Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Births of today – are all these interventions necessary?

I am about to give birth to our third child, thus have been reading a lot more about pregnancy, birth and babies. Kinda goes with the territory.

I will say I am saddened by what I read. Birth has become such a medical procedure. What happened to the beauty of birth designed by God? I am not saying all medical interventions are completely unnecessary, as they have saved lives, but are they overused? And are we doing ourselves a favor to embrace them or should we avoid them?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just a mama sharing evidence-based articles so other mamas and mamas-to-be may also learn and make educated decisions of their own.

1. This is a great article of 10 decisions parents must make concerning their newborn. Decisions like delayed cord clamping, koala care, eye ointment, Vit k injection and more. I love that she gives both sides and is not biased in her delivery.

2. Consumer Reports even chimed in. They have a list of 10 pregnancy/birth procedures to avoid, as well as a list of 10 things to do when you are pregnant. One of those things includes considering a midwife. So excited to see such a list from a more mainstream media. The fact of the matter is of all developed countries, the US has the highest infant mortality rate. While no one is sure why, it is true that the US has the highest medical interventions of these countries. Poor diet, obesity are other factors that have been tossed around.

3. Delayed cord clamping. Did you know that 1/3 of the baby’s blood volume resides in the placenta at the time of birth? That blood is the baby’s, so should have the rights to it, but immediate cord clamping has become common practice. Here is a great article debunking common myths about cord clamping. Even the World Health Organization recommends delaying cord clamping. Some recommend delaying 3-5 minutes, others recommend waiting until the cord stops pulsating, usually 10-15 minutes. Others decide on a Lotus Birth where the placenta stays attached until the cord and all fall off on its own. Now, I personally can’t see toting around a placenta and a baby for that long, but this is a common practice in some countries.

I will be posting more articles, but right now, this mama is too tired to think anymore!

Find A Moms Blog for Green and Natural Living on Facebook

I finally go on the bandwagon and created my Facebook page. I hope you will come “Like” me there and invite your friends to learn more about eco-friendly living and keeping toxics away from our children.

Go here to like my page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Parenting-A-Moms-Blog/218719518203744?skip_nax_wizard=true#!/pages/Green-Parenting-A-Moms-Blog/218719518203744

God bless!

Hape Toys are here!! Just in time for Christmas

I have added a few Hape Toys to my “Shop” page. I recently discovered Hape toys and fell in love with the look, quality and commitment to safety.

Hape has a wide variety of toys for pretend play, learning toys, puzzles, infant toys, wood vehicles and much more. I have a limited quality, so get them while you can! The space ship toy is already sold, but if interested, please send me your name and I can let you know when I order more.

Happy shopping!

Lead, PVC and BPA free lunchboxes for back-to-school 2011

Lead as you know is toxic, which makes it surprising that it is in lunchboxes and backpacks. PVC is toxic as it contains phthalates and lead so it’s important for lunchboxes to be lead-free. And BPA is the hormone disrupting chemical found in plastics whose toxic effects have been hitting the news and blogs for the last several years. Kids are going to be touching the lunch box with their hands, then eat their food with their hands, so it is important for your child’s lunchbox to be free of these nasty chemicals.

Before purchasing a lunch box for your child, read the label. Make sure it is not made of PVC. Stainless steel, nylon, polypropelyne or cloth are much safer materials. Look for tags that say PVC-free (NOTE: PVC-free means the lead levels are below the amount deemed “safe” by a government agency). You also want to avoid BPA if you are purchasing a water bottle or food storage containers.

Here is a list of BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes.

Citizens Pip  You can customize your lunch box with accessories — separate food compartments, stainless steel bottle, cloth napkins, fork/spoon set, and of course the lunch box itself!

The Cool Tote is a replacement for the traditional brown bag. It’s made of nylon thus lead and other toxin-free.

Crocodile Creek. Traditional lunch box style that is well-made and have very cute traditional style, zippered lunch box and kid-friendly designs.

Laptop lunches are good for those who don’t like their food to touch. There are little compartments for separating food.

LL Bean has a critter lunch box line that is really cute and lead and PVC-free.  They would be great for a tween who wants something stylish without licensed characters.

LunchBots stainless steel containers. Several types to choose from. Does not have a bag though.

The Lunch Pak by Fleurville is a backpack design, but does have a handle to carry like a traditional lunch box. They also offer a lunch buddy which is more of a traditional lunch box style. (Note: 2 years ago they said their lead levels were “undetectable.” When I called this week, they said their lunch boxes were all lead and PVC-free. Slightly leery here, but they said they lead/PVC free, so they are on the list.)

Mimi the Sardine has cute cloth lunch totes that are PVC and lead free. There are several designs such as the ladybug, monkey/elephant/flower pattern, bugs and mice (my favorite).

Munchlers look like zoo animals and they fold out into a placemat, which is great. They are insulated and come in several designs including a yellow tiger, white dog, green bunny and pink panda. My daughter has the white dog – very cute.

