Natural Colic Calming Remedies

A mama knows her kids. Or so we like to think, anyway. I, for example, knew my newest little addition in utero — I mean, we spent a lot of time together… time at the gym and prenatal yoga, time doing crosswords at 3am when i couldn’t sleep, time sharing in the trials and tribulations of everyday life — all of this before he ever saw the light of day. We were connected. And I decided, from this place of deep connection, that I could feel his personality (I still, by the way, believe this to be true.) When pregnant with my first son, I had accurately predicted him to be gentle and sweet-tempered, but shy perhaps, and stubborn as a mule. (I gleaned much of this from the way he adamantly and predictably refused to move even a millimeter when anyone would put a hand on my belly, even if he had been doing intra-uterine gymnastics before…it was as though he was saying, “mama, I’m no dancing monkey.” Lo and behold, he came out and for nearly two years was wary of strangers — and, on occasion, his poor, solicitous dad.)

Flush with the success of my predictions with Aidan, I confidently gave it another go with Ammie — ‘he’s good-natured, unusually good-natured, social, and, yes, mellow, definitely mellow’ — he moved only gently and easily day and night, and when he did kick, would happily kick away under the expectant hands of family and strangers alike. Their colors show themselves immediately, I believe, and if they don’t, I liked to believe my happy predictions anyway — because who wants to believe they are about to give birth to a little hellion?

Imagine my surprise then when, after a first few newborn weeks that neatly fit my expectations, my little Angel turned Gripe-y. I don’t mean a little gripe-y either, 5-7 witching-hour gripe-y. I mean ALL THE TIME. Nothing satisfied him. And whether imagination or intuition took over at this point, I don’t know. All I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, was that this was NOT his inherent nature. Maybe it never is with any baby. After an embarrassing number of sleepless nights, internet searches, and shame… I decided to go back to my roots as a pediatric expert — and go extreme.

I called my husband at work, suddenly empowered again. “I do this for a living!” I cried in revelation. “We can put all our resources to work and figure this out — he’s uncomfortable!” This was the start of the best baby-weight-loss program EVER — I cut out every food that was featured on any list ANYWHERE of gassy foods, foods to avoid, culprit foods, you name it. In other words, I cut out everything I liked.

No milk, no onions, no beans, no peanut butter, no cruciferous vegetables, no gluten, no — ah the last holdout — no chocolate. (Remember please, with pity, dear ones, that I gave birth to Ammie right before Thanksgiving and Christmas.) And, lo and behold, within a mere week, Ammie turned in to the fantastic sleeper, and good natured love that he is today — we call him “The Smile Factory.” I slowly — and one at a time, experimented with which foods I could bring back — I am breastfeeding after all, which means, I’m hungry! and ultimately narrowed it to a list that makes us all happy — no onions, no cheese, no beans (except, occasionally, lentils), no tomatoes, and, strangely, but definitely, no white rice. At lunch with my sister-in-law a couple months later, she revealed that these are the same foods that have always and still cause her trouble, down to the very last one (Genetics, that crazy thing it is.) We did some other things too, things I’d like to share with any mama or papa or beleaguered babysitting grandparent in hopes that it will help them to unearth their baby’s inner angel as well, and most importantly, bring sweet babies the comfort we desperately wish for them.

But first, the moral. More than one, in exchange for all the sleep lost.

  1. Mamas know their babies. If you think your baby is acting in a way that is inconsistent with their inherent nature, trust your deep knowledge of this little being — they probably are giving you a message the only way they know how.
  2. Everyone’s got advice – I was given everything from belly belts to colic foot cream – none of it bad, not all of it practical. In the end, it came down to trial and error – every baby is different.
  3. Well, I’d like to think there’s a third… Oh yes. “This too shall pass.” I’m sorry. And I promise.

