Tag Archives: health

How to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants - SmartMom

How to Treat Cradle Cap in Infants

Photo from Mini Republic

Cradle cap is a term used for the flaky, dandruff-like spots which can appear on a new baby’s scalp. Often the cradle cap manifests as yellow or brown patches of crust on the skin. Doctors call it infantile seborrheic dermatitis and though the name sounds intimidating, cradle cap is harmless to babies. Most babies lose their cradle cap between 3-12 months old, however, in the meantime if you’re wondering how to treat cradle cap in infants, there are some easy and natural home remedies to try. 

Though it may be tempting,  never pick at the affected areas of your baby’s cradle cap. Picking at the skin could cause infection in the baby’s sensitive skin. Further, steer clear of any shampoos or treatments that contain harsh chemicals or ingredients. Avoid skin irritants and instead, look to a few of the wonderful, completely natural and harmless methods that explain how to treat cradle cap in infants.

Coconut Oil

The most successful and popular natural treatment for cradle cap is to use coconut oil on the scalp. Coconut oil smells wonderful, has natural antibacterial properties and is a natural moisturizer.

Coconut oil can be found at most major groceries or online. Note that coconut oil comes in solid form, so you will want to take some in your hands first to soften before rubbing on the scalp.

Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your baby’s scalp and massage in well. Let it sit for a few hours, or even overnight. This will soften up the dry skin, and make it easier to rub off.

Use a mitt or brush made for rubbing off cradle cap, a cradle cap sterile bristle brush or even a baby washcloth to gently rub the areas of cradle cap on the scalp.  Between the oil and the gentle exfoliation, you should be able to remove most of the dry skin.

To finish, wash your baby’s hair with some warm water and normal shampoo.

Olive Oil

If you don’t have coconut oil in the house, olive oil is a second best bet. It may not have the antibacterial properties like coconut oil does, but if you rub it in, and brush it off, it is sure to reduce cradle cap.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a safe and natural method for parents looking for tips on how to tread cradle cap in infants. It is easily absorbed into the scalp and does not leave a greasy residue. If you want to let the treatment sit overnight on the scalp, it will be less greasy than other options.

Massage shea butter into scalp, let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes, and then gently rub the patches of cradle cap, until it flakes off. To finish, rinse the baby’s head with warm water. It may take a few times to get most of the dry skin off, so be patient and repeat process daily.

Baking Soda

Also a successful and natural method for new moms wondering how to treat cradle cap in infants, baking soda can be made into a gentle cream. To make a baking soda cream, mix 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda with a small amount of water or oil (coconut or olive).

This will form a paste to apply to the affected areas of the scalp, let it sit for around twenty minutes, use a soft brush or washcloth to rub off flakes, and then rinse.

Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another cure-all treatment, which also is a tried and true treatment for baby’s cradle cap. Mix two teaspoons of water with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (or any 2:1 water/vinegar ratio), massage into baby’s scalp (be mindful to not get into baby’s eyes), leave for ten minutes and then wash off with baby’s normal shampoo.

 

For information about natural treatments for other baby illnesses, check out this post.

 

RELATED QUESTIONS

Cradle cap won’t go away! I’ve tried shea butter, coconut oil, healing balm..any thoughts?

Cradle cap help please! I have a one month old and I am noticing dry, flaky skin on top of her scalp.

My son is almost 3 months old and I believe he has cradle cap. The peds didn’t prescribe him anything..

Hey mommas anyone have any tips on cradle cap? I know about olive oil and I have hydrocortisone..

Coconut oil for cradle cap?

My LO is bathed every night before bedtime and I scrub it gently but nothing helps. Any suggestions?

Any of your babies have or had cradle cap? What can you/did you do for it?

I think my LO has cradle cap..Scalp is dry and flaking…What can I do?

My son had cradle cap for the first 6 weeks..Now at 10 weeks it’s starting to come back..

My LO has severe cradle cap and now it’s on his face too. I have tried oil and brush treatments. Any advice?

 

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

Health During Pregnancy - SmartMom

Health During Pregnancy: 9 Tips for Expectant Moms

Photo by Abi Porter from Babble

If you’re reading this, most likely you’re already or soon to be pregnant.  And if that’s the case, I’m pretty confident this isn’t the first post you’ve read about how to maintain optimal health during pregnancy.