PlanetBox is by far the most pricey, but it’s a very cool system. It’s a bento-style box of stainless steel that is  dishwasher safe. You can customize with cute magnets. The deluxe set has 2 dipper bowls and a carry bag that has a place to store a water bottle and little extras. The main drawback is the hefty price: $59.99, plus almost $11 in shipping. However, it is something that is sure to last for years.

Lunchopolis is another zippered, traditional style, no-nonsense lunch box. The lunch box lining is aluminum which I don’t care for. Also available are BPA-free containers and water bottles.

Kid Konserve is a similar to Citizens Pip’s customizable lunch box system. You can get ala carte or as a system.

Thermapod is another similar concept to the laptop lunch.

ZAK Designs offers several licensed character insulated lunch boxes that are lead free and lined with PVC-free material. Note, they just mention “PVC-free lining” so leads me to believe the entire lunch box may not be PVC-free. But a phone call to ZAK confirmed they are entirely lead-free. Wal-Mart and Target carry Zak lunch boxes.

ReusableBags.com has a whole section also dedicated to lead, PVC, and BPA-free lunches. I bought two ACME lunch bags — one to carry bottles in for my son to daycare (it fits three Dr. Brown bottles) and one for me for the milk I pump for him at work (it fits six medela bottles).

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Easy do-it-yourself eco-friendly disinfectant spray

I just made some of this today and it smells so wonderful! I felt like I was at a spa, even though I had 4 young children (3 in diapers) running around me all morning.

Disinfectant spray
1 ½ cups water
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender oil
Combine in spray bottle and shake vigorously. Spray in the air to disinfect. Tea tree oil and lavender oil are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-whatever!

If you want bonus points, you can up the water (roughly 1/2 – 3/4 cups for every 20 drops of essential oils) and add 20 drops of orange oil, lemon oil and/or eucalyptus oil. These oils also have antiseptic and disinfectant properties. I added the orange oil to the above and wow! Love it!

Making your own allows you to avoid the toxic chemicals found in common disinfectants.

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Health Concerns of Lysol

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The health effects of Lysol

When my kids get sick, I want to reach for the Lysol spray, just as my mom did and as the marketers of Lysol tell me I should. But is it safe?

The Wiki page on Lysol states this:

The active ingredient in many of the Lysol products is benzalkonium chloride.[1] This ingredient is highly toxic to fish (LC50 = 280 μg ai/L), very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates (LC50 = 5.9 μg ai/L), moderately toxic to birds (LD50 = 136 mg/kg-bw), and slightly toxic (“safe”) to mammals (LD50 = 430 mg/kg-bw).

The former main chemical ingredient wass cresol, which does have toxicity at some levels. This version is still available commercially. Breathing high levels over a short period of time can cause irritation to the nose and throat. I experience this every time I spray Lysol. And though there is known toxicity at “high” levels, small exposure over a long period of time has not been studied.

In addition, there are other chemicals including Glycol Ethers, O-phenylphenol, formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid that all have health concerns. It is also important to note that Lysol’s formula is considered proprietary, thus the ingredients list may not be fully disclosed. Wonder what else is in there? Possibly phthalates since fragrances are used and these 2 typically go hand-in-hand, but again show knows?

Does this sound like something you want to spray all over your house, furniture, doorknobs, bathroom, nursery, toys, etc? I think I will pass, too.

Daycares overuse Lysol. When my kids were smaller, the thought of my children mouthing toys that have been sprayed so heavily with Lysol there was a film on them made me cringe, of course so did the thought of them mouthing the same toy 11 other babies just mouthed. Ah, the joys of daycare!

Bottom line: really occassional use my have no harmful effects at all (but then again, cummulative exposure has not been studied and chemicals surround most of us every day). Aside from health concerns, there are environmental concerns, like the toxicity to fish, aquadic invertebretes and birds. Concerned parents do have choices. Vote with your wallet! Don’t buy Lysol spray or any Lysol product until their products are reformulated and are truly non-toxic. Vinegar and water will disinfect a toy just as well, without the weird film and chemicals. Not to mention it’s much cheaper. You can also make your own disinfectant spray in seconds! I love it and am much happier with it than Lysol. Is smells so fresh – like a spa – and has no chemicals in it! It disinfects and it is something I actually want to smell!

10 tips for getting your kids to eat healthy

I found this great article on getting kids to eat healthy. With today’s busy lifestyle, it can often seem hard to do, but there are some simple things parents can do. The quickest and likely easiest change is to eat dinner as a family without any distrations like TV. It’s a great time for everyone to share what happened in their day and lets kids see you eat your greens.

Here is the Reader’s Digest version of the tips, but be sure to read the entire article for more on how to make these tips a reality in your home.

  • Eat with your children.
  • Make food fun! Experiment with new foods and make meals as colourful and as rich in variety as possible.
  • Include two portions of vegetables in your evening meal, and provide fruit or a fruit-based pudding for dessert.
  • ‘Hide’ fruit and vegetables if necessary. Blend it into soups, chop it finely into lasagne and bolognese, make strawberry ice cream, and whip up fruit smoothies.
  • Encourage children to drink water or sugar-free diluting juice between meals. This will help prevent dehydration, which can lead to constipation and poor concentration.
  • If you have a fussy eater in the household, don’t give up hope. Children’s tastes often change as they grow older. Keep trying, but don’t focus too much on the issue. Try serving the same foods in different forms — for example, people who dislike the texture of broccoli often find it more palatable in a sauce or soup.
  • Include a portion of lean meat or another protein in every meal.
  • Pack a healthy lunchbox. ‘Disguise’ vegetables in sandwich fillings, vary the fillings as much as possible, provide plain yoghurt and a piece of fruit that’s easy to eat.
  • Make sure your children eat breakfast.

