Helping Your Little One Breathe Easy: Support for Baby's Stuffiness

As a parent, few things can tug at your heartstrings like seeing your little bundle of joy struggle with congestion and stuffiness. Whether it's from a common cold, allergies, or other respiratory issues, dealing with a stuffy baby can be challenging.  While over-the-counter medications may not be suitable for infants, there are gentle and natural remedies that can provide relief. In this blog post, we'll explore ways to support your baby and help them breathe easy again.

Understanding Baby Stuffiness:
Babies are more susceptible to congestion than adults due to their smaller nasal passages and developing immune systems. Common causes of stuffiness in babies include:

1. Colds and Viral Infections: Just like adults, babies can catch colds and other viral infections that cause nasal congestion.
2. Allergies: Allergens such as dust, pollen, and pet dander can trigger allergic reactions in babies, leading to congestion.
3. Dry Air: Dry indoor air, especially during colder months when heating systems are running, can dry out your baby's nasal passages, causing discomfort and congestion.
4. Teething: Believe it or not, teething can also cause nasal congestion in babies due to increased saliva production.

Supportive Measures for Baby's Stuffiness:
Now that we understand some of the common causes of baby stuffiness, let's explore ways to provide support and relief for your little one:

1. Humidifier or Diffuser:
   Adding moisture to the air can help relieve nasal congestion and soothe your baby's irritated nasal passages. Use a cool-mist humidifier or diffuser in your baby's room, especially at night when congestion may worsen. Make sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

2. Saline Nasal Spray:
   Saline nasal spray can help loosen mucus and clear your baby's nasal passages. Hold your baby on their back or upright and gently tilt their head back. Spray the saline solution into each nostril and then keep upright for a few minutes to encourage drainage. Use a nasal aspirator to gently suction out any loosened mucus if necessary.

3. Elevate Your Baby's Head:
   Elevating your baby's head while they sleep can help ease congestion. You can do this by placing a folded towel or blanket under the head of the crib mattress or by using a specially designed baby wedge pillow. Ensure that your baby's head is elevated safely to avoid any risks of suffocation.

4. Steam Bath:
   Create a steamy environment in your bathroom by running a hot shower with the door closed. Sit in the steamy bathroom with your baby for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the steam to help loosen mucus and clear their nasal passages. Be sure to hold your baby securely and avoid direct contact with hot water.

5. Gentle Nose Suction:
   For stubborn mucus that saline drops alone can't clear, you can use a nasal aspirator to gently suction it out. Gently insert the tip into your baby's nostril to suction out the mucus. Repeat as needed, being careful not to insert it too far into your baby's nose. There are several kinds, these and these are my favorites.

6. Warm Baths:
   A warm bath can help relax your baby and provide temporary relief from congestion. The steam from the warm water can also help clear their nasal passages. Let your baby splash and play in the water, but always supervise them closely to ensure their safety.

7. Stay Hydrated:
   Whether your baby is breastfeeding, formula feeding, or starting on solids, ensuring they stay hydrated is essential for thinning mucus and relieving congestion. Offer plenty of breast milk, formula, or water (if your baby is old enough) throughout the day.

8. Essential Oils:
   Use a cool-mist diffuser to diffuse a blend of lavender, lemon, eucalyptus radiata, and/or tea tree essential oils in your baby's room (1-2 drops each). Lavender promotes relaxation, lemon provides a fresh scent, eucalyptus radiata aids the nasal passages in breathing easy, and tea tree adds a little extra. Ensure the diffuser is safely out of your baby's reach and use a minimal amount of diluted essential oils, starting with one at a time to monitor baby's response.

9. Eucalyptus Radiata Chest Rub:
   Dilute eucalyptus radiata essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil and gently massage it onto your baby's chest. The gentle aroma can help clear nasal congestion and promote easier breathing. Remember to perform a patch test on a small area of your baby's skin before widespread use.

10. Steam Inhalation with Lemon:
   Add a drop of lemon essential oil to a bowl of hot (not boiling) water and allow your baby to inhale the steam. The refreshing scent of lemon can help clear nasal passages and provide relief. Always supervise your baby closely during steam inhalation.

11. Acupressure under the toes:
    Massaging the toes is very helpful, especially when using the essential oils mentioned above.  The nasal passage acupressure points are found on the bottom of the toes.  

