Monday, August 8, 2011

No more dropping your camera!

My camera is one of my most precious items that I own. It's just a point n shoot, but taking pictures with it brings me so much joy. I take tons of pictures of my kids every single day and wouldn't want to live without it. Last summer, I accidentally dropped it and it fell down the cement steps of my back porch. It seemed to bounce off the stairs in slow motion as my heart sank.

It was so damaged that I had to use my older camera- which was not nearly as responsive as the current camera I was using, and didn't take nearly as nice of pictures. I really, really missed my camera. When Christmas came, my husband surprised me with my camera! He had sent it off to get repaired and it was fixed as good as new. I totally cried! I had missed it so much.

I vowed to myself that I would never again drop my camera. So.......... I found this great point n shoot neck strap on Etsy and I HAD to get it! Not only would it keep me from dropping my camera, but it would allow me to have my camera on me while I have my kids in tow doing activities... because when you're holding a kid and chasing one, it's hard to just use the traditional wrist strap. It's also very hard to find a neck strap for a point n shoot camera, until I found this Etsy seller who makes them!

I have to share with you, because it's been a great purchase and I highly recommend to anyone, especially Mom's who love taking pictures but have their hands full. They are cute too, and there are many patterns to choose from........... enjoy!

Camera strap - Point n Shoot Neck Strap

Thursday, June 9, 2011

To doula or not to doula?

Have you ever heard of a doula? I had heard the term and knew that doula’s helped with the birthing process, but that’s about all I knew … until I went in to get a maternal massage, with a woman named Kathleen. Kathleen is not only a massage therapist, but she is also a certified doula, mother of six, and well versed in essential oils and herbs. I went in for the massage about a week before I delivered my first child (son). I was having a lot of pain in one of my ribs due to it being my baby boy’s favorite spot to kick, and also because I had the worst cold I’ve ever had in my life and was coughing so hard I think I pulled a muscle near my rib as well. Let’s just say…….. I really needed a massage.

After my massage with Kathleen, she mentioned that she is a doula and that if I had any questions about the upcoming birth of my son, to feel free to ask. I was planning on having an epidural, so I wasn’t sure I really needed a doula. But, I asked her what a doula does and why they are beneficial. She told the basics; doula’s are there as your advocate and help reinforce your wishes when you are in labor. They also assist the mother emotionally and physically. They can either assist directly, or can coach the husband/partner on what they can do to help, depending on what you desire. In short, a doula is a huge support who uses techniques to help calm the mother (breathing, oils, massage), and to help ease labor (acupressure, positioning, etc.).

She told me that she recently was a Doula for a woman who, while in labor, was told she was going to need a c-section because the baby was breech. Kathleen asked the doctor if he could give her 10 minutes, which the doctor agreed to. Within that time, Kathleen used some techniques and positioned the mother in order to help turn the baby around. She was able to get the baby turned around within 10 minutes, and the mother was able to deliver her baby vaginally. Once I heard that I was sold!

She met with me a few days later to help me create a birth plan. I didn’t have a ‘plan’ and didn’t know what a birth plan really was or why you should have one. I learned that a birth plan lays out what you do and don’t want during labor. They are nice to have so that you don’t have to deal with sharing all that information while you are in labor. She helped me come up with the basics and she also helped educate me on some issues, such as episiotomy, for example, so that I was better informed to create my birth plan.

If you need help starting a birth plan, here is a birth plan worksheet from, which is a wonderful website for women, whether they are already parents, trying to conceive, pregnant, etc. Check it out!

Did you know that tearing is actually better than getting an episiotomy? A natural tear heals much better than a straight cut. Also, many women don’t tear, and if they were to go ahead and get and episiotomy as a precaution, they may end up being cut unnecessarily. To help prevent tearing, my doula also suggests having the doctor do perineum stretching during labor. Also, as the head crowns, she coaches you on taking short little breaths while easing up on the pushing.

