Blog

Intro to Meditation

ancient architecture art asia
Photo by imagesthai.com on Pexels.com

Most people don’t have a regular meditation practice. I can’t stress to patients enough the importance of  a coping mechanism for the stressors of everyday life.

We are, at our core, animals. From our deepest roots, our fight or flight is a gut reaction to outside stressors. Instead of being chased by tigers, like our ancestors, we have families with constant demands, deadlines at work, and never-ending to-do lists.

So how often are you in that fight or flight mode? Is it a constant that is slowly (or quickly) draining your adrenals, affecting your sleep, or causing you digestive upset? Do you get tension headaches? Migraines? Panic attacks? What is your coping mechanism? Do you have one?

People decompress in many ways: running, reading, therapy, yoga, etc. Having an outlet for stress from a physical and emotional perspective is important, but there is a mind-body connection that can go overlooked. We are also energetic and spiritual beings and it’s important to address all the aspects of ourselves for better health and happiness.

The benefits of meditation are numerous. It takes the body out of that fight-or-flight mode into a state of calm. This allows the body to function better, digestion moves more smoothly, inflammation decreases and tension melts. It’s a way to interconnect with self. It’s an even better way to interconnect with other humans.

So, that being said, the question is: “how do I get started?” Many people think meditation is sitting in a quiet spot and not thinking. It’s nearly impossible for the average person to do this effectively, so here are some tips I recommend to get started.

  • Set up your space

Having a designated meditation spot helps create an environment of calm. Set up a space away from technology and noise; put your phone in the other room or out of reach, face down and on silent mode. You can light a candle, or put on an oil diffuser with relaxing music.

Get a yoga mat, a pillow or a meditation pillow and set up a comfortable place for you to sit or lie down. If thinking about your meditation space gives you an immediate sense of calm and well-being, you are doing it right! If not, don’t be afraid to change things. Maybe you like more lighting, or silence. Play around with different environments until you get the right one.

clear drinking glass near window during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • Set a time limit

Realistically, your first session isn’t going to be a huge, transformational, 3-hour interconnection with god. You’re going to be impatient, you’re going to think about groceries, and work, and the kids (who’s picking them up again?). THAT’S OK. Your mind is going to wander.

Start with 3-5 minutes. Set a timer on your phone, put it face down- out of hands reach and start. 3-5 minutes a day to start, not bad, right?

pexels-photo-707582.jpeg
Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com
  • Settle into the chaos- be present

As you sit there, where are you? Like I said, your mind is going to wander into a thousand different directions (you’ll be shocked at the tangents you can explore as you try to settle into silence.) So let the thoughts come in, let them linger shortly, then let them go. They aren’t going to help you right now, in this space, in this body. Be as present as possible.

silhouette of man at daytime
Photo by Prasanth Inturi on Pexels.com
  • Breathe

There are some breathing techniques that can help distract your thoughts and calm your body and mind.

Start with counting the breath, breathing in to the count of three, breathing out to the count of three. Over time (and several meditation sessions) build up to seven. Or add a pause at the end of each breath, holding the breath out and holding the breath in.

There are more advanced breath work options available the more you practice. Some of my favorites are alternative nostril breath and three part breathing. Start slow, then gain momentum.

adult air beautiful beauty
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com
  • Make it a habit

You need to make meditation a part of your every day routine. How do you do that? Schedule it! Add it to your google calendar for the same time every day. Will you meditate every day if it’s first thing in the morning when you get up, or do you find it more helpful at night after the kids have gone to bed, when you can wind down and use it to prep for sleep? You decide, but make it a regular part of your day.

Like most things, the more you practice, the easier it becomes! Be patient with yourself and the process. It’s definitely worth the patience and dedication and will soon shape you into a more patient and calm human!

laptop calendar and books
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

Regular acupuncture visits also help calm the mind and will assist with your regular meditation practice. If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Otherwise, check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information.

 

Be well,

Lexy

 

 

Natural Allergy Treatment

pexels-photo-262218.jpeg

Many patients come in and ask me, does Acupuncture treat seasonal allergies?

The short answer: YES!

The Long Answer: Acupuncture treats immune health, inflammation, red & itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and headaches. The key is sticking to weekly treatments and listening to your very wise Acupuncturist’s advice. I will usually have patients start weekly visits halfway through March (I am located in Massachusetts- it may vary depending on your location) and continue through April/May. Acupuncture works, but even better preventatively- you don’t have to suffer!

Outside of acupuncture, there are some other great modalities I’ve discovered and utilized over the years:

Local Honey

pexels-photo-414115.jpeg

Honey can be used as a cough syrup and to reduce inflammation. It also contains trace amounts of flower pollen. Exposure to small amounts of allergens repetitively may reduce allergy symptoms. My favorite local honey is from Little Beehive Farm in Holliston, MA.

