Earth Day Staying Healthy
& Active After Baby Getting Comfortable
with “The Talk”
Our 4th Annual
Baby Gear Guide 1
More than a generation ago, a young mother and herbalist founded Motherlove to empower women with the wisdom and healing strength of nature. Today our commitment spreads around the world; helping women to discover the bond between motherhood and mother earth. Experience this wondrous connection yourself through our herbal care products for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and babies; formulated to soothe and nurture both body and soul.
Contents 8 Eco Fab
A few of our favorite Easter finds, inspired by nature & health!
10 Breastfeeding Challenges Could it be low milk supply?
14 Sustainable Diapering
Learn more about cloth diapers, eco-friendly disposables, and elimination communication.
20 Hat Tricks
Sun safety - the fun way!
22 Beyond Babywearing Part 2
The importance of creating your tribe in modern parenting.
28 Nutritional Nuggets
From multi-vitamins to GMOs in foods to food sensory issues, expert Louise Goldberg answers your questions.
30 The More You Know Eco
Connecting with nature this Earth Day.
32 4th Annual Eco-Baby Gear Guide We searched for the safest, most convenient, eco-friendly baby items, so you won’t have to. From feeding to diapering, and babywearing to bedding… we’ve got you covered!
44 Spring Cleaning with Kids
Simple tips to get kids involved with organizing and green cleaning.
49 Guided Relaxation Cozy castle.
Contents 50 Conscious Kitchen
Sweet pea & avocado spring salad, gluten-free apple crisp, macaroon sundae, and white bean enchiladas.
55 What’s in Season
Family friendly recipes featuring seasonal favorites
58 Get Comfortable with “The Talk” Attachment parenting expert Kelly Bartlett shares age-appropriate topics you can discuss now to pave the way for less-stressful conversations about sexual health in the future.
62 Staying Healthy & Active
Finding creative ways to get moving after baby.
64 Screen Free Week 2014
Fun ways to shut off the screens and enjoy quality time with your family.
84 Community Marketplace
A collection of artisan shops & resources for today’s green family.
86 Your Green Child
A peek into the lives of our readers.
On The Cover Baby Gear Guide p32
“The Talk” p58 Staying Healthy & Active p62 Celebrating Earth Day p30, p64, p68, p82
66 Look Listen Read
Our editors’ top picks in books, apps & more.
68 Creating an Edible Patio Garden
Get their little hands dirty while you find ways to grow food in even the smallest of spaces.
72 Where Fads & Health Intersect
Should your family follow a special diet?
76 Eco Fashions
Spring into eco-friendly fashions from AloeTree Kids and give back to the environment.
81 Green Grandma
Questions from our readers answered.
82 ReUse Craft
DIY seed starters and planters.
ying Healt & Active A hy fter Baby
with “The T
Our 4th Baby Gea Annual r Guide
Cover Photography by 4
Publisher & Editor
Creative Director Amanda Hearn
Copy Editor Julie Clark
Mellisa Dormoy Louise Goldberg, RD, CSP, LD, CNSC Hana Haatainen Caye
Media & Other Inquiries
Contributors Sara Chana
Calley Pate Kimberly Rosas Leanne Southall
Anne Michelsen Elise Jones Sandy Kreps Amie Valpone Kelly Bartlett Lisa Druxman Jennie Lyon
from our publisher & editor Support. It’s something we talk about and try to provide every day in our online communities. Why?
loss mothers, moms who felt they had failed at nursing, and a young mama who, despite a major lack of support from her family, was breastfeeding, attachment parenting and raising her daughter beautifully.
Because a mother who feels validated and confident will make better choices for herself and her family.
As we went around the group, one expecting mother shared her fears about how she would be able to handle a new baby in addition to her wonderful and time-consuming toddler.
I was recently surrounded by a whole new level of support at a Birth Without Fear event. In one day – and through ongoing connections via social media – a hundred moms (and moms-to-be) were celebrated, inspired, educated, and encouraged to trust their bodies and to believe in themselves as mothers.
Sitting in this circle of support, all we could do was nod our heads and exchange sympathetic smiles… and a few tears. I wanted to hand her a magic wand. I wanted to tell her that it wouldn’t be as isolating or exhausting as she imagined. But the truth is… it is hard. Sometimes the hardest thing you do is the most worthwhile one.
Founder January H. vulnerably shared personal stories about her own births. From a smooth C-section to a traumatic birth to a beautiful unassisted home birth, we cried and laughed along with her. Then we gathered in small groups, getting to know the other women, expressing our own fears and triumphs.
All we could tell her is that it’s worth it. That she’ll never regret it. And that we’re all here for her – in the room that day or just a forum post away.
Our group included first-time mamas, military wives doing it mostly on their own,
That’s exactly what Amanda and I wish for each of you, our readers. A place where you feel safe, empowered, and supported.
This Spring, fill your little ones’ baskets with gifts that are inspired by Mother Nature. Here are just a few of our favorite finds.
Natural Egg Dye Kit
Pure fruit and vegetable extracts create vibrant, rich colors. And you don’t have to worry about toxins touching your little ones’ skin. With all recycled and biodegradable packaging, it’s also the most affordable natural brand on the market today. $9 from Natural Earth Paints
Natural Snack Packs
The perfect alternative to candy! These snacks are 100% naturally soft and delicious. Made with whole grain oats, blueberries and bananas, amaranth (the ancient “super”grain) and omega-3 rich flax seed, every bite is packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and 17 vitamins and minerals. All natural, non-GMO, no preservatives, no additives, absolutely nothing artificial. $16 at Abe’s Market 8
Fishing Rod and Ocean Fish Set
Any fisherman will tell you that the best fishing is on a rainy day, and this magnetic wooden toy fishing rod set proves it! Brightly colored wooden fish can be found off the coast of our couch! With this versatile toy, you can enjoy fishing races, help your little one learn colors, and even use them for learning sight words or basic math (tape words or numbers to the fish)! Even get Dad in on the action with their 2-rod set! Excellent for finemotor-skill development, as well as for independent and collaborative play. $30 from Pure Play Kids
Health & Eco Alphabet Cards
Encourage a love for learning and a knowledge of healthy foods with these laminated A-Z Fruit and Vegetable flash cards. Printed on forest sustainable stock, each card includes a recipe, some fun facts, “Why am I so good for you?” and “Get in my belly!” A learning tool for ALL ages! $39 at TeePee Learning 9
Photography by Crystal Keyes
Could it be low milk supply? |by Sara Chana
IBCLC, RA (AHG)
I am bravely, yet confidently, going to make the following statement—ladies hold back your gasps—most women can produce enough breast milk to exclusively breast feed their babies. The concept of “low milk supply” is often a misunderstanding of what is really going on. When women come into my office concerned with a low milk supply, more often than not there is an alternative issue—possibly an incorrect latch of the baby onto the breast, or perhaps a baby with a weak suck or suck disorder. In fact, I would venture to say that if the breastfeeding is being managed correctly—which means that the baby has not been trained on a schedule and the mother has mastered a PAINFREE latch onto the breast—yet she still feels as though she cannot satisfy her baby by nursing alone, then it can be safe to assume the baby is having the issue and not the mom. This fixable problem is usually in the form of a “suck disorder”. Suckling disorders can be extra confusing to moms because it seems as if nearly everything is going according to the basic breast feeding protocols—they are breast feed pain-free and baby appears to be getting milk. The concern blossoms once the babies are weighed before and after breastfeeding on a digital scale that meas-
ures ounces, and much to the moms’ dismay, the numbers on the scale have barely moved. Here’s the good news, mamas! If your
breastfeeding problem is indeed with your baby’s latch or baby’s suckle, consider yourself blessed because most proficient lactation consultants can teach you how to fix these problems. Not to say a magical wand will wipe your problems free, but with the right dedication and some work, a mom with the help of her spouse or partner, can learn how to suck-train her baby. Once a baby is properly suck trained however, it may indeed seem magical when the numbers begin to jump on the scale before and after the feedings. I don’t want to belittle the hard work some of my clients are challenged with before yielded with the cherished results. But in my experience, once a baby is guided on how to suckle properly, the progress for the baby is usually profound and extremely rewarding.
