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Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung

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Life Things: Products I loved during pregnancy

Life ThingsJean Chung2 Comments

I still have a couple more weeks to go in my pregnancy, provided that Logan will arrive close to his due date, so I thought putting together a list of things I loved during this pregnancy would be helpful. As a first timer, there were a lot of things I didn't know in the beginning, so I did a lot of research. And although I have NO PLANS to get pregnant again ANY TIME SOON after this one, I think it'll be a good reminder/list for baby shower gift ideas too!

1 Mama Bee Belly Butter $13.00  burtsbees.com  | 2 Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil $13.65  auracacia.com  | 3 Belly Bandit Flawless Belly  $49.95  bellybandit.com  | 4 Maeband Maternity Band $21.95  Maeband Etsy Store  | 5 Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment $18.00  julep.com  | 6 Organic Peppermint Tea $4.49/box  traditionalmedicinals.com  | 7 MegaFood Blood Builder  local WholeFoods stores  

1 Mama Bee Belly Butter $13.00 burtsbees.com | 2 Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil $13.65 auracacia.com | 3 Belly Bandit Flawless Belly  $49.95 bellybandit.com | 4 Maeband Maternity Band $21.95 Maeband Etsy Store | 5 Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment $18.00 julep.com | 6 Organic Peppermint Tea $4.49/box traditionalmedicinals.com | 7 MegaFood Blood Builder local WholeFoods stores 

1. Mama Bee Belly Butter

When I first learned that I was pregnant, the main thing I was worried about was changes I would be going through appearance-wise. So many times have I heard, "I used to be _____, but 'ever since I had kids,' I am now _____. Oh.. you'll see when you have kids yourself." type of complaints from so many older women and I just did NOT want to be like that. Shallow? Perhaps. But it was important to me to feel like myself even though I am becoming a mother.

I wanted something natural and fragrance-free, and this product had very good feedback on Amazon's review page. I ended up going through the entire tub and got a second tub just a few weeks ago. I started using the product at Week 10 (I know, a bit too early), and yes, my belly never really grew that big -- at the end of 37th week as of now, I'm still measuring 30th week -- but I never had to deal with itchy skin or stretch marks. I used this in the morning and sweet almond oil at night, put on the Flawless Belly wrap to keep the moisture in, and my skin was indeed flawless all throughout this pregnancy.

2. Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil

This one wasn't a new addition to my skincare routine. Since I was in high school, I used this Sweet Almond Oil with rosemary, tea tree, or lavender essential oil, depending on my needs. I use rosemary oil as anti-wrinkle blend on my neck area. 

There are a lot of people who stay away from essential oils during pregnancy, I've since learned. The decision has to be yours, but I used essential oils throughout my pregnancy. There are almost no research showing any dangerous effects of topical use of essential oils   during pregnancy; the popular tonic oil from Clarins that many pregnant women swear by also contains herbal essential oils, including rosemary. For the first 35 weeks of my pregnancy, I didn't even know that some people are cautious with herbs like rosemary during pregnancy (rosemary, in medicinal quantity, is said to cause contractions; the quantity used in cooking, like rosemary chicken, is perfectly safe), so I used rosemary oil and sweet almond oil on my stomach almost every night with no problem. I am taking it with me in my hospital bag, along with the lavender oil.

Whenever I use oils on my body, I try to stick to the organic oils, to be on the safe side. Because it's definitely more oily than the Belly Butter, I put it on before bed.  

3. Belly Bandit Flawless Belly

This one was absolutely the most frequently used item during this pregnancy. From about Week 15, I wore it EVERYDAY. I didn't show much until Week 30, so I didn't need it to "lift" or "support" my belly, but I could definitely tell the difference when I wore it with Belly Butter or the oil. My stomach felt so much more moisturized and soft. 

It even came with 1 oz Mama Mio stretch mark butter, but unfortunately it contained wheat germ oil, and I'm Celiac, so I had to give that away. 

Now at 38th week, the Flawless Belly also serves as a belly band for those shirts that became too short for me to wear alone. I wear this and then wear my regular tops like shirts or tshirts, so that my belly won't show. :D 

4. Maeband Maternity Band

Did I mention that I was super worried about my appearance in the beginning? (I still am) I bought this Maternity Band on Etsy in Week 8 or something. I just assumed that my belly will start growing exponentially and that I won't be able to wear any of my clothes very soon.

Well at Week 38, I am still wearing my regular jeans with the button closed and fit into some of my dresses with zippers as well. But sometimes when I have to sit for a long time and Logan starts hiccuping, the skin around the jeans button feel very very weird. So starting around 36th week, when I know I'll be sitting in the car for a while or something, I zip up but leave the button undone, and use this band instead. It's easily covered with the Flawless Belly wrap or long cami tops I wear under t-shirts. 

On a side note, this is why I want to tell you if you're a expecting mom for the first time, don't go buying maternity clothes too soon. You might not need to buy any, because nobody knows how big you'll get, and when. If you buy maternity clothes too early, they may never be worn before the weather changes. I still have not bought any maternity clothes. I still wear my regular jeans, and I can still find some dresses to wear in my closet for more formal functions. I am small, but I was always the one to gain weight very easily, so I just assumed I would gain a ton of weight on this pregnancy too. I never knew I would only be gaining 16 lbs by 38th week.  

So definitely, wait till you really need maternity clothes before you go shopping. You may be able to just get through with some modification. 

5. Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

Last week, I noticed my nails were peeling. I've always had brittle nails before finding out about my Celiac disease, and they have gotten much better since I found out and changed my diet. But I needed something for my nails and the bottle of Nailtique Formula was too old to use (I hadn't needed to use it since the dietary changes). 

I just joined Julep Maven club in the beginning of this year, so I added this Nail Treatment to my box in the February box. I started using it last week, and I really think this is as good as the Nailtique Formula one that I swore by before, but I like this one better because it has pink shade and makes my nails look very well manicured.

6. Organic Peppermint Tea

Again, there are some people who will tell you about some dangers of herbal tea during pregnancy. There are almost no research showing that drinking herbal tea is dangerous during pregnancy (medicinal use is different because they use herbs in much larger quantities). 

Peppermint tea has always been a part of my diet. I started drinking it when I was first diagnosed with gastritis, and I love how it helps me digest. I didn't stop drinking it just because I was pregnant. I just changed the brand to an organic one. And I still love it, and think that it's one of the major reasons why I never had morning sickness or heartburns.

7. MegaFood Blood Builder

My doctor recommended that I start taking iron supplement even though my hemoglobin level was still fine.

I did some research and found this brand of supplement. Especially on pregnancy forums, people said this one didn't have any negative side effects such as constipation or nausea like other brands.

I found it at my local Whole Foods store, and am glad that I didn't experience any side effects from it. I am familiar with iron deficiency, since I always got dizzy and weak before getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but I'm still feeling fine, no dizziness. Some reviews I've read also said that their hemoglobin level went from low to normal within a month of taking this! I haven't done any blood test since the 2nd trimester so I don't know but I'm thinking it's a good sign that I haven't experienced any typical signs of iron deficiency.

 

So these are all my favorites. And some of these, I am going to be using even after the baby. And now I have to ask, if you've been pregnant before, were there any products you really loved or found very helpful? 

 

Disclaimer: I purchased all the products mentioned in this post. The opinions in this post and blog are entirely mine, and I was not otherwise paid, compensated, contracted, or obligated to review this product.

In My Shopping Cart: Holiday Cookies for the Gluten Free eaters

In My Shopping CartJean ChungComment

I cannot believe Christmas is a week away! 

So I'm sure if you're like me, you're getting invited or hosting a lot of parties that involve food. :D

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I was mostly vegan/vegetarian when out dining before that, and having celiac on top of that was not easy, since a lot of vegan dishes have gluten in it. Some articles I've encountered during my research even said being vegan and eating a lot of those textured vegetarian proteins could trigger celiac disease if you already have genes for it. 

So now I'm technically not vegetarian anymore, although I still don't like to eat meat and stick to tofu and vegetarian dishes at home. These cookies I'm about to share with you are not vegan.

When I get invited to potluck dinner parties, I always bring my own desserts but I make sure that other gluten eaters enjoy them too. I sometimes bake them from scratch but most of the time, I use this mix.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Betty Crocker now has a line of gluten free mix products now and I've tried this cookie mix and the brownie mix. They're surprisingly really good! My gluten eater husband and friends didn't even notice they were gluten free. When I make them, I do add a bit of cinnamon for taste. Other than that, I just follow the instructions exactly, and they come out perfect.

(BTW, did you know Betty Crocker is a made-up character??)

If you want to fancy it up more than that, you can try dipping the cookies in more chocolate and nuts after the cookies are done, like this.

Now on to storebought cookies.

These are chocolate chip cookies from Tate's bake shop. I used to only see them at Whole Foods or Bristol Farms stores but now I see them everywhere, even at Ralph's. 

The cookies are thinner so the chewy factor is pretty low, but they're crispy and very very buttery. I do prefer chewy cookies, but these are so tasty I don't mind. A co-worker brought them to work one day (she's also GF) and the entire team tried and finished the entire bag in one day. 

Glutino Peppermint Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Glutino Peppermint Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Hello HOLIDAYS~! I found these at a Whole Foods Market near my home and immediately put it in my cart. I took their regular yogurt-covered pretzels on my trip to Korea and loved it! And these were just as good, but just better because it has small bits of candy cane candies

Glutino also has an excellent chocolate chip cookies (which are GMO-free) and double chocolate cookies. I usually get chocolate chip cookies but for a recent holiday party for my law firm, I tried getting the double chocolate cookies. Chocolate makes everything taste good, right?

Glutino Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Glutino Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Actually this is true. America's Test Kitchen did a whole episode on gluten free baking as well as publish a gluten free cookbook earlier this year. According to their experiment, chocolate is a wonderful ingredient in gluten free baking because gluten free flour mix doesn't absorb all the grease from butter, so they tend to get greasy when they're out of the oven. So adding chocolate and powdered milk helps absorbing those grease. If you want to try baking from scratch, definitely try this. I tried the waffle and cookie recipes, they're closest thing I came to the PERFECT recipe. And now I have the flour mix that I can use for other cooking too! :)

If you have any dietary restrictions, holidays and parties are hard. I'm so glad gluten free diet is becoming "trendy" so that more people are aware of it and manufacturers are kinder to people like me who actually need to be on gluten free diet. 

 

Disclaimers: I am not affiliated with any of the shops or companies I mention here. I'm just like any other yarn addicts who surf around the internet all day long looking for the perfect yarn or accessories to try next. These products I mention are in fact in my shopping cart, at each of the applicable websites. Whether I'll actually buy these or not, we will never know! In other words, no one pays me to write this.