 

Now here’s what has worked for me, personally and professionally:

Food Restrictions

While opinions even within the scientific community differ as to how much effect the foods mama eats while nursing has on her breastmilk or her baby, proteins from the foods you eat are absorbed through your intestines and into the bloodstream — and from here, finds its way into the milk in unknown quantities. Many babies don’t have much to any problem with this; however, if your baby is colicky, your diet is worth a second look. It is my clinical experience that many cases of colic are caused by mamas eating foods that are making the milk difficult for babies to digest. This is especially true if your baby seems to have bouts of crying followed by expulsion of gas, or if your baby has constipation, diarrhea, rashes, or congestion. I am also suspicious of food sensitivities if baby was premature, or if you or your spouse have a family history of digestive or respiratory difficulties.

When baby arrives, the lining of his or her intestines is immature, making it more difficult to digest and absorb foods for the first six months than it will be in the months that follow. This is why most pediatricians and childcare experts recommend waiting to start solids with your baby for at least six months (in some cases, I even recommend a bit longer). If your child cannot tolerate an ingredient you are ingesting, this does not mean he or she will be sensitive to it forever — but for now, avoiding it could give baby — and you! — much needed comfort.

Scientists know that flavor from foods is also transmitted to the breast milk — and may not only have a correlation to baby’s enjoyment of the milk, but may also correlate to what foods baby will like as solids (in other words, a mama who eats lots of carrots while nursing may have a baby who likes carrots as a solid — for more interesting information on this connection, check out: Here). Its not such a leap then, that the foods we eat also have an impact on the digestability of the breast milk for certain infants – a tenet of Grandma’s kitchen table wisdom in many cultures.foodstoavoid

The main culprits:

  • milk and dairy products
  • cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, cauliflower)
  • “gassy” vegetables (including onions, asparagus, green peppers, tomatoes)
  • spicy foods
  • wheat
  • chocolate
  • caffeine (in coffee, tea, some sodas)
  • soy
  • peanuts
  • citrus
  • shellfish
  • iron supplements (or the iron in your prenatal if you’re taking them)

These aren’t the only culprits (remember, beans and white rice really set my little guy off – although it took me a while and a good food log to believe it), but they are the most common. Which, if any, are culprits for your baby is a personal, and somewhat tedious matter to unearth. Either go extreme and eliminate the main possibilities and then add back in, or unearth likely suspects by backtracking through your worst days with a good diet log. And give this project time. It took nearly a week to notice that the colic had disappeared — which, not coincidentally, is sometimes the amount of time it takes for a food to leave your system. If you’re not sure about some of the foods on this list, experiment by adding them back into your diet after a week of eliminating them. Some of these foods are really good for you (and by this of course, I’m talking about chocolate. :))

* Lactobacillus Reuteri

A gram-positive bacterium that is found in the intestines of birds and mammals, l. reuteri falls into the category of “probiotics” (the beneficial bacteria that makes yogurt and fermented foods popular health boosters). Studies show that the effects of l. reuteri are very specifically beneficial to colicky babies (and not replicated by other probiotics, even of the infant-formulations). A study conducted in 2007, shows that after 4 weeks of taking l. reuteri drops, crying time was reduced by 74 percent.1 A 2010 study replicated these findings with similarly positive results.2 Be forewarned when you head to the local health food store or pharmacy for these — even with all the great research to support its efficacy, I had many well-meaning folks try to steer me toward other probiotics that don’t contain this strain — they’re wonderful for other things, but have not demonstrated the same effectiveness in cases of colic — in fact, they sometimes have generated the reverse.3 The l. reuteri had to be special-ordered and is not inexpensive (ringing up at somewhere around $30 for less than a week’s supply), but after weeks of crying (first Ammie, then me), I would probably have hocked my wedding ring for the possibility of sweet relief. BioGaia Protectis Baby Probiotic is what we used — a liquid formulation that you give to baby by the drop.

