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Essential Oils Use For Flu and Cold Season

Written by guest blogger, Rachel Adams Gonzales

Essential oils can be an amazing tool for women, especially when pregnant, breastfeeding and caring for their babies.  They can be an incredibly effective and safe alternative to typical western medicine remedies for viruses, like the flu.  I personally was turned on to using essential oils when I came down with the flu in December 2010.  I was searching for something that I was comfortable using on myself while breastfeeding and on my 7 month-old son.  I was blown away by how quickly I improved once I started applying OnGuard, a blend of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary.  While antibiotics kill bacteria in the body, both good and bad, essential oils penetrate a cell wall to rid your body of harmful viruses and bacteria while leaving beneficial bacteria.  This keeps from disrupting further the natural balance of flora in the body.

The last few flu seasons I have often heard people say "My doctor said this is the worst cold and flu season ever."  As a mom with little ones and as a pregnant woman in past seasons, that kind of news is terrifying.  The worst part for me is the helplessness you feel because of the fact that,  you cannot or should not use most 'normal' remedies for cold and flu when you're pregnant, breast feeding, or on very young babies.  I steer away from western medicine in general and really don't want to use over- the- counter or prescription medicine if it's not absolutely needed, especially during times when my body is the vessel of nutrients for my child.  At the same time, there can be certain risks involved if you do nothing.  This is how essential oils became such an empowering tool in my life.


So, where do you start when using essential oils? 

First, it is important to keep in mind when applying essential oils that you use the highest quality available.  Essential oils are widely produced synthetically, and oils that are not synthetic are often contaminated with other plants, pesticides, or carrier oils.  I personally only use doTERRA essential oils, because they are sourced worldwide in areas where plants grow indigenously, maximizing medicinal properties of the oil.  Additionally, once imported, they are tested in third-party laboratories to ensure the oil is completely free of any potential contaminant.  All of my comments here refer specifically to doTERRA essentials oils.


Great essential oils for cold and flu season:

I mentioned OnGuard, a blend that is phenomenal in keeping viruses and infections at bay.  This blend is specifically combined to kill 99.99% of viruses and bacteria including all flu strains and mRSA.  It has been tested quite extensively and has been much more effective in keeping surfaces clean for extended periods of time.  We diffuse OnGuard throughout the house to kill any airborne viruses that may be looming and put it on the bottom of everyone's feet at bedtime.  I have a small glass roll-on bottle that I dilute with fractionated coconut oil, or whatever I have in the pantry at the moment, for my tiniest family members.  I add a few drops to my surface cleaning spray and hand soap dispensers as well.



Next, I use a blend called Breathe, which is a combination of laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus, melaleuca, lemon, and ravensara.  This is amazing for opening up air passages.  A drop can be placed on the palm of the hand, cupped around the face and inhaled and it can also be applied on the chest.  Peppermint, however, should be used with caution when breast feeding as it can diminish milk supply.  It does not have that effect in all women, but it can and it does for me personally.  It also has a very strong cooling sensation that my children do not like, so I only use it on them heavily diluted or diffused.  If you are avoiding peppermint, some great alternatives are eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, and melaleuca (tea tree oil).  You can use them individually or make your own blend.  

Lavender is known for it's calming properties and happens to also be a great anti-infectious blend.  I love to put this behind ears at bedtime; not only does it get everyone relaxed for bed, it also works as the best ear infection prevention ever!  It can also be applied to the forehead and cheeks with melaleuca oil when fighting a sinus infection.



Lemon can be used to dry out a wet cough, flush toxins and infection out of the body, and improve mood.  Citrus oils are known for lifting mood as well, a great side-effect when you have a grumpy household getting over a cold! 


A few things to keep in mind when you are applying oils: 

1. Less is more. When using a pure therapeutic grade essential oil like doTERRA, you only need a very small amount to be effective.

2. Use often. Unlike western medicine, application of essential oils is most effective when used repeatedly throughout the day.  If I am up against a really nasty bug I will apply oils every 30-60 minutes.

3. Test oils one at a time. Especially when you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or applying oils to babies, I recommend trying one type of oil at a time to see how it sits well.  It is extremely unlikely that you will have any adverse reaction, like skin irritation, but it makes it easier to isolate the oil that is the irritant this way.  For example, cinnamon is a very hot oil and I have very sensitive skin so I always dilute OnGuard for myself. This also makes it easier to identify if peppermint does affect your milk supply when breastfeeding, if you choose to test it.

4. Dilute. Oils will still be effective when diluted and should be diluted when applying to babies, often 1 drop of essential oil to 1-2 tbsp carrier oil.  