Neti Pot

Himalayan Chandra Porcelain Neti Pot - Nasal Cleansing Pot, Allergy Relief, Sinus Cleansing Pot. Medications and Treatments

Neti Pots use gravity to filter saline solution through the sinuses, clearing allergens and cleansing the nasal passages. I recommend investing in a ceramic option, my favorite is from Himilayan Chandra, also available in-office! It’s totally safe to use the neti pot daily, usually at the end of the day to flush out allergens. If your nasal passages start to feel too dry, use it every other day instead.

Vital Nutrients - Aller-C (Quercetin, Vitamin C, and Bioflavonoids) - Respiratory & Sinus Support with Hesperidin - Gluten Free - 100 CapsulesAller-C

Aller-C by Vital Nutrients is a supplement option that offers sinus and respiratory support. When taken daily, it can reduce allergy symptoms. Follow instructions, and talk to your local healthcare practitioner if you have questions or wonder how it would fit in your daily routine.

 

Tea

pexels-photo-877701.jpeg

Eucalyptus, Green tea, peppermint & ginger tea help treat allergy symptoms including inflammation, sore throat, itching and redness. My favorite brands are Traditional Medicinals and Yogi. Add some honey for added support.

Get an air purifier

pexels-photo-321576.jpeg

An air purifier can clear pollen, animal dander and other allergens from the air in your home. Keeping an air purifier running during the day and at night may help with allergies. Just make sure you remember to vacuum the filter weekly and change carbon filters every 3 months. My favorite air purifier that won’t break the bank here.

Yoga

pexels-photo-374882.jpeg

Yoga can help boost immunity and in particular, pranayama (or breathwork) can increase lung capacity and function. Start with a three part breath: sitting in  comfortable seated position, break the inhale into three breaths. Start filling the chest, then fill the ribs, then the abdomen. When you exhale, start at the bottom and work your way up, engaging abdominal muscles at the end of the breath to release as much air as possible. Repeat 10-20 times.

Acupuncture

pexels-photo-289323.jpeg

Acupuncture supports lung function and boosts immunity. It helps prepare the body for allergy season by increasing Lung Qi (Lung energy) and grounding the system. It reduces inflammatory response and is a great alternative to medication.

Why can’t I just use over the counter medication?

Short-term affects of anticholinergic drugs (like Benadryl) include fatigue, dry mouth, brain fog and constipation. A study from the University of Washington found that long term use gave users an increased risk of dementia. Be aware of the risks of any medication and treatment, including the natural ones! Be an advocate and an educator for your own health.

 

If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information on acupuncture, yoga and natural treatments.

Be well,

Lexy

 

 

 

Immune Health

mHjQJKBCt7rsr0V9dX5OrVzqYf3eRX9Vd1YtIza7

Is it me, or has there been A LOT of stuff going around this winter season? Even at the tail end, I’ve had patients coming in with congestion, runny noses, coughing and sneezing! Here are my helpful tips on how to avoid getting sick, what to do at the beginning of an illness, mid-illness and after illness to rebuild. Remember, the best and most effective way to avoid illness is to wash your hands thoroughly!

The signs you might be coming down with something

As invincible as we may feel, we often ignore the initial signs of getting a cold. Things like  fatigue, aching neck, or a sneeze here and there. In Chinese medicine, the neck aka the “wind-gate” allows pathogens to enter the body. The two main pathogens we consider is wind-heat or wind-cold. Wind-heat usually manifests with a sore throat, feeling warm, yellow or green-colored phlegm, and aversion to heat. Wind-cold usually manifests with chills, aversion to cold, stiffness in body or neck, headache, and white or clear-colored phlegm.

So what can you do?

Be proactive.

Cover your wind-gate! Wear a scarf, or a hoodie to keep the back of the neck warm and protected.

Boost your immunity through regular acupuncture visits, yoga, plenty of water intake (at least 1 liter per day), healthy diet (see my blog about making changes that last) and exercise.  During cold and flu season, especially if you think you may be regularly exposed, take a daily dose of vitamin C, garlic, or echinacea and goldenseal. Boost Lung qi through breath work and meditation. Get plenty of sleep (see my blog about sleep hygiene)!

Get a neti pot! I know it sounds crazy, but the neti pot clears the sinuses, clearing out allergens and inflammatory particles. It works great preventatively and can also be used once you are stuffed up and miserable.

pexels-photo-374694.jpeg

The minute you feel any of the early symptoms…

This means your cold is still on the exterior, you want to knock it out before it goes interior.