In rare cases, when it truly is the mother with the problem, it would tend to be from one of the following conditions:
Insufficient glandular tissue is a condi-
tion in which the straw-like tubes in the breast that carry the milk, called ducts, never grew properly during adolescence. This means that
Low Milk Supply
the breasts were never properly formed, and even with the use of herbs and supplements, excess pumping, or in the event that it were possible to place the baby on the breast twenty-four hours a day for seven days a week, this woman will never produce more milk. This is a true breast condition, and here are a few very clear signs to help identify insufficient glandular tissue: • The breasts are asymmetrical—although all women have slightly different shaped breasts, in this case one breast is noticeably larger or different than the other in shape and size; the breasts are situated so widely apart on the body, that the woman does not have cleavage; and occasionally the breasts will be triangular in shape and pointing downward, or tubular in shape. • Another significant clue is that the breasts do not grow or change shape very much during pregnancy, as would be expected, and they do not appear to fill up with milk on the third day post-partum. With this condition the quality of the breastmilk is fine; it is the quantity that is missing.
In general, my clients with this breast condition, who choose to breastfeed, will be able to teach their babies to accept the amount of milk the mother can supply and will be supplemented in the first few weeks via the technique of fingerfeeding the baby through a dropper, to ensure the baby is getting enough nutrients. After six weeks, when the baby has learned the breastfeeding routine and is proficient, we introduce a bottle. Mothers can go on to have a wonderful and long breastfeeding, with supplementation, relationship with baby. However, each case will be different
and will require supervision by a professional to make sure that the infant is gaining enough weight.
Retained placenta means that part of the
placenta or fragments of its membranes are left behind in the uterus after delivery. If small fragments of placenta or membrane are retained, the body’s signal to trigger the release of hormones necessary to produce milk will not be properly activated, often causing low milk supply. A woman with this condition will usually begin to bleed suddenly and very profusely after the expected bleeding from childbirth has slowed down. Women usually get very frightened by this sudden flow of blood, but the good news is that this is the body’s natural way to flush out any remnants of placenta and afterward the woman usually feels her breasts filling up with milk. Sometimes women with this condition will require a DNC to clean out her uterus.
C-sections often delay the arrival of a wom-
an’s natural milk supply until her fifth day postpartum; unlike women who experience vaginal birth, whose milk comes in by the third day. I wish more women who give birth by Cesarean section would be informed of this, so they can feed their babies in alternative ways, including finger-feeding, spoon or cup feeding, as they are waiting for their milk to ‘come-in’. Occasionally, C-section babies can suffer from a problem known as nipple confusion, as a result of spending time in the nursery where they are fed exclusively by bottle. The consequence of nipple confusion is that many babies are either unable or unwilling to take the breast properly, even after the milk has come in. Fortunately this problem can be solved through a combination of patience, teaching the baby to take the breast
and employing a technique called breast compression. Breast compression helps stimulate a functional nursing rhythm at the breast, through the mother’s timed compression and release of her breast during nursing.
Low thyroid levels will cause many women
to struggle with milk production. Testing for low thyroid levels can be controversial, because blood work can reveal levels that appear to be within the normal range; however, when these same women are treated for hypothyroidism, they experience an increase in their breastmilk production.
If your blood levels appear fine, and a lactation consultant has judged your baby to be nursing properly, but you are still not producing enough milk, another way to check your thyroid function is with a basal thermometer. This method of testing is done by taking your temperature every morning when you first wake up—preferably before you move. If your temperature is lower than 97.4 degrees Fahrenheit, chances are your milk may increase with some thyroid boosting medications or supplements. Women who are already taking synthroid, a thyroid drug, during their pregnancies must get their levels checked right after birth because their need for more of less of the medication may change post-partum. Hashimato disease is an autoimmune disease
that affects the thyroid. With this condition the immune system makes antibodies that damage thyroid cells and interfere with their ability to make thyroid hormone. Hashimoto’s disease can be hard to diagnose during pregnancy because a normal pregnancy and Hashimato often have the same symptoms, including weight gain, and fatigue. And postpartum women have been
known to present with swelling of the thyroid, or a pre-Hashimato condition, but happily this is only a temporary state. However, if you test positive for this condition, medications such as Levothyroxine work well, and often can help the woman begin to produce breastmilk. Working with a medical doctor and a lactation consultant is important with this condition. For more information on this condition you can contact: womenshealth.gov.
Sheehan syndrome is a condition that
happens after the woman has lost a lot of blood, following the birth of her child. Blood loss that exceeds the normal range for vaginal birth—up to 500 cc, or for Cesarean birth—up to 1,000 cc, can place a mother at risk for this condition. This amount of blood lose can stop her pituitary gland from functioning normally, and the pituitary gland is responsible for secreting the milkmaking hormones. Other signs of Sheehan syndrome besides low milk supply can be excessive sleepiness, hair loss, low blood pressure, hypoglycemia, weakness and dizziness, hoarse voice, joint pain, abdominal pain and constipation. Thankfully, this is, often, only a temporary condition and it can be treated by setting up a pumping schedule and by eating a lot of healthy foods including vegetables and other nutrient dense foods, but it also has to be managed by a medical professional. Sheehan syndrome is rare, but often overlooked by the medical profession. The good news is that these problems are rare and often misdiagnosed, while most breastfeeding problems come from poor management, improper latch, or suckling issues, which are easy to fix with diligent compliance. Nevertheless, as knowledge is power, knowing that these problems exist is the first step in solving them.
Photography from Gen-Y Diapers
for the modern parent
|by Calley Pate
The average baby goes through 12 or more diapers every day of their life from birth through potty training (around 2-4 years of age). In America, most of those diapers are in the form of disposable diapers that are thrown out with the weekly garbage destined to sit in a landfill for an estimated 500 or more years. In addition to their environmental impact, disposable diapers contain potentially toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals are placed next to your babyâ€™s delicate skin for almost 24 hours a day. There are healthier and more sustainable options to consider; many of which can save you thousands of dollars. Eco Friendly Disposable Diapers
Eco-friendly disposables are slightly more sustainable than regular disposable diapers but they are still disposable. Depending on the brand, they can be free of chlorine processing (bleaching), fragrance free, or latex free but they still contain some synthetic materials. These diapers may be healthier for your baby but they will still sit in landfills for hundreds of years before they degrade (if ever). Beware of brands that say they are biodegradable or compostable because these processes only happen under specific conditions that wonâ€™t happen in a landfill.
