Beauty: Why you should care about what you put on your body!

Back in March I was able to attend a wonderful event at the Whole Foods in Lynnfield for the Hello Beauty Week! The event featured three experts with local brands to talk about the importance of clean beauty products and how their brand commits to that. Let me start by saying that anyone could attend the event and it was free, you just had to register in advance.

Slowly, I have been trying to switch over to a more natural skin care/hygiene regimen. I make it a priority to eat clean, make sure I buy the dirty dozen organic, and make sure I know as much about my food as possible. The one message that all three experts said was that, what goes on your body is just as important as what goes in your body.

shamanuti

The first brand discussed was Shamanuti. The company was started because of the owners love and respect for nature. She also shared that most common (and cheap) products do more harm than good. Most products strip the skin, dry it out, and then replace the natural oils. It makes you feel like your need more of that product to keep your skin healthy.

Just like with food, understanding what’s in the product should be high on your priority list. If alcohol is one of the first 3 ingredients, it will strip your skin, like I mentioned above. The difference between food and beauty products is that beauty products tend to use the latin terms for the plants that are used in the product, so you may not be able to pronounce the word, it could still be good for you.

When asked what is the #1 product she would suggest using every day, it would be charcoal. Charcoal products have recently started becoming very popular, what they do is bring your skin to a pH neutral balance.

laughingtree

The second company that spoke to us was Laughing Tree Organics. They have only been in business for about a year, but they already have a lot of products available and a great following. The products are 100% plant-based and have no artificial ingredients. They are trying to offer cost-effective, plant-based products with a sustainable approach. So many of these products we use, not only is the product made of chemicals, but the packaging and some of the product ending up in our landfills, water supplies, etc…

The owner talked about how it takes only 26 seconds for chemicals to enter the blood stream and the average person puts on seven products a day! Seven, that is a lot of chemicals! She talked about how some beauty & hygiene products have a role in issues with fertility, birth defects, early puberty in offspring, etc… While I haven’t done a ton of research in that area, it is definitely something that I plan on delving deep into and making my self extremely informed.

The products are created through a cold press process with no fillers so that a little of the product goes a long way! I was able to try their Natural Organic Lip Balms (coconut is my favorite) and I have to say it made my lips, which tend to try out easily, nice and soft, and I didn’t feel the need to put on lip balm 75 times a day.

thesis

These are hand-made artisanal skin care products. As with most, the owner started with switching to organic food and slowly moved to switching to skin care.

While researching beauty products she couldn’t find anything chemical or preservative free, and she also couldn’t find organic brands that were affordable. So she developed her own brand after a full year of research.

They also use a cold press process to make their products, no synthetics used at all. Part of the reason this company was started was to make products that pregnant women could use and feel comfortable with. While she suggested switching to a natural skin care routine prior to getting pregnant, you can start any time.

This company was the only one that kept its products in glass. Dark brown glass keeps the product fresher for longer, but it is more expensive. The bath products however, use recycled plastic.

Samples

After the talk, we were each given a swag bag with tons of samples and some of the brands above gave out extra samples to attendees. I have tried most of the brands you see above, and still have plenty of samples, so if you’d like to try something you see, don’t hesitate to ask me!

Weleda

I was also gifted this basked of Weleda products to test out. My absolute favorite is the Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash. My skin doesn’t feel dried out and I love the way it smells! I’ve gone back and purchased this product for me to keep using.

MyChelle

I was also given the opportunity to try a few full size items. After talking to the Whole Beauty expert, I picked these three products for myself. My face was always feeling dried out. So I picked the MyChelle Honeydew Cleanser which is unscented and for sensitive skin. I wash my face twice a day and the product lasts forever. You don’t need a ton of product, trust me, I learned the hard way! I started using these products in the winter when my skin, especially my face, would flake like crazy. Ever since I started using this regimen, my face has felt moisturized and healthy.

Post-cleanser I use one of two products. If I am spending a ton of time outside or it is going to be a hot and sunny day I opt for the Mineral Fusion Mineral SPF 40 Face Moisturizer. Due to being a tad bit Irish, I burn easily, but the worst is always my face. For me it is vital to have a moisturizer that also doubles as a sunscreen because I just don’t have time for 65 beauty products in the morning.  If I wasn’t really going out, which happened a lot due to modified bed rest, exhaustion, etc…. or I was washing my face before bed I used the MyChelle Deep Repair Cream. This cream is wonderful, I never feel like my  face is dried out and the product is not oily which I love. My only con about these two products is that they have a light scent. It doesn’t stay with you for more than a few minutes, but it is something to bare in mind.

The Whole Beauty Expert was so helpful in picking out the three products above that I also asked her about baby and kid products. Unfortunately, B1 has my dry and sensitive skin. The expert showed me some bath wash, shampoo, bubble bath, etc… that would be great for infants and toddlers, the prices were even cheaper at Whole Foods than at Target.

emily

I also took home a sample for Emily’s Baby & Adult Skin Soother. This is a very local product that is similar to vaseline in consistency. It is great for dry patches, whenever B1 has a dry patch of skin, I put a tiny dab on the area before he goes to bed and 90% of the time the dry patch is better after 2 days of application. It has been a life saver not just for B1, but also for me. I get extremely dry knuckles in the winter and this has helped me not to only stop the cracking and bleeding, but also to stop the skin from drying out at all.

