Postpartum Self Care: New Baby? How To Still Take Care Of Yourself

postpartum self care

The first 12 weeks are the toughest, they say. The learning curve was steep. My husband said that in the first week of our son’s life, he had learned more than in the past 10 years. I had to agree. But as we get to the end of those 12 weeks (and I listen to very loud and strange baby sleeping/groaning noises), I am feeling reflective. I want to reflect on the priorities I set out before the baby was born to look after myself, then the baby, then everyone else. Here is what I have observed about postpartum self care.

postpartum self care

There is no doubt that is hard to prioritise yourself when there is a newborn screaming to be fed. For example, this morning I wanted nothing more than to meet my friends and their babies for a swim and a chat. My son? He wanted nothing more than to feed for 1.5 hours and then sleep. That, was not the time for prioritising myself. But as I sat there with him, I planned what my self care would be once he fell asleep: tea and chocolate. It is small but it was enough.

The First 12 weeks of postpartum self care

So here are the top things I’ve learned about postpartum self care during those first 12 weeks.

Small is good

Aim for small. Focus on the small things that have a big impact for you e.g. 10 minutes of yoga while your partner has the baby, 5 minutes to drink a cup of tea with two hands, 5 minutes to have a dip in the pool. If you get more time, great, do more. But if you aim for small things that are likely to happen you don’t set yourself up for unrealistic expectations and resentment.

Housework will get done

Rather than sit with my tea, I was tempted to empty the dishwasher. I didn’t allow myself to do it. The dishwasher will eventually get emptied; this was my only window for tea. Priorities.

Take the toilet breaks when you get them

Feeding nearly constantly means that getting even two minutes to go to the bathroom at the time you need to might be a luxury. If you get a window, use it!

postnatal self care

Prioritise rest

To some people, it is ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ seems like wishful thinking (and it probably is if you have more than one child). I don’t sleep every time he sleeps. I listen to my body and decide whether I need sleep or something else to nourish me. But I always prioritise rest. Rest can be whatever you find restorative. Before I had a baby, I used to do this by saying, ‘two sessions; not three!’ This meant that if I did something in the morning and afternoon (two sessions), I rested in the evening (3rd session=rest). With a baby, for me, it’s more like ‘one session; not three!’ Find what works for you.

Get prepared

My son likes to feed (a lot!) which can mean hours on end looking at his little face with his eyes closed. He is happy and I enjoy watching him. To a point. Then, I get bored, thirsty, and hungry. I start prepping by putting things within a reaching distance: books, journals, computer, TV remotes, water, and food. It is a godsend.

Accept help

I wrote a whole post about this but I think it is so important that it needs repeating. Yesterday, I asked a stranger to help me get my purse out of my bag to pay for parking. I had a baby on boob, a baby carrier around my waist and a backpack on my back… yeah! Flustered (after nearly 2 hours of a screaming baby), my first reaction was to stop, put everything down, get my purse out, and hope there was $2 in there. In a split second, I thought of my word for the year ‘ask’ and realised there was an alternative. The stranger ended up paying the $2.

So, there you have it. I am amazed to say that postpartum self-care is possible with a newborn. I am not sure I believed it would be. But I think the core strand that runs through all of this is flexibility. I have tried not to compare what I used to do, to now. There is no comparison. I know that eventually I’ll get to go for a massage without worrying about the next feed. But in the meantime, tea, chocolate, and the odd bit of time to write is enough.

So, what can you do to prioritise yourself during pregnancy, and in those first 12 weeks, and beyond?

About the writer: Dr. Amanda McCullough from Not Just Mum

Amanda is a life coach, award-winning scientist, health professional and speaker at Not Just Mum. She coaches intelligent, brave and honest women through the transition from passionate career woman to motherhood and back again. A move to Australia in 2014, her two uteruses and expertise in behavior change and women’s leadership led her to create Not Just Mum where she offers workshops, one-to-one consults and coaching series to support women to maintain their sanity and identity in this challenging and joy-filled time of life.

Find Amanda on her website, on Facebook and on Instagram.

Article images credit: Dr. Amanda McCullough 

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) And Radiation: What You Need To Know And How To Minimise Exposure

EMFs and radiation

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity isn’t a recognised medical diagnosis. But don’t we all know (or have heard of) at least one person who gets a headache every time he takes a call on his mobile? Or someone who swears she gets dizzy when she walks into a room where there’s WiFi? Are EMFs and radiation really affecting your health? 

EMFs and radiation

Mobile phones, laptops, WiFi – these are all just parts of our way of life now. We rely on them for a lot of things – work, communication, entertainment, staying organised, staying fit, and so much more.

But while they do make our lives easier, there’s some fear about the potential risks these technologies pose. Could they lead to health issues later on? And why do some people claim to experience debilitating electromagnetic hypersensitivity while others don’t?

There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s dive in.

What are EMFs and radiation?

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are areas of energy (aka radiation) around objects that use power. Power lines, electrical equipment, electrical wiring, railway lines, microwave ovens, TVs, computers, and mobile phones are common sources of EMFs.

We’re constantly swimming in a sea of radiation. But mobile phones are, by far, the closest source. We hold them up to our ears (near the brain), keep them in our pockets, sleep with them beside our heads, and so forth.

Should we be concerned about EMFs and radiation?

Given how we’ve come to rely on WiFi and wireless devices, it can be very uncomfortable to entertain the notion that they’re bad for our health. And yet we have to ask the tough questions. After all, things like mobile phones and WiFi are new(ish) technologies and not enough time has passed to determine their long term effects on human health.