* Tummy Circles

One of the most effective ways to provide comfort to a colicky baby and to stimulate healthy digestive function is also one of the easiest. First lie your baby down on his back in a comfortable location. Then with the pads of your four closed fingers or the palm of your hand, gently push while rotating your hand to make medium-sized clockwise circles around your baby’s belly button. Continue in a clockwise direction 50 to 100 times, or for a few minutes. It’s unclear whether this has an effect on colic in the world of western medicine, but age old traditions of qi gong and other eastern practices place the center of much energy at this area in the body — stimulating and soothing the area around the umbilicus increases the strength of baby’s “Qi” (roughly translated as active life force). This couldn’t be bad, right? I’ve found it to be entirely therapeutic.

 

Here’s what others swear by:

Swaddling: From popular books like “The Happiest Baby on the Block” to Dr. Sears’ indispensable compendium, “The Baby Book” — and tracing its roots again back to Grandma (and Grandma’s Grandma), — swaddling, the technique of wrapping baby up tightly in a light blanket to simulate womb conditions (read: Tight!), and ameliorate the stresses of newly developing, not-quite-controllable limbs, is something many parents swear by to calm everything from a case of the tired fussies to downright aggravated babies. It doesn’t hit the roots of colic at it’s core — however, any safe calming techniques could only help. The larger question seems to be, does it calm? This seems to depend on the baby. Limited research has found the calming effects of swaddling to be temporary — after a few days, there seems to be no difference between the crying in swaddled and unswaddled babies.45 On the other hand, some babies are very sensitive to stimulation — and the newborn startle reflex is, well, startling. My main bias, however, is that my babies didn’t like swaddling at all. Maybe I had a small uterus and they were just relieved to finally be unrestricted. That’s my theory. My firstborn preferred to sleep with arms and legs splayed out like he was making a big snow angel. But if it works for you, by all means… (When not to swaddle: when they’re just born. Skin-to-skin contact here, with unrestricted hands and arms helps breastfeeding, calming, and bonding significantly better than any amount of swaddling.)

Baby Herbal Tummy Packs: My former neighbor, just about the nicest gal in the world, and mama to a now one-year-old, first provided cookies on the day of his birth, and then her baby herbal tummy pack, called “Happi Tummi” a few weeks later. Her daughter cried inconsolably during the first few months — a microwavable belt filled with such olfactory delights as chamomile and lavender, along with the warmth of the belt on baby’s belly was her number one aid in relieving her daughter’s misery. My Indian friend also swears by the benefits of a warm herbal pack on baby’s belly. The warm tummy pack soothes and relaxes the possibly-stressed, definitely tense intestinal muscles of an unhappy infant. You can buy the Happi Tummi version, or for DIYers, make your own by placing uncooked rice in a muslim or linen sack, adding essential oils of your choice – lavender and chamomile are best bets for babies- to the rice before placing in the sack. (Sew Mama Sew gives great instructions for DIY packs). Heat in microwave for 15 seconds and please, test on inside of wrist before placing on baby. Place it over the onesie or sleeper to avoid it getting too hot on baby’s sensitive skin (lets not add injury to insult…) Then remember this technique for when baby gets older — warm belly packs are absolutely great for stomachaches and bedwetting in older kids as well.

gripe_water* Gripe Water: Here’s another remedy folks swear by. I keep it in the diaper bag myself. Chalk full of great tummy-relieving herbs such as ginger and fennel, it performs the minor and immediate miracle of stopping my little one’s hiccups in their tracks (boy, did he hate the hiccups for a while!) There are a lot of gripe waters on the market, however, and all are not created equal. Aniseed is a common ingredient, but also a common allergen, and gripe waters that use essential oils are generally way too strong for babies (this is internal we’re talking). You want to look for natural, optimally organic ingredients, and no alcohol or simethicone. We tried a couple of different kinds and used Mommy’s Bliss with the greatest success, but there are a number of other reputable brands out there for your own trial and error research — Wellements, Colic Calm. Did any of them stop the colic? Verdict’s still out on that one for us, but certainly didn’t hurt. It’s available Here on Amazon.

