Wednesday, September 30, 2009

more on bouncing babies: baby hammocks that bounce themselves

i cannot say enough good things about baby hammocks.  we purchased one by the kiwi company miyo (photo above) and started using it immediately after my son was born.  he loved it, because it is so cozy and womb-like.  almost like a non-constrictive swaddle (is that an oxy moron?) and a crib all in one.  it bounces gently with his movements ---again, womb-like.  they are typically used in malaysia from birth on up and have been said to help babies avoid getting a flat head--plagiocephaly--which has become a problem in western society from babies always being laid on their backs in their cribs (to avoid sids).

one of the greatest things about baby hammocks is how portable they are...not only can you hang them from a hook and chain (properly drilled into a beam above the drywall) anywhere in your house, they come with a foolproof doorway hanger, so travel with baby is a breeze. we even hung ours from a tree on the beach on vacation!  baby's gotta nap, right?

we had great success with the miyo from infancy until about 6 months (when my nearly 20 lbs son finally said, "get me outta this little thing!").  at nap time, we'd put him in and rock it fairly intensely--like a swooshing---he wasn't lulled by gentle sways and lullabies.

after the miyo, we tried out the kanoe (photo below), and are still using it at 10.5 months for all naps.  kanoe is great because they have a rental can rent a brand new organic cotton kanoe for $40/month.and at any time, you can commit to buy or return it.  it is larger in size than the miyo, so i cannot vouch for how a tiny newborn would do in it, but you can check out their website for testimonials.the kanoe is equally as easy as the miyo to travel with though no doorway can invest in a collapsible frame like this though for home and travel.

and finally, the piece de resistance!!  there is an importer of baby hammock bouncers that you can purchase a little machine from that will safely bounce the hammock for you (see it att'd in photos above and below) cool is that!?!  the day we started using our bouncer, baby's naps went from 30 minutes to an hour and a half!!  if you use the bouncer with a kanoe, you'll need to shorten the kanoe straps and not use the kanoe spring.  also, this bouncer comes with the previously mentioned collapsible frame.

UPDATE : we are still using the kanoe for naptime for my 22 lbs son at 18-months-old.

invest in an exercise ball for labor and baby naps...

honestly, we use our exercise ball about 100 times more than we have ever used our rocker in the nursery (maybe all we really needed was a dresser in there, since we don't use our crib either).   the ball is great for gently bouncing baby to sleep.   since i have "the boob", i usually do not need to bounce my son to sleep, but my husband and babysitters do for every nap.

some may worry about babies developing an addiction to having to be bounced in order to fall asleep, but babies actually need bouncing (and swinging, etc) in order to develop their very important vestibular system---the system in the inner ear that controls their sense of movement and balance.  read more here.

the ball can also come in handy when you are in labor---my doula tells funny stories of running through hospital hallways with a gigantic ball to her clients' births.  you can lie on it with your chest and gently hug it in order to take the weight off of your back and belly.  also, in early labor, just sitting and bouncing is helpful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the teething is waring me down...

my son's first two teeth, on the bottom, came in at 7.5 months and were a breeze.  he's a little over 10 months now, and the top two teeth have started breaking through in the last couple of weeks.

ever since the arrival of the first 2 teeth, he became more snuggly---happy enough to cuddle up to me an hour after waking and just hang out on my boob until naptime.  this was cute, and so was the ridiculousness of him sleeping/nursing while lying ON TOP of me at night in the last couple weeks.  we do bed-sharing, so this wasn't so bad, plus it clearly was soothing him during an uncomfortable time. ok, well, now my back is officially wrecked---go figure.  it ends up that having something a fifth of your body weight lying on your chest all night for a week can do some damage.

so, today i will dedicate this post to all things natural that help for soothing during teething:

camilia drops--homeopathic drops that help with irritability and pain.

hyland's teething tablets--similar to above, but i also notice a calming effect that helps baby fall asleep.

amber necklace--popular in europe.  has pain relieving energetic properties.  and my husband keeps saying how "groovy our son looks in his puka shell necklace."

feeding pouch--you can do ice chips in these, but any fruit or veggie in here seems to make baby happier all around.  make life easier, buy a few of these.

teething rings--der.  this other cold one or this chewy silicone one is good too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

flu vaccine information

please read (or watch the video) here about the flu vaccine.  extremely important information on how the vaccine is made, its ingredients, safety, efficacy, and how to avoid the flu without it.  plus, see how distorted the cdc's facts (scare tactics) are about annual flu deaths---yet how children's deaths from the flu have hugely increased since kids five and under started getting vaccinated in 2003.