Scientists still need to do more research to establish the links between EMFs and disease. But so far, human health studies and lab experiments have linked EMFs and radiation with:

On 28 March 2018, a scientific peer review showed that there was ‘clear evidence’ that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer.

Children may be more at risk

Babies and children are more vulnerable to EMFs and radiation because their nervous systems are still developing, their skulls are thinner, and their brain tissue is ‘more conductive.’

And compared to us adults, children will have much longer exposure over their lifetime. While our generation didn’t have iPhones, iPads or even WiFi growing up, today’s preschoolers watch Peppa Pig from their parent’s tablets and play with WiFi enabled toys on a regular basis.

Then there’s the phone radiation testing, which only takes into account how adults are affected — not children or babies in the womb. In 2013, this prompted the American Academy of Paediatrics to remind the US Federal Communications Commission (which does the tests) that “children are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation.”

Another issue with radiation testing is it’s assumed that phones will be held a certain distance from the body. For the iPhone 7, for example, it’s 5 mm. Unfortunately, smartphone users tend to hold their devices much closer to their bodies than that. For instance, if you keep your phone in your pocket (like most men) or prop your tablet up on your tummy while you stream Netflix (like lots of kids).

What expert agencies say

The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists radio frequency electromagnetic fields as Group 2B or “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The decision was based on a link between wireless phone use and an increased risk for a malignant type of brain cancer called glioma.

That might sound terribly alarming, but most public health institutions say the levels of radiation we’re exposed to are actually within the safety limits. But, as with most things, moderation is key.

In 2011, the Council of Europe urged member states to choose wired connection over WiFi in schools, regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren, and set thresholds for levels of long term exposure to microwave radiation in all indoor areas.

Some countries have already acknowledged that WiFi can be harmful to young children and have proposed or enacted policies to ban or reduce WiFi use in schools. These include Cyprus, Israel, Germany, Finland, and Russia.

In 2015, France enacted a law banning the use of WiFi in daycare centres and nursery schools. It prohibited wireless Internet in spaces “dedicated to the reception, rest, and activities of children under 3 years old” and was the first French law to take a precautionary approach to the potential health risks from electromagnetic fields.

Managing risk

So here’s what we know:

  1. Scientists haven’t ruled out the possibility that EMFs have detrimental effects to human health.
  2. Children, infants, and foetuses are more susceptible.
  3. Long term effects are hard to predict.
  4. Current standards for mobile phones and other wireless devices are based on how adults — not the youngest and most vulnerable members of the population — are affected.

There’s still a lot of research to be done. But as the Council of Europe pointed out in 2011, perhaps we need to learn from our mistakes.

“Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”

In short: better to play it safe.

While we can’t completely shield our families from EMFs and radiation, there are ways to reduce exposure.

Small changes can make a great impact. I always remind my family to text instead of call, keep calls short, and use hands free devices whenever possible. And for added protection from EMFs and radiation, both my children and my husband and I use anti radiation phone covers and headphones.

 

If you want to further minimise your family’s exposure to EMFs, you might also consider radiation shields for major sources like your laptop and microwave.

 

Anti radiation armbands let you safely use your phone while jogging or working out (remember that 5 mm safe distance?).

Do you worry about EMFs and radiation? What do you do to keep your family safe? Share below!

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Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) And Radiation: What You Need To Know And How To Minimise Exposure

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Natural Remedies for Insomnia: A Guide To Help You Sleep

natural remedies for insomnia

There’s nothing quite like sinking into a relaxing sleep at the end of a long, tiring day. But sleep doesn’t come easy to all of us. If you’re among the 1 out of 3 adults who suffers from this, here are some natural remedies for insomnia that can help you can get a good night’s rest.

natural remedies for insomnia

When we’re asleep, that’s when our minds and bodies do a little housekeeping, repairing, and rejuvenating. Sleep can also play a role in clearing out toxins, and recuperating from the day’s activities. Getting enough good quality sleep not only leaves us feeling more alert and energetic the next day, it’s downright critical for our health.

Natural remedies for insomnia

Herbal tea

Sipping a cup of something warm before bed helps calm the mind and eases us into sleep. Try a soothing tea blend with these natural insomnia busting herbs:

Valerian – The roots of valerian is medicinal plant used in the ancient times. Valerian root is known for its sedative properties and is often added to brews.  Studies have found that valerian helps facilitate deep sleep, improves sleep quality, and prevents nighttime waking.

Chamomile – Like valerian, chamomile has been used as a natural sleep aid for centuries. Chamomile contains apigenin, which affects the brain much like Xanax and Valium. But unlike these drugs, chamomile is non addictive and can be safely used by adults and children alike.

Passion flower – This gorgeous plant can be a powerful cure for insomnia caused by overthinking and emotional stress. It’s been found to induce relaxation by increasing the levels of GABA in the brain.

Lemon balm – Lemon balm tea helps reduce anxiety and has a sedative effect on the central nervous system, making it a perfect bedtime beverage.

Sleep balms

The popular Badger Baby Night Night Balm is incredibly helpful at inducing sleep and relieving stress. It’s a blend of soothing bergamot, calming balsam fir, uplifting rosemary, and relaxing lavender essential oils. The aromatherapy balm is a great natural remedy for insomnia that will help you sleep. Some actually prefer to use it as a lip balm, hand balm, face moisturiser, or as a chest rub. Badger also makes a sleep balm, and you can find out more about the differences here.

