Quick Tip Tuesday: Honey! 


So we’ve been battling strep throat and a cough in our house for nearly a month. It has been a LONG March. We’re all on antibiotics and while my husband and I get fantastic horse pills for 10 days, the kids have to deal with liquid antibiotics. My daughter is on Amoxicillin and I think all kids really love the taste of that stuff.  This hasn’t changed in 20 years. My brother even smelled the bottle and had a bit of nostalgia ha! He remembered liking the taste of it as a kid. Unfortunately, my son is allergic so he is on another antibiotic.  An antibiotic with a terrible taste.  He has flat out refused to take it.   I felt like I tried everything. I can’t blame him really, the taste is truly awful.

After trying and failing I called the pediatrician to see what I could hide this stuff in. They suggested whipped cream or chocolate syrup. I had neither. I had to get creative.  I opened my pantry and reached for the honey. I thought it would be perfect. It’s thick, sweet and has a strong taste. Fortunately, it worked great! I mixed a nickel sized dollop of honey in with my son’s meds and he gladly took it! No drama! It was almost too easy.

Also, honey is a great natural remedy for cold/cough/sore throat.  It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. When my son starts with a cough I make him avocado honey toast, yogurt with honey or just give him a spoonful of honey! He loves it!

Yesterday was the last day of antibiotics and he has no idea he even had them.  I highly suggest trying this if you’re running out of ideas moms. Pick your battles and good luck!

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Postpartum Hair Loss: What can you do?


I want to start this post by saying that postpartum hair loss was traumatizing to me.  It made me realize that I wasn’t as confident as I thought.  It is very difficult to see the same face in the mirror and then realize that it is changing.  It was a real adjustment.  With the postpartum hormones going all over the place I was very sensitive to all sorts of things.  I kept convincing myself that I was losing too much and that I would lose it all completely.  I asked doctors, nurses, friends, mommy groups, googled, etc.  I just wanted someone to tell me that it would be okay!  (I needed this in all aspects of my life then.)

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(photo of me at my daughter’s 1 year appointment.  1 month postpartum.  Still had the pregnancy hair fullness!)
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(photos of my hairline at peak hair loss.  I was about 3/4 months postpartum in these photos. )

After a stressful few months leading up to the birth of my daughter, a stressful few weeks after and an TON of stress in the months after that… I had A LOT on my plate.  There was really no surprise that my hair was falling out!  Fortunately, I got a handle on most things, including the hair, and have been recovering in all aspects of my postpartum whirlwind.

I thought I would share a few things here that I tried and seemed to work!  I know that most of us moms are willing to try anything when something is worrying us.  Maybe my experience can help you.  Most importantly, hang in there.  It all gets better.  The hair, the lack of sleep, the anxiety… all of it.  It is all worth it.

Thyroid.
First thing is first.  Childbirth can really throw off your thyroid.  Sometimes excessive hair loss can be a sign of a thyroid issue.  If your postpartum hair loss is excessive, talk to your doctor about testing your thyroid.  It is a simple blood test and you get the results back quickly.  Once you rule out a thyroid issue you can proceed with other ways of preserving your locks and stimulating new hair growth.

Pony tails.
No more pony tails guys! When you’re losing hair by the second, especially at the hair line, the last thing your scalp needs is a big pony tail pulling on your fragile hairs.  Pony tails can be damaging without the added hormonal hair loss.  Too-tight pony tails/buns (the official new mommy hairstyle.  I say this lovingly.  It is easy and keeps your hair out of the way!) can actually cause a form of hair loss known as traction alopecia.  If you’re shedding post pregnancy, tying your hair back In a bun or pony tail is only going to make things worse.  If you MUST tie your hair back, try to do a loose, low pony tail.  This will be just enough to keep the hair out of your face or your baby’s hands without pulling so hard on the scalp.

