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Tax time relief: save, save, save!

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If you’re like most Americans, you’re scrambling to get your taxes in order before Monday’s April 15 deadline.

Well I’ve got GREAT NEWS, Mamas! The Spoiled Mama is here with a little tax time relief for ya. For the rest of the month, your favorite pregnancy skincare line is gonna help you save some serious cha-ching.

Check out these new Spoiled Mama deals:

…And ordering just got easier!

Your time is precious. Why enter pesky credit card numbers when you can checkout with ONE click?

We’ve now integrated with Amazon for lightning FAST checkout. Just use the shipping and billing information already stored in your Amazon.com account for easy-peazy one-click checkout.

Annnd (because we just LOVE giving things away), save an EXTRA 10% off your total order when you pay with Amazon! Use discount code: AMZN14MAMA during checkout to keep that extra green in your pocket.

Now what are you gonna do with the extra savings, Mamas? Mani/pedi time?

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Herbal tea to prepare for childbirth

Alright Mamas, you’ve been growing that apricot into a watermelon. You’ve been waddling around achey, swollen feet. You’ve passed the “Aw, the baby’s kicking!” phase, and you’re ready to evict the tenant!

Welcome to what I like to call “the bottom of the ninth.”

You’re in the home stretch now, baby, and there’s no slowing down.

As you prepare for the touchdown (oh gosh, am I mixing my sports metaphors?), your physical health is important as ever. Many expectant Mamas are surprised they can actually help prepare the uterus for childbirth.

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To help moms prep for delivery day, The Spoiled Mama turned to the science behind Mother Nature’s purest ingredients. Using whole, loose herbs, we created “Bottom of the Ninth Tea,” a 100% organic pregnancy tea that helps strengthen and tone the growing uterus.

The blend contains healing herbs full of vitamins, bioflavonoids and calcium that have even been proven to help lower the chance of C-sections and forceps birth. 

What’s the magic behind this herbal pregnancy tea? Let’s break it down!

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Organic Red Raspberry Leaf. Red raspberry leaf is the star of this organic pregnancy tea. Revered for its medicinal properties, red raspberry leaf has been used for centuries to help combat painful periods, gastrointestinal disorders, fever, diabetes and vitamin deficiency.

For pregnant women, drinking an herbal tea made with red raspberry leaf can help ease morning sickness, prevent miscarriages and ease your labor and delivery.

According the WebMD, the chemicals in red raspberry help relax blood vessels and may also cause muscles to contract or relax, such as the uterus. With a well-toned uterus, vaginal childbirth can become easier and much more efficient.

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Organic Stinging Nettle Leaf. Nettle leaf is high in vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium and iron. It’s a great all-around pregnancy tonic, and has a stimulating effect on the uterus (which is why we strongly recommend Mamas drink this tea in their third trimester only).

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Organic Oatstraw. Prepping your mind and spirit for childbirth is just as important as getting your body ready. Oatstraw, rich in calcium and magnesium, helps relieve anxiety and restlessness. Steeped into a soothing tea, oatstraw helps nervous expectant Mamas sleep and settle their minds.

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Organic Chamomile Flower. In its dry form, the chamomile flower becomes a medicinal herb that’s high in calcium and magnesium.  Used in our herbal tea, chamomile will help pregnant women with restlessness.

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Organic Rosehips. Rose hips are the round portion of the rose flower just below the petals, and contain the seeds of the rose plant. When fresh, rose hips are an excellent source of Vitamin C and helps boost the immune system.  Many midwives consider these pretty red herbs one of the most effective organic sources of Vitamin C, which aids in iron and calcium absorption — vital minerals for your baby’s development.

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Organic Alfalfa Leaf.  Alfalfa leaf is packed with Vitamins A, D, E and K. Many midwives advise drinking alfalfa tea during the last trimester of pregnancy to boost Vitamin K, which helps decrease postpartum bleeding and the chances of hemorrhaging. Alfalfa also increases breast milk, as alfalfa hay is fed daily to milking goats and other dairy animals.

Have you used any of these herbs (alone or combined) during your pregnancy? Share your experience with us!

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Natural yeast infection treatments during pregnancy

Pregnancy is not always pretty. Sometimes, it can be down right itchy.