colic remediesTea for Mama: fennel seed, Indian celery root? 1/2 – 1 tsp of fennel seeds steeped in hot water for 10 minutes (you can include 1-2 slices of fresh ginger while you’re at it) is a remedy that seeks to work at the level of “what mama eats, baby eats.” Hopefully it makes your milk more digestible and more palatable to your little one. Some Indian friends insisted that I should add Indian Celery root to this homebrew – and gave me some of their own that family and friends routinely bring back from India for them. It doesn’t smell the same as the celery root in my own pantry. Again, I cannot say with certainty that it helped, but just the ritual moment taken to nurture myself every evening (boiling the water, steeping the tea) was a therapeutic act.

 

And When is Colic no longer “Colic”? Red Flags That It’s Time to Visit or Revisit Your Pediatrician or ER:

  • if your baby’s cry becomes shrill or harsher than usual, or lasts for a longer interval than usual
  • if your baby’s poop or pee habits change dramatically or are accompanied by blood
  • if the crying always comes at feeding time and includes writhing, arching, twisting
  • if your baby’s soft spot is bulging
  • colicif your baby becomes listless or lethargic
  • if your baby’s cry is more of a weak moan
  • if crying is accompanied by a fever or temperature drop
  • if baby is vomiting repeatedly and/or with blood
  • if your intuition says it’s time for outside support, something’s just not right

And if none of this works? My favorite mantra during the crying weeks was, “I love my baby, and he is perfect for me.” Corny? Maybe. Obvious? Generally. But it helped. Blessings to all the mamas and papas out there who are in the midst of weathering the storm.

 

1 ^ Pelle SF, et al. Lactobacillus reuteri (American Type Culture Collection Strain 55730) versus simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: A prospective randomized study. Pediatrics 2007:119; e124-30
2 ^ Savino, F., Cordisco, L., Tarasco, V., Palumeri, E., Calabrese, R., Oggero, R., Roos, S. and Matteuzzi, D. (2010) Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 in infantile colic: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics, 126, e526-33
3 ^ Kukkonen K, et al. Long-Term Safety and Impact on Infection Rates of Postnatal Probiotic and Prebiotic (Synbiotic) Treatment: Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pediatrics 2008;122;8-12
4 Van Sleuwen, B. E., L’Hoir, M. P.; Engelberts, A. C.; Busschers, W. B.; Westers, P.; Blom, M. A. et al. (2006). Comparison of behavior modification with and without swaddling as interventions for excessive crying. In: Journal of Pediatrics, 149 (4), S. 512-517.
5 Long, Tony (2007). Adding swaddling to behaviour modification in infant care did not reduce excessive crying in healthy infants <13 weeks of age at randomisation. Evidence Based Nursing,10, S. 42.

Spotlight on Slippery Elm Bark

Uh-oh. I think that this whole solids thing may have gone awry. Not dreadfully, unrecoverably awry, more like, ‘let’s step back, assess and regroup’ awry. Avocado went well. No problems there. Four days of green slimy fun. Then I introduced mushed banana. I love this one because it’s gentle, easy to prepare (my older son and his friend mashed it themselves, before taking turns feeding baby), and full of potassium. It’s also the food we’d use during my days in Latin America for what my father would politely call, “Montezuma’s Revenge.” In other words, banana is good for stopping up the works. Little one hasn’t pooped in 2 days. He’s not quite ready for cooked prunes and plums… What now?

Enter slippery elm bark powder to the rescue. Slippery elm is an amazing option for baby’s constipation. It’s also amazing for my babysitter’s sore throat, and for my other babysitter’s coughing fit. (For more on our sitters‘ health plights this past week, check my recent blog on natural remedies for seasonal allergies.) WIth a pleasant, sweet, almost maple-y flavor, it’s great as a tea, mixed with fruit juice, or made into the world’s easiest lozenges. It can also be used externally to soothe skin conditions and diaper rash. Anything this multi-purpose in my world (by my unofficial count, I’ve leaned on slippery elm bark powder this week a total of 4 times) deserves a special spotlight…

A Brief Look at the History and Uses of Slippery Elm

Slippery elm bark is a large, deciduous tree that has been used for centuries by Native Americans for everything from skin conditions and gastrointestinal disorders to preventing food spoilage. Certain Native American populations would brew it as a porridge to nourish babies and the elderly during times of famine. slipperyelmtreeToday it is commonly used as a respiratory aid as well for bronchitis, coughs, and sore throat (as we’ve proven lately in our household), along with GI and skin indications.