Friday, September 25, 2009

vaccine safety seminar in los angeles sunday october 18, 2009 and november 18, 2009

dr. lauren feder, according to her website, will be presenting "an overview of health, disease, and each vaccination.  includes pros, cons, risk, benefits and prevention of vaccine side effects.  syllabus provided."

lauren feder, m.d. specializes in primary care, pediatrics and homeopathy.  additional doctors in her practice specialize in gynecology and chiropractic care.  more info on dr. feder here.

the vaccine presentation will be held at golden bridge yoga on sunday october 18 from 1:30pm-4:40pm.  please purchase tickets soon as seating is limited.  please click here for more info.

additionally, she will be presenting a month later at yo mama yoga in santa monica on wednesday november 18 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. please click here for more info.

golden bridge yoga and yo mama yoga are wonderful communities that offer a variety of pre-natal yoga classes, mommy and me yoga classes, and workshops.  you should check them out!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

great site for natural health information

most of us can gather western medical information pretty your doctor, ask your mom, or google a topic.  but where can you go when you want to learn about the other end of the spectrum?...meaning, perhaps an eastern philosophy on health or homeopathy or curing/avoiding illness with nutrition.

there is a website that--yes some may call fanatical--i always go to because it is very thorough and is good about listing its sources.  it is and run by dr. joseph mercola who is a doctor of osteopathic medicine.  an osteopathic physician's training is similar to an md, but has a greater emphasis on primary care and holistic health. he is legit, has been published in the british medical journal on numerous occasions, and has incredible information on his site.  he's truly down for the cause.

here are just a few of his many articles about pregnancy, infants, etc to check out:

"having a baby?  do it naturally."

"clamp the umbilical cord early and risk injuring your child's brain"

"letter from parents to their doctor on their upcoming delivery"

"antibiotic use by pregnant women should be minimized"

"very important vaccine question"

try to check out the "related articles" list at the bottom of each article if you would like further reading.  plus, also at the bottom, readers write in and comment which can sometimes be helpful.  finally, mercola offers a full assortment of natural products ranging from pink himalayan salt to safe sunscreen to a set of non-teflon, non-toxic ceramic cookware.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

cutest organic clothing! on sale!

i love me some kate quinn organics.  she has the most adorable line of organic clothing that has fantastic vibrant colors and stylely styles for babies and kids.  right now, she is having a great sale.  here are details:

$20 off orders over $100--coupon code 20SSS09
$50 off orders over $200--coupon code 50SSS09

something to make your life a little easier as a new mom...

sorry, no, it's not a home-delivered male masseuse or a personal chef for a year. but it is kind of's a clock that projects the time up onto your bedroom ceiling. if you do bed-sharing, these are particularly fantastic, because you can easily see the time without getting a crick in your neck uncomfortably twisting your head around to see your bedside clock. constantly checking the time becomes somewhat of a pattern if you are still feeding/breastfeeding at night in order to keep tabs on how often baby is eating.

these are atomic clocks which means they synchronize the time with a base station twice a day. plus, many of them come with features like indoor or outdoor temperature (projected) and humidity levels. they project in large red or blue 6" numbers. love, love, love it....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

snot suckers and whatnot : baby cold season is upon us

if you're like me, when your baby gets his first runny nose, you have a mini panic-attack inside.  he's sick!!  how will he breathe while he breastfeeds?  will he be up all night?  is it more than just a cold?

never fear, the snot sucker is here.  have you heard of this thing the nosefrida?  it's a self-proclaimed bpa/phthalate-free $15 snot sucker from sweden (leave it to the land of ikea, right?)!  these are great because the syringe-looking thing goes into your baby's nose, and you can control the amount of vacuum/sucking and see what's coming out. did i forget to mention the part where you are the one sucking on the small plastic hose attached to it?

be sure to replace the little disposable filter as to avoid getting your baby's cold 4 days later because you've been inhaling all of his germs for days (who me? yes, i'm speaking from experience here...).  buy a pack of extra filters.

always try to boost baby's vitamin d levels with at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight daily (whether he's sick or not),  and boost your own system with zinc, elderberry, and vitamin c at the first sign of a cold.   if you prefer an organic hand sanitizer, this one is great.  no synthetic filler.

Monday, September 21, 2009

the most common breast infections and how to avoid them while breastfeeding

first, let me say that hopefully none of these infections will ever be considered deal-breakers for you. we are not mothers because we thought it would be easy and always convenient, right?   all of this stuff is fixable....i just wish i had known ahead of time about a couple of potential breast infections, so that i may have been able to avoid them.   here's your head's up....

otherwise known as a yeast infection in your breasts (who knew?), can be extremely painful and very challenging to get rid of if you choose to do it naturally. it often first shows up in baby as diaper rash and, worst case, as white spots in baby's mouth. other symptoms include painful shooting pains in your breasts.

like the other kind of yeast infection that women can get, this one can be caused from too much sugar in your diet. don't forget that even too much juice, fruit, and bread can push your body into the sugary yeast zone. help the good bacteria in your intestines kick the yeast's ass by taking a probiotic or acidopholus. you can get these in foods like kefir or yogurt (go plain here or it's really high in sugar), or in capsule form.

