Several times a month, I receive a message similar to the one below.
"Hey, can you give me more info on what essential oils you use? I've never gotten involved due to so much info from all the multi-level marketing companies out there. It seems like every time I'm searching for resources it's hidden by a MLM masking as real info."
- Nashville, TN
I have been using essential oils in my home for years, long before they were mainstream. I've also been through several trainings on essential oils by Aromahead Institute and Vintage Remedies. In the last 3-4 years, brands like DoTerra and Young Living have brought a much needed spotlight to benefits of essential oils. However, the multi-level marketing aspect can be a turn off for some people, including myself.
These are my thoughts on essential oils.
1. A little goes a long way. Just because they are natural doesn't mean you can be careless with them.
2. Use them in the air or diluted on the skin but never internally.
3. Quality essential oils don't have to cost a fortune.
So, to answer the question above....
I use oils from Plant Therapy. They are a private company with oils available directly from their website or on Amazon. There is no sales person to go through. They have a fantastic blog and Facebook group where you can learn a lot. They are backed by Robert Tisserand (the father of aromatherapy in the USA). In fact, he helped them create a line of KidSafe essential oils. Their prices are very affordable, they always offer free shipping, and they were just approved by the USDA as Certified Organic.
Even though Plant Therapy has become my go-to essential oil company, there are several other quality non-MLM companies that I would purchase from including
INFO TO GET STARTED
Next up, here is a list of my favorite essential oils.
If you are just getting started in essential oils and have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. They are a wonderful and affordable alternative to prescription medications with non-toxic effects for your home when used properly.
*This post contains affiliate links.
As a doula, I'm often asked for recommendations at various stages of pregnancy.
Now, you can find all of my top recommended resources in one place. I'll be adding more products and items to the list so bookmark this page and check back often.
I'm so excited to introduce you to WINK. I've been following the progress on this revolutionary device since December 2014 and I was lucky enough to be a Beta Tester in April 2016. The product is set to launch later this month and it is revolutionizing women's health.
Whether you want to get pregnant faster, avoid pregnancy naturally and effectively*, or better understand your cycles, Wink is here to help.
Wink will accurately record your basal body temperature up to 4x faster than other fertility thermometers and automatically sync your temperature to the Kindara app. Better data means you can take better ownership of your reproductive health and achieve your fertility goal with greater ease.
FERTILITY AWARENESS METHOD (FAM)
Wink syncs automatically with the Kindara app, which is a tool for tracking all of the information used in the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). Your body gives 2 primary signs when you are at your most fertile time. Your resting temperature rises and your cervical fluid changes. Wink captures your temp easily and automatically.
TRYING TO CONCEIVE (TTC)
I used FAM to conceive my daughter back in 2006 and we were pregnant right away. In fact, we were also using FAM combined with the Shettle's method in hopes of conceiving a girl and we did. In order for the Shettle's method to work, you need to be able to pinpoint your ovulation date, which is a breeze if you are already tracking your fertility signs.
TRYING TO AVOID PREGNANCY (TTA)
No hormones, no side effects. I love that I can use the same method to avoid pregnancy. It helps me to know my most fertile time of the month so that I can avoid sex or use an alternative barrier method of protection.
When used correctly, Kindara and Wink together can be as effective as the pill, patch, or ring when avoiding pregnancy.*
*Kindara is based on the Fertility Awareness Method, which has been shown to be 99.4% effective when avoiding pregnancy if fertility data is collected and interpreted correctly.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FERTILITY AWARENESS METHOD
LEARN MORE ABOUT WINK
If you are hoping to get pregnant or you want to avoid pregnancy without hormones, Wink is the way to go!
If you have any questions about Wink, Kindara, or the Fertility Awareness Method, please do not hesitate to ask. I absolutely love the freedom it has provided and the information it tells me about my body.
There are several components to a successful postpartum recovery but nutrition and rest play a huge part. We now have services that will deliver groceries and meals right to your door, which make it simple and easy to get healthy foods into your home.
Meal delivery services make fantastic gifts or maybe you will want to try them out for yourself, like me! Also, Mother's Day is coming up very soon (hint hint).
Shipt is available in several major cities nationwide where Publix stores are available. You place your grocery order via the Shipt app, their shoppers pick up the items and deliver them to your door. Monthly and annual memberships are available but the grocery prices are very similar to what you would pay in store. You SAVE in gas, time, and impulse purchases!
I've been using Shipt for 6 months and I absolutely love it! I can add items to my cart as I think of them throughout the week or make a full order while sitting on the couch during commercial breaks. They also have a special category with all of the sale items for that week that you can take advantage of. It even saves your past items to make for easy repeat ordering in the future.
You can sign up here to try it free for 2 weeks and receive a $10 grocery credit.