5. All essential oils are anti-viral and anti-infectious. The properties of each oil differ but if you are not getting the results you need, or simply do not like the way certain oils smell, try another!

A couple of great books to have on hand: Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils and Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth, and Babies, both  by Stephanie Fritz.  

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about essential oils! and


Have you tried essential oil with your family?  

Which are your favorites? 


Tackle Your Postpartum Trouble Spots - Butt

Written by guest blooger, Autumn Bonner, co-owner and co-founder of My Tailored Fitness.

Hi Moms!  Autumn here from Tailored Fitness back this week to help us tackle our next trouble spot, the Butt, with a baby-wearing workout you’ll love.  If you missed our first post about how to tone the tummy, you can check it out here, Tackle Your Postpartum Trouble Spots: Tummy.  

There are 3 changes that occur during pregnancy that affect our backsides:

  1. Weight gain – It is completely normal to gain weight in places other than your belly during pregnancy.  It’s part of the way your body makes sure you have enough nourishment for the growing baby. You may have noticed that as your front was getting larger (aka: breasts and belly) that your backside was getting larger too (aka: your butt).  I like to think of it as nature’s way of making sure we don’t fall over .   
  2. Loss of muscle tone – Towards the end of pregnancy, the weight of your growing belly makes it much harder to exercise and to build up the intensity necessary to maintain muscle tone. We end up losing much of our muscle tone, especially in our glutes!  
  3. Postural Shift – There are also some crazy postural changes that occur during pregnancy. If you look at the two pictures below showing your posture pre-pregnancy and your posture at the end of pregnancy, you can see that your pelvis tilts forward. This causes the muscles on the backs of your legs (your glutes and hamstrings) to stretch and in turn lose some of their strength.  



So to get your derriere back where it belongs after pregnancy, it takes the same 3 things we talked about last week:

  1. Toning
  2. Cardio
  3. Healthy Eating

Here’s a 20 minute Butt Toning Plan that combines toning and cardio! Combine this plan with your healthy eating and your tummy toning workout from last week and you will be well on your way to your pre-baby body (or an even better one)!  As with any exercise plan, be sure to get your doctor’s clearance before starting any activity.

Warm up – Put your baby in the Ergobaby carrier and find a set of stairs you can climb. If you don’t have any at your house or in your apartment complex, look for a nearby office building or park that has some you can use.  Chances are they will be empty. To warm up, walk up and down the stairs for 2 minutes. Be sure to be near the handrails in case you lose your balance.  It’s harder to see your toes when wearing your baby, although you may be used to that from being pregnant! 

Cardio - To get your heart rate up, alternate between 1 minute of quick stair climbing (of course safety is #1, so only go as quickly as you feel comfortable, it won’t take much to get your heart rate up) and 1 minute of slow start climbing with a glute squeeze after each step. The photo shows a glute squeeze, but basically as you step up on a stair, lift your back leg straight behind you and squeeze your glute! Keep alternating for a total of 5 minutes.


Strength –Keep that baby in your carrier for these strength exercises. 

1 – Squat and Squeeze – With one foot on the step, lower into a squat with the weight on your heels. Since you are wearing your baby, you will naturally want to drop your chest, but keep your chest up and let the legs do the work. Rise up from the squat and step onto the step lifting your outside leg up into a side glute squeeze. You will need to engage your abs to maintain your balance as you lift your leg.  Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 10 reps, then switch legs and do 10 reps on the other side. Rest and then repeat another set.



2 – Wall Sit – Find a stable, smooth wall. Place your back against the wall and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure your entire back and shoulders stay against the wall and hold for 1 minute. Rest and then repeat for another minute.  This is a great time to connect with your little one. She/he can definitely help distract you from your burning legs! 



3 – Butt Blaster – This one is killer, but so good for targeting the glutes. Take your baby out of the carrier and lay his/her below you on a matt. Come onto your hands and your knees. Keeping your leg bent, lift one leg up pushing the heel up to the sky. Return to the start and then open the knee to the side. Keep alternating lifting back and side on the same leg for a total of 10 reps. Then switch and repeat on the other side. Rest, and repeat both sides a 2nd time.



Stretch – Finish by stretching as your baby lies nearby on the floor. Also, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. 

If you are looking for more ideas for how to tone your glutes with your baby in your Ergobaby carrier, check out this lower body strength video from My Tailored Fitness, my fitness program for moms. 

Be sure to check back next week as we tackle our final trouble spot: arms!



Common Concerns While Breastfeeding - What is That White (and painful!) Spot on My Nipple?


Welcome back to our blog series…. Common Concerns While Breastfeeding.  These aren’t the complicated, ‘come-to-my-house-immediately’ phone calls we receive.  Rather, these are the questions that come from clients and friends in the middle of the night, by text or by email, that don’t necessarily warrant a lactation consultation.  They can often be easily resolved with a few simple tricks.  So, we would like to share those tricks with you!


