We are constantly bombarded by articles warning us of the dangers of everyday toxins in our home. As a busy mama, you may not have time to make homemade products or even time to do the research to figure out what to buy instead. I have been in both situations over the years and this article is just for you.
Below you will find 8 quick and easy switches I've made in my own home over the last few years. Here are my criteria when selecting pre-purchased natural products.
Many of these products are also eligible for Subscribe & Save so they can be delivered automatically to your door on whatever schedule you set up. It's one of my new favorite life hacks!
NOTE: I absolutely love Grab Green products. If you are hesitant to try a full size package, I'd suggest this hand soap and sample pack. This gives you an opportunity to try out several of their products.
When switching to natural products, I encourage families to take it one product at a time. It has literally taken me years to find products that work for us and switch over. But these products and tried and true and I feel a lot better about the amount of toxins my family is exposed to. Next on my list is to tackle fabric softener and dryer sheets. I'm planning to give these wool dryer balls a shot. What's next on your list? What are your favorite natural products? Comment below.
*Affiliate Links Included
Thanks to the mild winter we had, ticks are BAD this year! Here's a quick, easy, and all natural tick spray that's safe for you and your dogs.
Combine all into a spray bottle and shake well before each use.
I purchase my essential oils direct from Plant Therapy. They are quality oils at an affordable price and free shipping in the US. They are also available on Amazon Prime (yes!!!) If you are new to essential oils, please check out my post on Getting Started with [non-MLM] Essential Oils.
Last week I pulled waaaaay to many teeny tiny ticks off my dog. We had also found a few here and there on myself and my daughter. It's just part of living on our new farm, I suppose, but since we've been using this spray I haven't found another tick. I spray the dog's feet once in the morning and again in the afternoon. I've also been using it on myself, my husband, and our daughter's shoes before we go outside. It works really well!
UPDATE: Now the we live on a farm we are outside constantly and I got tired of remembering to spray ourselves each time we went out. I found an alternative that's been great - RAW AMBER! I bought a bracelet for me, a collar for my dog, and an anklet for my daughter. We still see ticks (that's just the nature of living on a farm) but none of them have bitten us. It's been amazing and super easy.
*affiliate links included
I get asked a lot for book recommendations for before pregnancy and beyond. These are top of my list! All of these books are available in the nYn Lending Library or you can purchase them from Amazon by clicking on the pictures below.
Knowing how to chart your cycle is crucial for getting pregnancy quickly. It's also possible to use your charts to determine potential problems. These first two books are amazing! Dr. Shettle's book is also very insightful and can be fun if you are trying for one sex or the other. I successfully used this method to have my girl!
I love this first book because it has lots of pictures. The second encompasses so much information and is also rather colorful. The 3rd book really should be required reading.
If you want facts about pregnancy and stats about birth in America so you can make your own choices, this first book is for you. However, if you don't read any other book during pregnancy I would highly recommend The Birth Partner. It's basically a textbook for birth and has great suggestions for labor. Ina May's book is a combo of empowering birth stories and a crash course in childbirth. I love it!
These books are basically the gold standard for breastfeeding and a must for every nursing mother. Another favorite resource is KellyMom.com!
I wish someone had given me Elizabeth Pantley's book when I was pregnant. There's a lot of great information about infant sleep patterns that I wish I had known in advance. The vaccine book is very informative and there are some awesome techniques in this last book for soothing littles.
It's always fun to look back at the previous year and reflect upon the many families that I was honored to support. In 2016, I attended 11 births and served 3 postpartum families. Here's a glance at my birth doula stats.
I was also curious to see what information you found most helpful on our website. Here's a quick look back at the top posts for 2016.
I am looking forward to what 2017 will bring. If you are expecting, reach out today to secure a doula. Our schedules are filling up fast!
Cold & Flu season is here once again and many are looking for an alternative to the flu shot, which has historically had a low effective rate. In fact, for 2016-2017, the CDC is advising AGAINST the use of the nasal mist due to concerns of effectiveness.
Here are my top recommendations for natural immunity boosters, vitamins, and supplements that have been scientifically shown to fight the flu virus. These items are suitable for both adults and children. For this reason, you will find that most of these items are in liquid or chewable form.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. I have included links to scientific research that you may read for more information.
Prevention is the best cure. Stock up now!
2. Vitamins - Vitamin D, C, and zinc can be taken daily or when symptomatic to decrease upper respiratory infections, fight viruses, shorten cold symptoms by 40%, and reduce antibiotic use.
5. Essential Oils - If you are brand new to essential oils, check out my getting started post. During the winter months, we diffuse Germ Fighter and Immune Booster every night while we sleep. This diffuser is simple to use and includes a night light as well as a timer. Simply place a few drops of your essential oil into the water and turn it on. You can also purchase pre-diluted roll ons to take with you on the go to rub on your wrists or neck.
Here's to staying happy and healthy the natural way this winter!
*Amazon affiliate links included.
In case you missed it last week, the Erin Brockovich chemical has been found in drinking water ALL ACROSS AMERICA. The dangers of chromium-6 were brought to light in 1993. It's now 23 years later and the government has failed to limit the amounts found in our drinking water.
In my area of Nashville, it was found as high as .167 when the safe level is .02. That's a HUGE amount considering that this chemical has been known to cause cancer even in small amounts. Check chromium-6 levels in your area.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be held accountable and pressured to set regulations for our national safety. Here's a quick and easy way to make your voice heard. Please take 15 seconds to sign this petition from the Environmental Working Group.
