Wednesday, December 30, 2009

great site for chemical info in toys and baby gear

i wish i had known about this site,, when i was shopping for a car seat.  they have a thorough database of baby and children's toys, car seats, and more (including cars, adult fashion, and pet products).  for each of these items, healthy stuff lets you know what the chemical are present and what their levels are.  there is also health info on the chemicals.  check it out!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

hospital birth? have your birth plan in hand!

do you have a vision of your baby's birth?  there are a lot of things to consider and you may not want to leave all of them to chance (or up to your doctor or the hospital staff).  try to give a brief, but as thorough as necessary, written plan to your doctor in advance of the things that pertain to him.  you may want to discuss your decisions about some of the following things with your birth partner in advance, so he/she can advocate for you:

can midwife check your dilation at home?
natural induction options
when to head to the hospital during labor
walking epidural available?
fetal heart monitor turned down
antibiotics for strep b (can be avoided by taking probiotics)
enema or not
feelings toward c-section
feelings toward vacuum extraction/forceps
cord clamping (how long after birth?  cord blood banking?)
baby on chest immediately after birth
baby rubbed/wiped off after birth or not
baby weighed next to mother on rolling scale
special clothing/blanket/cap for baby
circumcision or not
infant eye treatment or not
vitamin k (oral or injection) or not
metabolic screening blood test or not
hearing test or not

certainly, you can ask your doctor's advice or have the nurses do what they think is best, but it is your baby's experience (and health), and you may want to research some of these things.  i will try to address most or all of them in this blog.

your little one won't drink the prune juice?

are you trying to beat your baby's case of constipation with prune juice, but he just refuses to drink the stuff?  you may want to see if he'll take it spoon fed out of a little bowl or buy a glass dropper and sneak some into his mouth.  you gotta do what you gotta do...oh and buy organic whenever possible.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

what to get a one-year-old...

by the age of one, babies can start to hone their artistic expression. go for non-toxic finger paints or fat crayons.  this guidecraft tabletop paper center ($40) is a nice portable option to set up your baby's "canvas" anywhere in or out of the house.  it has suction cups on the bottom, so you can attach it to a tabletop or the floor.  replacement rolls are available for $13.

what to get a 6-month-old....

believe it or not, babies as young as six months old really enjoy musical instruments.  they certainly contribute to their understanding of cause and effect.  some great ones for the tiny guys are baby pianos, tambourines, and drums, and by the age of 11 months or so they may master the harmonica and kazoo too...weeee!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

it's official. many people think natural birth refers only to the baby coming out of the vagina.

should i clarify?  maybe this will help illustrate my point...

i was reading a little story in us magazine (ok, yes, if a rag mag is in front of me, i read it) where that chic kendra, hef's ex-girlfriend, was talking about how she was really hoping for a natural birth (which of course made me go, "hmmm...naw.").  well, she talks about how after hours of being induced with pitocin, she starts realizing that she's probably not going to have a natural birth (which of course made me go, "um, doesn't natural birth mean no drugs?").  she ended up in with c-section.

twice in the last year, i have had dads say to me, "yeah, my wife had a natural birth." and i go "oh cool!  really?!"---then about 2 minutes later it comes out that since the baby was not a c-section, he called it a natural birth.  and in fact his wife had an epidural and then some....

it seems like since c-sections are so common now (1 in 3 births), people are calling vaginal births natural births.  does this mean we have to be more specific and call what used to be called a natural birth an unmedicated birth?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

dr. mercola's no-nonsense guide to a naturally healthy pregnancy and baby

this is a really great up-to-date guide if you are pregnant.  please check it out here.


grandparents are a wonderful thing!  may we all be so blessed to experience their amazing-ness.  came across this article "how to be a fantastic grandparent" that you may want to anonymously send to your mother-in-law if necessary.

...yep, that's the prezzie with his grammy and grampy above.

Friday, December 18, 2009

is the heat in your house drying you out?

during the winter, we tend to stay indoors and crank up the heat. unfortunately, this dries out the protective mucous in the nasal passages which may cause viruses to get into our bloodstream.

consider these nifty and cheap magnet sheets to stick over the vents in your bedroom if you need to run the heat at night in the whole house.  to keep yourself warm in your now non-heated arctic room, invest in a warm wool blanket or down comforter, dress warmly....and enjoy your healthy sinuses!  please see this and also this previous post on sinus wellness in wintertime.

bed bath and beyond and most local hardware stores sell 3-packs for around $10.

hopefully, you won't need to invest in a heat sheet 2-person survival blanket. um, what?

why buy baby spoons?

not only do these little cappuccino spoons come in handy at any given restaurant for your baby to "chew" on while teething, but they are a nice affordable option for when he starts solids.  many baby spoons are entirely plastic or have a rubber coating over the end, but as long as you test for heat and make sure your baby isn't cramming these into his teeth, these stainless steel demi tasse spoons are all good.

they are the perfect size and the price is right (8 for $10)!  maybe buy 2 sets....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

an article that may make you want to stand up and cheer!

