Everything You Need to Know About Caffeine, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

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Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

One morning, I was grabbing a coffee at a coffee shop just around the corner from my workplace. I go there sometimes, when I leave my house and arrive early to work. I would spend the extra 15 minutes to drink my coffee and study a bit of my nursing material. At the time, I was preparing for my NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination).

Everyone could see that I was visibly pregnant. Of course, at 32 weeks, I was definitely showing, and you can also tell by all the stares that came my way when I stepped foot into the shop.

No, I didn’t order decaffeinated coffee. I ordered a regular one. And I just have one cup per day, but not every day.

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When the barista took my order, he was hesitant. He looked at my swelling belly, then at my face, and then at his coworker. I was waiting for him to say something, and he did. He simply said,

oh, you know we also have decaffeinated coffee and espresso too.”

I was empathetic and tried to understand that this man’s concern came from a good place. So I kindly declined his offer and asked for a regular coffee. Then I proceeded to say that one cup a day is fine.

And although it looked like he didn’t believe me, he went ahead and poured me a cup of caffeinated coffee anyway.

I will say that this did bother me. I’m sure he thought very little of me to be drinking caffeine while carrying a child. But seriously? Did he think I was drinking alcohol everyday too?

I respect his concern but he didn’t respect the fact, that I did my research and that if he wanted to correct me about something, maybe he should have done his research too.

Obviously, I am not the first pregnant woman to experience this. In fact, my experience was pretty mild compared to others.

Have you heard about the one where a grandmother literally snatched and threw away a pregnant woman’s cold brew coffee?! Mamma-mia…

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Photo by Jarek Ceborski on Unsplash

Is it safe to drink caffeinated coffee during pregnancy?

After the first trimester, it is safe to drink ONE CUP of caffeinated coffee per day and by one cup, I mean 200 mg of caffeine or a 10-12 ounce cup depending on where you go.

I know, research can make this all very confusing. New studies continue to combat each other. Some say it’s not okay to have a cup a day, and then other studies refute these results and claim that these conventional pregnancy theories are a thing of the past.

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Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash

But one fact is true – there is some sort of link between caffeine and miscarriages, stillbirths, and low weight births, especially when consumed in the first trimester.

The problem with this fact is that we cannot apply a quantity of how much caffeine to these risks or determine the true cause and effect relationship between the two.

However, studies do show that consumption of caffeine over the recommended 200 mg per day results in double the risk of miscarriages and low birth weights.

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Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash

How does caffeine affect the human body?

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. In the brain, caffeine causes alertness which is why many of us consume caffeine.

Basically, the stimulant blocks adenosine from connecting to adenosine receptors in the brain. (Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that causes relaxation and sleepiness.) The chemical structure of caffeine is very similar to the structure of adenosine. Caffeine therefore, binds to the adenosine receptors and blocks adenosine from binding to it. This blocks feelings of sleepiness formerly brought on by adenosine, and the release of other natural stimulants such as dopamine. (Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter released by nerve cells and contributes to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.)

We use caffeine to:

  • manage drowsiness
  • manage headaches
  • increase metabolism
  • enhance exercise performance
  • boost your mood
  • increase concentration
  • increases motivation to work

The peak effect of this stimulant occurs after approximately 30 minutes after consumption.

Consuming too much caffeine can cause:

  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • upset stomach
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • muscle tremors

It is also a diuretic, meaning it increases urination. This causes the body to release more fluids through urine possibly resulting in dehydration.

How is caffeine addictive?

Caffeine can be physically addictive and behaviourally addictive, especially in those who consume caffeine on a regular and sustained basis.

Physical addiction to caffeine occurs when the body produces more adenosine receptors to make up for the ones that are blocked by caffeine. This means that there are now more receptors that caffeine can bind to, requiring you to drink more coffee to “fill” those additional receptors. This also explains how coffee drinkers build up a tolerance and require more coffee over time.

Behavioural addiction occurs through the repetition of drinking the coffee in a social environment and the positive feelings involved in that environment, rather than the caffeine itself.

Withdrawal from caffeine can cause:

  • headaches
  • lack of concentration
  • drowsiness
  • irritability

How does caffeine affect the growing fetus?

Caffeine can directly and easily pass through the placenta to the fetus. Adults can metabolize caffeine but the fetus cannot, especially in the early phases of development.

As mentioned above, caffeine binds to our receptors altering the chemistry of our brains and effecting our cells, membranes and tissue. This change in chemistry may interfere with proper development of the fetus.

Another theory proposes that the vaso-constricting (constriction of blood vessels) properties of caffeine may cause increased blood pressure in the mother, leading to decreased blood flow to the fetus. The lack of blood flow to the placenta deprives the fetus of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow.

Caffeine not only increases blood pressure but also blood glucose levels as well. And it increases the workload of the liver that is already dealing with the increased hormonal demands of pregnancy.

Is it safe to consume caffeine while breastfeeding?

It is safe to drink caffeinated coffee while breastfeeding. Keep in mind that caffeine does pass through to your baby through breast milk, but only in trace amounts (approximately 1% of what you take in).

When breastfeeding, it is recommended that you should consume no more than 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day or no more than 300 mg daily.

If you drink about 3-5 cups of coffee, make sure to spread the consumption throughout the day to prevent high concentrations of caffeine in your breast milk.

If you find that your baby is becoming more restless and cranky after you’ve have coffee and breastfed, it may be time to reassess your intake amount.

How do you cut back on caffeine?

For chronic coffee drinkers who are or will be pregnant, it is important to wean yourself off of caffeine rather than stop cold turkey.

Start by mixing half caffeinated coffee with half decaffeinated coffee at first. Then eventually work towards drinking decaffeinated coffee entirely.

What other foods and drinks contain caffeine?