Beyond that, I would imagine that you have had conversations with your medical professionals about how to maintain health during pregnancy for you and your unborn child.  Here we have a few “less traditional” pieces of advice for staying in great health during pregnancy.

Tune Out the Advice

Obviously, listen to your medical professional’s advice about how to keep your healthy during pregnancy strong, but beyond that, try to turn down the volume from outside observers.  These people do have the best intentions, but you are going through a significant event in your life and should therefore be treated as such: sacred.

Take a break from the parenting blogs (I realize the irony here), put down the pregnancy books and tell your mother-in-law that you have another call coming in.  No matter what, there will always be things you look back on and wish you had known, and that’s all part of the process. Just breathe.

Tune up Your Intuition

When I was pregnant with my son, I really tried to connect with my own inner sense of what felt good and what did not.  If I was feeling tired, I slept.  If I was feeling energetic, I went to the gym.  If I was hungry for a second bowl of cereal, I went for it.  Our bodies know how to do this, and if we listen, they will tell us what we need.

Walk

I exercised throughout my pregnancy, but the only physical activity that I would come to with joy on a daily basis was walking.  My husband and I took long walks with our dog every day and I have to admit these walks were not only great for our relationship, but also prepared me for the insane amount of walking I would do during labor as well as following the birth of our son (walking was one of the only reliable ways to get him to fall asleep).

Eat Nourishing Food

I definitely indulged when I was pregnant, but I never felt more convicted to eat for healthy during pregnancy. I was keenly aware that every bite I took would nourish my son, so I wanted to make sure it was worthy.   Eat fruits, and vegetables, and grains, and healthy fats.   Consider your eating habits during pregnancy your first opportunity to show your child what a healthy diet looks like.

Prioritize the Health of Your Relationship

I know the constant advice of “Go on a date because you will NEVER BE ALONE AGAIN” gets old, but putting some extra effort into your relationship prior to the addition of a child is important.   The most stressful and trying moments of my relationship with my husband came about at 3:00 in the morning over the screams of our son.   Had we not had the foundation of a healthy relationship to fall back on, I’m not sure we would have been able to weather that storm.

Stretch

I purchased a prenatal yoga video within minutes of finding out I was pregnant.   Now granted, prenatal yoga is VERY different when you are four weeks pregnant instead of 40 weeks, but there was nothing more blissful than gentle stretching towards the end of pregnancy.  Once again, listen to your intuition and only do the poses that feel good, but when they do, stick with them.   Spend hours in them if you like.

Rest

This is easier said than done, but whenever you can, grab some shut eye.   So much generative growth happens during sleep (I mean, babies sleep 90% of the day when they are newborns, and you see how fast they grow??), so allowing your body to sleep when it can not only helps you, but helps your baby’s growth and health during pregnancy.

If you can’t sleep in long stretches due to discomfort, do it in spurts.  Invest in a pregnancy pillow.   Create a space completely designated for restorative rest and spend as much time there as you can.  And if you fall asleep while watching movies, that’s okay too.

Hydrate

Once again, you probably already know this, but your body needs water.  Beyond the fact that it’s crucially important to keep hydrated for health during pregnancy, this sets the stage for healthy habits after the birth of your child.

If you choose to breastfeed after the baby is born, you need to doubly hydrate because your body is literally losing a large amount of liquid each feeding.  My doctor told me that with each feeding, I should drink 10 oz. of water to replace what I was losing and that this would help me have more patience with my husband/dog/cable guy etc.  It seriously worked.  I had no idea being dehydrated could have such an impact on my patience, but that was the best advice I’ve ever received.

Love

Love the baby.  Love your partner.  Love the world.  Love yourself.  The world is a scary place and sometimes the thought of bringing a baby into it can be terrifying.  One of the best ways to maintain your sanity and mental health is to practice gratitude and take time to express love to those around you.  It may not create peace in the Middle East (yet), but it will create a happier home for which to welcome your new child.   Above all, love.

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

Why Expecting Moms Should Try Prenatal Yoga Classes

Why Expecting Moms Should Try Prenatal Yoga Classes

Even if you’ve never tried yoga before, now is a great time to start. Here are some of the top reasons you should try prenatal yoga classes during your pregnancy.

Yoga can help you prepare for labor.

Arguably the most important health benefit of prenatal yoga is that it can help you prepare for labor.