Fewer showers.
For me, I took fewer showers.  It was less traumatizing.  It was more convenient.  I didn’t have to pull on my hair, tie it up in a towel, etc.  I think this saved my sanity more than anything.  Hair seems to come out in clumps in the shower.  Fewer showers is a win win.

When I did shower,  I would get out and gently towel dry my hair.   I tried not to pull on my scalp very hard.  I dried it just enough so that it wasn’t dripping and then let it air dry.   I did NOT tie it up on top of my head like I am so used to doing.  (A friend from college jokes with me that this is my preferred hairstyle.  I have been known to tie my hair up in a towel and fall asleep with it like that.  Drying and styling is too much work sometimes ha!)  To brush my hair I got a wide tooth comb.  This was effective in getting out tangles without ripping at my scalp.  The hair will still come out… but it doesn’t get caught on tangles and rip even more hair out.

Honeydew Anti Hair Loss Shampoo
I was so desperate to find a solution to my hair loss that I started frantically googling.  I wanted to find something that would possibly help with hair regrowth but wasn’t full of chemicals/toxins.  I was breastfeeding and wanted to stay as natural as possible.  I found a really great shampoo on Amazon for hair loss by Honeydew.  I linked to it because I believe in it and I love it.  I bought this shampoo and my hair started to regrow after a few washes.  It could have been coincidental of course… but even so– this shampoo smells incredible.  It is made with evening primrose, sesame and rosemary oil.  I love this stuff! It makes my hair feel healthy and the smell is fantastic.  My husband is now using it too!  Also, recently I purchased their Hydrating Conditioner Mint & Tea Tree Oil For Dry and Damaged Hair as well and when I use it my hair looks so shiny!  And of course, like the hair loss shampoo, the smell is wonderful!

Hair, Skin & Nails Multivitamin
After I accepted that I would have to be done with breastfeeding (long story), I switched out my prenatals for Hair, Skin and Nail Vitamins.  I liked the taste of these vitamins.  I think they were beneficial, even though I am not a fan of gummy anything.  A couple of the reviews aren’t favorable for them — but they were fine for me.  The raspberry taste was pretty good.  The important thing is just getting on a vitamin with Biotin.  When I spoke with a friend who is a dermatologist she recommended taking Biotin.  I still take these every now and then.  It is important that in the postpartum months you pay close attention to your nutrition.  Eating healthy is SO important.  It is so easy to barely eat or just eat fast food/other junk.  Keeping a balanced diet is good for mental and physical health, especially with a newborn!

Eating right.
As I’ve already mentioned, eating right is important.  Some postpartum hair loss can be attributed to slight iron deficiencies.  Eating iron rich foods can give you healthy hair and can also make you feel better!  I tried to focus on eating iron rich foods right after having my kids when I was dealing with postpartum bleeding.  I even make a smoothie now, heavy in spinach, during my period weeks.  I aptly refer to it as my “my period smoothie.”  I’ll include a recipe in a future post ha.  (Maybe I should work on the name lol).  For more healthy-hair ideas check out this WebMD slideshow.  Another thing to consider when it comes to diet is that as important as it is to eat the right foods, it is also important to not overindulge in the wrong foods.  Foods high in selenium can cause hair loss.  High selenium foods include Brazil Nuts, certain meats and seafood, seeds, etc.  A balanced diet is always best.

Stress.
The postpartum period is very hard for many women.  Hormones are out of control.  Your body is desperately trying to find balance while you’re not sleeping, breastfeeding, eating sporadically, dealing with life, etc.  It is difficult!  Personally, I dealt with postpartum anxiety and OCD.  The stress I felt was greater than any stress I’d ever experienced (For more specifics you can visit The Glimmer.)  My psychiatrist mentioned to me that my hair loss could be more significant due to stress.  I’m not sure, but I think she was right.  It is important to get a handle on stress for mental and physical wellness.  I found mindfulness meditation and therapy helped tremendously during this time.  I also went on Prozac.  I was reluctant to do this, but it ultimately made a significant difference.  It gave me the ability to function.  If your stress is more manageable your body will respond more positively.

