Friday, October 30, 2009
1. All babies are different. They eat different amounts, and progress at different rates. Just to make parents' lives more exciting!
2. Stick to a routine, creating eating habits.
3. Initially, offer breastmilk or formula first to ensure they get all nutrients each day.
4. Don't push them to eat too much to avoid upset tummies.
5. Make and store the purees thicker than you need to so you can thin them down and warm them up with boiling water, breastmilk or formula.
6. Select quality organic ingredients with a variety of nutrients and colors. When buying baby food, read labels carefully. Stay away from additives, sweeteners, fillers and thickeners such as starches.
7. Use clean utensils.
8. Never place solids in your baby's bottle.
9. Most babies prefer food at room temperature. Be careful with microwaved food. Temperature may be uneven.
10. Expect a mess!
Check out our Homemade Baby Food Recipes page, developed by experienced moms! Delicious recipes with great nutritional values.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Well, we came across Patemm, a practical solution to the problem. A high-quality cotton pad with a round design that accommodates squirmy infants and toddlers, and also serves as a diaper bag. It comes with pockets for diapers, wipes and a change of clothes.
The version we tested was fabulous! Made of waterproof, laminated cotton, it is free of BPA, lead, PVC and latex. And very stylish. Clearly designed by an experienced mom.
For product details, logon to patemm.com
Its spout attaches to the tub and creates different activities with water, turning a bath into a science experiment!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
1. Follow all directions carefully.
2. Don't use paint not intended for skin.
3. Bad smell is a sign of contamination. Throw it away!
4. Don't use paint around kids' eyes.
5. If you're decorating your skin with something never used before, test it in advance for allergic reactions. Test it on the kids arms for a couple of days before putting it on the face.
For detailed information, logon to the fda.gov
Kids aged 2-5 now spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of a TV screen. The older segment of that group (ages 6-11) spend a little less time, about 28 hours per week, due to school longer hours. About 97% view live TV, however, younger kids spend more time than the older group watching it via DVR, DVD and VCR.
That is a shame! Kids need plenty of time playing with toys. Being active, rather than passive in front of a TV, help them build their cognitive skills, and develop executive functions such as self-control, patience and problem-solving.
For more details on the data released, logon to nielsen.com
Monday, October 26, 2009
Have we mentioned it is beautiful too?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Disney, owner of Baby Einstein, has been threatened a class-action lawsuit for unfair and deceptive practices as a result of its false "educational" claim. Disney agreed to refund the full purchase price to all who bought the DVDs since 2004. We love that!
For more information on the refund, logon to babyeinstein.com.
Friday, October 23, 2009
1. Choose better body care products for kids: read the ingredients and avoid triclosan, BHA, fragrance and oxybenzone.
2. Eat fresh organic foods: choose organic when possible, and limit canned food and infant formula, as can linings contain BPA.
3. Pick plastics carefully: some plastics contain BPA, which is linked to cancer. Avoid clear, hard plastic bottles market with a "7" or "PC". Don't microwave plastic containers. Stay away from toys marked with a "3" or "PVC."
4. Filter your tap water: this will reduce your family's exposure to impurities in water, like chlorine and lead. Mix infant formula with fluoride-free water.
5. Wash your hands often: do we need to elaborate on that?
6. Skip non-stick cookware: when overheated, they can emit toxic fumes. Use cast iron or stainless steel instead.
7. Use a HEPA-filter vacuum: it captures the widest range of particles and get rid of allergens.
8. Get iodine: it buffers against chemicals like perchlorate, which can disrupt the thyroid system and affect brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
9. Use greener cleaners and avoid pesticides: household cleaners, bug killers, pet treatments, and air fresheners can irritate kids' lungs, especially if your kids have asthma. Investigate less toxic alternatives. Use vinegar in place of bleach, baking soda to scrub your tiles, and hydrogen peroxide to remove stains.
10. Eat good fats: omega-3 fatty acids can offset toxic effects of lead and mercury. They're in fish, eggs, nuts, oils, and produce. Choose low-mercury fish, especially if you're pregnant. Breast milk is the best source of good fats (and other benefits) for babies, and protects them from toxic chemicals.
For detailed information, logon to ewg.org
Thursday, October 22, 2009
We found these incredibly adorable organic rattles for babies. They are so cute that even toddlers may want to play with them! All made with organic cotton.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Developing fetuses and babies are the most vulnerable to BPA's toxic effects. So, the very first step is replacing the old baby bottles and sippy cups to BPA-free ones. Also, be aware that BPA contaminates liquid baby formula sold in metal cans. Choosing powdered versions is a much safer option.
As a rule of thumb, avoid canned foods, and don't use polycarbonate plastics for warm food and drinks.
For detailed information, logon to EWG.org
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
We found this article on the New York Times providing very detailed information, and answering key questions from parents and pregnant women. Check it out!
Monday, October 19, 2009
1. Trim consumption of animal fats: Some toxins linked to prenatal nervous systems and hormonal damage are stored in fatty tissue.
2. Put a stop to insecticides in your home and office: Organophosphates are a family of insecticides that attack the nervous system. Pesticides also release inhalable volatile organic compounds.
3. Minimize foods pesticides: Some pesticides used on fruits and vegetables can be toxic. Check our list of vegetables and fruits with then lowest load of pesticides.