this awesome article was on the front page of this morning (kudos, cnn) about a woman who REALLY did not want a c-section.  it was her fourth child, and her local hospital insisted that she have one because one of her other children was born as a c-section.  this hospital would not do a vbac (vaginal birth after c-section) because "they have a slightly higher risk for complications", so she moved 6 hours away in the final weeks of her pregnancy in order to have a vaginal birth.  and she had one!   wahoo!

this article is great, because it has a really smart list of questions at the bottom that all mothers should be knowledgeable of if they would prefer to avoid a c-section.  for example:

2. "Doctor, what would happen if we waited an hour or two?"
The vast majority of the time, when your doctor or midwife tells you it's time for a C-section, it's not an emergency, Flamm says.
In many cases, women just need more time to labor, he adds. In fact, he says the No. 1 reason for a C-section is "failure to progress" during labor. "If that's what we're talking about, then it's not an emergency," he says.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sh*t happens : you may as well learn some natural tricks

let me just get right down to it....constipation is a fact of life that becomes really scary in the days immediately after giving birth (stay with me here, even if you aren't pregnant).  you'll read in one of my previous posts that fruit, and pure prune juice, should be priority food staples in the days after having a baby.  try to steer clear of pain killers if possible as they are notorious for clogging you up even more so.

here are some tips that i learned from my physical therapist to help if you are constipated and find yourself scared and on the toilet:

*breathe deep with good posture

*release your tailbone so that it relaxes toward the back of your body

*press on your perineum to aim your bowel movement toward the back (away from your vagina/stitches)

*squat on the floor with your feet flat (reflexology points help) and thighs pressed against abdomen--you may poop on the floor, but who cares?

*if you prefer, do the last position balancing on the toilet seat (i know)

*sing or talk out loud

i know most of these sound insane, but i swear they work.  i swear.  i am speaking from experience.

Monday, December 14, 2009

natural rubber pacifiers

ok, i admit, i was a little down on pacifiers before i became a mother. for some reason, i guess i always associated them with neglectful parents that shoved them into their kids' mouths to get them to stop crying.  or maybe i had a fear of having a 7-year-old that wouldn't part with his paci.

none of this shit matters to me anymore.  if a paci works, use it.  my son wasn't interested in one for the first 3 months of his life.  then one day, he couldn't settle into his nap, but guess what did the trick?? he's one and still naps with one.  it also settles him in the car sometimes. if he's walking into 5th grade with one, we'll deal with it then...not worried about it.

you'll see my previous post below about an infant's and child's need to suck from birth (whether it's a thumb of a pacifier) for at least 2 years. i say give 'em what they need!

if you're concerned about the excessive exposure to the toxins in the rubber or silicone nipple, check out these european natural rubber pacifiers by natursutten.  i recommend buying at least a 2 pack of whatever size/age baby is at...meaning, they are sized 0-6 months and 6 months onward.

btw, go for the "orthodontic" style.  that other lightbulb shape they make has never worked for any moms i know.

here is the product description:

All Natursutten pacifiers are made from pure, natural rubber from the tree Hevea brasiliensi. Natursutten pacifiers are conform to the Pacifier Safety requirements by European standard EN 1400. Made in the E.U. No allergy causing substance (the protein that on rare occasions can provoke a latex allergy is eliminated during production) No artificial color. No chemicals softener; parabens, PVC, phtalates and BPA (bisphenol-A) free. Rubber pacifier are softer than silicone, the Natursutten pacifiers are extremely hygienic because they are molded in one piece. This means there is no joints or cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate. Natursutten pacifiers shield is larger than conventional shields in order to prevent babies to squeeze the flexible material enough to get into their mouth. It will also not leave marks on babies' face. Because of their natural quality, Natursutten pacifiers should be replaced every 4 to 5 weeks.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

to go along with your paci...

 me,  you're going to want to buy a clip-on pacifier bungee---when the round natural pacis hit the floor, they roll for miles sometimes!  babies love to chew on these bungees, so you may want to buy an organic one.  binkee bungee makes the only organic one i've ever been able to find.  works may want to buy 2.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ok. have me admitted....

i just got excited over a hemp cotton sandwich bag sold on the site!

this is my new favorite site!  i was in search of some affordable stainless dishes for my son (and hadn't fully committed to feeding him out of a metal dog bowl, yet) and came across this, my fantasy site. yes, i am laughing out loud at how ridiculous i am, don't worry.

but seriously folks, these guys have an awesome assortment of everything from stainless leftovers boxes to wool insulated lunch bags to stainless water dispensers (get rid of your plastic water cooler!). wow.  some really unique stuff.