While essential oils can be beneficial, it's essential to use them safely, especially with young children. These two are often used with older children and adults with no issues, but infants are more sensitive.  Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

-Peppermint Oil: Avoid using peppermint essential oil on or near the face of infants and young children under 2 years old, as it can potentially cause breathing difficulties.
- Eucalyptus Globulus Oil: Similarly, eucalyptus globulus essential oil should be avoided in children under 2 years old due to its high cineole content, which can be toxic if ingested or applied improperly. 
   VapoRub contains Eucalyptus and is not recommended for children under 2 years old.

Dealing with a stuffy baby can be stressful, but with these supportive measures, you can help alleviate their discomfort and help them breathe easy again. Remember to always monitor your baby's symptoms and consult with a pediatrician if you have any concerns, especially if the congestion persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or difficulty breathing. Wishing you and your baby a peaceful and congestion-free day!

Disclaimer:  No part of this is to be taken as medical advice.  Please consult your physician.
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Should humans eat dairy? What are the downsides to eating it?

Should humans eat dairy? What are the downsides to eating it?

For many years, dairy products have been celebrated as essential for maintaining strong bones and overall health. However, recent research challenges this idea and suggests that dairy may not be as indispensable as once believed. Let's explore several reasons why dairy might not be necessary for optimal health, supported by relevant facts and scientific findings.

Lactose Intolerance:
About 68%* of the world's population experiences difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramping, and stomach pain. The prevalence of lactose intolerance underscores the idea that dairy may not be suitable for everyone's digestive systems.  

Calcium Absorption:
Contrary to popular belief, studies suggest that dairy might not be the top source of calcium for maintaining robust bones. In fact, not everyone can effectively absorb the calcium present in dairy products. Fortunately, alternative sources like leafy greens or fortified plant-based milks provide adequate calcium intake, ensuring proper bone health without relying solely on dairy.  Also, calcium bioavailability is different across different sources. "For example, dairy foods have a bioavailablity of about 30% absorption so if a food label on milk lists 300 mg of calcium per cup, about 100 mg will be absorbed and used by the body. Plant foods like leafy greens contain less calcium overall but have a higher bioavailability than dairy. For example, bok choy contains about 160 mg of calcium per 1 cup cooked but has a higher bioavailability of 50%, so about 80 mg is absorbed. Therefore, eating 1 cup of cooked bok choy has almost as much bioavailable calcium as 1 cup of milk."**

Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases:
Mounting research indicates a potential connection between high dairy consumption and an elevated risk of chronic diseases. Excessive dairy intake has been associated with conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and cancer. These findings raise concerns about the long-term impact of dairy on our overall health.   Check out the China Study!

Potential Allergies and Sensitivities:
Dairy products contain proteins like casein and whey, which can trigger allergies or sensitivities in certain individuals. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort, such as digestive issues or skin reactions, to severe allergic reactions. Recognizing and addressing these allergies or sensitivities is vital, allowing individuals to avoid potential risks and explore suitable dairy alternatives for their dietary needs.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol:
Full-fat dairy products often contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. FYI - most cheese is full fat, meaning it comes from whole milk with the most saturated fat and cholesterol.  Overconsumption of these components has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. It's prudent to be mindful of saturated fat and cholesterol in our dairy choices to safeguard heart health.

When it comes to dairy, it's time to reconsider its role in our diet. Lactose intolerance,  potential links to chronic diseases, allergies, the presence of saturated fat and cholesterol, and the easy access to alternative calcium sources, all demand our attention. Let's listen to our bodies, stay up-to-date with research, and make informed choices about what we eat. Prioritize your well-being and strive for a balanced approach that suits you. Remember, everyone's nutritional needs are unique, so embrace a diverse and varied diet to boost your health.

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Pollen Allergies: What Happens in Your Body?

Pollen Allergies: What Happens in Your Body?

For moms, having allergies yourself, or having a child with allergies can be a real challenge. When it comes to seasonal allergies caused by pollen, it's not just about sneezing and itchy eyes—it's about understanding what happens in the body and how to provide natural relief. Let's dive into the science behind pollen allergies and explore some holistic remedies for treating them.

Let's start with the basics: what happens in the body when you have a pollen allergy? Essentially, your immune system overreacts to the presence of pollen and acts like it's a harmful invader. This triggers the production of IgE antibodies, which attach to mast cells in the nose, eyes, and lungs. When pollen enters the body again, it binds to these antibodies and triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals. This leads to inflammation, which causes the familiar symptoms of allergies.  Eyes: Itchy, watery, swollen, red. Nose: post-nasal drip, itchy, swollen, runny, sneezy. Ears, itchy, wet. Lungs, coughing, itching, tightening  or asthma. Skin: rashes/hives, swelling, itching. Overall:  irritability, fatigue, brain fog, and more.