Modern Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers have come a long way since prefolds, pins and plastic pants. While prefolds and covers are still a very popular and economical option for parents today, the modern cloth diaper options are much more appealing. The modern cloth diapers are just as easy to use as a disposable diaper--but with Velcro or snap closures. Modern cloth diapers come in many different varieties, are available at any price range, and have a color selection larger than a rainbow. Some styles and fabrics are more sustainable than others, but they are all reusable for many years. While many cloth diapers today are made with synthetic fibers, plastic snaps and polyurethane laminate (PUL for waterproofing fabric), diapers made from natural fibers are much more sustainable. Prefold and flat diapers are commonly made with organic cotton, hemp and bamboo blends. Wool can be used over prefolds and flats as a waterproof diaper cover and come in very fashionable styles like longies, shorties and covers. Many parents consider cloth diapers for economic reasons and find ways to diaper their
for the modern parent
baby for free using found fabrics. Almost any absorbent material can actually be used as a diaper. T-shirts, kitchen towels and receiving blankets can be folded, cut or sewn together to make an upcycled baby diaper. Old wool sweaters can be sewn into diaper covers. These options are great for parents who are environmentally friendly but can also be helpful for families struggling to afford diapers for their baby.
Cloth diapers can save a family $40-60 a month! *as compared to disposable diapers
The practice of elimination communication (commonly referred to as EC) is not a new concept, but it became popular again in 2001 with the book Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer.
Diaper belts, like these from EC Wear, make diaper removal quick & easy, minimizing baby’s discomfort and making it easier to offer opportunities to use the potty.
Sustainability vs. Convenience
As with some of the other choices you make when living a sustainable lifestyle, the question of convenience always comes up. Our modern society is very busy and parents like convenience. The joy of being a parent is that you get to set your own standards. Some parents can be extremely committed to the environment and practice elimination communication from birth through potty training, while others use a combination of both disposables and cloth diapers. Your diapering decisions can be part-time or full-time and even if you are only changing three cloth diapers a day you can still reduce your baby’s environmental foot bum- print. Also keep in mind that reusable options mean saving money—less hours worked to earn disposables and also less time spent purchasing them.
Photo by Takis Kolokotronis
Elimination communication is by far the most sustainable diapering option but not always the most practical. It involves following your baby’s cues and signals to know when your baby has to relieve herself. When you learn to recognize these cues your baby can be placed on a toilet or potty chair to pee and poop. With prefolds, diaper belts and split pants your baby doesn’t have to be naked all day to practice elimination communication.
The Water Debate
Here Comes the NW’s Biggest Baby Shower
The average cloth diapering family washes one load of cloth diapers every 3-4 days. At 20-40 gallons of water per load (depending on your machine) that may sound like a lot of water, but the production of disposable diapers uses 2.3 times more water. While it is a legitimate concern, especially in parts of the country that suffer from droughts, you have to also look at other environmental benefits of cloth diapering in order to offset the use of water. To offset your water usage even more, consider a high efficiency washing machine and line drying your diapers. By using cloth diapers you are saving energy, fuel, and petroleum that are used to produce disposable diapers. An independent study found that “on a per-diaper-change basis, manufacturing of single-use diapers require nearly six times the amount of energy used in manufacturing reusable diapers.” In addition to resources, you are also preventing approximately one ton of garbage from being disposed of in the landfill (if choosing cloth diapers full time).
Line drying your diapers will also act as a natural bleaching agent.
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1 in 3 families struggles to afford cloth diapers.
We can help. Visit our website to see if your family qualifies. 18
|by Kimberly Rosas In 2010, Giving Diapers Giving Hope founder Kristen McCarthy became pregnant with her second child, was laid off from her teaching job, became a single parent, and had to move out of her home—all within a few months. With two children in diapers, and ineligible for public assistance, Kristen had to stretch what little money she had. Thankfully, she had invested in cloth diapers before losing her job— with out them she would not have been able to afford to diaper her children at all. Even if she had qualified for SNAP or WIC, neither of these programs covered diapers. Kristen knew firsthand how it felt to have to choose between diapers and food. It was this that inspired Kristen and her friend Emily Glover to create Giving Diapers, Giving Hope’s first local cloth diaper bank in Gloucester, MA. Giving Diapers, Giving Hope grew into a national diaper bank, shipping cloth diapers to approved families, about 16 per family with one child. Families only pay the cost of shipping and are asked to return the diapers when they were done with diapering or able to afford their own set. Emily took on the role of receiving donations, sorting, and doing minor repair work from her own home. Kristen handled application approvals and the ever increasing email requests. Soon Giving Diapers, Giving Hope began receiving help from student volunteers through their local YMCA during the school year. In 2012, their small operation suddenly began receiving more than 10 applications a week. Try as they might, they simply couldn’t keep up with the workload. In the summer of 2013, GDGH announced that they would be taking a break from national
lending—Emily was due with a new baby in July, Kristen would be working two jobs, and their student volunteers would be unable to assist with shipping for the summer. It was time to decide how to proceed, and to determine if it was even possible. In October of 2013, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope received the help they so desperately needed in order to continue their mission of helping more families use cloth and diaper their children. GroVia and The Natural Baby Company took on the responsibilities of receiving, sorting, packing and shipping diapers to families. Using their large storage facility in Montana, and the help of their employees, this partnership lifted the burden and made the ability to help families nationally possible once again. Since re-opening to national applications in February 2014, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and GroVia team have shipped out more than 70 complete cloth diaper stashes - diapering 85 children! Families who apply to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope come from all over the country and reflect a wide range of backgrounds. Some applicants are single mothers without work, some are newlyweds who are scraping, and others are families who had it all until one, or both, lost their jobs or faced unexpected medical hardships. With the help of Giving Diapers, Giving Hope families can save $1,000 or more and put $600 a year towards expenses and other needs for their families. Disposable diapers banks may serve as a bandaid for diaper need, but Giving Diapers, Giving Hope has shown that cloth diapering can be the cure.
Hat Tricks Sun safety – the fun way!
|by Leanne Southall All across America’s playgrounds, parents are chasing their fleeing children, waving sunhats in the air, pleading and negotiating. Outdoor play is essential for our children’s well-being. Thankfully, you do not have to compromise sun safety this season! Naturally, we have a few tricks up our sleeve for you!
“I’m too itchy!”
Many children and infant hats have tags sewn into the seam – a perpetual source of irritation for some children. In addition, synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon, can be scratchy and stiff.
Hat Trick: Snip those in-sewn tags off
carefully, leaving no troubling rough edges. Consider natural fabrics like organic cotton, hemp or bamboo that allow air to circulate freely around little heads and ears. Avoid synthetic hats labeled with a UPF rating – many have been treated with chemical UV absorbers or
chemical sunblock and off-gas a nasty odor your child may be trying to distance herself from.
“I’m too hot!”
With good intentions, some hats are designed to stay on so that the brim hugs the child’s head, optimizing the chances of the hat staying put. However, while that pressure helps to keep the hat on, unfortunately, this design traps heat around little heads.