Besides coffee, caffeine can also be found in the following and should be consumed in moderation:

  • espresso beans
  • tea leaves
  • sodas
  • chocolate (cocoa beans)
  • energy drinks
  • some over the counter medication

As I’ve always mentioned, it is very important that you talk to your doctor about your caffeine consumption during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

We all know that mothers and mothers-to-be must make a lot of sacrifices for their growing babies but luckily, a cup of Joe doesn’t have to be one of them!

Thanks for reading.

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Life Saving Skills Every Parent Should Know: CPR & AED for Infants

Becoming a mother or father encompasses a tremendous responsibility, and that involves keeping your children safe from harm. This is why I decided to write a post about CPR and the use of the AED for infants (newborn to one year old) in hopes of raising awareness of this important life saving skill (that hopefully, you never have to use).

This is a in-depth step by step guide on how to perform CPR and use the AED on your infant if a situation ever arises.

It is important to note that this post does not replace courses with licensed first aid & CPR instructors. Instead, this post is meant to encourage you to enroll in a licensed class and supplement your learning. I have taken classes with the Red Cross and St. John Ambulance and their instructors are passionate and informative. I highly recommend them.

What is CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR is needed when the heart, circulation, and respiration cease. The goal of CPR is to provide adequate blood perfusion to the brain, the heart, and vital organs by manually compressing the heart to pump blood. In doing so, you will decrease the likelihood of organ damage due to lack of oxygen.

Steps on How to Perform CPR on an Infant

Note: An infant is considered a newborn to one year old.

Scene: You find your baby unconscious in the play room.

Photo by Piotr Janus on Unsplash

Step 1: Assess the scene and make sure it is safe to approach.

As you approach your infant, you need to make sure the scene is safe to enter. Of course, in this situation, you are at home and your infant is in the playroom.

Take note of their environment and the objects around them.

Photo by Shitota Yuri on Unsplash

Assessing the scene and looking for cues will help you figure out what has happened, and guide you in your next steps of action.

Step 2: Try to stimulate the infant to wake up.

Elicit a response by trying the following:

– Flick the bottom of their feet

– Gently stroking the infant

Note: Never shake an infant due to the risk of shaken baby syndrome which can result in severe brain damage.

Step 3: If the infant does not respond, call for help.

If you are alone, call 911 for help and if possible, do not leave the infant’s side.

If someone is with you, get them to call 911 and find an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) while you provide care. In a home setting, finding an AED may be very difficult!

Step 4: Assess for breathing and pulse simultaneously for no more than 10 seconds.

Put your ear to the infants mouth and nose and listen for breathing sounds.

Watch their chest for up and down breathing movement.

At the same time, place your index finger and middle finger together and feel for the brachial or femoral pulse.

The brachial pulse is felt at the inner part of the infant’s arm, just above the elbow.

The femoral pulse can be felt in the inner and upper thigh.

You should be listening for breathing, watching the chest for rise and fall, and feeling for a pulse all at the same time and as quickly as possible.

Step 5: If there is no breathing, give a rescue breath.

Cover the infants mouth and nose entirely with your mouth and deliver one breath to see if the infant’s chest rises.

If it does not rise, the infant may have an obstructed airway (such as chocking). If that is the case, you will give 2 back thrusts with the palm of your hand after delivering compressions using the 2 finger technique (more detail below). Make sure to tilt the infant head downwards to allow gravity to help dislodge the foreign object out of their airway.

If the chest rises, their airway is clear. Deliver a second breath.

Note: Each rescue breath should last 1 second long, and make the chest rise.

Step 6: If the infant remains unresponsive, begin compressions.

Two Types of Compression Techniques for Infants:

1. 2-Finger Compression

Place your index and middle finger of one hand on the lower part of the sternum (in the middle of the chest, just below the nipple line) while your other hand supports the infant’s back. Use this technique when you are delivering back thrusts.

When to use this technique: When you are the only rescuer on site or if your hands are too small to encircle the chest of the infant

2. 2-Thumb Encircling Hands Technique

Preferred compression technique because it results in improved cardiac perfusion

Place both your thumbs on the middle third of the infant’s sternum (just below the nipple line) while encircling and supporting the infant’s back with both hands.

When to use this technique: This is the preferred compression technique. Use this technique if you can encircle the infant’s chest with both your hands. If the infant is very small, or your hands and thumbs are too large, you can put your thumbs on top of each other and compress that way.

Note: Avoid compression of the xyphoid portion of the sternum – compression here can damage the infant’s liver

How to Compress and Ventilate

If you are by yourself, compress 30 times and follow with 2 breaths (compression – ventilation ratio: 30:2)

Compress about 1/3 deep or 1 1/2 inches deep of the infant’s chest at a rate of 100-120 per minute.

If you are with another rescuer, they can help you. Instead of 30 compressions, deliver 15 compressions, and provide 2 breaths. Then you and the other rescuer can take turns compressing and giving rescue breaths at a ratio of 15:2. Also, while one person is performing CPR, the other can find and set up an AED.

Having another rescuer allows you to take turns and rotate. Compressions can get tiring, especially if you are the only rescuer waiting for help. As you get tired, your compressions may become sloppy and ineffective. It is shown that high quality compressions along with the AED are the two most critical interventions in saving a life so make sure you are doing them right. Always use the help whenever it is available.

Step 7: Continue CPR if infant remains unresponsive, and until help or the AED arrives

As you continue compressing and giving 2 breaths, make sure to reassess the infant every 2 minutes (after 5 cycles of CPR) or until help arrives. Which ever comes first.

If you are alone and performing CPR, reassess the infant every 2 minutes. If the infant is still not responsive, try to find an AED. Of course, if you are at home, continue CPR until help arrives.

When the AED arrives, apply the pads and wait for the automated instructions while you continue performing CPR.