  • Make an appointment with your acupuncturist same day, if possible.
  • Boost your vitamin C intake.
  • Massage the base of the skull to stimulate the wind gate.
  • Massage Liver 3 and Large Intestine 4 acupuncture points.
  • Take an epsom salt bath with 2 cups of salts and a couple slices of fresh ginger
  • Drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or fire cider) mixed with 4 oz. of warm water.
  • Neti Pot!
  • Gan Mao Ling is a commonly prescribed Chinese Herb to take in the early signs of illness, please before taking an supplements talk to an herbalist or health care provider.

So you missed the signs…

Now you’re sick, and miserable, and sad. Here are some things you can do to feel a little better.

pexels-photo-405238.jpeg

After you get better

Sometimes, once we feel better, we forget we were ever sick! Being sick depletes the body, it’s important to build yourself and your immunity back up with acupuncture. Acupuncture is an amazing preventative treatment. Many of my patients come once a month to once every 6 weeks for maintenance. We rebalance the system, move stagnations and build deficiencies.

Contact me, follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or read my blog for more information on how Acupuncture can help you!

pexels-photo-214574.jpeg

Be well!

Lexy

Easy Detox Ideas

pexels-photo-434222.jpeg

After all the holiday eating, drinking, and being merry, I think we’re all in need of some serious detox. But what exactly does that entail? There are lot of options for detox, but what’s right for you?

Here are some easy tips to incorporate into your already very busy life!

 

Cut out the bad stuff

There are a lot of things that can wreak havoc on our insides. Many create inflammation and affect the way our bodies process food. Eliminate caffeine, any drugs or alcohol, gluten, refined sugars, and dairy to start. Check out my Making Changes that Last blog for more information on how to change your diet progressively.

My Tip: Read your food labels! What are you actually putting in your body? Look for things like artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine- check out a full list here), genetically modified ingredients (check out the Non-GMO Project), high Fructose Corn Syrup (now labeled as fructose or fructose syrup), nitrites (found frequently in hot dogs and sandwich meat), artificial coloring or flavoring, and over-processed foods. Here is more information from the FDA about food ingredients, additives and colors.

Drink at least 90 ounces of water a day

Water is necessary for the body to function. Most of our bodies are used to running dehydrated because we do not drink enough water! Water is essential to maintain a healthy balance of body fluids. These body fluids are necessary for digestion, circulation, muscle tone and beautiful skin!

My Tip: Check out my instagram, for my favorite detox water recipe.

Green Tea

Green tea is great to boost metabolism, it moves stagnation and clears impurities in the system. Don’t go too overboard, it has caffeine and may keep you awake at night- try to intake it in the morning to early afternoon, no more than a few cups a day.

Detox Bath

I’m going to let you in on my favorite detox bath recipe. By adding essential oils to castille soap first, they become more water-soluble and don’t just float in the tub. If you’re not a bath person, you can either add the oils to a diffuser or to a carrier oil to apply topically.

Ingredients:

6 drops Clove Bud Oil

5 Drops Lemon Oil

2 Drops Cinnamon  Bark Oil

2 Drops Eucalyptus Oil

1 Drop Rosemary Oil

2-4 Tbsp Castille Soap

2 Cups Epsom Salt

Instructions: Combine Essential Oils with 2-4 tbsp of castille soap in a small container, add mixture with 2 cups of epsom salt to bath, soak at least 20 minutes and enjoy!

Exercise

Cardiovascular health is always important. The heart pumps oxygenated blood throughout your system, allowing your body to function properly. A healthy body starts with a healthy heart. From a Chinese Perspective, exercise moves stagnation in the body. Stagnation is the cause of disease, by moving the body, we move stagnation.

My Tip: Start small. Add in 2 days a week of 20 minutes cardio, this can be as simple as a brisk walk!

Meditation

A good detox can’t be successful without a little mind-body connection. Being mindful helps productivity and lowers stress levels. Check out this article for how to start a meditation practice if you don’t already have one!

Yoga

Yoga calms the mind and moves stagnation. Hot yoga helps you sweat out toxins! Lots of studios offer new member specials or a free first class, so it’s easy to try!

My Tip: Be wary, if you do take a hot yoga class, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after and listen to your body! Not everyone is made to be folded up like a pretzel or to stand on their head.

Acupuncture

I have a specific detox protocol, but acupuncture can help assist with detox in a few ways. It moves stagnation (see exercise above), regulates metabolism, regulates fluids and calms the mind. If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Otherwise, check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information.