If you or your child have pollen allergies, you've probably experienced some of these symptoms firsthand. But did you know that the severity of your reaction can depend on a few factors? For example, the type and amount of pollen you're exposed to can make a difference, as can your overall health, and levels of inflammation and stress. It's important to keep track of your symptoms and triggers so you can better manage your allergies.

So, what can you do to relieve pollen allergy symptoms naturally? As a holistic mom, your first instinct might be to turn to herbs and supplements. And while these can be helpful, there are some even simpler steps you can take. For example, washing your hair and clothes after spending time outdoors can help remove pollen from your body. You can also use a neti pot or squeeze bottle to rinse your nasal passages, which can reduce congestion and inflammation. Find more hacks here.

Of course, there are plenty of herbs and supplements that can support immune function and reduce inflammation. Some popular options for pollen allergies include quercetin, stinging nettle, and butterbur. These can be taken in supplement form or brewed into teas or tinctures.  Find more natural remedies here.

Pollen allergies may be a common problem, but that doesn't mean they're something you have to live with. By understanding what happens in your body when you're exposed to pollen, you can better manage your symptoms and find natural relief. By combining herbs, supplements, or simple lifestyle changes, there are plenty of options for holistic moms looking to support their families' health. So, take a deep breath and know that there are solutions out there for you.

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The Inflammatory Factor: How Pre-Existing Inflammation Impacts Allergies

You might have heard about the relationship between inflammation and allergies before, or maybe you’re reading about it now for the first time. Whatever the case, it’s essential to know how underlying inflammation in the body can make you more susceptible to allergic reactions. Inflammation is like a double-edged sword in some ways: it is necessary to fight off infections and heal wounds, but when it persists for too long, it can become problematic. Let's explore how inflammation and allergies are connected and how managing pre-existing inflammation can help you avoid complications.

First, let’s understand the basics of allergies. An allergy occurs when the immune system mistakes a harmless substance, such as pollen or pet dander, as a threat and overreacts to it. In response, the body releases histamines and other chemicals that cause various symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, and coughing. Inflammation is also a part of this immune response – it’s the body’s attempt to get rid of the allergen.

Now, let’s talk about inflammation. Pre-existing inflammation occurs when the body is already dealing with inflammation in other areas due to conditions such as arthritis, asthma, or autoimmune diseases. When the body is in this state, it’s easier for allergens to trigger a more significant inflammatory response. Inflammation is a complex physiological response involving several signaling molecules and immune cells that interact with each other. Therefore, if an individual has pre-existing inflammation in the body, their immune system is already in a heightened state of alertness.

That’s why people with pre-existing inflammation are more prone to developing allergies and related diseases such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, and eczema. If you’re a holistic mom, you might already know that the best way to prevent allergies is to avoid allergens as much as possible.  (But when allergens are unavoidable, here are some simple hacks  and  natural remedies to help.) But, how do you manage pre-existing inflammation? There are just a few basic ways:

1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet – Certain foods, such as processed foods, sugar, and trans fats, can trigger inflammation in the body. On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation.

2. Exercise regularly – Exercise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

3. Get enough sleep – Lack of sleep can increase inflammation in the body. Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

4. Use natural remedies – Certain herbs, such as ginger and turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties. These can be very effective.

Pre-existing inflammation can impact your body's response to allergens, making you more prone to developing allergic reactions and related diseases. It is essential to manage your pre-existing inflammation through diet, natural remedies, and enough rest and exercise  to reduce the severity of allergies. As a holistic mom, it’s essential to take a whole-body approach to your family's health and wellness, and managing pre-existing inflammation is a crucial component of that.
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My favorite natural remedies for support during allergy season

My favorite natural remedies for support during allergy season
When allergy season rolls around, it can certainly put a damper on things. Sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose are no fun. But did you know that there are plenty of natural ways to find relief without resorting to medication? From eating local honey to drinking herbal tea, there are lots of tried-and-true methods that people swear by. The key is to find what works for you. So go ahead and experiment – you might just find that your new favorite allergy hack is something you never would have thought of before.

1. Acupuncture
You may have heard of acupuncture being used for pain relief or relaxation, but did you know it can also help with allergies? Allergies can be a real nuisance - constant sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose can make it hard to focus on anything else. Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body to promote healing and balance. When it comes to allergies, acupuncture can help by reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system. It's a safe and natural alternative to traditional allergy medications, and many people find it to be effective. So if you're tired of relying on antihistamines, give acupuncture a try and see if it makes a difference for you.

