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If you asked me 10 months ago, towards the very end of my pregnancy, if I was planning on co-sleeping I would have honestly told you no. Like most parents-to-be, we had already tackled the momentous event of building the crib, and everything was set and ready for our newborn to arrive.

Then it all changed.
Quinn was born at home (planned) and you can read his birth story here. At about 11am, a few short hours after he was born, our midwives left and it was just the three of us left in my family room. To help with the natural recovery from childbirth, we decided it was best if I avoided stairs for the first few weeks or so which took his newly built crib out of the equation. The back up plan was to set up the playpen into the newborn position next to the couch where I would be sleeping.

That plan just didn’t work for us either. Quinn didn’t want to be put down, and to be honest I wasn’t ready to put him down that night either. Like true newbies, my husband and I rotated who was on “Quinn-duty” all night long. One of us slept while the other held him and watched him sleep in our arms. Of course I was nursing him every 1-2 hours then so my “sleep” was more like quick power naps here and there.

This continued for a few more days. We slept downstairs on the couch in a reclined seated position with Quinn in our arms. He enjoyed being skin to skin and was sleeping and nursing well. From that point on we kept him with us and turned our bed into a family bed. He has slept in a crib occasionally and naps well in his crib, but it works best for our whole family to co-sleep at night.

Here are 6 of the reasons we chose to continue with it.

1. It’s a Safe Option

Against what many people believe, Bed Sharing is extremely safe. Of course it needs to be done right, just like how crib sleeping can be dangerous if you leave the baby unattended with heavy blankets and pillows, next to an outlet in reach etc. Did you know that more infant deaths occur in unsafe cribs than in parents’ bed and that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone.  This means baby sleeps physiologically safer in bed with mom (source). Find a checklist below for safe co-sleeping/bed-sharing!

2. It’s Soothing to Baby

Bed-sharing has become a taboo subject in most parts of Canada and the United States. Instead, our culture seems to emphasize the desirability of teaching children to self-soothe. Due to this desirable “milestone” parents are seeking to attain, they are encouraged to introduce security objects to help in this process (blankets, pacifiers, stuffed animals and more). In the dark of the night, when Quinn wakes he can immediately find the love and comfort of his parents. This is soothing to baby and helps develop a strong bond and trust between baby and mom.

3. It Feels Natural to Us

While it wasn’t what we planned, it feels completely natural to us. And it’s not all that unnatural, even though at times people look at me like I have two heads when I tell them we bed-share. We are really the only species of animal that takes our newborns and put them in another room by themselves. The practice of training children to sleep alone through the night is approximately two centuries old. Prior to the late 1700s co-sleeping was the norm in all societies, since the beginning of mankind (source). Being a parent is TOUGH and the best thing I can do is do what feels right for me. Co-sleeping is what feels right and works for my family.

4. It Makes Breastfeeding Easier

Quinn has been a great eater since the beginning. He first nursed 45 minutes after he was born, and for a while it seemed as though that’s all he did. In the first two weeks of his life he gained 2 and a half pounds! Having him in bed with me made breastfeeding at night extremely easy on both me and baby. I also remember reading that bed-sharing babies nurse approx. twice as often as those who sleep alone, which is beneficial for helping mamas maintain their milk supply and keep babies growing at a steady pace. While nursing more often might seem daunting to some moms, it is easier on your when baby is laying beside you and can latch on when hungry.

