Can my baby go to the pool?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Can my baby go to the pool?

You’ll never hear me tell you what to do with your child. They are your child. However, I will share with you a few things that you may not know. This is to help you make a more informed choice as a parent. 

When it comes to babies and pools there are two things to remember:

Your baby's skin is super duper sensitive--everything is so brand new to their skin. From the temperatures to the wind to the light to soft and deep touch--everything is new to your baby. Now the question is, do you want one of the first chemicals your baby’s skin comes in contact with to be chlorine? This actually leads to the second thing. 

Chlorine is a harsh chemical intended to kill things and can actually work against our immune systems. Not only that, but Chlorine is actually a mixture of other chemicals. It’s made up of Trihalomethanes and Chloramine. In a pool, there are two free radical agents that go break off and bind to things, like sweat and sunscreen, and float on the top of the water. These free agents also bind to the dirt and leaves in the poo., too. Chlorine can also be a gaseous form, too, causing chlorine to actually float above the surface of the water and in turn, we inhale it or it sticks to our skin and hair. This is the reason indoor pools (or pools that aren’t well cleaned) smell. When you walk in and “it smells like chlorine,” is really just floating chlorine and skin and sweat. Gross, right?

I always say in the first 4 months, be weary. It’s your baby and I trust you to make rules for that baby! After 6m is generally considered okay to have your baby in the pool (shaded areas or short bouts in the sun). However, for all infants under 1 year old, it’s important to wash chlorine off immediately. Remember our skin has a quick absorption rate and when the fun is over, we need to remove the chlorine quickly.

Exception to the Rule: Salt water pools are the exception to this rule. Since they don’t use much chlorine (they actually do have some chlorine), it can sit on our skin a little bit longer. The faster you can get your child rinsed off, probably the better. Fund fact while I have you: salt water pools have about 10x less salt than the ocean, so quite different (opposed to the general belief about salt water pools).

What about direct sunlight?

Babies less than 6 months should not be in direct sunlight. This can be super confusing for babies who need sun exposure for jaundice. Having your baby in direct-ish sunlight can be helpful in this case. By “direct-ish” I mean strategically placing them in the sun to expose various parts of their body (never their face or eyes) and never more than 10-20 minutes in the sun. You can check out the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation on sun and babies here. It is also recommended to be mindful of the hours during the day when the sun is the strongest, usually 10am-4pm

If you child does get a sunburn, fresh aloe vera and cold compresses are the remedy. If you are breastfeeding or nursing, the best way to keep your child hydrated through a sunburn is to continue to breastfeed or nurse.

What’s the Lowdown on Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is toxic, but also super needed when we are out in the what gives? Well, there are some safe and less toxic options for you and your baby! * It’s important to be mindful of what you are putting on your skin while you're pregnant and nursing, too. *

Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months old. Mainly because of all the icky chemicals. This is also true in pregnancy and for nursing parents. Chemicals like Oxybenzone (the main active ingredient in sunscreen) in sunscreen does get into the bloodstream, cross the placental barrier, and crosses into breastmilk. Another chemical, Octinoxate, is a known hormone disruptor and most contain fragrances which we all know are terrible for us. These are certainly chemicals we don’t want to apply to such delicate and fragile skin like our newborns.

Here are my top picks for babies over 6 months:
  • Bare Republic is always my number one pick. It is what I use personally and have loved every product I have used. I have used the spray sunscreen, the lotion, and the face sticks. Never ceases to exceed my expectations! They have a specific baby formula that I love, too! 
  • Coola This is what I use on my face. I am hard to trust when it comes to my face. When I was a child, I had a very bad experience with zinc based sunscreen that actually burned (and scarred!) my face! Since then, I’ve been so peculiar about my face. To the point of wearing a hat and not letting sun hit my face if there’s not a safe sunscreen option available. Coola is a brand that I have used for the last two summers and don’t see myself changing anytime soon. It’s fragrance free and all organic. The only con is that they don’t have a baby-specific line and I am hesitant to use non-baby specific lines on our tiniest humans’ skin. 
  • Alba I love this brand, too! I have used their spray sunscreen on many vacations and they have a baby-specific sunscreen! I love it so much because it is usually a brand that most places carry so you can rest assured you’ll have at least one non-toxic option! *Double check that you are using the fragrance free version-- not all Alba products are free of fragrances! A
  • Babo Here’s one of the best baby sunscreens on the market! The whole product line is created for kids! If you choose a sunscreen for yourself that is not baby-specific, here’s one for your tot! Babo is a brand loved by millions of parents! One of the things I love about this brand (even though I’m a big fan of spray sunscreens) is that they don’t have any aerosol sprays. They recognize how many chemicals are required to make sunscreen in an aerosol form and wanted better for our babies! 

