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Natural Cold Care

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

I’ve had my fair share of colds during my pregnancy – really though, is it ever “fair” to be pregnant and sick at the same time?! You probably already know you shouldn’t be taking over the counter medicine while pregnant if you can avoid it, so here is my list of natural home remedies that can help relieve your symptoms and lessen your recover time.

  • Badger Balm. This stuff is the natural equivalent of Vick’s Vapor Rub. It smells great, when you can smell, and relieves congestion when you can’t.
  • Essential Oils. Cinnamon essential oils help break up phlegm in your chest and reduce coughing. I’ll often walk around the house just sniffing from the bottle, or you can also drop some into a pot of steaming water and the scent from the steam will permeate your house (smells like Christmas!). Hang over the pot and breathe in – what a relief! If you don’t like the smell of cinnamon, consider giving eucalyptus oil a try.
  • Herbal Expec. This is another natural remedy for coughing. No more robatussin needed.
  • Homeopathy. When I was miserably sick and pregnant I was given free reign from my midwives to try whatever homeopathic remedies I wanted in my search for relief. A lot of the remedies you’ll find on the shelves at your natural food store contain what they termed “buckshot” homeopathy – meaning it contains several different cures for congestion, runny nose, etc, assuming that you don’t know which one you specifically need to address. I certainly had no idea, so buckshot homeopathy worked well for me.

We’re coming up on cold and flu season, so I hope this information is helpful. Feel free to post your comments on what natural remedies worked well for you and your family!

Health Happy Round-Up – Breastfeeding Benefits

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Few will argue the benefits of breastfeeding a newborn.  It’s the perfect food with the bionutrients and perfect ratio of fats, protein, and carbohydrates for a newborn to older baby depending on the stage of their development and maturity.  Breast milk fats/protein/carbos ratio actually changes throughout the course of the year to mimic baby’s gut development and digestion needs!

Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding benefits to baby:

  • Increases baby’s immune defense for faster recovery from illness since the mother is able to create antibodies and distribute them through breast milk to baby
  • Reduces cavities and need for braces
  • Reduces risk of colic, diarrhea, SIDS, obesity, ear infections, respiratory illness, allergies, diaper rash, osteoporosis, diabetes, infantile cancer, and death
  • Increases IQ up to 20 points
  • Prevents malnutrition
  • Increases social and better psychomotor development of baby
  • Promotes better growth and satisfies baby’s need for sucking
  • Prevents the development of pathogenic germs in the intestines
  • Contains lactoferrin that transports iron and increases immune defense

Breastfeeding Benefits to Mom:

  • Increases the mother-infant bonding relationship
  • Reduces risk of post-partum depression
  • Reduces the reappearance of menstruation, thereby allowing more time until the next pregnancy
  • Decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Reduces puerperal bleeding and fever
  • Promotes the education of others in the family to practice breastfeeding
  • Helps a woman realize her role as mother
  • It’s practical–moms can nurse frequently throughout the night (without washing bottles), when traveling, anytime and anywhere
  • It’s a huge psychological benefit to baby, mom, and the entire family
  • Saves money and time

Breastfeeding Benefits to the Planet:

  • It’s always the perfect temperature and it’s produced it the necessary amount–doesn’t require heating and energy waste
  • Doesn’t require a storage container
  • Reduces the use of medications, medical procedures, and hospitalizations
  • Saves money in health care services
  • Does not leave residue or garbage
  • Doesn’t pollute the environment
  • It’s hygienic and sterile

Sometimes mothers defer to soy-based or dairy-based formula because 1) it’s convenient, 2) although rare, sometimes the baby has a medical condition that prevents the suck reflex, or 3) even rarer, the mother has a glandular deficiency in the breast tissue.

I have dear friends with babies who were born with conditions that prevented nursing at the breast, and I am in awe of them for pumping breast milk around-the-clock to support their babies’ needs.  However, medical conditions in babies are rare.  The inability of mothers to produce enough milk is even rarer.

Often, difficulties with latch-on and sucking enough milk are related to jaw or TMJ or upper neck spinal bone misalignments that can occur through the birth process.   Gentle chiropractic treatment can help babies regain a normal suck reflex by removing nervous system interference.  Read more about how chiropractic care can improve a baby’s suck reflex through the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.

For more on breastfeeding, check out Part II, Breastfeeding Support for Moms, and Extended Breastfeeding.

Your Turn:

What are your favorite benefits of breastfeeding?

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Green Baby & Ribbon Cutting

happy-green-baby1It’s almost here…

The Happy Green Baby workshop at Downtown ACAC (111 Monticello Ave.) in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, October 3rd at 11:45 AM.

