Cuts & Scrapes & Bruises, Oh My!



Do you have a “Kamakaze” Kid? My little guy is actually quite cautious, but the little girl I babysit, is downright daring and indestructible (mostly). Scrapes and bruises are a part of everyday life. Honestly, there are times I’d like to strap her into a baby carrier and avoid the pain that will otherwise ensue… but I resist restricting her freedom… and keep the Arnical Gel handy.

Whether your child is adventurous or cautious, there are still plenty of opportunities to get scraped up. While there are many over the counter remedies to clean cuts, reduce swelling, prevent infection and promote healing there are twice as many natural remedies which accomplish the same thing. Nature really does take good care of us.

Here are 10 natural remedies for minor injuries:

1. Witch hazel. This plant is actually a deciduous shrub and the bark and leaves are an astringent which can be used to disinfectant to clean skin. It’s also commonly used to treat sore muscles and swollen tissue.

2. Aloe vera is a common treatment for sunburns and rashes. A succulent plant grown in warm, tropical climates, it protects and moisturizes the skin.

3. Arnical Gel, which comes from Arnica, a perennial in the sunflower family, is excellent for treating muscle aches and bruising.

4. Raw garlic. Despite the very unique and potentially unpleasant aroma, garlic cloves can be used to disinfect cuts and scrapes. It’s an antiseptic.

5. Yarrow leaves, when dried and ground into a powder, can be uses to disinfect cuts and scrapes and to stop the bleeding.

6. Lavender essential oil, when combined and diluted by jojoba oil or olive oil, relieves pain, burns and bee stings.

7. Tea tree essential oil, when diluted with jojoba or olive oil, is an antiseptic and antibiotic. It is great for cleaning minor cuts.

8. Thyme essential oil, when diluted with a base oil like olive or jojoba has both antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Use it to clean minor cuts and scrapes and to soothe bruised and sore muscles.

9. Castor oil can be used to treat bruising and reduce swelling.

10. Calendula oil or lotion is used to soothe rashes and minor scrapes.

In addition to these natural remedies, homeopathic remedies can be designed to treat swelling and bruising and flower essences can be used to reduce stress and alleviate shock symptoms. Mother Nature has provides you with a number of first aid remedies. You can create your own natural first aid kit today and take advantage of all nature has to offer.

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Breastfeeding Benefits

Nursing in a Cuddly Wrap

There are many benefits of breastfeeding, which is why there has been a great increase in the number of breastfeeding moms in recent years. Check out some these breastfeeding benefits to mom and baby:

Breastfeeding, like babywearing, provides a great bonding experience between mom and baby. Because mom is the only one able to feed the baby for at least the first few weeks of life they have more time to bond. The baby’s eyes can only focus about 8-10 inches away, which just happens to be how far from mom’s face they are when breastfeeding. The eye contact, skin to skin contact, and early interaction provide a wonderful bonding experience. Fortunately, whether your breastfeeding or not, this bonding can be achieved to a large degree by using a baby wrap, or sling (great news for Dads!).

The colostrum or “first milk” for the baby is very important for health and immune development. Colostrum is produced in the first few days after giving birth and is more condensed than regular breast milk. The baby gets a lot of nutrients, vitamins and benefits of your immune system in colostrum. In fact, colostrum is so good for health, it is now available to adults in pill form in some health food stores.

Breastfeeding is better overall for the health of mommy and baby. The baby continues to get nutrients and vitamins that mom takes in everyday, and is able to work up immunities to allergies through mom’s milk. As for mom, her body will go back to normal faster after childbirth by simply breastfeeding. It is a natural process that that helps mom and baby ease into natural health and well being.

In the mother, the uterus goes back to normal faster, shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy size. Because it happens faster there will be some mild cramping, usually felt during nursing sessions.

Many moms lose baby weight faster when they breastfeed. You will burn more calories everyday to keep up with the baby’s diet. You are feeding someone else and maintaining your own body systems so this means the extra calories you burn will help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy faster than if you were bottle feeding.

Babies often thrive when fed breastmilk. Formula has synthetic vitamins and minerals, made in labs, and they aren’t as healthy as the ones that come from mom. Nothing can replace breast milk, it is naturally one of the most healthy things we can ingest.

Babies also use breastmilk to develop an immune system in early weeks. During the first few months and weeks of baby’s life he or she has no immune system of their own. By breastfeeding they are still using mom’s until they are able to build one of their own. This means less colds, less infections and overall a healthier beginning to life.

Breastfeeding has also been linked to a lower incidence of SIDS. Although scientists aren’t quite sure why, but the numbers show breastfeeding may very well offer protection against this mysterious phenomena.

The saying “breast is best” is still alive after all this time. If you have to formula feed, don’t feel guilty, but if you can breastfeed, even some, it will be completely worthwhile for you and your baby.

Fun & Educational Kids’ Parties

I came across this site today and got pretty excited about it. Granted these ideas are geared for kids who can read and write but I bet you could easily modify it for preschoolers.