I am still in the process of looking for natural makeup, so if you have suggestions send them my way!

Do you use natural body products? If so, what are your favorites?

Lactation Support Groups & a Giveaway

If there is one piece of advice that I could give any mom is that nothing ever goes as planned, ever. If it did, I would’ve already had B2, I fully anticipated she would be a June baby based on my conversations with my OB, but June came and went and she is still in utero. With B1 the plan was always to breastfeed, but with some medical complications post birth and the fact that after 2 weeks of trying my milk still hadn’t come in, I ended up not breastfeeding. It was such a hard decision, mixed with the post-partum hormones, and the guilt that I felt for not feeling good enough to provide for my baby, I hibernated. The only lactation consultant I saw basically told me to give up, it was an extremely difficult decision for me but at the end of the day, I needed to provide nutrients for my baby and if I couldn’t do that then I was going to find an alternate solution.

Third Trimester

More than ready for baby girl :)

With B2 I plan on trying the breastfeeding route again, I will be more willing to see a (different) lactation consultant immediately for help and pray that my milk comes in this time. Fortunately for me I was contacted by the team at Acelleron in North Andover, MA. Not only can you order medical products (like breast pumps, etc…) through them, they also offer many pre and post-partum services for moms. Things like fitness classes, doula services, new mom support groups, and lactation support groups. Since I didn’t go to one when B1 was born, I sent Megan at Acelleron a list of questions that I had about lactation support groups. I know I personally am very intimidated to go to any type of new class whether it be fitness, education, or something like lactation, my type A personality doesn’t like the unknown.

For the benefit of you and I, I posted our Q&A session below, and at the bottom is the info to enter the giveaway that Acelleron and I are having!

1. What is the benefit from attending a lactation support group?

There are so many great benefits! First, it is a great time to connect with other new moms! You get to see that your relationship and struggles are very common and you are not the only one going through them at 3 am. Second, you get professional advice and opinions by someone who is trained and educated in the field of lactation support. There are so many myths and bad advice out there surrounding breastfeeding. This is a great time to come in and get your questions answered by someone with professional and personal expertise.

2. When should mom start attending a lactation support group?

As soon as they can get out of the house! They can even come to a group while they are pregnant. I have had moms come with 3 day olds and moms come in with 12 month olds. It’s never too late or too early to join us.

3. How long should I attend the lactation support group for? How long does the average mom stay in the support group?

It totally depends of the kind of support mom is looking for. Moms are welcome to drop in once to get their questions answered, or come every week for their whole maternity leave. It is great when moms come for a few weeks and really build a bond with other moms. We are all about community and supporting each other, so it is great to watch that happen. On average, people stay in the group for 3-4 months.

4. Do moms actively breastfeed during the support group?

Yes. There are moms nursing throughout the meeting. It also gives me a chance to check positioning and latch.

5. When would a mom need a private session instead of being part of the group?

Moms would need a private session for a few different reason. If a baby is not gaining weight appropriately, lots of pain or bleeding on mom’s nipple, mom needs help creating a plan for going back to work. I always suggest starting out with the support group and then deciding from there, unless it is a more emergent situation.

6. What would you say to a mom that could not breast feed her first child but wants to try to breastfeed a second child?

Every pregnancy is different and every child is different! The best thing to do is educate yourself. Learn from what happened the first time around, and find a support system that will help you get breastfeeding started early on.

7. Are there foods or a diet that boosts breast milk supply?

Some moms will report a boost in their supply when they eat things like oatmeal, lactation cookies, coconut water and Gatorade. It is all really anecdotal as there is no research that proves any foods can increase supply.

8. What can a mom do to encourage better milk production or for her milk to come in?

The best advice is to breastfeed the baby early and often! As the baby suckles it tells your body to make more milk. It is all about supply and demand. The more the baby nurses, the more milk your body will make. In those first few days the baby does not need a lot of milk to fill up their tiny tummy. They need to be at the breast at least 8-12 times in 24 hours. This will help encourage your supply.

9. What would you tell a mom who’s milk has not come in more than one week post-partum?

If your milk has not come in after more than one week post-partum mom should be working directly with a lactation professional. Milk usually comes in around day 3 for a vaginal birth and can take up to 5 days to come in for a c-section.

10. For moms that don’t want to exclusively breast feed, when is it best to introduce a bottle?

The best time to introduce a bottle is around 3-4 weeks. If you wait much longer it might be harder. If you do it too soon it could have some negative effects. When deciding to introduce a bottle make sure to do some research on Paced Bottle Feeding. You can find some great video’s on YouTube. This method helps simulate a breastfeeding type experience and will help the baby easily transition between bottle and breast.

Megan O’Neill is the Director of Lactation Support at Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness in North Andover, MA, which provides the resources and supportive community parents need to become empowered in the process of growing their family. Megan has over three years of breastfeeding experience with her two little boys and holds her Certification in Lactation Counseling and is also certified by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Procedure. She holds a weekly free drop-in breastfeeding support group on Wednesdays from 11:30-12:30pm: http://acelleron.com/maternal/support/lactation-lounge/ or you can email her at: moneill@acelleron.com. More info about Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness can be found at: http://acelleron.com/maternal/, Facebook or Twitter.

 

Acelleron is offering to giveaway a Simple Wishes hands free bra to one lucky reader. This giveaway ends Friday, July 10, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST

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Did you attend a lactation support group? What was the best thing about it?