100% Natural Sunscreen

100% natural sunscreen - EarthyCrunchyMama.CoWith the summer here, this family LOVES to be outside. In fact, I think it’s baby’s absolutely favorite place to be. With spending time outdoors comes concern about too much sun exposure. Although that can be dangerous, traditional sunscreens are also dangerous and in my opinion, do more harm than good. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Laboratory studies of several sunscreen chemicals indicate that they may mimic hormones and disrupt the hormone system (Krause 2012, Schlumpf 2001, 2004, 2008). Some research on animals suggests that oxybenzone and other sunscreen chemicals can be toxic to reproductive systems or interfere with normal development. You can find a list of these ingredients and the hormone disruption they cause here.

Definitely don’t want the side effects listed in that table anywhere near my baby, so I had to find another alternative. I opted for a super simple yet effective sun protection method for my baby. Carrot seed oil and coconut oil – THAT’S IT! Carrot seed oil has an SPF of 38-40! You can also add a little bit of bees wax to make the cream water resistant. Please remember that consistent application is the key in any type of sun protection!

SUNSCREEN v1.1Ready to order Carrot Seed?

Why I Chose Homemade Formula – And Why You Should Too

Homemade Baby Formula - by EarthyCrunchyMama

Before we dive into this, please know that I think all mothers should exclusively breastfeed. This was my goal and dream since the moment we found out about baby. I have struggled since day one with breastfeeding and if you missed the beginning of my journey, you can find it here. I also want you to understand that this is my personal journey, I do not judge other mamas who have chosen different paths, just encourage you to research before accepting that what’s popular is the best/only option.

Formula is such a touchy subject and not one I ever planned on having to research for myself. However, going back to work and being apart from baby for hours a day has presented it’s challenges with pumping and breastfeeding. I find pumping is so uncomfortable and obviously completely unnatural. Unfortunately, at this point in my mama journey, pumping is a necessity if I want to continue to breastfeed.

I was pumping at work for about a month when I realized I wasn’t getting any more milk out at the end of that month than I did at the beginning, and obviously baby is still growing. The flip side to that is baby had been nursing between 4-6 times a night to compensate for lack of milk through the day. While I want him to exclusively have breast milk and am willing to breastfeed all night, even the 6 times a night wasn’t enough for his growing body. Supplementation has become a necessity. I’ve have been blessed with several mama friends who have so generously given me their extra stash of milk, but baby has plowed through that very quickly and we’re now having to look at other options.

Powered formula – while being the most popular type among mamas – was never an option for us. After my extensive research, I came to the conclusion that there is no good commercial infant formula available. Commercial infant formulas are highly fabricated concoctions composed of milk or soy powders produced by high-temperature processes that overdenature proteins and add many carcinogens. If you haven’t researched the dangers of this type of formula, I encourage you to do you own extensive research before choosing this for your baby. Some parents mistakenly believe that genetically modified soy is the main problem and that buying organic soy formula is protective for their infant. Nothing could be further from the truth.  While organic soy formula does indeed provide a better quality source of soy, organic soy still has the same problems as GM soy – trypsin inhibitors, high levels of phytic acid, and large amounts of hormone disrupting plant estrogens that can devastate baby’s development and hormonal system. Parents wishing to provide the highest quality formula for their baby should breastfeeding not be an option should consider a homemade formula from grassfed raw milk.  Most babies allergic to commercial dairy formula surprisingly have no problem with a homemade raw milk formula and in the rare case where a dairy allergy presents with the homemade milk based formula, a hypoallergenic formula based on homemade broth and pureed meat can be utilized.

After my extensive research, I came to the conclusion that there is no good commercial infant formula available. I became determined to find a healthier alternative for my baby.

With awesome support from our sweet friend Corrie, we decided to go with a variation of the Weston A Price recipe. We found this recipe had a nice balance of essential milk fats, oil fats, and omegas. There is more to the recipe than we’re using, because I’m mixing the bottles half breastmilk/ half formula and baby is almost 5 months old, I wasn’t as concerned about the few dry ingredients listed. If you are solely feeding baby with this recipe, I would recommend the entire full version of the Weston Price recipe.  You can find the full variation of the recipe here.

homemade baby formula - earthycrunchymama.coSo far we’ve been using the formula for a week and have been loving it! As I mentioned above, we are mixing each bottle half with breastmilk so baby is still getting breastmilk in every feeding. He has loved the formula and we haven’t had any adverse effects from it. He’s been sleeping through the night most nights since starting the formula which has been awesome for mama!

 

 

Fever Reducer

all natural fever reducer - earthy crunchy mama

 

When it comes to choosing medicine for baby, this mama can’t be too careful! We’ve only had two fevers so far, and have given baby instant relief from both withYoung Living’s Peppermint Essential Oil. One drop peppermint mixed with raw, organic coconut oil along the spine works like a charm. I know many mamas who swear by Tylenol, and I’m glad it works for them, but do they really know what they’re putting in baby’s body? The dyes and high fructose corn syrup are enough for me to stay far away!