5. We Enjoy It

My husband and I both love having Quinn in our bed. He is growing up so fast, and at some point he will move into his own bed and room and never return to ours (other than on stormy nights or after a nightmare maybe). We are soaking up every moment we can close to him.
My favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning, when I wake up to the sweet sounds of a happy baby laying next to me in bed. Often he is just chatting up a storm to my watch (he loves my watch), or he is signing a song and pointing up at the ceiling. When I open my eyes to look at him he curls over and lays a big fat kiss on my lips (or somewhere on my face if he misses). We snuggle up to each other and chat about our plans for the day

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

6. Amazing Things Can Happen

Every moment that goes by the bond between us grows. Every day that passes our little baby amazes us more and more. Night time is just another opportunity for time spent together. And in the middle of the night, you just never know what might happen.
Last night, around 2 am Quinn woke up with a few whimpers. I lay still to see if he would go back to sleep by himself. What he did was even better. After a short story to his hand and a few giggles, Quinn climbed up on my shoulder, lay his head on my head and fell asleep. Yup- he just passed out on my face with a big hug. After kicking my husband to take a picture of what I expect will never happen again, I lay there with him just enjoying the warmth of his skin and his cuddle. This, is exactly why I co-sleep. He woke up, found his mom, and put himself back to sleep. No doubt with all the love, confidence and security one could feel in the dark of the night.

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Safe Co-Sleeping Checklist

(source)
When Quinn was little we followed all of these suggestions. Now that Quinn is 9 months old, able to navigate blankets and crawling like crazy, we place him between mom and dad. In addition, our mattress is on the ground for added safety.

  • Place babies to sleep on their backs.
  • Be sure there are no crevices between the mattress and guardrail or headboard that allows baby’s head to sink into.
  • Do not allow anyone but mother to sleep next to the baby, since only mothers have that protective awareness of baby.  Place baby between mother and a guardrail, not between mother and father. Father should sleep on the other side of mother.
  • Don’t fall asleep with baby on a cushy surface, such as a beanbag, couch, or wavy waterbed.
  • Don’t bed-share if you smoke or are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medications that affect your sleep.

Do you Co-Sleep? I would love to know why you chose it for your family! Comment below 🙂

oils

Whether you are a veteran ‘oiler’ or know very little about the incredible power of essential oils, the following 10 oils are a must for every home. Essential oils are concentrated aromatic liquids that have been extracted from flowers, seeds, trees, roots and shrubs. These truly natural oils are so much more than just a fragrance.

Essential Oils are THERAPEUTIC

Plants contain essential oils as a part of their immune system. They are required to help plants grow, evolve and adapt to their environment. Depending on the plant, its unique essential oil can do many other things such as heal plant injuries, defend against insects and bacteria as well as help the plant endure harsh environmental conditions.

These incredible healing and protective compounds found in essential oils are what enables them to be truly healing. Each essential oil has it’s own benefits including use for fevers, depression, infections, congestion, headache, insomnia, wounds, sunburn and so much more.

These 10 oils team up and have your back in almost any situation. Together their combined properties will help keep your home healthy and happy. Below you will find just some of the properties these oils have to offer! PLUS: find out below how you can get Therapeutic-grade, Non-GMO oils at wholesale cost (no tricks, no monthly fees, no string attached)! Just high quality oils without the high cost!  

Essential Oil Must-Haves


Get a Wholesale Account

You can enjoy these oils and so many more at wholesale cost with a Young Living account (typically that equates to 24% off retail)! The account is similar to a Costco membership, without the ongoing fees! With Young Living, there is a one-time purchase of an enrollment kit. And you get actual product with your enrollment kit and membership… so it’s way better than just paying a fee to join! There are a few options when it comes to the enrollment kits. Personally I purchased THE PREMIUM STARTER KIT and got the above oils PLUS a diffuser, plus samples and information packets for only $150USD (an incredible deal). There are also starter kits as low as $40 if you already have many of these oils and are looking for something different. Once signed up, you can purchase products at wholesale pricing whenever and however often you want.

