Postpartum Sitz Bath

IMG_0887I’ve been mixing this up a lot lately. Three friends have had babies in the last few weeks. I didn’t discover herbal sitz baths for postpartum use until my second child. This is one of my favorite remedies. It makes a great gift for a new mom. It really helps speed and facilitate postpartum healing. Be sure to bathe the baby  too. This mix will help disinfect and heal the baby’s cord stump.

All of these herbs are helpful in some way. Opinions may vary, but I think the most important to postpartum healing are shepherd’s purse, yarrow and red raspberry. But, if you don’t have one of the herbs below, that’s okay. They are all beneficial in some way. Just omit the ones you are missing and substitute more of one of the others in the list. Keep in mind though that lavender, yarrow and shepherd’s purse are fairly potent and should not be used in excess. Use the others as the base herbs and add lavender, yarrow and shepherd’s purse in moderation. A little of those goes a long way. Also, chamomile and yarrow should be avoided if you have an allergy to sunflower, safflower or dandelion.

Use wisely. Read my Disclaimer here.

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All bagged up ready to pass along to a friend.

Postpartum Sitz Bath:

4 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
2 parts Plantain
2 parts Comfrey
2 parts Calendula
2 parts Shepherd’s Purse
1 part Lavender
1 part Yarrow
1 part Chamomile
1/2 -1 tsp. Sea Salt

To use, steep one cup of the herb mix  in four cups of water to make a strong tea. Strain the herbs an add the tea to your bath water. You can also add this to your peri-bottle and apply after you go to the bathroom to disinfect and heal.

Where do I get these herbs you ask? My favorite places to order herbs are The Bulk Herb Store and Mountain Rose Herbs.

2-Minute, 2-Ingredient DIY Sunblock

7.13.12 104If you’ve read my blog at all then you know that I have a kid who reacts to lots of things – including sunscreen. A fun-filled day trip to Coney Island resulted 2 weeks of no sleep due to the itchy rash that he got where ever we had put sunscreen on him. What does that mean? No more sunscreen for us! So, what’s a mom to do? Make her own of course.

I immediately went to the internet and researched all the homemade sunscreen and sunblock recipes. I came away knowing that I wanted to go with a zinc oxide based sunblock since that seemed to have the best safety profile and effectiveness ratings. However, I didn’t want to spend the money on a huge bag of zinc oxide powder from Amazon. (Note: It is much more affordable now than it was when I was looking 3 years ago and available in smaller bags.) So, necessity breeds creativity here. I was in the drug store and realized that Desitin is 40% zinc oxide. Immediately I knew I had instant sunscreen here.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute. There is no way I’m rubbing that white gooey stuff all over myself and my kids. What a mess!” And you would be right. Yet, never fear. All you need is 2 minutes to turn that Desitin into a smooth, lotiony sunblock.

Most zinc oxide sunblocks with an SPF of 30 are 20% zinc oxide. Which means that if you mix equal parts Desitin and your favorite lotion, it cuts the percentage of zinc oxide in the mixture by half and you have an instant SPF 30 sunblock! It’s that easy.

Playing at the lake. She would play there all day if we would let her.

Playing at the lake. She would play there all day if we would let her.

I’ve used this  Desitin sunblock with my homemade lotions for the past three years and it works great. I find that this sunblock is fairly waterproof, but if you want to improve that “waterproofness” of your mixture then add a little bit of liquid lanolin to it. Our oldest loves the water and has played for hours in the full sun without a sunburn. So, what are you waiting for? Everyone run to their medicine cabinet and pull out that tube of Desitin and start mixing!

If you want to make your own lotion first to mix the Desitin with, you can visit the Herb Shed and scroll down for directions and more sunscreen tips and recipes. If you use regular lotion and find that you can’t get the Desitin to blend well, then melt the two ingredients (lotion and Desitin) in heat proof bowl over a small saucepan (double boiler technique) until it is blended. I like to mix it with a popsicle stick so that I can just throw it out when I’m done and don’t have to worry about cleaning the mixture off of my spoons. The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can make small batches easily so that you don’t have to worry about unused sunscreen, or you can make a large batch if your family goes through a lot of sunscreen.

Here’s to a happy and sunburn free summer!

Note: Zinc oxide can stain dark clothing so take care when applying it. Also, individual results can vary so use with care and common sense. The author is not responsible for any adverse reaction or sunburns if you choose to use the recipe recommended here. Read my full Disclaimer here.

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Visit the Herb Shed if you want to make a homemade lotion to mix with your Desitin.

My General Store – one stop shopping for homemade things

Brookshires store shelvesVisit my General Store to find all the recipes for the things that I make myself in one convenient place. They are organized by category for easy reference. Let me know if there is a recipe that you’d like to see that isn’t posted yet. I’m updating things all the time. Happy shopping!

“Candy Cane” Toothpaste

toothbrushesIn my quest to keep those little teeth clean, a homemade toothpaste that will clean their teeth and mouth and taste good too. Click here to read about our “Candy Cane” Toothpaste. It’s a simple recipe. Only three ingredients. And safe to swallow if you have little ones who don’t know how to spit out their toothpaste.

Babywearing Bag Actions Shots – scroll to the bottom

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A reader requested action shots of my babywearing bag that I posted about
a couple of weeks ago. Scroll down to see me wearing the bag with the baby.

To see the original post  with directions for transforming your bag click here.

 

Action Shots:

Not the best shot I know, but not bad when taken by your 5-year-old daughter. ;)

Not the best shot I know, but not bad when
taken by your 5-year-old daughter. 😉

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Hip carry with a sarong. Bag is over left shoulder
(same side as baby).