How to use an AED on an Infant

AED stands for automated external defibrillator and can be found in public spaces for emergency use. It is a user-friendly and smart portable electronic device. It analyzes the person’s heart rhythm and determines if the heart rhythm is irregular (aka dysrhythmia). If the AED senses that the heart rhythm is irregular, it will deliver an electrical shock to restore the heart’s dysrhythmia to its normal rhythm. AEDs will only shock and correct a dysrhythmia. It will not start one that has already stopped such as in asystole.

In cases where the AED does not sense an irregular rhythm that it can shock, you should resume manual compressions and rescue breaths until the AED senses a shockable rhythm. Then reassess the infant every 2 minutes of CPR until the AED delivers a shock or until you see any spontaneous movement from the infant.

It is important to use the AED immediately when it arrives, even in the middle of performing CPR, and even if the AED that you have is not intended for children. Research has shown that survival rates increase when CPR and defibrillation occurs within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest.

When the AED is turned on, it will automatically instruct you. Listen to its instructions as it tries to sense a shockable rhythm. If there is a shockable rhythm, it will notify you to stay clear before shocking. “Clear” means do not touch the infant while the AED is delivering a shock.

AED Pad Placement on an Infant (Newborn to 1 Year old)

If there are pediatric AED pads or a pediatric dose attentuator on the AED you have on hand, it can be used for newborn babies and up to 8 years old.

Adults pads can also be used on children if that is all you have. But it is important to ensure that the AED pads do not overlap or touch each other during placement on the infant or child’s chest. This is due to the way the AED delivers the shock. If the pads overlap or touch, the shock delivered will not pass through the heart as it was intended to. Instead, the shock will just transfer from one pad to the other.

Sandwich the Heart

If all you have is an adult AED, place one adult pad in the middle of the infant’s chest and then place the other pad in the middle of their back, as if you are “sandwiching” the heart.

Cardiac Arrest in Children

Children often go into respiratory distress and bradycardia (heart rate drops to 60 or less beats per minute; normal for an infant is 80-160 beats per minute) before going into cardiac arrest. Even with a pulse, health care professionals will initiate compressions right away in preparation for a potential cardiac arrest. They will treat an infant with respiratory distress and a low heart rate as if they were “pulseless“, despite the presence of a pulse.

Signs & Symptoms of Respiratory Distress in Children

If your child is experiencing any or a combination of the following signs and symptoms, they may be experiencing respiratory distress:

  • Nasal Flaring
  • Noisy breathing
  • Rapid and/or shallow breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Brief periods of not breathing (also known as apnea)
  • Bluish colour of the skin and mucous membranes (gums and mouth, eyelids, hands and feet, nail beds) (also known as cyanosis)
  • Clammy skin (cool and sweaty skin)
  • Chest wall retractions (when the infant’s chest pulls in with each breath)
  • Mood Changes (difficult to arouse or keep awake, or fussier than usual)
  • Change in body position (positioning themselves in a way that makes it easier for them to breathe)

What to do if you notice the above signs and symptoms in your infant:

Stay calm, stay with your child, and reassure them.

Call for help (911) or take your child to the nearest emergency department if they are in distress.

Be ready to perform CPR if your infant becomes unconscious.

And my best advice to parents is to trust your instincts! If you feel like something just isn’t right, get help.

I hope you never have to use any of these skills in real life on an infant, especially your own, but these things do happen. Babies can choke on their food or toys, accidentally fall into a pool or slip under the water during bath time… And it can all happen so fast and so suddenly. As a new mom who has taken the CPR course many times, I can sincerely say that I have piece of mind knowing that I am definitely prepared when and if the time ever comes. And you should too.

As always, thanks for reading.

PUPPP: It Began With Stretch Marks…

During my pregnancy, I developed stretch marks all over my body – my thighs, my knees, my butt, and my expanding belly of course. They were even around my chest and arms. I gained more than 40 lbs by the end of it all!

Once I had delivered my baby girl, my stretch marks began to get more intensely red with colour, as well as bumpy and itchy… And then it started to burn and itch even more, to the point where all I could think and do was itch and itch and itch

I didn’t know what was going on at the time. Caring for a newborn, barely sleeping, and dealing with the troubles of breastfeeding and hemorrhoids – and now this!

It was overwhelming to say the least.

Read more about my postpartum hemorrhoid experience here:

“Hemorrhoids – There, I said it!”

What is PUPPP?

I found out that I had developed PUPPPPruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy.

PUPPP may also be known as:

  • Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP)
  • Toxic erythema of pregnancy
  • Bourne’s toxemic rash of pregnancy

Normally, it develops along your stretch marks in the third trimester and disappears after childbirth but in rare cases, the rash develops after childbirth. PUPPP occurs in 1 of every 160 pregnancies and more often to first time mothers or mothers carrying multiple fetuses.

Photo by Kewei Hu on Unsplash

Causes of PUPPP

The cause of this rash is unknown but experts suggest that it may involve a combination of factors listed below:

  • Antigens that belong to the baby enter the mother’s blood circulation and invade her skin causing an immunologic response
  • Excessive and rapid stretching of the skin damages the connective tissue underneath leading to an inflammatory response
  • PUPPP may be passed down genetically and has been shown to trace back to the father’s side
  • 70% of mothers who are expecting boys develop the rash suggesting that the sex of the baby may play a role
  • Cesarean deliveries also have some connection to the development of the rash
  • Hormones related to pregnancy have also been shown to influence the development of the rash
Photo by Ignacio Campo on Unsplash

Prognosis

PUPPP is not dangerous to the mom or baby. And yes, it will go away in a few days to few weeks. Nonetheless, PUPPP contributes to further insomnia and stress of a new mother, and adequate relief is necessary for their well being.

I was struggling with breast feeding at the time of the rash. I felt guilty that I wasn’t producing enough milk to feed my baby and I had to supplement with formula. I felt like a failure already.

