Attn: Wrap/Carrier Giveaway at the bottom of this post!
Why wear your baby? Simple: it is beneficial for both the baby and the parent.
1. Convenience. When we wear a baby, our hands are free to do other things like carry groceries, cook a meal, fold laundry, etc. It is far easier to run errands, take a walk to the park, and to navigate a crowded shopping area, farmer’s market or busy airport without the bulk of a stroller or carrying car seat. Many carriers also double as blankets, changing pads, nursing covers, etc. and lighten the load of baby essentials you might normally bring on an outing.
2. It promotes breastfeeding. Having your baby so close to your skin and their source of food promotes frequent and comfortable breastfeeding. In many instances, you will be able to walk around while feeding your baby in the carrier and no one will even notice that your wee one is having a snack.
3. It promotes physical development. Babies worn in a carrier close to the body are in tune with the parent’s heart rate, breathe, smell and movements. This in turn helps to regulate a baby’s own physical responses and activates his sense of balance. This closeness mimics the environment your baby knew in the womb. This calms her and allows her to put energy into growing and learning instead of fussing for a caregiver. It also allows the parent to be secure in the knowledge that their little one is eating, sleeping, and breathing well. There is also evidence that contact like this helps premature babies put on weight and gain improvements in health. These results do not happen from swing or bouncer time.
4. It develops secure emotional attachment and sponsors emotional development. Research shows that babies that are held and carried are happier. They cry and fuss far less than babies who are not held and carried. A held baby who can hear his caretaker’s heartbeat and look into their face is secure in the knowledge that they are warm and safe. They are not flooded with the constant stress hormones accompanied by frequent crying and often are lulled effortlessly to sleep by the rhythmic motions they experience as they ride through the everyday activities of their parents.
5. It supports cognitive development. Babies who are held or worn are right up where the action is. They see all the people and places they pass as you go through their day. They are able to observe a parent cooking, folding laundry, using a library card, making change and the dozens of other interactions they have throughout the day. Babies who are held are participants in life and thus are spoken to directly by parents and by others on a much more regular basis than babies pushed in front of caregivers in strollers are. Babies are little observers in a quiet and alert state that encourages learning and brain stimulation.
6. It is a great way for dads, grandparents and other caregivers to bond with baby. When held or carried, babies are able to get to know the other important people in their lives in a much more intimate way than if the just sat on their knee. They are also becoming accustomed to the heartbeats, voices, rhythms and gestures of their fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
7. It is a great way to get back in shape postpartum. You have to carry your baby anyway. Wearing them distributes their weight more easily, encourages you to be a little more active, and provides you with a colorful accessory (the carrier) to jazz up your workout gear. You can even find workouts that are meant to be done while wearing your baby if you search online.
8. It can be a great tool to help a new mom combat the baby blues. Having a little person attached to your body is a great way to sneak in mood boosting snuggles and kisses and can help moms bond with their infants without feeling burdened by all of their needs.
9. It is easier than taking a stroller up the stairs or onto a bus. Enough said!
10. It is fun! You will have a more active and engaging life with your new baby, will have arms to spare for your other children and will meet a whole slew of new friends who baby wear too!
So if you are are now convinced that there are serious babywearing benefits to be had for mom and baby you may want to try your luck in winning a Moby GO baby carrier. This baby carrier is designed for comfort with a crisscross shoulder design that evenly distributes the weight and the straps themselves are wide so that they are not digging into your shoulders. The seated design also allows for baby to sit with correct support, which is important because we don’t want to encourage bad posture from the get-go or have their legs bent at an awkward angle. It has a removable hood and side straps for easy adjusting. Meant for babies and kiddos from 15-45 lbs.
To win just fill out the form below. A winner will be chosen at random on July 1st. US readers only. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Last week I had the pleasure of cruising around in a Chevy Volt. It was a pretty new experience for me since I am used to driving regular cars with greater than average fuel economy, all electric cars, or hybrids. I had yet to try a plugin hybrid and was excited to test drive the Volt because I thought that is what it was…a plugin hybrid. I was pleasantly surprised though to find it is not. The Volt is actually an electric car that also happens to run on gas if you need it to. Pretty nifty actually and a really, really nice car.