My birth plan goal was to wait and have an epidural once I was dilated to a 4. The longer you wait to have an epidural, the smaller the chances are of having a c-section, because epidurals can slow labor down- sometimes so much that a c-section must be performed. So when the big day came, she got to the hospital within a half hour of my arrival. When I got there I was dilated at a 2.5 and was asking for the epidural. She reminded me that I’m free to choose as I wish, but to remember that an early epidural could slow things down. So, I decided to hang in there. She rubbed the bottoms of my feet with peppermint oil, which helps speed up dilation. She also applied lavender oil beneath my nose to help calm me.

Each time I would have a contraction, she would press her hands on my hips. This technique helps ease the contractions and, at the same time, helps open the pelvis/birth canal. Other times, depending on each contraction, she would put her hand on my lower back and push upwards. And sometimes she would press on my knees as they were bent, which helped as well. She had many other techniques that also really, really helped. She also coached me on some breathing techniques. I swore I would never do the “hee, hee, hee, who” type of breathing, because it looks so stupid and I didn’t think it really would help. Believe me, it does help and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat!

My doula is in the red shirt, pushing on my knees to help ease contractions.

I was in labor for approximately 8 hours, and didn’t get an epidural until I was dilated to a 5 or 6. I wanted one at a 4, but the anesthesiologist couldn’t get to me until later. Once I had the epidural, after about 30 minutes, I was smiling. I didn’t feel painful contractions anymore, just pressure, yet Kathleen would still press on my hips with each contraction to continue helping the pelvis to open. However, when the baby was transitioning, I began having very bad pain on my left upper thigh. She massaged it, and that totally helped ease the pain. She also had me switch from side to side during my labor, which helped ensure the epidural was working evenly on both sides of my body. So, even though I ultimately had an epidural, I was so glad that I had my Doula.

After I delivered my son, she gave me amazing breastfeeding tips, which greatly contributed to my son and I’s breastfeeding success. We breastfed for 18 months! Kathleen also encouraged me to contact her with any questions I had about breastfeeding, recovery, or anything else. She also came to my house and followed up with me a few weeks later. I asked her if she’d be my Doula again, if I were to have another child. She said she would and I was so happy! I wouldn’t want to have a baby without her there, she gave me so much support, strength, and was such a great comfort just having her there. So, I told her that I’d consider another baby, but only because she agreed to be my doula again…… And now I am just about to pop with my second child (a girl this time), and Kathleen is, once again, my doula. So…… the question is; To Doula or not to Doula? It’s up to you, but as you can see, I highly recommend it.

If you are in Utah and interested in connecting with my doula, Kathleen, please email me directly so that I can connect you. My email address is

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An important video to watch; Dear 16 Year Old Me

With the latest sunscreen article I posted, I'm now sharing this video a friend recently shared with me. It's about Melanoma and it's not intended to make you afraid, it's intent is to make you more informed, aware, and to be more careful in the sun.

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Environmental Working Group's sunscreen guide; 2011

The summer months are my most favorite months of the year, however, I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. Oh how I love sunny, warm days, and getting a little vitamin D. But I hate the damage the sun can cause, so I try to be as protective as I can be in the sun, especially with my kids.

Anti-aging products are everywhere these days, but sunscreen is the very best step in anti-aging that you can take. I wear sunscreen on my face daily (no matter what), even being outside or driving in the car for just a few minutes each day can really add up over the years. Yes, UV rays get through windows and clouds, so don't let those cloudy days make you skimp on the sunscreen.

Don't forget the neck and upper chest when you apply your daily facial sunscreen, as those are often overlooked areas. And then of course, if you're going to be out in the sun for more than 5-20 minutes, apply sunscreen to ALL exposed areas. If you are out in the sun to re-apply every 2-3 hours as well. On the packaging of most sunscreens, it advises to apply 20 minutes prior to sun exposure, however, our bodies do need vitamin D (somewhere between 5-30 minutes a day), so don't feel like you have to wait the full 20 minutes before going outside. Going outside 15 minutes after applying would allow you to get your daily dose of vitamin D for 5 minutes before the sunscreen kicks in.