10% off with offer code FUNNEWSTUFF until dec 15th
free shipping on orders over $100 until dec 15th

coming soon--stainless ice cube trays--wahoo!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

great splurge toddler gift that can last years...

little ones go crazy for bikes, so why not get them one that's just their size?  kettler makes an awesome trike that kids can start riding at the age of 1 on up through the age of 5 (granted, they say "designed for 18 months to 5 years", but our tall 1-year-old loves his).  the size is adjustable, and you can even add on a tandem seat so a sibling or friend can ride!

the kettler air navigator (photo above) is their top of the line trike for $220. they also have a cool go green trike (photo below) for $70 that's made of recycled plastic and steel (yea!).

many of the trikes have a front pedal and steering lock for wee ones who just want to be pushed.  purchase the footrest if neccessary for these little riders.

with the push bar attached, these trikes are a great alternative to a stroller in a safe environment.

if you'd like to see a side by side comparison of the features of trikes kettler offers click here.

be sure to buy any of the following accessories your trike may need:

push bar
foot rest (for little feet that cannot reach pedals)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

is thumb sucking normal?

it makes me sad when i hear stories of kids who are shamed or have oral thumb-pricking devices implanted, because they suck their thumbs.   it is believed by some that kids suck their thumbs to make up for what they aren't getting at the breast.   according to author and anthropology professor, kathy dettwyler phd, thumb sucking is not seen in babies in nepal, india, ecuador, papua new guinea, mexico, south africa and more.  here is a tidbit from her website:

"My own research suggests that the absolute minimum time human children have evolved to expect breastfeeding to continue is 2.5 years, with a range of 2.5 to 7 years. Thus, one would expect that for many of them, their sucking instincts will remain strong throughout this period, and thus one would expect a child nursed for 2 years to be very likely to still have the instinctive urge to suck til 6, 7, 8 years or even longer. I strongly encourage parents of thumb-suckers to let their children suck their thumbs (fingers, pacifiers) as long as they need to."

read more on this by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

i know i'm preaching to the choir here, but did you know....

.....that the world health organization says the following about breastfeeding?:

"A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants.  Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond."

To enable mothers to establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, WHO and UNICEF recommend:

*Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
*Exclusive breastfeeding - that is the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water
*Breastfeeding on demand - that is as often as the child wants, day and night
*No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers"

ok, did you hear that people?  "up to 2 years of age or beyond!!"  it is not creepy or infantalizing to breastfeed babies over the age of 6 months---so please be sure to show the love (instead of the stink eye) to mothers who chose to do so.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

dr. bronners is the real deal in organic skincare (and more)

it's amazing how many companies now tout themselves as natural or organic.  the term natural is not regulated, so clorox, for example, could advertise itself as a natural product.   as could mccdonald's.  as could tylenol...ok, you get the idea.

the term organic is regulated by the usda.  a product is legally organic if at least 95% of its ingredients are organic.

one company that stands the organic test of time is dr. bronners magic soaps.  the family of soapmakers has been making soaps for over 150 years (originally from southern germany).   the 5th generation of soapmakers is now running the company based in southern california.

they have a wonderful selection of organic products including bar and liquid body soap, hard surface cleaners, and even lip balm, shaving cream, and body lotion.  they are sold in natural food stores like whole foods, trader joes and even target.

the soap's name, dr. bronner's magic soap, is true.  it does a great job and can clean almost anything like magic ; body (baby!), floor, counters, walls, dishes, pets, and fruit.

this is a great side by side comparison of their products to other supposedly organic lines.   these other poser lines have ingredients (that end in "eth" or "PEG") that contain trace 1, 4 dioxane and formaldehyde, which are probable human carcinogens (and often in baby shampoo!).   read more about 1, 4 dioxane and formaldehyde in kids bath products here.

some stocking stuffer dr. bronners items are 15% off this month on their website.

get discounts on tons of websites!

always check on for discount codes before you make a purchase online.  just type your desired website into retail me not's search box, and out come any and all discount codes--including free shipping codes.  the codes are posted by normal folks that receive them and are ever-so-kind enough to share them with the world.

Monday, December 7, 2009

natural solutions to sinus problems : number one, neti pot

if you are a freaky natural person like me, you may have heard of a neti pot by now.  and it may bring you joy to use it.  it brings me joy---but again, i'm a little freaky.

so i can rest my tired tired mind, i will provide you with the information that this neti pot maker provides:

"Neti Pot naturally cleanses, refreshes, and protects the nasal passages, one of our body's first lines of defense against illness. Recommended by doctors and pharmacists worldwide, the Neti Pot has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate sinus and allergy problems. Recent clinical studies have shown that nasal irrigation is effective in improving symptoms of patients with frequent sinusitis."

basically, a neti pot is a small ceramic pot that you put warm salt water in and pour into one nostril while it drains out the other.  this sounds scary, but it's snot (punny).  the warm water breaks up mucous and cleans out the sinuses.  the water drains straight out the opposite nostril--it is actually quite soothing.   see a youtube video here.  

some people use a neti pot daily.  i use mine if i feel a sinus headache coming on, have dry sinuses, or am feeling a little clogged.  my sister-in-law cured a year of sinus infections (unaffected by many doses of antibiotics) during pregnancy with the use of a neti pot.

to make your non-iodized salt water that goes into the neti pot, you can use either an easily dissolved saline solution that is often sold alongside neti pots or sea salt or himalayan pink salt (the best for its nutrients!).  some people even put drops of sesame oil into their nose afterwards to moisturize.  i know, i'm really pushing my luck here.