I’m teaching new parents simple ways to go green with baby through an intro course in cloth diapering and I’ll show you how to make organic baby food from scratch–don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds!

This class is part of ACAC’s pre-natal/post-natal program and the first 15 minutes includes yummy snacks and social time with other new parents.  We’ll wrap up at 1PM (just in time for the afternoon nap).

The best part about this event, it’s FREE for the general public.  So, bring your friends, and let’s have some fun!


Then, on Thursday, October 8th from 4PM to 7PM, Spinal Health & Wellness, my practice, is celebrating our official opening in grand style with a big party and a ribbon cutting ceremony.  The office is located in Charlottesville in Berkmar Crossing, near the intersection of Rio Road West and Berkmar Drive at 679 Berkmar Circle.

We want the entire family to enjoy the fun, so we’re offering yummy Asian-fusion styled tapas, chair massage, kids crafts, face painting, portrait sittings, kid-friendly snacks, and cake!

Non-profit National Eating Disorders Association and Rabbits for Recovery will be represented at the event along with Charlottesville Regional Airport (cuz  hey, we’re building a patient base that extends beyond central Virginia!), SuzySaid.com, and many other community partners.  Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is officiating the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Don’t forget the fabulous door prizes:

We can’t wait to see you at the par-tay!

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Happy Green Baby

Hey Moms!

If you’re in the central Virginia area this coming weekend, stop by for a  one-hour class on simple ways to go green–an intro to cloth diapering and preparing homemade organic baby food from scratch–at Charlottesville’s Downtown ACAC (111 Monticello Ave.) on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 at 11:45AM. This event is free and open to the public as part of ACAC’s pre-natal and post-natal seminars.

Happy Green Baby classes focus on surrounding a baby with a safe and and healthy environment, void of synthetic chemicals and harmful toxins.  This class will teach parents simple ways to go green, through an introduction to cloth diapering and creating homemade organic baby food, as well as a brief overview on wisely choosing items that come in contact with a baby’s mouth and precious skin, such as non-toxic bottles, baby skincare and baby sun care.

The workshop will be led by me…besides editing Traveling with Baby, I’m also a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Charlottesville.

I’m excited to offer Happy Green Baby to parents.  There’s enough learning curves involved with a new baby; I want to help parents feel confident and simplify the learning curve involved with raising a healthy, happy, and green baby.

For more information on Happy Green Baby, please call the office at (434) 566-0126 or visit www.scoliosisdoc.com.

I hope to see you there!

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Health Happy Round-Up: Chiropractic Care for Babies

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Our son received his first chiropractic adjustment when he was two days old.  Birth is not only traumatic on a woman’s body, but it’s just as trying on a newborn as they push and twist and turn through the birth canal.

A chiropractic adjustment on a baby usually consists of gentle and light pressure tapping on the side of the neck to relieve joint and nervous system stress.  Sometimes there’s also gentle cranial massage to relieve pressure and asymmetries on the cranial sutures.

Whenever our son takes a tumble (as was often the case when he was first learning to cruise and walk), or whenever he’s teething, I check his spine to see if any of the joints need to be re-aligned with adjustments.  Usually, he responds by laughing.  Often, he climbs onto the chiropractic table in my office when he wants me to check him.

When working with children to adjust the spine, I have seen various symptoms clear up when the stress on the nervous system through spinal misalignments or subluxations are resolved through chiropractic care.  Symptoms such as constipation, urinary incontinence, fussy demeanor, restricted range of motion in the neck, torticollis, and ear infections and aches have resolved after receiving chiropractic care.

Based on a recent report by the American Chiropractic Association,

there were an estimated 20 million pediatric visits in the 1980s. In 1998, there were an estimated 30 million pediatric visits annually. Last year, utilizing these estimates and based on a study by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), Dr. Joel Alcantara, ICPA research director, estimated approximately 68 million pediatric visits annually.

Additionally, the ICPA presented preliminary results of their Practiced Based Research Network, and they listed three improvements with chiropractic care that were noted by both doctors and parents:

  • Improved sleep
  • Attitudes and behavior
  • Immune system function

Read more about the benefits of chiropractic care for babies in the full article by Lisa A. Goldstein.


To maintain a healthy spine, I make sure Calvin wears shoes that are conducive to proper walking biomechanics.  We love soft soled or flexible shoes that allow complete foot strike from heel down to toe-off, and everything in between.

