Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cleaning Around Your Natural Baby

Last week I was sitting with my family at Subway when the young man working there had nothing better to do than spray Windex all over the door right next to the table where we were sitting. You can probably guess where I'm going with this. My eyes bulged out, my temple pulsed and before I even said, "What is he DOING?!" I think he got the hint. Yes, my next few bites tasted like Windex and I really didn't appreciate it!

Last year when I was with my children at a children's gym, someone was cleaning the "Sibling Room." While I appreciate the attention to cleanliness and the attempt at providing a sterile environment for my children to "enjoy," I made it clear that this was not an acceptable practice to clean while children were in the building- and never with BLEACH! Yes, they were cleaning with bleach, the old standby when you want to dis-infect. I had to step outside to breathe. (I have a sensitivity to chlorine after competitive swimming my entire life and packaging chlorine for my dad's pool store).

So it's obvious that people "out there" don't have much concern for safety or health when it comes to our children, or US for that matter when cleaning their establisments. But that doesn't mean we have to accept that for our own home! There are tons of cleaning products on the market, most of them unsafe. But how do you know where to turn? While I do purchase some cleaning products from Ecover, 7th Generation, and other brands, the only way to safely guarantee the safety of what we are using around our babies and children is to make our own cleaning products.

If you are interested in trying this, you want to check out these non-toxic cleaning instructions. This is a great way to get motivated to use safe products, which is important for little ones, especially during pregnancy. Did you know that dangerous chemicals have been found in newborn's cord blood?! This dispels the long-standing myth that our bodies protected babies from the environmental toxins in our air, and possibly answers why childhood cancers are on the rise. So now more than ever, it is important that we are especially vigilant about the products we bring into our home and use around our children. Make your own cleaning products and never worry that your cleaning products are harming your little ones!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Winterize your Natural Baby

Winter is definitely on the way, and you know that that means. If you live in a cold climate, it means more time indoors, dry air, dry skin, and coughs and colds. Of course you don't have to be miserable this winter, and you don't even have to be sick! Hopefully some of these hints will help, and I KNOW that the products we recommend below will give you and your baby some relief.

Let's talk skin. It's common knowledge that skin gets dry in winter. I've lived in the humidity of Georgia and the dryness of Kansas, and in both climates you deal with dry skin. Probably the best way to keep your home humid is to place bowls of water in each room. This makes a huge difference. But you may still have dry skin problems to combat, especially because frequent
hand washing (which is especially important during fall/winter) will dry your hands no matter what the season. You might also notice that your baby's cheeks are getting red and even rough feeling.

For dry skin prevention we recommend
Natural Body Butter. We have used this for two years and LOVE it. I use it for dry hands, dry baby faces, and dry feet. It was developed and is still handmade by a work at home mom who is devoted to providing products as natural as possible.

For extreme cases of dry skin, you might need another product which also helps eczema, psoriasis, diaper rash, jock itch, minor burns, cradle cap and dermatitis. This
All Natural Baby Salve is

  • Non-Toxic
  • Totally Organic, Totally Natural and Totally Effective
  • Free of many common allergens
  • Steroid-Free, Preservative-Free, Dye-Free, Fragrance-Free, Paraben-Free, Alcohol-Free, Aluminum-Free
  • Handmade with a soothing blend of herbs, including lavender, licorice, and myrrh in a base of coldpressed, organic olive oil,100 % pure vegetable glycerin, and beeswax.

Since skin conditions tend to get worse in extreme weather, you might find this skin salve useful for the entire family. And best of all, it was developed for babies, so it is safe for your littlest member of the family!

After dry skin, probably the second most frustrating winter problem is runny noses or respiratory problems. I remember as a child being rubbed down with Vicks Vapor Rub, and I remember that gross gunky feeling that seemed to hang on to you for days. While the best thing to do is avoid getting sick (we will discuss that in a second) it does happen on occasion. For head colds we suggest Baby's Vapor Rub. This can be massaged into your baby's chest, neck, and even under the nose for breathing relief. This all natural, petroleum-free and menthol-free formula uses a shea butter base which is absorbed into the skin (no more sticky mess!) Providing an aromatic natural vapor, the Baby's Vapor Rub is a comfort to your baby or toddler for every cough or sniffle. It also works for Mommies, Daddies, and older siblings as well! Just open up the jar and inhale and you will see what I mean.