Hat Trick: Opt for a hat that is designed
to ‘sit’ gently on your child’s head, such as a bonnet or bucket style that allows air to flow freely.
Remember the first time your child used a gesture or phrase that sounded like it came straight out of your mouth? That’s because children learn by imitation, and modeling your choices is no exception.
Hat Trick: If you are not doing so already,
be sure to wear a hat yourself. Your child will soon see that ‘we put on our hats before we leave our house’. A simple way to motivate your child to wear her own!
“Fit to be tied.”
Some children will be bothered by the edges of a Velcro closure rubbing against their chin. Others may be preoccupied with the possibility of a snap closure accidentally snapping their skin. Says Dr. Uyen Nguyen, a Los Angeles-based occupational therapist working with children with sensory processing challenges, “Some children cannot stand pressure. Others find clothes irritable and scratchy. We all have individual differences. When we accept, learn and connect, we can find a solution.”
Hat Trick: If your child feels everything
from the seams in her socks to the tags on her
clothes, consider opting for a hat with soft straps that tie under the chin, or just to the side. That way, the hat can be worn snug, loose to allow room for braids and pony-tails. Or if the hat sits easily on the child’s head, straps can simply be left hanging down.
It’s much more challenging to encourage a habit when we are wishy-washy about it ourselves. Our children look to us for guidance. Help them out by keeping your routine consistent.
Hat Trick: Hang a special hook at eye
level near the front door where her hat can ‘live’. Upon re-entering the house, it can be her job to help the hat go back to its home. Hang a fun photo of your child wearing her hat, right above the hook. Her hat will become the last thing she puts on as she leaves the house, and the first thing she takes off as she comes in the house. 21
Beyond Babywearing Part 2: The Importance of “Tribe” in Modern Parenting |by Anne Michelsen
Part 1 of this article revisited the classic book The Continuum Concept: In Search of Paradise Lost, and three important Continuum parenting principles discovered by author Jean Liedloff (often regarded as the mother of today’s attachment parenting movement) based on her experience living with a tribe of South American Indians called the Yequana: 1) Profound trust in the child 2) The child should not be the center of attention, and 3) A healthy human experience includes interaction between people of many ages.
How can we begin to reclaim the tribal experience as well?” Whether through conscious decisions or instinct, many parents are attempting to do just that – resurrect something of the primal, tribal human experience. In their own ways, they are seeking opportunities to connect with other families in ways that are more natural, organically developing, and holistic.
For some families, tribe-building is as simple as staying in place or moving back to live close to extended family. A recent PEW study revealed that 43% of young people ages 18-31 are now living with their parents or other kin. This It is easy for Stone Age parents to be available to includes a growing number of families with their children without making them the center young children, according to Carmen WongUlrich of Baby Center Financial. of attention. After all, they live where they work, and their children spend most of their Granted, this is happening primarily as a result time freely playing with other children, both younger and older than they are. Is it possible in of economic pressure, rather than the desire for our modern society to offer our children – and a more natural social structure. However, many ourselves – the experiences we apparently need of these families are discovering benefits to this arrangement beyond financial relief. “It was nice to become truly fulfilled human beings? to rediscover a relationship with my parents as Many Western parents are already resurrecting a parent. I don’t think our vision was ever, oh let’s go live with our parents again when we are the practices of babywearing and co-sleeping. Here, we explore the importance of “tribe” in modern parenting. How can we provide a Continuum experience to our children and ourselves within the context of a modern society?
Beyond Babywearing Part 2 older, but you know, it worked out,” commented one young mother who spent a year living with her parents while she and her husband saved up for a home of their own. Other parents report increased feelings of security, carpooling and other shared duties made easier, built-in babysitters, and family bonding as benefits of living with or near family members.
She also cautions not to be too picky about whom you form your tribe with. Just like family, the people you find available may have some qualities that differ from your ideals. That’s ok; as long as you can respect each other’s choices and beliefs there’s no reason you can’t form a deep and lasting relationship.
But for the majority of us, living near family is just not an option. What then?
Creating Your Own Tribe Teresa Pitman’s classic article, Finding Your Tribe offers one solution. First published in 2000, it has been republished many times since, inspiring parents all over the world to create modern “tribal” relationships with friends and neighbors. It the article, Pitman describes her relationship with her friend Vicki. Starting when their first babies were infants, the two would get together and help each other with household chores or prepare meals for both families to enjoy, while their kids had the benefit of unstructured play time with adults who remained in close proximity, but engaged in their own adult activities. It wasn’t until she read Liedloff ’s book that Pitman realized she and Vicki had unconsciously created their own little tribal community.
It’s very common for parents of young children to get together frequently, and often these relationships result in lasting bonds between families. However, once the children reach school age, time spent together in this way often diminishes. Homeschooling families have a unique advantage in this regard. They are also better able to respond to children’s natural developmental patterns, and more likely to have the opportunity to interact with children of a larger age range than their schooled counterparts– an important aspect of Continuum ideals. In situations where homeschooling occurs between and around running a home-based business, children also get to observe and learn first-hand how the adult world operates in a way that was once a normal part of growing up, but is now is no longer available to the vast majority of modern children. That said, many homeschoolers still find their lives increasingly dominated by schedules and goals, especially as children grow older. If a tribal experience is truly your ideal, you might find yourself drawn to at least partial unschooling.
Pitman points out that tribe building involves much more than just scheduling regular playdates. You have to spend a lot of time together, and it’s important that it not just be all “visiting time.” Work together. Clean house, work on your car, do projects together, garden, prepare meals, or start a business together. Take care of the children’s needs as they need you; otherwise, let them alone to observe how you’re going If homeschooling is not an option for your family’s situation, what then? about your tasks – or not, as they please.
The School Conundrum
If you are brave and resourceful, you might consider organizing your own school or other institution. This is what Natalie Cronin did. She started her home daycare, Under the Tinker Tree, out of a desire to provide her own children with an experience more closely resembling her ideals than would otherwise be possible. Luckily, her vision resonated with others in her community. “I share my home with a dozen families a day, and we have a saying that ‘We’re all in it together.’ It was an interesting process…I was very up-front about (all my beliefs about childrearing), and people would come, and they were looking for people like me and I was looking for people like them…(I’d tell them)we aren’t caring for just the child, we’re here for the whole family, and that’s really what it’s become. Our community has become so close. The parents contact each other after daycare, and we all live within a few blocks of each other – I have six families who live in the same apartment building as I do. So we really do have our own little community and we’re very supportive of each other.”
friendly practices within the organizations you already belong to. Keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to change already existing conventions. “If you can’t homeschool, the first thing is to seek out alternative schools that have age mixing and aren’t so set on separating and segregating people,” advises parenting coach Scott Noelle, who corresponded extensively with Liedloff while she was alive, and now operates the Liedloff Continuum Network website. “You can also look for a school that doesn’t grade children; that’s another way to separate people, by ‘good kids’ and ‘bad kids’ and A students and B students and so forth.”
