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Eczema is known as an atopic dermatitis and it’s recognized by a patchy rash that’s red, dry, and often itchy. The typical approach to treating eczema is with topical creams. However, the rash itself isn’t the real problem that needs to be addressed. Eczema is actually an external symptom of an internal dysfunction. The only way to fully heal your child’s symptoms is to address the underlying internal root cause of the issue.

This means the only effective way to treat eczema is from the inside out.


A 2-pronged approach

The proper approach to healing eczema needs to address 2 key components.

External: The skin’s microbiome (the community of bacteria and other microbes living on the skin) plays a key role in the manifestation of eczema. Topical products are often the first thing a parent reaches for and while they can help calm the ‘symptoms’, they don’t cure the underlying cause.

Internal: Topical treatments are really only effective once internal healing has begun.

1. First, let’s cover topical creams

The widely varying recommendations for topical eczema creams can feel overwhelming. When looking for a topical cream, try not to make yourself crazy with the selection.

No other topical product I’ve seen provides more effective relief than pure pharmaceutical-grade lanolin. Lanolin is the top recommendation for breastfeeding mothers with dry, cracked nipples and I can’t recommend this product enough for eczema. It offers a protective barrier and locks moisture into the skin. Every client I’ve recommended it to has called it a miracle cream. While nothing you use externally will be a cure, lanolin can offer wonderful topical support that helps minimize discomfort while you work on healing your child’s eczema internally.

Just a warning, it’s very thick, tacky and waxy. Don’t let the texture dissuade you from using it liberally. I recommended a thick application in the morning, before bed, and after bathing or swimming.

Brand I recommend: Lanolin

Other products that help the skin retain moisture
  • Shea butter

  • Cocoa butter

  • Coconut oil

  • Jojoba oil

  • Manuka honey

All of these are great options with their own benefits. Some people find they work well alone, but many people usually benefit from some combination.

These are also fantastic for applying directly after bathing or swimming to restore moisture in the skin. Bathing often exaggerates eczema because it removes the natural protective oils from the skin. I also suggest putting lanolin cream on eczema patches before swimming in chlorinated water to protect it from being exposed to the chemicals, which further dries out the skin.

Our own incredibly successful combo

My son developed food sensitivities that resulted in eczema and we were able to completely heal his patches in just two months by addressing both the internal and external.

We had incredible success with 1 drop of lavender oil mixed with 1 tsp of organic coconut oil applied after a bath. Wait for the oil to soak in a little (5-10 minutes), then apply the pharmaceutical-grade lanolin to ‘seal’ moisture into the skin.

Brand I recommend: doTERRA Lavender & organic coconut oil


Topical creams to avoid

When treating eczema, the skin’s microbiome needs to be supported and nourished. However, one of the biggest concerns with most topical creams is that the preservatives they contain kill beneficial bacteria, even in those creams sold specifically to treat eczema.

Petroleum jelly, Vaseline, Aquaphor (also known as mineral oil, or paraffin)
  • It’s a byproduct of oil refining that contains compounds that are harmful to your child’s health. Even more concerning, it can cause collagen to breakdown, the opposite of what anyone with eczema is trying to achieve.

Steroid cream, hydrocortisone cream
  • These creams include chemicals that carry side effects with their use. They’re also petroleum-based. They often help clear the eczema but don’t heal the root cause. Use sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

Finding safe skin care
  • The Environmental Working Group’s site Skin Deep is a great resource when deciding about the toxicity of your children’s (and your) skin care and body products.


2. How to heal internally

The truth is, while many different topical products will probably help you reduce the external symptoms. Nothing will help your child’s eczema more than healing holistically from the inside out.

My new guide Feeding The Sensitive Child provides the exact protocol that I’ve been using with my clients for years (and even my own son!).

This guide shows you how to heal eczema by:

1. Rebalancing: build & diversify the microbiome
2. Repairing: strengthen the integrity of the intestinal barrier
3. Removing: identify food sensitivities & reduce triggers 
4. Restoring: optimize nutrient absorption

The results are always nothing less than awe inspiring. Now you can use these effective strategies to provide your little one with the much needed relief they need. 

LEARN MORE

Carley
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We’re all born with the innate wisdom of how to best nourish ourselves. (Just observe a baby who is breastfed on demand!) Although, most adults have become extremely disconnected from their body’s signals and are no longer in tune with when, what, and how much to eat.

This disconnect can begin happening from a young age. When starting solids with babies, one of the most important things I promote is to honor the intuitive ability that babies have to self-regulate their intake.

However, we’re conditioned to convince our babies to “finish the whole jar” of purée. Or we get our toddler to “take one more bite”, or tell them “no dessert until they finish their dinner”.