 

Be Well,

Lexy

Making Changes that Last

One of the hardest, most challenging things to change is metabolism. I often encounter patients who are frustrated with dieting, exercising and not noticing  any change in weight. Here are some tips to help slowly shift your metabolism– but first remember to be patient and kind with yourself and your body, it is often a long process, but it will contribute exponentially to your health and happiness.

pexels-photo-1028599.jpeg

1. Start slow

Like any change, habits that are cultivated slowly and with positive intent tend to stick. This is why YO-YO dieting doesn’t work. If you go from eating burritos to a daily salad, your calorie intake has significantly decreased, and you are essentially starving your body, which is why it pulls from your fat reserves and you initially lose weight. This weight loss will often slow, as your metabolism slows to keep up with your daily metabolic function.

My Tip: Don’t beat yourself up! Negative emotions impact our metabolism as well. Eat when you’re hungry, prepare food when you’re not, so you have a healthy meal or snack available and you aren’t rushing (or hangry!)

2. Meal prep

Keep it simple. Coconut yogurt, boiled egg, gluten free granola bars, leftovers. For dinner, healthy crockpot meals, pre-made salads. The more prepared, the more food you have available, the less you’re likely to eat what you shouldn’t. A helpful prep book here.

My tip: On Sundays (or whatever shopping day you use) create a meal plan for the week (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) for each day and make a grocery list. Often leftovers become lunches, making your life much easier. This is also a great way to reduce waste of produce by planning ahead and knowing how you’re going to use each item.

3. Don’t buy it

I know, I know, easier said than done. It’s easy when you’re on the go to stop and grab a snack or meal you know you shouldn’t. If you are meal prepping and planning, don’t buy unhealthy foods so they aren’t in the house.

My Tip: Everything in moderation, don’t starve yourself of the things you love, just limit them. Everyone deserves ice cream every once in a while.

4. Stop eating things you don’t like

If you don’t like salads, then you’re going to find it very hard to stomach your new diet. Use cooked veggies, or make healthier versions of your favorite things at home. Use plain yogurt instead of mayo, organic fruits and veggies, or grass fed beef.

My Tip: From a Chinese perspective, salads are very energetically cold and can be taxing on the Spleen, leading to digestive issues if you don’t already have them, so if you do love salads, make sure to have a nice warm cup of lemon or ginger water afterwards.

5. Don’t have a “cheat” Day, everything in moderation

Remember, you’re trying to create healthy habits- by succumbing to excessive or bad habits one day a week, you are revisiting those behaviors and not moving away from them. Like I said above… everything in moderation.

My Tip: Instead of a cheat day, have a couple meals a week where you aren’t concerned about calories, really enjoy them, and make it something you really love like a burger or pizza night. Remember, you can always get healthier versions of things by using organic veggies and grass-fed beef.

6. Increase water intake

Most people are chronically dehydrated. Imagine an engine with no coolant or oil, it wouldn’t last very long on the road, and it’s miraculous what the human body can function on with little to no water. Forget your 8 glasses- the average person should be drinking at least 2 Liters of water per day. More active people should add an additional Liter plus a coconut water or two. Coconut water has natural electrolytes and none of the added sugar and other ingredients you find in Gatorade. Yes, you may use the bathroom several times the first few days, but your body with eventually adjust to the increase in water.

My Tip: Buy a 1 liter water bottle and place 2-3 elastic bands around it, every time you finish a bottle you take a band off. Realistically, one band before 10am, one band before 3 pm and one band before 7pm (try to finish at least an hour before bedtime to avoid bedtime bathroom visits).

7. Don’t skip meals

Skipping breakfast or lunch can play a huge role in your slowed metabolism. Your body needs food to function, if you have a low caloric intake, your body will compensate by slowing metabolism and adjusting to this new norm.

My Tip: Start small, a granola bar, some coconut yogurt, a banana and slowly build up to a bigger breakfast. You may notice some slight weight gain as your body adjusts to your new eating schedule, this is frustrating but normal, try to stay positive.

8. Smaller, more frequent meals

That’s right, grazing has its perks as long as you do it right! Make sure you are consuming a healthy combination of carbs, fats and protein.

My Tip: To start, you may actually have to schedule your meal times. This is easy to do if you’re already preparing your meals. Remember, coffee doesn’t count as breakfast!

9. What do cravings really mean?

Sometimes craving certain foods means vitamin deficiency, imbalance with gut bacteria or even anemia. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet with lots of veggies, protein and limited fruit and gluten grains.

My Tip: If you’re feeling concerned, find a nutritionist and get evaluated.

10. Intentional eating

Do you find yourself running around, or working at your desk while eating? This could be taking a toll on your metabolism and digestion. Meal prepping is great because you already will have prepared a balanced diet and can simply enjoy. The love you put into preparing your food will show.

