Natural Solutions Instead of Drugs

I’ve never been a fan of curing all my pains with drugs, but let’s face it, I went through my fair share of Ibuprofen in my ’20’s; I’m not sure how I would have made it through some days without it! As I’ve gotten older and become a parent I’ve learned a bit about moderation – and also a bit about medicine and medicine alternatives. Especially when our little babes get sick we want to find the quickest solution to make them feel better. I’ve learned over the past 20 months or so though that some things can be done without turning to Western medicine solutions. Below are just a few of the little tricks I’ve learned along the way. The big caveat is: I’m not a doctor and sometimes you just need a doctor. Hopefully some of these things help you need a doctor a little less though.

    1. Congestion/Cold:
      1. Elderberry Syrup: This has easily become my favorite natural immunity booster. When I feel a little dryness in my nose or soreness in my throat, I take a little of this. When Ellie gets a little runny nose we give it to her in the morning. I think it’s shortened her colds and prevented a few from coming about.
      2. Eucalyptus Oil: Our midwife told us about this recently. When Ellie gets congested we put a little of this in her humidifier at night. It’s a natural cold fighter. We just did this last night and Ellie woke up a little more dried out.
      3. Home-made “tea”
        • This Korean gal I used to work with told me about a tradition of honey and lemon tea. Here is a “recipe” – it’s pretty dang easy: http://catherineboley.blogspot.com/2009/08/preparing-for-winter.html
        • I made a tea once when Ellie and were sick and I swear it worked wonders. I minced about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, boiled water and steeped the garlic in it covered for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I strained out the garlic and added a bunch of fresh lemon juice and honey. It surprisingly did not taste like shit and Ellie actually drank some of it.
      4. Elevation: put a pillow under one side of the crib mattress and lay babe down with her head on the high side
      5. Bone Broth: I haven’t tried this yet, but a local naturopath recommends a homemade bone broth. It seemed a little time consuming for me to be honest, but I bet it works great. I also wonder if picking some broth up at your local Pho restaurant would work just as well: http://www.jadeinstitute.com/jade/bone-broth-health-building.php
    2. Fever:
      1. Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s a natural fever reducer. Put a cup in a warm bath or soak a washcloth in it and put in on the forehead or the feet.
      2. Calcium Lactate: This is what your body naturally uses to fight a fever. Using a supplement will make your little one recover quicker and not be as achy during the process.
      3. Egg Whites: Soak a pair of socks in them and put on feet. You can also soak paper towels and put them in the socks
      4. Garlic: Blend fresh garlic cloves and mix with a little olive oil or coconut oil. Smear on the bottom of the feet and put socks on over. Test out a small amount first to see if your little one experiences any burning sensation.
      5. Warm baths: Once when Ellie had a fever we put her in a warm bath and her fever dropped three degrees within 5 minutes. Cold baths are not the way to go, warm baths are.
    3. Ear Pain: Garlic Mullein: I haven’t used this yet because Ellie hasn’t had any ear problems since I discovered it. Basically this stuff is supposed to be put into the ears when babies have ear infections. I would recommend trying this very early on if you are suspicious of an ear infection.
    4. Baby Probiotics: I began taking probiotics myself during this pregnancy and then found out they’re actual great for little ones as well.
      • They’re great immune boosters, which help to fight against colds, flu, strep throat and stomach bugs.
      • They’re good for the belly, so they can either keep the digestive tract balanced or help to fight off things like diarrhea, etc.
      • They also help if your child has a dairy intolerance, which can cause Eczema.
    5. Teething: Hyland’s Teething Tablets: These are a good alternative to fever reducers when children are teething. The trick is really getting the babe to take them.
    6. Colic: With our newborn, our midwife recommended Dr.Ohhira’s Probiotics to address her apparent tummy discomfort. They are gel capsules so she recommends poking a hole in them and either trying to feed to the baby on a finger or rubbing some on the nipple for consumption during feeding. Baby should have some twice a day and a capsule should last about two days or four doses. 

These are just a few of the tricks off the top of my head. I’ll continue to update this as I hear more from friends, midwives and blog posts, as I think it’s super helpful for those desperate sickness times.  Good luck braving the winter with your little ones and remember, sometimes rest is the best cure for our mommy busy bodies.

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The Holy Grail of Parenting

Every parent will tell you being a parent comes with its ups and downs. These two parents are no different. Specifically as it relates to sleep training, we’ve had our successes and our failures. Ellie was sleeping through the night at three months and we were pretty damn stoked about that…and then three and a half months came! In all seriousness, she’s had her moments of sleeping through the night and then her moments of not. Brian and I have had seemingly endless conversations about this. So many of our friends told us about how they finally let their kids cry it out and the end result was heavenly. While I respect and appreciate every parents methodology, crying it out was not for me.