You always have the option of making your own natural sunscreen, too, like this one from Wellness Mama.

What about Bug Spray?

Great question! Bug spray is the same thing--filled with horrible chemicals that we know disrupt hormones and soak into our skin and bloodstream. Absolutely no deet on children under 2 months of age per the CDC (this still seems wildly young. I’m 29 years old and avoid deet at all cost). 

I recommend this Primally Pure bug spray. While their website says it is not for children under 1 year old, I suggest researching your other options before choosing a traditional bug spray for your little one. I have used this bug spray for over 2 years now! It’s worked in Thailand, the Bahamas, the swamps of Louisiana, down on the river in Alabama, and in the cow pastures of my parents' home in Mississippi.

The Last Word

Here’s the thing: the sun isn’t bad, it’s actually really good. Sunscreen isn’t the enemy, it’s actually a great protective tool. Like everything in life, there is a balance. 

Finding the balance of sun exposure and how to pick the best products for your baby is up to you. I said it in the beginning and I’ll circle back to it now, you know your baby best. I trust you to make the rules for your baby that are a balance of health, safety, and fun. 

Happy sunning, yal!

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Quarantine Dream: My “New Normal”

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

“New Normal”...I keep hearing it everywhere. People talking about what it will be like. Folks saying it’ll never be the same again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager to see what our “new normal” looks like too once this is all over, but can we please not forget about the here and now. Like, hello, can we please focus on getting through the right now, this moment. 