whole foods stocks these ($12) as do some drug stores now.

natural solutions to sinus problems : number two, humidifiers

humidifiers are wonderful machines.   they are particularly wonderful in the winter months when we need to run the heat in our homes.  dry air reeks havoc on your sinuses.   use one in your bedroom (and your kids') every night.  it can cure everything from dry sinuses to much more serious sinus conditions.   on a side note, try to avoid running the heat at night if possible--cozy up with some warm pj's and a fluffy down comforter.

if you live in the desert (aka los angeles), like me, you may want to invest in a decent one as you can easily use it every night of the year for relief.

if you are staying at a hotel, which typically has very dry air in wintertime, housekeeping may have a humidifier you can borrow.  if not, you can use a little travel humidifier ($40) on your bedside table. you just screw a large bottle of drinking water into it, and you're good to go.

air-o-swiss is a tried and true brand that has many great models. their top of the line models ($200) have lcd screens that show you the humidity in the room and will adjust the amount of mist released accordingly.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

need a green playpen?

if you're searching for a playpen option that is not plastic, you may want to check out herlag by kettler's collapsible wooden options.  if you're not familiar with herlag (distributed by kettler in the u.s.), they are a german company that has been around since 1883.  i tend to gravitate toward their products when given chance as they are more on the green side.

playpens are great for allowing mom and dad to be handsfree once baby starts moving around (4-7 months, onward).  ours has become like an island in our kitchen that i can roll onto the back deck too.

the solid beechwood playpen comes in two shapes/sizes:

48"x 48" square
42" x 50" hexagon (not collapsible)

to see photos and more info click here.
best prices click here.  or search locally on craigslist.

not plastic
large with more open sides than plastic playpen
base has 3 height adjustments
wheels roll or lock
use inside or out
collapsible (not available in hexagonal style)

*base is made of "safe" chipboard (read more at asterisk below)
base is covered in foam and vinyl
padding options are semi-hideous

how i got around negatives:
buy plywood made with non-toxic glues and make own base.
cover plywood base with natural latex foam, or other padding, and heavy canvas fabric.
make own removable canvas cover sheet.  bumper pads negotiable--only necessary for catching escaping toys and limbs (until baby is more in control, around 6 months-ish).

in los angeles, richard jebejian 310 854 4450 accomodates all of my crazy green upholstery requests (including the ones above) and can source the green components including non-toxic plywood, natural latex, and organic fabrics.

*kettler's national sales manager sent me the following info re the formaldehyde in the chipboard/mdf base, for what it's worth: "The material used is a Standard E1 Chipboard. The amount of free formaldehyde in 100 g. is below 8 mg. therefore achieving the highest world standards."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

20 mothers breastfeed newborn after mother passes away

this is an incredibly beautiful and sad story:

Nursing Moses: Moms step in after infant's mother dies
The day Charles Moses Martin Goodrich entered the world, a new community was conceived.

As the newborn breathed in life, his mother, Susan Goodrich, began to die. Less than 12 hours after having her son, the 46-year-old mother of four was gone. The cause was a rare amniotic fluid embolism.

It was January 2009, and shell-shocked widower Robbie Goodrich was forced to immediately think of the baby's most basic need: milk.

For $5 an ounce, he could have purchased frozen donor breast milk, the kind of sustenance he knew his wife wanted for the boy. There was talk of tracking down a wet nurse. A friend left a message offering to breast-feed the newborn herself.

What evolved in the coming days still touches Goodrich. More than 20 mothers in Marquette, a city of 20,000 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, volunteered to nurse baby Moses.

All these months later, they're still at it.

"It's been such an incredible outpouring of community love for this child of mine," said Goodrich, a 44-year-old history professor at Northern Michigan University, where his late wife worked, too, teaching Spanish and Portuguese. "This has certainly stretched the parameters of what is public. I've had to open the door to complete strangers, inviting them into the most private, intimate part of my life."

Carrie Fiocchi, 29, was first to breast-feed Moses. She'd received a call from a nurse midwife who belonged to her Unitarian Universalist church.

When she heard what had happened to the Goodrich family, both she and her husband, with whom she immediately shared the story, fell apart. They were first-time parents to a 6-week-old girl.

They'd realize later that they had met Robbie years before. But in that moment, they didn't hesitate to help a stranger. The next morning, Fiocchi walked into Goodrich's home, where grieving family members had gathered in preparation for Susan's funeral, and took Moses into her arms.

"It was awkward and very sad and really wonderful at the same time," said Fiocchi, who has nursed Moses at 9 a.m. every day since then, with daughter Siri in tow.

Her husband, Matt, has developed a friendship with Goodrich and tags along with his wife and daughter at least once a week. He added, "Not being able to do anything myself, feeling kind of impotent, for me it was a matter of wanting to help and feeling privileged to be involved in any way."

The inclination to volunteer similarly drove Kyra Fillmore, 31.

"Ever since I became a mother, I've felt a connection with other mothers," said Fillmore, who has three children. "I was nervous. It was very emotional. I didn't know what to expect. But I felt like I needed to do this for Susan, even though I didn't know her."