Noelle adds that there are things you can do to protect your child from the less Continuumfriendly aspects of school life. “I encourage parents to let (their children) know that the school culture is like a game that they play, and there are parts of the game that are good to play, like learning and meeting new friends, but that we’ll have to tolerate other parts of the game that are not as aligned with our true nature, like grading for example. You can assure your children that the grading is just a game and we don’t have to Pioneering a “tribal” style school for older take it too seriously. They do take it seriously – children is more of a challenge than starting a daycare, but is certainly within the realm of pos- they forget that it’s just a game. So tell them, ‘I’m sibility if enough parents in a given community not too worried about (the game). If what you’re are willing to devote time and resources to mak- ready for doesn’t align perfectly with their game then you may get low marks in their game, but I ing it happen. know you’ll blossom in your own time.’”
Institutional Tribalism? If starting a school is not an option, you still may be able to integrate some semblances of a tribal existence into the fabric of your family’s life by carefully choosing amongst the schools, churches, and other organizations in your area, and/or by advocating for more Continuum-
You may find yourself in the position of wanting to introduce elements of modern tribalism into an existing organization. This is challenging, but not impossible. If you want to do this, it’s usually a good idea to become an active, participating member of the group first, before attempting change. Then, frame your suggestions in a
Beyond Babywearing Part 2 way that helps them meet existing wants and needs. For instance, you might volunteer to set up a program to help your organization’s singleparent families network with and support each other.
We accidentally experienced tribe for about 2 days. We had this gathering in my hometown, To some, the ultimate in modern tribe building Portland OR. People had different travel schedmay well be to start an intentional community ules, and a number of people got there a few days before the big meeting. They camped out based on Continuum and other natural livin our yard and we kind of had this village we ing concepts. However, a quick search reveals very few existing intentional communities that created in our yard, and we were all just waitopenly base their values on Continuum ideals. ing and very optimistic. So we actually had this tribal experience, and I can only say it was (Heart-Culture Farm near Eugene, OR is one.) glorious. It was just wonderful, the feeling of this expanded social circle where everyone is Why is this? Surely, there are enough families just sort of flowing together. The children had interested in following an attachment parenting all these choices (of playmates.) They could play lifestyle to warrant a larger number of commu- with one and when they were done they could nities specifically designed to support it? play with another and if a child’s mom needed a Could it be that the very concept of an “intenbreak there was someone there to attend to the tional” community (at least, as most of us are child. And we were living that way for a couple likely to think of it) is alien to a Continuum of days while we were waiting for this meeting.” worldview? After all, Liedloff herself noted that the Yequana people were highly reluctant to Then the meeting happened and everyone brought their agendas with them, and their sway anyone else’s opinion or influence their behavior. Yet most intentional communities are particular attachments that things had to be a very specific as to what is and is not acceptable certain way, and we started to lose some of that being in the moment with each other. Now it behavior. had to be right vs wrong… Noelle recounts a personal intentional community experience which may shed some light We might have weathered that, but I think ultimately a lot of us were recovering our humanity. on this question: The thing about community movements, is that people are attracted to communities because “The internet was making people more aware, they’re failing in some way. I don’t mean that as and some people began discussing the idea of having a community of people…where the val- a criticism. If people are succeeding at the whole ues were aligned with the Continuum Concept, separation game in society, they’re succeeding within the rules of that game, and they’re not which all of us were very passionate about. motivated to change. It’s the ones who are failSo I wrote up a long and passionate post to this ing who are like, ‘this doesn’t work for me, so online community – right around the year 2000 I’m open to trying something new.’ And they come across this idea of communitarianism,
– ‘let’s go for it!’ Somehow a lot of people got impassioned about it and we did start organizing. It led to a fairly sizeable group of people from all over the world getting together for an organizational meeting.
and they’re willing to try. But then you have a whole bunch of wounded people who are trying to lift each other up. And I could see that in this particular project, including myself and my wife – we definitely lacked the skill set to do that.” Noelle suspects that being well funded could help such a project overcome this issue by allowing participants the security to work out their differences. “When you’re just in survival mode you get defensive, feeling like someone else’s needs may encroach on your own.”
or touch or smell. And believe it or not, we adults need this too. There is no virtual substitute for the connection one feels when one’s eyes meet another’s, or the sensation of a warm slice of homemade bread passing from one hand to another, or the volumes spoken in minute variations in a loved one’s smile.
Seeking Your Own Tribe Cronin, Noelle, and Pitman all offer excellent suggestions for developing the kind of comfort with ourselves and others that appears to be a prerequisite for a Continuum lifestyle.
Given this experience and others, it seems that this elusive tribal experience is not something to be sought as a goal, but something experienced • Be honest about your feelings and needs, both to yourself and to others - if your chilnaturally when people come together without dren just aren’t up to participating in a play goals or expectations, simply in the enjoyment date on a particular day, it’s better to stay of being together. home than to force the issue. • Remember to breathe – you won’t connect well with others until you are comfortable and relaxed in your own space. Many people these days are spending increasing amounts of time and energy on the Internet • Reconnect with the natural world – even if you live in a city, just going for a walk and in hopes of connecting to like-minded souls. passing a tree is connecting and centering. Without denigrating the very real value many • Spend a lot of time together. find in their online relationships (this author • Choose options that lead to partnership included), it’s important to note that virtual rather than separation and control. reality is in many ways antithetical to a • Be open to relationships with people who are Continuum experience. in different stages of parenthood or life, or
What about the Internet?
The Continuum concept is about more than the sequence of human development. It’s about the continuum of humanity across many lifespans, and the play of matter and consciousness amongst and between humans, other species, Mother Earth, and the universe itself.
whose habits or beliefs differ from yours. • Focus more strongly on how you’re connected with people than on how you’re different. • Unplug.
Above all, be open about the outcome. Allow your tribe to grow organically, from the inside out. Forget about your goals and focus instead Children, especially, need to experience the on just the experience of being, right here and world holistically through their senses – the right now, with those you happen to be with real world with all their senses, not just a pared- at the moment. The destination is the journey down wired-up virtual semblance with no taste itself. 27
Nutritional Nuggets Expert Louise Goldberg answers your questions!
As we’ve become more aware of GMOs in foods, my husband and I started focusing more on organics and local food. But we continue to be challenged when it comes to corn. We don’t go out to eat that often, but the family loves a good Mexican restaurant. I’m sure they’re not serving organic chips and salsa! And then there’s packaged snacks or things the kids eat with friends. How can we best avoid GMOs without entirely changing our lives? Robyn O’Brien offers great advice in her book, The Unhealthy Truth, “Take baby steps. It’s important to remember not to make “perfect” the enemy of “good.” Do what you can, when you can. Target the 80/20 rule…do as much as you can to try to reduce your families’ exposure to these substances 80 percent of the time, then give yourself a ‘free pass’ for the other 20.” My almost 2 year old has been eating pureed food and nursing only but I’m ready for her to move on. I waited a long time before offering non-pureed foods and now she refuses to eat them when I offer. Could it be a sensory problem? There is a relatively small window of time when kids are open minded about trying new foods. Between 12-18 months they start to realize they can say no to foods (and everything else!). If progression has not been made prior to that, it can definitely be more challenging to make advances. Continue to offer but try not to pressure. Put small finger foods in front of her or textured foods she can put her hands in and feed herself 28
(e.g. lumpy sweet potatoes). If nothing changes, consider consulting with an occupational therapist who can evaluate if there is a real underlying sensory issue at work. I’m looking for a food-based supplement or multi-vitamin for our family. Healthy eating is a priority, but I know there aren’t as many minerals in our food these days. I’d like to find something that doesn’t break the bank. Can you recommend something and also explain what the benefits are? Because food-based supplements are considered dietary supplements, there is no regulation by the Food & Drug Administration, which means there are no guarantees that what the company says is in there truly is. The companies only have to prove their safety and efficacy if there are complaints. Does your family really need any supplement? Depending on the quality and balance of your diet your children are most likely getting good nutrition. If, however, you note signs and symptoms of a deficiency (e.g. quick to fatigue may be an iron or folate deficiency) or their growth is affected, work with the pediatrician or dietitian to evaluate current intake for gaps in nutrients. If you need to supplement, focus on just what your child needs instead of overdosing with a multivitamin.