Calvin wearing See Kai Run LoganProper fitting shoes with good ankle support and flexible soles are great for allowing cruisers, walkers, and toddlers/climbers/runners to explore their world with unfettered foot protection.Calvin in Logan by See Kai RunOur favorite brand of shoes is See Kai Run.  The styles are trendy, and the finished product is constructed with durability in mind so that the shoes can handle muddy puddles, scurrying on gravel roads, and backwoods hiking with little feet as well as romping through city sidewalks.

Logan by See Kai RunCalvin is wearing the rough and rugged Logan hi-top boot by See Kai Run.  Perfect for treeclimbers and scurrying toddlers.

See Kai Run has the American Podiatric Seal of Approval, and recently, won an iParenting Outstanding Product Award for 2009 for the Camerson sandal.

labor day giveawayAs part of the Labor Day Giveaway on Traveling with Baby, you can achieve road trip contentment by grooving with your kids to the catchy tunes on some amazing albums.  You can earn up to 9 entries to win a pair.


One winner will enjoy a pair of See Kai Run or Smaller in any style or size of choice (retail value $40).

(Primary entry method, this must be completed first!) To enter, visit See Kai Run’s and Smaller’s Fall line of baby and toddler shoes.  Come back here and leave a comment about your fave style and size, and for whom you’d like to win a pair.


  • Earn another entry by subscribing to See Kai Run’s e-mail list.  Leave a comment with the e-mail address you used.
  • Earn two additional entries by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “See Kai Run Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave two comments here with a link to your post.
  • Earn two additional entries by subscribing to Traveling with Baby’s RSS feed.  Leave (two) comments stating that you’re subscribed.
  • Earn another entry by entering another Labor Day Giveaway contest on Traveling with Baby.  Leave a comment telling me the name of the other contest that you entered.  Active contests are listed on the left sidebar under the header “Win Prizes”
  • Earn another entry by following me (drdolly) on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following RT @drdolly Win See Kai Run shoes on Traveling with Baby! http://wp.me/p4s6M-NsLeave a comment with the weblink to your tweet.
  • Earn another entry by adding Traveling with Baby’s button to your website/blog.

Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  The contest is open to U.S. shipping addresses only.

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on September 14th, 2009.

One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after September 14th. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.


Congrats to the winner, #158, Sweetbabycakes.

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Health Happy Round-Up: Skin Care for Moms and Babies

roundupWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Guess what’s the largest organ in your body?

Okay, well, it’s actually ON your body…it’s your skin!  It’s about 1-2 meters squared in surface area and comprises 12-15% of your body weight.  Wow! It’s a living, breathing organ that’s highly permeable to anything you put on it topically–it’s also your body’s thinnest organ measuring in at 0.5 mm on the eyelids and up to 4mm in thickness on the palms and soles of your feet.

Your skin forms a protective barrier against chemicals, however it is also highly permeable to toxins.  Your skin has up to 4.5 meter of blood vessels to help regulate body temperature.  However, that also means that anything you put on your skin will also go directly to your blood stream.

If you’d rather not eat it, then you probably shouldn’t put it on your skin.  That applies not only to pregnant women, but to children and adults as well.

It bears repeating . . . if you wouldn’t ingest it, don’t put it on your skin.  It’ll just end up inside as if you had eaten it, anyway.

Grocery stores, drug stores, department stores, and cosmetics specialty stores are lined with gobs of products filled with, well, fillers.  Many of those products contain ingredients that are hazardous, may cause allergies or irritation, and some are carcinogens (translation: research has shown them to be cancer-causing agents).

So, why do we (mostly women) put that stuff on our skin?

Is it the promise of youth and beauty?  Dry skin, blemished skin, or oily skin that needs a remedy?

Hey, there are some good things out there on the market, but if you want to get back to basics to have beautiful skin and great health inside and out, then I want to arm you with some resources to help you with your decision-making process.  Also, I want to share with you my very inexpensive skin beauty secret.  For the record, I DO eat it regularly, too.


Stay with me.

I’d like to share with you, once again, a great site created by the Environmental Working Group called Skin Deep.  You can look up any product by category, brand, or ingredient to find out its hazard rating, and descriptions of any associated hazards or risks.

For the most part, this database is pretty thorough, although a recent glance indicated a “0” hazard rating for a few petroleum-based products.  Those need to be upgraded to at least a 7 since petroleum jelly is thrice derived from petroleum (a known carcinogen).  While we’re on that topic, keep in mind that mineral oil is derived from petroleum…the stuff that helps your engine run…7 times.  Mineral oil is the primary ingredient in “baby oil.”

There is no way on this planet I would EVER put baby oil on my son’s skin or let it near him with a 10-foot pole.  Why on earth marketing companies labeled it as such is beyond me.  Yet, that’s part of the lack of regulation in the U.S. cosmetics industry.  A darn shame, I might add.

