Are you going to be welcoming a new baby soon or know someone that will be? Well, having a baby shower is one of the most fun things about being pregnant, at least it was for me. I generally didn’t enjoy being pregnant but I certainly loved the anticipation and getting to share my excitement with those closest to me. Baby showers are just a wee bit magical don’t you think?
The folks at Once Upon a Treehouse have shared some baby shower tips with me and I am passing them along to you…along with the opportunity to win one of their fabulous handmade dolls. Can you believe that my little girl never much cared for dolls? I played with them until I was 14ish years old so that was a tough pill for me to swallow. In fact I still get a warm gooey feeling when I look at dolls and I especially love handmade dolls.
Baby Shower Tips
Comments in italics are mine…
* Select the theme and color scheme based around the nursery decor – If you are unsure of the nursery decor, I suggest a “natural” color scheme and theme such as outdoors, forest, jungle, etc. It works for both sexes.
*Ask guests to bring along a copy of their favorite childhood book, and they can even inscribe a special message for baby to be – For me that would have to be The Pokey Little Puppy!
* For a shower activity do a group craft and have the guests create something for the new nursery walls or decorate onesies and burp cloths – Cloth diapers on a line would be adorable too
* Have a station with an iPad/phone to take a short video of each guest and their special message for the new parents and baby
* Display seasonal planted flowers or herbs in spray-painted pots for centerpieces that double as the party favors – You might even have your guests do the planting as a fun activity if the weather permits
* Have a few quick and easy games like, have each guest cut a piece of ribbon the length they think will best fit around the honoree’s belly, and the closest one without going over wins
* Instead of spending time on watching the honoree open gifts, ask guests to bring the gifts unwrapped or in a gift bag and have a large table or area where they can be displayed - Love the idea of no gift wrapping!
* A small box filled with a few miniature cupcakes of different flavors is a favor everyone will love! – A waste free favor/gift idea as well :)
Ready to win an adorable handmade doll? The cutie pictured above is what the winner will receive. Her name is Daisy and she is a dollhouse doll made of cotton, wool, and wood. The face is hand painted and she is made in Europe. Ages 3+. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter, a winner will be chosen on 4/17. Good luck!
The bundle for the week is all about pregnancy and baby care and they are the perfect book choices for more natural and conscious mothers and mamas-to-be. In this bundle of five you get…
Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods – We all know how important it is to eat right for your own health but also the health of your unborn baby and your nursling. This book addresses certain nutritional powerhouse foods that you can eat to help you get maximum nutrition.
Fearless Birth – Many times pregnancy and birth can be a source of great fear and anxiety. This book has tips and tricks to helps you let go of all that an approach your delivery with confidence and peace.
Unbound Birth – I especially love the concept of this book! It is all about having a natural birth in a hospital setting. For some women (I was one of them), a hospital is preferred and yet they still want to keep some measure of control and deliver naturally. It can be done with the proper preparation, planning, and support.
The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year – Another awesome subject for a book. There is no reason why we have to buy the latest and greatest gadgets or go into debt buying stuff for a baby. They actually need very little and this book discusses avoiding the trap of too much baby stuff, and slowing down to enjoy the early months with your new baby.
Breast to Bib - This one offers advice on how to transition your child from breast to REAL food.
Discovering that you are about to have a baby is often one of the most joyous times of a woman’s life. It can also be the most nerve racking. You are now responsible for the healthy development of another human life and everything you eat, breathe, and come into contact with for the next nine months can impact that growth and development. Being pregnant is weighty enough as it is without scaring moms to be and throwing a bunch of rules around. Yet the high incidences of autism, asthma, allergies, ADHD, cancer, and so many other childhood illnesses and issues require us to give some thought to raising our children green and healthy, even before they are born. They get their start in our bellies. Are we giving them the best possible start we can? It is something we all need to think about because our choices impact them greatly and also the planet. Here are a few ways to keep it green during pregnancy:
Organic Foods – Eating organic can be more expensive but there are numerous tips and tricks out there to keep it affordable. Avoiding pesticides is just too important when you are pregnant. With some menu planning, buying in bulk, and perhaps cutting back on other purchases you can find a way to opt for that USDA organic sticker in stores. At the very least you can avoid the foods that have the highest pesticides residues when grown conventionally, also called the Dirty Dozen.