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Looking from the side.

Back carry. Bag in front.

Back carry. Bag in front.

Better shot taken by my husband.

Better shot taken by my husband.

Easy remedies for ear infections and sore throats

Weiland_Lighting-the-FireCaring for sick child is one of the most difficult jobs that a parent faces. Ear infections and sore throats are some of the most common and most painful ailments to deal with. Here are some easy remedies to try at home to help your child when they are hurting. Ear drops for ear infections and Throat Soother for sore throats. Be well.

The Family Doctor: Keeping those little bodies clean Inside and Out

9.10.12 020Continuing our discussion of food sensitivities, let’s discuss tips and tricks on cleansing your children’s bodies and their environment.

Keeping the INside and OUTside Clean:

Children with food sensitivities seem to have delicate systems. Thus I try to use homemade cleaners, soaps, laundry detergents, sunscreens, bug sprays, toothpaste and remedies so that I can know what they are being exposed to. This way if they have a reaction, I know what the ingredients are and can more quickly diagnose the offending agent. I also try to support their immune systems by giving them Well Drops daily. And when they have a reaction to a food I give them herbs (in tincture form) which helps support their bodies as they cleanse and heal. Herbs like dandelion (cleansing), milk thistle (liver support), yarrow (healing/cleansing), yellow dock (cleansing), catnip (calming/nutritious), and nettle (nutritious) are among my favorites.

More health topics to follow…. What health issue would you like to see discussed?

Transform your bag into a babywearing bag

7.21.13 017I’ve been lamenting not having a babywearing bag lately. I’ve been doing more back carries which means that I can’t carry our regular go-to backpack since the baby is already back there. And most of my shoulder bags or tote bags are too little to use as a diaper bag. But, this last week I found a solution! You only need two supplies – a medium to large bag out of your closet and a scarf. Let me tell you what I did. It’s so comfortable to wear, even when jammed full of stuff.

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I pulled out this bag which only has a tiny shoulder strap. I never used it because it would constantly slip off my shoulder. But, I was desperate the other day and realized that if I tied a scarf on to the rings that it would be a comfy cross-body babywearing bag. It holds the weight well, and the scarf spreads nicely across your shoulder like a wrap would. I can wear it with any type of carry front, hip or back because I just put it opposite the baby. If she’s on the front I wear the bag on the back, if she’s on my hip I wear it on my other hip and if she’s on my back I wear the back on the front. And it’s adjustable. I can make the strap longer or shorter just by re-tying the knot. It’s wonderful.

If you don’t have a bag with rings you could get some of these metal book rings to clip around the strap or loops of your bag and tie your scarf to. The scarf that I used is like these Slub Scarves. They are woven, spread nicely and I think hold the weight well. They’re pretty too.

Action Shots:

Not the best shot I know, but not bad when taken by your 5-year-old daughter. ;)

Not the best shot I know, but not bad when
taken by your 5-year-old daughter. 😉

130729_0001

Hip carry with a sarong. Bag is over left shoulder
(same side as baby).

130729_0003

Looking from the side.

Back carry. Bag in front.

Back carry. Bag in front.

Better shot taken by my husband.

Better shot taken by my husband.

Summer Babywearing

7.21.13 006It’s been HOT in New York City this past week with the heat index reaching well past 100 degrees. How do you keep you and your baby cool? The answer that you don’t want to hear is that you can’t really. I always carry sun hats for me and baby, a water bottle, cloth wipes (or little baby washcloths to wipe little sweaty faces) and my favorite sandalwood fan with me to help keep us cool but the reality is that in that kind of heat you are both going to get hot and sweaty no matter what. However, the last couple of weeks I have really been enjoying wearing my youngest in an “unofficial” baby carrier. I raided my closet and pulled out my sarongs. These are typically used in America as swimsuit cover ups, but I’ve found that they work very well as a cool and supportive short baby carrier (otherwise known as a “shorty”). Most sarongs are made of rayon which is a thin, cool non-stretchy fabric. They are good for sling style carries (front, hip or back) with a knot at one shoulder. Sarongs aren’t very long. Most measure approximately 66×44 inches. If you are above a size 12 or 14 you might need to look for a sarong that is 70″ in length or get a plus size sarong which is usually about 90″ long. You can usually find saraongs online with prices ranging from $7.99 (on clearance) to $24.99 for fancy or plus size ones.

one-shouldered front carry  with a 25 lb. one year old

one-shouldered front carry
with a 25 lb. one year old

hip carry

hip carry

back carry

back carry

The Family Doctor: Food Sensitivities

"The Country Doctor" by Norman Rockwell

“The Country Doctor” by Norman Rockwell

Food sensitivities are on the rise. How many of us have a child with a food intolerance? And if you don’t, I bet you have a friend who does. What do we do? The allergists can’t help us since they aren’t actually allergic to anything and finding a pediatrician or alternative doctor who has solutions is like finding a needle in a haystack. So, what’s left? You become the “expert” on your own child and help them as best you can. You are now the Family Doctor trying to provide comfort, promote health and find that elusive balance between protecting your child from offending foods and helping them feel like they live a normal life outside of their restrictions. Continue reading to find out what we’ve done.

Tips for travelling with cloth diapers

10.10.10 231How do you travel with cloth? It doesn’t take up much more room in your suitcase than a package of disposables and will save you $20-30 for a two week trip. Travelling is expensive anyway. Read on for tips on what to take and how to fit them all in your carry on.

Homemade hand sanitizer

121231_0013Field trips, outings, all day playing with toy food at the museum – hand sanitizer is a must! Make your own hand sanitizer without alcohol and chemicals. Easy to take on the go to keep those little hands clean.