Our editors suggest trying: Rainbow Light, which is food based and affordable - or New Chapter, which is made from organic vegetables and herbs.
Photography by Alice Carrier
More you Know
eco: Connecting with Nature | by Elise Jones
Earth Day is April 22 and it is a day marked to celebrate the earth and identify ways to protect the environment. One way we can extend our Earth Day activities is to take a vow to spend more time in nature. It’s one easy step that has many lasting benefits for both the environment and people. According to Janice Swaisgood, Children & Nature Network’s National Coordinator of Nature Clubs for Families, here are some easy ways to connect with nature this Earth Day (and beyond):
1. Explore nature in your yard or nearest nature area: turn over pots, snap pictures of living creatures and allow unstructured time to romp and connect. 2. Attend a community Earth Day fair and learn about ways to protect the nature areas around your community. 3. Gather a group of friends to play and learn in nature at a local trail or park. 4. Pledge to join or start a nature club of your own. Check out this helpful nature club tool kit from Children & Nature Network.
Swaisgood adds, “there is mounting research that supports the idea that children [and adults] who spend regular time playing and learning in the natural world are happier, healthier, smarter, more creative and better problem solvers.” “Earth Day should be Children have seen as something few opportunithat happens more ties for unstructhan just one day tured play due to a year! Earth Day hectic schedules, should be seen as a lifestyle changes, celebration of what we environmental do to play and learn in barriers and the nature all year round.” rise of electronic - Janice Swaisgood media. Current statistics state that over 90% of a child’s week is spent indoors and 50 hours per week is spent on screen time (TV, video games, iPods, etc). That’s a lot of inactivity and it’s leading to some major health problems. “We have emerging research that links children’s mental, physical and spiritual health directly to their association with nature. We can look at it this way: time in nature is not a
What are the benefits of joining or starting a Family Nature Club?
luxury; it is essential to our children’s health.” — Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommend 60 minutes of unstructured play for kids per day. What does unstructured play look like? It’s gold, old-fashioned free play and an added bonus is if it’s in nature! “While traditional playgrounds have their time and place, I would encourage parents and caregivers to ‘think outside the park’ into the surrounding settings, particularly if there is more natural area there,” Swaisgood says. “Kids learn to negotiate, create, problemsolve, etc. in very different ways in the natural world when everything isn’t equidistant and covered in rubber protection.” Utilize Earth Day as a springboard to locate and find ways to connect your family to nature. The health and mental benefits are innumerable and help children (and adults) develop a sense of place, fostering a life-long love of the natural world.
“The idea of the Family Nature Club is to help break down some of the most common barriers for folks to get out into nature. It helps families get “nature” back on the family calendar – kind of like the “gym buddy” concept. You’re much more likely to show up for something if someone is waiting for you! There is also safety in numbers for those who have fear of “stranger danger” or of wildlife. Some of the most common barriers people have shared with me can readily be categorized into three basic groups: fear (strangers, animals, not “knowing”), over-scheduling (both for kids and adults), and the pull of technology.” - Janice Swaisgood, C&NN’s National Coordinator, Nature Clubs for Families.
Looking for ways to get involved in the Children & Nature Network movement?
1. Join or start a local Grassroots Campaign in your region. 2. Add your name, organization, program, club or campaign to the Movement Directory. 3. Sign up for the C&NN newsletter. 4. Share, listen, learn and lead with others on C&NN Connect.
4 Annual th
Eco Baby Gear Guide
From the moment we know a new little one is on the way, we plan and prepare for their arrival. While â€œthingsâ€? may not be our niche, a few fun tools can certainly help you along on your parenting journey. We hope you enjoy browsing through our 4th annual eco baby gear guide as much as we loved putting it together!
The Green Child Team
Carter is featured here wearing some of our favorites from finn + emma, all made from 100% certified organic cotton. Jungle Bodysuit Word Pants Hippo Rattle Booties Available at finn + emma
One-Size Cloth Diaper
Thirsties is known and loved for their amazing cloth diaper covers. For years they have offered protection in just-right sizes and adjustables in two sizes, but now you can have everything you love about Thirsties in a diaper that is designed to work like a dream and fit your baby from 8 to 40 pounds! $21 at Thirsties
Merino Wool Diaper Cover
100% Organic Merino wool wrap beloved by Europeans and catching on everywhere. Pull on over a cloth diaper for a breathable, soft and stretchy outer layer that cleans itself. Available in 9 beautiful colors. $20 & up from Cambridge Baby
Stylish Diaper Tote
Sturdy and stylish, Ju-Ju-Beâ€™s bag will last through more than one baby. Full zippered opening on the top of the bag lets you easily pack and see whatâ€™s inside, and the comfy straps make it the perfect size for carrying. $85 at Ju-Ju-Be 34
Eco Baby Gear Guide No More Leaks!