Here are the Side Effects of just the first three ingredients in Children’s Tylenol:

Sound like something you want to pump in baby’s body every four hours? Yeah, me neither! This family will stick with good ol natural Peppermint!

What about YOU? What’s your fever reducer go-to?

Ready to Order?

My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding – the most natural, beautiful thing a mother can do with her baby and I was ready – ready to experience this beautiful cherished gift together with my baby. I was ready to love it and embrace it as so many of my mommy friends insisted I would. I was even mentally prepared for the first two week soreness that everyone warned me about, but also gave me hope would pass quickly. However, I would find out that such a journey wasn’t mine to walk. No amount of reading or classes could have prepared me for those first several weeks (or months) of breastfeeding.

The first two weeks came and went with minimal soreness, and I often thought to myself ‘I got this!’. I pressed on and was filled with hope that each day would get better. At about three weeks in, my hope was waning and my nipples were getting more and more tender, cracked, and consistently bleeding with each passing day. My sweet mom would tell me to stay strong and keep going, that soon we would get this. And I did, I stayed strong and determined through each toe curling breastfeeding sessions praying it would be over quickly.

At about four weeks, I wasn’t sleeping at night because I knew as soon as I woke up another painful breastfeeding session would start. I hated feeding my baby. I cringed at every hungry cry he made. He thrashed at my breast as he ate, ripping my nipples in the process. They cracked and bled, and, at one point, entire chunks were gone, seriously, gone. I was slathering on nipple creams, coconut oil, and salt water rinses, the whole time believing they would never be the same again.

I knew I needed help and saw several different lactation consultations and OB nurses. Each of whom assured me baby’s latch was perfect. I cried after each one, knowing something wasn’t right. At about six weeks, right as I was ready to give up and throw in the towel, I would hear my sweet Mom’s voice tell me to hang in there, that I could do this, and that soon, baby and I will figure this whole thing out and love it.

Around eight weeks, my mom encouraged me to see another lactation consultant. Through the tears I told her I would try again. I would see person number six who would tell me I was doing everything right and baby’s latch was strong. I knew exactly how the consultation would go and could almost play it out in my mind. However, this time I was wrong. This sweet, tiny, gentle, compassionate lady told me baby had a tie problem. Baby’s upper lip was so tightly tied that he couldn’t open up enough to encourage proper nipple placement. His hard gums were chomping down directly on my nipple. I immediately felt relief upon hearing those words. The diagnosis was so freeing. There was a reason- a reason for all of this discomfort and heartache.

five days into our journey

five days into our journey

I do wish I had realized that just because breastfeeding is natural, doesn’t mean it automatically comes without struggle. It’s such a simple thought really, but somehow I didn’t grasp it those first days when I was short on sleep and high on anxiety. I thought I was doing something wrong, because I didn’t have that beautiful experience early on that I’d heard about. But I’m so thankful we stuck it out, we are 16 weeks along in our journey and have no plans of stopping any time soon.

Photo taken by Jen Conway – http://jenconwayphotography.com/

Peppermint Essential Oil

Well I’m pretty sure little man is teething! Who knew we would hit this stage so quickly?! 3.5 months seems way too early to me, but I know it’s happening because the poor baby has been fussy and clingy for several days now. Along with our normal bath/peace and calming routine, we’ve been diffusing lavender, and last night, had to add peppermint into the mix. Little man was burning up with a teething fever. After his bath, we heavily diluted peppermint essential oil and applied it along his spine. Within a few minutes he was cooled down and comfortable enough to sleep. We are so thankful for our essential oils!

photjko-2PEPPERMINT v1.2

Ready to Order?

 

A Letter to My Friend, About to Be a Mom

By Sarah Powers

To my first-time pregnant friend,

You’ve been on my mind lately — a couple of you, actually — dearest longtime friends of mine, about to become moms for the first time. I sent one of you a box of old maternity clothes, the few surviving pieces in good shape after my own three pregnancies in five years. To the other I sent a few books (at your request). Toward you both I find my thoughts wandering daily.

2014-03-11-IMG_8604.JPG

With a 3-month-old of my own, I am partly of the world into which you are about to enter; but mine is a third and final babe, riding in a car seat that held her brother and sister before her, pushed in a stroller that is not only no longer fashionable but also probably no longer on the market. I am experienced, yes; but I’m out of touch, too, with the trends of new motherhood.

I want to say the right things to you, offer words that mean something and aren’t just clichés (though, as you’ll find, so many of the clichés are true). I want to be helpful. I want to make it wonderful for you, this thing that is about to happen. I want to save you from some of the parts that aren’t wonderful, and from the disappointment that comes when you realize that some of it sucks, sometimes.

