Awhile back moms across the blogosphere became outraged by a campaign from the City of Milwaukee Health Department designed to convince parents that co-sleeping is not safe. Not only is co-sleeping not safe, it is comparable to letting your baby sleep next to a sharp knife, or so they want parents to think. Of course they do not bother to mention that it is riskier to drive your baby around in an automobile than to bring them into bed with you but that wouldn’t be staying true to their actual mission. The intent behind these posters is not public awareness against some real and true threat, it is all about convincing people they need to buy cribs.
Even Dr. Sears agrees:
Who is behind this new national campaign to warn parents not to sleep with their babies? In addition to the USCPSC, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is co-sponsoring this campaign. The JPMA? An association of crib manufacturers. This is a huge conflict of interest. Actually, this campaign is exactly in the interest of the JPMA.
We have seen these same tactics within the car seat industry for YEARS. Few people actually know studies have proven that past 2 years of age car seats provide no better protection from death in an auto accident than regular old seat belts. But no one makes money when you use the manufacturer seat belt so they skew studies and harp on one stat among many, so that they can get laws passed that require car seats and pad industry pockets. This Milwaukee campaign is no different. They are using a city government to spread their message… “Co-sleeping kills, buy a crib.”
Don’t fall for it and don’t let them get away with it. We need to be vocal about all the ways to make co-sleeping safer and of course be honest that it is not attached, attentive parents who lose a baby to co-sleeping. Rather it is typically inattentive parents who are under the influence of alcohol or other substances and then in their stupor roll over on their infant. When I co-slept with all three of my babies I felt even the tiniest flutter and movement, even while I was seemingly asleep. That is our mommy instinct… the one ingrained in us since the dawn of civilization, when people always slept with their babies!
But just to make sure, here are some tips for making co-sleeping safe.
- Use a firm mattress for the family bed, no lumpy featherbeds or waterbeds.
- Sheets and blankets should be tight and fitted.
- Layer clothing rather than blankets if it is cold.
- Remove extra pillows, including decorative ones. No stuffed animals.
- Ideally place an infant between mom and a guard rail, sleeping pad (my recommendation), or wall. Make sure there are no gaps if you use a wall.
- A large body pillow is a low cost way to fill in a gap.
- Place baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Keep your bed low to the ground and place pillows just underneath so that if baby falls they have a soft place to land.
Another alternative is a bedside co-sleeper. Some parents choose to use these when their babies are really small and then when they reach infant and toddler sizes they move them into their own bed. Do what is best for your family and situation and don’t let fear mongers sway you away from the joys of co-sleeping with your little ones.
Where do you weigh in on this? Yay or nay for cosleeping?
One of the top motivators (in my experience) for women who want to go green and live a little more naturally is the fact that they have become mothers. Many of us come to view the world with a completely different lens when we become responsible for the health and well being of children. Suddenly the products we have always used become suspect and the way we have always done things has become not quite safe enough. It is one thing to use a bottle of lotion with a thousand ingredients on your own body but on your baby??? Heck no!
By now many of us know or at least have some clue that conventional mattresses are full of toxic stuff that we really shouldn’t be exposing ourselves to for 8+ hours each night. It just goes to follow that more moms are looking for safer and more natural mattress solutions for their babies and toddlers that won’t involve breathing in a chemical soup each night. We want to get our wee babes off to the best and most healthy start possible.
Just as there are for adults, there many options out here but the one I am highlighting today is a latex crib mattress from Naturalmat. Latex is the option I typically go for in my home. If you are not familiar with it, natural rubber (a completely renewable resource) is harvested by tapping the milk (sap) of Hevea brasiliensis. The sap is whipped up and turned into latex foam and is a sustainable resource because sap can be collected from the trees up to 180 days per year and the tree heals within an hour. Natural latex is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, dust-mite proof, and very comfortable to sleep on. Usually you will also find organic wool wrapped around the latex core. Wool serves as a fire retardant and regulates moisture.
This particular mattress is the company’s most allergy safe mattress offering medium support. It has a quilted cover and mattress protector included! It is suitable for newborns and great for older babies offering medium support allowing excellent breathability with great hypoallergenic benefits.
Naturalmat Latex Crib Mattress Features:
- Organic lambswool
- Organic coir
- Natural latex
- Pure cotton cover
- Breathable & Organic
- Does not absorb heat or moisture
- Naturally breathable and self ventilating materials
- Helps babies regulate their temperature and sleep through the night
- Organic lambswool is an excellent insulator, keeping children warm in cold conditions and cool in warm conditions
- Eco friendly packaging made from potato starch and a mixture of recyclable and renewable paper sources
- Anti-Allergy & Anti-Bed Bug
- Naturally hypoallergenic and anti microbial and offers complete protection from bacteria and dust-mites
- A treatment of lemon, eucalyptus and lavender makes our lambswool anti-dust mite, anti-moth, anti-mosquito
- Naturalmat’s organic coir (from the outer husk of the coconut) is sourced from the only certified organic coconut plantation in the world
- Naturalmat’s organic lambswool comes direct from certified organic British West Country farms
- Outer covers are removable and can be machine washed at 140°F
Recommended Retail: $499 (Size: 28” x 52”)
About The Natural Mat Company:
The Natural Mat Company was founded in 2000 in Topsham in Devon, by Mark Tremlett and Peter Tindall, who as keen sailors both became frustrated with the poor quality of synthetic mattresses found on boats. Mark and Peter decided to look for an alternative and found natural fibers to be a more superior substitute for boating. With their knowledge and expertise they quickly developed a business making mattresses for yachts and motor boats. With the arrival of Mark’s first child, they quickly identified a need for a natural offering for babies. With a mission to develop the perfect natural sleeping environment for babies and children, Mark and Peter set to work to create a range of pure natural fiber mattresses. After nine months, they were proud to launch the first range of natural baby mattresses.