Undoubtedly, there will be times when your child is in between favorite characters or heroes and can’t decide on a theme for his birthday party. Or you’re having a few of her friends over and are looking for something fun for them to do together. Teachers and homeschoolers would probably love these ideas too.

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck for ideas, you may want to add these Parties With Purpose guides to your bag of tricks. The set includes The Giving Book, The Hero Book, The Greening Book, and The Healthy Body Book. (I receive no compensation for any purchases you make). You can plan a whole party around the ideas in these guides or just select specific activities that meet your needs.

If anyone has held one of these parties, or plans to… I’d love to hear how it worked out!

Make Time Stand Still with a Newborn Time Capsule

If you’ve recently had a baby, are about to have a baby, or even if your child is already in preschool – this is a really awesome thing you can do to commemorate their birth and make time stand still.

The moment your baby enters this world is a special time that you’ll want to remember for years to come. A newborn time capsule is a great way to honour your baby’s birth and share with him a snapshot of that special time when he is grown.

To create your time capsule, you need to gather several things that reflect the events of the day.

Newspapers make a great addition to any time capsule. Local papers tell the story of what was happening in your community on the day he was born, while national papers provide a glimpse of then-current events. Both offer the opportunity for you to stroll down memory lane, as well as give your child a brief history lesson when the capsule is finally opened.

Money and stamps provide fun signs of the times, too. Throw in a few different coin denominations and a sheet of stamps. If possible, make a list of prices for goods and services, like milk and bread or gasoline. Whether done on the computer or simply handwritten on a sheet of paper, this is a nice addition.

You can personalize the time capsule by adding things like baby’s first picture, the outfit he wears home from the hospital and even his hospital beanie and bracelet. Take time to write a special letter welcoming your child and sharing your hopes for his future to give the capsule even more meaning.

Although my son is now 3 years old, I’ve got many of these things stashed away that I’m going to put together into a time capsule. As for the newspapers, I’ll look for news articles of the day online and print them out. You could also do a time capsule for any other special day in your child’s life, such as a milestone birthday or first day of school…whatever! It doesn’t have to be for his birth. Doing something like this is a wonderful tribute to your child and shows them how special they are to you.

You are limited only by your imagination – and the size of your capsule container. Have fun with it!

Bringing Home Baby: Calming Newborn Nerves

A friend of mine just had her first baby and she’s feeling a little distraught about the adjustment for both herself and the baby. I remember feeling really out of sorts and a bit nervous about being able to meet all the needs of my new baby too.

The truth is your newborn goes through a lot right after he’s born. Whether the birth was natural or assisted, he experiences a great deal of stress as he copes with the abrupt change in the world as he knows it. No wonder he’s a little out of sorts.

Remember to be kind to yourself too. It’s not uncommon for moms to feel out of sync with their babies in the first few weeks. You’ve also experienced a lot of stress and big life changes.

The first days home with baby can be trying. He’s adjusting. You’re adjusting. Everyone is a bundle of nerves. If you stay calm, however, these simple tips will ease the transition for both of you.

*Sing and talk to your baby. Your newborn begins to hear your voice while still growing inside you. By the time he is born, the familiarity of that sound has a remarkable calming effect. Talk to him, sing your favorite lullaby, and read books to him, especially stories that rhyme.

*Make eye contact. While baby’s do not have 20/20 vision at birth, they can see you. By making eye contact with your baby when you talk to or massage him, you are communicating with him, and if you watch his cues, you”ll learn how he communicates with you.

*Touch your baby. It’s natural act, yet so powerful. Stroke his arms, legs, head, and back. The sensations relax both of you and enhance your bonding. If possible, learn about infant massage techniques and incorporate them into your daily routine. Research suggests that simple massage strokes relieve colic and constipation, as well as help infants establish regular sleep patterns and form stronger bonds with their caregivers.

*Hold your baby close, often. Research shows that keeping your baby close is good for him. Of course you know I advocate for babywearing, so remember an easy way to help your baby thrive is to carry him in a baby carrier sling or baby wrap. Cuddled next to you, baby feels your warmth and the comforting beat of your heart. The familiar rhythm helps him relax and feel secure.

Using a baby sling also frees your arms and hands so that you can do a few things around the house, while still enjoying the benefit of snuggling with your baby. And that might help you feel calmer, too.

*Respond to your baby. It’s that simple. Though crying can be nerve-wracking, it’s the only way your baby has to let you know he needs something. He cries when he’s hungry; he cries when he’s wet; he cries when he hurts or doesn’t feel well; and he cries when he just doesn’t know what else to do.

While this barrage of bawling might make you feel like crying, too, the best thing to do is simply to respond to his needs. Pick him up, cuddle him, and try to figure out just what it is he needs. Soon you’ll recognize his cry for hunger over his pain cry and be able to soothe him by quickly filling the need.

Worried that you’ll spoil him? Don’t be. Meeting your baby’s needs is not spoiling him. By regularly responding to your newborn, you’re forming a healthy bond that makes him feel secure.

Don’t worry too much if you feel out of sync with your baby in the first few weeks – it’s a natural transition period. But communicating your love to him through all his senses goes a long way toward calming those delicate newborn nerves.