Time.
Perhaps the best thing you can do in the battle of postpartum hair loss is simply wait.  The hair WILL come back.  Estrogen levels need time to balance out.  Your body just grew another life! The changes are tremendous.  With time, your hair will return to a semi normal state.  In the meantime, keep up with trims, part your hair differently or try out a new hairstyle.  Mask the hair loss until it starts to return.  Most importantly, just remember that you’re your own worst critic.  People kept reassuring me that they barely noticed my hair loss.  They weren’t paying attention to it.  I know that my husband fibbed a little to make me feel better– but really, when I look back on photos, after parting my hair down the middle rather than the side, the hair loss wasn’t the giant deal I thought it was.  And it did grow back, just like everyone said.

Hopefully these tips will help 🙂  If you have other products you love, ideas for dealing with hair loss, or any other pertinent info, feel free to comment! I would love to hear your stories.

Repost: 8 things to consider about preschool

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Recently I went through the difficult process of withdrawing my son from preschool.  There had been red flags all along but I told myself that I was being neurotic, over-protective and crazy.  I went against my gut.  I think that because I was a first time mom I didn’t trust myself.  Now, a year and a half after he started he is out of that awful preschool and I have gained a good bit of knowledge about the whole process.  I would like to share these *red flags* that you may notice with your own children.

Potty Training
Perhaps one of the first situations I found to be very strange was this preschool’s potty training policy.  When signing my son up for school I was told that the preschool would work with my son on potty training and that most kids were potty trained within a few months!  I was excited about this.  As the months went by he was no closer to our potty training goal, in fact, he was more removed from it.  It was concerning.  I decided to try to send him to school in underwear since Pull-ups were confusing (they are just diapers) and he was actually allergic.  I was told that he couldn’t come to school in underwear because it was a health hazard.  A health hazard?  I’m not sending him to school with violent diarrhea.  He wasn’t going to go poop on people.  Sigh.  I strongly believe that his hiccups with potty training (at almost 4 years old) are in large part due to the way potty training was handled at preschool.  Make sure the potty training policy is clear at the school that you choose.  Make sure the teachers and staff are willing to work with you and your son or daughter.   Make sure they are encouraging as potty training can be a very difficult time!

Closed for every (no good) reason.
I believe my son was not in school more than he was in it.  Every time I turned around the school was closed for some reason.  Mostly this was due to weather.  This is understandable… however, they would drag it out as much as possible.  They wanted to go by the local school system, which is generally a pretty good rule, except public school students HAVE to go to school and they live all over the county.  We pay for preschool.  Even this I can get behind I guess… but the early dismissals.  If the school system dismissed early (even for just an hour!) …preschool would close at lunch.  Same with delayed openings.  They didn’t even start until 9:45!  If the local school system delayed (they start at 7:30/8), preschool would delay the same amount of time.  I’m sorry but your start time IS a delay!! Who starts at 9:45?!  ::eye roll::  Make sure, when looking for a school, that the school wants to be open!  The staff should love what they do, and shouldn’t look for excuses to shut down for the day.

Won’t let you observe
Listen to me.  If you get nothing else from this, please understand that if a preschool denies your request to observe… or just ignores it- as if you didn’t even ask… GET OUT.  There is a reason they don’t want you in the school.  You should ALWAYS be able to observe your own child, especially if there are problems.

Change in behavior
If there is a change in behavior in your child the preschool could be to blame.  Sure, kids grow and change and they go through different spells and tantrums, but if things get worse and the teachers seem discouraged or even mean… there could be more going on than is easily noticed.  For my son, he was a great kid the first year.  I always got a great report.  When he went to the next class with a different teacher, he was criticized from the very beginning.  Each day resulted in more troubling behavior from both my son and the teacher.  Our little ones don’t always know how to tell us something is going on… sometimes we just have to read between the lines.