Anytime you are out in the sun, you should wear a hat to protect your scalp. Any hat is better than no hat, but these days there are many hats that actually have SPF in them - bonus! The prime time when the harmful UV rays of the sun are strongest are from 10 am - 4 pm, when the sun is directly overhead. If you can avoid sun exposure during those peak hours, do it. If not, lather up the sunscreen and pull out your hat!

Choosing the right sunscreen is something that may seem easy, but actually takes a little research to find one that truly protects. You should wear at least a 30 SPF and look for protection against UVA and UVB rays. But......... unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. Many sunscreens that claim to be 'broad spectrum' (UVA and UVB rays), have other ingredients that may counter-act or have other harmful ingredients. You may use a sunscreen and not get sunburned and think it's working wonderfully, when the truth may be that it's not fully protecting against the damaging rays.

To help in the search for a great sunscreen, the Environmental Working Group is a team of researchers and scientists who specialize in providing useful resources for consumers. One of the topics they research is sunscreen- hooray! I highly recommend looking at their guide before you make your next sunscreen purchase.

Sunscreen Guide

This link will provide you with information on the best (and worst) sunscreens. In this link you can search on the right-hand side under “Search for your sunscreen”, to see how the sunscreen you’ve been using rates.

I did a search for the sunscreen I used last year on my son; Banana Boat Baby Tear Free Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50. I was surprised to find that it falls in the “6 moderate hazard” category. This particular (and many out there) protects well against sunburn but rates poorly for protecting against other damaging rays. This one rated excellent with UVB (SPF) protection but poorly with UVA protection and with UVA/UVB balance, and contains vitamin A. You may be asking yourself “What is wrong with vitamin A?” Vitamin A is a retinol (retinyl palmitate) which tends to make the skin more sensitive to photodamage, it is suggested to only use retinoids at night. If you’d like to read more information on Vitamin A, here is a great resource:

Vitamin A Info

The sunscreens that are most protective are usually more expensive and are not as easy to find on your local store shelves, however most are available on Amazon. What I like about Amazon as well is that you can read the customer reviews to help you decide which one you want to use.

Additionally, there is no reason why an entire family can't use "kids" sunscreen. The separation between adults and kids sunscreens is mainly all marketing, the only difference would be that the ‘kids’ specific sunscreens are usually formulated for sensitive skin.

Here is the EWG's Top Rated Sunscreens

Here is the Hall of Shame worst rated sunscreens

Recently, I purchased the Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF Powder. I thought it was a brilliant idea to have SPF in a loose powder because it's easy to apply and so convenient. I got home and checked the EWG's sunscreen guide and found that it is one of the worst rated and is in EWG's "Hall of Shame". Needless to say, I returned it ASAP.

The EWG says "Loose powder sunscreens can enter the airways and may move from the lungs to the bloodstream. Health concerns include cancer and tissue damage." The EWG also recommends that people ONLY use sunscreen in the form of CREAMS and to avoid powders, pumps, and sprays because sunscreen belongs on your skin, not in your lungs.

Last but not least, here is the EWG's Top Sun Safety Tips

I hope this information will inspire you to be more sun smart; cover up when possible, avoid peak hours, wear your sunscreen every day, and always make sure you are using a sunscreen that's actually protecting you.

Welcome to Know It Mom

Thanks for stopping by to visit Know It Mom! As a stay at home Mom, since having my first child in 2009, and after years of being in the workforce and in school, I am now finally attending the school of Motherhood……full speed ahead. With a son who is growing fast and a daughter on the way, I’m learning a lot. I’m definitely not a know-it-all, but I am a Mom who loves learning, researching information, and sharing information with others.
Here I will share what has helped me along the way and hopefully it will help you too! I hope this will be a place you'll want to visit often, hope to see you again soon!

My son and I