Farm Fresh & Nutrient Dense Foods – When preggo is it also important to make sure your meat is raised as healthfully and ethically as possible. We don’t want to expose our unborn children to all the growth hormones and antibiotics found in conventionally raised animals products. Go with grassfed meats, free range eggs, and pastured dairy. It is best, and usually cheaper too, if you go direct to the source…aka the farmer. Look for more nutrient dense options as well such as organ meats (liver, heart) and eggs other than chicken (like duck). For seafood you will need to look for wild caught instead of farmed and avoid canned foods as much as possible because the cans are lined with BPA. When cooking make sure you are using healthy pots and pans that are free of dangers like chemical ridden non-stick surfaces and aluminum.
Clean Water – We need to hydrate quite often when pregnant because we have to filter out impurities and toxins for two. We are re-hydrating and replenishing all that amniotic fluid all the time so it is so important to drink lots of water. Also since our unborn is essentially swimming in it all day and night we want to make sure all chemical nasties are filtered out. Use a water filter in your home for drinking and cooking water. A nice affordable option is the Zuvo system, which I have. The filter catches stuff like chlorine and lead, the UV light kills water-borne bacteria and microbes, and the puration process oxygenates the water. Also consider the harmful effects of bathing and showering in chlorinated water and get filters for those areas too. For planetary reasons and because drinking out of plastic is unhealthy for us, ditch the plastic bottles and go with a stainless reusable bottle when you need to carry drinking water with you.
Maternity Clothing & Baby Clothing – I think that our consumer society goes a bit too far with all the all the pregnancy and baby stuff it tells us we must have. When I was expecting I simply bought clothing a size bigger until I was forced to buy a couple maternity items. Once I bought them I kept them for all three of my pregnancies and if I needed to buy anything else I went the second hand route. I managed to look nice without spending money on clothing off the rack that no doubt had lots of chemicals in it. Clothing in general has a BIG environmental impact and since we wear it all day long every day it can greatly impact our health. Second hand clothing has been worn and washed enough to negate the health impacts and buying used is better for the planet than buying new.
Natural Cleaners - Wash all your clothing (and baby’s future clothing) in an eco friendly and healthy detergent. There are some really horrible ingredients in conventional detergents and green moms want nothing to do with them. Now might be the perfect time to try soap nuts, which are berries that naturally contain soap and can be used (and reused) to clean your clothes. I love them! For house cleaning go with natural ingredients such as vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, and castile soap.
Healthy Nesting – Nesting is the urge to make your home ready for the new baby. Just like mama birds we want to get our nests in order before our little one arrives. Often time this means getting a nursery ready, doing some renovations, and buying items we think we will need for our little bundle, such as nursery furniture. Buy second hand when you can to avoid the offgassing associated with brand new products. This means it may be better to get a second hand crib rather than a brand new one. Just be sure to do your homework and make sure what you buy hasn’t been recalled or painted with lead based paint because it is so old. New items might be best put outside to “air out” for a couple weeks if possible and when painting use zero VOC paints.
Clean Indoor Air – You are eating for two and breathing for two so making sure your air is clean and free and of harmful pollutants is important. This is no time to be breathing in mold, mildew, fumes from paint, or other chemicals that cause allergies and asthma. One cheap and green solution is to get some houseplants that clean and filter the air such as spider plants, English ivy, Boston fern, and rubber plants. Open windows and let fresh air inside the house as much as possible. Takes daily walks outside in the fresh air (and get some sun while you are at it). You can also run an air purifier to be on the safe side. I have Permatech Air Cleaners in my home and as an added bonus they are also ionizers so they give me a mood boost when I run them.
Healthy Body Care – Dangerous chemicals are abundant in personal care products and now is not the time to put your faith and trust in big corporations that make the lotions and potions you see in conventional stores. These products are not well regulated and legislation does not consider the cumulative impact of all these products. Sure the deodorant might be safe in their minds but what about when you use it along with lipstick, blush, lotion, shampoo, hairspray, and toothpaste? That is a lot of chemicals (phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate) you are rubbing all over your body! Many of those components will pass through your skin into the body that is currently nourishing your unborn baby. I recommend more natural products such as Earth Mama Angel Baby, making your owns products using natural ingredients, and perhaps avoiding some entirely. Why not try going no poo?
