My High Needs Baby

I’ve had some dark days with Eden recently.  She has pushed me to the limits of my patience (and sanity).  This is hard to write because I love her to bits, but I feel like I have been challenged by her since the day she was born and this week as things have been really hard again I have thought, “when is this ever going to end?”

You might have already read Eden’s Story and her journey as a baby born with major gut issues.  It took us a while to realise what was going on with Eden and see a Specialist who knew what Eden was suffering.  A long time before this I read an article by Attachment Parenting guru Dr. William Sears, which really struck a chord.  It was about the “high need baby“.  Eden ticked every box!

Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha, coined the term “high need baby” when their fourth baby, Hayden, was born. While their first 3 children had been generally easy babies, Hayden was only happy when being held or fed. It was then that they realized that some babies are just truly high need.

While I totally agree, what I have also observed through my personal journey with Eden and through meeting other mums with babies/toddlers/young children that also tick the boxes of “high need” is that there’s definitely a connection to problems in the gut.

We know there is a dynamic interaction between the gut, the brain, and the immune system, starting from birth.  For example, immune cells reside within the gut and that was one of Eden’s big issues as a baby; her immune system was really compromised!

It feels like a bad dream now thinking about what we did go through with Eden.  In the grand scheme of things she is so much better, for which I am grateful!  I didn’t realise how bad it was with her (and how abnormal her constant cries and needs were) until I had my second girl Jade.  Case in point; no milestone, change, challenge, illness has ever got her like Eden got daily!  Eden’s physical and emotional being was so fragile, still is, and while her physical needs have reduced greatly thanks to the gut healing we have done, her emotional needs are still great.  Admittedly I forget this as we go about our daily life and so fall quite regularly into overwhelm when she overreacts or she gets overwhelmed.  Thankfully essential oils come to our rescue to restore our equilibrium. I would recommend them to anyone dealing with a high needs baby/toddler/child!

So what do we use?

There are 4 essential oils that I use regularly with Eden:

doTERRA’s Console, Serenity, Balance & Peace

To read about why I chose doTERRA, click here,

Read on for the benefits of each wonderful oil!

console

1.  CONSOLE

One of the primary essential oils in the doTERRA Console Blend is Ylang Ylang, which is calming and balancing for the body and mind.  It also contains Frankincense Resin, Patchouli Leaf, Labdanum Leaf/Stalk, Amyris Bark, Sandalwood Wood, Rose Flower and Osmanthus Flower which are comforting and grounding.

I use Console in those moments when we’ve all ‘lost the plot’.  The tears are flowing, the tempers have boiled over, emotions are high… I put it in the diffuser or rub it within a carrier oil into our necks.  It is instantly comforting (and you guessed it, consoling!)

serenity

2. SERENITY

The first thing to go out of the window for Eden when she is challenged emotionally is sleep.  Serenity is a beautifully calming blend of essential oils like Lavender and Roman Chamomile.  I diffuse Serenity aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment before bed, use a Serenity soap or bath melt in the bath, or massage as a balm I make myself.

Serenity is also great in those “lacking calm”moments! Just one drop to the back of the neck is instantly calming, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing!  I also apply Serenity to my brow when I need perspective on my situation with Eden in order to be more gentle with myself or seek answers about how to move forward in whatever challenge we are facing.

balance

3.  BALANCE

Balance has been a key oil in the Emotional Toolbox that has got me through severe anxiety problems.  It is extremely grounding and so is great to use every day to the bottoms of the feet when the high needs bubs/toddler/child is going through change or challenging emotions.  It contains Frankincense like Console, but also contains Blue Tansy, which ignites feelings of self-control, focus, and balance, and Blue Chamomile, which is quite sedative.

peace

4.  PEACE

Peace fuses floral and mint essential oils.  It is known as a Reassuring Blend, to promote feelings of contentment, composure, and reassurance when anxious feelings overwhelm your emotions.  I find Peace really good when Eden is anxious.  This actually happens a lot, but presents in different guises. Eden is affected by loud noises, new environments, too much stimulation or situations she lacks control in.  She presents as overwhelmed or even afraid.  Peace composes her.  I have started using Peace for my younger girl, Jade too, whose big milestones (she’s 1) are leaving her anxious when she’s away from me.

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I guess the final part of this blog is honesty around having to remind myself what I like about Eden when she does push me to the limits of my sanity.  Because maybe that might help you too.  Because maybe you’re feeling quite alone right now and utterly horrible for finding your own high need bubs/toddler/child horrible.

A beautiful friend once explained to me that what often happens with kids who are higher needs is that they have an appearance of calm, but actually aren’t.  She shared a thermometer diagram with me to explain what she meant and this has always stayed with me!  Basically, our children sit higher up the thermometer and so constantly sit at a tipping point, and this is why it takes only “little things” to tip them over:

So, one of the things I have promised myself I will do more of is project myself into her mind when we are in a situation that is escalating or at risk of triggering a chain of unwanted events… I ask myself:

  • What would she want me to say and do in this situation?
  • What can I change about the situation I am considering to ensure it meets her needs as well as mine and/or involves her?

It isn’t easy parenting these “high needs”, but it is possible to adopt more empathetic and appropriate responses.  I am still learning!