My Tip: Try to slow it down, take a lunch, and eat while you’re not doing anything else. Chew completely (I know, I sound like your mother), and take time to digest. Take a moment before and after you eat to be thankful for your meal and your body’s ability to process that meal.

11. Eat Seasonally

Humans originally survived on what was available locally during different seasons. Fresh veggies in the spring and summer, root veggies in the fall and winter. Make sure to incorporate local foods into your regular diet.

My Tip: Find a local farmer’s market or farm stand, ask questions about where your food is coming from and how recently it was harvested.

12. Things to cut

For many, inflammation can wreak havoc on the digestive system, it may help to eliminate inflammatory foods like gluten, cheese, refined sugars and packaged foods from your diet.

My Tip: An elimination diet may help you determine what exactly is causing your digestive issues, but don’t forget to only add back one food at a time to see which is the culprit. I’d stay away from inflammatory foods for a month and then add them back one week at a time.

13. A little extra help

Of course, after all this, you may still need a little extra help.

1. Digestive enzymes & Probiotics

Taking digestive enzymes during or immediately after eating meals will help aid digestion and ensure you are gaining all the nutrients you can from the foods you eat. Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut, which means a healthy immune system. Yogurt alone does not contain enough live organisms to make a big difference. I recommend Metagenics probiotic and Zenwize Health digestive enzymes.

2. Sleep & Meditation

Proper sleep is essential for any body function, especially digestion! As your body enters that calm state (parasympathetic), the brain begins to redirect blood to internal organs including the stomach and digestion. Check out my blog post about healthy sleep hygiene for some helpful tips.

3. Yoga

Certain yoga postures are helpful to aid in digestion, however taking a regular class helps with overall mental and physical health.

4. Acupuncture

Of course, I’m slightly bias, but Acupuncture is another great way to aid with healthy metabolism. I often do detox treatments, treatments to aid digestion and ear press balls to help curb cravings. If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Otherwise, check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information.

Be well,

Lexy

 

My Baby Essentials

This weekend, I had one of my beautifully pregnant patients ask about the essentials from my registry. I’m not one to push my Momma opinions on others, but I did a lot of research on the least toxic, organic brands to use and I wanted to share for all you Momma-to-bes.

I did my registry exclusively through Amazon. It was easy and free returns, exchanges, I could add items from other websites with their Amazon Wish List browser add-on. I also could subscribe-and-save items that needed to be replenished, like wipes, diapers, creams, etc.

I’ve heard good things about money-back from Babies R Us, but they didn’t have all the products I needed, so maybe do both if you take that route.

 

To Wrap or not to Wrap?

First, I bought the Baby K-Tan because of convenience. It is pre-wrapped and easy to put on, but was too tight for my little girl. I thought I would never use a wrap that I had to tie myself, but once I got the hang of it, I use it all the time! I love the Boba wrap. It’s stretchy, and when tied correctly nice and snug. My girl is out like a light and it makes it easy to bring her to social events without crying. There are multiple different ties, making it versatile for multiple ages. It also holds her neck really well, which was a concern of mine.

 

What’s on my Changing Table

Changing Pad & Cover: Naturepedic is 100% organic, and money well-spent. You can get the 2-sided or 4-sided depending on your table. If you are placing it directly on a bureau or other area that doesn’t have siding, I would get the 4-sided. Buy at least 2 covers, you will use them! They are easy to wash and a great quality.

Diaper Caddy: Trend Lab is great! It fits Diapers comfortably, a wipes dispenser and all my creams. I keep it on my changing table, but it has handles and easily goes to the living room and bedroom without forgetting any essentials!

Creams: Boudreaux’s Butt Paste for diaper rash, Emily Cream for every day use and preventing diaper rash. I carry this in office at a better price than on Amazon. Burt’s Bees Lotion and Oil for after bath or for dry skin (You can get a set here).

Wipes: We tried several different types, Seventh Generation was too rough my my little girl’s bottom and caused her to get diaper rash. We love Water Wipes, a little more expensive and sometimes stick together, but soft and gentle on baby’s bottom. Or make your own wipes kit. We use the Ubbi wipes dispenser, which is BPA free. You may want to get a wipes warmer if you have your little one in the winter (I wish I had one at the end of March, even!)

Diapers: We are currently working on transitioning to cloth diapers, I will write a separate post with my recommendations when I have them! As far as disposable, I really like Earth’s Best. They are chlorine-free, fit great, and have held A LOT of explosive poops. Seventh Generation come in some fun colors, run a little bit bigger and were great when she was in-between a newborn and size 1. Not a huge fan of the Honest Company quality, I had several diapers just unlatch and a huge mess to clean up. Babyganics have a wetness indicator that is helpful, but I found it didn’t always work unless there was a lot in the diaper, which you can usually tell by feel anyway.