Pregnancy is a special, magical time and I hate to give moms more stuff to be anxious over but this topic is just to important not to share. Do you have any tips and ideas to share for a greener, more natural pregnancy?
Birth. It is a most sacred event in a woman’s life. A right to passage to motherhood. Whether you birth at home or in a hospital, your body presents your long awaited gift…one that you’ve nurtured diligently. If there is one thing we can all agree on, all women labor differently and there are options to birth as compatibly as every laboring mom needs.
I had three different births and three radically different experiences with each but for the latter two I chose a hypnobirth and have nothing but good things to say about it. I wrote about my experience in detail here but my first birth was far from natural and easy. It wasn’t the stuff of horror stories either but I was still determined to change things for round two. My first hypnobirth was drug free and easy. I didn’t even feel any real pain until transition. For most of my labor I sat in an easy chair and then later a car seat (while my mom ran errands) and practiced what I had learned via CD in the previous months. By the time I checked in at the hospital I was 9 centimeters dilated and had my daughter just a an hour after I walked in. My third birth was not as easy (I had cancer) but I still credit hypobirthing for making it bearable.
Hypnobirthing is an option that is both gentle and natural. It is a childbirth method that applies techniques to induce deep relaxation, visualization and self-hypnosis. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of unconsciousness or sleep, but can be best described as daydream or focus that occurs when you’re performing mundane tasks, such as staring into a fire in a fireplace.
Eliminating fear and concerns associated with childbirth is vital. Affirmations during hypnosis encourages a positive mindset in overcoming this. To learn more about hypnobirthing, you can sign up for this hypnobirthing info series for free.
The Birth Relaxation Kit is the only hypnobirthing program presented by a board certified medical doctor who used this method to birth her child, at home, pain-free! Dr. Mavi Gupta and her husband, Jeremy Dyen are both certified hypnotherapists. Jeremy Dyen has been a professional musician for over 20 years. He has recorded on John Legend’s Grammy award winning CD, Get Lifted, and creates music for Yoga and meditation.
The Birth Relaxation Kit comes in three different packages; Basic, Plus and Deluxe. It comes with Hypnosis MP3s, Birth Affirmation MP3, Birth Empowerment Book and more! All downloadable with no shipping. You can purchase this yourself and get a 10 week, money back guarantee OR WIN IT HERE. All from the comfort of your home; no scheduling and all of the privacy needed to enjoy deep and true relaxation!
Just in time for Mother’s Day, TheOliveParent and Friends are offering TWO moms-to-be a chance to have a gentle birth! Two “Plus” Birth Relaxation Kits will be given away!
Entry is easy. Visit www.birthrelaxationkit.com and leave a comment on the blog you’re visiting. Tell us which one of the four facts found on the homepage speaks to you the most and why. Fill out as many entries as possible to increase your chances of winning.
Not expecting, but know someone who is? Share this giveaway with them and refer your friends for entries! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, 18+ Giveaway ends 4/29/13 1:00 AM CST Entering into the giveaway indicates you understand its terms and conditions.
Many thanks to the AWESOME blogs co-hosting this giveaway! You can show your support of these blogs by following them on Twitter, Facebook & Google Plus.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Birth Relaxation Kit, Hosted by TheOliveParent, and Co-Hosted by participating blogs. Prize fulfillment is not the responsibility of TheOliveParent, TheOliveParent Media or participating blogs. All information and products presented in this post is presented in an educational format and has not been evaluated by the FDA – should not be used to cure, treat or diagnose any diseases.
It has been quite awhile since I breastfed my little ones but even so it is one of those subjects that I am still deeply passionate and opinionated about. From the time my youngest was born I knew I would breastfeed and mostly that was because my own mother had. I recall her breastfeeding my younger brother well into his toddler years and she talked about the joy of breastfeeding so enthusiastically that I knew I had do the same when I became a mother. This made me the odd one out among my friends and peers but I also found that I truly enjoyed the whole breastfeeding experience and I fed my oldest child this way until I had to return to work, about four months after his birth.