Read more about my breastfeeding experiences:

“Breastfeeding – It doesn’t come as naturally as you think…

“Increasing your breast milk supply: What worked and what didn’t for me”

I was desperate to get rid of this rash as soon as possible, so I asked my husband to pick me up some Benadryl from the drugstore. I needed relief, anything. Once he got home with the medicine, I took it right away and later discovered that I wasn’t supposed to breastfeed while taking this drug...

I continued to take the medication anyway because I was in agony. In the meantime, I fed my baby formula while I pumped-and-dumped to maintain my supply. I hoped to be done with the drugs by the end of the week so I could get back into breastfeeding and bonding with my newborn.

Photo by Lisa Hobbs on Unsplash

Treatment and Home Remedies

Although I was better after taking benadryl, the intense itching was still very much present. I still wanted to rip my skin off! So I looked up some home remedies online.

This is what I found:

Antihistamine Medication (Benadryl)

Antihistamines can be taken orally and purchased over the counter without a prescription or even on Amazon. It can also be in the form of a cream which you can directly apply to your inflamed stretch marks. It inhibits histamine receptors to reduce the inflammatory and immune response. In doing so, antihistamines reduce the signs and symptoms related to allergies and pruritus (itching). I used Benadryl (aka diphenhydramine) to help with the itching. Honestly, it did help a little but it wasn’t enough on its own. Also, if you are breastfeeding please make sure to consult your doctor! Some medications can pass through your breast milk to your little one.

Baking Soda or Oatmeal Bath Soaks

You can also try an oatmeal bath or add baking soda to soothe your inflamed and burning skin, aid in healing, and neutralize your pH. On Amazon, you can find the Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment with 100% Natural Oatmeal that worked wonders for me! Adding baking soda to your bath water worked just as well. For the baking soda bath soak, I filled the bath tub with warm water (but the cooler the water, the better). Warm to hot water tends to irritate rashes and make them worse. Then I add about 1/4 cup of baking soda into the water and soak for about 30 minutes. Repeat at least 2-3 times per week. Whenever I had the chance to even take a bath, I made sure to soak myself thoroughly. Not only did it give my relief, but it was also relaxing and calming.

Topical Steroid Cream

Topical creams can be mild to potent and are often used in combination with oral antihistamine medication such as benadryl. They contain corticosteroids which reduces inflammation. I had to get my steroid cream from my doctor with a prescription. My doctor prescribed a very potent one for me because I had stretch marks nearly everywhere on my body. The cream provided some relief in combination with the benadryl.

Ice Packs Or A Cold Compress

This was by far the most effective home remedy for me! The ice packs helped to numb the area for immediate relief, but a nice cold shower worked just as well. Apply the cold compress to your stretch marks for about 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t leave it on the skin too long! Also, don’t apply the cold compress or ice pack directly to the skin. Cover it with a cloth first. I had 2 ice packs in the freezer and alternated the two whenever I needed them.

Moisturize Your Skin

When your skin is dry, it is prone to become itchy. Prevent dry skin by applying moisturizers as often as possible, especially after a bath or shower. There are also itch-relieving body lotions that can be used as well. I used GOLD BOND Medicated Anti-itch Lotion which contains dimethicone (skin protectant) and menthol to relieve itching. The Aveeno Anti-itch Concentrated Lotion worked very well too. Try to avoid moisturizers that contain the following:

  • Salicylic acids – A type of hydroxy acid (BHA) used in acne prevention products. It dissolves debris that clogs pores called keratin plugs and regulates skin cells. It is generally safe to use salicylic acid containing skincare products during pregnancy (once or twice a day) as long as the amount does not exceed 2%.
  • Retinol – made from vitamin A and is often added to skin care products for its anti-aging properties. It boosts the production of collagen in skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, evens out skin tone, improves skin texture, tightens pores, and stimulates blood flow.
  • Vitamin A – an essential nutrient that supports skin, eye and reproductive health and immune function. Often added to skincare products in the form of retinol. During pregnancy, it is recommended that mother avoid high levels of vitamin A intake in food due to the risk of birth defects and liver toxicity. Although the amount of vitamin A added to skin care products is low, doctors still recommend the avoidance of such products.
  • Retinyl-palmitate – composed of palmitic acid (fatty acid) and retinol (vitamin A) and is an effective antioxidant when applied to the skin. Natural enzymes in your skin converts retinyl-palmitate into retinol when applied to the skin producing anti-aging properties.
Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

Other Anti-inflammatory Remedies:

The anti-inflammatory remedies listed below are tips that I heard of but haven’t tried myself. Let me know if these worked for you!

  • Chamomile and/or dandelion root tea – apply the tea directly to the affected areas with a cotton ball. Be careful not to burn yourself! Chamomile and dandelion root contains anti-inflammatory properties
  • Peppermint oil – mix a few drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil and apply directly to the affected areas. Peppermint oil has been shown to relieve itching
  • The Grandpa’s Company – Pine Tar Soap – antiseptic properties commonly used to treat psoriasis (autoimmune condition where your body rapidly overproduces skin cells causing inflammation and scaling) and eczema. Basically, the soap slows skin cell growth
  • Other cooling agents: menthol, calamine containing lotions
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Don’t Itch!

I’m sure this one is obvious but just to remind you, don’t itch that rash! It will just make it worse. PUPPP should not leave any scars behind once it has healed but you may have some hyperpigmentation or dark spots if you continue to itch. I know I did.

Seek Help

It is so important that you talk to your doctor when you suspect that you may have PUPPP. Sometimes your rash may appear as a PUPPP rash but it could be something much more concerning such as cholestasis of pregnancy or pemphigoid gestationis (PG).

  • Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) – Due to liver disease that occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy and causes severe itching. Basically, pregnancy hormones slow and stop the normal flow of bile needed for the breakdown of fats in digestion. The bile is then backed up in the liver causing seepage into the blood stream.
  • Pemphigoid gestationis – (pemphigus means blister of pustule) A rare condition that affects 1 in 50,000 pregnancies and is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking your own skin.

Unfortunately my PUPPP rash lasted more than a few weeks but with the help of benadryl and the other home remedies, I was able to pull through. Today, the rash is completely gone with very minimal scaring. Of course, only the stretch marks remain.

Have you experienced this rash during your pregnancy? How did you cope with it? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

xoxo

STAY NAKED Weightless Liquid Foundation Review

In this post I’ll be reviewing the Stay NAKED weightless liquid foundation from URBAN DECAY Cosmetics.

This summer I got really tan so I was on the hunt for a good foundation that matched my skin tone. I have combination to oily skin so I wanted something matte, medium coverage, weightless and comfortable for everyday wear.

Shade 50CP (C‘ for the cool mastertone & ‘P‘ for the pink undertone)

I was told that this is exactly what I was looking for.

Here is a quick overview of the Stay Naked foundation:

  • vegan and cruelty-free
  • medium coverage and buildable
  • weightless and breathable formula
  • liquid formula to matte finish
  • available in 50 shades
  • waterproof
  • longwear – for up to 24 hours

DAY 1 – It was my husband and I’s anniversary. I decided to review this foundation on our night out.

Application

I applied the foundation over a moisturized and primed face with a damp beauty blender. The liquid formula blended beautifully onto my skin. I only applied one layer of the foundation but you can layer it for a more full coverage. Then I applied my concealer and baked with the Laura Mercier Loose powder in Translucent, and finished with the rest of my face. So far, I was happy with the feel of the foundation.

After 2 hours of application

After only 2 hours, I noticed creasing and cracking under my eye and around my mouth… Also, the shade of the foundation had gotten a tad bit darker than when I first applied it. I understand that this is due to oxidation but I took every step to prevent this from happening (primer, oil free products, setting with loose powder etc.). I don’t have this problem with my other foundations. I also felt like my face was heavy and cakey! This was a little upsetting considering that I was going out with my husband and had to leave the house in 10 minutes! I decided to give this foundation more time to set in so I left the house as is.

At the end of the night

When I got home from a night out with my husband, I found that the foundation lasted well. However I still found significant cracking and creasing around my eyes and mouth. And the cakey feeling was still very much there. In terms of oiliness, the foundation did well to keep the shine at bay. (I wish I had taken some photos at the end of the night! Sorry guys, had a bit too much to drink…)

I was pretty upset with this foundation after that night! I was considering returning the foundation for a full refund when I decided to give it another go. I’ve learned that I can’t give the foundation a proper review without changing a few steps in my make up routine.

DAY 2 – A few days later, our family decided to hang out by the pool before summer ends. I decided to give the foundation another try but this time, I mixed it with my Aveeno daily moisturizer.

Application

If any of you have tried the Aveeno daily moisturizer (SPF 15), you will find that it has a thicker consistency and a white film because of the SPF component. I knew I would be in the sun by the pool so I wanted some UV protection. I mixed one full pump of the moisturizer with one full pump of the Stay Naked foundation. Once I blended the mixture onto my skin, I already felt the difference. Compared to just the foundation application alone, the moisturizer and foundation mixture felt so much better.

My blemishes were faint but my skin looked natural and almost flawless with a subtle matte finish.

This time, I decided to apply loose power to only one side of my face. I thought, maybe the cakey feeling I had before was because I set my face with loose powder, which may not have been necessary when a matte finish foundation. I was curious to see how each side of my face looked in a few hours…

After a few hours by the pool

What a difference! Significantly less creasing, cracking, and cakey-ness! I felt so comfortable in my skin which is very rare.

In terms of setting with loose powder, I didn’t see much of a difference on either side of my face. Hmm…

Conclusion

After the first try, I was ready to return this foundation for a full refund! I was very disappointed by how the matte finish made my makeup look and feel cakey. I also was upset about all the cracking and creasing around my eyes and mouth.

Once I blended the foundation with my daily moisturizer, it made a huge difference. I can see myself using this foundation-moisturizer blend everyday!

Thanks for reading everyone! xoxo

Magnetic Eyeliner and Lashes Review

Hello loves, I was skipping through instagram the other day and came across an ad for MAGNETIC EYELINER and LASHES. I know, I’m a little late in the game but I was still intrigued.

I heard about these magnetic lashes before like from ARDELL. The ARDELL lashes are the ones where there are two lashes for each eye. So you apply the first lash above your natural lashes and then the second pair of lashes below your natural ones. Then the magnets should clamp the two lashes together over your natural lashes. I’ve seen a lot of reviews on these types of magnetic lashes and the majority find them extremely hard to apply and keep on…

But the magnetic lashes that I came across on instagram included a magnetic eyeliner and that’s what the magnets on the lashes attach to. This was different and promising so I had to give them a try! Plus, customer service seemed so good because in the comments, they always replied to any questions people had. So I thought, it can’t be that bad, right?

I ordered my pair from the website that I found on instagram, Thebeautynovaa (refer to image below). I paid $28.95 CDN for the NovaLashes – Magnetic Lash Kit in the style ‘Classy Lash’ and I didn’t have to pay for shipping.

I ordered them on July 31st and they finally arrived in the mail about 2 weeks later from somewhere in China. To be honest, I had very low expectations for these lashes right when I ordered them online 2 weeks ago. That was clue number 1…

Clue number 2 was that the package said “False Eyelashes in Diamond D“… I’m pretty sure I ordered the NovaLashes – Magnetic lash kit in the style Classy lash but ok…

I wanted to make sure that this was actually what I had ordered so I went to the website and looked at the photos people had posted in their reviews. The package and its contents were exactly what other customers had received so I guess this must be the right package.