if you or baby end up taking antibiotics anytime before, during, or after birth, you are at risk of a yeast antibiotics wipe out the bad and good bacteria in your intestines. yeast can also be caused from constant moisture against the breasts and nipples. be sure you air out your nipples as much as possible. i know that sounds impossible when they are leaking like a faucet several times a day....but you can do it!

there are several options for trying to rid your life of yeast after an infection---all of which are fairly laborious---and it can be hard to find the time as a new mom.

plugged ducts and mastitis: 
one of your many milk ducts can become clogged and form a little pea or grape size nodule in your breast. be sure to feel your breasts at least once a day to check for these. if you have a plug, you'll want to massage the area with your hand under warm shower water, or use a warm wet rag (a wet diaper in the microwave works great too!) several times a day to try to loosen the clog---and feed, feed, feed baby. yes, it feels a little weird to massage a little hard lump in your boob, but you gotta do what you gotta do, because you do not want it to turn into mastitis.

mastitis is not the end of the world--i have had it 3 times in the last 10 months. the symptoms can range from a sudden onset of chills (always in the evening for me) that turn into flu-like achy symptoms for about 12 hours to the random appearance of a red hard sore area on your breast--or both. you'll need to rest as much as possible and massage the sore area several times a day like you would do with a plugged duct--and feed, feed, feed baby.  sore spot usually disappears in a few days.

avoid plugged ducts and mastitis by not skipping feedings, breastfeeding in multiple positions (cross-cradle, football hold, side-lying), not wearing a bra that can constrict ducts, keeping breasts dry, and resting when you feel run down (ha ha, i know).

tips for bed-sharing

just to clarify, bed-sharing is different than co-sleeping. bed sharing is having the baby in the bed with you throughout the night. co-sleeping can be a variety of set-ups where your baby sleeps in a co-sleeper (3 sided) crib next to you and may or may not come into the bed with you at some point.

the first days after my son was born, he would either sleep lying across my chest/belly and latched onto one breast or we would side-lie facing each other---his face at my breast, feet at my bent knees.

because i wanted to be extremely safe in the first few weeks as i was feeling out bed-sharing, i found that these little rechargeable night-lights came in really handy. i stashed one on either side of my pillow, so i could easily grab it in the middle of the night to be sure my son was positioned properly. the dim light is better than getting up and turning on a bright light and waking everyone up in the meantime.

if possible, try to have a separate comforter or blanket for you and baby to share.  twin size will work.  this will help you control the covers over you and the baby (as dad thrashes about with his own).

while baby is tiny, you may want to roll up a little swaddling blanket and place it behind his back...running in the direction of his spine.  this will help him stay in place while side-lying.  my son never really needed this, but some may.

it's easy to nurse if you sleep in a great lounge top like this organic cotton one or this one that will keep you warm and has easy access for baby.  you may need long sleeves, since your upper body will be exposed ---- your sheet/blanket will be down near your belly as to not cover baby.

if the breast that isn't feeding your baby leaks, you may want to keep a little wipe or two handy that you can press against the breast to stop the flow.  these wipes are great (for all sorts of things!).  if you need more support at night, you can wear an organic cotton bra for small or large breasts....and add reusable/washable pads if necessary.  just be aware to not let something moist stay against your breast for too long---in order to avoid mastitis or thrush (yeast).

your body may feel slightly unstable while side-lying, and if so, you can put a pillow between your legs.  my physical therapist says the pillow should support your pelvis by running it from your knee to just below your ankle.  additionally, a pillow behind your back may will have to offer a different breast to your baby every few hours to avoid engorgement.  either grab baby and roll him over with you, or get up on all fours and slide him over.

finally, when baby starts to roll around on his own, you may fear (rightfully so!) that he could fall off the bed.  you have a few options: put your mattress on the floor, roll up a towel and stuff it under your fitted sheet along the edge of your bed, or buy a crib rail like this.  for what it's worth, in 10 months, my son has never fallen off the bed.  he snuggles up to me to nurse every few hours, so he basically never gets too far away.  granted there have been a few close calls now that he's crawling, because he wakes to nurse sort of half-awake and searching for me, which can be dicey if he's on the bed edge side of me.

sweet dreams!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

best pregnancy books

gosh, there are so many books on pregnancy out there, it can be hard to know where to start.  here are some goodies:

birthing from within--my and my husband's personal fave (though i opted out of the pregnancy art chapters).  if you're aiming for a natural birth, this is a must-read...thoughtful and empowering.

the thinking woman's giude to a better birth--with a slant toward natural, this book really covers all bases in regards to statistics, etc.---though not too heavy....informative and thorough.