A handful of mothers did know Susan and loved her for her brilliance, wit and passionate spirit.

A former student of Susan's from a decade earlier, Karla Niemi, 30, said that helping has brought her a sense of peace. And a former student of Robbie's who then became a close friend of the couple's, Sarah McDougall, 28, said that nursing Moses "gave me a way to be there for her and her family in a way I wouldn't have known how to do otherwise."

It turned out that finding volunteers was the easy part, said Nicoletta Fraire, 35, who considered Susan her closest friend in Marquette and organized the effort. And they'd checked with specialists to know that what they were doing was safe. The difficult part, Fraire said, was working out logistics, especially in the beginning.

Initially, there were seven women a day to juggle. Some of the moms had easy-to-remember set schedules, others had more staggered assignments, and then there were those on call. Many could travel to Moses, but some needed the baby to come to them. And donations for night feedings had to be gathered.

Over the months, some women moved away, weaned their own children or became pregnant. New eager-to-help moms cropped up. Toss in occasional sicknesses and vacations, and the feedings -- which the group set out to continue for at least a year -- became a carefully orchestrated dance.

A white board mapping out the choreographed schedule still stands in Goodrich's dining room.

But making sure Moses was cared for, although complicated, was something Fraire wanted -- even needed -- to do.

"I didn't see it as a hard job but mostly as something that's helped me fill the void," she said. "I did it for Susan. I know she would have done it for me."

Not only have these women helped Moses, the steady flow of company -- which often includes kids and husbands -- has nurtured Goodrich, too. It has been a constant in his life and his home, where he's also raising Julia, his and Susan's 2∏ -year-old daughter. Two older kids from Susan's first marriage live nearby with their biological father.

"I don't know if you can make this year any easier," said Goodrich, who is emotionally still muddling through. "But I have people there to share it with me. And you can imagine, they're compassionate, empathetic people."

Just as these moms have cuddled and nourished Moses, their own children feel embraced in the Goodrich home and often beeline to where the snacks are stored. Husbands read to Julia while their wives nurse the baby, and Robbie bonds with families who've become an extension of his own.

Mothers who've stopped breast-feeding still check in and come by for regular visits. The group stays in touch on Facebook, by phone and over shared meals and walks. Friendships, outside the Goodrich household, have been formed. They all gathered to celebrate when Moses ate his first solids.

"It's a valuable gift for everyone involved," said Tina Taylor, 39, who prolonged the nursing of her own youngest child so she could continue feeding Moses. "It's taught us the importance of family, community and sharing."

Taylor and the more than two dozen other women who've nursed Moses know they cannot replace what was lost hours after he was born. But the father they've reached out to help says they've given his son something he could have never provided on his own.

"He's a healthy, happy, well-adjusted boy," he said, "who has always known a mother's love."

Friday, December 4, 2009

tell all your friends : women can birth babies without drugs

these are the posts where i risk losing my own friends, but what can i say?  just because i am trying to spread the word on how positive the unmedicated birth experience is, doesn't mean i am a hater on all of those who chose to do otherwise.  plus, look, sometimes i just have to rant!

i often feel like we need a news flash (breaking news!!) about how women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time without drugs.  our bodies are created for this.   unfortunately, the media and society and the medical community consistently espouse fear about the pain of childbirth---and the relief of the almighty epidural.  imagine the possibilities if the opposite were happening.

of course, there are times when life or death is truly on the line, and interventions must be made--that is not what i am questioning.

you are not "super woman" if you choose natural birth.  you are woman.  unfortunately, you are seen as  "taking a risk" by most, because natural birth is no longer the norm.  the fact of the matter is that "the norm" (fun with quotes this morning, sorry) is birthing without drugs....see the last 2 million years.  the epidural has only been publicly administered for 50-ish years.

will someone please provide me with a long term study of the effects on humans of the following birth interventions?

--cesarean section (over 32% of births in the u.s., world health org suggests no higher than 15%,  u.s. rate in 1965 was 4.5%)
--premature umbilical cord clamping

if you are pregnant, please read this article on c-sections

the awesome pregnancy site, childbirth connection, has a wonderful, super informative page about cesarean sections.   here are some tidbits:

"Reasons for the Rising Cesarean Section Rate

The following interconnected factors appear to be pushing the cesarean rate upward.

Low priority of enhancing women's own abilities to give birth
Care that supports physiologic labor, such as providing continuous support during labor through a doula or other companion and using hands-to-belly movements to turn a breech (buttocks- or feet-first) baby to a head-first position, reduces the likelihood of a cesarean section. The decision to switch to cesarean is often made when caregivers could use watchful waiting, positioning and movement, comfort measures, oral nourishment and other approaches to facilitating labor progress. The cesarean section rate could be greatly lowered through such care.

Side effects of common labor interventions
Current research suggests that some labor interventions make a c-section more likely. For example, labor induction among first-time mothers when the cervix is not soft and ready to open appears to increase the likelihood of cesarean birth. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring has been associated with greater likelihood of a cesarean. Having an epidural early in labor or without a high-dose boost of synthetic oxytocin ("Pitocin") seems to increase the likelihood of a c-section."

read the entire article here.

expect the unexpected...

