Natural Parenting — Eco Parenting

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Forward Facing Strollers Stress Babies 10

 A recent study confirms what those of use who practice intuitive and attachment parenting already know; forward facing strollers stress babies and inhibits their social and language development. It sometimes makes me wonder about the ability of mainstream culture to empathize at all with babies. According to the CNN report last Friday: " The research found that children not facing the person pushing them were significantly less likely to talk, laugh and interact with their parents. Based on a study of 2,722 parents and children, the study by Dundee University's School of Psychology calls into question the designs of many of the world's most popular baby strollers. "Our experimental study showed that, simply by turning the buggy around, parents' rate of talking to their baby doubled," said developmental psychologist Suzanne Zeedyk, who led the research. Zeedyk's study, published by British charity National Literacy Trust, included an experiment in which 20 babies were wheeled in buggies for a mile, spending half the trip facing their parents and the other half facing away, Parents using face-to-face strollers were more likely to talk to their children, who were less likely to exhibit signs of stress, the study said. "Our data suggests that for many babies today, life in a buggy is emotionally impoverished and possibly stressful," Zeedyk said. "Stressed babies grow into anxious adults." The study found that 62 percent of all children observed traveled in forward-facing prams. For children between the ages of one and two, the figure was 86 percent." We should not need a study to tell us that babies want to be close to their caregivers, and all the items of mainstream parenting are designed make our lives more "convenient" but they also detach us from our children, both physically and emotionally. Attachment parenting advocates already know this and this is precisely why we wear our babies. Eye contact, closeness, conversation and communication leads to happier, healthier babies and parents. Of course, if you are think babywearing is too primitive or might hurt your back, you can always drop $500 or $1,000 on a nice rear facing stroller system like Bugaboo or Orbit. Read more at CNN.com Image Source: Flickr.com

How Organic Is Your Baby? 1

How Organic is Your BabyHow Organic is Your Baby? What does it mean to have an organic baby? There was a report done by The Environmental Working Group that showed results including findings of a significant amount of toxic chemicals are found in the blood of newborns. The American Red Cross ran a series of blood tests on 10 umbilical-cord samples and their findings included 287 contaminants in the blood samples. Of the 287 found in the blood, 180 of the contaminants cause cancer in humans and animals, 217 of them cause damage to the brain and nervous system. 208 of the toxic chemicals caused abnormalities and birth defects on animals tested. Included in the contaminants were mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, plastic and other noted toxic contaminants. Now there is a whole market of organic baby products that you can buy to help eliminate the toxic chemicals that bombard our babies. The National Organic Standards Board or NOSB was established to assist the National Organic Program (NOP) with creating and maintaining guidelines for substances in organic production. In 1990 the US congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act, which made its stipulation that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) establish uniform standards for Organic Agricultural Products. Today you can buy both edible and non-edible organic baby products. You can find organic baby food, organic baby textiles in which products are made from, pesticide free wood based organic baby furniture products, organic baby clothing, organic baby body care products and even a whole organic baby shower waiting to happen. Organic standards included that the NOP enforces are; no organic food products may contain in production or handling: genetic engineering, ionizing radiation and sewage sludge. Crops meet organic standard if they were grown with out the use of most conventional pesticides, petroleum based fertilizers and sewage sludge based fertilizers. Livestock must be raised according to organic standards. This means that livestock are fed organic feed, raised with access to outdoors, and raised free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Also in accordance with the NOP, organic farmers adhere to practices that minimize soil erosion and practice renewal resources and exercise maximum water conservation. Organic farmers rely on rotating crops and livestock grazing as opposed to using harmful chemically synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic farmers do not use harmful chemical pesticides that contaminate the groundwater and use natural fertilizer alternative like animal and plant waste to avoid polluting waterways. Many pregnant women who sharecrop have medical problems themselves as do their babies because of exposure to non-organic toxic substances. Today you can walk into any well-stocked grocery store and find a supply or organic baby food as well as your local health food store. The label will say organic to ensure that you are getting organic baby food or organic baby products. Online I found organic baby crib sets including the mattress made by a family based company called Shepard's Dream. All the wool and cotton used in their products is organically grown. Arlington Furniture Factory makes FSS certified wooden products. FSS certified means that the wood they use is not wood byproduct it is real wood and it comes from renewable forests. Their finishes are natural and non-toxic. There are also lines of pesticide and chemical free organic baby clothes you can get for your baby. Organic baby soaps and products can be found in your local health food stores as well. For those who are expecting their own organic baby or grandchild there is a fun site where you can get all your organic baby shower products at http://www.organicbabyshower.com/. One other great site for all Organic non-edible baby needs including rattles and teethers is http://www.organicgiftshop.com/. http://debraslist.com/ has a listing of many organic baby sites to choose from including the one's I have mentioned above. Today's health and environmentally conscious parent has a lot of choices when it comes to keeping their organic baby healthy and safe. Author: Regina Schwartz About the author: Here is an excellent site written by Regina Schwartz on Infant CPR and other Life saving Tips. This site has a lot of relevant information for new parents. Check it out at: infant cpr information Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/clappstar/2605714815/