the complete book of pregnancy and childbirth--great for when you first find out you're pregnant.  photos of births and the changes your body will go through....oh and some writing too--for the masses, but smart.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

bed-sharing is safe and wonderful

the idea of having a baby in a bed with two adults scares most americans. understandably, the logistics of it all are a little fuzzy until you actually try it yourself.  certainly, most people who have not witnessed it have images of pillows, blankets, and bodies smothering a tiny little baby.  bed-sharing is something that most parents do not plan on doing....particularly since it is looked down upon by most as being irresponsible and dangerous.  actually though, there is an order to it all, and it works beautifully.

from the minute my son made his way into my arms, i never wanted to let go. the very first night, he laid beside me and nursed and snoozed. from then on, it just felt right to have him sleep nights next to me and nurse whenever he was hungry. and it actually allowed me to get some sleep!! granted word sleep takes on a whole new meaning after becoming a mother....but, seriously, it has to so that you can quickly react and protect your child if necessary (wherever they may be sleeping).

when my son was 2 months old, i came across some research on how bed-sharing can actually prevent sids. not only that, it is hugely beneficial to your child emotionally. if you are someone who enjoys clinical trials and research on these sorts of things, check out james mckenna and his mother-baby sleep behavioral laboratory studies at notre dame.  mckenna is the go-to guy on seeing in black and white why bed-sharing is safe and beneficial.  plus, it is interesting to read about how mother and baby participate in a sort of synchronized dance at night---one moving and the other shifting in harmony.

these are the personal benefits i have experienced with bed-sharing:

--a connected, secure, warm, friendly, content baby
--watching your baby wake up and see your face and smile--the meaning of life encapsulated
--continuous sleep in bed while baby nurses when needed
--allows for a different nursing position other than "cradle" (which can help avoid plugged ducts)
--makes for a happy dad who is connected to baby all night and good family cuddling in a.m.
--allows some regulation of baby's sleep schedule (can quickly nurse back to sleep)
--extremely soothing during teething (in conjunction with nursing)
--baby has only woken twice in 10 months--fully awake and can't go back to sleep--in the middle of the night.  otherwise only "wakes" when hungry, then is quickly back asleep again

stay tuned for an upcoming post on helpful bed-sharing hints, including safety tips...

Friday, September 18, 2009

cord blood--to bank or not to bank?

this is just one of those things in life where you have to go with your gut and make your own decision (darn it!). do you want to interrupt stem cells from flowing through the umbilical cord into your baby after birth in order to remove blood for banking? will the baby benefit more from getting all of the stem cells at birth---or some at birth and maybe some later?  we believed that getting all of them at birth would help our baby build a strong immune system that would ultimately help prevent diseases.

we also suspected that there may be an excess of banked cord blood/stem cells if we were ever in need.

while we're on the topic, after your baby is born, it is best to allow the cord to pulse until it completely stops before doing anything to it (clamping, etc).  also, the baby should ideally be lying on your belly or in a similarly low position so the blood can flow smoothly through the umbilical cord to him.  if you feel strongly about this, be sure it is in your birth plan.

pregnant? worried about what the placenta feels like coming out?

let's put it this way, if you are doing an unmedicated don't even need to worry for 2 seconds about whether it is difficult or painful to "push" the placenta out. i had a natural birth and everything after the baby came out was a blur.  meaning, the doctor mentioned something about a couple of stitches and maybe at some point the placenta came up in conversation...but i basically felt none of this.  pushing out a baby's head trumps everything so far.....and immediately thereafter, you are on the biggest high of your life---flooded with love and love hormones galore!

UPDATE : spoke recently with a friend who had a natural birth and her placenta did not detach quickly on its own, so doctor had to manually remove it.  this is a painful procedure, yet very rare.  if you have an epidural, pain is minimal.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

who doesn't love a frozen maxi pad?, mesh underwear, and more....

be sure to warn your husband, if he likes to grab a cold snack while half-asleep at night, that the new "treats" in the long box in the freezer are not ice cream sandwiches.  a vaginal birth can will leave you tender and tow' up (from the flow' up), so it's not a bad idea to have some maxi pads stashed in the freezer to be able to use for soothing.

you may also want to buy some mesh disposable undies (um, kind of similar to those shown above...does he have eyeliner on?...who cares!) as you may likely bleed through your maxi pad and ruin all of your underwear. and for bleeding beyond that, which is relatively normal, send your hubby out to the drug store to buy some disposable underpads to protect your bed sheet.

then ask him to put on some mesh underwear and some of your eye make-up.

take the kids to the l.a. county fair this weekend!

you could spend all week at the los angeles county fair and still not see all of the exciting stuff they offer.  they have pig races, mexican wrestling, carnival rides, an art gallery, a flower and garden pavilion, funnel cake for days....mmmm!....and so much more....

don't forget to check out fairview farms and the big red barn where there will be animals, organic gardening, and even a farmhouse kitchen where you can learn how to cook healthy meals.

