Sunday, March 28, 2010

study up on the metabolic screening test for your newborn...

this is one of those things that your nurse at the hospital or, in the case of a home birth, your pediatrician over the phone busts out in the first few days of your baby's life.  and, um, there is not much space for doing a quick research session on your newborn's metabolic screening in the first couple of days of new motherhood.  you have to do the test by the 6th day, so you may want to look into it ahead of time.

the newborn metabolic screening is a test where the baby's heel is pricked and the blood is sent to a lab for the testing of certain metabolic diseases.  ask your doctor which diseases your baby will be tested for, and if testing positive, what the next step is.  you have the option in some states to opt out of the test.  this is a HIGHLY controversial move.  but, often the solution to a positive test result is breastfeeding.  so if you intend to breastfeed anyway, then heelprick or no heelprick, the test would be moot in my opinion.  it would be imperative that you follow a low-phenylalinine diet if you opt out of the test.  read more about the pku screening here.

photo via here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

cops should be handing out tickets for texting while strolling....

ok, yes.  i have been known to send a text or two.  but really?  can i not wait until after i take my kid out for a walk to do my texting?   well, for those of you that cannot break free, here is your knew favorite stroller accessory ---- and for only $24.95.  it's the text hook.

just try to keep your eyes on the sidewalk....

scary, they even recommend it for bicyclers.

photo via here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

strep b during pregnancy : you can avoid antibiotics by boosting probiotics

something that you're tested for near the end of your pregnancy is strep b.  if you test positive, often your doctor will tell you that it's easily treated during labor with antibiotics.  well, when i asked my doctor if i could try to treat it naturally if necessary, he said yes.

let's have a quick chat about the importance of probiotics....

research shows that 80% of your immune system is in your intestines. says the following about probiotics:

"the term probiotics comes from the greek "for life" (which gives you an inkling of what the word "antibiotics" really means).  when ingested, these living microorganisms replenish the microflora in your intestinal tract.  this results in the promotion of a number of health-enhancing functions, including enhanced digestive function."

basically, if you promote the good bacteria in your gut, then it will win out over the bad bacteria that enters it.   good bacteria feast on fiber, and the bad thrive on SUGAR and animal fat.  strep b is a bad bacteria.

antibiotics wipe out the bad bacteria AND the good bacteria.  so you are prone to possible further problems like reinfection and yeast infections (new mothers can get these in their breasts).

you can take probiotics in a capsule form.   read more on what to look for in a supplement on or here.

eating a healthy diet with plenty of fiber will help increase your good bacteria in your intestines.  plus, try to incorporate fermented foods like yogurt (try plain kefir since it's lower in can even make your own--try to use raw milk)---put it in a smoothie or oatmeal.  other fermented foods include sauerkraut and miso.

if you come up positive for strep b, then jump all over the probiotics supplements and food (although starting them daily TODAY is ideal for anyone).  then, have your doctor check you again---you will likely come up negative.

photo courtesy of

Thursday, March 11, 2010

did your parents label you?

i recently read a really touching article that a friend tore out of the new york times for me.   it is about how "the stories families tell assign roles to each person, and how those roles can become self-fulfilling prophecies."

the writer was raised under her own self-described label of "the one incapable of love."

she goes on to say, "maybe all parents say things like this to their children, meaning to describe rather than to harm."

she writes of how love in her family meant yelling, crying, and slamming doors---and was convinced that she could not love others. having only experienced the feeling of "a small, steady flame" when she was near her grandparents, she didn't realize it was love......then she had a baby.

i got teary-eyed when she expressed her new-found feelings toward her baby daughter as "a jolt, an electric sizzle that connected my head to my heart."

ok, now that i've quoted the entire thing, i think you will enjoy the read. it's quick but packs a punch...something to consider about how you were raised (be it a black or white sheep) and how you are raising your kids.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

kudzu bag

i have not let go, in my heart or mind, of a super-unique, cool bag that i saw at the double rl (ralph lauren) store months ago.   yes, it was too expensive....but i'm pretty sure i just found it for $20!!  it's called the nature bag.  granted, it's not indigo-dyed like the rl one, but that's ok---it's even better!

it's organic, and it's made out of kudzu by indigenous minority families of khmu in laos.

it is super strong, comes in all sizes, and ranges from solid/neutral to striped/vibrant.  it is perfect as a reusable grocery bag or kids' stash-all---or just a damn cute tote.

photos courtesy of nature bag

Friday, March 5, 2010

coolio nursery decor that cleans the air

are you at a loss for what to hang in that last spot in the nursery? well, these woolly pockets for plants (start at $49) are a great option...

they look super cool, are waterproof, and come in a few different sizes and colors.  as you may know, plants clean the air, especially spider plants, philodendron and golden pothos, so they are a wonderful addition to your baby's nursery.

photo courtesy of

Thursday, March 4, 2010

can you teach love?

my brother's wife just sent me the most beautiful story from "this american life" (an npr show) on unconditional love.  it's a story that she heard and "almost fainted from crying."

it starts by reviewing how medicine has looked at love.  you will probably not be surprised that for the early part of 20th century, certain medical professionals delivered a message of anti-attachment parenting.  they advised parents to "never kiss a baby on the mouth. don't pick up or cuddle your child...there are serious rocks ahead for the over-kissed child," and then described "over-kissed" as a child who was kissed more than once a year.  that last part was actually said by the head of the american psychological association in the mid-1900's.

the main focus of the piece is on two incredible stories of parents of deeply troubled children.  they are amazing people who have gone to the ends of the earth to truly help their children.  one story is of teaching attachment to a spiraling 12-year-old adopted boy (who was adopted at age 7 from a romanian orphanage).  the other is about a family who faces putting their autistic son into a special needs home.

it is a 60 minute piece that is pretty evenly divided at the half way point---meaning, if you don't have the time, do it piece by piece (i think the first story is the best if you only have 35 minutes).  click here to listen.

photo courtesy of

great downsize from the diaper bag.

i remember first seeing a diaper clutch and thinking, "what?  what the hell am i going to fit in this thing?"  well, now that my son has passed the mark of needing tons of stuff in a diaper bag, i am all about the clutch.   i love being able to grab something really compact that has a diaper or 2 and some wipes in it---and that's it!!

the "diaper ditty" (which folds into a rectangular clutch) is on sale for $15 right now at bella tunno.  you may have seen them before at baby gap for $34.

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

a january natural birth story from one of our readers...

the lovely lucy has given me permission to share the wonderful birth story of her daughter, giovanna.   when i was pregnant, i always loved reading other women's natural birth stories....and, now that i have given birth, the stories interest me even more (errr, someday i will write mine).  so i hope all of you pregnant gals and mamas enjoy this one!

lucy's story is particularly special because she clearly wrote it soon after giovanna's january birth, and so every detail is fresh and raw. here is an excerpt:

"We arrived at the hospital shortly before 6:30 am. I had imagined that James and I would park the car together because I wouldn’t want to be left alone. But the pain was too much and I didn’t want to be in the car for one minute longer. As soon as we pulled up to the hospital, I jumped out and headed up to Triage."

please read her full story here.

photo courtesy of

sorry about the ongoing poop theme, but check out this potty you can bury in the yard when you're done!

this is awwwwesome!!  a company named bECOthings has created a genius potty for potty training.  it is called the bECOpotty ($12.95), and is made from bamboo and rice husks (which are farming left-overs). when your kid is done with it, you can bury it in the yard, and it biodegrades.

am i the only one with this obvious question : do you keep the "remnants" in the buried potty to help fertilize the yard?

photo courtesy of