Every time Ellie got up in the middle of the night, I felt like she was either in pain or needed comfort. Now that her communication skills have grown significantly, we’ve reached what I consider to be one of the Holy Grails of parenting: not only does Ellie sleep through the night, we lay her down in her crib with her blanket and teddy bear. We give her kisses and we tell her “night night” and she lays down and goes to sleep. It’s epic. I almost don’t even want to say it out loud because I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m so effing excited I can barely hold it in.

I wanted to share this news because I know a lot of other parents struggle with the sleep thing. It’s no fun to go a year and a half of your life not knowing if you’re going to be up in the middle of the night or not. As first time parents, the crazy thought that it may never change comes to mind sometimes. This was especially the case for us with the prospect of a second child on the way. Brian kept saying “Lace, we can’t be doing this nighttime routine with Ellie when we have an infant in the house.” It was almost as if some universal force stepped in and said “you’re right,” waved a magic want and poof, Ellie goes to bed on her own and sleeps through the night. If you’re going through sleep troubles as a parent, there will come a time when they will subside. I’m sure it’s different for every child and I have no golden nugget of advice, other than hang in there, stay patient, and do whatever you think is right. At the end of the day, you’re a good parent who loves their child and that’s what really matters.

I don’t know that I believe everything happens for a reason, but I’m very grateful this happened. It was impeccable timing and for that I do thank God – whatever or whoever that may be.  And God, I also make one additional request that we have no reversions, please pretty please, or I will feel extremely guilty for sharing this news.

A Name and A Shower

We’ve officially decided on a name for our second daughter, at least a first name: Piper.  We had a very difficult time coming to this name. We boiled it down to three names and the other two were a bit more feminine than Piper. At the end of the day, Piper just spoke to us and we felt it fit her, even though we haven’t met her quite yet.  I’m honestly still getting used to it, but I feel like when she arrives it will feel right – or it won’t and we’ll change it – we’ll see!

Last weekend was Piper’s baby shower. As I’ve mentioned before, I always feel a little awkward at shower’s because I don’t like being in the spotlight, but I just kept telling myself it wasn’t me, it was Piper in the spotlight – it helped a little.  The second child baby shower was definitely different than the first. With the first baby there’s so much more stuff you need and this is a woman’s first time going through pregnancy and welcoming a child into her life. Once that new and first time occurrence has passed, the hype definitely dies down a little. This fact makes the shower and what’s being celebrated no less important or beautiful in my mind.

In fact, I was really touched that my aunt Laura from Colorado came into town for a “girl’s weekend” and helped my mom cook and get ready all weekend. My Grandma Lola also changed her flight down to Arizona in order to attend, which was really amazing! I had such a great time with everyone and I left feeling like I wanted to hang out more. It made me realize even though I’m a mom and we’re remodeling a house and I work full-time and I’ve got 50 million things to do, I need to carve out more time to spend with the people I love because at the end of the day that’s what’s really important. Action from this conclusion coming soon!

pipershowergroup

Relaxation

Last Friday was my ahem…32nd birthday. Brian was very proud of himself (as was I) because he had something planned for it at least 3 weeks in advance, which was definitely a first. As the weekend approached, I became very excited for our little getaway, knowing some relaxation was in order since Grandpete and Grandmo were going to be watching Eloise.

As the weekend neared, the torrential rains set in and Brian was apprehensive. His surprise was going to be a float plane ride up to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. The flights for the day were cancelled, so we drove up and took the ferry and had an amazing relaxing time nonetheless. Ellie had a blast without us as usual, but we could tell she missed us when we got back a little.

One of the most important things during pregnancy is to relax, according to many people, including the author of Brain Rules for Baby, one of the few parenting books Brian and I have read so far. Relaxing is especially difficult when you’ve just sold and purchased a home, are in the middle of renovating said home, quit your job and started a new one, and you have a toddler at home already. Considering the scenario, I think we’ve done a decent job of it and last weekend was by far the most relaxing weekend we’ve had in awhile.

Now that I’m 5 weeks away from having this bebe, a few things have started to cross my mind:

  1. How will “sleep training” be different with a toddler in the house?
  2. Are there things I should know about and things I should say to Ellie as she adapts to having a little sister?
  3. What tricks do I need to know to get the most sleep possible with a toddler and a baby?

It’s started to cross my mind that two might be a whole new endeavor and unlike having your first, I haven’t really gotten a ton of advice this time around. People assume you know what you’re doing if you already have a child and maybe there isn’t much more to it with a second than there was with the first. Is that true? I suppose I can start doing some research, but it just takes so much time! If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them as a comment to this blog post!