Weaning him so early became a big regret for me when he developed health problems a short time later. His health problems were so severe that that I waited three years to have another child and I was determined from the get go that this child would be breastfed exclusively and for an extended period of time. I had plenty of time to research all the reasons why breast is best and I wasn’t going to let modern life get in the way of of feeding my child the absolute best food. Not this time, no way. I quit my job and really never looked back. That was nine years ago this week. I breastfed my daughter for 2.5 years with the last 6 months of that being done in tandem with her little brother. Every moment breastfeeding her was special and joyous just as my mother described. I like to think that all the time she spent at the breast gave her a great start in life. It makes me so sad that many mothers and babies do not experience this and that so so many cultures are not supportive of this all important aspect of raising children.
BREAST IS BEST. By now this should be a widely known fact and all women should be be educated about why breastfeeding is not only 100% normal and natural but also extremely important for the health of their children. I will be honest that I get more than a little peeved by prevailing attitudes about breastfeeding in the US but I just have to hope that most of it is lack of education and that it can someday be remedied.
This is why a new report from Save the Children was of great interest to me and I want to share it here. Quite simply it highlights the fact that breastmilk is superfood for babies and that it saves lives. The report talks about the ‘power of the first hour’ and they estimate that 830,000 infant deaths could be avoided if every baby were breastfed within the first hour of life. Much of this has to do with colostrum, which is the first milk. It is the most potent natural immune system booster known to science.
Other stats from the report:
* An infant given breast milk within an hour of birth is up to three times more likely to survive than one breastfed a day later.
* Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die of diarrhea than those who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.
*An estimated 1.4 million child deaths in 2008 were as a result of ‘sub-optimal’ breastfeeding, where babies were not exclusively breastfed and where breastfeeding did not continue into the second year.
* The baby milk formula business is worth $25 billion (or £16 billion).
* Breastfeeding rates have actually stagnated around the world over the last 20 years – and remain below 40% globally.
* Four major barriers to breastfeeding around the world: 1) cultural and community pressures 2) the health worker shortage 3) lack of maternity legislation, and 4) aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes – or formula.
* Only 6.7% of U.S. births occur in designated 154 “Baby-Friendly” facilities that meet international recommendations for supporting breastfeeding, and the U.S. has the weakest levels of maternity legislation in the industrialized world.
This shows without a doubt how powerful the act of breastfeeding can be and how it impacts the health of our children. It also shows why we must get better about educating women about what it actually means when they choose NOT to breastfeed and how the formula industry is working against their interests and against the health of their children. Here in the US part of that education process needs to be about making breastfeeding culturally normal. When you live in a society where restaurant or store employees ask breastfeeding mothers to leave these places of business and imply they are doing something gross or socially unacceptable by feeding their children, then we have HUGE problems. We must also make the work environment more family friendly so that working moms do not have to choose between being able to work or being able to feed their infant the best food available.
Other cultures have other issues. In India they believe that colostrum should be expressed before any breastfeeding can occur. This is a cultural practice that goes against science and best practices for health. It needs to be addressed. Other areas are affected by a health worker shortage. Even if you believe in home birthing and few, if any interventions, you are still likely to have a midwife and/or doula. Having health and birth workers around is so beneficial and often times they help young moms get established with breastfeeding because it can be a bit tricky sometimes. In developing countries this is even more important.
On addition to distributing this wonderful report, Save the Children is calling on Secretary of State Kerry to recommit to the 1,000 Days Partnership that expires in June. Since 2010, this international partnership has already helped countries such as Indonesia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Tanzania develop strategies around fighting childhood malnutrition through supporting breastfeeding and other important steps. It is set to expire unless we speak out and demand that the breastfeeding support and education continue. I signed the petition and I hope you will to.
I would also love to hear form you. What do you think we need to do to increase breastfeeding rates worldwide? Comment below if you want to share. Also be sure to check out the video below of how Brazil has had tremendous success with a breastfeeding initiative. It is such a powerful message and brought to us by actress Isla Fisher. I knew I really liked her!!
Hi there! I am a green, paleo, crossfit mom of three. I am concerned about health, wellness, and sustainability issues. This is my life. This what I am passionate about. Come get to know me and feel free to connect. Enjoy!