And so the viral bug is circulating in our home.

My preschooler was the first to catch it which is how it usually goes. He goes to school, picks up germs and then voila, he’s “spreading the love”. As usual, I am typically the first victim so here I am, with my Rudolf nose completely chaffed, dry cough, puffy eyes and heavy head. What I really want to do is curl up in the fetal position in a corner and just get some rest. But no can do…I’m a mom, sucka!

Anyway, I have to miraculously become presentable by tomorrow for my husband’s office holiday party. Where is Cinderella’s fairy godmother with her bippity boppitty boo when you really need her? I guess I’m on my own this time.

The good news is, all of this has inspired me to share some of my quick tips on how to look refreshed when you really need it:

  1. Keep it Pink. When you’re already looking flushed, it’s better to just run with it. I like to use corals and pinks in my makeup pallet to compliment my already pinkish undertones from just feeling sick. At least on the bright side I have some naturally rosy cheeks going.
  2. Brighten the Eyes. Creams, pinks and golden hues brighten tired eyes. Opt out of using really dark colors and going overly smokey. My own personal trick for day-time is to dab some of my blush right over my eyelids. It easily brightens the eyes, and the cheeks and eyes make a nice cohesive look together. I also opt for my eyeliner that instantly makes my tired eyes come to life.
  3. Moisturize. My mom looks at least a decade younger than her age and I can tell you as long as I can remember, she’s moisturized day and night. She would make sure both my sis and I were lotioned up every single day. To this day, if there is one thing I will not go without, it’s my moisturizer. I am currently using Kiehl’s products for my face which I’ve been happy with. It has limited chemicals which is important to me and moisturizes well for my dry and t-zoned skin. I use Vanicream for my all-over body moisturizer. In fact, my entire krew (I call us the KetAnisha Krew…I know, cheesy but I love it) uses Vanicream.
  4. Throw on Some Accessories. A necklace, earrings, watch…whatever you enjoy wearing (sometimes a sentimental piece of jewelry) can just make you look put together. It doesn’t have to match your clothes perfectly, but the extra few seconds to throw on a little bling will bring everything together.
  5. Keep Smiling. Confidence is #1. Keeping a positive attitude and smiling can even make you forget momentarily how tired or sick you really are. There are days that I’m whining and cranky like a child (my husband can vouch for that), but I actually physically feel so much better when I decide to ditch the droop and keep a can-do attitude. The mind truly is a powerful tool.

Tomorrow is going to take some magic for the holiday party, but I’m up for the challenge seeing as how excited the hubs is to make it to this annual event. Happy Friday and have a fresh and fabulous weekend!

 

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