New Parent Preparations 0

new parent preparations So you're pregnant? Congratulations! Your life is about to change in ways you might find unthinkable (and we're not even talking about the surrender of your once slim waistline to proportions most comparable to that of a Dr. Suess character). Pregnancy is the beginning of a new life for a baby, but also a new life for you as a parent. If this is your first baby, you may be filled with an endless list of questions and concerns. If you're a veteran of the labor and delivery room, you've got a better idea of what to expect, yet every pregnancy, like every mother and child, is different. Making Choices While pregnancy and birth have physiologically been the same since the beginning of time, your options as a pregnant woman today are greater than at any previous time in history. After confirming your pregnancy, your first (and arguably most important) decision to be made is choice of caregiver. While traditionally in the U.S., maternal care has been provided through obstetrical physicians and hospital births, there is a growing movement towards return to low intervention, midwife-assisted births*. How do you know which is right for you? Consider what is most important to your birth experience (always remembering that birth is anything but predictable and flexibility is vital). Are you interested in birthing natural, without the aid of drugs or invasive procedures? Would you rather give birth at home or in a birthing center as opposed to a hospital? A midwife may be the right choice for you. Conversely, if you know up front you'll want an epidural at the first sign of labor pain you'll probably find the anesthesiologist at your local hospital to be your best friend. Keep in mind, each choice has its pros and cons and it's up to you to weigh which option is the best for your needs. If you give birth at home and have complications, you'll need to be transported to the hospital. Epidurals may provide excellent pain relief (or not), but have potentially serious, although rare, side effects. Some birthing centers will not accept a mother attempting vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC). Being an educated consumer in your pregnancy will allow the best possible birth experience and beginning for your new baby. Planning for Baby Somewhere around middle to late pregnancy (usually about the time you can no longer see your toes because of your protruding middle), you'll want to start making accommodations at home for your babies expected arrival. If this is your first, trust yourself to the care of an experienced mommy friend who can prevent "New Mother Shopping Syndrome," i.e., going to Babies 'R Us and spending an exorbitant amount of money on baby paraphernalia that, not only do you not need, but you will never use. Yes, the mommy bear that emits sounds of the womb is cute. No, your baby will not be fooled. This is the time to cultivate self control, which will particularly come in handy when your precious baby has become a 16-year old who has just wrecked the family car. Babies actually need very little in the way of gear for the first few months of life. If you're planning to family bed, you can skip the nursery furniture altogether. Some good choices of useful items include a five-point harness infant car seat, a quality hospital grade breast pump if you're planning to breastfeed (Medela is the gold star standard), and plenty of Onesies for sleep and play. A baby sling is also useful for helping mom get things done around the house while still meeting the babies need to be held, and also for discreet public breastfeeding. Also unnecessary are baby toys, gyms, etc., which will not be of interest to the infant until they are at least six months old. Delivering the Goods Prepare for labor and delivery by compiling a plan for your caregiver sharing your wishes for birth. Discuss your feelings on all types of childbirth medical intervention including the use of epidural, IV's, artificial rupture of the membranes, fetal monitors, episiotomy, etc. Remember that a birth plan is simply that, a plan. Since no one knows exactly how any given birth will proceed, it is not a guarantee of any kind*. While the mother's experience with birth is important, the ultimate goal is a healthy baby, whatever it takes to achieve it*. A birth plan is simply helpful in communicating the type of birth experience you would like to have, and if you have made a wise selection in caregiver, you will have someone who will work with you to honor these wishes to the extent they are possible. You may want to hire a doula to assist during labor. A doula's purpose is to support and be an advocate for the mother, and can be helpful in achieving the mother's goals towards birth. Surviving the First Weeks After nine months of waiting and planning, your baby is finally in arms. What next? Despite that you might feel you've gotten away with something when the hospital staff actually allows you to leave with your baby (whom you think you have no idea how to care for), remembering a few simple tips can help things go more smoothly. Feed your baby on demand. Don't try to schedule feeding sessions, which can be detrimental to establishing a proper milk supply if breastfeeding, and simply isn't good for baby. Keep a record of wet and soiled diapers for the first few weeks to assure baby is taking in enough breast milk or formula. Hold baby as often as possible. Contrary to popular opinion, he can't be spoiled. Always remember to place your baby on his back to sleep and tummy to play, to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Call your pediatrician if your baby develops a fever, or if you have any questions or concerns. Most importantly, remember motherhood is a work in progress and cut yourself some slack. You will make mistakes, learn, grow and change. Both babies and parents are born, and neither reaches their full potential overnight. Author: Barbara Eastom Bates About the author: Barbara Eastom Bates is a freelance writing living in east Tennessee with her husband and two children. In addition to writing articles about pregnancy and parenting, Barbara develops quality of life media for Navy and Marine Corps families. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/supercake/438139776/

