Calm Babies & Kids with Lavender Essential Oil (Guest Post by Sue from Pure Home and Body)

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I am so excited to introduce my friend, Sue, from Pure Home and Body! She has wonderful information about essential oils, and I am sure you will find it fascinating! But first, here is a little about Sue…

Sue is the mom of 6 kids ranging in ages from Kindergarten to college, enjoying each season of childhood as her kids grow and change. She looks at each day as a new discovery of what her children are learning and how she can make the world a better place for them by making more natural choices in home and personal care. She loves to color and craft with her kids on their sticky kitchen table and hang out with the teen girls in their church Lifegroup each week. When she’s with friends, she loves to share Green Living Habits and Aromatherapy Tips to help make motherhood less daunting and more joy-filled. You can stop by and say hi at her website http://www.pureHOMEandBODY.com.

Aromatherapy has become a hot topic on blogs all over the internet. Companies are jumping on the bandwagon and adding essential oils to their product assortments, and writers are filling posts with how to use essential oils in pregnancy, with kids and adults. I’ve been studying aromatherapy almost 20 years, the past 6 more intently, and I’ll be the first to admit I even have a lot to learn. I started being a “green, natural” mom when I became pregnant with my first baby 18 years ago, and it has been quite a journey.
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When it comes to topics of health, we often feel overwhelmed. The feeling that we need to be “supermom” kicks in; as mom’s we want to conquer everything overnight, but living a natural life style is a process. Yes, there are situations that require an overhaul, but if we want any natural-living changes to become life-long habits, it is important to ease into the adjustments. Your loved ones will thank you. This is definitely the approach I have taken with adding essential oils into our family’s daily routines.

Over the years I’ve used many green and natural products, but essential oils are by far my favorite resource. I like to think of them as whole foods for your body. Just like you may give your children a raw avocado for a snack, essential oils are some of the “raw materials” for home and personal care. Now, when it comes to the topic of essential oils, be patient with yourself; there is definitely a learning curve when starting on this journey. It may feel foreign, and you may find yourself looking at health and healing in a different perspective, but I am convinced the outcomes will be happier kids, savings on doctor and drug store visits, and the satisfaction knowing you are making good choices for your family.

So where do we begin in our conversation about essential oils? Let’s start by talking about the mainstream products found at our local pharmacies and stores. Our store shelves are packed with products manufactured to improve our lives. Unfortunately, there are products which are filled with toxic chemicals and many are not tested for safety [by the FDA] ( http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm262353.htm. Several are even labeled as “Natural” which really doesn’t mean anything in ingredient purity. You can check http://www.EWG.org for the safety of products you already use. When you layer different products on your body and in your home in the form of cleaners, air fresheners and scented personal care products, you are creating a giant chemistry experiment where outcomes can cause adverse side effects to your health. It’s similar to conducting a chemistry experiment where the outcomes are unpredictable. The statistics in our nation’s health, however, do speak loudly: we have greatly increasing numbers of kids with asthma and attention disorders compared to even 10 years ago. Many of the toxic household and personal care items contain synthetic fragrances that are actually passed on to developing babies in utero, which can disrupt hormones and the endocrine system ( http://www.ewg.org/research/body-burden-pollution-newborns).

So where does this leave us? Yes, this can be heavy information, but I believe that our children are our future generation. Adding pure essential oils to your daily routine is a great way to eliminate lot of those toxic chemicals in your home. Just make sure you are purchasing essential oils that are pure. When choosing your essential oils, you have to ask the right questions and know your source. There are no national standards of purity in the essential oil industry. Most oils from the health food store have questionable purity and manufacturers don’t need to disclose any chemical fillers on those essential oil bottles; this of course leaves consumers in the dark. Yet, there are things you can look for. For example, if a bottle says “not for ingestion” this could be a flag that there are additives or fillers in that essential oil, no different than a bottle of perfume. There are several companies who now have developed food grade essential oils to show they are pure enough to ingest.