We also love the new The Physic Garden sleep balm, with it’s relaxing and calming blend of lemon balm, chamomile, lavender and lemon myrtle. It’s hand made in Melbourne with beautiful organic ingredients.

Magnesium

Magnesium is crucial to many of our bodily functions, including sleep. If you have insufficient levels of magnesium in your body, you may end up with insomnia.  A 2012 study found that magnesium supplements help older adults sleep longer and better. Magnesium also improves muscle relaxation, regulates sleep hormones, and reduces nighttime wakings.

Aromatherapy oils

Lavender has a distinctive earthy scent that’s calming and grounding. But does it actually help with insomnia? Science says yes. A 2012 study found that people with sleep problems had significant decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature after inhaling lavender oil. And another study from 2016 found that college students slept better after sniffing a lavender scented patch before bed.

Aside from lavender, marjoram, bergamot, Roman chamomile, vetiver, neroli, and clary sage oils are also effective against insomnia.

Massage

Massage is scientifically proven to improve sleep quality. Regular massages also help with depression, anxiety, stress, and pain, all of which can contribute to sleep problems.

Get out of bed

If you find yourself still awake in the early morning hours, get up and move to another room. This prevents your mind from associating your bed with anything other than sleep and relaxation. Read, stretch, or journal instead of watching the clock and trying to figure out how many hours of sleep you’ve lost. Get back in bed only when you’re sleepy again.

Rescue Remedy

Bach Rescue Remedy Sleep Drops is a popular homeopathic sleep remedy that uses a blend of six flower extracts to calm restless minds and induce a natural night’s sleep. It’s non habit forming, doesn’t leave you with a hangover, and is suitable for the whole family. Rescue Remedy is a trusted natural remedy in Europe, where it has been used for almost 100 years to deal with traumatic and stressful situations.

Apart from all that, you can also treat insomnia naturally by adopting some simple lifestyle changes. Avoid large meals late in the evening, reduce blue light before bed, and get on a regular sleep schedule. Or quiet the mental noise that keeps you from getting restorative sleep with meditation, deep breathing exercises, and bedtime yoga.

We hope these natural insomnia remedies help you get more zzz’s. Sweet dreams!

Warning: Always consult your doctor before incorporating essential oils, natural herbs, and supplements into your sleep routine. Most especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Need more help with insomnia? Here’s 5 simple lifestyle changes that can help you sleep better. 

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Natural Remedies for Insomnia: A Guide To Help You Sleep

Shopping Guide: What To Look For In A Natural Toothpaste

what to look for natural toothpaste 2

We all use toothpaste twice a day. So it makes sense that our toothpaste should be one of the things that we look at first when we’re making the switch to natural products.

Have you ever looked at the label of your favourite toothpaste? If you’re looking at a supermarket brand, you’re likely to find a list of synthetic antibacterials, detergents, chemical additives, and artificial flavours and sweeteners.

However, even toothpaste brands marketed as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ may contain controversial ingredients like fluoride and carrageenan.

Shopping Guide: What to Look for with Natural Toothpaste

While you don’t usually swallow your toothpaste, your mouth is one of the most absorbent parts of your body. While you’re brushing with toothpaste or swishing mouthwash, some of the ingredients can enter your bloodstream through the tissues of your mouth.

Fortunately, you can get your pearly whites sparkling clean without having to compromise your health or the environment. As you’re scanning those natural toothpaste ingredient lists, here’s what you should look for and what you should avoid.

Toothpaste ingredients to avoid

Sulfates

Sulfates are foaming agents that you’ll find in things like shampoo, hand soap, and body wash. In toothpaste, they don’t serve much of a purpose other than creating the suds that we’ve come to associate with cleaning.

Although sulphates can come from natural sources like palm kernel or coconut oils, they can still be harmful to your body. In your mouth, they can irritate the soft tissue and create microscopic tears that grow into painful mouth ulcers. Sulfates may also contain toxic manufacturing impurities like carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide

Diethanolamine (DEA)

This is another toothpaste ingredient that gets that foaming action going. Unfortunately, repeated exposure to DEA may lead to hormone disruption, cancer, and organ system toxicity.

Like sulfates, DEA isn’t something you want to be brushing your teeth with. And though we’ve been conditioned to equate that sudsy sensation with ‘clean’, foam doesn’t really help make teeth any cleaner. What’s strange is that if I ever use mainstream toothpastes these days, they feel gross to me now – almost slimy with the foaming stuff.

Artificial sweeteners, colours, and flavours

More ingredients that have no dental health value whatsoever. FD&C Blue 1 and other synthetic colours can enter the bloodstream and accumulate in the body over time. Meanwhile, studies have linked aspartame, a common artificial sweetener in toothpaste, to a multitude of ailments, including headaches, seizures, dizziness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and behavioural and learning problems.

Triclosan

The US FDA banned triclosan from soaps and body washes in 2016 because manufacturers were unable to prove that it is safe for daily use over a long period of time. Strangely, they didn’t ban it in toothpastes. Triclosan has not been banned in Australia, so it can still be found in toothpastes and personal care products.

This antibacterial compound is linked to endocrine disruption, impaired cardiac function, allergies, and cancer.  Studies have also found that the widespread use of triclosan may have contributed to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Titanium dioxide

This chemical gives conventional toothpaste its bright, white colour.

However, titanium dioxide nanoparticles may be able to penetrate your gums and enter your bloodstream. A recent study showed that oral exposure to titanium dioxide causes cancerous growths in rats, although whether this is applicable to humans is still open to debate.