4. Pass on high-mercury fish: See article below on Fish and Mercury.
5. Let Old Paint Lie: If your old house has lead paint in good condition, cover it with fresh paint rather than removing it, which releases lead dust into the air. To test paint for lead, see www.epa.gov/lead or call the EPA's lead hot line at 800-426-4791.
6. Make sure your water is safe to drink: Your local utility must by law provide you with an annual "Right to Know" report listing the EPA-recognized pollutants that exist in your water at potentially unsafe levels.
7. Avoid the VOCs that offgas from paints, glues, air fresheners: Exposure to air fresheners during pregnancy and within the first six months of life was associated with diarrhea and earache in infants and headaches, according to a study published in the October 2003 Archives of Environmental Health.
8. Steer clear of vehicular and smokestack emissions: Research conducted by Columbia University links "combustion-related" chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with shorter gestation periods for pregnant women, resulting in smaller babies.
9. Stay away from phthalates in vinyl, personal-care and cleaning products: Chemicals called phthalates, known hormone-system disruptors that have caused birth defects in lab animals, are widely used as plasticizers in nail polishes and vinyl and as solvents in synthetic fragrances. Avoid soft vinyl products and cosmetics containing "Fragrance."
10. Get rid of those crumbling foam cushions: The latest chemicals found to be approaching possibly unsafe levels in American women's breast milk, as well as umbilical-cord blood, are fire retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. Furniture foam tends to release PBDEs into house dust when it breaks down.
Source: Green Guide
According to EWG, pregnant women should avoid the following types of fish:
Gulf Coast Oysters
Recommended no more than one serving per month:
Great Lakes salmon
Gulf Coast blue crab
Channel catfish (wild)
Lowest in mercury:
Blue crab (mid-Atlantic)
Salmon (wild Pacific)
* Shrimp fishing and farming practices have raised serious environmental concerns.
** Farmed catfish have low mercury levels but may contain PCBs in amounts of concern for pregnant women.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Idbids' adorable plush toys teach children environmental sustainability in very fun ways. Scout, Lola and Waverly are handcrafted using 100% organic Egyptian cotton. They come with a storybook that teaches lessons about Earth and how to make a difference. The child can chart his or her progress as steps are completed every day.
Not only an educational toy, it is adorable!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
That sounds obvious, doesn't it? But how can we help our kids develop what scientists call "executive function"?
In the past, kids used to spend a lot of time engaged in freewheeling imaginative play, pretending they were characters of a particular plot. These activities helped kids develop their cognitive skills and discipline, building their concentration, their ability to control emotions and resist impulses.
Nowadays, kids tend to spend extensive passive time in front of the TV, video-games, or in activities controlled by adults, not exercising their self-regulation skills.
Activities that help kids develop their creativity and self-discipline are often ignored by parents and some pre-schools these days. Unfortunately, poor executive function is associated with unsuccessful academic performance.
For more information about how to develop executive functions, and about special programs like "Tools of Mind", logon to childtrends.org and npr.org.
Did you know that it contains thousands of crystals that turn into gel when wet?
Yes, very interesting technology that allows our babies to feel dry, even after loads of pee.
We also did some research and found out a few positives and negatives. Needless to say, many positives can be listed about disposing nasty dirty diapers! It also keep babies dry, avoiding rashes.
Now the negatives, besides the obvious knowledge that disposable diapers are not environmentally friendly. We found out that the crystals are made of super absorbent polymers, which turn into gel when wet. If the diaper breaks open and ends up on baby's skin or mouth, the gel can cause gastrointestinal and skin irritation. So, never leave it for longer than 3 hours!
Another interesting negative is the fact that babies on disposable diapers take a much longer time to be potty trained because they don't feel the discomfort of wet pants. Interesting!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Check out this very educational video from Dr. David Hill, a pediatrician from North Carolina, about the transition from solid to finger foods.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The worst plastic used in children's toys, including teethers, is polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. Considered "hormone disruptors" and linked with asthma and respiratory problems, phthalates can migrate out of toys and onto the hands (and into the mouths) of children. Fortunately, many companies are removing phthalates, and several states, including California and Maine, are initiating legislation that would ban the sale of any children's products containing problem chemicals.
Lead has also been found frequently in toys, including Barbie dolls, Fisher-Price locomotives and Thomas the Tank Engines, and have been recalled due to violations of lead paint standards. Lead is also found in the paint of some old wood and metal toys, especially in imports. Lead is associated with a host of learning disabilities and behavior disorders, and even low exposures can carry lifelong effects.
Look for plastics made without PVC. It's usually identifiable by the number 3, often with the letters "PVC" or the word "vinyl" next to the recycling symbol. You can also use the "smell test"; plastics made with vinyl usually have a plasticky smell, similar to that of a new shower curtain. If you aren't sure whether a product contains PVC or PVC parts, call the manufacturer.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Major department stores offer aisles and aisles of options, but most of them are made of lousy expendable materials, expensive, and not educational.
I'm on a mission to find good options of eco-friendly and educational toys. I'll post more sources as they become available. In the meantime, check these websites, featuring eco-friendly toys by age, and category such as books, games, dolls, musical instruments, etc.