With these external forces dictating a child's consumption, it overrides their ability to listen to their body’s own needs and teaches them to ignore their own cues of hunger & satiation.

Combine this with the constant barrage of conflicting dietary advice and it's easy to see why most adults have completely lost touch with how to best nourish themselves.

The word “diet” has become synonymous with weight loss and restriction, but diet is actually just the total sum of food consumed. In other words, it’s what you eat! Unfortunately when we begin trying to figure out what our diet ‘should’ consist of, we’re often left with more questions than answers.

It’s all about tuning in and eating intutivley, but how do we do that?

Mindful EatingNo one-size-fits-all

Just like the seasons, our bodies go through cycles. So as you change over time, your nutritional needs will change as well. This is all part of an ever-evolving journey of finding balance.

It’s also why there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to eating. Getting into the habit of eating mindfully will help you honestly assess if what you’re consuming is fueling your body in the best way possible.

Habitual eating

Are you a habitual eater? Don't worry, this is a natural human instinct that is even exhibited by very young babies! But it's beneficial to get into the practice of eating mindfully and becoming aware of your patterns. Do you eat when you’re hungry, or do you eat when you’re bored, sad, watching a movie, driving, doing a certain activity? If you know your patterns you can be prepared by having healthy options within reach during those times.

Try tuning into how you feel

There’s no need to do this obsessively, but it’s a beneficial practice to check in with yourself every so often. If done routinely enough, it will eventually become second nature.

1) Before you eat: How hungry are you? What are you craving? Are you feeling bored or emotional?

2) Halfway through your meal: How full are you? Is the food satisfying? Are you feeling present or mindlessly munching? Are you paying attention to the flavors, textures & colors of your meal?

3) 1-3 hours after your meal: How is your digestion (bloating/gas)? How are your energy levels and mood? Are you still feeling satisfied?

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CHEATSHEETMindful Eating Made Easy Email * Thank you!  Factors to ConsiderTracking numbers (macros or calories)

When you start listening to the numbers you’re more likely to stop listening to your body. People often become less able to tune into their body’s internal cues when they become dedicated to tracking and letting numbers dictate their diet.

What to do instead? Find a balance that works for you.

Taking some simple measures to balance your meals helps you maintain balanced blood sugar, which can be nothing short of life-changing for some people. I firmly believe that the majority of the population suffer from unbalanced blood sugar on a daily basis, all without knowing that they possess the ability to feel much more vibrant, energetic, and focused.

Symptoms to consider

There are many symptoms that accompany blood sugar irregularities.

You should be especially mindful of maintaining balanced blood sugar if you experience:

  • dramatic shifts in energy (ups & downs)

  • afternoon slumps

  • mood swings

  • sugar cravings

  • trouble focusing / unclear thinking

  • light headedness

  • strong reliance on coffee

Especially if you have:

  • hypoglycemia

  • frequent yeast infections

  • diabetes (type 1, 2 or gestational)

  • PCOS

 Balance Mood & Energy by Balancing Meals

My new guide, Oh Baby Essentials, is designed to help you simplify balancing your meals. It’s broken up by macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) to help you mindfully discover which ratio work best to help you meet your needs and reach your goals.

Why You Don’t Need Willpower

Don’t be afraid of actually eating! Especially if you eat real foods, whole foods, balance your meals, enjoy what you eat, and listen to your body by obeying your hunger signals and stopping when you’re satiated.

Unfortunately for most, going ‘on a diet’ involves some level of deprivation. Whether this is under eating (not getting enough calories/nutrients) or the mental deprivation of restricting.

Yes, we all know that sugar can detract from our health, but simply cutting sugar (or restricting and avoiding anything in your diet) can leave you feeling very deprived. Plus it can take the pleasure out of eating!

Changing habits is hard, and changing mindset can be even more challenging. If we want to have a healthy relationship with food, we need to rethink our conditioning around food. Food is fuel and necessary nourishment for our bodies. It’s not about less, but rather more. More nourishing, more balance, more mindfulness.

Instead of a long list of foods to avoid, Oh Baby Essentials offers a unique approach that emphasizes healthy alternatives & nutritious swaps. This enables you to make informed choices that will leave you feeling empowered and satisfied, instead of deprived.

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Before going through the transition herself, I don’t think a woman can ever fully prepare for how transformative the journey from maiden to mother truly is. Almost every aspect of your life changes as you adapt to the requirements of your new role, but prior to having kids most women rarely consider how becoming a mother will redefine their sexuality. Probably because the concept is not often talked about openly. When it comes to sex in motherhood, the only thing that’s really discussed is “when intercourse can resume after birth”. But a mother’s sexuality is much more multifaceted than this and a larger conversation needs to be had.