It’s always nice to have some hand sanitizer, I love Babyganics Alcohol-Free Fragrance free. I keep a small one in my diaper bag and larger ones all over the house!

 

What’s in my Diaper Bag

From above: I usually buy a second Emily Cream, lotion, and of course Diapers!

Changing Pad & Wet Bag: Planetwise makes a smaller changing pad which is easily washable and comes in some very cute designs. They also make a wet bag travel size.

Wipes Dispenser: Skip Hop On-the-go is amazing! Stores about 25 wipes.

Burp Cloths & Swaddles: Aden and Anais makes a high quality burp cloth, swaddle and bib. They are more expensive, but wash well and last long! I keep on hand  A LOT of these, we go through them like crazy. I’d say 12 burp cloths and 6-8 swaddles. I use the swaddles for a lot of things other than swaddling.

Nursing Cover by BeBe Au Lait: Got this from my best friend and love it! It’s light weight and easy to use.

General Cover: This cover is amazing to throw over the carseat when it’s raining or too sunny. You can also use it as a cart cover, feeding cover or a make-shift blanket. Every mom should have one!

Although my little one doesn’t really use pacifiers, I keep one in my bag for emergency situations when she’s with other family members.

 

What’s in my Bathroom?

Shampoo and Body Wash: Burt’s Bees is still my go-to, it’s tear free and smells delicious.

Tub: Angelcare Bath Support fits into your regular bath tub and dries quickly. It’s soft on baby’s skin and props them up for easy access.

For Toy storage: Boon Frog Scoop stores and scoops up toys in the bath, they also make some cute and BPA-free toys: Jellies, water bugs, gears, boats.

It’s also nice to have a couple hooded towels & soft washcloths, of course you can use regular towels, but these are more fun!

For those with a leaky tub drain: OXO Silicone Tub Stopper. Also, Boon Bath Mat for slipping.

Toilet Training chair although this isn’t essential until much later, I put it on my registry to widen the options for people.

Medicine Cabinet necessities: Baby tylenol, Kids Benedryl, Gripe water (for hiccups and upset stomach), Witch Hazel (for baby acne), Heating Pad, Cold Compress, & First Aid Kit.

 

What’s in my Living Room?

Skip-Hop makes a lot of different activity gyms. They have crinkly areas, mirrors, chimes and fun little animals that are removable. My daughter will lie there and coo at them, it’s adorable! It’s also a great space for tummy time once your little one is ready.

Swing: We were going to by a Nuna (pricey!), but I ended up with a nice little travel swing that is much less expensive. It’s great because it folds up to go to Nana’s house and is super easy to take apart to wash.

It may be good to get a play mat, I love CreamHaus, but Kutchu is great for travel and mommy-baby yoga!

 

What’s in my Kitchen?

Bottles: We tried glass, but I Love my Silicone Comotomos! They are pricey, but well worth it. You will probably also need some Slow Flow nipples, as the bottles come with stage 2 flow. These mimic the breast and were great for when I went back to work. Having 4-6 bottles has been plenty to have on-hand while breastfeeding.

I use the Born Free Bottle warmer and Sanitizer. It fits the wider Comotomo bottles and both are a great quality and easy to use. Some moms have told me they are a waste of money, but I use mine a lot.

You will definitely need/use the Boon drying rack and bottle brush. They make all sorts of different sizes, so check your counter size before ordering. They make a travel version that I got for my in-laws.

Eco-friendly unscented dish soap, as well as a collapsible dish tub for soaking breast pump supplies.

 

What I use for Pumping & Feeding:

I love my Medela pump! Make sure you order extra bottles and membranes. I have two sets of everything. I got a great suggestion from my BFF to get a pumping bra and car adaptor as well. Make sure to check with your insurance company, mine covered most of the cost of my pump.

I also love my reusable bamboo breast pads, as well as some disposables I keep on hand. You will need them! Make sure you read the care instructions on the reusables and they will last you a while.

Love my Boppy and My Brest Friend Pillows. I keep one in my bedroom and one in my living room so I don’t have to go searching for them! I also keep an extra cover for both so I always have it available when one is in the wash!

 

What’s in my Laundry room?

Here are some things I would recommend having in your laundry area, especially if baby has sensitive skin:

Detergent: Charlie’s Soap with change your life.

Wool Dryer Balls (Dryer sheets are toxic!)

Essential oil to put on the dryer balls (I don’t do this with baby stuff, but I do with my own laundry).

Collapsible Clothes Drying Rack if you don’t already have one! If you have the space outside, it’s nice to have a clothing line set-up to save time and energy on drying (You will do more laundry than you ever dreamed of!)