“Labor is one of the most physical things you’ll ever do.  You would not run a marathon without preparation, why would you go into labor without preparing for it?” Prenatal Instructor Angela Gallagher told Yoga Journal.

A typical yoga practice emphasizes concentration on breathing.  This deep, focused breathing, called ujaii, or textured  breathing, is an organic component to any yoga practice, and can help pregnant women prepare for the patterned breathing used during labor.

Practicing yoga can help lower your stress levels. 

Yoga is all about aligning mind and body.  In fact, the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which literally means “to yolk” or “to unite”.  During a time when your body is going through tremendous changes, this balance and alignment is incredibly important.

Hilaria Baldwin, a yoga instructor, and wife of actor Alec Baldwin, told Pregnancy Magazine that, “the number one thing in taking care of yourself during pregnancy is having low stress.  It’s really about being more in touch with your body, and yoga teaches you that.”

The concentration on slow, steady breathing can also help relieve stress.  And what more stressful time is there in life than the anticipation of your first child?  According to a 2009 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, there has been scientific proof that yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates, and lowering blood pressure.

Yoga can help decrease muscle pains associated with pregnancy. 

The extra weight aquired during pregnancy can cause back, leg, ankle, and shoulder pains.  Stretching out these areas of your body can help relieve pressure and reduce pain.  A regular practice can also help reduce nausea associated with early stages of pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a 2012 study published in “Preventative Medicine” found that practicing yoga for 1 hour 3 times/week during pregnancy can help prevent complications.  It can decrease the risk of having low birthweight babies, pregnancy related diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Other health benefits include improved sleep, decreased lower back pain, carpel tunnel, headaches, and shortness of breath.  Yoga has also proven to decrease the risk of preterm labor.

Modifications in yoga are always accessible.  

Most yoga classes (both prenatal and regular) are accustomed to offering modifications for each pose.  So, whether you’re in your first or third trimester, an experienced yogi or a beginner, there are many options and variations available for your practice.

Its important to note that there are certain postures it’s best to avoid.  For example, bend from your hips, not your back, to maintain a normal spine curvature.  Avoid lying on your belly, deep forward or backward bends, and inversions.

A good rule of thumb is to not work to the point of feeling strained — you should be able to hold a normal conversation.  If you find yourself short of breath, slowly sink into child’s pose and focus on deep breathing.

Finally, try to find a class taught by an instructor who has experience teaching prenatal classes.  Regardless of their experience, make sure that your instructor knows you’re pregnant, so he/she can offer adjustments and modifications when necessary.

Yoga classes are a great way to connect with other moms. 

Your first pregnancy can be the scariest 9 months of your life, especially if you feel alone.  Attending pre-natal yoga classes can be a great way to connect with other women who are in the same stage of life.

A yoga studio that specializes in pre-natal classes might be a bit further away, as they are less common, but its a great place to connect with other expecting moms.

Trying yoga doesn’t have to be expensive.  

One of the most common things that keeps women from trying yoga is the price tag.  Some small boutique studios charge up to $20 for a single class.

While studio classes can be pricy, yoga doesn’t have to be expensive.  Search daily deal sites like Groupon and LIving Social to find deals at lesser known (but still quality!) studios near you.  Many studios offer at least one class a week at a (free or discounted) “community” rate.  Your local YMCA or gym may offer prenatal yoga classes at a much lower cost.

Finally, there is the option of practicing from home.  Sure, its nice to have the in-class experience, but having the freedom and flexibility to practice from home can be a great option.

Yoga at home requires little more than a yoga mat and a laptop.  Check out our series of SmartMom prenatal yoga videos here.

RELATED QUESTIONS

Anyone in their first trimester? I really want to continue to work out and sign up for prenatal yoga…

Prenatal yoga? Yay or nay?

I’m 6 months pregnant with #2 and I’ve been going to the gym lately (8 days in a row!). I want to go to a yoga class, I obviously would skip any poses that would require me to be flat on my back or stomach, but my question is do you think it’s weird to go to a regular yoga class when you’re that pregnant?

My son is 1 month and a few days old, I usually breastfed him during the daytime and sometime pump to give him a bottle at night. I’m wondering if it is to early for me to take him to a 30 min mommy and baby yoga class? I’m afraid he’d fuss and cry the whole time and ruin other moms experience. Anybody attended one with a child that young?