So the question that probably comes to mind is how you avoid getting sick in the first place. The best defense is to eat well, drink plenty of purified water, and take your vitamins. Children as young as 13 months (and YOU) can take the best vitamins on the market . Formula fed babies (even newly born) would do well with vitamin C and omega-3 oils added to their bottles. Breastfed babies can benefit from supplemental vitamin C as well. For young babies, the biggest threat is older siblings, relatives, and even mommies who come into contact with them without washing their hands. Children get sick from each other, and they will bring it right to a new baby with a fresh immune system. Make sure that you wash your hands frequently, and any children or other family members do as well.

When out and about, here is a great anti-infectious hand wipe recipe. Use it on cloth wipes and wipe your children's hands when you get back into the car, before eating, and especially after playing at children's gyms. For older children, you can probably send a small bottle to school with them so that they can clean their hands periodically throughout the day. While soap and water works wonders, they are coming into contact with germs much more frequently than they are able to wash their hands!

For additional help staying healthy this winter and keeping older children that way, check out Super Healthy Kids, an ebook dedicated to boosting children's immune systems. While you can't prevent all illnesses all the time, you should still put forth a great effort so you can avoid antibiotics, cough medicines, and other drugs that while seem safe still have negative side effects. I wish you and your family a natural, healthy winter season!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Babies In Utero: Not so Natural

I don't want to get real wordy with this post, and simply want to share this study. It totally blew me away. This justifies high quality nutritional supplementation (not "prenatals") during pregnancy in order to protect our unborn babies from toxins which DO get to them.

"Though scientists once thought that the womb protected developing babies from pollution, a new study of umbilical cord blood from newborns found an extensive array of industrial chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants. Ten newborns averaged 200 contaminants, and 209 pollutants had never before been detected in cord blood."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

When Baby Can't Breathe

Pediatric asthma: Is it really that dangerous?

What might our children pay 20 years from now after the full side effects of asthma drugs are known?

Curing pediatric asthma with time bombs.
When you discover that your child is suffering from asthma your doctor will undoubtedly reach for the prescription book. If he is a particularly good doctor he might hand you a couple of leaflets on how best to cope during your child's asthma attack. What he probably won't do is mention the possible side effects of all the drugs your child is going to start taking. And taking. And taking. Do you really want your kids to have go through this day after day? Isn't there a better way? There is. Pediatric asthma does not have to begin and end with drugs. Drugs which could cause more harm in the longer term than good.

Let's start with what young junior is going to have to take. He'll probably have two inhalers. One called a 'reliever' and another called a 'preventer'. In the reliever you'll find usually one or several types of Bronchodilator. These types of drug work to increase the diameter of the airways. Don't you just love natural remedies? Ok, ready for the bad news? Here are some of the possible side effects: nausea, actual vomiting, feeling restless and nervous, and finding it impossible to sleep. Depending on the Bronchodilator that your child takes, they could also suffer from headaches, irregular heat beats, diarrhea, depression and leg cramps. The preventers don't have those problems. They are normally made up of Corticosteroids. Which are worse. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs and people have died while switching from oral medication to inhaled medication. Other things to watch out for are mood swings (just what you need in a teenager), coughing, weight gain, muscle weakness, cataracts and osteoporosis. The options available in pediatric asthma are few and far between but they do exist. Would you like to take care of your kid's asthma without drugs?

I did. For years I had to blindly submit to the whims (and down-right boredom) of several doctors. Then I came across a new form of not just living with asthma but beating it too. Many people are now taking advantage of this drug-free method, especially children, who don't have the bodies developed enough to cater for all these drugs. Pediatric asthma need not be one drug after the next and hoping for the best. Doctors may say that the drugs are safe, but have they done twenty years of tests on them? Do they know what effects these drugs will have on our children's children? Do you want to take the risk, however small?

About the Author - Karon Beattie is a former asthma sufferer. She is the author of several books including "Naturally Free From Asthma" which describes how she eliminated her own asthma. This book has helped many other sufferers WorldWide do the same.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

BabyLegs- A Must-Have for New Parents

Oh my gosh, I can't believe these weren't around when I had babies! Luckily I do have a 3 year old who can wear BabyLegs, but it would have been MUCH easier back in the diaper changing days! BabyLegs are basically tubes, sort of like long socks without the feet in them. They can be used on the legs or the arms. A great use for them for younger babies is to cover the part of their legs that get uncovered when they are worn in a carrier or backpack. The BabyLegs company has lovingly coined this "gapiosis" and when it's COLD outside "gapiosis" is no joke! I don't like having skin exposed myself, I can't imagine what babies think!