Dyson Handheld vacuum for the little messes!

 

What’s good for baby sleep?

I recommend reading James McKenna’s book Sleeping with Your Baby, it has a lot of information on co-sleeping and bed sharing. You have to do what’s best and safest for your baby, but make sure you educate yourself before making any decisions.

That being said, here are some options for safe sleeping:

Bed Rail if you plan on ever having your baby in bed with you, or lower your mattress to floor level.

Halo Bassinet: Unless you’re really planning on using a side-sleeper as your method, I wouldn’t buy this item. Every baby is different, so they may not even like using a side-sleeper. There are co-sleepers that go in the bed, but would only really fit comfortably on a king-size mattress.

We got our crib from my parents (it was my crib), but I read this article if you want some tips for looking.

Crib Mattress, cover & sheets: Just like my changing pad, I love Naturepedic. Their prices really aren’t super expensive in comparison to the other synthetic brands. Burts Bees makes a great organic sheet as well.

Baby sleep sack made with Merino wool is great for year-round sleeping!

 

Travel Items

Carseat: Chico KeyFit 30 is super easy to use once installed, we bought an additional base for my husbands car so we didn’t have to interchange. According to my research, this is one of the lower toxic infant carseats available.

Stroller: We were convinced we didn’t need a jogger, but as we traveled the sidewalks, our Chico did not hold up and made the ride very bumpy. We upgraded to the Bob, which you can easily find used on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. We ended up getting ours off craigslist, it was a floor model and completely new! When they’re small, get an adaptor to fit your Chico carseat.

Pack & Play: Love the Lotus travel bed and pack and play, super lightweight and easy to use.

Infant Airplane Seat for those who are brave enough to travel with an infant!

Sunscreen and bugspray from Babyganics are great and were approved by my pediatrician.

 

So what do they wear, really?

My baby girl has LIVED in pajamas for the first few months. I found that long-sleeved body suits were a waste of time, i might as well throw her in pajama onsies than deal with socks and pants. Get a few short sleeved onesies. Burt’s bees makes the best zipper sleepers. Check out their website here. Sign-up on their email list, they are always doing 30-40% off sales, which I wait for and then order the next size of.

 

Things I put on my registry, but haven’t used yet:

These are things that I had on my registry that I haven’t gotten the chance to use yet. I will keep you all posted on my recommendations as they come!

Feeding Items: High ChairBaby food maker, flatware, silicone feeder (hint: use with frozen fruit during teething), Manual masher, Glass storage containers, Silicone freezer trays, sippy cup,

Teething: Teething oil, tooth brush, maple teether pair, green sprouts teeters, Natursetten teether, Ashton Bee teethers.

Some fun stuff: Le Petit Prince stargazer, Enfant blanket, Wooden standing activity center, cloth book, wooden baby walker, Speedo baby cruiser, Your Baby Can Learn set.

 

General Registry Guidelines

  1. Make sure you register for enough things! I had around 200 items on my registry ranging from $10-$400.
  2. Don’t be afraid to put the big things on- people often like to get group gifts and all pitch in on one big item they know you will really use.
  3. If you register with Amazon, most things are returnable for credit, even if you change your mind you can always return, so don’t be afraid to add things to your list.
  4. Think about what YOU are going to use! I got a lot of advice from other mommas that was helpful, but I wished I followed my own gut. If you think you will use it, get it!
  5. Use coupons! Sign-up for Babies R Us rewards program, they will send you $10 coupons.  Buy Buy Baby sends me coupons in the mail, great for the big items. I signed up for an Amazon rewards credit card  to get cash back on purchases. I also downloaded the Honey app, which auto populates coupon codes in your cart on  any website.
  6. For those items that you receive that aren’t on your registry and don’t have a gift receipt, there are scanner apps from the app store that will tell you where they came from. Carters accepts back a lot of their own clothes and Kohls is a great second stop. If there are additional items you can’t figure out, you can always donate and write the estimated value off your taxes. Make sure you get a receipt.

 

For me it was quality and essentials over quantity. I know I’m bound to accumulate items over time as my little one gets older, but so far I have kept her things very organized. I got big plastic bins to store baby clothes that wouldn’t fit her yet. I also stored some blankets people made for later.

Good Luck Mamas! I hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any questions.

 

Sleep Hygiene

pexels-photo-545016.jpeg

One of the biggest reasons for exacerbated symptoms from illness or injury is lack of sleep or inconsistent sleep. I see it every day in my office, and although I offer these suggestions, it’s still difficult to set a routine.

Good sleep hygiene is as important as body hygiene (although maybe not as noticeable to others). A lack of sleep over months or years can cause serious health conditions like high blood pressure, depression, diabetes & weakened immune system.