This is scary stuff and you may be wondering how you can remove this cancer-causing chemical from your drinking water.
3 Filters That Remove Chromium-6
I've just learned about ZeroWater Filters but I'm excited about them. You can read their most recent press release which discusses their system certification regarding Chromium-6.
Don't forget to sign the petition to make your voice heard! We deserve better and the EPA needs to be held to making higher nationwide safety standards.
*Amazon affiliate links included
1 cup fresh elderberries (double for dried berries)
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cinnamon stick
DIRECTIONS | Remove berries from stems. Add berries and water to a stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain off berries and cinnamon stick with cheesecloth. Add honey to elderberry juice and mix well. Add to a jar and refrigerate.
1. This will yield about 16 ounces.
2. I have successfully kept mine in the fridge for up to 3 months.
3. A trick to removing the fresh berries is to freeze them, then shake off the berries.
4. Remove as much of the bark as you can but the little straggly stuff is okay.
5. I prefer to make a big batch at once using 4 cups berries (double for dried), 4 cups water, 1 cup honey, 1 cinnamon stick.
WHERE TO BUY | I am privileged enough to have wild elderberries growing on my parent's property but you can also buy dried elderberries that have already been removed from the stem. Links below.*
Raw Honey - It would be preferred to find local, raw honey (check your farmer's market)
DOSAGE | It is recommended to take 1 Tablespoon per day as preventative maintenance. In times of illness you can take up to 4 Tablespoons per day.
Nashville is equipped with a wide variety of birth professionals including those trained to assist families with the loss of a child. I'm so thankful for these professionals and the resources they can provide to families who have experienced the loss of their baby either in utero or at term. Here's a current list of what's available to our Middle TN families.
If you or someone you know experiences a loss, please contact the number above to reach a Baby Loss Family Advisor. They will help you find the resources you need. They can even meet with a family at home or in the hospital to discuss options and help you in this journey. They also have a Cuddle Cot available that can be used to provide additional time with the baby before saying goodbye. This is a free service that is provided on a volunteer basis.
Sharing Middle TN meets once per month at Centennial Women's Center. Please view their support schedule or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group is open to anyone and is free to attend.
Kate Cropp provides lactation support free of charge to loss mamas. You can contact her at Kate@nashvillebirthandbabies.com.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep offers the gift of remembrance through photography. We have several photographers available in Middle TN. Please call the dispatch line at 931-452-9859 to be matched with a volunteer photographer.
These women provide birth support as well as loss services. If you are still pregnant and have experienced a loss, please contact 1-844-4-LOSS and they can help connect you to a birth doula with this area of expertise.
If you know of other professionals who offer loss services, please contact me and let me know so that I can add them to this list.
Nashville Cesarean Rate By Hospital - Data Current as of August 2016 and compared to September 2015.
Vanderbilt University - 31.1% (up 1.1% )
St. Thomas Midtown - 30.8% (down 3.2%)
TriStar Centennial - 34.5% (down 1.5%)
Williamson Medical Center - 32.0% (up 6.0%)
TriStar Hendersonville - 41.7% (4.7%)
TriStar Summit - 22.3% (down 8.7%)
St. Thomas Rutherford - 23.4 % (down 8.6%)
Please note: The information on this site is derived from hospitals’ voluntary submissions of The Leapfrog Hospital Survey. For more survey results, visit: http://www.leapfroggroup.org/compare-hospitals
Click here to see our 2015 Nashville Cesarean Rate Infographic.
Are you looking for a Nashville Doula? Meet the nYn team and learn more about how we can serve you at your next birth
As the cost of insurance and maternity riders continues to sky-rocket, many are looking for alternative solutions to save on healthcare costs.
Enter healthcare sharing plans.
Did you know that the cost for cash-paying patients is often up to 90% less expensive than those with insurance? I learned this the hard way last year after being stuck with a $13K insurance bill that would have been $2K without insurance. Cash-pay really is the way to go!
I have since dropped my insurance plan and switched to Christian Healthcare Ministries.
They also have maternity plans that will cover both midwife expenses and hospital charges. A story in their most recent newsletter is from a family who was charged $15K for their first child's delivery in a hospital, compared to only $3K for the delivery of their 2nd child using CHM. Plus, the $3K was reimbursed through the health-sharing plan! You can check out more maternity sharing stories on their website (click on each picture to expand the details).
Here's a snapshot of what the CHM maternity coverage looks like on their 3 different plan levels.
For maternity care, this is excellent coverage. You can also see below that their monthly plan costs are also quite affordable. I'm currently on the Silver Plan.
One key thing to remember when purchasing maternity coverage with CHM is that you must have an estimated delivery date of 300 days after you sign up, so you would not be eligible for benefits if you registered after becoming pregnant. There are a few other guidelines for signing up for the plan that you can learn about here.
If you decide that Christian Healthcare Ministries is right for you, please mention my Member ID at signup #234256, as referring new members helps me to save on my healthcare costs.
**UPDATE: Many have asked about home birth. I received a newsletter today, which confirms that that home birth charges can be shared under the Gold Plan. You can also share up to $2,500 in midwife charges under the Silver plan.
View the complete CHM Maternity Guide
Staci Bishop, CD, HCHD