When I drove an all electric car last year I was greatly impressed. I fell in love truth be told. The biggest drawback for me though was that it would have to be a second car. In general I don’t do a lot of driving and an all electric would mostly fit our needs but there are those trips to grandma’s house a couple times a month or those days when we have shopping/errands and drive more than usual. The 75ish miles MPGe that I had on the last electric car I drove might not be quite enough for us. Most days it would be fine but some days it would be impractical and you have to take that into consideration. That said though I loved that driving an electric car made me more conscious of how much I drove…making me drive smarter and less.
The Volt is a perfect solution for this conundrum though.
When I have a test car in my possession I tend to drive more than usual so I can actually test it. So just about every day that I had it I exceeded the battery mileage and used some gas but in general this car would be pretty perfect for our needs. On a full charge the battery would get me about 42 miles each day. Most days (for me at least – not my husband) that would me more than sufficient for my needs and I would never need to use any gas. If my husband were to drive it he might have to fill up with gas once every two weeks. With a full charge and a full gas tank the mileage is about 380 miles. Yep, pretty sweet.
I ended up driving about 420 miles in total during the week I had the Volt and had a 1/3 of a tank of gas left over at the end. In the photo below you see I was getting 94.6 mpg. Also in this picture you can see that at the time it was taken I was driving on electric power and had 2 miles left. There was enough gas in the tank to get me 169 more miles after that. It’s all there for you see quite easily when driving. This same screen even tells you when you plug the car in, how long you need to leave it for a full charge.
After your battery mileage is spent it automatically kicks over to the gas tank. The transition is so smooth you don’t even noticed it happened unless you are looking at the console screen behind the wheel. My biggest complaint with hybrids is that they are jerky and you physically feel the transition from battery to gas and back again. I didn’t enjoy that aspect at all and with the Volt there is none of that. It is kind of amazing actually. Also worthy of note is the fact that while the car starts in electric mode (if there is a charge) you can also choose to use gas only if you want.
Other features that I loved include the push button start (no key required). I actually prefer this because I can just leave my keys in my purse 24/7. As long as the keys are in the car, it will start just by pushing a button. You can also start it remotely, which is so important to have in the winter time in Ohio. Connectivity features include Chevrolet MyLink™ with 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen that lets you easily navigate through an amazing array of information and entertainment options, Bluetooth® wireless technology for select phones, OnStar® with RemoteLink mobile app and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. I fell in love with the 80s music channel on XM!!
The charger for the car is located in a panel in the trunk, which is also a nice feature of the car. It is big and roomy and accessible to the back passengers. My son adored being able to climb into the trunk from the back of the car, LOL. It’s those little things I guess.
The interior was also incredibly nice. It has suede-like bucket seats for everyone (4 passenger) and a really spiffy looking dash with lots of great features.
This is by far one of the nicest cars I have driven. I would be incredibly jazzed to own one except it has that all too common electric car problem..it only seats 4. But it does overcome the battery range issue by running on gas so that is a huge improvement. You can charge the car for about $1.60 per day and can charge it with a standard 120V outlet in about 10-16 hours. If you install a 240V outlet though you can reduce that by 4+ hours. Other than the passenger issue it would perfectly meet our needs and my biggest issue wold remembering to switch to gas occasionally so I don’t have old gas sitting in it for too long. That is not a bad problem to have though. The Volt is practical and very economical in the long run. The sticker price is comparable to a hybrid but IMO the value is much better. This car definitely makes my list of green cars to buy for 2013.
A guest post by Dana from Essential Safe Products…
In light of Father’s Day, I wanted to share some information on the harmful effects that could be caused by endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, and how exposure could be negatively affecting the men in our lives. Studies have shown there are reproductive issues potentially caused by contact with EDCs that could be avoided by taking action! First, it’s necessary to be aware of the toxins most of us come into contact with on a daily basis so healthy choices can be made to start ridding us of any dangers, for good.
So what are EDCs and how do they affect us? Humans depend on a well-functioning endocrine system to regulate the release of hormones essential for metabolism, growth, development, sleep, and mood, and EDCs may alter the functions of the hormone system, resulting in negative health repercussions. While some EDCs occur naturally, synthetic varieties can be found in many household and industrial products, as well as food additives.