Carrageenan

Carrageenan, which comes from red seaweed, is a common thickening agent in toothpastes, dairy products, medicines, and pet food. Although it’s in some natural toothpastes, carrageenan may be problematic. Studies have found that it can cause inflammation in the intestines.

Fluoride

This is a tricky one. We’ve all been told that fluoride is necessary because it helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. However, this notion came under scrutiny after scientists found that the protective shield fluoride forms on our teeth is nowhere near thick enough to actually protect our enamel and is quickly removed by ordinary chewing.

Another problem is that fluoride is harmful when ingested. This is why toothpastes marketed for children are usually fluoride free. Fluoride can accumulate in our tissues and can cause fluoride toxicity, the signs of which include stomach pain, vomiting, skin rashes, bone deformities, and brain development problems in children.

If you do decide to choose a toothpaste with fluoride, look carefully at the other ingredients. There are good, natural toothpastes with fluoride available.

Natural toothpaste ingredients to look for

Activated charcoal

This highly porous substance effectively removes surface stains and helps prevent tooth decay by raising the mouth’s pH.

Coconut oil

The lauric acid in coconut oil helps get rid of mouth bacteria and stops plaque buildup. Lauric acid also helps prevent and reduce gum inflammation.

Coconut oil in natural toothpaste

Xylitol

Xylitol is a derivative of xylose, a sugar that comes from birch bark. Studies have shown that because xylitol can’t be metabolised by plaque bacteria, it effectively reduces plaque buildup.

Essential oils

Natural toothpastes often contain essential oils because they have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and general cleansing properties. Essential oils of tea tree, neem, chamomile, clove, peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, myrrh, fennel, lemon, and cinnamon help freshen breath, remove plaque, and kill oral bacteria.

Want to to know which natural toothpaste is right for you? Check out our article on “14 Natural Toothpastes Tasted, Tried and Tested for You“.

Image: Bigstock

5 of the Best Tips For Safer Mobile Phone Use

The mobile phone revolution has made life better in a lot of ways. But what are the downsides to this wonderful technology? It’s so recent that we don’t know much about mobile phone safety in the long term. It’s gotten to the point where almost everyone is using one all the time. If we’re not talking or texting, we’re surfing the Internet, playing games or watching movies.

What do we know about safer mobile phone use? The US Federal Communications Commission set legal limits on mobile phone (microwave) radiation exposure way back in 1996, when phones were extremely primitive compared to today’s all-singing all-dancing devices. They say that 20 cm is far enough away for safe use. How often do you hold your mobile 20 cm away when talking on the phone? Do you hold your tablet or laptop 20 cm away while using it?

tips for safer mobile phone use

The main problem when it comes to research on mobile phone safety (aside from the billions of dollars at stake), is that it may take years, even decades, of use to show an effect on the body. Right now, there’s not enough research to say what the effects might be.

In general, it’s safe to say that children are at much higher risk than adults. They are more affected by the radiation because of their smaller heads, thinner skulls and more absorbent brain tissue. Children’s brains absorb twice as much microwave radiation as adults’. Their short arms can’t hold mobile phones and tablets far enough away from their bodies. To cap it off, kids and teenagers will happily spend all day on their devices without firm guidelines from the adults in their lives.

We could all use some mobile phone safety tips. Tech-forward countries such as France, Belgium and India have already passed updated laws and issued warnings about children’s mobile phone use.

For safer mobile phone use, keep the following rules in mind.

1. Use a headset or keep your phone on speaker

You want to limit radiation exposure to your head as much as possible. The ‘generally regarded as safe’ distance is 20 cm, which should be the minimum. Use a headset (either wired or wireless) whenever possible. Wireless headsets emit much less radiation than mobiles, but make sure to take them off when you’re not using it.

If you don’t have a headset handy, keep your phone on speaker while talking.

2. Hold the phone away from your body

Be aware of your phone’s distance from your body (it’s still emitting radiation even when not in use). Using a headset while talking won’t do much to keep you safe if your phone is in your pocket all the time. If you’re pregnant, always remember to keep the phone away from your belly – there is some evidence that foetal development can be affected by mobile phone use.

The good news is that even holding the phone 15 cm away “provides a 10,000-fold reduction in risk”. (This goes for baby monitors too. Don’t place them in your child’s cot.)

The best place for your mobile phone is inside a handbag or backpack, or on your desk or bedside table. Don’t keep it in your pocket or under your pillow at night. This is especially important for children and teenagers.

tips for safer mobile phone use
Teach your children to hold the phone away from their body, and use a headset or talk on speaker

3. Talk less and text more

Texting tends to keep your phone away from vulnerable areas, such as your brain. Your phone also emits less radiation while texting as compared to talking.

4. Call when the signal is strong

Mobile phones have to work much harder to connect when the signal is weak. There’s less radiation exposure when the signal is strong.

5. Set firm limits with your children

Mobile phone safety is most important to the most vulnerable members of our family. Even if mobile phone use is eventually proven to be absolutely safe, children weren’t meant to grow up staring at a screen for hours every day. They need to get out in the fresh air and socialise with real people instead of watching videos and playing games all the time.

If your kids are accustomed to unlimited use of their mobile devices, they won’t like the limits at first. The best way to teach safer mobile phone use is to model it for them. As we all know, children do what you do, not what you say.

Have a frank talk and explain your concerns in an age appropriate way.

Put your phone away and your kids will follow suit.

Play outside with them. Read to them, or play a board game together.

Above all, show your leadership by accepting the limits on yourself first.