What Makes Slippery Elm Effective?

The key to the effectiveness of slippery elm may be the mucilaginous nature of the inner bark (this is the part of the bark that is used). The inner bark contains mucilage — a substance that turns gelatinous when mixed with water or other fluid. This mucilage can create a film that soothes and eases discomfort of the respiratory passages and the digestive passages. This makes the powder a favorite of mine for coughs. It also makes the powder effective for discomforts of the digestive tract. Slippery elm bark contains antioxidants and is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. The formal Western research on this is sparse, but shows promise.

Slippery Elm for Gastro-Intestinal Ailments

Because Slippery Elm is a mucilage, it creates a film over the digestive tract that soothes the pains of a vast array of GI diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Scientists believe that mucilages stimulate the stomach’s nerve endings to produce more of its own protective mucus, and reduce excess stomach acid, making it a useful herb to soothe ulcers and prevent excessive acidity in the stomach. Its usefulness for gastrointestinal disorders may also be due to its fibrous nature — slippery elm is high in fiber, and moves through the digestive tract absorbing toxins and fluid as a bulk-forming laxative. Here’s where it comes in especially handy in my world — in addition to having analgesic properties in the face of stomachaches and other digestive concerns, it’s low toxicity makes it an excellent choice for babies’ constipation. Ironically, its tannins also make it useful for diarrhea. Talk about multi-purpose…

An adult dose is generally 2 Tablespoons administered as a tea in 2 cups of water. To use for babies or small children, take 1/2 to 1 tsp of slippery elm and mix it with warm water sweetened with a bit of maple syrup.

 

Alternatively you can mix the slippery elm with 1/2 cup purified water and 1/2 cup apple or pear juice, and give it to your little one either in a bottle, in a cup as tea, as a porridge, or even in a dropper. Because of it’s mucilagenic character, slippery elm turns into a goopy consistency fairly quickly, so my favorite way to give it is by the spoonful as a porridge. Or administer quickly — too long and my older son thinks it looks too much like mucus to ingest. Mercifully, my baby son doesn’t care. 🙂

Slippery Elm for Skin Conditions

Native Americans would soak the bark of the slippery elm, then let it dry over wounds as a bandage. In more recent years, famed psychic Edgar Cayce suggested the use of slippery elm bark in a recorded reading for treating psoriasis. BarkThis suggestion is currently being studied by clinical researchers at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Even without more extensive research, however, it has been used a great deal for a variety of skin conditions, as the mucilage reduces irritation and inflammation, forming a jelly-like protective coating. It works on the level of soothing rather than curing or speeding healing.

To use it this way, take slippery elm bark powder in a small bowl or ramekin, and wet with just enough warm water that it becomes paste-like in consistency. Apply the slippery elm paste directly to the wound, or to a piece of clean gauze or cheesecloth, pressed onto the wound gently as a poultice.

Slippery Elm for Respiratory Ailments

And finally, coughs, bronchitis and sore throat pain, beware. Slippery elm soothes and moistens mucus membranes of the nose, throat and lungs, providing relief for a variety of respiratory conditions, including cough and bronchitis symptoms.

slippery-elm-bark-teaFor a pain-relieving sore throat tea for kids, use 2 teaspoons of slippery elm bark powder in 1 cup of water — steep for 3-5 minutes, then cool to a palatable temperature for your child (test on the inside of your wrist first). Sweeten with honey to taste if your child is over 15 months of age (otherwise maple syrup is a safe bet…) For adults, use 1 tablespoon in 1 cup of water. Drink throughout day or as symptoms persist.