Some well known examples of EDCs include phthalates (used to soften plastics), BPA (in much of our plastic products), parabens (in personal care products), and pesticides (on some produce & genetically modified foods). However, there are many more EDCs with less popular names, so it’s a good idea to seek natural alternatives to some common household products that could be hazardous. Taking steps toward avoiding EDCs can help us make positive changes for our families and our health!
The reason I’m discussing EDCs is because evidence has shown that exposure could cause the following reproductive concerns in men:
- Reduce semen quality
- Low sperm counts
- Male infertility
- Hormonal changes
- Testicular and prostate cancer
- Miscarriage in your partner
So before you opt to take that plastic lunch container or pick up fast food, consider trying the following simple ways men (and their families) can help reduce contact with the chemicals:
1. Choose a natural shaving cream (and natural bath and body products)
When possible, select products made from plant based materials and natural oils, to avoid contact with parabens and other toxins. It’s a great tip to steer clear of the word “fragrance,” which is a general term that doesn’t disclose the specific ingredients that could be harmful.
2. Stick with regular soap and water
Try to avoid “antibacterial soaps as well as toothpastes that may contain triclosan, a chemical that could interfere with thyroid hormones. And according to the FDA, there is no evidence that “antibacterial” has any health benefits over standard soap and water. Kind of makes you feel like you’ve been fooled!
3. Skip the fast food
Toxins known for their “non-stick” quality could be lurking in the paper fast-food wrappers/containers of your favorite drive-thrus! Just another reason besides health benefits to stay away from all that grease!
4. Cook at home
Say goodbye to quick microwavable dinners, which could have BPA in the wrapping. Instead, take time to cook your meals in safer cookware (like glass, stainless steel, or cast iron) and avoid non-stick options that could emit toxins like PFOAs. Plus, cooking together means great family time!
5. Pack your lunch
Avoid plastic and Styrofoam packaging, silverware, cups and other disposable items. Instead, bring your lunch in glass or stainless steel containers and pack a reusable water bottle.
6. Eat “cleaner”
Choose organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible as they’ve been shown to have less pesticide residue. And either way, rinse all your produce to avoid consuming chemicals. Also, try to avoid canned foods, as there can be BPA in the lining.
Of course, reproductive health issues among men are not the only concerns linked to EDCs, however, the above tips are a great place to start to invest in your health. For further information on this article, you can visit http://bit.ly/12wwnee.
Attn: Giveaway at the bottom of this post!
If anyone were to ask me what my secret weapon is for cleaning my home effectively but without toxic ingredients I would have to go with baking soda. I would also likely mention some other things too like vinegar, essential oils, etc. but baking soda is the big daddy. I use it in so many places around the house I think I have lost count but here are a few of my favorite ways you can use baking soda around the house. For cleaning and beyond…
Carpet Deodorizer – I hate having carpet but we rent and can’t do much about it so to make it tolerable we shampoo the carpets often and use scented baking soda to sprinkle on the carpets to help keep them fresh smelling.
Scented Scrubs – Mix some baking soda with your favorite essential oils and a bit of water to form a paste. Then scrub your sinks, tubs, toilets, cutting boards, counter tops, oven hoods, and any other surface that builds up on grime, grease, soap scum, or dirt.
Underarm Deodorant – Use a natural sponge or makeup “puff” to sprinkle some of the powder under your arms. Cheap and effective!
Homemade Toothpaste – When you run out of your favorite brand of toothpaste or decide that it just isn’t worth spending money on you can always make your own using baking soda as a main ingredient.
Fruit and Veggie Wash – Sprinkle onto hard fruits and veggies and rub vigorously with moist hands to clean them thoroughly. You can also use a spray bottle with baking soda dissolved inside to wash greens.
Insect Bites – Stop itching by mixing it with water and making a paste. Apply a small amount to the wound and allow to dry.
Cleaning Walls – Walls collect fingerprints and grime and if you live in my house…they also collect crayon drawings and food finger paintings. Mix some in water with a bit of castile soap and wash with a rag. Use a paste thick for especially difficult areas.
Freshen Stinky Shoes – For any kids and/or athletes in the house it is always handy to keep some around to sprinkle in athletic shoes. It helps with odor and requires you to have to wash shoes less often.