Many moms know the pain associated with a shallow latch during the early days, but have you ever had nipple pain suddenly begin after weeks or months of pain-free breastfeeding?  After checking nipples for signs of a poor latch, you notice a white spot on the nipple in question - you pick at it for a few seconds, but it still remains.  What is it?  What caused it?  What can you do to resolve it and get back to pain-free breastfeeding?  This is what’s called a “milk blister” or “milk bleb” and is not cause for great concern, but it can be an uncomfortable and unwelcome guest!


What is a milk blister?


A milk blister is a small white or yellow spot on your nipple - it is normally blocking a milk duct, hence sometimes the pain associated with it is felt both at the tip of the nipple as well as radiating out into the breast.  It can’t easily be wiped away or removed.  It may sometimes be associated with a plugged duct.  It is perfectly safe to continue to breastfeed while you have one.


What causes a milk blister?


There are two causes for what we call a milk blister.  One is that a bit of skin has grown over an open milk duct, blocking it and creating a blister.  The other is the build up of fatty milk at the site of the milk duct, and the calcification of this fatty milk, which then blocks milk from flowing from this duct. The things that can increase risk for a milk blister are:

  • A recent plugged duct

  • Nipple is pinched often while baby is breastfeeding

  • Oversupply

  • Unusual pressure from a bra or sleeping position

  • Thrush


How can I get rid of the milk blister?


  • Place some organic coconut oil on a cotton ball and place it on your nipple, inside your bra, in between feedings for a few days.  This will help break down the calcification at the tip of the nipple, as well as fight off any bacteria or yeast.

  • Soak your nipple/breast in a saline bath of warm water several times a day.  According to, add 2 tsp of epsom salt to 1 cup hot water.  Allow the salt to dissolve and soak your affected breasts prior to feeding. Then place a hot, wet facecloth over your breast right after the saline bath and right before breastfeeding/pumping.  This should help to soften the nipple and help the blister release while baby is feeding or while pumping.

  • Apply moist heat to nipple prior to feeding

  • Try to remove the skin prior to feeding - rub with a warm washcloth

  • If all else fails, you can also ask your healthcare provider to use a sterile needle to open the blister.  After this procedure, follow up with organic coconut oil to keep the area moist and allow it to heal.


What if I keep getting milk blisters?


  • Consider seeking help from a Lactation Consultant to try to resolve the underlying cause of the recurring blisters.

  • Be sure your bras provide soft but strong support - avoid ones with underwire that may cause plugged ducts.

  • Consider reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

  • Consider taking sunflower lecithin, 1200mg, 4 times a day, to keep milk ducts ‘slippery’ thereby preventing recurring plugged ducts and milk blisters.





Tackle your Postpartum Trouble Spots:  Tummy

Written by guest blooger, Autumn Bonner, co-owner and co-founder of My Tailored Fitness.

Happy New Year Moms!  Now that the family is gone, holiday cookies are eaten, and presents are all opened, you are probably settling back into your normal life as a mom.  If you are like most people, you are probably thinking about 2014 and how you’d like to make it even better than last year.  One of the areas you might like to improve in the New Year is your health.  Let’s face it: as a mom, caring for yourself usually takes last place.  You make sure your baby’s needs are met, take care of your spouse/partner, and after that, if there’s time, you take care of yourself.  Sadly this often leaves us disappointed…with how our clothes fit, with how often we get to exercise, and with our lack of energy.

To be the best moms we can be, we must take care of ourselves. The good news is that by carving out just 20 minutes a day you can make some big changes this year!  It’s also important to know that your exercise routine can go hand in hand with your breastfeeding goals!  Research proves that exercise does not impact the quantity or quality of your milk supply.  All you need to do is make sure to eat at least 1500 calories per day and a few more to make up for the calories you burn on those days when you exercise. Here’s a great post dedicated to exercise and breastfeeding with some helpful tips. Exercise has so many other benefits for a new mom like relieving stress, helping you sleep better, and boosting your immunity, so it is definitely worth making a priority!

 Over the next 3 weeks, we are going to tackle the top 3 trouble spots for moms: tummy, butt, and arms. You’ll get a plan that you can do in just 20 minutes a day.  And the best part is that your baby will be right there with you as you use your baby carrier during your workout! So let’s get started with our first trouble spot: Tummy!