....not to be confused with what to expect when you're expecting....

i recently came across a lovely story about a second time mom who desired a home birth VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian).  i would like to share it in defense of women who end up in unwanted cesarians, yet make the experience as peaceful as possible.   click here for this well-photographed story.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

need an enchanting and unique heirloom baby girl gift?

these dreamy kathleen whitaker bonnets made of heirloom hankies are meant to be worn by a baby girl during her infancy, then used later as her "something old" on her wedding day.  so pretty.  i love them.

wait until you see how beautiful these handmade bonnets are.

please click here to see her entire collection online.

local : 2nd annual RIE infant/toddler conference

this is some crazy advanced notice, but on june 6, 2010, there is a rie conference in los angeles.  the advance registration deadline is april 1, 2010.  tickets are cheaper if you buy before this deadline.

the theme of the conference is " rie and attachment theory : why earliest relationships matter".

register online at

it will be at the skirball center, and is a full day including several lectures and a brunch.  please click the above link for more info.

sckoon organics on sale!

great baby and kids organic clothing site, sckoon, has a ton of cute stuff on sale and is offering free shipping until this sunday, dec 6th.

my son lives in the striped pants in every color.  the quality is awesome!

free shipping code is SCKOON2112.  expires this sunday dec 6th.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

important information on vitamin d

perhaps you have been hearing the buzz this last year about the incredible value of vitamin d.  you will not hear about it from the big drug companies (aka the government and media) as they have no way to capitalize off of vitamin d.  you can get it for free from the sun or a basic vitamin.

more and more information is coming out about vitamin d's benefits including reducing cancer and countless other diseases.    it is so easy to make sure you are getting enough vitamin d---get a blood test of your vitamin levels.  if you are low, as 85%-95% of americans supposedly are, start taking it daily in the form of d3 cholecalciferol (5,000-10,000 iu).   getting 10-20 minutes of sun, without sunscreen, around high noon will help too.

please read more amazing vitamin d info here.

mercola has a vitamin d3 spray.  click here for an easy dissolvable sub-lingual form.

UPDATE : a japanese study has shown that children who take vitamin d3 are 58% less likely to catch influenza a!

UPDATE : the american academy of pediatrics recommends pregnant women take 4,000 iu daily of vitamin d3.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

local : all aboard!! santa is on the christmas train in fillmore and is ready to take you to pick out your christmas tree! and then you'll chop it down (ok, that's kinda sad) and take it back home on the train. are you enjoying my longest title ever?

less than an hour north of los angeles, you can jump on a holiday train in fillmore.  santa will be on board to take you to the christmas tree farm where you will select the perfect tree.  then, they will load your beautiful tree onto the train upon your return!

this sounds so super fun!  a wonderful holiday treat to enjoy with the kids (and hey, there is booze sold on board!  sa-weet!).  but seriously folks, there are food and beverages sold on board...i don't think they're organic ;).

also, there is another option---the santa dinner train that departs on friday and sunday evenings and serves a full meal while santa visits with all the kids.  and finally, your third option is to go after christmas on their "return santa claus to the north pole" train a vintage train!

tree farm visit train:

saturdays and sundays nov 28th through dec 20th
departures 10:00 and 2:00

santa dinner train:

friday and sunday nights dec 4th-20th
departs 5:30 pm

return santa to the north pole train:

saturday december 26th and sunday december 27th
departs 6:00 pm

Saturday, November 28, 2009

sids linked to crib mattresses?

if i could talk you into buying one extremely important item for your newborn, it would be an organic mattress....whether you intend to have your baby in your bed or her own crib.  i have logged many many hours on researching the link between non-organic mattresses and sids, and i think you will be shocked how little information is shared with the public once you look into it.  i came across the site below that has an awesome article on the toxic mattress link to sids, and in order to not write the world's longest post here, i would love to refer you to it:

healthy child

i was a little wary at first since this site sells a variety of organic items including mattresses.  but they have clearly done their homework (otherwise i would never refer them) and list all of their legit references at the bottom of their articles.   plus, they directly link you to variety of safe mattress options which is nice.

click on the additional links within the above article that will lead you to other important topics like:

factors that may increase the risk of crib death (including the vaccination link)

co-sleeping and toxic gases in adult mattresses

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

what may help shorten your labor

i was recently speaking with my lovely friend danielle, who was my incredible doula (i'll post more on her amazing-ness later), and she shared with me the 2 things that the shortest first-time mom natural labors she witnessed had in common.  they were:

pre-natal yoga at least 2-3 times a week and acupuncture right around the due date to help induce labor.

danielle told me i was one of these short labor examples---my labor was 7 hours plus pushing.  i did pre-natal yoga 3 times a week.   i had acupuncture on my due date and a couple days later on the eve of my labor.  i delivered naturally 4 days late.

i just spoke with a first-time mom friend yesterday who walked around for weeks at 3cm, days at 6cm, and had about 20 minutes of labor/contractions until she quickly pushed the baby out!!  guess what she did?.....pre-nata....ok ok, you get the point....