In their second trimester, many pregnant women will experience the tell-tale signs of a yeast infection: odorless “cottage cheese” discharge from the vagina, accompanied by itchiness around the vaginal lips and/or burning during sex or urination.

According to the American Pregnancy  Association, do NOT panic: this is totally normal.

While they are certainly a nuisance, yeast infections are easily treatable. And better yet — you can treat most infections with items already in your pantry!

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What causes a yeast infection during pregnancy?

A number of other factors cause yeast infections, including one or more of the following:

  • Hormonal changes that come with pregnancy or before your period
  • Taking hormones or birth control pills
  • Taking antibiotics or steroids
  • High blood sugar, as in diabetes
  • Vaginal intercourse
  • Douching
  • Blood or semen
  • Elevated stress levels

However, expectant women are more prone to yeast infections because of chemical imbalances in the vaginal environment. With increased sugar in your vaginal secretion, the natural bacteria that lives in your hoo-ha goes on a feeding frenzy to create the fungus.

How do I treat my yeast infection naturally?

We love trying natural remedies when we can. Here are a couple widely lauded treatments that women, pregnant or not, have used to get rid of their YIs. As always, consult with your doctor before treating yourself.

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YOGURT. Since yeast infections are caused by “bad bacteria” running rampant, introducing good bacteria can help you win the microscopic war happening in your nether regions.

And that’s where yogurt comes in.

Yogurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacterium that happens to be found in healthy vaginas. While some women treat their YIs by consuming a ton of yogurt, the faster and more direct approach requires shoving the good stuff right up there.

There are a few ways to do this. The easiest way is to apply a bit of yogurt on the tip of a tampon and insert. Others use a syringe (sans needle, of course) or condiment bottle to squeeze the yogurt into the vagina.

For pregnant moms who want a cooling treat, make frozen yogurt popsicles by filling the fingers of disposable gloves. When the yogurt has hardened, pop out the yogurt stick, and insert into the vagina. Many women prefer the frozen pops because they help relieve swollen, irritated labia as well.

If you try treating your yeast infection with yogurt, make sure to use plain, unsweetened yogurt. Flavored yogurt will introduce additional sugar into your vagina, which will only increase yeast.

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GARLIC. Aside from being dee-licious, the medicinal properties of garlic has been revered for ages. When used to treat a yeast infection, garlic’s natural antifungal properties actually kill off yeast.

While you can eat garlic bread morning, day and night, there’s a more expedient way to help treat your infection. I think you know what I’m getting at.

If the infection is mild, many natural Mamas advise inserting a fresh clove of garlic into the vagina every 4-8 hours until symptoms subside.

The first thing you want to do is peel the clove. Many warn against nicking the skin, since its juices can sting inside the vagina. However, every woman’s business down there is different, and some have reported no stinging at all.

Experiment with different “doses” to see how your body reacts. For a stronger treatment, pierce the clove with a fingernail several times. If the stinging isn’t too bad, try slicing the clove in half.

While the garlic clove can’t get lost inside you, removing it may involve a few moments of panic and some acrobatic maneuvers. That’s why many women tie a string around the clove for easy, quick removal.

Have you had a yeast infection during pregnancy? If you’ve tried these natural remedies, did they work well for you?

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The Spoiled Mama pampers military moms

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While The Spoiled Mama skincare exists to help expectant and new moms look and feel great, our mission is more than skin deep.

One of the best aspects of running your own company is creating a work environment and culture that speaks to your values. With a husband who was a former youth pastor, giving back to others is what our family is all about — and a trait we hope to pass onto my children (currently Jay, our seven-year-old, helps feed the poor in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district once a month, and he loves it! #parentingwin).

So naturally when we created The Spoiled Mama in 2006, I wanted to develop the same spirit of generosity and “give back” culture amongst our staff.

As we wrapped up last week by spoiling 40 expectant moms at the Homeless Prenatal Program, I was so excited to begin working with a new nonprofit: Operation Showers of Appreciation (OSOA).

We were contacted by OSOA’s Vice President Courtney Hilborn, who reached out for donations to help the more than 500 military expectant moms they assist every year through baby shower parties.

According to their mission statement, OSOA strives to:

“…honor our military families in a unique way by showering them with gifts for their newborn babies, providing support during difficult times, and letting them know the many sacrifices of both the families and service members are appreciated.