No other part of our body goes through as much change during pregnancy as our tummy.  Sadly, it doesn’t just bounce back to our pre-pregnancy shape easily.  It takes 3 key things to get a toned tummy post-baby:

  1. Toning – Since your ab muscles were stretched so much during your pregnancy, they lost a lot of strength. Toning exercises for your core will help you regain the strength you need in that area.  Think beyond crunches, as there are a lot more effective ways to work your core as you’ll see in the plan below.   
  2. Cardio – You also need cardio to get your abs back.  Sadly, you can do hundreds of crunches, but never see your abs because they are hidden under a layer of fat.  The best exercise for fat burning is a combination of strength and cardio.  So add some cardio to the toning exercises for maximum fat burning! 
  3. Healthy eating – This one goes right along with the cardio. You can exercise all you want, but if you aren’t fueling your body with good foods, you won’t see results. Fill up on fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grain breads.  As a new mom, you want to focus more on WHAT you are eating than on cutting calories.  Just remember, as I mentioned above, you have to make sure you are eating enough calories (at least 1500 per day) to ensure that your milk supply doesn’t drop. 

Ready to get started?  Here’s your 20 minute plan to tone your tummy!  Repeat this plan twice a week.

Note: As with any exercise plan, be sure to get your doctor’s clearance before starting any activity.

Warm up – Put your baby in a carrier and head outside for a walk.  Walk at an easy pace for 2 minutes to get warmed up.

Cardio - To get your heart rate up, alternate between 1 minute of fast walking and 1 minute of medium pace walking for a total of 8 minutes. If you have any hills nearby, include that in your route.  Pick a loop where you’ll end up back at your house at the end of the 8 minutes.

Strength – Head back inside, but keep that baby in your carrier for these strength exercises. 

1 – Zig Zag – Wrap your arms around your baby using your hands to support their head. Lower into a plie squat with knees and toes pointed out. Keeping your hips and legs still, lean side to side engaging the obliques. Repeat for 10 reps each side, rest, and repeat a 2nd set.

2 – Lunge with rotation – Regaining your balance is very important after pregnancy, and comes largely from strengthening your core. Lunges with rotation help challenge your core and balance effectively.  Step forwards into a lunge making sure your knee stays over your ankle. Then twist your torso towards your front leg. Push back to standing and repeat on the other leg. You are also getting some great leg work with this exercise! Repeat for 10 lunges on each leg, rest and repeat a 2nd set.

3 – Plank – This is probably the best exercise you can do for your core. Take your baby out of the carrier and lay him/her below you on the ground. Come into a plank position on your elbows and knees (if you are newly postpartum) or elbows and toes (if you are feeling stronger).  Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, rest, and then repeat a 2nd time.


Stretch – Finish by stretching as your baby lies nearby on the floor. Also, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. 

If you are looking for more ideas for how to exercise with your baby in your baby carrier, check out this postnatal core video from my fitness program for moms. We have whole video series with exercises with your baby. We even have a free 30 day trial. (The workout website is compatible with Chrome or Safari, so please use one of those browsers. Make sure you have clearance from your doctor before beginning exercise. By clicking the link above, you are agreeing to the Tailored Fitness Terms of Use.  For some of the exercises, it is important for your baby to have good head control.  Modify or skip exercises as needed to keep things safe for you and your baby.)


Be sure to check back next week as we tackle our next trouble spot: the butt!



What Every Mom Should Know About Breastfeeding During the Early Weeks

How much breast milk does my baby need per feeding?
What is common nursing behavior for a newborn?
How will I know that my baby is getting enough?


As a new mom, these are common questions that you may ask your pediatrician, midwife, postpartum nurse, family, and friends and GUESS WHAT..... they may all have a different answer!  

How complicated is that?  

Sometimes you may feel like there are ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ and that all of the advice you receive contradicts what you just heard from someone else 5 minutes ago. 

Talk about frustrating! 

Well, one of our goals at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center is to make breastfeeding as seamless and uncomplicated as possible.  We want to empower moms with knowledge and confidence to get breastfeeding off to a great start!

After listening to local moms express discontent about hearing contradictory breastfeeding information, we decided to do something about it.   First, we canvased our local breastfeeding mamas and asked, “What information do you wish you would have known about breastfeeding during those early weeks?”  Then we hired one of those awesome mamas, Elisa Suter, of Paper Doll Design Studios, to design a brochure that shares our top tips that every mom (and pediatrician) should know about breastfeeding during the early weeks.

Here is the final product!  Isn’t it beautiful?  We hope that this brochure provides the clear, consistent, evidence-based breastfeeding information our mamas are looking for.  





If you live in San Diego and would like us to deliver these brochures to your pediatrician's office, please email us at

If you live outside of San Diego and would like to order the Adobe file to personalize this brochure for YOUR local pediatricians and clients, please email us at

What contradictory information did you receive about breastfeeding during the early weeks?  


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