There’s a multitude of factors that may be causing new mothers to feel disconnected from their sexuality, such as shifting hormones, lack of sleep, anxiety, traumatic or disempowering birth experiences, or feeling unfamiliar with their new postpartum body. Not to mention the overarching cultural stigmatization of a woman’s sexuality once she becomes a mother. Sex creates babies but once the duty of procreation is complete, women are basically expected to dismiss this integral essence of their former selves.

Dr. Marlene Ehrler is a Naturopathic Doctor and founder of Motherhood Medicine. She is actively dismantling the oppressive narratives that motherhood and sexuality should remain mutual exclusive. Her incredible work supports mothers in connecting with their sensuality as a vital piece of their health and wholeness.

The changes in a woman’s sexuality and sensuality after becoming a mother aren’t usually talked about. How can creating a dialogue around this assist in better navigating this transition?

I usually start by asking: What does it mean to you to be a mother? Many times the answer is relatively monotone: a caretaker, a homemaker, a woman whose life revolves around her children. Why are our ideas of mothers so singular and passive? You have to have sex to become a mother, so why aren’t mother’s allowed to be seen as sexual beings?

This examination of why we think the way we do is the most foundational place to start. This inner journey often sparks numerous questions and facilitates meaningful dialogue, not only within ourselves, but with other women in our community. Sharing our story normalizes our experience not only for ourselves, but for all mothers.

Our culture doesn’t celebrate the multifaceted identities of mothers. How does our conditioning impact our deep seeded notions of sexuality in motherhood?

When you take this unlocked sensual energy that can occur in pregnancy and motherhood and hold it against the light of society’s traditional expectations of a mother, the contrast can be shattering. Then add in the societal constructs of relationship expectations, and the level of judgment becomes exhausting.

Think of a single mother who had her baby “out of wedlock”. What is your immediate impression of her sensuality? Maybe “risky”? Think of a mother who has been married for 4 years, and just had her baby. What is your immediate impression of her sensuality? Maybe “prude”? What if I then told you the single mother was a Nasa space engineer, and the married woman is on unemployment. Did your impressions then change? Why?

Because of our conditioning.

We view the world through conditioned lenses that have been a huge collaboration by our parents, our community, society, media, relationships, organized religion, school, and our lived experience. Sex, sexuality, and sensuality mean something different for everyone, and depending on a woman’s “circumstances” we make judgments of their sexual expression. For whatever reason, the sexuality of mothers is especially taboo and seems to be public domain for judgment.

New mothers are often concerned about their low libidos. Is there anything you can you share to help normalize this topic and support women who are going through this.

On a day to day basis, women have 10 times the amount of Oxytocin (the love hormone) than men. After we give birth, and for months (and even years) after, we are swimming in a pool of Oxytocin. We get Oxytocin surges from breastfeeding, from hearing our baby cry, from kissing or smelling our children, or even just looking at them. For men, their levels of Oxytocin only come close to ours at the time of orgasm. After baby, men are still seeking intimacy and connection because this is the only time they experience hormonal equilibrium. However, on a biological level, we as mothers are hormonally satisfied postpartum.

Enter the mama who is probably a bit uncomfortable adjusting to her new body, is swimming in a pool of oxytocin, but is also probably very stressed. Stress hormones stamp out any remaining artifacts of a libido. This is the perfect formula for drastically decreasing our desire for sex. Then add an equally as stressed partner who instead of swimming in an oxytocin pool, is drowning in testosterone (the aggress and protect hormone). Every time baby cries, dad gets a surge in Testosterone (instead of Oxytocin), which makes sense biologically because they need to be able to protect the nest from threats and invaders. Put each of these parents in a bedroom on date night, and mom is going to be surging with oxytocin and stress hormones thinking about baby, and dad is going to be still trying to come up for air in the ocean of testosterone. It’s a recipe for disaster, and it’ss one of the greatest examples of nature’s sense of humor.

But rest assured, this is actually an intelligent design by nature: the high levels of circulating oxytocin in mom and testosterone in dad keep our focus on nurturing our children and ensuring their survival. Additionally, dismal libidos help prevent getting pregnant again too quickly, which would compromise the vitality and survival of our next generation of species! Bravo nature!

Having sex and feeling sensual can mean very different things. It's not uncommon for women with young kids to have sex with their partners out of guilt or as an attempt to regain their sensuality. But seeking your sensuality in a partner can prove futile if you haven’t been able to access it from within. What practices can a woman take to connect to and celebrate her sensuality?

My first and most important recommendation is to ask yourself: What brings you pleasure? Whatever it is, do more of it. Make the time. Share your answers with your partner with zero expectation. But until we are fully able to answer that question, where do we begin?

The first thing I see in my practice is the mind not being connected to the body. On a foundational level, this is huge. We must do things that connect us to our body to open the portals for sensuality—and a lot of times this is best accomplished with gentle practices that are done solo.