Mobile phones have brought a lot of convenience, fun and connection into our lives. Follow these mobile phone safety rules so you and your children can continue to enjoy them in safety.

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5 of the Best Tips For Safer Mobile Phone Use

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Sea Buckthorn in Your Skincare: Why It’s Awesome

Sea buckthorn has exploded on the scene as both a superfood and a super ingredient in skincare products and cosmetics.

Touted as the next big thing in anti ageing, you’ll now found it in moisturisers, serums, facial cleansers, and hand creams. And because of its many health benefits, it’s also available in juices and capsules so you can add it to your smoothies.

But what exactly is seabuckthorn?

Is it a plant? An animal?

Let’s find out.

Sea Buckthorn

What is sea buckthorn?

Contrary to what its name implies, sea buckthorn isn’t an aquatic creature. It’s more like a berry.

Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is common in the coastal and mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. The shrubs are dense, stiff, and thorny, and have long silvery green leaves. Male sea buckthorn bushes produce brownish flowers while female bushes produce the small, orange, edible berries.

The Greeks, Tibetans, and Indians have been using sea buckthorn medicinally for centuries. It’s said that the ancient Greeks fed sea buckthorn leaves to their racehorses, which made the animals’ hair shiny and smooth. This is supposedly how the plant got its genus name Hippophae, meaning “shining horse.”

For hundreds of years, sea buckthorn has also been used as folk medicine in the treatment of skin diseases, tummy troubles, fever, coughs, and colds. In the last few decades, modern science has caught up with ancient knowledge and studies have confirmed that sea buckthorn does have some impressive healing properties.

Let’s look into how sea buckthorn can keep us healthy inside and out.

What is sea buckthorn good for?

Who would have thought that these cheerful little berries can do such wonders for our health? As it turns out, sea buckthorn contains about 190 bioactive substances. It’s a potent source of powerful phytonutrients that are rarely found in other vegetable oils, making it “one of the most valuable natural products in the world.”

Sea buckthorn contains a super cocktail of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. It has one of the highest amounts of Vitamins C and E among all plant sources. It may also be the only plant to contain all four omega fatty acids (3, 6, 9, and the rare 7), all of which have anti inflammatory properties.

Because of its intensely rich nutritional profile, sea buckthorn has a mind boggling number of medicinal uses. This mighty berry is believed to have strong antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It also:

Uses of sea buckthorn oil

Benefits for skin

Aside from promoting overall wellness, sea buckthorn has some specific benefits for skin. It:

  • Accelerates skin healing
  • Treats acne, sunburn, cuts, wounds, rashes, bedsores, eczema, and skin ulcers
  • Firms sagging skin
  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, scars, and discolourations
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Prevents and reduces stretch marks
  • Is beneficial for rosacea
  • Nourishes dry, flaky, and itchy skin
  • Controls sebum
  • Protects from UV radiation and environmental damage
  • Fights free radicals

How to use sea buckthorn

You’ll find sea buckthorn in topical skincare products like face creams, body oils, lotions, balms, deodorants, and nail treatments. For extra moisturising power, you can take sea buckthorn as a dietary supplement in the form of oils, extracts, elixirs, concentrated juices, and capsules.

Sea buckthorn berries are used to make pies, jams, syrups, purees, jellies, sauces, liquors, and fruit wines. Tea made from sea buckthorn leaves is a good source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.

Safety precautions

Sea buckthorn is generally considered safe to use on skin. However, as with all herbal products, it’s always best to consult your doctor, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication, or have a medical condition.

Sea buckthorn fruits are safe if you’re eating them just like any other fruit (though they’re too acidic when raw) or as an ingredient in sauces, jams, drinks, and such. They’re considered possibly safe when used as medicine.

Product suggestions

Sea buckthorn is an incredible addition to your natural skincare regimen. Give it a try in one of the lovely products from Weleda’s skin boosting Sea Buckthorn range.

You’ll love the Body Oil for the gorgeous scent alone, but you’ll be glad to know it works like a charm on even super dry skin. The Replenishing Body Lotion has the same sensational scent and will leave your skin with a youthful glow. It’s lightweight and non greasy but intensely hydrating.

Complement these with the Creamy Body Wash, which cleans without stripping skin of its natural oils, and the Hand Cream — a soothing and deep moisturising treat for dry or overworked hands.

 

 

Have you used seabuckthorn in skincare products? What are your favourites and how well did they work for you? Share below!

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Sea Buckthorn in Your Skincare: Why It's Awesome

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Shopping Guide: Bicarb Free Deodorants For Sensitive Skin

Bicarb is extremely effective at eliminating armpit stink. Unfortunately, some people find that they are sensitive to the ingredient.

The good news is you don’t have to choose between aluminium or bicarb in your deodorant. Today, we’re giving you our tried and tested picks for natural, bicarb free deodorants.

Shopping Guide: Bicarb Free Deodorants For Sensitive Skin

First, what’s wrong with bicarb deodorant?

Sodium bicarbonate is the oft-irritating ingredient that usually takes the place of aluminium in natural deodorants. It’s great at controlling odours and absorbing moisture, and it’s non toxic, too. However, it can also cause redness, rashes, and itching, and can leave some people with dry, damaged skin.

This happens because bicarb is alkaline and, if used in high concentrations and left on skin for an extended period, it can damage the natural acid mantle that’s there to keep moisture in and irritants out. Some people are more sensitive to bicarb than others. If you’re one of these people, then you should probably just steer clear of deodorants with bicarb.

But don’t sweat it (pun intended!). There are plenty of other ingredients that will help reduce underarm funk.