MEET HOME CHEF
Home Chef is amazing! They deliver pre-portioned fresh ingredients and a recipe card for fabulous tasting dishes that are quick and easy to prepare. They are currently shipping their refrigerated boxes Coast to Coast. I love the variety of meals they have to choose from each week. It takes all of the guess work out of preparing dinner. The recipe hunting, meal planning, shopping, and measuring. Because they send exact quantities for each recipe, it even makes clean up a breeze! I did a cost comparison between Home Chef and purchasing the items at my local Publix and found that Home Chef actually comes out less expensive! You just can't beat it.
When you sign up here you will save $30 off your first order!
I love Home Chef so much that I want to share the experience with one of you. I'm giving away a week of Home Chef meals to one lucky winner. Enter below via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be contacted next week via email. Good luck!
I'll admit. I'm a sucker for pregnancy progression photos. It's fascinating to me how a woman's body shapes and changes to adapt to growing a little human. Here are my top 5 favorite belly videos starting with a new one I came across this week.
Below is a video that shows what's actually going on inside with a woman's internal organs during pregnancy.
Bottom line. Our bodies our amazing!
Postpartum practices in the United States are quite different than other countries around the world. Here, mothers are encouraged to be up and active and get back to their routine pretty quickly while European and South American countries hold pretty strict to a lying-in period where the mother's main goal is rest and recuperation. The care provider for mom is most likely a close female relative but, often times, she is a professional who comes to the home daily for several weeks as a part of their standard postpartum care module.
In the U.S. many women live in a different city than their family members. Their mom or sister may come to help for a week or so but then must return to her own family. This is where postpartum doulas come in to fill the gap. These women are trained to care for the entire family during the postpartum period also known as the 4th trimester, a crucial time for healing, bonding, and establishing breastfeeding.
Care for MOM
A doula's primary role is to ensure that the mother is progressing in her recovery. A postpartum doula allows mom to rest and ensures that she is receiving healthy meals to promote healing. It's also important that mom receives emotional support as well. Having a trusted professional to confide in or ask questions can go a long way in building mom's confidence as a new parent.
Hop on over to Mommy Market to read the full post and learn how a doula can help care for mom, baby, the family and the home.
Pregnant? You deserve a doula.
"Wait. A what?"
A doula is a birth professional who serves women through pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. They don't perform medical procedures but are in invaluable source of information, emotional support, and physical comfort for the expectant mother and her partner. Research shows that having the continuous support of a doula improves birth outcomes and lowers the need for Pitocin, Cesareans, and NICU admissions. Having a doula can even reduce your labor time. In fact, doulas have been shown to reduce costs so significantly that some insurance and HSA plans are now covering their services.
How many times during pregnancy have you wondered "is this normal?" Many women want to call their doctor's office but don't want to appear silly. Wouldn't it be great if you had a trusted professional you could call who felt more like a friend? Doulas are very familiar with pregnancy, birth & babies but their relationship with families is more like a trusted confidant.
Hop on over to Mommy Market to read the full post and learn how a doula can help at every stage of pregnancy, birth & the postpartum period.
This past weekend I was privileged to teach at Nashville's 3rd annual Empower Your Birth Conference. Here's a quick recap from the class I taught on Cesarean Recovery tips.
Did you know that C-Sections are the most commonly performed surgical procedure in America? It's true. One in three women will experience a surgical delivery. This routine procedure is not without risks. Because it has become so commonplace, the recovery experience is often swept under the rug. If you had any other major abdominal surgery, you would be sent home with strict instructions on how to rest and recover. With a C-Section, you are sent home with a tiny human to nourish and care for instead. These tips in 5 different areas can help you heal faster.
1. SCAR CARE
I hope you have found these tips helpful whether you are just collecting information or you've recently been through a Cesarean Section. Hugs to you mama!
*affiliate links included
It's here! Nashville's 3rd annual birth conference is happening THIS weekend. I will be speaking at 11 am and I would love to see you there.
This event has something for everyone!
Want to learn more about this amazing event? Hope on over to their Facebook page or website and check out all of the amazing perks this conference has to offer.
Register today and save $20 off your ticket with code 4thebabies. If you would like to attend, but finances are holding you back, please reach out and let me know. I do not want you to miss this!
See you Saturday.
Would you believe that my very first doula baby was born on Leap Day? It's true. In honor of her very first real birthday (she's technically 4), I'm reposting her birth story. Happy birthday, little one!