I ordered the ‘Classy Lashes‘ because I wanted something a bit more natural to wear everyday. These lashes were pretty dramatic! They were however nice and soft but not for everyday wear like I had hoped.

You can see the magnets attached to the lash line in the above image. There’s about 5 little magnets on each lash so if you needed to trim them, you might be in a bit of trouble…

The eyeliner applicator had a thick brush which I wasn’t a fan of. Plus, it had a slight smell to it. There is also the issue of having those magnetic particles so close to your delicate eyes but customer service at thebeautynovaa kept reassuring everyone that the amount of magnetic particles in the eyeliner is so small, it shouldn’t affect the eye at all.

I really wanted these to work because I’m terrible at applying falsies with the glue. Plus, this would save so much time getting ready! I just wish I had gotten lashes that were a bit more natural…

Anyway, I put on some make up and threw on those lashes! Here are the results…

So firstly, you need to make sure the eyeliner is dry before trying to attach your lashes to them. When I applied the lashes, it took a little bit of moving them around to finally magnetize the liner and lashes together.

Yes, they do stick to the liner! But do they hold on well? In my case, no. With just a light tug, they come right off…

You can also see when I close my eyes, you can see that some ends of the lashes aren’t fully magnetized to the eyeliner on my eyelid.

I’ve seen reviews of these lashes passing the “wind test” and apparently, reviewers are saying they stay on quite well throughout the day! But I just can’t trust them myself!

I couldn’t imagine going out and having a lash fall off in public! That would be a nightmare.

Oh, and clue number 3… I was on the wish app the other day and guess what I found – the exact same eyeliner and eyelash kit for only $9.00!

So, there you go my friends! I paid almost $30.00 for this exact lash kit that is available on wish for only $9.00. Of course add on a few dollars for shipping, but still!

Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of these magnetic lashes:

CONS:

  • very dramatic lashes (not for everyday wear, and these were apparently the least dramatic ones)
  • slight smell to the eyeliner
  • lashes easily comes off with a very light tug
  • very thick eyeliner applicator brush

PROS:

  • soft, feathery feel of the eyelashes
  • cute case to store your lashes for reuse
  • reusable if taken care of properly
  • inexpensive if you know where to look!

In conclusion, I wasn’t happy with this product. I really wanted them to work but I just can’t trust them outside in the wind and what not.

That’s it for this review! Thanks for reading everyone. If you have any experiences with these exact lashes or if you know of better ones that I should check out, please leave me a comment below!

xoxo

August ipsy Glam Bag

Hi everyone, I just received my August ipsy glam bag in the mail – yay! Oh, and by the way, I just wanted to point out my hubby’s infamous eye roll when he discovered the dazzling hot pink package sticking out of our mailbox… Get used to it, hunny!

I’m super excited to share these individualized sample products with you especially because I purchased a few add-ons for only $3 each!

Overall this August glam bag was pretty good! I did have to go back into my account and change my preferences for highlighter products because I just have way too many highlighters sitting at home already and I really don’t need more! But besides that, these picks are great!

So for this August Glam Bag, I got…

  • VASANTI Concealer Buffing Brush
  • WANDER BEAUTY Lift Off Purifying and Brightening Peel Off Mask
  • Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara
  • ESTATE COSMETICS Dew Me Baked Highlighter in Lit
  • SUNDAY RILEY Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

And the add-on products I added to my bag are…

  • EVA-NYC Satin Dream Leave-in Hair Cream
  • PIXI by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm in Natural Rose
  • SHERO SCIENCE 2-in-1 Pore Purifying Cleansing Gel

August Pouch

This evergreen, textured make up pouch is awesome. It’s something I would never have picked myself but I’m really loving it!

VASANTI Concealer Buffing Brush

So I’m the type of girl who likes to just use my beauty blender to blend in my concealer, but when I tried buffing out my under eye with this brush I realized I was doing it wrong this entire time! It makes the concealer spread out more evenly and it gets those hard to reach corners around the eyes.

It’s a nice thick and soft bristled brush! I’m a fan.

WANDER BEAUTY Lift Off Purifying and Brightening Peel Off Mask

If you know me, I love skin care products so I was super excited when I found out this little beauty was included in my baggie.

Firstly, the colour of the mask itself is a beautiful berry pink colour! It’s made with antioxidant rich ingredients like ACAI, GOJI BERRY, and GREEN TEA EXTRACTS. There is also KOALIN CLAY to remove oil and impurities, and minimizes shine and large pores.

I am in love with this peel off mask!

Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara

You don’t know waterproof mascara until you’ve tried Eyeko’s! Seriously, even my make up remover oils and wipes did very little to get this mascara off my lashes! Definitely would recommend this mascara if you’re planning for a swim at the beach or even for a good sweat session at the gym.

Also, it’s pumped with COCONUT OIL and FRUIT EXTRACTS to nourish your natural lashes. And SPF to protect them from the sun!

ESTATE COSMETICS Dew Me Baked Highlighter in Lit

I love this baked highlighter! It has a golden-pearly finish and it’s highly pigmented so just one sweep across your upper cheek bones and that should do it!

Fun fact – Did you know that “baked” highlighter are creams that were baked slowly in a oven to form that velvety texture? On the ipsy website, they also state that you can use baked highlighters wet or dry meaning you can add a bit of solution to intensify the pigments! I’m definitely going to try this!

SUNDAY RILEY Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

So I’m definitely going to find myself a full sized version of this sample because wow, I could tell the difference in my skin in just one day!

This cream has HYALURONIC ACID and TAMARIND EXTRACT for hydration and moisture. The PAPAYA ENZYME EXTRACT help to exfoliate the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. And the ALPHA-ARBUTIN brightens any discolouration.