Made with organic cotton, this two-pack of breastpads comes with a handy storage bag. Available in your choice of two-sided absorbency or with waterproof backing. $16 at Amazon
There’s no love like a mother’s love. Motherlove’s organic nipple cream is made with 100% certified organic ingredients. An all natural herbal salve that quickly relieves the discomfort of sore, cracked nursing nipples. Food safe, so it’s not necessary to wash off before nursing. $10 at Motherlove
Look closely. These keys aren’t plastic... they’re silicone! Baby will love the bright colors of these 3 chunky silicone keys with multiple textures on front and bumps on back. You’ll love that they’re free from BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Cadmium, Latex and Lead. $13 at Family Bedrock
Made of premium, 100% open-weave cotton muslin, Bébé au Lait Swaddle Blankets are luxuriously soft, lightweight and ultra-breathable. Generously sized at 47” x 47”, they’re perfectlysized for a snug and secure swaddle, and they come in the most adorable designs! $32 for a set of two at Bébé au Lait
Designed to be easy for mom and safe for baby, the Lullaby Earth Super Lightweight 2-Stage Crib Mattress is just 7 lbs, fully waterproof, features 2-stage dual firmness, and meets the strictest GREENGUARD® certification standards for eliminating chemical emissions. This mattress contains no harmful chemicals or allergens and is proudly made in the USA. $199 at Lullaby Earth
Guava Kids are a unique line of booties and mittens that are snugly secured on baby with Velcro. Made using organic cotton, the super soft line is perfect for a baby’s delicate skin. $12 at Guava Kids
Eco Baby Gear Guide Organic Onesie
Lions and Tigers and Bears... Organic! This sweet handmade onesie makes us smile. 100% Organic Cotton ring-spun jersey and a great way to support a fabulous, organic-focused Etsy shop. $25 at Earth Cadets
Naturally Modern Growth Chart
Another item thatâ€™s in it for the long haul... this naturally modern growth chart adds a pop of style to any nursery or childâ€™s room. As they grow, you can measure your child by the Acacia leaves. Made of sturdy, sustainable wood with no formaldehyde finish, this functional piece will last for years to come. $220 at Numi Numi Design
Carry in Comfort
The perfect way to take your baby into the water, these fashionable baby slings are a must-have for the summer! The 100% polyester jersey is lightweight and dries quickly when out of the water. Ideal for summer water activities or grabbing a quick shower with baby. $55 at Beachfront Baby Wraps
Inspired by Finn amber is one of the most reader-recommended products on our Facebook wall. This amber jewelry helps provide natural comfort for teething pain by releasing a healing compound called succinic acid. $21 and up at Inspired by Finn
An adorable way to soothe sore gums. 100% babysafe and features a plant-based bio-resin material that is better for baby and the environment. $11 at Organic Baby Gift Boutique
Eco Baby Gear Guide Zaaz
With a 220 pound weight limit, this chair will never end up in the outgrown baby gear pile. There’s no fabric on this high chair, other than the harness, so mealtime is a simple cleanup with a little vinegar and water. The sturdy, sleek design makes it easy to raise and lower, and it has a tight footprint, so you won’t trip over the legs in a small space. $250 at Shop Nuna
While we choose glass or stainless steel for most food and drinks, a lighter weight sippy can be easier for little hands and more convenient on the go. The vibrant, sleek Fluid is spill-resistant, and free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC. $7 at Boon
Mealtime Made Fun
100% recyclable and eco-friendly, Modern Twist’s meal mats create a clean eating surface for baby. This mat is hand silk-screened on FDA approved food-grade silicone. Ideal for meals or snacks, and is easily packable for a dinner out. $16 at Modern Twist
A humidifier and whimsy mushroom night-light in one. With adjustable mist settings, silent operation, and low power consumption (uses 80% less electricity than other humidifiers), this unit doesn’t create filter waste either. $75 at Amazon
These adorable bunny ears double as a brush and comb set, each with a soft-grip handle sized perfectly for grown-ups’ hands. The soft brush bristles are gentle on baby’s scalp, and the wide-toothed comb makes untangling hair a cinch. $20 at Skip Hop
The Puj Flyte is a unique baby bathtub designed to fit in your bathroom sink (no bending over!) While most tubs are large and bulky, the Flyte is lightweight, soft and even compact enough to fold up and tuck into tight spaces. $35 at Puj
Eco Baby Gear Guide Organic Towel
Wrap your little bundle in this adorable woodland animals design made from bamboo and organic cotton terry cloth. It’s oh-so-soft and comes with a coordinating washcloth. Hand-made in beautiful Vancouver BC. $40 at Mitani Designs
Baby’s skin is sensitive, so only the gentlest of soaps will do. Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap is 100% vegan and toxin free. A little goes a long way in a foaming pump! $19 at Amazon
This natural sea sponge is specially selected and sized for baby. Super absorbent and unbelievably soft, it makes rinsing baby quick and easy. Natural sponges are more resistant to bacteria than synthetic sponges. All natural, recyclable, renewable and made in the USA. $6 at Amazon 41
One of our favorite add-ons, the Carrycot is ideal for little ones and makes a great travel bed in a pinch. This basinette-like option is easy to attach, easy to remove, and features durable carrying straps-so you’ll feel secure carrying your little one anywhere. $160 at Bumbleride
Indie by Bumbleride
Every Bumbleride is made with recycled PET and bamboo charcoal fabrics, making them kinder to the environment than most alternatives. The Indie is extensively customizable with accessories like the Mini Board that allows a “stand on” option for siblings, parent friendly packs, and more. $499 at Bumbleride
Eco Baby Gear Guide Scrappy Cat
Repurposing has never been more fun! These colorful Scrappy Cats are made from leftover 100% Egyptian organic cotton clothing scraps. The slim body design makes this sweet stuffed animal easy to hold and cuddle on-thego or at home. $14 each at Under the Nile
We believe Baby belongs in arms (or being worn) much of those early days. But when Mama needs a break - or a shower - the Rockaroo is a safe, cozy spot for little ones. Flipping the motion of a swing upside down, Rockarooâ€™s movement is smooth and soft all while operating very quietly. Plus it takes up 70% less space than a traditional swing. $159 at Shop 4moms 43
Spring Cleaning with Kids
They Can Help Too! |by Sandy Kreps It may feel like you’re trying to clean during an active hurricane, but getting the whole family involved with Spring Cleaning can teach kids responsibility and give them pride in a worthwhile accomplishment.
• While your kids scrub the floor, stay within sight and clean off the dining table. You want to give them space to clean, but you also want to be sure they don’t flood the kitchen!
In the Kitchen:
In the Bathroom:
• Give your child a spray bottle of water with one drop of dish soap (or a bottle of nontoxic cleaner) and a rag to clean the lower kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts while you clean the upper cabinets.
• Spray down the tub/shower with a mix of warm white vinegar and dish soap. Let sit overnight or for at least an hour while you tackle the rest of the home.
• Clear off and wipe down counters before returning only the necessary items back on the counter top. • All those crumbs that just got brushed onto the floor? Grab a kid-size broom and let your child sweep them up. Use masking tape to make a square on the floor for her to gather all the crumbs into for easy pick up with a dustpan or vacuum. • While your child sweeps, clear out old food from the fridge, wipe it out, and wash a load of dirty dishes.
• Fill a large bowl with warm, soapy water and give your child a scrub brush or sponge to scrub the kitchen floor, then give him a large beach towel to wiggle all around to dry up the excess water.
• Clear the clutter off the counter, fill the sink with warm, soapy water, and let kids scrub away those dried toothpaste blobs! Once they’ve scrubbed the inside of the sink, drain the water and rinse, then give your child a cleaning cloth and a spray bottle of non-toxic cleaner to clean the counters. • Wipe out the vinegar/dish soap cleaner from the tub – most of the soap scum and hard water should wipe away with little effort. Rinse well. While you’re tackling that tub, have your child grab all the dirty towels and take them to the laundry basket, then get clean towels for each member of the family. • If your child is older (we started at 7), teach them to use cleaning wipes to clean the outside of the toilet and the seat, as well as
Spring Cleaning with Kids
They Can Help Too! around and behind the bottom of the toilet. If you get the heebie jeebies just thinking about this, clean the bathroom right before bath time so you can put them straight into the tub once the task is done!
• Grab a kid-size broom and let your child sweep up crumbs. Use masking tape to make a square on the floor for her to gather all the crumbs into for easy pick up with a dustpan or vacuum.
• Fill a large bowl with warm soapy water and give your child a scrub brush or sponge to scrub the bathroom floor, then give him a large beach towel to wiggle all around to dry up the excess water.