Yet, what are some other aspects to consider when looking into essential oils that are right for your family? When choosing your oils, it is also important to work with someone who has some training in aromatherapy. It is never prudent to use large amounts of essential oils in any situation, especially ingesting. Even experienced aromatherapists take a very conservative approach to using essential oils for ingestion as do I because these are potent substances. I am really a minimalist when it comes to aromatherapy, especially with babies and children. Their senses are much more heightened than adults and they respond much quicker to the oils than someone with a lot of health history or those on pharmaceutical medications.

Once you have your essential oils, what are some aspects of safety to keep in mind? Essential oils have been used in other cultures for centuries; they are amazing tools when used with common sense and some simple reminders. If you are going to add essential oils to your routine, as well as if anyone in your family is on prescription medication for any chronic condition, talk with your doctor first to make sure there are no contraindications to your current treatment. Here are some other safety precautions:

1. Always dilute essential oils for babies and children: Take one drop in the palm of your hand and pick up some with your pinky on the other hand. The amount on your pinky is just what you’d need for a small child. It is not much.
2. Repeat frequently rather than one large dose. For example, apply 1 diluted drop of lavender essential oil each hour to the soles of your child’s feet for 4 hours, rather than applying 4 diluted drops on the feet once every 4 hours. Essential oils metabolize in the body in about 1 hour.
3. Do not drop essential oils into the eyes, ears or nose. If someone gets an essential oil in their eyes, dilute it with a vegetable oil like jojoba or olive oil, or even milk, but no water as this will make the oil spread.
4. Keep it simple. There are a lot of complicated recipes on the internet for mixing oils. Again, make sure you know who is recommending the blends and that they are thoroughly trained and experienced in aromatherapy as well as oil blending. Babies and children are pretty easy to work with, and they respond pretty quickly to single oils in aromatherapy; they don’t need large quantities or complex blends.

So, now that we have discussed some basics to remember, I’d like to share one of my favorite oils for babies and young children: Lavender. Lavender is one of the most gentle essential oils (and also one of the most filled and adultured, so make sure you have a pure lavender) and can be applied undiluted (called “neat”). It’s safe enough for newborn babies! My favorite kiddo uses for lavender are:
• Massage a drop on momma’s tummy during the last trimester of pregnancy and have a bottle with
you at the hospital so baby has a familiar scent after birth.
• Apply an undiluted drop to the soles of baby or child’s feet to cool the body during a fever.
• Drop on a fresh burn to cool the skin and begin healing tissue. The sooner the better. This has
saved fun at several campfires where a burned hand could have ruined the evening, lavender to
the rescue brings comfort in minutes.
• Place a drop at the foot of baby’s bedding to calm baby at bedtime and to combat the sniffles.
• Apply a drop to small scrapes to start healing skin.
• Mix 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 tsp of coconut or other vegetable carrier oil and
massage into dry, chapped skin.
• Make your own baby wipes: add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil to a wipes warmer filled with
1 cup of warm water. Drop in folded flannel cloths or thick paper towels and use to clean baby’s
bottom without chemicals.
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Want more tips on using essential oils? Read more on Lavender as well as other great oils for your home– http://purehomeandbody.com/essential-oils-2/single-and-blended-essential-oils/singleoils/lavender/
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Are you looking for some experienced support in integrating essential oils into your family? I’d love to work with you! Stop on by Pure Home and Body and let’s connect! Email me Susan@pureHOMEandBODY.com or connect with me on Twitter @pureHOMEandBODY.
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*This page contains affiliate links.
*Disclaimer: Avocado Mommy does not assume any responsibility for any results of any health program. This website strictly shares my own personal beliefs as result of what I have experienced and also supports those whose views are consistent with the mission of this website. When beginning any new health program or products, always make sure to check with your health practitioner.