Alternatives to bicarb in natural deodorants

These ingredients can be just as effective at eliminating odour and preventing wetness, but are more suitable for sensitive skin.

  • Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Activated charcoal
  • Tea tree oil
  • Zinc (oxide or ricinoleate)
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Tapioca root starch
  • Diatomaceous earth

Bicarb free deodorants for sensitive skin

Everyone’s skin chemistry is unique, so it may take some trial and error before you find the bicarb free deodorant that works best for you. But whether you prefer a solid stick, roll-on, paste, or spray, there’s sure to be at least one option that will give you all day protection from smelly armpits.

Deodorant sticks

  • Schmidt’s Deodorant Stick – Sensitive Skin

Schmidt’s is one of the most popular natural deodorants in the market today, and rightfully so. The award winning formulation lets you smell good and feel good without aluminium salts, artificial fragrance, and other nasties. Instead of bicarb, magnesium hydroxide neutralises odours and arrowroot powder absorbs wetness. Application is a breeze—the texture is smooth and creamy, and it dries quickly. Just swipe and go!

Comes in five delightful scents: Coconut Pineapple, Lavender Tips, Jasmine Tea, Geranium, and Tea Tree. There’s also a Fragrance Free variety for hypersensitive skin.

Schmidt’s Bicarb Free Deodorant Sticks - Sensitive Skin

Deodorant roll-ons

  • Earth’s Purities Bicarb Free Deodorant

These 100% natural deos from Australian brand Earth’s Purities keep you odour free using apple cider vinegar, colloidal silver, and witch hazel. Bentonite clay and arrowroot powder help keep your underarms dry the entire day and won’t stain your shirts.

Comes in two variants: For Her lends a floral and citrusy scent from rose geranium, violet, lavender, and grapefruit. For Him is masculine and woodsy from frankincense, sandalwood, bergamot, and black pepper.

Earth’s Purities Bicarb Free Deodorant

  • Weleda 24 Hour Roll-on Deodorant

Weleda products are loved and trusted around the world, and these new bicarb free deodorants are no exception. The NaTrue certified formula lets skin breathe and won’t clog pores, and was designed to prevent irritation.

There are two variants: Citrus has a bright invigorating scent from lemon and Litsea cubeba. Men is woodsy and herbal thanks to vetiver and rosemary essential oils.

Weleda 24 Hour Roll-on Deodorant Bicarb Free

  • Miessence Milk of Magnesia Ultrasensitive Roll-on Deodorant

With just four ingredients, this Miessence deodorant is perfect for ultrasensitive skin. The certified organic roll-on eliminates odour with magnesium hydroxide and soothes skin with aloe vera. Miessence is also vegan, cruelty free, and Australian made, so you can feel good about your purchase and smell great at the same time!

Miessence Milk of Magnesia Ultrasensitive Roll-on Deodorant

  • Lavera 24 Hour Deodorant

Feel fresh for an entire day with these bicarb free deodorants from Lavera. The NaTrue and Australian Certified Organic roll-ons are free from parabens and synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and colours. Application is easy peasy. The deodorant dries quickly and the scent is subtle. If you wear a lot of black, there’s an Invisible variant that doesn’t leave marks on clothes.

Comes in Orange, Lime Verbena, Wild Rose, Sensitive, Fresh, and Invisible. There’s also a bicarb free one from the Basis Sensitiv line that doesn’t contain alcohol.

Lavera 24 Hour Deodorant Bicarb Free

Deodorant pastes

  • Black Chicken Remedies Deodorant Paste Barrier Booster – Sensitive Skin

Black Chicken Remedies makes a great natural deodorant paste for sensitive skin. This one has no synthetic fragrances, alcohol, triclosan, parabens, and other nasties. The formula is rich in lipids and fatty acids to strengthen skin’s natural barrier.

A little goes a long way with this paste, so a tiny jar should last you at least a month. It’s also a treat to use—completely invisible upon application and dries quickly so you can get on with your day. Made in Australia, cruelty free, and vegan.

Black Chicken Remedies Deodorant Paste Barrier Booster – Sensitive Skin

  • Woohoo! Body Deodorant Paste – Mellow

This version of the popular Woohoo! Body deodorant paste is your go-to if you’ve got hypersensitive skin. It’s formulated to be just as effective as the original, but was designed to be gentle on underarms. Unlike Urban (pink) and Wild (green), Mellow (yellow) contains no bicarb soda and no essential oils. The paste applies like a dream, is non sticky, and keeps you smelling good all day long. Did we mention this is Australian made, vegan friendly, and cruelty free?

Woohoo! Body Natural Bicarb Free Deodorant Paste - Mellow

Deodorant sprays

  • Weleda Deodorant Spray

Weleda’s deodorant sprays were formulated to neutralise odour without disrupting your body’s natural detoxification process. These come in three variants (Citrus, Sage, and Wild Rose) and are free from aluminium salts, synthetic fragrances and preservatives, as well as ingredients derived from mineral oils. With their invigorating scents, these spray deodorants can also double as perfume.

Weleda Deodorant Spray

  • Lavera Deodorant Spray

Lavera’s spray deos are super easy to use and effectively zap BO with just a couple spritzes. These are NaTrue certified, cruelty free, vegan, and contain absolutely no aluminium, bicarb, or anything synthetic. Plant extracts and essential oils keep pit stink at bay and soothe skin. Comes in beautiful Lime Verbena, Orange, and Wild Rose scents.