As a “military brat” myself, I know first-hand how hard it is for families to be away from one another while on duty. So the opportunity to put smiles on the faces of pregnant military wives is exactly the type of cause The Spoiled Mama loves supporting!

We started working with Courtney right away, and packed hundreds of maternity skincare samples.

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Our lovely team member Andrea stuffing boxes full of Tummy Butter, Bump Gloss and other maternity skincare goodies!

Setting an afternoon aside, we packed 250 samples each of Tummy Butter, Bump Gloss, Luxe Mama Body Wash and Aloe Cucumber Leg Gel to send off!

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These babies will make their way to military branches of all the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Active Reserve military families.

How you can help expectant military moms and their families

OSOA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates solely off donations. Any donation — however big or small — makes a difference in the lives of these expecting military moms.

For financial donations, please visit the OSOA donations page or mail checks to:

Operation Showers of Appreciation
PO Box 502
Bonsall, CA 92003

To donate baby shower gifts, such as diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, clothing or toys, please mail donations to:

Operation Showers of Appreciation
Attn: Courtney Hilborn
2303 Canyon Vista Drive
Fallbrook, CA 92028

You can also support OSOA through various volunteer opportunities, including collecting donations, giving handmade baby blankets, hosting a baby shower in your city/post, or offering your professional services pro bono.

To find out more about Operation Showers of Appreciation, “Like” them on Facebook, follow on Twitter and visit the OSOA blog and website.

To our Spoiled Mamas: thank you for supporting us, so we can give back to great organizations like OSOA!

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Parenting through frustration

Culture tends to idealize parenting, from the painless, poop-free birthing scenes in Hollywood films to the angelic halos our kids seem to wear until they reach puberty or so.

Every now and then, a case of “shaken baby syndrome” makes the news, and the horrified public collectively gasps and calls for a lynching.

However, these tragic events only show how many parents aren’t counseled on how to deal with the very real stresses of parenting.

Even as I type this, a local SF Bay Area father was arrested yesterday for allegedly biting off his infant son’s nose. Police report the hysterical father chomped off a third of his month-old child’s nose after the child would not stop crying.

Just days before, this frightening confession from a brave parent reached the first page of Reddit. It was entitled, “You have to experience it to understand”:

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More than 2,000 comments later, it was evident that many parents have reached a point of “seeing red” that paralyzes all good reasoning.

One of our Spoiled Mamas described her own experience:

“Well I can say it’s like learning sign language, when a person can’t speak, but you have to figure out what they want.

The first four things a mother will do is check the diaper, feed the baby, play with her or try to put the baby to sleep because it may need a nap.

But when none of the above works then that’s where the frustration comes in. It’s like, ‘What could you possibility want?’ Then the panic sets in.”

Most parents on the Reddit thread said they deal with their frustration simply by walking away from their upset or colicky baby. Said one user:

“If he’s fed, dry, just won’t settle down and there is no reason, you can just put him safely in his crib. Take a shower, go scream into a pillow, whatever helps you relieve the stress and take a 10 minute break.

And while some parents feel like they’re being cruel if they leave their baby to cry, that’s exactly what pediatricians recommend.

According to pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn (American Academy of Pediatrics), just give yourself a breather. Leave your child in a safe place, she told Parents.com, and take some time to regain your composure.

Also, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. 

When I had baby #2, I knew what to expect with finicky babies and frequent nighttime disturbances. What I hadn’t planned for is the time management between having a newborn, a first-grader and being a full-time  working mom. Mornings were incredibly stressful, and the hubby couldn’t assist because he was working night shifts until 3 a.m.

After many mornings of barely being able to open my eyes (much less getting the clan out of the house by 7 a.m.), my hubby decided to take paternity leave — and in turn, help save my sanity!

If you’re a single parent, can’t take leave or just need to vent, there are still incredible resources as your fingertips. Try calling “Parenting Assistance Line” (aka PAL), a grant-funded group that specifically supports parents who just need a confidant.

All calls are free and confidential. Their philosophy? ”Talking it out” can help us not “take it out” on our children.

So Mamas, have YOU ever had an experience where you “reached the end of your rope?” How do you deal with daily parenting stress?

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Thoughts on pregnancy and motherhood from your favorite maternity skincare line

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