Read the entire article.

For fast and easy, kid-friendly recipes that even parents can enjoy, check out my new favorite website, Weelicious.com

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Hydrogen Peroxide versus Bleach

I received an email titled Peroxide vs. Bleach. I found it very interesting and informative. I have not used bleach in years, but found some new uses for peroxide other than cleaning my kids’ boo-boos.

Here is what the email said:

“I would like to tell you of the benefits of that plain little ole bottle of 3% peroxide you can get for under $1.00 at any drug store. What does bleach cost?  My husband has been in the medical field for over 36 years, and most doctors don’t tell you about peroxide.

“Have you ever smelled bleach in a doctor’s office? NO!!!  Why? Because it smells, and it is not healthy!  Ask the nurses who work in the doctor’s offices, and ask them if they use bleach at home.  They are wiser and know better!

“Did you also know bleach was invented in the late 40′s?  It’s Chlorine,
folks!  And it was used to kill our troops.

“Peroxide was invented during WWI.  It was used to save and help cleanse
the needs of our troops and hospitals.  Please think about this:

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out.  (I do it when I bathe.)  No more canker sores, and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash…

2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of peroxide to keep them free of germs.

3. Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell.  Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe down your countertops, or spray it on the counters directly.

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. I had fungus on my feet for years until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of Peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day. My husband has seen gangrene that would not heal with any medicine but was healed by soaking in peroxide.

7. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, plugged sinus.  It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria.  Hold for a few minutes, and then blow your nose into a tissue.

9. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten minutes several times a day..  The pain will lessen greatly.

10. Put half a bottle of peroxide into your bathwater to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.

11. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them.  If there is blood on clothing , pour it directly on the soiled spot.  Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

12. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors.  There is no smearing, which is why I love it so much for this.

“I could go on and on.  It is a little brown bottle no home should be without!

“With prices of most necessities rising, I’m glad there’s a way to save
 tons of money in such a simple, healthy manner!”

Interesting email huh? After looking into the validity of this (and even snopes.com gives it a mostly accurate status, just advising to stay with the 3% solution, I found a few articles:

1. Ill effects of chlorine – Healthy Child Healthy World

2. Healthy Child Healthy World does not seem to have 1 single article but they have a bunch of articles that list 1 or more uses for peroxide.

3. Healthy In Healthy Out

4. Wikipedia.com

Safe sunscreens 2010

EWG's top-rated sunscreen

I never really thought about what was in my sunscreen until I had kids. Before my daughter was born, I was just beginning to learn about all the harmful chemicals in soap , shampoo, etc. So when it was time for us to take our yearly family beach trip, I sought out a safe sunscreen. Then I had to do the leg work myself, but didn’t really know what to look for either.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group came to the rescue 4 years ago with their Safer Sunscreen Guide. Every year, new research is available, shifting the list around a bit. This year, research shows that vitamin A may speed up the development of cancer. See their whole list of surprising facts about sunscreen.

And you definitely will not find the widely used and available  Baby Blanket, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Panama Jack or Neutrogena anywhere near the top of the list, in fact, you will find these at the bottom of the list. Blue Lizard and Bull Frog are middle of the road. These chemicals sunscreens contain ingredients that are possible carcinogens. To me, it does not make any sense to slather on something that may cause cancer in an effort to protect yourself from something (the sun) that may cause cancer.

Non-nanoparticle zinc oxide based sunscreens are deemed to be the safest and most effective sunscreens available today. Zinc oxide is all natural offering sun protection without the harmful chemicals. And like other skin care products, you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients and it should be free of PEG compounds, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and any other active ingredient other than zinc oxide (or possibly titanium dioxide).

This year, EWG tested 500 sunscreens and can only recommend 39 of them for safety and effectiveness. That’s 8%. Pretty lame.

Here is a list of the top-10 sunscreens as tested by the EWG, and the EWG rating (0-2 = low concern, 3-6 = some concern, 7-10 = high concern).
1. Badger Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 30, Unscented 1
2. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30 Lightly Scented 1
3. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30 1
4. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 1
5. Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1
6. Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stick, SPF 30 1
7. Purple Prairie Botanicals SunStuff, SPF 30 1
8. Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1
9. Soleo Organics Atlantis Resort All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1 -
10. Soleo Organics Wyland Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1

…….I have to toss CA Baby in here as it is one of my favorite lines
19. California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+ 2
20. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+ 2
21. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 2
22. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+, Citronella 2

Want to see the rest of the list and see how your sunscreen stacks up? Visit EWG’s mini-site dedicated to sunscreens and sunscreen safety.

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