the los angeles county fair is in pomona and is open wed-sun through october 4th.

more on attachment parenting....

i just came across a review of an attachment parenting book that so eloquently describes this natural method of parenting, and i want to share it with you:

"Attachment to and dependency on parents... is a normal, healthy aspect of childhood and not something that needs to be discouraged." This quote fromAttachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child sums up the attitude behind the growing shift in many Western cultures toward a labor-intensive but arguably more rewarding, effective, and "natural" way to raise children. This philosophy, termed "Attachment Parenting" by its champion, pediatrician and father of eight Dr. William Sears (author of the popular child-care manual The Baby Book, among others), sees infants not as manipulative adversaries who must be "trained" to eat, sleep, and play when told, but as dependent yet autonomous human beings whose wants and needs are intelligible to the parent willing to listen, and who deserve to be responded to in a reasonable and sensitive manner. As with Sears's books, there are no plans or schedules here, no specific prescriptions for what to do with your child. Techniques to facilitate connection and communication are outlined, but mostly the book is an exhortation to listen and to trust yourself, and to trust your child's ability to convey to you what he or she needs."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the best unique handmade baby gifts on etsy!

how dang cute are these little booties?  etsy has the most incredible assortment of handmade items for babies and kids.  it's a great site to check out when you want something extra special.

here are some of the artists (click on photo to link to etsy artist):

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

kegels are not just for sexy times.

yes, yes, yes...i know you know about kegels.  you used to do them at every stop light during your early twenties.  now back to reality.  if you're having a baby they are super important.  not only should you be doing kegels up until you deliver, but it is imperative that you do them immediately after birth.

if you have no idea what the hell i'm talking about, a kegel is--according to wikipedia--an exercise that "consists of contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor."

i had a pelvic injury during birth, and it ends up that this is not uncommon.  more on that later.   weakened pelvic muscles can lead to issues including hemorrhoids, incontinence, and bladder prolapse--and some of these may not show up right away.  just add kegels to your list of important things to remember immediately following birth.

the phenomenal, phabulous, liphe-saving physical therapist, anita russek-lendach, taught me the proper way to do a kegel.  as it ends up, i was doing it half-right all these years---sorry guys.  you may have heard a kegel described as a tightening of the muscles that you use to stop your pee.  well yes, use these, but also incorporate your anus. you want to tighten/pull the pelvic muscles from the front (vagina) and the back (anus) toward each other and have these 2 groups meet right around the perineum---then pull them all upward and toward your belly button in one fell swoop....i always find that, if i visualize while trying, these pelvic exercises just somehow come together properly.

birth-related physical therapy

if you believe you have had a pelvic injury that perhaps has gone undiagnosed (unexplained hemorrhoids since giving birth?), please seek treatment from a specialized physical therapist that is familiar with birth- related trauma.  who knew this niche profession even existed?---thank goodness it does!

if you are in los angeles, i highly recommend the amazing anita russek-lendach at women's physical therapy.   you haven't seen thorough until you've had anita's therapeutic hands on you (did that come out wrong?  i'm keeping it).    some of the other unique issues that women's physical therapy treats are breast cancer rehab, vulvodynia, high-risk pregnancy conditions, fibromyalgia, and vaginismus.

outside of los angeles, please ask your ob or midwife for a referral.

Monday, September 14, 2009

pregnant and getting a bad cramp in your gut every afternoon?

lots of newly pregnant women have this crampy problem, and it is quite uncomfortable.  we probably all tend to blow it off, because who knows if it's normal or not....thinking, "suck it up.  this is part of being pregnant."

my sister-in-law mentioned that she had the same problem, and it turned out that her prenatal vitamin was the culprit.  i decided to go to whole foods and see what my options were.  fortunately, the "pharmacist"  introduced me to new chapter organics perfect prenatal (and in true l.a. form, couldn't resist telling me that gwyneth paltrow had taken them)....sold!!

my brain isn't functioning at anywhere near the level i would need it to to explain why these are different than most vitamins, but you can read why here.  i took these throughout my pregnancy and have continued to take them these last 10 months since my son was born. buy them on amazon for less than half the price of whole foods.  you only take 3 a day (all at once is fine--even on an empty stomach!).   so long gag-worthy horse pills.....

mothering magazine: the greatest magazine known to parentkind

ok, maybe mothering magazine would be a little more perfect if it had a slight bit of a fashion flare---but, nah, it's pretty perfect.  and i guess i'll leave the style-y stuff to cookie magazine.  speaking of cookie, if you feel like most parenting magazines leave you desiring more substance, then you have to check out mothering.

it offers fantastic info on natural attachment parenting.  also, there are great personal experiences that are last month when a breastfeeding mother wrote about her move to mongolia where breast milk is coveted---often her reserves would be "borrowed" from the fridge if someone in the office was under the weather.