Lavera Deodorant Spray

If you’re looking for more info on making the switch to natural deodorants, have a look at some of these articles:

Have you tried using bicarb free deodorants? Which ones worked for you?

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Bicarb Free Deodorants For Sensitive Skin

Protect Your Family: How To Filter Air At Home And Keep Everyone Healthy

When we think of air pollution, we tend to think about smog, car exhaust, fumes from factories and power plants — in other words, outdoor air pollutants. But did you know that indoor air can actually be more polluted than outdoor air?

Yes, your house could be making you sick – and the air inside could be the primary culprit.

How is this possible? Well, scientists say that we can use the “rule of 1,000”: a pollutant that is released indoors is 1,000 more likely to be breathed in than a pollutant that is released outdoors.

And what makes the air in our homes so dirty?

First, there are the things that release pollutants continuously: building materials, appliances, and furnishings. There’s also dust, smoke from cooking, pet dander, mould, and dust mites. Add in cigarette smoke, synthetic chemicals from scented air fresheners, toxic household cleaners, and dirt trodden in from outside and you’ve got a pretty noxious airborne cocktail.

Indoor air pollutants can cause allergies, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and respiratory problems like asthma. According to this study, everyday exposure to chemicals that commonly pollute indoor air may even contribute to the increasing prevalence of childhood cancer and autism.

Because we spend so much of our time inside our homes, we need to pay closer attention to indoor air quality. Fortunately, there are natural ways to filter air at home so we can have a truly healthy home.

filter air at home with house plants
Filter air at home with house plants

Decorate with houseplants

One of the easiest non chemical ways to improve the quality of indoor air is to get some houseplants.

We already know that plants help us breathe by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Now, thanks to NASA, we also know that certain plants are better at cleaning the air than others. The NASA Clean Air Study found that common houseplants such as peace lily, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, and bamboo palm can remove toxic stuff like formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and carbon monoxide from the air.

In addition, a 2009 study published by the American Society for Horticultural Sciences found that golden pothos, snake plant, and spider plant reduce the levels of ozone, the main component of air pollution, in an indoor setting.

According to NASA, you should have at least one air purifying plant per 100 square feet for a healthy home.

Use essential oils

Essential oils have so many uses in a non toxic home. You can use them to make natural household cleaners, get rid of bugs, and make the house smell nice. On top of that, a 2012 study found that essential oils can purify indoor air by stopping the growth of airborne bacteria.

One of the best ways to diffuse essential oils inside your home is via an ultrasonic diffuser. With this nifty device, you can get the air cleaning benefits of essential oils without having to worry about naked flames or the soot and smoke from a tea light candle.

Try activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a popular water purifier and is now even in things like toothpaste and facial cleansers. Because of its toxin removing effects, activated charcoal can also help clean the air inside your home.

You can hang linen or burlap packets of activated charcoal all around the house to absorb unpleasant odours, dehumidify the air, and eliminate VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These are particularly useful in removing musty smells from bathrooms, storage areas, and cars.

Use a himalayan salt lamp to help filter air at home
Use a himalayan salt lamp to help filter air at home

Plug in a salt lamp

Like beeswax candles, Himalayan pink salt lamps are said to release negative ions that act as air purifiers. These beautiful chunks of crystallised salt are heated from inside by a small bulb, which activates their “toxin neutralising” effects.

But, again, the claim that Himalayan salt lamps can clean indoor air remains unverified. This doesn’t mean, however, that these lamps don’t work. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence out there that salt lamps can remove allergens from the air and even boost people’s moods.

Burn beeswax candles

If you like to burn candles in your home, choose beeswax candles. Paraffin candles are derived from petroleum and could release byproducts into the air. Good quality beeswax candles, on the other hand, are made from natural ingredients. They burn clean with practically no scent or smoke.

There are claims that beeswax candles can clean indoor air. This is supposedly because they release negative ions that bind with airborne particles (positively charged ions), causing them to get heavier and drop to the ground. Bear in mind that this claim hasn’t been independently verified. Still, if you’re going to enjoy the soft glow of candles in your home, go for beeswax instead of paraffin.

How do you filter air at home? Please share your tips in the comments below.

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Should You Avoid Caffeine When Breastfeeding?

Do coffee and breastfeeding mix? If you’re a new mum (or are about to become one), you may be wondering if it’s safe to continue brewing your daily cup(s) of coffee—or if you should avoid caffeine at all costs while you’re nursing.

First off, no need to panic. You’re not alone in this. Mums everywhere rely on caffeine every day to stay awake, focus, and get things done.

Let’s start with how much caffeine is safe when you’re not breastfeeding. According to the experts, between 300 and 400 mg of caffeine daily is okay for most people. That’s roughly 3 or 4 cups of coffee. But when you’re nursing, you have to take baby’s health into account as well.

breastfeeding and caffeine

How does caffeine affect your baby’s health?

This depends on a bunch of things, including the amount of caffeine you ingest, how your body absorbs it, how old your baby is, and whether or not you’re a smoker. Normally, about 1% of caffeine makes it into your breastmilk. The level of caffeine in breastmilk is highest about an hour after you consume something caffeinated.

For nonsmokers, caffeine usually stays in the body for about 12 hours. In newborn infants, however, it can take between 4 to 8 days before caffeine is completely broken down. Because newborns metabolise caffeine at such a slow rate, there’s concern that it causes harm while it accumulates in their bodies. Babies can become jittery, irritable, colicky, constipated, have trouble sleeping, and show other signs of caffeine stimulation.

Caffeine hasn’t been shown to affect milk supply. But if it makes your baby cranky and gives him tummy trouble, he may not feed well. Decreased nursing could lead to a decrease in milk supply over time.