Plus, this cream literally is so lightweight and oil-free that it absorbs into your skin instantly! I have oily to combination skin so the fact that this cream doesn’t leave that greasy, heavy feeling is so amazing!

EVA-NYC Satin Dream Leave-in Hair Cream

For my add-ons, I chose this leave in hair cream. I recently got my hair done and now I’m dealing with the aftermath of hair colour damage! This leave-in cream deeply moisturizes and literally make my hair feel like satin. I love that it gives my damaged hair vitamins like ARGAN OIL, AVOCADO OIL, and KERAVIS PROTEIN COMPLEX to strengthen and prevent breakage.

PIXI by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm in Natural Rose

For some reason, my lips don’t do well with any type of lipstick! They macerate and peel just after an hour of wearing lipstick so I’ve turned to tinted lip balms to add some colour to my life.

This lip balm is made with SHEA BUTTER and VITAMIN E to nourish, protect, and soothe your delicate lips. And the tint is very natural, just enough colour to wear everyday or with a face full of make up!

To the left, there is a picture of me with bare lips and the other, with PIXI By Petra Shea butter lip balm.

SHERO SCIENCE 2-in-1 Pore Purifying Cleansing Gel

I am on the hunt for a good skin cleanser. I chose this add-on product because I need some intense pore revitalization so I gave this gel cleanser by SHERO SCIENCE a try and it’s pretty good!

I love that its gel based for my oily skin. It gently exfoliates to remove dirt and minimize pores. It is made with WHITE WILLOW BARK (a natural source of salicyclic acid), WITCH HAZEl, CALENDULA EXTRACT, and TEA TREE OIL.

That’s it for my August glam bag! For next month, ipsy is allowing their ipsters to choose one of the five products included in their bag! Can’t wait to share my next bag of goodies with you all!

By the way, what”s in your glam bag this month?

xoxo

July Ipsy Glam Bag!

Hi loves! I recently signed up for ipsy’s glam bags! This is my very first subscription to the beauty box fad that’s been filling up my social media feed. I’ve looked into FunFitFab, Boxycharm, Allure, and many other beauty boxes but I could never bring myself to sign up for any of them until now!

It started when I came across an ipsy ad on instagram. I’m not one to fall for these ads but after looking through the comments, I noticed that customers really loved the products and the customer service was exceptional!

I went to their website and it looked promising! So I made an account and did their beauty quiz to personalize the products that will be included in my glam bag each month. The beauty quiz is so thorough, I actually loved doing it. It asks you questions ranging from your favourite brand name products, the colours palettes you prefer for your make up, your skin type, hair type and so forth. If you’ve gotten a tan, for example, and need to update your skin tone, you can totally do that by clicking on the ‘account‘ button on their website.

You can get a glam bag plus which has full sized products or just the regular glam bag which has sample sized products for $10. They arrive monthly. You even get the option to add more products to your bag each month for an extra cost. These extra add-on products can be full sized or sample sized. As well, ipsy allows they’re customers to earn reward points and ipsy cash to redeem for more products to add to your order each month!

Because this is my first beauty bag subscription I decided to try to regular glam bag with the sample products. I thought, if I liked a certain sample product, I can just purchase the full sized product myself rather than receive a full sized product that I didn’t like. Plus, its only $10! I had to give it a try and I’m so glad I did!

In this post, I’m going to share with you my very first July ipsy glam bag!

So firstly, I want to point out that it’s delivered in this dazzling pink package!

And the products come in a stylish make up pouch in the picture below.

For this month of July, I received…

  • Palm tree covered pouch
  • HEMPZ Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Herbal Body Moisturizer
  • Midflower Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Sheet Masks (two packages)
  • LARITZY Cosmetics Dew Pot in the colour Utopia
  • PACIFICA Beauty Bronzer Blush Duo
  • CUCCIO COLOUR Nail Polish in Mercury Rising

Midflower Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Sheet Masks

Just recently I tried the Midflower hyaluronic moisturizing sheet mask and it left my skin so soft and smooth!

The mask contains hyaluronic acid for moisture, and firming, and flower water (ancient practice).

In my beauty quiz, I placed an emphasis on skin care products because I take my skin care very seriously. I love the idea of receiving new face masks and other skin care products to try every month!

HEMPZ Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Herbal Body Moisturizer

The first thing I did was flip open the lid and take a big whiff out of the bottle… It smelt soooooooo good! It literally smelt like candy, I almost wanted to lick my hands!

This moisturizer contains hemp seed oil, hydrating pineapple extract, and honey melon extract which is high in antioxidants.

I loved that it’s light weight and absorbs into the skin quickly – not greasy at all. Also, 100% vegan, gluten-free, and THC-free.

PACIFICA Beauty Bronzer Blush Duo

PACIFICA is an award-winning brand for its vegan and cruelty-free products. It’s highly pigmented but also blends beautifully.

I absolutely love this coconut and rose infused bronzer and blush duo. It really smells like roses with a hint of coconut! The blush is in the shade wildrose and has a bit of sparkle to it so I tend to skip my highlighter when I use this blush. The bronzer is in the shade desert and it’s my new go to bronzer!

Great for on the go, especially with the handy little mirror on the back of it.

LARITZY Cosmetics Dew Pot in the colour Utopia

I was a bit iffy with this product at first because my face is normally oily and I have high cheek bones so using highlighters like this one would accentuate those features a bit too much…

For those who love highlighters and dewy make up looks, this might be the right product for you! This product feels like a pomade and blends very smoothly on the skin.

LARITZY is based in Montreal and provides cruelty-free products with the highest quality ingredients for your skin!

CUCCIO COLOR Nail Polish in Mercury Rising

I am terrible at painting my own nails, so when I received this product I was hesitant to use it. The colour however swayed me, so I had to give it a go. It’s a lovely shade of grape purple and very easy to sweep onto your nails. However, on the second day, this nail polish chipped!… I don’t know about you guys but I think I’ll just stick to the professionals at my local nail salon…

But on the plus side, CUCCIO COLOUR is known for their collection of 10-free formulas which are nail polishes free of harmful ingredients to your health.