For an easy children’s cough solution, I’ve long leaned on a wonderful recipe from Aviva Jill Romm’s book, “Naturally Healthy Babies and Children”. Mix 2 tablespoons of slippery elm bark powder with enough maple syrup or honey (in children over 15 months of age) to make a dough-like consistency. Roll into balls, or into a long snake-like piece of dough, then cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Your child can either eat as is, or you can roll the pieces in a dusting of the powder, and cook at 250 degrees until firm, allowing them to harden. Have your child eat or suck on them as often as desired. For children under 15 months old, use maple syrup instead of honey, and offer these only if they’re already accustomed to solid foods. Otherwise, you can offer them a 1/2 teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder mixed in 1 cup of warm water sweetened with maple syrup, or with 1/2 cup warm apple or pear juice, 1/2 cup purified water.

Slippery-Elm-Bark-PowderNow that you’re armed and ready with your arsenal of slippery elm bark powder, and virtually every conceivable (or should I say, reasonable:)) use for it, I hope that this blog ends up being a bit like carrying an umbrella to ensure a day without rain. But if you do encounter the occasional cough, sore throat, skin condition, constipation, stomachache in your household, consider it one-stop shopping. Slippery elm. You’re all set.

 

Heard more now on slippery elm now than you ever knew or cared to know about it? If not, check out these great references for more information:

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center — for a comprehensive examination of the properties of slippery elm, and the scientific research available (http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/slippery-elm)
LiveStrong.com — a clear, well-researched synopsis of the benefits of slippery elm (http://www.livestrong.com/article/265353-what-are-the-benefits-of-slippe…)
-> Get Slippery Elm Bark Capsules on Amazon
“Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health”; Aviva Jill Romm, et al.; 2003

3 Steps to the Perfect DIY Mother’s Day – in 1 Hour or Less

Happy-Mothers-day-card

I don’t remember the details of my first Mother’s Day, but I’m pretty sure it involved a card, and a happy hour trip to the neighborhood bistro where we’d order an appetizer, a glass of wine to split, and a complimentary bread basket. We used to do this a lot for special occasions. We were super-short on money, my husband and I, (I mean, everyone wants more, right, but we’re talking pregnant and no health insurance short.) but we also liked the high life a bit, so we’d get creative on how to indulge ourselves and not break the non-existent bank. It was a cash-only system.

Some close friends of ours (and parents to two adorable girls) remember too their first years — with $8 in the bank at times, and trying to start their own magazine (they succeeded by the way); they had to get creative. They’d watch bargain movies and discuss them in the park for hours. When you’re broke and courting, (or broke and married!) you really get to know each other when all the trimmings are stripped away. You get creative, you figure out how to keep the pampering and indulgence alive. I may be talking to some of you who know this far better than I. I would never say the broke years were the best in my life (I love travel, philanthropy and the freedom of choice that money can bring), but I will say they weren’t the worst either. My brilliant designer friend talks about how you need boundaries on a room or project to get the most creative. Our boundary for the first years with our first son was money, and I’ll never take money for granted as a result.

Our limiting factor with our second son is time. I don’t remember the first year of life with my older son Aidan being much more than slow and overwhelming. This time around, it’s flying by. The time seems to have no logic. I haven’t quit working this time either. I work from home and nurse on demand, but its a workday nonetheless. While I used to say that a real Mother’s Day is a day without the kids (and I’m not the first or last to say this, I know), this Mother’s Day I’m nursing, and it’s not realistic to think that I’m going to be able to go for a Spa Day — or that my also busy husband would have time or inclination to plan any such thing.

The bottom line is, this Mother’s Day, I need a DIY solution — a solution that ensures that I’m pampered and left feeling relaxed, energized and appreciated — and I need to create this miracle moment by myself — leaving time for the breakfast-in-bed projects and whatnot that the family will inevitably think up — for me to later clean up. Conservatively I’d say I’ve got an hour.