Transitioning your entire life to fit into the walls of your home and now using video communication for 95% of all interactions is tough. It can feel so overwhelming. Discombobulating. Disorienting. For folks like me, change is hard and avoided. I will avoid change at all cost if it means I get to stay in my comfort zone of everything being as expected. I already worked from home so that wasn’t my biggest change. Mine was having my partner work from home, too. I was used to having the house to myself. The whole house was my office essentially. I could do as I please and film wherever I needed or wanted. This is no more in quarantine and I needed to find ways to not only cope with the new life we were experiencing, but to also ground myself. 
  • - Primally Pure Face Mask and Serum I don’t know about you, but one of the first things that changed since never leaving my house is my skin. My poor face has definitely taken a hit and noticed the lack of variety in exposure. I use Primally Pure’s cleansing oil every night followed by the fancy face serum. When my face began to shift ( about 10 days into quarantine), I ordered the plumping mask and the soothing serum. I’ve been using it and my face has a brighter complexion, is well hydrated, and feels rejuvenated. I know changing face products can be intimidating and scary considering it often causes breakouts as your face makes the transition. There’s no better time than quarantine to test out new products when your skin has the time and space to heal (and you're not “seeing” anyone). I have used Primally Pure since 2017 and haven’t thought about changing once. Their products are all-organic and I’ve never once had a problem caused by the ingredients, that makes me feel so confident that I am treating the skin on my face with the respect and healthy support it deserves. You can save 10% off your purchase with code HEHE10
  • - Journaling This one I’m still figuring out. I used to use prompts but lately I haven’t been able to find one that gets me jazzed to write out what’s in my brain so...I’ve been free writing what’s in my brain. It’s been a lot of gratitude, but also some high emotions. Fascinatingly, I looked back over what I had written in the last 5 weeks and you can see a clear pattern of grief. In the moment, I would have never told you I was grieving and you probably couldn't have convinced me of it either. But looking back over it written out, it’s undeniable. If you’re new to journaling, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Writing out your thoughts is just as helpful and therapeutic as writing to a prompt. If you are a well accustomed journaler, I’d love to hear your journaling method and if there are any prompts that have really aligned with you lately. 
  • - Flamingo Wax Strips When businesses started to close, I had no clue how far this would ripple and never thought about things like my underarms or bikini area being impacted by this virus...but here we are. Most of us are probably looking bushier than we care to admit and certainly hairier than we prefer. I’m right there with ya sister and let me tell you about my saving grace during this quarantine. Flamingo wax strips have been amazing. Now, you are not going to get a spa-like wax at home, but for a self-done job, I was impressed. I thought it’d be a total hack-job and it wasn’t. I will say, I didn’t even attempt to do a full brazillian (I’ll leave that recovery to the professionals), but the bikini area not only cleaned up nicely, but was also so easy to do. I also use these strips on my underarms which was a bit harder (only because on angling and working on your own armpits is hard), but also great. I did find the need to pluck after (which my waxer does normally) and this was the most challenging part. It definitely is not something I will be incorporating into my post-quarantine life, but for now this is an amazing stepping stone to hold me over until this lockdown is over. 
  • - Elmore Mountain Therapeutics CBD Yal know I have been on the EMT CBD train for as long as my CBD journey has been around. I had tried a few other brands and couldn’t find one I loved. I attended a CBD workshop in Boston and Ashley was on the panel. I remember how drawn I was to her because she shared the science behind why cbd, specifically Elmore Mountain Therapeutics, is the answer. She explained how our bodies absorb, use, and eliminate CBD as well as what the (limited) studies have shown. At the event, Ashley shared her CBD with me and I was sold. Her story, her knowledge, and her product. All of this to say two things: EMT is in my daily routine (and thank God that it is!) and if they have a product, I’ve likely tried it so ask all the questions. What I can’t get enough of right now are these three: Rose body oil + body scrub duo, the tincture, and my personal favorite, the face serum. I literally lather my face with this serum every morning and afternoon. I use the body scrub in the shower and the body oil when I get out. I have used the tincture for my period and anxiety for a while and have definitely kept that around. 
  • - Time Blocking I time block for work, but I have found I need to time block to regular things like house work, too, now. I think this is because we never leave so there is no break in the day. For example, I knew when Nicholas (my partner) would text me that he was headed home from work that that was my cue to wrap up my work, vacuum the rug, and load any dishes in the dishwasher that had accumulated throughout the day. We no longer have that text exchange because now he just comes into the living room and announces he is through for the day. It is easier than ever to work, work, work into the late hours of the night without even realizing it. Boundaries are harder to set than ever before because work and home are no longer separate. Time blocking can help you step away from work and spend time keeping your home clean or spending uninterrupted time with your family. 
  • - Thinx Underwear When I used to use tampons, I would have to remember to buy them each month before my cycle started. Then I switched to Lola tampons and they’d be shipped to me, but since shipping has been so wild lately, I am extra thankful for my Thinx underwear. The quarantine has provided so many folks with the opportunity to try Thinx in the comfort of their home without the pressure of going to work or out in public. I have been using Thinx as a period management for 3 years now and I couldn’t imagine life without them. When I travel or need to swim, I will use a menstrual cup, but otherwise Thinx is my only period management. They are intricately designed to not smell or feel wet. You can save $10 with this link to try them out. I was skeptical at first, too, but I was converted to a full-blown believer so quickly and that turned into a 10 pair collection. 
  • - Taking Frequent Walks (walking my dog) Walking my dog is something I’ve always done, but now I find myself going on walks to just get out of the house. At some point, the walls start to close in on you and I start to feel delirious. I know I’ve been in the house too long when I hit what I call a “laughing fit” where I can’t stop laughing and when I try, I just laugh harder. My natural instinct when I am bored or feeling stressed is to reach for a cup of coffee (I know, the opposite of what I need) or something comforting to eat. I have been challenging myself to get outside each day (except when it snows or rains..because I just can’t).The days I don’t make it outside, I can certainly tell a difference in my mood, my anxiety, and my reaction to my partner. 
  • - Mantras: “I’m adaptable” and “This is good growth” are my go-to’s at the moment. I am reminding myself that everyone is going through this. As isolating as this feels, it’s the most “together” we can possibly be. I am quick to remember this when schedules are disrupted or miscommunications happen. Everyone's flexibility right now is appreciated and when people snap, it’s nice to remind yourself that they might be having an extra hard day. Give them grace. 
Looking for something for your mental health? Did you have an event that was cancelled because of the pandemic and are longing for some human connection…I mean another human than who you’re quarantined with.