If you’re big on coffee, here’s something else to consider. Studies have noted that the chlorogenic acids in coffee could decrease the iron content of breastmilk, which could result in iron deficiency anaemia in the nursing baby.

How much caffeine can you have when breastfeeding?

The usual recommendation is to limit caffeine intake to no more than 300 mg a day while breastfeeding. This is especially important during baby’s first few months, when he is unable to break down caffeine easily.

If you’re nursing a premmie or an ill infant, you should cut back your caffeine intake even more. This is also true if you haven’t given up smoking, which compounds the effects of caffeine. If you notice bub gets especially fussy after you’ve had caffeine, try to cut it out from your diet for a week or two to see if there’s a change in his behaviour.

Keep in mind that aside from coffee, soft drinks, and tea, there are many other significant sources of caffeine. Check out our handy guide for the amounts of caffeine in common foods and drinks.

What to drink instead of caffeinated drinks?

Water, milk, unsweetened fresh juices, and other non caffeinated drinks are preferable. Not only do these provide good hydration, they also offer vitamins and minerals you need when nursing.

Herbal teas are a great alternative to coffee. We recommend these caffeine free infusions:

  • Pukka Tea Motherkind Baby – a delicious blend of fennel seed, shatavari, aniseed, lemongrass, and turmeric; helps with breastfeeding, reduces breast inflammation, supports the immune system, and even aids digestion
  • Weleda Nursing Tea – a delightful mix of fenugreek, fennel seed, caraway seed, and lemon verbena; supports lactation and soothes digestion for both mum and bub
  • Mama Body Tea Mama’s Milk – nourishing fenugreek, fennel seed, aniseed, caraway seed, spearmint, goat’s rue herb, and marshmallow root; promotes healthy milk flow
  • Mama Body Tea Baby Bliss – a soothing blend of fennel seed, chamomile, caraway seed, and aniseed; eases symptoms of colic, wind, or teething; works on grownups, too

Disclaimer: Please consult your health care practitioner before drinking any type of herbal tea during pregnancy and while nursing.

Do you avoid caffeine while breastfeeding? If yes, how do you kick your coffee cravings? Please share your tips in the comments below.

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Should You Avoid Caffeine When Breastfeeding?

Calendula: How Many Ways Can This Miracle Herb Help You?

calendula the miracle herb

Because of its cheerful yellow and orange flowers, calendula is a popular addition to home gardens and lawns. But did you know that this gorgeous herb is also a valuable medicinal plant?

For centuries, people have been using calendula (Calendula officinalis) not only ornamentally, but also for ceremonial, culinary, and medicinal purposes. You can toss calendula petals in your salads and use it to dye fabrics. It can also help regulate your period, reduce fever, treat nappy rash, and may even discourage cancer.

What is calendula?

Calendula is also known as pot marigold. This isn’t the same as the annual marigold plant (genus Tagetes) usually found in vegetable and herb gardens, though they do look very similar. Calendula is native to the Mediterranean, western Europe, and some parts of Asia, but is now grown all over the world.

Calendula contains powerful flavonoids that protect cells from free radical damage. It also has anti inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti tumor properties. Studies have found that  calendula helps wounds and exposed ulcers heal faster, possibly by promoting new tissue growth.

calendula the miracle herb

What is calendula good for?

Ancient cultures used calendula to cure stomach issues and ease menstrual cramps. Today, it is used mainly to treat and speed up the healing of skin conditions. It also:

  • Heals minor burns, wounds, cuts, and sores
  • Treats skin irritations, acne, eczema, and insect bites
  • Heals nappy rash
  • Fights gum inflammation, cavities, and mouth bacteria
  • Stops nosebleeds
  • Treats conjunctivitis, sore throat, and ear infections
  • Reduces fever
  • Calms muscle spasms
  • Reduces varicose veins and haemorrhoids
  • Heals stomach ulcers
  • Reduces skin inflammation in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy

How to use calendula

Nowadays, calendula is usually applied to skin instead of taken by mouth. The exceptions are calendula teas and the small amounts of calendula in homeopathic remedies.

Calendula is also available in creams, salves, oils, ointments, and other skincare products. Teas, tinctures, and infusions can be made from dried or fresh calendula flowers. 

Safety precautions

Calendula is considered safe to use on skin. However, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should first consult with your healthcare practitioner.

If you are allergic to other members of the daisy family (such as chamomile and ragweed), you might also be sensitive to calendula. If so, use calendula with caution.

Before taking calendula by mouth, consult with your doctor. Calendula may interact with sedatives and with medications for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Product suggestions

Weleda harnesses the skin calming and healing powers of calendula in its Calendula range for delicate baby skin.

The Weleda Calendula Baby Care line includes Cream Bath, Lotion, Nappy Change Cream, Baby Oil, Face Cream, and Shampoo and Body Wash. The entire range is 100% natural, organic and biodynamic and contains organic calendula extract from Weleda’s own Biodynamic gardens.

Weleda also has a Calendula Toothpaste perfect for soothing sensitive gums.

Care to try calendula in tea? The Tea Tonic Well Being Tea is a refreshing blend of calendula, spearmint, and alfalfa. Great for digestion, it also helps enhance health and restores your natural balance.

Hello Charlie stocks Weleda’s Calendula range and other calendula based products. Shop them here.

 

 

Have you used calendula products or taken calendula tea? What are your favourites?

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Calendula: How Many Ways Can This Miracle Herb Help You?