Research/References:
Tisserand, Robert. Lavender is not estrogenic. http://roberttisserand.com/2013/02/lavender-oil-is-not-estrogenic/
Synthetic Fragrance Chemicals: http://www.fleurchem.com/synth.html
Synthetic chemicals used to dilute lavender essential oil : http://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/searchId.do?chebiId=CHEBI:6469
Hidden Chemicals in Perfume and Cologne: http://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy
S.F. Van Vuurena, G.P.P. Kamatoub, A.M. Viljoenb, ,. Volatile composition and antimicrobial activity of twenty commercial frankincense essential oil samples. South African Journal of Botany Volume 76, Issue 4, October 2010, Pages 686–691. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629910001705. Abstract: Study finds extreme variance in essential oil chemistry of numerous constituents including (a-thujene .3-52%) (myrcene 1.1-22.4%) (β-caryophyllene (0.1–10.5%). Minimum anti-microbial activity varied from 4-16 mg/ml depending on the oil sample.

Post 1 of 5 in “Tidbits for Birth, Baby, and Growing Child”: Why a Birth Plan?

It is hard to believe that a year ago, I was approaching the birth of our second son. I have been doing a lot of reflecting the last few weeks on a series of posts that I could write in honor of his birthday. 🙂 I have decided to spend a little time sharing what I feel to be some great resources for moms or moms-to-be of a little one. Stay tuned for more blog posts on titles/topics such as “Why I Chose a Doula” and “Why Chiropractic for My Child?”. As a celebration of my little guy’s first birthday, I am also planning to include a brief post on his party and how to plan on a tight budget. Stay tuned!

I am so excited to share a little tidbit with you today on why I chose a birth plan for not only my first child but for my second as well. You may ask, “What is a birth plan?” “Why would I need one?” “If I do need a birth plan, where on earth do I start?” “How do I write one?” I know that several of these questions crossed my mind. In effort to share what I learned, allow me to address each of these questions to the best of my ability. 🙂

1) What is a birth plan? A birth plan is basically a document in writing that lists your desires/wishes for both you and baby during the labor process, the birth, and post birth. It includes things such as how you desire your pain to be managed, how you want to labor, delayed cord cutting, what your wishes are in regards to vaccinations for your baby in the hospital, etc. It is a valuable document for your team of doctors, nurses, and/or midwives to have and to be made aware of (ideally prior to the time you are admitted to the hospital) as it clearly defines your wishes and desires for your ideal birth experience. Please remember that although you desire everything to go as planned, there are also situations where you may need to be flexible if the health of you or baby is at risk. 🙂

2) Why would I need a birth plan? As mentioned above, this document lists your desires and wishes for an ideal birth and post birth. It also gives your medical team an opportunity to be on the same page as they work with you. It is important to talk through your birth plan with your midwife or OB prior to the birth so that they fully understand what your document entails. Understand your rights as the mother and present your plan with confidence, but also be open to talking through any areas that may need to have some flexibility. Understand also that your midwife/OB may present some concerns or areas where he/she disagrees. To best prepare for your presentation of the birth plan, do your research. Know what you are able to ask for. If you can, speak with a doula (Stay tuned for my upcoming post on “Why I Chose a Doula”) or a friend who has found success with a birth plan. Look up sample birth plans that are available online. There are great resources! 🙂

3) How do I write a birth plan? Where do I start? As I thought about my birth plan, I found great support in looking through several birth plans that others had used. Using samples and research as my guide, I formulated a birth plan that I felt quite good about and was able to use for both of my boys’ births. I have decided to include my birth plan in this post for you. Feel free to use this as a sample/guide as you put your document together. 🙂

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SAMPLE BIRTH PLAN
Birth Protocol Agreement For: Your Name Here

Location: Place where you will be giving birth
Certified Nurse Midwife: Name of your nurse/midwife
Name of Father and Mother: Your name here
Baby Due Date: Your baby’s due date
People Present at Birth: People you wish to have with you in the birthing room

We are pleased with our choice to work with the Certified Nurse Midwifery staff as well as the staff at Name of Your Medical Center. Throughout the pregnancy, we have received excellent care, and we are looking forward to working with you as we give birth naturally to our baby.