How To Enroll

By clicking below you are directed to the Young Living site where you will enroll with me! Feel free to contact me with any questions about signing up, the oils themselves or their amazing uses. The Premium Starter Kit comes with a fantastic guide to get your started.
1) If you are in the USA you will be asked to provide your Social Security number. Why? Because by signing up for this wholesale account and becoming an independent distributor you have the opportunity to make commissions if you sign someone up using your Sponsor ID! If you don’t want to “sell”, you never have to, but it’s a great option for those of you with friends who still use candles and air fresheners and whom you would like to introduce to the wonderful world of Essential Oils! 😉
2) A Starter Kit is required- an Essential Rewards Kit is not required*.
Enroll

* Unfortunately, JOY is not offered to Canadian residents (which is why it’s not in the below photo). The Premium Starter Kit costs approx. $175 CDN which is still a great deal. Check out my kit below!

oils

teethingbanner

The Best Natural Teething Remedies

Unfortunately for baby (and parents), cutting teeth isn’t a milestone that happens all at once. The first tooth usually appears between 4-7 months of age and they get their molars near their second birthday. By three years old the vast majority of kids are sporting a full smile of 20 teeth.

This is a long journey for baby, and it can be quite painful for them. Some babies fly through teething with little trouble, others struggle most with the first teeth and those  pesky molars, and others find the entire journey difficult.

While there are various teething remedies out there, not all of them are natural. If you have been following my blog, you know that I think natural remedies are not only safer (especially when talking about babies) but can be just as effective, if not more.

When my little one (pictured above) started cutting teeth around 6 months of age I was immediately looking for how to decrease his pain without using a commercial product such as Orajel. After doing some research I found a variety of simple natural teething remedies that I could implement to make teething as comfortable for Quinn as possible.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

41Hs9J4ocdLA Baltic amber teething necklace is made exclusively for wearing (not chewing) when a baby is teething. You can see it shown above in the picture of Quinn. What happens is that the warmth from the baby’s skin releases the active ingredient found in the Baltic amber, succinic acid. Scientific research has shown that succinic acid has a very positive influence on the human body. It improves immunity and the balance of acids when absorbed into the bloodstream; it stimulates the thyroid glands to help reduce drooling and soothes red inflamed cheeks. Amber’s anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties are recognized by allopathic medicine as a natural analgesic, which will help to relieve teething pain and calm a baby without resorting to drugs. It is extremely important that baby is supervised while a teething necklace is worn. It should not be worn during naps or bedtime.

2. Chamomile Nighttime Bath

If a bath before bed time isn’t already part of your nightly routine I highly recommend adding it in. A warm bath followed by a gentle baby massage will help calm and soothe baby. To go one step further, draw your little one a chamomile bath by placing a tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers in a reusable muslin drawstring bag and add to your baby’s bath water. Chamomile is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and have long been used to soothe and relax. It is also a common sleep aid.

3. Sophie the Giraffe Teether

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I’m sure you have heard of this oh-so-popular giraffe before, but incase you haven’t, meet Sophie. Sophie the Giraffe teether is made from natural rubber and food paint and is Phthalates and BPA free. This natural teether is extremely flexible and has lots of parts for baby to chew like ears, horns, legs.

4. Homemade Teething Clove Oil

Clove Essential Oil has a natural numbing effect so it’s perfect for those days and nights when something a little extra is needed. All you need to do is dilute 1 drop of therapeutic grade clove oil in 1 tablespoon of almond oil. Mix together and apply to gums.

5. Zooley Natural Teething Toy

41YdHSZi-ZL._SX425_I was given a couple of these ring toys while I was pregnant and put them aside until now. My favorite thing about them is that they are made from 100% organic cotton terrycloth and untreated maple wood. This teething toy is completely free of dyes and harmful chemicals!, not to mention they are super cute.

6. Homemade Chamomile Tincture

I found this great homemade tincture by Wellness Mama that I am in the midst of making. I can’t share my personal experience on this specific DIY remedy, but can say that I have loved many things that I find on her site. The tincture is easy to mix, but needs 4-6 weeks to sit. I have another 3 weeks before it’s ready. If and when I need to use it I will swing back to this post and share my findings! DIY recipe here.