Since they don't cover the bottom, BabyLegs make diaper changes easier, and potty training even easier! My daughter is a dress girl and she has SO many pairs of tights. But she went through a spell of frequent urinary tract infections and we constantly had to change her tights. I also can't wait to use them under her nightgowns when it is cold. Oh...she is also starting dance class next cute is THAT going to be? LOL

Anyway, thought I'd jump on and mention them real quick. BabyLegs are da BOMB!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Your Baby's Bum

For many people, the only thought given to what will cover their baby's bottom is what coupon they have in hand, or what's on sale. Since diapers are not cheap, we tend to get the cheapest available, until we realize what brands don't fit our babies well, or which ones tend to leak. When my son was born, we went straight for Huggies. We had a bunch of coupons, and they were cute- most had Winnie the Pooh on front. But as a new mom, I guess I thought leaks were normal. We had to change bed sheets every night at some point, since the pee would seep out the leg hole without ever getting a chance to be absorbed. We went through SO MANY sheets!

When my daughter was a couple of months old and my son was 21 months, I learned about cloth diapers from someone on-line. For some reason it never occurred to me to use cloth diapers! I started researching them, and couldn't believe what I had discovered! WOW. I had to try some of these! My first order was Motherease Sandies, which I loved. But then I tried Fuzzi Bunz and quickly converted to Fuzzi Bunz full time. The options available include prefolds, contours, fitteds, pocket diapers, all-in-ones, and all-in-twos, and covers were made in wool, vinyl, PUL, and anything else waterproof!

If your head is not spinning yet, where do you start? First of all, there are sites that have great sample packages that you can try a variety of diapers. Chances are, most or all of them will work for you, though you may find one brand or style in particular to work better for your baby's body type. We had total success with Fuzzi Bunz. There are other
pocket diapers out there like Happy Heiny's, and Mommy's Touch one size and others that you can review at the "pocket diapers" link above. Many people like one size diapers, but for some they are too complicated and some would rather buy new sizes as their baby grows.

Some of my favorite cloth diaper retailers have specialty items or programs available that are worth checking out.
Katie's Kisses carries organic cloth diapers from Under the Nile. We also provide an organic cotton diaper in a "one size" option as well as bumGenius one-size pocket diapers at Eve's Best. Simple Wonders carries Happy Hempys pocket diaper. Tiny Heiny has beautiful tie dye pre-folds. All of these diapers need covers if you are venturing far from home, so you might want to check out Strawberries and Sunshine where you can have custom made covers in MANY different designs! Cubby's Kids Baby Store has a wonderful Fuzzi Bunz layaway program that you might want to check out as well! If you are looking for a great deal on a diapering package, check out All Natural Mommies and the many options available there.

If you are totally confused about all the options, here is some cloth diapering information that will give you insight to the various cloth diapering options and which might be right for you. Not only are there different styles available, there are different fabric options. What many don't understand, even those who sew their own cloth diapers, is that some fabric names can have double meanings, because they describe the weave and not necessarily what the fabric is made from. For instance, when you hear "terry" you think of a cotton towel. But there is also micro-fiber terry, which are completely manmade fibers. Micro-fiber is very absorbent, and that is why it has become so popular with cloth diaper users. When you see "sherpa" as an option, you need to know that sherpa can be made from 100% polyester, and it can also be 100% cotton. Usually the polyester sherpa is used for covers or wipes, and the cotton sherpa is used for the actual diaper, diaper inserts, and wipes. "Fleece" is similar: it is available in both poly or cotton. You can usually tell what the fabric is when you evaluate the use of it, but if you are ever confused, simply ask the diaper retailer to spell it out.

You are probably wondering how many cloth diapers you need to purchase. That is an individual decision. New babies "go" more often, older babies "go" in bigger quantities, but fewer times each day. The less you buy, the more often you wash, so pick a number that is comfortable for your lifestyle. Many people feel that cotton diapers must be changed more frequently than stay-dry (fleece) diapers, but I feel that they both need to be changed when they are wet or soiled, no matter how frequently that is.