SIDS Cribs and Cosleeping 20

SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Hearing those four little words or the one little acronym can strike fear in the heart of any new parent. SIDS is real, random, quick and totally unexpected. Parents will naturally do anything in their power to prevent the unthinkable from happening to their perfectly healthy newborn. What is SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is exactly what it sounds like. A perfectly healthy newborn baby, usually less than 6 months old, simply stops breathing in their sleep. The unsuspecting parents go to wake their child up from his or her nap and find their worst nightmare has come true. While many theories are flying around about the cause of SIDS, most focus on the deepness of sleep and how it affects the child's breathing. Babies do not sleep as soundly when they are on their backs and many attribute this fact to the success of the "back to sleep" campaign. SIDS Cribs. Could there be a connection? Another theory which you may not be familiar with is that the crib mattress itself is to blame for SIDS cases. It is actually the chemicals and toxins emitted from the mattress that is actually to blame. Arsenic, phosphorus and antimony are intentionally added to crib mattresses by the manufacturers as fire retardants. SIDS was very rare prior to the 1950s when these additives became standard.
"As crib mattresses start to age, these fire retardant chemicals react with ordinary household fungi (harmless fungi, at that) to create a very, very dangerous chemical reaction. The toxins emitted, as these compounds interact, are actually a thousand times more toxic than carbon monoxide."
According to the article found at bestinbedding.com "As crib mattresses start to age, these fire retardant chemicals react with ordinary household fungi (harmless fungi, at that) to create a very, very dangerous chemical reaction. The toxins emitted, as these compounds interact, are actually a thousand times more toxic than carbon monoxide. While other factors like nutrition, smoking around the baby, and sleep position are still potentially factors in SIDS, given the research relating non-organic crib mattresses to fatal toxin release should be enough for new mothers to take a look at their portable and non-portable crib mattress purchases." In addition, the toxins emitted become greater as time goes on. This may explain why SIDS rates are higher for second children.....and higher yet for third children and so on. Many parents will only purchase a crib mattress one time and re-use it for all of their children. In addition, the fungi left by the first baby is already in place to start interacting with the chemicals more quickly when the following children use the mattress. The toxic mattress theory also explains why the "Back to sleep" campaign has been so successful. If a baby is not lying face down in a pool of neuro-toxins then they at least have a bit of fresh air in the mix and a better shot at survival. The toxic gases released by the mattress when it interacts with the fungi is very dense and heavier than air so it lies in a very thin film on the mattress which the baby is face-first in when sleeping in a prone position. If you think the toxic mattress theory has merit or if you just want to err on the side of caution then there are three options you have to minimize your newborn's exposure to these potentially lethal toxins (which some also theorize are connected to the rise in autism in the United States): 1. Purchase an organic crib mattress 2. Mattress wrapping 3. Co-sleeping Let's quickly explore these three options. Organic Crib Mattress Organic crib mattresses are free of synthetic fabrics, plastics, formaldehyde, chemicals, dyes and the hazardous chemicals that are linked to SIDS. The mattresses are commonly made with wool which acts as a natural fire retardant. Even if SIDS does not concern you, do you want your child spending 70% of