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!
If you want a carrier like the one pictured above try the Moby GO baby carrier. Enjoy!
A guest Post by Sam Peters
I get invited to a lot of baby showers and that means I buy a lot of gifts for new moms. I think it’s really important to give eco-friendly gifts—better for the baby, mom and the environment.
To buy eco-friendly baby shower gifts always choose items:
• • · made from 100% natural materials that are chemical free, or
• • · made from recycled products, or
• • · that are Fair Trade products, or
• • · that are reusable or recyclable.
Most baby shower gifts fall into three general categories: practical, sentimental, or something for mom. Here are some suggestions and guidelines for finding eco-friendly gifts in any of these categories.
New moms to be often register for practical things like bottles, strollers, and baby monitors. Shopping for something off the registry is courteous and always appreciated. Go eco-friendly when you can. For example, choose something like clothing. Often the eco-friendly choice is higher quality—and frankly, more expensive—so mom will appreciate the upgrade.
Always look for fabrics that are 100% natural, chemical-free fibers. For toys, stay away from plastic and synthetic materials and opt for wooden or other natural materials. Another great gift idea is natural baby skin care products that are gentle for babies and great for the environment.
Sentimental gifts are a good choice if you have a close relationship with mom or she already has most of the necessities. Everyone always coos over handmade blankets, hats and at baby showers. These are a great eco-friendly choice because, of course, you have control over the types of materials you use to make them.
High quality books are a wonderful choice that will be used time and time again for years to come. Select books with particular meaning to you, or from this great list: Building Baby’s First Library: 25 Must-Have Books. Be sure to write a personal note on the inside cover with the date.
Personalized gifts are always a hit at baby showers. You can go with a classic gift like an engraved silver baby spoon, or add personalized embroidery to onesies or blankets.
Something for mom
Sometimes, a gift for mom is the way to go. Consider things like reusable nursing pads, a breast pump, comfortable all natural PJs, a baby care book, or a basket of all natural spa products to pamper herself.
Gift certificates for a massage or spa service will remind her to take care of herself which many new moms forget to do. Another great idea is giving her a gift card for a healthy meal delivery service that she can use after the baby is born when she’s going to be too tired to cook for herself.
What if mom isn’t into eco-friendly?
While it is important to look for eco-friendly baby gifts, you also want to respect what mom likes and values. Be sure to consider these questions:
• · Is she registered? If so, consider buying something off the registry.
• • · Does she have other children? If so, she likely has some staples of parenthood already.
• • · Is the baby a boy or girl? If the mother doesn’t know, or isn’t telling, you’ll need to stick with gender neutral gifts.
• • · Has mom picked a nursery theme yet? If so, you might look for something that coordinates.
You don’t want to force eco-friendly on her so if she’s not into cloth diapers, by all means, don’t give them to her. You don’t need to give bags of pampers either though. Instead select something like onesies or bedding, based on the answers to the questions above, where you have lots of great eco-friendly options.
Baby powder, baby lotion, baby oil, diaper cream…think about all the products marketed to moms of infants. Many times moms come to believe they absolutely need to have on these on hand. We need them at home, we need them in the diaper bag, we need little travel sized versions stuffed among the diaper cake at our baby shower. It is a huge money making racket for unnecessary products. Unfortunate really because that money is needed elsewhere in most budgets. Even worse though is the fact that these products may not be the safest things to be slathering all over your baby’s skin. In fact, they may be downright toxic.
Online this week I saw a tidbit about a company I have talked about oodles of times previous. According to this news site the FDA suspended the license of Johnson & Johnson for one of their plants. Now surely they have not been permitted to be selling unsafe products for babies right? Actually yes. This article highlights a problem found in 15 batches of baby powder.
Kamlesh B Shende, FDA joint commissioner (drugs), said: “There were unacceptable levels of ethylene oxide, which is a trigger for cancer. Ethylene oxide was being used to bring down microbial load in the powder by sterilisation. But it was found that there was ethylene oxide residue in the talcum powder, which is primarily used on infants. In light of this, we have suspended the licence.”
I cannot find many other sites reporting on this so I can investigate the validity of the claims but this is not a new issue. I already wrote about a some unsavory things found in baby shampoo and bubble bath. You probably already know how bad talc is and talc is in most baby powders. Our government is attempting to make these consumer products a bit safer but they are super slow and they don’t go far enough. Not even remotely far enough. We as consumers have to boycott chemical cocktails disguised as baby products.
You don’t even actually need baby powder. If your baby’s skin is too moist then let them go diaper free for awhile or try cloth diapers, which keep them dryer than paper diapers wrapped in plastic. You can also make your own baby powder.
Homemade Baby Powder Recipe
1 1/2 cups Arrowroot Powder
1/2 cup powdered rose petals or powdered chammomile flowers (organic)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup white clay, powdered (can also use rice powder)
10-15 drops lavender or chammomile essential oil (optional)
Sift all ingredients together into a mixing bowl, add the essential oils and mix well. Transfer to a shaker style container for easy use. I like this stainless steel powdered sugar, cocoa shaker. Alternatively you might also use a sprouting lid and a mason jar.
You and your baby can do without most of the conventional baby powders. Either avoid them altogether or try the DIY route. To the health of your family!