Here are some suggestions I offer my patients for rebalancing their sleep habits:

Set a consistent bedtime

Yes, I know you’re not a child anymore and no one can tell you when to go to bed, but it’s important for your system to be on a consistent schedule. Very naturally, once this schedule is set your body will ease into a parasympathetic state at your normal bedtime. From a Chinese perspective, getting to bed before 10PM helps to ground the Hun, or the ethereal soul so it doesn’t wander at night.

pexels-photo-280264.jpeg

Avoid caffeine & refined sugars at least 6 hours before bedtime

Be wary of any teas, sodas or other drinks that may have caffeine. Read the nutrition labels carefully. For me, this means no caffeine after 4pm. If you’re worried about a late day slump, go for a 10-minute walk outside, drink some water with ginger or lemon, or try some Shaking as medicine (Find out what that means here).

pexels-photo-933145.jpeg

Have a Bedtime Routine

What are you doing right before bed? Checking Facebook on your phone? Still working? An hour before bed, take the time to turn off the electronics, drink some tea, find a good book and settle into bed. Find something that works for you; maybe some yoga (bedtime routine here), alternate nostril breath or meditation. Use this time to settle into your space before settling in for the night.

pexels-photo-846080.jpeg

Wake up at the same time every day

Yes, even on weekends! Trying to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night is important. If you’re going to sleep by 10pm aim to wake up around 6am each day. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but being consistent with your sleep timing and amount of sleep is a great way to start healthy sleep habits.

pexels-photo-271818.jpeg

Drink plenty of water (but not before bed!)

A good rule of thumb is to stop drinking water a couple hours before bed (around 8pm), If you have frequent urination during the night, you may want to stop earlier than that. If you are concerned with your frequent urination, please see your healthcare professional or talk to me in-office about red flag symptoms.

If you know you aren’t drinking enough water during the day, I always recommend buying a Nalgene (1 Liter/32 oz). Start the first week drinking one bottle per day, then slowly over three weeks make your way up to three, or about 90 oz. per day. This varies depending on size and activity level of person.

lemon-water-refreshment-fruit-juice-162783.jpeg

Avoid late night snacking

Easier said than done! The best way to avoid snacks is to stop buying them in the first place. Not having unhealthy snacks at your fingertips goes a long way. Try to eat a large dinner before 6pm, allowing yourself a small snack before 8:30pm, nothing larger than your fist, and no ice-cream if you can help it.

pexels-photo-921775.jpeg

Shut off the electronics

I’ll say it again, put the phone down and turn the computer off. The back-lit screen and blue light have a huge affect on sleep quality.

pexels-photo-935865.jpeg

Set your bedroom as your sleep oasis

Obviously, there are other activities that happen in the bedroom, but stick with me here! Buy nice sheets (500 thread count or more), a pillow for your sleep style, and take the TV out. Get rid of the clutter, clean out under the bed, get rid of material things that no longer serve you. Using your bedroom for sleep-only will allow your body to naturally relax and fall/stay asleep.

Other nice things to keep on your bedside table: Himalayan Salt lamp, Humidifier with essential oil diffuser, Lavender oil, sleep mask.

pexels-photo-545034.jpeg

Consistent Exercise

It’s important to get 30 minutes of  cardio 3-4x/week. This will help regulate metabolism and your sleep cycle. Just remember not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this may be disruptive.

running-runner-long-distance-fitness-40751.jpeg

Hide the clock

You wake in the middle of the night and that clock is shining bright to remind you of exactly how long you haven’t slept. Take it out of your room and try not to look at your cell-phone clock. If you use a clock for an alarm, try an old fashioned one without the LED lighting. If you are lying in bed for an extended period without sleeping, remove yourself from your bedroom, lie down on the couch with a book or some warm honey water.

pexels-photo-813269.jpeg

Keep a to-do list

Keeping a notebook and pen on your nightstand is a great way to settle a busy mind. Before I go to bed, I make a to-do list of all the things I need to do the next day, along with any thoughts/ideas I’d like to revisit. This is a great way to avoid ruminating before bed.

pexels-photo-58457.jpeg

Acupuncture

Even as you start to notice longer-lasting change with your acupuncture visits, remember that for many, regular maintenance visits are important. I recommend after complete resolve of issues scheduling an appointment monthly to every six weeks. Life has its ebbs and flows, it’s stressors and injuries, remember to keep Acupuncture as a regular part of your health routine.

pexels-photo.jpg

If you have any questions about what Acupuncture can do for you, always reach out and ask! My door (and email inbox) is always open!

Be Well,

Lexy Lynch, Lic.Ac.