mothering offers a digital ($4.95) or print subscription ($19.95).  if  you are interested in information about and stories of parents who do bed-sharing/family bed/co-sleeping, you HAVE to purchase the back issue no. 152 jan/feb 2009 with the cover story, "who wants to sleep alone?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

build your custom baby registry online

if you want to be choosy about what is on your baby registry, now you can create your own on one website. or are great but may not offer everything you need---especially organic items. check out these 2 sites for where to list all of your registry items from assorted web sources.  with just a click, all info (photo, price, etc) is transfered onto one list that your guests can easily purchase from:

would it be wrong to create a list for every holiday?


ok, so some of us are little freaked out about what to do regarding "catching" swine flu.  oh yeah,  we're not supposed to call it that anymore---eat your bacon!  i will share some insightful words from a recent h1n1 update that our wonderful pediatrician, jay gordon, posted on his website:

"Whenever possible, we should form antibodies against viruses at the right stage of their existence and at the right stage of our lives (For example, chickenpox in childhood and EBV/mono in early childhood. There are many other examples.) Getting many viral illnesses confers lifetime immunity, and very few vaccines do.

...It sure isn't "sexy" to suggest handwashing, good nutrition, hydration, extra sleep and so on. It's not conventional to suggest astragalus, echinacea, elderberry and vitamin C. Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial, too."

please see his entire update here:

purchase his vaccinations dvd here:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

this tiny digital video cam rules!

in an attempt to actually view and share your family memories, instead of building a library of mini video tapes, you have to get this little camcorder.  it's smaller than an iphone and can hold 120 minutes of raw unadulterated baby action.

the best part is that even the wifey (me) can figure it out.

hit red button to turn on.
hit red button to turn off.
zoom in.
zoom out.
hit play to watch.

last, you click the button on top of it and, a usb arm pops out that goes right into the usb port on your computer.  next thing you know, your kid is the most downloaded star on youtube (btw, we found that 2 min max videos upload quickest)!

most of the best kid moments happen when you least expect it.  have this little cam in your back pocket to capture all the goodness.....

Friday, September 11, 2009

for moms-to-be....week one, fruit is your friend

...a simple thought to remember the first week....DO NOT take an iron supplement like i did (because i wanted to restore all of the blood i lost when the baby, placenta, etc came out).  as you probably know, iron constipates you, and the very last thing you need after a vaginal birth, or c-section for that matter, is the fear of sitting on the toilet too scared to go to the bathroom.  and then on top of not so smooth eventually has to come out.

i could go into more detail, but just trust me, turn to your husband right now and say "honey.  help me stay regular the first week.  make sure i eat a lot of fruit and fiber.  thank you, i love you."

whole foods has this powder mix and others that can help.  metamucil is fine, but isn't as well-rounded and includes synthetic additives.

attachment parenting nannies and green housekeepers

did you hear about this new agency, green and granola, in los angeles that caters to families that are into a natural lifestyle?  they have nannies, babysitters, and even green housekeeping professionals!

they've really covered all bases as they are compatible with families who practice attachment parenting, toxin awareness-----and even composting.  wow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

what is attachment parenting?

i was happy to discover when my son was around 2 months old that there is a term for instinctual parenting.  it is officially called attachment parenting.  i knew i could wing my methods while he was a baby, but was unsure how i would find the guidance to provide positive discipline for him as he matured.  there was something comforting about finding out that there is a group, or title given to this style of parenting, that supports what some may deem as unconventional these days. additionally, it feels especially great when that group provides the research facts and studies that support the long term positive benefits of this parenting style.

there is a group, attachment parenting international, that has a weekly enewsletter, new book, local meetings across the country, and more. they have great tips for all phases of raising compassionate children (infant through teenage years).

a sampling of their eight principles of parenting includes:

prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting
respond with sensitivity
practice positive discipline
use nurturing touch
strive for balance in personal and family life

what are my vaccination rights in my state?

don't be bullied into vaccinations.  it is in nearly everyone else's best interest that your child be vaccinated.  it may not be in the best interest of your child though.  this is a very complicated topic that we will continue to discuss--and that you should read up on by yourself.

to find out what the laws are in your state, you can check here.  in california, you can opt out of vaccinations for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons (this last one is the clincher--not all states have passed this law).  there is a personal rights form that your child's school has that you can sign off on expressing that you choose not to vaccinate.

best eco-friendly natural materials disposable diapers

after 14 days of cloth diapers, my husband threw in the towel.  more on that later.  he was bummed that i poo-poo'ed (pun intended) his whole foods purchase of g-diapers, and we began searching for a disposable that didn't have a mystery gel in the liner---which every brand that i came across did.  he found out about nature babycare diapers online, and i joined in on the search of how to get them quickly, so as to relieve some of the stress on him.  a miracle happened, and the local target had them....i literally called to make sure they were on the shelf in our newborn size.