Your natural baby will appreciate the time you take to do the research necessary to pick the best diaper for your family. Just because they can't speak the words, don't believe they don't have an opinion! And there will be unexpected surprises for you that you might not notice at first. I will never forget when my daughter was about 6 months old, and she had a TALL stack of crib sheets that we never used. It was then that I wondered why I had purchased so many and realized it was because with my son, we changed sheets every night due to diaper leaks from disposables. But once we switched to cloth, my daughter's sheets stayed dry!

I know I haven't answered all of your cloth diapering questions, but I hope this is a great start. There are so many resources out there on-line, I'm sure you will find all the answers!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

When You Have to Supplement

There comes a time for one reason or another that you might find yourself supplementing your baby with formula. Or perhaps your baby is completely dependent on formula. While we all know that breast milk is best, there are just times when your baby is going to get formula. This isn't about what kind to use, or how often to feed your baby; it is about something even more important: the water you mix with your formula.

If you buy powdered formula, it has to be mixed with water. I almost passed out when I read, while flipping through a baby magazine, a doctor say that any water is perfectly okay, even water directly from the tap. Just typing that is turning my stomach. Ugh. When my son was just home from the hospital, we were supplementing with formula and we boiled the water from the tap. THAT wasn't even enough. He got the worst diarrhea! I was not quite as smart back then, and today we ONLY drink distilled water.

You should use distilled water for your baby formula, to water down your toddler's juice, and for YOU, especially if you are nursing. I did not realize this, but you can ruin your child's teeth if you drink a lot of fluoridated water while you are pregnant. Not to mention,
fluoride can cause tons of other problems. But that's not the only reason to use distilled water (filters do not remove fluoride, but distillation does).

Learn more about drinking distilled water, and you will probably realize that it is the purest form of water available. Better yet, using your own home distilled water is a good way to ensure that your distilled water IS actually distilled and not just claimed on the label. For penny pinchers, the best part is...home distilled water comes out cheaper in the end than buying bottled water that you don't really know the history of (did they get it from a tap?)

If you have any questions about drinking distilled water, please do not hesitate to ask. You can also find
books on the subject if you want to hear from people with medical degrees!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Air Babies Breathe

Okay, so you have a squeaky clean baby that needs to sleep at one point or another, and we want to make sure we are putting our babies in a clean air environment. Again, there is no point in using "natural baby products" to clean our baby, and then putting them to sleep in a room with plug-in air fresheners, newly painted walls, brand new carpet, and the family pet. So how do you prepare your baby's room?

First, if your baby is already here, and it is too late to do some of these, consider moving your baby into your room if she isn't already there. Keeping a bassinet or co-sleeper next to your bed is the safest place for baby to sleep, assuming you haven't just remodeled your own bedroom. Regardless of what room your baby is sleeping in, you must wrap his mattress with a BabeSafe mattress cover. Mattress wrapping has been 100% successful in preventing SIDS.

Next, make sure to do all remodeling 6 months in advance of baby's arrival. This is near impossible for some families unless you have someone else to do the work. A pregnant mommy does not need to be near toxic fumes, so make sure that Mommy is only participating in the design phase! Also, it is best to remodel when you are able to open the windows. That way, any fumes will be allowed to escape outside rather than circulating in your home. We never suggest carpeting. Carpeting lets off horrible fumes as well as collects allergens as it ages- it is never a good idea with small children.

This information and more can be found at The Importance of Clean Indoor Air.

Another thing we'd like to add that is important for families to check is radon levels in your home. Radon gases in the home is a contributor to lung cancer in women who stay at home, since they are usually home all day breathing in radon that might be leaking from their home. It can also be a danger at office buildings, so working parents are not immune.

While you will hear on the news that the air outside is polluted and unhealthy, it is still much healthier than the air in our houses that is stale, not fresh, and full of gases being emitted from everything in it. Take your baby outside frequently, and during the night make sure that fresh air is available to your baby. Tricks to help this include keeping a ceiling fan running slowly, opening a window, or using an air purifier in baby's room. In winter, keep baby's room cool by closing the heat vent in his room. Or better yet, leave it open, and turn the entire house temperature down to 65 degrees. Cooler temperature is healthier for you, as well, and you will save on gas costs! If you can tolerate it, 60 degrees is even better. I am always cold, but I've discovered that using a programmable thermostat helps because you can have it come on before you get up! (Of course, if you are getting up during the night to feed or change baby, you will be a little chilly...)