What your kids DO tell you
Every once in a while your kid will pop up with a statement that makes total sense.  I hear my son tell me all sorts of stuff in a day.  “Preschool was fine and good.”  “Gigi’s house is far away.”  “I’m going to poop out of my head.”  “My paci’s name is Harold.”  Some things make sense, others don’t make a whole lot of sense and its easy to just say “oh okay… great… sure… that’s awesome,” at the ramblings and go about your day.  However, every once in a while if you really talk to your kid and listen, they’ll say something that you can’t just ignore.  I asked my son, for example, if he liked his teacher and he told me that he did.  I asked if his teacher ever got mad at him and he said that she did… when I asked him why… he replied, “Because she is pissed.”  I don’t know if she said those words to him or not… but I know that he felt that anger and disappointment and that was enough for me.  If you ask your child a question and they reply with “things are fine,” “it is good,” “I like it,” — dig a little deeper.  See if you can ask your questions in a different way.  Sometimes the answers are worth the extra work.

Discipline
The way a school handles misbehavior is very telling.  The first time my son was scolded at school he was removed from the playground and had to spend the remainder of play time in the director’s office.  He was 2 years old.  He ran out of the gate during recess and wouldn’t come back after being asked to.  I found out later that he was taken into the director’s office where they shut the door and had a conversation with him.  I spoke up at the time and have no regrets about the fact that I informed them that they would NO longer be having any closed-door conversations with my 2 year old.  It is always inappropriate.  As time went on my son was removed from more activities.  He was taken out of chapel, music class.  Eventually he quit making art.  I was paying for him to be removed from situations constantly, rather than redirected.  When searching for a preschool, please pay attention to how the school handles discipline.

Too Chatty
When taking my son to school I would chat with the teachers in the mornings.  Usually this was harmless chit chat.  Other times, I was shocked at how much his teachers were willing to share.  I was told in casual conversation about a child’s custody situation.  I was told that his mother had problems, he had behavior problems and he lived with his grandparents.  I was told about several children’s specific situations.  I always thought this was a bit odd as it was not my business…but then I realized that my son was not immune to this gossip.  As I dropped my son off in the mornings I wondered what the parents knew about us.  I wondered if they knew that my son had been struggling in school… or that I struggled with mental illness issues.  I was horrified.  Things I’d told to them in confidence were possibly on display for the whole school to know.  A child or family’s personal business should be just that.. their personal business.  I am sad that these teachers treated these matters as gossip.

Sick kid policy
When taking my son to preschool I was terrified of all of the illnesses he would be exposed to.  I knew this was inevitable and trusted that the school would take proper precautions to make sure illnesses were contained to the best of their ability.  Of course, without fail, my son picked up many illnesses his first year.  He got throat infections, URI’s, stomach bugs, and even mono.  It seemed he was ALWAYS out with something.  It started to become unbelievable.  I got to where I panicked when I saw a kid with a runny nose.  I was very cautious with my son.  I kept him home extra days just to make sure that he was recovering well and not a threat to other children.  I felt guilty thinking that I could send him to school with an illness that could spread to other children and their little siblings! I realized that I was seeing more and more children at school with very runny noses that were lethargic with hacking coughs.  I wondered if the school was abiding by its own stated rules in the handbook.  One child seemed very ill and he was allowed to stay.  Sickness in preschool is inevitable, but there are proper precautions that a school can take. If the school isn’t following their own policies, call them out on it.

Of course there are more things to consider when thinking of taking your child out of a school or choosing the right school for them.  I think the most important thing that I wish I had done was trust my gut.  I knew early on that my son’s preschool was perhaps not the best fit… but I ignored it.  I told myself that I was paranoid and that no school would be the perfect fit.   I should have listened to myself.  Turns out, a “mother’s gut feeling,” is a real thing.  I think it is a God given gift to make sure your babies are safe, happy and healthy.  I pray that I can listen to it more and doubt myself less.

Previously posted on The Glimmer.