their early life laying on a toxic, synthetic mattress? Don't forget to make sure baby's mattress pad, crib bedding and sleepwear are also organic. You can buy organic crib mattresses at Amazon, TheNaturalSleepStore, Non-toxic.com, or Nature'sCrib.com Mattress Wrapping Mattress wrapping is simply wrapping your existing crib mattress in a particular way with an impermeable cover (plastic) to minimize the toxic fumes that your baby comes in contact with. The cover keeps moisture from the baby out and toxic fumes in. It is certainly much less expensive that buying an organic mattress for up to $1000. Parents have been wrapping crib mattresses in New Zealand for the last twelve years thanks to aggressive public awareness campaigns and in that time their SIDS rate has dropped to one of the lowest in the world and there has never been a reported SIDS case on a properly wrapped mattress. Please read that again.
There has never been a single reported SIDS case on a properly wrapped mattress.
Why isn't this common knowledge? Can you imagine the lawsuit if mattress manufacturers ever have to admit responsibility? Well, now you know and you should probably make a point of telling all of your pregnant friends. If you are going to use a crib with a non-organic mattress, then wrap it. You will probably have to import your mattress cover from overseas but its a small price to pay for not gambling on your baby's life. Learn more about mattress wrapping at: http://www.cotlife2000.com/ http://www.babysake.com/Howtowrap.htm http://www.healthychild.com/cribdeathcause.htm http://www.preventcribdeath.com/ Cosleeping The last option (and the least expensive) if you are interested in keeping your baby safe from SIDS is cosleeping. Odds are that your adult mattress is not organic either, but it contains more springs and frame than pure foam which is what contains the PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) used as flame retardants. (Please never cosleep with your baby if you are using a tempurpedic or memory foam mattress.) Other than reduced gases, cosleeping offers further protection against SIDS. Breastfeeding babies are a substantially reduced risk for SIDS, and cosleeping facilitates breastfeeding more than any other lifestyle choice. Breastfeeding newborns will also not assume a prone (tummy lying) position while sleeping next to their lactating mothers. Babies generally sleep on their sides or back for easy access to mom. Cosleeping mothers are also in a higher alert state during sleep so they are much more likely to respond to a baby in any sort of silent distress. Lastly, since a fear of fire seems to be the rationale for loading up crib mattresses with chemicals (by federal law mind you), then doesn't it make sense to keep the batteries in your smoke alarms fresh and sleep next to your child so you can carry them out of your home in the event of an emergency? If you are concerned about the myths surrounding cosleeping safety, then first keep in mind that there is a reason they call it "cot death" or "crib death" and not "sleeping next to mom death". One well publicized study which attempted to portray cosleeping as unsafe found 515 cosleeping deaths in an eight year period. While that may sound like a large number, it pales in comparison to the approximately 34,000 crib deaths that occurred in the US in the same time period. There are other SIDS risk factors such as having smoking parents (smokers exhale toxins when they breathe) and recent vaccinations. Knowing the risk factors and causes of SIDS, particularly the ones that are exceptionally easy to eliminate, is the first step parents can take to sleeping easy knowing your baby is safe. Learn more about cosleeping and SIDS at: http://www.babyreference.com/Cosleeping&SIDSFactSheet.htm Other SIDS death factors: http://www.healthychild.com/SIDS-crib-death-factors.htm Author: Sheryl Lyon Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/peasap/2561252071/