Hopefully we have given you some ideas you wouldn't otherwise have thought of. There are so many things to worry about when you have little ones in your home!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bathing Baby

I am not the kind of parent that slathers my baby in lotions and powders bottoms religiously. I am very serious about using as little as possible on babies. I have used baby lotions and powders, but do not suggest using them all the time, or purchasing them just because you are having a baby. The most that any baby needs from the start is something to wash his hair, and something to wash his body.

While the most popular “natural” products are soap products, I prefer to use products that are soap-free. This is because soap-free products work much better in hard water, and more importantly, they do not tend to clog pores like soap products do. It is very important to babies’ health and skin health that the pores remain free of anything. The skin is an organ, and it performs functions which can be altered if the tiny pores are clogged. If you do want to use a soap product, we recommend
all natural baby soap.

If you prefer a soap-free cleanser, we suggest Logona. While reading the ingredient list might be scary, we have checked out the ingredients, and it is the safest we have been able to locate. We will provide more information on Logona soon.

Bathing a baby naturally does not stop there. You also need to think about the water that you are bathing your baby in. Not only should YOU be
showering in filtered water, you should also fill your baby’s tub with filtered water. Not only does this get rid of any chlorine from the water, it also filters out any iron, lead, arsenic, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, several types of bacteria, algae, fungi and mold. You don’t want your baby breathing in the vapors from unfiltered water, nor do you want these things getting absorbed through her skin.

Other things you should do include using very little baby wash, and allowing your baby to enjoy a “baby wash free” time in the tub. It takes very little baby wash to do a great job. It’s also important that you don’t wash your baby first, then allow her to sit in the soapy water. This is especially important for little girls who are more prone to urinary tract infections. Allow her to play in clean water for a while, then wash her, rinse her, and quickly remove her from the tub. If you have help from your spouse, it is even better to take your newborn into the shower as long as you feel comfortable handling a baby. (The spouse is not necessary for this; just helps when you can hand the baby to a waiting towel!) Many parents find good, clean water does a great job cleaning their baby and they use baby wash very infrequently.

If you have gotten this far and you are still wondering what’s wrong with all those $3 bottles of baby shampoo on the grocery store shelves, they have lots of ingredients that are not necessarily looking out for the health of your baby. Many ingredients have been approved for use in “small amounts” but over time we have come to realize that when you put “small amounts” in everything, it adds up. As a general rule, anything that is mass produced for the general public is made as cheaply as possible with the most inferior ingredients available. I don’t know about you, but that’s not good enough for MY baby!

Monday, May 08, 2006

What IS Natural Baby Care?

Natural Baby Care has become a popular phrase and keyword for many on-line stores and parents looking for products that are more “natural.” But what exactly IS natural baby care? For most, it is simply using shampoo, lotions, and other baby care that is more gentle or natural than the mainstream products placed on store shelves by corporate giants. For us, it goes deeper than that.

Viewing the baby as a whole being, we need to be concerned with a number of things, and not just what is being used to clean the baby. Another popular phrase, “Natural Parenting” is similar in meaning to Natural Baby Care and most natural parents also subscribe to the use of natural baby care products. But in my opinion, “Natural Parenting” is more a way of life aimed at producing socially and emotionally well-rounded children, while “Natural Baby Care” is more focused on the physical health aspects of baby care.

Regardless of how you define either phrase, most people will agree that overall, subscribing to either belief system defines you as “alternative,” “anti-mainstream,” and even “anti-doctor.” This is because the focus is on preventing problems, rather than fixing them. Mainstream people typically use the cheap, store bought products that contain all sorts of unknown chemicals, and when their child gets sick, they immediately call the doctor. Mainstream parents use pharmaceutical drugs much more frequently than alternative parents, whether for their child or themselves.

If you make the step to natural baby care shampoo, soap, etc. it’s really unnatural to disregard other steps to protect your baby from things that can make him sick. By using safer products on his skin, you are protecting him from chemicals that enter the body through the skin. But what about what he eats? The air he breathes? The water he drinks? What about other chemicals entering his body through these functions performed daily? For true protection, we must consider the WHOLE baby and the dangers out there just waiting to cause harm to their rapidly developing bodies.

We will start with what most people consider “Natural Baby Care” and move on to the more often missed topics that are equally as important to raising a healthy baby. Right now, our “natural children” need my attention so I will return as soon as possible with more natural baby care information!