Skin Ailments – Add to bathwater to help soothe sunburn, poison ivy rashes, skin allergies, and eczema.
Fires – Put out small fires around the house…like when you accidentally ignite a grease fire on your stove top.
Clean Outdoor Grills – Sprinkle on, use a grill brush to scrub, and then rinse with water.
DIY Shampoo – Make a paste with baking soda and water and use instead of shampoo. This is a “no poo” method.
Laundry Booster – Add a tablespoon or two to the laundry to boost the cleaning action. Works great on towels and sheets!
Facial Cleanser – Gentle enough to use on your face as a scrub.
Burned Pots/Pans – Don’t want to scrub? Add 2-3 inches of water (enough to cover the bottom and then some) add some baking soda, and boil. Easy peasy.
Cleaning Hair Brushes and Combs – I am a comb girl but my daughter loves hair brushes. Either way they need to be cleaned every now again. Just soak for 5-10 minutes in hot water with a tablespoon of baking soda.
Oven Cleaning – Sprinkle on the bottom of your oven and add enough water to moisten it thoroughly. Leave overnight and then use a sponge/rag to wipe up the following day.
Household Smells – Add baking soda to the bottom of your garbage cans, sprinkle in the diaper pail, and put a small box in the fridge.
Being the baking soda fan that I am I would never turn down an offer for a baking soda cleaning kit or the chance to offer one to one of my readers. ALL YOU magazine graciously sent me the kit above and they are allowing me to give one away too. One winner will get a gift-package including the June issue of ALL YOU, a 5 lb. bag of Baking Soda, a 101 uses for Baking Soda book, and a shaker. I haven’t even cracked open the book yet…I am sure I will discover some new-to-me uses in it!
To win fill out the form below. A winner will be chosen at random on June 25th. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
As a mom of two boys and the Education Director for a nonprofit land trust, I am always looking for ways to cultivate a connection between kids and the natural world around them. We live in a world where access to information (hello, Pinterest!) is at our fingertips and “go big or go home” is often the mantra for everything from school projects to birthday parties. As parents, we know that being out in nature is healthy and should be a part of our children’s’ lives but we are often too busy or simply stumped as to how to make the outdoors part of our routine.
The great news is that connecting with nature doesn’t have to be elaborate, time-consuming, or even costly. Here is a quick list of things you can do today to create a relationship with nature for your child:
1. Visit a park in your city that has an open space trail
You don’t have to drive to a forest to experience nature. Most every city in this country has a system of city parks. Many of those parks include open spaces with local, native habitat. Take a walk on the trails with your children. Watch a lizard scale a tree or wild turkey forage for seeds. I guarantee that your kids will be engaged because there is something for everyone in nature.
2. Plant a garden
Planting a garden is a great way to get your hands dirty, work the earth, and watch the literal fruits of your labor come to life. You don’t need a huge yard or an elaborate plan. Clear some grass or buy some pots, fill with good soil, plants some seeds or starters, and watch your garden grow. Make sure your child is involved every step of the way and you will likely have the added benefit of them actually wanting to eat the fruits and veggies they raised!
3. Buy or download a guide
We all know that knowledge is power. Empower your children to learn to identify the animals and plants in your yard or surrounding habitat. There is an abundance of wildlife in your own backyard. Looking at nature guides or even using a mobile device to download a guide can be really fun. Who knows, you may even learn a thing or two along with your child!
4. Make a collection
Children have a natural desire to collect things and group things together. Capitalize on that instinct and collect things you find outside. At my house we have acorn collections, leaf collections, rock collections, and the list can go on and on. I regularly use these collections as ways to talk about natural processes such as acorns and how an oak tree grows, identifying trees by their leaves, and looking closely at rocks to learn a bit of Geology.
5. Model curiosity
We know that kids are innately curious. We also know that they look to us and model our behaviors. Encourage and cultivate that desire to learn and experience nature by actually showing your own curiosity. Being outside calms the mind, develops observational skills, deepens awareness, and can foster empathy and wonder. Take these tips and experience the outdoor with your kids today.
This is a guest post wrtten by Kelly Velasco, the Director of Education and Outreach for the Wildlife Heritage Foundation.