We feel that we have educated ourselves well during the pregnancy by attending the Bradley Method classes and have done our best to do everything we can to stay healthy and low risk. As a part of the preparation for a beautiful birthing experience, we have put together the following documents that discuss what we desire for labor, delivery, and postpartum. Since this is a very special event in our lives, we have put much thought and consideration to what we have listed in this document. We respectfully ask that you help us in achieving our birth goals.

Above all, we are looking forward to having a natural and peaceful birth experience. The following is very important to us regarding what we desire and what we would like to avoid:

• Please do not offer us any pain medication, drugs, epidural, or Pitocin at any time.
• Please help us to avoid any induction of labor at any time unless it is absolutely necessary. I would like to try non-medical techniques to help the process of labor start on its own (walking, teas, etc.). We feel very strongly that we would like my water to break on its own. If induction is necessary, please use a minimal dose.
• It is very important to us that I am allowed freedom of movement as is comfortable to me during the laboring process. Therefore, we would like to avoid IV’s. We also do not wish to be hooked up to any fetal heart monitors as these would restrict freedom of movement. As an alternative please only do occasional fetal heart monitoring as necessary (intermittent monitoring). If possible, we would like if you could use a fetoscope to monitor the heart rate and do occasional doptone checks when necessary.
• We strongly desire that vaginal exams are minimized.
• It is important to us that we are allowed privacy during the first stage labor. Please understand that we feel strongly about laboring in a way that seems natural to my body. We do not desire for me to labor on my back. Rather, it is important to us that I am allowed to use alternative methods to work through labor (tub, walking, squatting, sitting, various body positions that are comfortable to me, birth ball, music, etc.). I am looking forward to wearing my own clothing as long as possible during the labor process. My husband and I would like to have our own cooler of food available to us during the labor, delivery, and hospital stay that would contain items such as snack bars, dried fruit, an electrolyte drink, water.
• During second stage labor, it is important to us that we are allowed the freedom to give birth in a position that is comfortable for me, such as squatting or using a bed with a squat bar.
• Please help us to avoid an episiotomy.
• Please allow the placenta to deliver on its own.
• Please understand that we feel very strongly about having skin to skin contact with my newborn right away where I am allowed to start immediate breastfeeding.

In addition to our wishes that we have expressed above, we also have put together our wishes specifically dealing with the care of our baby. We respectfully ask that our informed decisions be honored.

• Please do not give our baby the Vitamin K1 vaccination, the Hepatitis B vaccination, the eye drops, and the sugar water at any time after birth as well as during our entire hospital stay. It is also important to us that no supplementary bottles with formula be given to our baby during our hospital stay.
• It is important to us that there be a delayed cutting/clamping of the umbilical cord until the cord stops pulsing unless there is an emergency where cutting the cord immediately would be necessary.
• Please understand that we feel strongly that the vernix skin not be removed from our baby’s body. Rather we would like this covering to be left to rub in for immune support.
• We are looking forward to and respectfully request that our baby remain in the room with us as much as possible. Please do all weighing, measuring, and any evaluations right in our room.
• If our baby is a boy, we feel strongly about waiting 8-9 days before the circumcision happens.

Please know that we will be flexible on all points listed in this entire Birth Protocol Agreement if an absolute emergency/complication arises. Although we feel confident that everything will go normally, we trust and respectfully ask that you inform us if any problems come up so that my husband, doula, and I can discuss the choices to be made and choose our new plan of action. We take our responsibility of being good parents very seriously and want to do what is best for our baby.

Thank you for your kind attention. We look forward to sharing this, one of life’s most miraculous events, with the very special people on your staff. Again, it is a privilege to be able to work with such a qualified and wonderful team of people.

Sincerely,

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What about you? Have you used a birth plan? Did you find it valuable? What would you recommend be included on this document?