BONUS: Bloom Tribe Virtual Momfrence: I am so excited to be a speaker at this year’s momference. This event was originally supposed to be in-person, in Seattle on May 1st and 2nd. Due to the coronavirus, the Bloom Tribe team quickly pivoted to bring this goodness to you online. I seriously cried (I literally cried) when this event was cancelled so you can imagine my excitement when they shared they’d be doing it online this year! I was shocked, but also deeply happy in my core because this year’s line up is too good. I didn’t want anyone missing out on it. There’s postpartum coaches, life coaches, CEO’s, and moms talking about things like balancing work and marriage, and how to navigate fear and how to choose the next best steps for yourself and your family. You can check out the full list of speakers here. The Momference is May 2nd, 9am-3:30pm, virtually!! This is so perfect because you get to set aside time for yourself (but not too long, less than 7hrs), you don’t have to travel, and you don’t have to choose which sessions to go to (since moving to online, your ticket price covers everyone!!). Tickets are less than $30 and you can grab your ticket here! Also, use code TRANQUILITY at checkout to save 10%. I’m sharing how to have a confident birth so this is going to be an event you do not want to miss if you are having a baby during this global outbreak! Join me on May 2nd!! 

If you want my best advice, I say don’t focus so much on the far future, rather how can you create stability for yourself right now? Stability right now will provide your mind and body the space to cope with this change in life and figure out a solid plan forward. Without a stable foundation, it will be very hard to rebalance yourself in all of this. Don’t give into the pressures of the go, go, go lifestyle. Take the time you need to feel the emotions and create some next steps. 

You can do this. With love, HeHe

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Giving birth during the coronavirus? Here’s what to know, mama.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Giving Birth during the coronavirus? Here's what you need to know, mama.

(This was an article Hehe wrote originally for Motherly, you can view the full article HERE.

Pregnancy brings so many questions, but giving birth during a pandemic can be plain overwhelming. It likely seems as if your questions are never-ending, and the more answers you get, the more questions come up.

There is likely so much on your mind right now:

Will I need to give birth without my partner?

Will I have limited pain relief options?

Am I going to be separated from my baby?

It's so much to think about, and it can feel scary.

As you think about your birth, one of your biggest fears is likely a sense of having a lack of control throughout this process. Mama, you are not alone. Thousands of couples are in the same boat, and I want to share some ways to cope with this shift.  For HeHe's advice and support for those feeling anxious about their pregnancy and upcoming birth, please see the full article here.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Nationwide Childbirth Classes Leave Millions of Parents in a Scramble

Nationwide Childbirth Classes Leave Millions of Parents in a Scramble

(This was an article Hehe wrote originally for Pregnancy Magazine, you can view the full article HERE.

Having an online community is more important than ever with the spread of COVID-19. We all know babies don’t stop coming just because there’s a pandemic . Limiting social contact means planned events, meetings and classes are being canceled all over the country. For expecting parents, this includes their childbirth education classes.. A class meant to inform, prepare and reduce anxiety around becoming a new parent, but so many have been canceled without information on rescheduling. Talk about anxiety! Studies also show that postpartum depression becomes much more of a concern if there is a lack of social support after childbirth. This current medical outbreak has taken social support right out the window and new parents all over the country are desperate for connections with other new parents.

For HeHe's advice and support for those feeling anxious about their pregnancy and upcoming birth, please see the full article here.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

Preparing to Give Birth During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Preparing to Give Birth During the Coronavirus Pandemic

(This was an article Hehe wrote originally for Family Education, you can view the full article HERE.

When a woman gets pregnant, so many questions run through her mind: Will it hurt? How much weight will I gain? Will I poop during labor? One question that likely never crossed any woman's mind when they got the news about being pregnant is whether she will be forced to birth alone, with limited pain relief, and possibly be separated from her baby at birth due to a global pandemic.

Though this is nothing any of us have ever prepared for, this is the internal monologue happening for millions of women across the globe today.

For HeHe's advice and support for those feeling anxious about their pregnancy and upcoming birth, please see the full article here.

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

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