my husband was crashing into bed half-asleep when i told him that target had them, and i literally have never seen him move quicker out the door.  he arrived at target to find another bleary-eyed, desperate, saturday diaper-buying new father clearing off the remaining packs of diapers.  and there was a third father trailing my husband to the shelf. my hubby had to step in...."wo, wo, wo. can't take all the diapers.  here's what's gonna're going to give me 6 packs of those and this guy 6 packs, and you can have the rest." can you imagine if it were women?  anywhoo....they're great.

i still do cloth diapers during the day, but these are great for days out and for nighttime with an organic felted wool coverlet (for extra protection of leaks).   this is the same wool coverlet i use over cloth diapers.  wool is great because you don't have to constantly wash it. if pee gets on it, you can just air it out in the sun.

nature babycare dipes can be ordered at where they offer free next-day shipping depending on how much you spend.

when was the last time you printed out your digital photos? um, never.

if the only printed photos you have at home are from the summer of 1987, you may want to check out today's great sale at  you can upload your photos and, if you prefer, the site will share them with your family and loved ones who can then purchase to their heart's desire.

they are having their biggest sale ever and prints are dirt cheap.  plus many items (photo books, cards, mugs) are buy one get one free! there's some free shipping involved too....check it out!

enjoy your morning cup of joe in a mug plastered with your mother-in-law's mug.

sale ends tonight (sorry, just found out).

festivals to take the kids to this weekend in l.a.

who doesn't love to get a little fresh air and culture in this town?   there are four cool festivals happening this weekend.  they are on opposite sides of town, so perhaps geography may help you decide which to check out...

mississippi picnic in los angeles 33rd annual
elysian park--please click link above for important info (tix,parking, etc)
saturday 1-8

brentwood 15th annual autumn art show
on san vicente in downtown brentwood
sunday 10-6

little ethiopia 8th annual cultural street fair
fairfax just south of olympic
sunday 12-8...parade 1-2

saddlerock ranch wines 9th annual harvest and crush
saddlerock ranch malibu
sunday 12:30-3:30

what you may want to know about breastfeeding before the baby comes

you may have heard the breastfeeding stories about cracked nipples and mothers having troubles in the first weeks after baby comes.   never fear, everything can go perfectly well too.    on day one, you do not know how it will all go, so i HIGHLY recommend that before you give birth, you have a lactation specialist’s phone number at your bedside.  you will very likely need it.  even if you are a world champion breastfeeder…..the first week as a new mom can be is blurry and challenging.   you will have one less thing to worry about later if a specialist comes right away to check on you.  you will presumably receive minimal breastfeeding support in the hospital, so an additional outside source is ideal.   your ob, baby’s pediatrician, a local midwife, or doula can probably help or at least refer you to someone who can.  it’s common that the specialist would come to you---like the amazing jennifer goodson (818.400.9525) out of dr. jay gordon’s office in los angeles.   there is also la leche league---a non-profit worldwide breastfeeding support group with counselors all over the world.

your first week, you might need a little bit of help from a soothing nipple cream.   there is a great organic one called earth mama angel baby natural nipple butter .   it costs around $15---google it or grab some at whole foods...even has it.   just rub a little on after each feeding to soothe sore or cracked nipples.   it is totally safe for baby.   you will probably only need it the first week or two.

in the first few days after baby comes, your breasts will produce colostrum (some call it liquid gold!).   next, your milk will come in, and as it does, your breasts may become engorged.   you will have hard pamela anderson boobs until baby drinks the milk and calibrates your flow---your milk flow will look to baby for leadership.   engorgement only lasts about a day, but i highly recommend using organic green cabbage leaves fresh out of the fridge on your breasts.   this was the best natural technique to soothe my rock hard breasts.   just tear off a few leaves and make a little cabbage jacket over your boobs.....leave room for your nipples (probably bathed in cream) to peek out and feed baby. i used a soft bra to hold the leaves in place.

if you have extreme breast pains, cracked/bleeding nipples, or other concerns, please seek help immediately.  these need to be resolved asap, so that you can continue to nurse.  breastfeeding was painful for me from about day 3 to day 7, but not unbearable—just sort of toe-curling when my son first would latch on.   eventually, you hardly feel anything.

please stay tuned for an upcoming post on important information about breast infections including thrush (aka yeast infection) and mastitis---and how to avoid them.   nearly every mother i know, and i, has gotten these and was not familiar with them prior to baby.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"is that thing safe?"

i can't tell you how many people have asked me that question about this little clip-on chair that we take to restaurants. i am always devilishly tempted to answer "no", but instead just sort of smile and nod, confused.

restaurant highchairs can be kind of icky. or sketchy. or non-existent. but there's an awesome little clip-on chair by the kiwi company phil and ted's (which is always followed by the voice in my head uttering "party on dude") that will make your life easier at meals out with your baby or toddler up to 3 years old/40 lbs.