But, back to Skin Deep, overall, a GREAT resource for learning about products, and their associated ingredients and hazards.

Another resource site is Stephanie of Bubble and Bee.  I use their shampoo, lip balm, deodorant pit putty, and lotion stick.  I love that they are vegetable and essential oil-based without chemicals.  Unfortunately, a lot of “natural” products on the market have ingredients that, well, aren’t natural.

Stephanie’s got a Chemical of the Day blog where she posts about an ingredient and provides background as well as the Environmental Working Group rating.  There’s also a great Q&A section where you can ask about any chemical that may be lurking in a product.  It’s fab.

Other than Bubble & Bee products, I also use coconut oil–straight up.  I use the affordable, second press found in the baking aisle of many major grocery stores.

I cook with it since it has wonderful medium-chain fatty acids that the body craves and needs to rebuild and repair.  I also scoop out a couple tablespoons and leave it in a glass dish.  I use very tiny amounts as my morning and evening moisturizer.

My husband has used it to quell irritated skin from poison ivy.

My son dips his fingers in and applies it to his “boo boos” on his knees.  And if he happens to ingest it, I’m not worried one bit.

coconutoilIt’s all around good stuff.  I eat it. I don’t mind if it gets in my blood stream, in fact, hurry up and get in there!  Want more info on the benefits of coconut oil, check out The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife.  This book is currently on my night stand.  It’s a great compilation of research, history of coconut oil and the U.S. fast food industry’s use of cooking oils, plus there’s a lot of information on why it’s the most beneficial oil for human consumption.

When I apply the coconut oil in the morning, I gently massage a very small amount into my face (it doesn’t take much), and then I allow it to absorb for a few minutes.

Next, I apply mineral make-up from Alima Pure.  This is a pure pigment mineral make-up line that doesn’t use fillers, fragrances, or additives that are harmful to skin and your bloodstream.   These brilliant, breathing colors have natural sun-protection and they last all day.  Read my previous review on Alima Pure’s make-up.

They recently sent me sample eye colors for their limited edition Zen Garden line for review.  They’re GOR-geous.  Shimmery, neutral, and golden Bamboo, deep brown Teak with green and golden sparkles, matte and intense purple Lilko’i, and olivey green Eucalyptus with a silver shimmer.

Alima Zen GardenThese colors are perfect for fall.  A little darker for the shorter days, and perfect for the chilly evenings when I’m sporting a vest or scarf.  On the rare occasions we go out for a nice dinner, say for our upcoming 9-year wedding anniversary, I’d like to go a little more color on the eyes.  The Zen Garden Collection is available for a limited time, and four full-sizes of eye color retail for $25 (they’re usual rate is $9 per shade–so, great savings for fall).

Zen Garden lookFour colors.  Easy to apply with a brush.  Since they’re natural pigments, they wash off with water and a washcloth.  If I happen to get a little mineral dust in my sink, it easily washes off with water.

Here’s a close-up.

eyes closedSimple, beautiful, not bad for my skin, and fun.  That’s my kind of make-up.

–By Dr. Dolly
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Since last night, my son’s been suffering from something viral that’s given him a terrible croupy cough and a persistent fever.

He’s been nursing like it’s the last meal he’ll ever eat–every single time.  He hated his baths which is very unCalvin-like behavior. He refuses most solid foods (unless it comes directly from my plate…and even then, it’s a scant amount that he’ll ingest).

He’ll just cry, snuggle, and bury his head in my chest.

We spent all day trying to do things to naturally reduce his symptoms and discomfort–but, it’ll take his body’s immunity kicking in to really kick this bug that’s plaguing him and breaking my heart.  Things that have helped provide some comfort:

  • breastfeeding
  • chiropractic adjustment
  • water in his favorite Sippy cup
  • hydrotherapy (alternating very warm and cool wet towels while in the tub)
  • rest
  • snuggly blankie
  • snuggling with Mommy & Daddy
  • fresh air

When we did Calvin’s bedtime routine tonight, I got so choked up that I couldn’t sing his lullabye.  I wish that I could absorb his suffering so that he wouldn’t have to endure it.

To make it a little easier on us and more comforting for Calvin, Steve rocked him and held him in his arms until he fell asleep.  I pray he sleeps well through the night, and feels healthy and strong again by morning.  As much as his boundless energy wears me out, I miss it terribly.

–By Dr. Dolly

Around the Web

There are so many amazing resources for parents on the internet.  I wanted to highlight a few cool sites that I frequently visit that I think you’ll love, too.