my usual never know how your labor will go, but there are things you can do that may likely help you stay ahead of the curve....

random post : ovarian cancer

please read about the subtle signs of ovarian cancer (just so you know!) from this young mother who was diagnosed with stage II after being dragged to the doctor by a friend who learned of her symptoms:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

so easy! make your own organic baby food for cheap.

whenever you decide to introduce solids, you can start slow and introduce one meal a day.  funny, we use the word solid, but the phrase should be "introducing goop."

if you intend to store batches, try to stock up on some glass baby food jars, as mentioned in a prior post, or order some 4 oz. mason jars on amazon (see amazon link in sidebar).  order a couple dozen if you really want to make life easier.

though we haven't introduced meat to our one-year-old, dinner is in the style of a meat and one or 2 sides.

our "meat" (otherwise referred to as "mulch" by my husband):
combo of high-ish protein, high fiber items---anything from organic lentils to barley to split peas to broccoli to green beans.  we literally combine all of these.  they are cooked, if necessary, and run through our twin gear juicer (see amazon link in sidebar).  here are more affordable single gear juicers : omega 8003 and green star.  read more here on why blenders are not ideal for pureeing food.

any single or combined organic fruit or veggie...more often fruit.

pick one day every week or 2 to make a batch.  cook, if necessary, and then run everything through the juicer (including skins--high in good enzymes) or dice by hand.  keep enough in the fridge for 3 days worth and freeze the rest for the coming week.

then, any time you want, you can grab a couple from the freezer and leave them in the fridge to thaw for the next night's dinner.  it's fun for you, and baby, to mix and match.

here are some helpful sites:

nutritional information on all foods with info on steamed, raw, etc of each.  enter item in search box.  or you can enter the nutrient you desire and it will reply with a food match.

shelf life info whether refrigerated or frozen.

bon appetit!!

UPDATE : my son would only eat pureed foods until he was about 13 months.  at which point, he started protesting by spitting them out.  he wanted little diced morsels of solids instead.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

great soft-soled shoes for new walkers...

this line of shoes from pediped is perfect as it is the next best thing to barefoot walking.  babies that are just learning to walk are encouraged by doctors to do it barefoot or in soft leather sole shoes.  pediped was created by a couple in 2004 that saw a hole in the marketplace.  check out all of the cute styles here.  sizes start at newborn.  they also have a line for older kids with rubber soles that are "a smart choice for parents concerned about the long term development of their children's feet."

we've recently resorted to buying shoes for the first time for our one-year-old as they are the only way to keep him from pulling his socks off----plus, barefoot doesn't work so well in the winter....

UPDATE : save 15% with promo code DEC09 until december 31st.

be aware of your body's vitamin levels during pregnancy and while breastfeeding...

if you are going to breastfeed, it would be ideal for you to get a blood test of, at the very least, your vitamin levels.   try to get this test done in the baby's 4-8-months-old zone.  by this time, you can accurately detect what the baby is sucking out of you (ie making you deficient in) in time to change it without it affecting baby's health.   lactating women are commonly deficient in vitamin d, b12, and zinc.

regarding pregnancy, it is often normal for your ob/gyn to conduct a blood test near the beginning of your pregnancy to test for anemia, etc.  of course, you can certainly request a more in depth test too.

while pregnant and breastfeeding, your recommended dietary allowance of these most commonly deficient vitamins is likely:

vit d3 (as calciferol) = 5,000 IU -- or spend 20 minutes/daily in sunlight, no sunscreen.
vit b12                     = 2.8 mcg
zinc                         = 12 mg

for pregnancy and lactating vitamin and mineral supplement fact sheets, check out the national institute of health's site.  although, i know, for example that they really low-ball on vitamin d.  read more about 5,000 iu of vitamin d here.

the best way to know for sure what you should take to supplement is to get a blood test--if you are deficient in something, you may need up to 5 times more than the rda.

this is a random post : awesome organic towels on sale!

in the event that you MAY be looking for new awesome organic cotton towels, i wanted to let you know about some on sale.  this past year, i cheaped out and went with west elm's organic towels and immediately saw threads raveling.  learn from my mistakes, people.  buy these from under the canopy...i have some of their hand towels ($8.49 now! $12.99 bath towels) and the quality is fantastic.  they have lots of other beautiful items as well...bedding, clothing, and more!

recent nyt article : does breastfeeding help you loose the baby weight?

this past week, there was an interesting article in the new york times about whether breastfeeding helps mothers lose weight.   some not only lose the weight, but start dipping below their original pre-pregnancy weight.
if you intend to breastfeed, you'll have to eat approximately 500 calories more than normal for your baby.  but be careful that they are not just empty carb calories.  aim for fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, etc.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

first weeks with baby : you're going to need help

you may be superwoman, but caring for a newborn is like nothing you've ever experienced.  it certainly is not impossible, but at the very least, please ask your husband to stay home form work for the first week home from the hospital.  beyond that, trust me, take up every offer of help because you will need it.  if someone offers to drop off food, just tell them yes and when they should do it.  if a friend offers to come over and sit and hold the baby, say yes and take a shower or a nap.  and have them grab lunch for you on their way---and they may also need to put it straight into your mouth for you or you might forget.  if you're breastfeeding, you need to constantly eat to replenish--and some days it is tough to constantly prepare snacks for yourself.  also, you should drink at least a glass of water each time you breastfeed your baby.