Here’s what I’ve come up with dear reader, if you, like me, would like or need a Mother’s Day celebration that is budget and time conscious, leaving you the rest of the day to spend with the blessed beings that enable us to celebrate this day in the first place. I’ve taken one for the team and tested this out — I know, it’s hard, someone had to ensure quality control — and I promise you that this 3-Step Mother’s Day Celebration will leave you feeling happier & healthier than when you started, in one hour or less.

 

Before You Begin:

Block the time with your family in advance. Above all, no cell phones, no interruptions, no cheating! Have papa take the kids to the park or somewhere outside the house for your refreshment time.

Suggestion: Make the mousse for Step 3 first, for optimal relaxation — that way, you’ll get straight out of the bath-turned-spa, and indulge!

 

Step 1: Relax in a detoxifying bath (approximate time: 20 minutes)

This suggestion is entirely inspired by Earthsavers Rejuvenating bath salts — my complete obsession. (Coincidentally, my first Earthsavers bath salts were a Mother’s Day gift.They smell so good to me, I keep a jar by my sink just to sniff, like grown-up glue.) The epsom salt – dead sea salt – baking soda combination is what I often use for kids’ detoxification… The peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary is just for you.:)

This combination softens skin and relaxes muscles, relieving minor aches, pains, and strains. This combination of essential oils uplifts and invigorates. Feel free to create an essential oil blend that you prefer, such as 5-10 drops of relaxing lavender, or the beautiful-smelling, funny-sounding ylang-ylang.

ingredients:

  • 2 Cup Epsom Salt (or dead sea salt, or a 1/2-1/2 combination)
  • 1 Cup baking soda
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
  • 6 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)
  • 3-4 drops eucalyptus essential oil (optional)

Mix ingredients together before adding to bath. Fill your tub with water, adding 1 Cup for every 6 inches of water. Sit in this bath for 20 minutes (or however long you’d like!) After the bath is over, be sure to rinse off with a glycerin soap, to remove any impurities from the skin.

 

Step 2: Give yourself an energizing foot scrub (approximate time: 5-10 minutes)

This recipe was inspired by both The Idea Room and Sprout Wellness.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Natural raw brown sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. Coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp. Coconut flakes
  • 3-5 drops Peppermint essential oil

Over low heat, mix coconut oil into sugar and coconut flakes until sugar just begins to dissolve — very quickly. Take off heat, add peppermint essential oil drops and stir. Take up to bathroom, lay down plush towel on the edge of tub if you have one, and massage away, in gentle, circular motion — for as long as you’d like. Rinse away with warm water.

Finish with this homemade lotion if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand, or use whatever natural favorite you have available). Put on socks — to keep your footsies pampered and moisturized — and to keep you from slip-sliding your way on to Step 3…

 

Step 3: Eat guiltless chocolate: my recipe for Healthy Chocolate Mousse (approximate time to make: 5 minutes; time to eat: 5 luxuriously long minutes, small slow bites required:))

This chocolate mousse is raw, vegan, a fabulous source of antioxidants, and totally indulgent

 

Jen’s Best Ever Healthy Raw Chocolate Mousse:

Makes one decadent cup…‘cuz it’s just for you. (Feel free to bookmark this recipe and double, triple, quadruple it as you wish.)

ingredients:

  • 3 pitted dates (placed in water for 3-5 minutes to soften)
  • 3 Tblsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tblsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tblsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 Cup coconut water
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 pinch sea salt (I use pink Himalayan salt for added beneficial minerals)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Combine dates, maple syrup, coconut oil, raw cacao and coconut water in a food processor or blender. Add avocado, one scoop at a time until mixture reaches your desired consistency (no more than one full avocado). Add salt, cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Don’t be afraid – these give it a mild kick that makes the flavor complicated and delicious.

 

Final step: return to your family utterly refreshed — with a radiant glow, a happy disposition, and yummy-smelling feet. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!