SafeMama features downloadable BPA-free cheat sheets, product recalls, and health and eco guides.  Read it. Bookmark it.

Considering picking up a used car seat from a yard sale or from a family member?  First, check out the CPSafety site to view a safety checklist that will help you decide if that used seat is really a “savings” or whether it’s better to send it to the landfill.

Interested in connecting with other moms who strive for eco- and health-friendly family living?  Then, the Holistic Moms Network is the place for you.

Like blog reads from a Chiropractor Mommy?  Then, visit my colleague and friend, Dr. Heather who posts on Mom Going Green.  She has a great post on a natural approach to ear infections in infants and children.

A short while ago, my comprehensive cloth diaper review was highlighted on Cloth Diaper News.

Safe Baby Care Products: Let the Experts Rank Them

There are thousands of baby care brands on the market, and navigating through them to determine what chemicals are safe and non-toxic is pretty tough since the U.S. regulation on the cosmetics industry is pretty much non-existent. In fact, the U.S. still allows petroleum-based chemicals such as mineral oil and petrolatum in cosmetics. Don’t think you won’t find these things in baby products. The number one ingredient in baby oil is mineral oil which is refined 7 times from the same type of oil you put into your vehicle. Do you really want to put that on baby’s skin? Or what about petroleum jelly. That’s exactly what it says: jelly refined 3 times from petrolatum (motor oil!). We use it to lube bolts, squeaky doors, but not to apply to skin. Petrol products in cosmetics is actually illegal according to European standards due to the carcinogen affect of petrol products. Carcinogen means caner-causing agent.

Those are just a few examples of common cosmetic ingredients that are rampant in baby products. There are others, such as added fragrance chemicals which are considered toxic. Some “tear-free” baby formulas actually include a neurotoxin to prevent tearing.

So, how does a concerned parent act as a smart shopper and stay on top of this ever-changing but deceptively advertised market? Check out the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. This database is run by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C. You can look up every product and see the ranking system for it: 0-2 (low hazard), 3-6 (moderate hazard), and 7-10 (high hazard). You can look up a product based on category such as “baby bubble bath” or you can type in the product name directly.

A product page will indicate the product’s ingredients and the associated health risks such as allergies, developmental/reproductive toxins, cancer, or neurotoxins. For moderate to high hazard products, you can also find options for better products with lower health hazards.

There’s more than just baby products.  You can also find out about the hazards in hair care, fragrances, eye care, nail care, make up, skin care, and oral care.

Coconut Constipation Cure

It’s quite common for babies digestive systems to get a little backed up when they go from solely ingesting mama’s pure, sweet, breastmilk to taking in some solid foods. However, since we’re not feeding our son foods that can often lead to constipation like cereals and bananas, we recognize that his body is still adapting and will soon figure it out.

Lately, we’re only alternating between avocados and sweet potatoes. But, since he’s had some discomfort passing bowel movements and a little constipation, we decided he needed some help in a natural form. I’m not about to give my son an enema which could lead to long term health problems with gut development and digestion. So, we opted to try pure and beneficial coconut juice. Instead of buying canned or boxed juice that often is hard to find, expensive, and often has added ingredients, we opted to use a raw coconut.

We learned how to husk a coconut here. Steve just happened to have an ice pick on hand and he was able to collect the coconut juice and peel the buttery rich and yummy meat from the shell.

According to Kate’s Global Kitchen, coconut juice (also known as coconut water) is used to nourish and grow newborn babies. The amazing coconut has many health benefits which you can read about on the Coconut Research Center’s website.

I mixed a little coconut juice with Calvin’s daily serving of avocado. During and after the meal, he sipped the remainder of the coconut juice from a bamboo cup, and he loved it. I can’t always get him to drink 4 oz. of water during a meal, but I had no problem getting him to finish up the coconut juice. Coconut juice has natural electrolytes which most closely resemble those that we have in our bodies. Forget sports drinks for post workout replenishing, next time drink some coconut juice. Of course, the effort of opening up the coconut may make you work up a sweat!

So, about 12 hours later, Calvin was able to pass the rest of the waste that had collected in his digestive system . . . ALL of it. Additionally, a friend of ours is an LPN who works at a pediatric clinic. He sees a LOT of babies and small children. He’s seen positive results for constipation when parents mix 1/4 teaspoon of prune juice with 4 oz. of breastmilk or formula.

Prune juice is definitely easier to acquire, but I love all the amazing benefits of the coconut. You can also read more about the benefits of cooking with coconut oil in The Coconut Oil MiracleWholesome Baby Foods offers insight on using coconut in baby foods.