I just helped my 1st official client as a doula and it was nothing short of spectacular. Seriously, I don't know how a birth can get much better than this one. I am downright giddy with the details. First, this mom is also a friend of mine who has been encouraging me to pursue my doula training way before she was pregnant with this baby. She asked me to be present at this birth before I was even actively pursing my certification and I was so honored to be trusted and welcomed for their experience. Secondly, this mama chose to deliver at The Farm, which is world renowned. I was literally star struck the first time I visited for her prenatal appointments. Thirdly, this mamma trusted her body and this process from the very beginning. I love that she was eating healthy and geting chiropractic adjustments regularly. She started acupuncture in the last few weeks and waited for her body to go into labor on its own without interventions despite the fact that she was 42 weeks, 1 day. Based on her previous pregnancy, I'm convinced that she just takes a little longer to grow her babies. The fact that she delivered a perfectly healthy, average-sized baby is proof. Finally, this was a Leap Day baby! It was such a memorable day to begin with and now will be one that I will never forget. In fact, this momma had picked February 29th as her guess date from the very beginning. I'm a huge fan of mother's intuition. Sometimes, we just KNOW!
Mom called me about 2:30 having regular contractions but they were just starting to get uncomfortable. She texted me at 4:15 that they were consistently 10 mins apart and painful. I am an hour and a half from The Farm so I decided to make my way down there. I arrived at 6:30. Mom said they were now 7 mins a part. I watched her for a few contractions and she was handling them beautifully. She was making good noises and coping well. She commented several times how much better natural labor was versus being induced in the hospital like her last birth. She ate a few bites of dinner and I noticed that her contractions seemed to be coming a little closer at this point. She timed a few and they were indeed now 5 mins apart. She decided she would take a shower and then try to lie down and rest. I could hear that the contractions were definitely getting closer together. Mom was still jubilant so I changed into some comfy clothes and got out my journal.
Mom tried to sleep but called for me to be with her about 10 minutes later. She was still doing well with the contractions, making good noises, and squeezing my hand. Things were definitely picking up and she decided she was ready for the tub so I started making calls to her midwife. The backup midwife called us back and said she was on her way. I gave an update on mom's contractions (4-5 mins a part & lasting over a minute) and she decided she would call for the midwife who lives next door to come check on us. Mom could no longer lie down so we got her changed into her swim top and moved to the floor on hands & knees with the birthing ball. At this point, she was needing some counter pressure on her back and I was happy to oblige.
The next-door midwife arrived and checked mom who was now having contractions about 2-3 minutes apart. She was "very open, dear" with a bulging bag of water. The midwife began to get everything set up and gently prepare mom that she may have this baby before the tub arrived. Mom's water broke. Dad had just gotten their son to sleep in the next room and came in. The backup midwife also arrived around this time. When mom said she didn't think she could do this without the tub, we all looked at each other and grinned (this was a good sign as far as transition is concerned). We gave her some verbal reassurance that she was doing fantastic because she absolutely was. She had a good rhythm and ritual (rocking, vocalizing), was generally content (aside from wanting the birth tub), and clearly communicating what she needed. Mom commented that with her last birth this is where she got stuck because she was scarred but "I'm not scarred this time." This statement made me swell with pride. I always say that knowledge is power and this momma was using all the information she had gleaned in the last few months to overcome her fears. ♥
With my hands on her back, I could feel her tailbone expanding and I told mom that baby was definitely on the move down. Mom started to sound a little "grunty" and the midwife gave her verbal confirmation that she could push if she wanted to. Three pushes later, at 9:17 p.m., she delivered her baby. Mom had chosen not to have an ultrasound during her pregnancy so the gender was a surprise. Dad announced that they now have a new baby GIRL!
We helped mom and baby get skin-to-skin up to the bed. Mom is euphoric and says "that really wasn't that hard." I think the fact that she was mentally prepared and had such a joyous attitude had a lot to do with that! At this point, her primary midwife arrived. Sometime later, Dad cut the cord. We all stood around oohing and ahhing and talking about how fast everything happened. We watched mom and dad both fall instantly in love with their daughter. Eventually baby was ready to nurse and had a great latch. Baby nursed for a good long while and then they took her weight and length and gently did her newborn exam. Dad did some skin-to-skin while they checked mom again and helped her get settled. We left with mom and dad snuggled into bed with their precious baby. *swoon*
I had been wondering for weeks how I would handle my role as a doula. Hands down, this was the most amazing experience ever! I was never anxious and felt very calm. I was very trusting of mom's ability and the entire process. I felt like I was recognizing all the right signs as far as how fast this labor was progressing, which was reassuring. I felt I was able to read mom's body language to be able to determine when contractions were beginning and ending. This was all confirmation that I have been learning the right things and retaining that information. I loved how knowledgeable the midwives were knowing exactly what mom needed and how she was doing without constant monitoring. I especially loved how she didn't use a number when she checked her and allowed mom to stay on hands and knees to deliver. They just worked around whatever mom thought was best. I adored how this family was allowed as much time as they needed to bond (2 hours) before they began the full postnatal check. Even then, they were very, very gentle and baby never fussed. In fact, from the time she was born until I left 3 hours later, I only heard her cry one sweet, short cry. There is something to be said for babies who are born peacefully.
Overall, I had the best possible client delivering under the most ideal circumstances at the most birth-friendly location on the most memorable day of the year. It was a literally a Dream. Come. True. (!!!!)