This morning at the breakfast table I thought of you. Big kids slurped cereal, Bryan and I passed the baby back and forth as we refilled our coffee and managed our own breakfasts. When she fussed I lifted my shirt and offered her a meal of her own. A quick latch, the familiar let-down and then after only a minute or so, she pulled off with a grin, a mess of dripping milk and toothlessness as if to say, “No thanks, Mom. I’m good for now.”

And at that moment I saw myself as a new mom and felt the weight of all the things that would have gone through my head back then. Why isn’t she hungry? How long has it been since she last nursed? If she doesn’t complete a full feeding on one side, she won’t get the hindmilk. And I might get engorged. Should I try again, force her to make it to the arbitrary 12 minutes I’ve decided is an adequate feed? And, if not, which side should I offer next time? And will next time be sooner than 2.5-3 hours? 

2014-03-11-IMG_9009.jpg

For just an instant I marveled at the vast distance between that new mom that I was and the one I am now. Five years ago I would have been seated on the couch in proper breastfeeding posture, a nursing pillow on my lap and the TV remote by my side, watching the clock as if it held the answers to all my feeding questions; this morning I sat at the kitchen table surrounded by chaos, drinking coffee and eating cereal while nursing this third and final babe without a clue (or a care) about the clock.

And in that instant I was thankful for both of those versions of me (for one allowed the other to become, of course). And I thought of you.

Because it wasn’t really about nursing at the breakfast table at all, was it? It was about the beautiful way that mothering gets more automatic with every baby and each passing year. And that’s the part I wish I could send to you in a package — that feeling of knowing what you’re doing, of autopilot, of security, of believing in your heart of hearts that you have what your baby needs.

Do I feel that feeling all the time? Oh my goodness, no. I’m in uncharted waters with my oldest and even with her brother, who is a different kid altogether (go figure) than his predecessor. But in this familiar stage of babyhood, I’m in my element. I get all the deliciousness of giggles and snuggles without the worrying, the wondering, the figuring out. I get the rewards without trying so hard to remember all the rules.

If I could bottle that feeling up for you, I would. But I cannot. Your own new motherhood experience awaits, and I can’t make yours easier or better any more than I can change the one I went through. All the wise words in all the books in the world won’t clear from your path its own disturbances, or prepare you for how you will handle them (and you will handle them — better and more capably than you can even imagine).

2014-03-11-IMG_7884.JPG

And so I hold back when we talk on the phone, sometimes. I ask questions, I listen, and I make silent wishes for you. I wish for simple things, like an easy delivery and a healthy baby. I also wish for things that will happen on their own in due time, whether I wish them or not (but I do it anyway): like a good night’s sleep, and new friendships with other moms, and a pair of jeans that fit again.

Unless you ask, I don’t give advice. And when you ask, I find myself saying things like,“Well, there are lots of different ways to think about it” or “I think everyone is different, so it depends on what you believe,” which I realize is completely frustrating when all you want to know is The Answer. And then I make another silent wish that you discover as soon as possible that there is no one right answer.

I wish that as you read the books and listen to the nurses and your mom and your mother-in-law — all of whom have wisdom but none of whom have the answer — you will also read your baby and listen to your heart. That combination of looking outward for information and inward for intuition is magical, I have found.

I wish that when you find yourself clinging to The Rules — of feeding, or sleep schedules, or developmental milestones, or anything else we’re supposed to Learn All The Things About — you understand that those rules are meant to give you structure, to educate you, to guide you, and the world will not fall apart if you choose to throw them out the window.

I wish for you to know that it’s OK to pick your battles. It’s easy to get sucked into believing we have to care passionately about everything from diapers to discipline, that every choice somehow makes a statement about who we are as a parent. But sometimes, I think, finding your way is more of a series of happy accidents than a carefully thought-out process.

My biggest wish, though, the one before I blow out all the candles while holding a lucky penny and a four-leaf clover at 11:11, is that you find satisfaction and worthiness in this work of mothering. I don’t mean that you find it enjoyable all the time, or that it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you. I mean that in the middle of the really ugly parts when doubt rages and fear snarls and the tears spill out over the edges of everywhere, that you feel like what you’re doing matters, and that you are the right one to do it, here, now, for this baby.

I know that’s not really a sentiment that fits well on a greeting card, but it’s what I’ve got. And while part of me wants to wave a magic wand and whisk you right to this sweet place I’m in, five years later, where three kids feels do-able and life makes a bit of sense, I won’t. I’d rather walk this path beside you as a friend who is just enough further along to know that none of us has all the answers, and be here when you call to say “I hate this!” and also when you call to say “I love him!”

I’d rather be a real-life lifeline than a fairy godsister. Because, you know what?You’ve got this. I know you do.

Love,
Sarah

2014-03-11-handsfull.jpg

This post appeared first at The Happiest Home.