affordable, accurate, eco-friendly ovulation test

those disposable pee stick ovulation test cost a bloody fortune, so you may want to invest in a fertile focus ovulation test.  you can use it over and over and over again.   it looks like a tube of lipstick and you just put a drop of saliva on the little piece of glass inside.  then it tells you whether you're "not fertile", "transitional", or "fertile".  i can personally vouch for this product as i used it successfully when trying to conceive.   read more here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

if you breastfeed, try to do it in front of young girls....

does my title sound extremely creepy?  all i'm trying to say is that we learn by example, and it's important that girls witness women breastfeeding their babies.  that way, those girls will grow up and not only feel comfortable breastfeeding, but also have an idea of how it's actually done.

Friday, October 30, 2009

it ends up it's hard to type one handed...

i would like to sincerely apologize for my minimal posting these last few weeks.  i am trying my best to heal a nerve injury in my right arm and hand----and it's taking forever in my impatient mind.   never fear, i am still around and itching to write every day--and will certainly be doing that again as soon as i possibly can!   for now, i am trying to post at least a few times a week....all the best, and thanks for your understanding....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

baby registry : the one layette item that we couldn't have lived without

certainly everyone would have their own particular item here.  and honestly, i guess the true answer would have been diapers (though there is a school of parents that think babies shouldn't wear, ok)....i digress....

baby gowns!  baby gowns is my answer!  my son wore them from day one until they were thread bare around the 4 month mark when we finally moved on from them.

the fact of the matter is that you are going to change a bajillion diapers in those first few months and the gown has the quickest and easiest access.   the snaps on onesies add extra work and pants are no easy feat.  plus, this way, dressing the baby becomes a much more pleasurable and quick experience for everyone.

additionally, they are great for baby to sleep in because they are like having a built in blankie.  they are also womblike and allow baby to feel his own limbs/legs as he gets to know his body.

if you can find a convertible gown, it will certainly come in handy too as it can transition into a pants onesie.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

first weeks with baby : feel comfortable going out and breastfeeding in cute, easy-access tops!

this may sound insane, but after our homebirth, we did not go out into public with our baby until he was 3 weeks old.  and by "public", i mean we walked 2 blocks to some shops around the corner from our house. not only was it the height of flu season (and we were a little paranoid), but i was recovering from a pelvic injury, so it just took us a while to venture out.

also, it's tough to get it together enough, if you're breastfeeding, to feel like you can comfortably get the baby on your breast without flashing everyone at a restaurant or store (by week 4, i could give a rat's ass about flashing everyone at my family reunion if i had to).   so, i would like to dedicate this post to breastfeeding fashions.

i have laughed with other mothers about how, in the first weeks, we only owned 2 garments that we could breast feed in...a robe and a zip up hoodie.  as you may have noticed, these have not been at the height of fashion in recent seasons, plus you start to feel bad about the permanent zipper imprints on your baby's face after a while.

ok, back to the fashion....cue the music....

i found that once you get your breastfeeding bra worked out, tops are easy.  you have probably already seen the nursing tanks and often expensive and blaaah tees that are in the marketplace, so i will jump to what i found to be easy, affordable, and stylish.....

that's right (it's not just skanky underwear on there! they have great clothes.), once you feel like you have a handle on what your general body size is going to be like post-baby (i knew this within a few days), jump on your computer and start ordering.  you're going to want to order henley styles that can be unbuttoned decently low down.  any top that has a surplice style (looks like an overlapping v-neck) or fitted cardigans are good too.  even tops with large v-necks and cowlnecks will work great.  oh, and don't forget the forgiving babydoll top.  you will live in these for as long as you breastfeed, unless you choose to go the route of just lifting your shirt to allow baby to feed.  also, i cannot stress the importance of cute tops with pockets enough---really great for stashing the cell phone or keys on the fly.

money saving tip--sign up on their website to be on their email list, since they constantly send out sale emails.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

local : get into the halloween spirit with a vintage train ride to a pumpkin patch!

saturdays and sundays through halloween, the fillmore & western railway company has vintage trains departing every 2 hours to a pumpkin patch throughout the day.  take a 40 minute train ride to pick out your own pumpkin and also enjoy the festive corn maze, carousel, arts and crafts booths and more!

also, on friday and sunday evenings through halloween, take your older kids for a bar-b-que dinner on the same, but spookier, vintage train and search for the headless horseman during your haunted hayride upon arrival at the corn maze.

if you cannot make it to these halloween festivities in fillmore (1 hour nw of l.a.), they offer wonderful santa train trips just before christmas. you can ride to a christmas tree farm to cut down your own tree and bring it back on the train!!  i'll post about that in december....

see all fillmore train festivities here.