And the things I love about Eden?

She is resilient, with a warm heart, an inquiring mind and the strength of an ox.  She is independent and unique and beautiful.  I use Forgive essential oil to help myself move on from the soul destroying guilt I feel each time I lose my composure and feel overcome by her more challenging traits instead of these beautiful traits I love.

If you’d like to explore those questions above, as they relate to your situation and whatever brought you to my blog, request a free discovery call here.

If you’re curious now about the positive changes essential oils could make to your life, get my free eBook here.

Image result for doterra forgive instagram

Much Love x x

How I kicked bladder infections and UTIs naturally!

Since I was a teen up until quite recently, I suffered with constant bladder infections and UTIs.  To the point that I had to have investigative surgery (a cystoscopy under general anesthesia) to shed light on why they were so frequent.  They found I had interstitial cystitis where the inside walls of my bladder had become so red and inflamed from constant infections that I was suffering stabbing pain, serious discomfort while urinating, and sexual intercourse ignited pain that lasted for several days.

I was prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant called nortriptyline to treat the interstitial cystitis, but the bladder infections and UTIs still continued.  I also suffered some serious health complications from the medication, like black outs.  I finally came off the tablets in preference of some marked changes in my diet and life and natural tools to rebalance the bacteria in my gut and bladder.

How did I get to that point?

I learnt through my experience with Eden that we live in symbiosis with the bacteria that inhabit the Gastro-Intestinal tracts in our bodies.  There are more of these bacteria than cells in our body.  It is an extremely fine balance of friendly bacteria and unfriendly bacteria/fungi/yeast/parasites. If we allow the latter to overgrow we activate the immune system and impair barrier function, which can lead to chronic diseases.

The problems we suffered with Eden and moreover, how nobody seemed to know how to help us or what was wrong for a good while, made me go away do significant research and learned a lot.  For Eden her intestinal permeability led to many symptoms outside of her GI tract, like thrush and other skin rashes, headaches, congestion, abdominal pain, extreme bloating, constipation and diarrhea, that all led to disruption of her sleep and restlessness,  and ultimately…. a bladder infection.  This got me thinking!  I was already suspicious that my gut was out of balance, based on other problems I had suffered in the past. I had many predisposing factors that would prevent my body from working optimally and create an imbalance – early and frequent exposure to antibiotics as a child and teen, chronic use of chemical birth control, which dries out mucosal tissue from tip to tail, creating a breeding ground for bad bacteria; A LOT of stress, disordered eating (a diagnosed eating disorder as a teen). Then, because of how Eden was born with such an imbalance of her own I considered, if I recreated my own gut bacteria balance by removing the undesirable organisms and restoring the desirable bacteria, while I worked through this process with Eden would my bladder problems reduce?

The result was YES!

The first thing I did was identify all the things in our lives that were increasing our toxic load, (heavy metals such as chemicals, mercury, pesticides, and herbicides) and attempt to reduce them, in order to restore immune function (our bacteria are an integral part of our immune system, helping it to distinguish between ‘friend and foe’).

I hadn’t realised until I started reading labels how many toxic ingredients there are in the things that we use every day – soap, toothpaste, creams, lotions, washing detergents, air fresheners, candles.  Not to mention in the food we eat!  I began to opt for organic food and began to cut chemical products out one by one and replace them with things I made myself, using essential oils.

Then I attacked the food intolerances I suspected Eden had head on!  Eden and I did a full elimination diet to identify problem foods and then we removed them.

I also made other dietary changes.  I began eating some fermented foods like kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut to help re-colonize my bodywith helpful bacteria. We cut out refined sugar completely because it feeds the bad bacteria and we cut down on grains that are high in carbohydrates, so break down into sugar and also feed yeast and bad bacteria growth.

As I realised the bacterial imbalance was not only in my gut, but in my bladder, I started taking D-mannose (500mg 4x daily) to prevent bacterial buildup in my bladder directly.

I used a course of Oregano Essential Oil (5 drops 3x daily in 250ml water for 3 days) because it is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.

I then started on quality Probiotics.  I visited Nicola John’s Pharmacy in Glen Innes, Auckland, upon the advice of my awesome midwife with Jade and talked to her about how I could increase the good bacteria in my bladder and gut and reduce the growth of the infection-causing bacteria.

And I took Cranberry tablets (400-500mg 2x daily) to prevent bacteria from sticking to my bladder walls.

Vitamin C (1,000mg 3x daily) was also introduced to make my wee more acidic, so that the growth of E.coli was inhibited, my immune function enhanced.  Eden’s bladder infection was identified as caused by E.coli, so this was important for both of us.

In making these changes I have changed my life.  And I thank Eden for that, for leading me to a better way.  Although what we went through with her was awful and horrific for everyone it has opened my eyes to so many different things that were impacting my own health and as a family we are now so much healthier!

If you are suffering with frequent bladder infections and UTIs I obviously advise seeing a doctor as I am not one of those!  However, investigate some of the things that helped me and if you think they might be able to help you, give them a try because living with the pain and discomfort of frequent infections is awful and as I found can be seriously damaging to your bladder.

To get hold of quality Oregano Essential Oil that you can take internally, visit my doTERRA retail store and feel free to contact me with any questions!

Much Love x x