Isn't it the absolute truth that nothing in the world can prepare you for your baby's arrival? In my case it was babies, and my 25 year old self thought it was all going to be calm and lovely, amazing and beautiful when the twins arrived - well let me tell you that it was all of those things... eventually!
It was also scary, heart wrenching, confusing and tiring - you're functioning to survive and make sure your babies have all they need - at least from what you can figure out!
It all comes around eventually, and the calm settles in. You realize those tired eyes of yours may be here to stay for a decade or so, your coffee intake may forever be cold, your showers are far and few between but those beautiful eyes and smiles are obsessed with you and you are obsessed right back! You start figuring out exactly when you can get some shut eye, feeding is working out well, and your new normal starts to set in. Life as you know it has been changed forever, and you wouldn't change that for anything in the world.
My story looked like this: the babes were born full term and teeny tiny. My long and skinny son was flashed at me quickly and whisked away to the NICU where we would learn he needed a blood transfusion, a feeding tube and a ventilator to start his hours in this world. Our thoughts were "Yes, ok, whatever needs to be done". The ventilator came off, his skin went from ghostly white to pinkish. His feeding was long an issue and the little guy needed us to help him get the food in. Everyone's normal is different, and this was ours. After we were all released together, off we went, my husband and I and two little babies.
I dedicated every living hour of my life to making sure they were eating, sleeping and that everything was done "by the book". But little did I know that there was no book, no parenting manual attached, no rules, no regulation, no real tips or tricks just advice from one parent to another.
As some point on this journey we have all surely been on the edge of our seat sitting in the Emerg perhaps for a rash you're sure is nothing to worry about, or a fever you think has lasted too long. Dr. Google is great at making us question our common sense, and when it's your first baby everything outside the "norm" is scary and seems life threatening!
Although these situations arouse your adrenaline for a few hours, nothing got me more than looking for baby products to use on my babies clean skin, potential rashes, to wipe their bums with, bathe them with and help a cold or virus. I remember in my pregnancy spending hours working on our Baby Shower register and choosing products we couldn't wait to use. Most of them however had labels and ingredients that seemed excessive and unpronounceable. Cautiously we went for what we thought were the cleanest of the unknown ingredients and started there!
A Journey to Holistic Wellness
After a bout of eczema, my babe was given a steroid cream and prescribed to rub it all over his eczema, and cover with Vaseline to keep it in - insert mama bear radar and sound the alarms - this just didn't sound right to me. Then my daughter developed agonizing constipation. The prescription: a type of laxative for her tiny body to force the poop out for her (insert mama bear radar and sound the alarms) because again this just didn't sound right to me! After many visits with doctors and pediatricians looking for answers, nobody could tell me WHY my children had these mild issues. The answer was always a prescription.
This sent me on a mission and in turn opened my eyes to the products that we were using on our children.
Mass market products - they are on the shelf, how bad can they be, right? WRONG! With the help of my Naturopathic doctor, some minor changes to our routine, both the eczema and constipation went away. NO KIDDING!?
Learning how to read labels on products and looking for natural alternatives became my mission for my children, my family, and now, my patients.
The parenting struggle is real, the need to make the best possible decisions for your babies health is real. To be clear: I'm not speaking out against pharmaceuticals and medical doctors. In fact I love our Medical doctor and Pediatrician. We see them annually for our check ups, and their opinion are invaluable. There is a time and a need for pharmaceuticals.
Being aware of your family's wellness and making mindful informed choices is what I advocate.
We all come from different backgrounds, and everyone's parenting book is written differently, but one thing we share in common is the need to be the best for our kids and to keep their little bodies at an optimal health stage. If there is one thing I have learned in my journey to wellness, it is that it never stops!
I've spent the last 5 years researching, studying, learning, and using the natural products on the market, as well as making my own.
My patients always ask "How much will it impact the finances?" and the answer is usually "It won't". In fact, it may even be cheaper to use chemical free, natural options on your children rather than some of the overpriced products on the market.
As much as I sometimes hate to admit it, the opinions of my mom and grandma were right - what's wrong with some good old extra virgin olive oil on a baby's bum?
After countless lectures and textbooks, I still walk through health food stores appalled by how much of it is nonexistent in our regular supermarkets, and most importantly how much of the information is simply unavailable. I'm here to teach you how to read the labels on your products, show you some good product alternatives (perhaps hiding in your pantry and kitchen) and help you learn how to make mindful decisions for your family! Bring your fave baby product to the Mom and Baby Social on December 5th and I'll bring mine, and we can discuss in mommy fashion!
Abaton Integrative Medicine
Thank you to our guest blogger Martina.