2. Local honey helps build tolerance (immunotherapy) and is great when your throat is sore. 
We all know how much allergies can suck the life out of us. Sneezing, coughing, congestion - you name it! However, did you know that local honey can actually help build your tolerance to allergies? Yes, you read that right. According to various studies, consuming local honey strengthens your immune system and helps alleviate allergy symptoms. Plus, it's a delicious and natural remedy for that sore throat you might get from allergies or a cold. So the next time you're feeling like a walking pharmacy with all your allergy meds, grab a jar of local honey and indulge in its sweet goodness. 

3. Drink teas to lower histamine levels and support the immune system.
Did you know that drinking herbal teas can actually help lower your histamine levels and support your immune system? It's true! You see, histamines are the chemicals in our bodies that cause allergic reactions. So if you suffer from allergies or have an overactive immune system, drinking certain natural herbal teas can help alleviate your symptoms. Plus, herbal teas are just so delicious and relaxing to sip on, making it a win-win situation. So go ahead, brew yourself a cup of chamomile, nettle, or ginger tea and let your body reap the benefits. 

4.  Eat anti-inflammatory foods.  
Did you know that what you eat could be impacting your allergies? It turns out that when there is inflammation already in your body, those pesky allergies can become even worse. So, if you find yourself constantly blowing your nose and rubbing your eyes, it might be time to evaluate your diet. Unfortunately, some of our favorite foods might be worsening our symptoms. Fried foods, meats, and anything high in saturated or trans fats should be avoided. Instead, try incorporating more garlic (high in quercitin), pineapple and papaya (containing bromelain), and spirulina into your meals. And of course, don't forget about the power of fruits and veggies. Studies have shown that people who eat more of these anti-inflammatory foods tend to have fewer allergy symptoms overall. So, go ahead and load up on the good stuff!

5. Take supportive supplements.
Quercitin, is a plant pigment found in many fruits and vegetables that has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation, while vitamin D can help regulate the immune system. Probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome, which can help reduce allergy symptoms. Finally, golden turmeric has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. So if you're looking for a natural way to get some relief from your allergies, try incorporating one or more of these supplements into your daily routine. 

6. Support digestion specifically.
Did you know that taking care of your digestion can actually help reduce allergies? It's true! Investing in supplements like Parafree, Digest & Cleanse, Sulfurzyme, Enzymes, probiotics & pre-biotics and consuming Ningxia Red can help keep your gut healthy and ward off any pesky parasites. Let's not forget the importance of, uh, pooping. Regular bowel movements are crucial for removing toxins and keeping your body functioning properly. So, if you're looking for a natural way to reduce your allergy symptoms, start by supporting your gut health. 

7. Use herbal remedies.
There are a handful of herbs out there that are known to reduce allergy symptoms. Horehound, goldenrod, butterbur, horseradish, mullein leaf, stinging nettle leaf, rosemary, and turmeric are all great options. These herbs work by reducing inflammation in the body and can even help to prevent allergic reactions from occurring in the first place. So, instead of relying on over-the-counter medications, why not try incorporating some of these herbs into your routine?

8. Breathe in essential oils.
You know how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be to constantly deal with symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. Luckily, there may be a natural solution to your seasonal woes: essential oils. With options like peppermint, eucalyptus, frankincense, sandalwood, ravensara, rosemary, lavender, roman chamomile, tea tree, lemon, basil, copaiba, thieves, deep relief, breathe again, RC, Raven, goldenrod, and Season Essentials, essential oils offer a natural and potentially effective way to feel comfortable. Whether you prefer applying them topically or diffusing them in your home, incorporating essential oils into your routine could be a game-changer.  This has been huge for us. Several of these are available together in a discounted bundle, too! 

9. Try homeopathy.
 While there are plenty of treatments out there to help alleviate your symptoms, have you ever considered homeopathy? Homeopathy is an all natural approach to healing that uses highly dilute substances to stimulate the body's natural self healing process. Specific remedies like allium cepa, arsenicum album, gelsemium, kali carb, ipecac, and natrum muriaticum have been found to be helpful for reducing allergy symptoms. And if you're looking for a combo option, there are plenty of all-natural allergy relief combinations out there that can help. Give homeopathy a try and you may be surprised at just how effective it can be.

By taking small steps like using natural remedies, drinking herbal teas, and consuming anti-inflammatory foods, you can avoid those dreaded allergies that come around every spring. Not only are these natural solutions for allergies easy and effective, but they can also make us enjoy the peace and beauty of nature rather than dread it! It's so hard not to be excited by blossom-filled trees and vibrant green grass; give yourself the gift of barreling headfirst into spring with all your allergies under control this year!

Find my seasonal hacks, here.
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