I’m so glad I signed up for this beauty box subscription and I’m looking forward to sharing the next bundle of samples for August with you all!

Thanks for reading! xoxo

Hemorrhoids – There, I said it!

I never thought I would ever experience hemorrhoids in my life, not even during pregnancy. I mean, I’m young, active, and fairly healthy.  I knew that it was a common occurrence for mothers postpartum but I still thought, “Nope, not me.”

But I’ve since flushed all those naïve thoughts down the toilet… (hah)

You see, I remember my first time pooping after I had given birth. I was bleeding from my butt hole. And if you couldn’t tell, I was mortified.

After many panic-stricken thoughts on the toilet, I flashed back to my pregnant self laying on the hospital bed, pushing so god damn hard that I defecated all over myself while my dear husband watched (front row seats I should mention), and then I knew right then and there, yup, hemorrhoids. Oh yea, definitely.

So there you go. If you didn’t think it could happen to you, well think again momma!

I had to deal with hemorrhoids after birth, along with other postpartum troubles – PUPPP, breast feeding, sleep deprivation, anxiety… You know, the usual.

Read my post about “PUPPP: It Began With Stretch Marks…”

For those who don’t know, hemorrhoids are where the veins around the rectum swell with blood and fluids. This is due to increased pressure in that area such as when you are constipated or in this case, pushing out a tiny human from your vajayjay (aka vaginal delivery)! This increased pressure pushes against the vein walls in the rectum causing it to weaken. Over time blood will collect in pockets where the vein walls are weak and voila – the birth of a hemorrhoid. The weak vein walls can also burst and bleed! It can develop inside the rectum and/or outside around the anus. And fun (not so fun) fact, you can have multiple hemorrhoids inside and outside of your butt hole all at the same time!

Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with my hemorrhoids for too long. They lasted for about 2 months postpartum which is more than I can say for the other moms out there (my thoughts and prayers are with you). Hemorrhoids can develop anytime during pregnancy, pre- and postpartum! During pregnancy your uterus expands for your growing baby. This applies pressure on the veins in your rectum causing them to weaken and swell. They should go away once you’ve given birth. For those who have hemorrhoids after birth, they can last for a couple of days. If they last longer and you can’t find relief, please speak to your doctor!

Oh, and did I mention they were painful?

There were times where I was literally afraid to use the washroom. I would use any excuse to avoid sitting on the toilet but oh, was I so wrong! You see, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. It was like I was literally passing razor blades through my anus! Oh, how lovely motherhood is!

Photo by Alex Pasarelu on Unsplash

But it’s the truth and it’s all too common. So let’s talk about it. Let’s raise awareness about the glorious hemorrhoids of pregnancy and let’s remind each other that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

There were many home remedies along with a topical drug prescription that I used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids. But my one and only saving grace was WATER. I can’t stress enough how important water is, especially postpartum when your body is out of whack and trying to heal. Water is absolutely essential. Not only is it good for hemorrhoids, but it helps with your milk supply, to reduce the swelling in your feet (edema) and so much more.

In my case, increasing my water intake helped soften my stool so it was waaaay easier to pass and I didn’t have to strain as much. Especially for those suffering from constipation after birth, drink lots of water.

When you’re sitting on the toilet and biting down on a towel, you’ll remember this and thank me.

In combination with increased water intake, here are some other very helpful tips to relieve your poor, poor butt hole:

Our family loves Bragg’s organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the exact same thing! You would think that applying an acid to your already burning anus would make it worse, right? Well apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antiinflammatory properties and many have suggested that it provides immediate pain relief! It’s true, it really works! Apply the apple cider vinegar with a cotton ball or dilute it in your warm (not hot) bath water or your sitz bath. Doctors do warn that excessive use can lead to further irritation and burning so make sure to apply it sparingly and only as needed.

Sitz bath

Soak your bottom in a sitz bath for about 15 minutes! Usually, upon discharge from the hospital, you should have received a sitz bath tub that you can use to soak your bottom in. If not, they are available at your local pharmacy or online.

If you don’t have a sitz bath tub, no worries. A bath tub works just as well. I like to mix in lots of epsom salt into my warm bath water. Epsom salts dissolve into magnesium and sulfate in water which will be absorbed into the skin to soothe the area. You can also use baking soda, or even dilute some apple cider vinegar as well!

Hemorrhoid Ointment

Your doctor may prescribe some hemorrhoid cream which you can apply with an applicator directly in your rectum and around your anus. This cream is a corticosteroid which reduces inflammation such as redness, itching and swelling. The ointment that I was prescribed is called Anodan-HC. It contains 0.5% hydrocortisone acetate (which is the corticosteroid that reduces inflammation) and 0.5% zinc sulfate (which forms a barrier and protects skin from moisture).

Relieving pressure off of your bottom

Sit on a pillow or cushion, rocking chair or recliner that shifts your weight off of your bottom to another part of your body. This decreases pressure off of your bottom.

When duty calls, don’t avoid it!

I’m so guilty for this! I was literally scared sh*tless (hah) to poop because of the pain so I postponed it for as long as I could. Worst decision ever! If you need to go, go right away. Don’t wait! Delaying it will cause your feces to harden which makes it so much more painful to pass. This is because your body is reabsorbing the water from your stool when it sits in your rectum. Trust me, I know it hurts, but it will hurt so much more if you avoid it. Get it over and done with. You will feel so much better.

I hope this post provides help and support to those going through the same troubles I did when I had hemorrhoids!

You’re not alone and remember, it will pass!

Please feel free to share your stories, struggles, or advice in the comments below. We love hearing from our readers! Thanks for reading everyone!