this little fabric chair clips on the table to keep pee-wee right next to you and happy instead of squirmy and bummed out down in his stroller. the chair collapses to the size of a trapper keeper and weighs about 2 pounds. it's great for your home dining table too!!

i forgot i had a baby when my dog was attacked.

let's talk about babies and emergencies...

one morning last week, my dog was attacked by 2 huge brown dogs roaming our street.  i looked out the window of my bathroom, where my baby was on the floor with me while i got ready, and saw my small dog outside being tossed around like a rag doll by his neck.  i immediately gasped, "no, no!" and took off running to go try to save him.....cut to 50 seconds later after screaming like a crazy person at the dogs in the middle of the street in my underwear.......the entire dog fight headed toward my front door and continued into my house as my dog tried to escape inside to where my second dog was!!!!

as i watched the dogs take off for my house, my brain clicked---"i have a baby.  where is my baby?  is he in his playpen?  nope.  he's in the bathroom, can crawl like a madman, and every door is open in his path."

you know that part in [insert action thriller here] where [insert terribly athletic maven here] leaps over shrubs and trees and cars and basically walks on air?  well, that was me.  ok, in my mind it was.   anywhoo, i killed myself trying to get into my front door at the exact moment the dogs did, if not sooner, so i could protect my son.  thank god, he was only a few feet from where i left him and looking a little confused.

as my neighbor was running in behind me yelling, "call the police! call the police!", i had no idea where my cell phone was from the night before, and i only have one landline phone in the house that felt too far away to even consider.

please learn from this traumatic and scary situation, as i have, and have an emergency stash spot for your kid.  whether it is a crib, playpen, or her safety-proofed room.   of course, remembering that you have a kid before actually implementing the plan is a good thing too.   i guess a baseball bat, a cattle prod taser, and bb gun by the front door aren't a bad idea either...but seriously....

have a plan.  have a land line phone, ideally not electrical/cordless (i learned in infant cpr to always use a land line in an emergency---a 911 call on a cell phone can cost you up to 7 precious minutes as it routes through the chp).   and, oh, find a long hose nearby to spray water on dogs during a dogfight---who knew?!?

my dog is pretty beat up, but he's going to be ok.  i, on the other hand,.......

day two...the day after labor day

just want to say thanks so much for everyone's kind words and support in regards to this new blog o' mine!!!    i'm really excited about connecting with you all!!!   please stay tuned....

Monday, September 7, 2009

day one...labor day

this is the stuff that no one talks about.

do not seek counsel in what to expect when you're expecting------unless what you're expecting is a head injury that leaves you a total boob who finds tips like "don't do drugs while pregnant" insightful. with 279 one-star reviews on amazon, i know i am not alone.....

i don't remember reading in this the most popular pregnancy book that if you have a really long pushing session during your birth (mine was 3.5 hours unmedicated), you can expect to be nearly crapping your pants within a week unless you're the kegel champion of the world.  and did i miss the part in the pushing chapter about how your bladder can nearly fall out of your vagina a couple of weeks after birth unless you get physical therapy (don't worry moms-to-be, this is repairable)?  granted not everyone pushes as long as i did, but what about the chapter on your baby taking 30 minute naps every 2 hours----that's 5 naps a day, folks----for 4 months of his infancy? once my baby was born, i was certain i'd be getting everything done during his 2 hour naps that he would definitely be taking twice a day....yeah, no.  never happened.  hey, and why isn't he sleeping through the night?

why are we parents not talking about this stuff?  do we forget these several months following childbirth due to hazy sleep deprivation? do we feel inadequate when our baby doesn't sleep through the night, or when we mothers meltdown on a weekly (ok, daily at first) basis? do we not want to bum out parents-to-be with stories of breast infections and newborns that want to nurse for what seems like 7 hours at a time?

motherhood has been the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me....all of the cliches are 150% true.  there is nothing more in life that i want now than to have my 9-month-old son grow into a happy, well-adjusted, compassionate human being.  he gives me profound fulfillment on an hourly basis.  during this amazing journey this last year or so, i have met incredible parents, babies, pregnant couples, doctors, doulas, midwives, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and more.   and i have logged countless hours on researching everything from homebirth to cloth diapers---to all of the inevitable, and yet totally unexpected, physical and psychological components of becoming a parent.  what i have never come across was a forum for parents or parents-to-be with unique current information on all things baby--with a focus on what happens immediately after the baby comes.  i would like to attempt that here at baby manual.  please email with stories, photos, and questions galore....let's build a community together.

this is my first post, so here we gooooooooooo!!!!!!

this is what a homebirth looks like....

and this....

and this....

and this....

and finally....

instant amnesia....pure bliss....

and i will definitely do it again if i am so baby poop all over me and all....

sepia photos by anna verwaal