7. Nubby Mesh Nibbler

51Huqxq7OwL._SX522_To be completely honest I received a couple of these at my baby shower and had no clue what they were for. I of course acted extremely grateful and figured there was a good use for them… I just wasn’t sure what that use was.  While the product’s suggested use is to help introduce solids to baby, I find these great for teething. These nibblers allow you to put delicious and nutritious homemade purees inside before freezing them. Baby then gets to gnaw on the frozen food through the mesh pocket while holding the handle.

What are your favorite natural teething remedies? I would love to try new things and add to this list. Share with me in the comments below.
StockingStuffers

Christmas is around the corner and I don’t know about you, but I hate leaving the shopping to the last minute! Below you can find a round up of stocking stuffer ideas for the foodie in your life. Best of all, each item on the list comes in UNDER $10! I personally love them all.
One last thing- while I pride myself in supporting local and keeping my dollars in the community, I can’t deny the occasional online shopping spree, especially to avoid the hectic malls this time of the year. If you sign up for a free 30-day trial with Amazon Prime, you can get FREE 2-day shipping on all of the below items (and also some free streaming of movies and videos which never hurts during the cold weather). Happy Holidays!

Foodie Stocking Stuffers

fallintohealth

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The Fall Into Health Bundle Sale includes 47 ebooks, 15 exclusive podcasts, 3 online video classes, 2 meal plans, 2 magazines and 20 discount coupons from great brands. Over $2,000 of value for just $39 — for one week only! This is Village Green Networks LAST bundle sale of the year — so don’t miss out!

Now for a limited time you can get 47 e-books — a $985 value — for only $39! Included in this huge discount is an entire library containing a wealth of information on implementing a real food diet, thousands of recipes, how to stay healthy naturally, diy holiday gifts, how to reverse food allergies, becoming toxic free, nourishing your metabolism and more. LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH BOOK HERE.

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During this sale only, get 15 popular podcasts by natural health and real food bloggers as well as bestselling authors. Stimulating topics are delivered straight to you computer, iPod, smart phone or mp3 player. Normally, each podcast would cost $2.99 to download, but during this limited time offer, you get each one for almost nothing — total of 15 podcasts — $45 worth of value. LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH PODCAST HERE.

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Have you ever thought about taking a video class but thought the cost might be prohibitive or you felt a little reluctant to take the leap? During this final sale, here’s your opportunity to get not just 1, but 3 classes at a total retail value of $277, for a limited time included in the $39 offer! LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH ONLINE VIDEO CLASS HERE.
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Do you want to cook your own real food but feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the time it takes to plan, collect the right food items, prepare and cook meals? Food plans are a ready-made way to help you provide nutritious meals for your family. A $220 value, included in the $39 offer! Now is your chance to help relieve some of the stress in planning meals! LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MEAL PLANS HERE.
2_meal_plansNow is your chance to get caught up on the latest information and real food recipes with Healthy Recipes Magazine and Paleo Living Magazine. Get a three month subscription to both as part of our limited-time $39 offer — a $63 value! LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MAGAZINES HERE.

2_magazines Included in this sale only — dozens of discount coupons for natural health, organic, real food products. Save even more money on items you love through these exclusive offers. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DISCOUNT COUPONS HERE.

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Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 8.08.34 AMGet all this for only $29 with Village Green Premium- a new Membership Club offering thousands of dollars in savings and rewards – for only $5 a month! As a member of the Club, you’ll receive up to 50% off many of our publishers’ bestselling products, amazing discounts and special offers from our advertisers – as well as Premium Giveaways and exclusive publications available only to Premium Club members! Learn more here.

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hilarious-memes
I love sharing memes on my Rethink Simple Facebook page as I come across them to put a smile on others’ faces. Some of the best ones I have ever found have been directly related to real food, so I thought I would compile them in one place. Be sure to like and share your favorites! And if you have any others that are funny please share the link in the comments below!

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