Saturday, April 21, 2012

Secret Weapon(s) against Thrush

There it is, my secret weapon against thrush, particularly thrush diaper rash. A spray bottle, some water, and some tea tree, or sometimes called melaleuca, essential oil.  Spray it on after wiping and let it soak in. It is naturally anti fungal and works wonders.  I use about 5 drops to 1 cup of filtered water.  This would also work for nipples infected with thrush, just spray it on after feeding and let air dry.  Reapply as needed.  

If only thrush really were combated with a spray bottle! Thrush is a fungus that doesn't seem to want to relocate once established.  It just wants to take up more and more space.  Thrush, or yeast, is often an under diagnosed reason for sore nipples. If you have sore nipples despite good milk transfer, and a comfortable latch, try looking at some of the remedies below, it just might cure those ouchy nipples!If your baby has a diaper rash that won't go away despite preventative measures, and looks more like red raised bumps than just redness, your baby could have a diaper rash caused by yeast.  Infants can get yeast in their mouth as well.  This is identified by white, plaque-like spots that don't go away when wiped off. If your baby is struggling with either of those, try the list below and see if it doesn't help. 

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  • Dietary changes are the first line of defense, namely, cutting out all sugars and refined carbs.  When you are nursing it can be hard to eat good, wholesome food all of the time. Sometimes sugar seems like the quickest way to acquire energy to get the next thing done, but it never pays off.  Yeast thrives off of sugar and will continue to prosper in a body fed with sugar.  Sugar substitutes are often okay during the time you are killing off the yeast, also known as candida.  Maple syrup, honey, raw agave nectar, and coconut palm sugar can be okay for some women, but use your common sense and listen to your body. You will usually notice a flair up almost immediately if you are taking in too much sugar. Babies too, must cut out sugar in their diet while attempting to kill any yeast.  For them this would be no fruits or grains if they are on solids, if not, they will benefit from your new found sugar freedom!
  • Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that crowd out the yeast in your system.  They can be taken in supplemental form, which if the situation is chronic, is warranted, or in food form.  Either way increase your intake. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, lactofermented vegetables, fermented pickles (see picture, yum!) and kombucha, all contain yeast fighting probiotic strains. Saccharomyces boulardii is a particular probiotic strain that excels at fighting yeast.  As a nursing mother battling with yeast, I highly recommend adding this to your regimen. If not a broader spectrum probiotic will do too.  Infants and babies can also benefit from probiotic supplements.
  • Diluted grapefruit seed extract on your nipple, and/or baby's diaper rash, s is also a great way to beat thrush. Check out this article for more detailed information on how exactly to dilute the grapefruit seed extract, how to apply, and what type is most effective. 
  • The homeopathic remedy Borax is another way to ward off yeast.  It can be given to both mother and baby.  The best way to take it is to dissolve a couple of pellets in a glass of water.  Sip on this water throughout the day.  It's also the easiest way to give it to babies. If they are young enough you can put it in an eyedropper for them.  
  • Yin Care is a blend of Chinese herbs that are a powerhouse of antifungal, antimicrobial plants.  This can be used anywhere candida lurks. It also can heal sore nipples caused by bacteria as well.  Yin Care is excellent for tons of skin conditions from eczema to hives.  I highly recommend keeping a bottle in your house. A little bottle goes along way as it has to be diluted before use.  It can be applied with a spray bottle, a cotton ball, or a gauze pad. 
  • Finally, thyme essential oil is a great anti-fungal.  Dilute a few drops in a teaspoon of oil and apply to nipples or diaper rash (just use one or two drops for the diaper rash as it is powerful stuff). 
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a few effective measures you can take in your battle against yeast.  Arm yourself with a spray bottle, cut out sugar, and be firm, you will come out victorious!!

This post was featured in Healthy Home Economist's Monday Mania.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pregnancy Workouts - A Round Up!

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Many mothers can find it difficult to sneak in a work out routine, pregnant or not.  The fatigue and other physical discomforts of pregnancy can make this even harder.   When working out, I advise women to start nothing new, except possibly prenatal yoga with a teacher, and no contact sports. I have had clients who rode their horses and skied until weeks before delivery. I have to admit, this always makes me a tad nervous, but I trusted their trust in their bodies and intuition.  Remember to drink some water every fifteen minutes, and go with what your body is signaling to you, whether that's to push yourself harder, or to slow down, follow it's lead.  Exercise in pregnancy has a plethora of benefits.  Studies have found that yoga during pregnancy decreases discomforts, sleep issues and even preterm labor. Aerobic exercise has also been shown to improve depressive symptoms.  It has also been shown to improve fetal outcomes as well, including improved stress tolerance, which is basically another way of saying, it preps baby for labor!   Here are some ideas to get you started, most of which can be done from the comfort of your living room, and some are free of charge.  Enjoy!!

  • I love yoga. It's a gentle, yet effective form of exercise. Breathing through challenging physical postures is a wonderful way to prepare body and mind for the contortions of labor!  I really love YogaGlo. They have a prenatal/postpartum section that will keep you busy your entire pregnancy. The classes range from 15 min to 60 min.  Modifications are given for beginners, but classes are challenging for the seasoned pregnant yogi as well. After a fifteen day free trial, it's $18/month, the price of one yoga class!  The unlimited access and ease of use makes it perfect for busy moms.  You can continue your membership and stay fit throughout raising children!! There are hundreds of classes to choose from.
  • Dancing is another form of movement that feels great in pregnancy. I highly recommend Dance of the Womb by Maha al-Musa. It's intuitive and soulful.  You can read my interview with her here.  If you are in the Bay Area there is a class called Healing Pregnancy Movement and Labor Dance  taught by doula and midwifery student Gingi Allen,  that looks phenomenal.
  • YouTube is a great resource for pregnant mothers, especially those work outside the home mamas, and those work inside the home mamas.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

So these should keep you busy for awhile!  Get out there and move that wonderful belly brimming with life.  Your hips, back, shoulders, and baby will thank you.