Serious question…any one know good prenatal yoga/Pilates? I don’t have money to purchase the apps on my phone and don’t really enjoy YouTube, all the classes in gym are expensive…

Anyone know of any free websites/apps with yoga poses and prenatal exercises? Thanks!

Looking for a prenatal yoga DVD to do at home. Any recommendations welcome for the best ones out there!

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

The Importance of Having Mom Friends - SmartMom

The Importance of Having Mom Friends

“But Honey, Having a Girls Night is Important for my Health!”
Have you ever tried to use that excuse before?  Well ladies, the time has come to say this to your husband and actually mean it! Having girlfriends (or more specifically, mom friends) is beneficial not just for our souls and psyche, but also for our health. 

We’ve all been there.  The moment your new baby comes into the world, the last thing on your mind is making it to monthly wine night with your friends or setting up a play date with the neighborhood moms.  As moms, we become comfortable with isolating ourselves, thinking this is the only way we can be a good mom.  We say, “I am just too focused on my baby right now, maybe I’ll come next week”.  Next week turns into next month, and next year, and before you know it, it’s you and a container of Nutella on your couch binge-watching episodes of Parenthood on Netflix and looking at pictures of all your friends hanging out on Facebook.  Put the lid back on ladies, grab your keys, and join the fun!

Have you honestly thought what your life would look like without those special mom friends in your life?  The ones who actually ENJOY and can RELATE to all of your nursing frustrations, or your questions about introducing solid foods, or who don’t mind investigating and analyzing your two-month-old’s latest poop.  Try talking to your non-mom friends about that.  Good luck.  Let us know how that goes for ya…

Science has been investigating the importance of having girlfriends, specifically fellow mom friends, in relation to our health.  As women, we need outlets to express ourselves, our emotions, our thoughts, our frustrations.  “Research shows that when women are sharing an experience with other women, their bodies produce oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” because it is released in mothers when they’re nursing” (via Suzanne Braun Levine, Next Avenue)

Ironic, huh? Moms feel the same sense of comfort sharing with girlfriends as they do sharing milk with their babies.  Mother nature is such a wise woman.

“Unlike husbands or kids (who can also bring about this chemical response but are often the cause of anxiety), our friends consistently elicit that warm glow, which feels good and soothes anxiety.” (Levine, Next Avenue) These outlets help decrease our stress levels, making us better wives, moms, and friends.  Scientists are even going as far as saying these female relationships contribute to the fact that women live longer than men. (NY Times)

Our mom friends understand us.  There is a common connection that can only come from someone who understands exactly what you are going through.  Our mom friends can have empathy for our joys and our struggles.  When you laugh together (whether over a silly comment you read in a ‘moms only forum’ or on the latest post from nickmom.com), you release endorphins, filling your brain with those feel-good brain chemicals, AKA happiness.

Mom friends, non-mom friends, guy friends, girlfriends: it doesn’t matter.  The point is, we need get out there and start connecting with each other again.  Take the steps to make your emotional health a priority so that you can truly be the best, most well rounded mom you can be for your family.

So, the next time your husband asks you to skip the weekly moms play group or mom’s night out, just tell him how much you’ll save in health insurance due to the health benefits from those hours of mom gossip and snacking. He’ll thank you later, we promise.

 

Tired of hearing so much advice from what seems like everyone? We understand.

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.

pork lettuce wraps

Favorite Family Recipes: Pork Tenderloin Lettuce Wraps

One of the most pressing questions in many home kitchens is: “what should I do with my leftovers?” Whether you’re a new mom still preparing dinners for two or have a family of four or more to feed, there will inevitably nights where you have leftovers to repurpose into tasty new meals.

If you’re anything like Lisa Norris Riedl of the food blog Garnish with Lemon, it’s easy to whip up a new and unique recipe with fresh or leftover pork tenderloin when you have some of your favorite pre-made ingredients on hand. Her Pork Tenderloin Lettuce Wraps lend an exotic infusion to a simple recipe.

If you love spice, include sweet chili sauce on your pork tenderloin lettuce wraps, but if you’re cooking for kids or milder palates, opt for additional garnishes, like extra crunchy veggies or a sweet and sour sauce.

Visit Garnish with Lemon for more delicious recipes like this one. 

 

And to keep your little ones polite during dinner, here’s some advice about teaching table manners to them!

Get more great advice and meet other moms. Download the SmartMom app today.