Herbal body oiling is a tried and true practice that allows us to drop into our bodies and remind ourselves that our skin loves to be loved. I designed the Secrets Women Share Sensual Herbal Body Oil specifically for women who are looking to redefine their sensuality and sexuality. I oil my body every day (most herbalists and wild women I know do too) for the main reason that it is the quickest and easiest way to ignite vitality and creativity both in and out of the bedroom. The targeted botanicals in this formula support energy, reproductive wellness, feelings of safety and calm, promote healthy circulation and acts as a gentle aphrodisiac. Used solo or with a partner, this oil allows us to connect and celebrate our inner flame.

It’s easy for mothers to feel ‘touched out’ after holding and caring for a baby all day. How can anointing or massaging yourself help you reclaim your body and sense of self?

As mothers, we are flooded with nearly constant sensory stimuli (mental, emotional, and physical) and this shoves us into a sympathetic (flight or flight) state—creating the feeling of being “touched out.” Taking time to nourish the nervous system and gently guide it towards the parasympathetic state is a necessity, and I have found that the easiest and most effective way for mothers to do this is through herbal body oiling, and there is science to support it. Oiling the body not only brings immediate relaxation to the nervous system, but also helps sustain that state of relaxation over time with continued practice. The medicinal properties of the herbs in the Eyes Of The World Herbal Body Oil are targeted to help alleviate the effects of stress and tension, all my while protecting our energy and promoting a calm, relaxed state of mind. An additional perk of body oiling is that it can be done in the comfort of our own home at any time, which is crucial for mothers. I often recommend this practice after you have put your children to bed, or when you first wake up in the morning. However, if you pause and retreat to give yourself a quick tune-up in the afternoon, I promise when your kiddo is banging on the bathroom door 30 seconds later, you’ll open it a little more easy going than before!



Thank you so much Marlene!

I'd love to hear your comments below. Are you struggling with a low libido? Do you actively participate in self-care rituals that support your sensuality? Let's share our experiences and help to normalize this important topic.

 
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Baby Carrier Review: Comparing 6 Ergo Styles - YouTube

I. Love. Babywearing. A comfortable and reliable carrier is indispensable and I honestly can't imagine motherhood without it. I may have a bit of an addiction (I most definitely do) and I've probably cycled through more than a dozen different carriers in the three years I've been on this motherhood journey. Ergobaby is my favorite brand and this video is my honest review of all the different styles that I've owned and used with my kids. I also reveal which Ergobaby style I'd choose if I could only choose one and why I love it the most. 

Includes a review of 6 styles:
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This series was created to help you tune in and harness the power of your menstrual cycle. Learn more: How To Live in Sync With Your Menstrual Cycle: Intro

The 2nd phase is the follicular phase. It’s full of action and excitement. In nature, it aligns with spring (yearly cycle), the waxing moon (monthly cycle), and sunrise (daily cycle). 

 

What's Happening Physically?

The pituitary gland releases Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which stimulates the follicles in one of your ovaries to mature. You feel lighter and less weighed down during this phase.

 

How It Feels Energetically & Emotionally

Estrogen drives your desire for connection and you feel social this week.

Your mood and brain function get boosted. Your energy is rising and your confidence increases.

Testosterone may make you feel more impulsive and you have a higher pain threshold.

 

How To Tune In & Flow With The Phase

Collaborate, initiate new projects, and be assertive. Go after your dreams.

Problem solve, take more risks, and try new things.

Move your body: Go for challenging and energetic physical activities that you enjoy.

 

How To Nourish And "Feed" This Phase

Well balanced meals help you maintain your accumulating energy without causing spikes. Blood sugar imbalances can disrupt approaching ovulation, so be mindful of refined sugars and processed grain products.  

 

Chart Your Fertility SignsChance of conceiving: Good, especially leading up to ovulation. An egg isn’t released during this phase but sperm can live in a woman's body for up to five days.

Cervical mucous: Early in the phase a slight dampness will be present when you check your cervical fluid, similar to touching the inside of your mouth. Leading up to ovulation it can be opaque white or yellow. Texture becomes thick, sticky, pasty, or crumbly. As estrogen rises it then starts to become thinner and creamy. This fertile phase usually starts about three to five days prior to an egg being released. The creamy fluid protects and nourishes sperm waiting for ovulation inside a woman’s body.

Cervical positioning: Starts off relatively low, firm, dry and tightly closed. Over the course of this phase it becomes higher, softer and wetter.

Basal body temp: Will be lower and stable during this phase, averaging between 97.0 and 97.7.

 

An average 28 day cycle

Read Next: How To Live In Sync With Your Cycle: Menstruation

Carley
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