• Give your child a damp washcloth and show her how to wipe dust off the baseboards.
In the Living Room:
• Give your child a dust rag and a little nontoxic cleaner to wipe down bookshelves, coffee tables and windowsills.
• Give your child a basket to gather up all toys and books that don’t belong. Move the basket to the correct room, and help your child put away the items in the correct places. While you’re sorting through the items, identify items that your child has outgrown or games you no longer play, and discuss with your child who you can give them to who might get more use out of them.
• Let your child carry old magazines and newspapers to the recycle bin.
• Is your child strong enough to push around the vacuum? If yes, then let him! If not, let him use the hose attachment on the vacuum to clean around furniture and corners so all you have to do is push it around the main areas. • Children love to take the cushions off the couches and chairs, so let them! Have them pull all the cushions off and look for lost treasure such as small toys and money. • Let them use the vacuum’s hose attachment to clean out the crevices and brush off the cushions before you put the couch back together.
In the Bedrooms: • Have your kids toss all the stuffed animals and extra pillows off their beds and help them “rip” off the sheets to wash. Pretend it’s a hotel, and make the perfect bed. Encourage them to put just a few stuffed animals or extra pillows to keep the bed tidy.
• They can place books on bookshelves or in baskets. Show them how to store toys on shelves or in baskets, hang or fold clean
clothes, and toss dirty clothes in the hamper. Give your child a dust rag to wipe off shelves as he puts toys and books away.
• Turn on some fun music that your whole family loves, and encourage your kids to boogie while they work.
• If you run across clothes or toys your children have outgrown, have them place the items in a box for sale or donation. • Once the floor is clear, give your child a damp rag to wipe the dust off baseboards, and then let him help you sweep or vacuum the floor.
Tips for Any Room: • Make sure the window curtains are pulled back to let the sun shine in! The sunlight is motivating and will keep you going when you feel like letting the winter dusties win. Open the windows if possible to bring in fresh air.
• Keep recycled trash bags and donation boxes handy, and a laundry basket or bucket nearby to collect the dirty reusable cleaning cloths. • If you don’t think your children are up for a marathon cleaning session, don’t fight it. Break the tasks down over a few days – clean the kitchen one day, the bathrooms another, the bedrooms and living room a different day. • Plan a reward for the end of each cleaning day. A trip to the park or movie night can be great motivation to clean again next time!
Keep our earth beautiful. Make the switch to cloth napkins today. Funkins are fun reusable cloth napkins for kids. Shop the entire collection at
Tonight let’s go to a magical place with our imagination. Just close your eyes and allow your body to begin to relax. We’re going to a cozy castle high in the clouds. This is a special, magical castle… where dreams come true…. where we can relax and just enjoy peaceful, cozy moments. Imagine now floating comfortably on a soft white cloud. It feels so good just to rest and relax here. When you’re ready, imagine that the cloud brings you to the entrance of a beautiful castle. This is the Castle in the Clouds. Step inside. The only sound is the soothing crackling sound of fire in the fire places. It warms the castle and you feel so comfortable and good here. There is a feeling of happiness and goodness in this place. The whole castle is filled with the relaxing smell of lavender and it calms you even more. You feel lucky to be here and experience the warmth and peace in this place. Now, walk down the halls of this special castle. Notice one door that seems to invite you inside. A feeling of welcome washes over you. Peek into the room and see your own name above a very soft pillowy bed. The bed must be magical because as soon you sit down on it… it welcomes you to fall back into it and just relax all your worries away…. You cannot think of anything else right now except how wonderful and peaceful it feels here… how good you feel inside. You know this is your special place and you can come here whenever you want, just by thinking about it. You feel all the stress and worry leave your body immediately… Calm, tranquil feelings wash over
with Mellisa Dormoy of Shambala Kids
you. This is your place of peace. You know that no matter what is happening around you, you are welcome here to relax and feel peace. Look up now and notice a beautiful brilliant star visible in the heavens, then another, then another. You realize you are lying on a soft bed now under the open sky. Soon the velvety black sky is completely lit with shining stars like diamonds. The view is so beautiful and serene that you can’t take your eyes off the stars. You might feel an urge to stretch your hand and touch the sky. Give it a try – who knows what can happen in a magical castle. As you stretch out your hand, to your amazement you can actually touch the stars. Choose a star and simply pluck it out of the sky – it’s OK. Now you see some writing on the star as you look closer. It has your name on it. It mentions a time when you were a little nervous about something, or felt stressed by a situation, but instead you choose to face your fear and handled the situation bravely. The star you hold in your hand was created to honor your achievement. A warm rush of happiness and pride overwhelms you. All these stars are your achievements! You study the whole sky carefully. So many stars, so many achievements! You promise yourself that you will continue to work hard to get these stars of glory in the sky of your heart. Feeling immense feelings of peace, calm and happiness filling up your heart and soul, you peacefully carry on with your sleep tonight.
For more meditations and guided relaxation audios, visit Shambala Kids online.
Conscious Kitchen |by Amie Valpone
Sweet Pea & Avocado Spring Salad
Ingredients • • • • • • • •
2 cups organic mixed greens 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted 1 small red onion, diced 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 tsp. orange zest 2 Tbsp. organic chia seeds
The Healthy Apple
• 1/4 tsp. each sea salt & pepper
Directions 1. In a large bowl, combine Zen blend, peas, onion and avocado; set aside. 2. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients. Pour over avocado mixture; gently toss to combine. 3. Serve immediately.
Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp
Ingredients • • • • • •
4 McIntosh apples, cored & sliced (1/2 inch) 4 Granny Smith apples, cored & cut 2 Tbsp. dairy-free butter, melted 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. honey 2 1/2 cups KIND Snacks Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Clusters
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a large baking dish with nonstick baking spray. Set aside. 2. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl; gently toss to combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. 3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until apples are soft and tender. Remove from oven; set aside to cool a bit before serving. 51
Dairy-Free Creamy Macaroon Sundae
Ingredients • • • •
6 oz. coconut milk yogurt 1/3 cup Modern Oats gluten-free oats 1 Tbsp. granola 2 Emmy’s Organic Macaroons, broken up into small pieces • 3/4 cup almond milk • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp. coconut flakes
1. Combine oatmeal & coconut milk in a small pot on the stove. Add almond milk; mix well. 2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until thick and creamy (about 10 minutes.) 3. Add cinnamon and macaroon pieces; cook for another 30 seconds and remove from heat; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool. 4. When oatmeal is chilled, mix well and spoon half of the oatmeal into a glass or mason jar, and top with granola and coconut flakes to serve.
Dairy & Gluten-Free Cheesy White Bean Enchiladas Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • •
2 cups organic baby spinach 1 Tbsp. organic ground flax seeds Juice of 1 fresh lime 2 (15 oz.) cans white beans, drained 1 tsp. chili powder 1/4 tsp. cumin 1/4 tsp. sea salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 8 large gluten-free tortillas 1 cup salsa 2 cups Vegan Mexican Shredded Cheese 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & oil 13” x 9” dish. 2. In a bowl, toss together spinach, flax, juice, beans, chili powder, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Set aside. 3. Spread 2 Tbsp. of salsa in the bottom of the dish. 4. Spoon the bean mixture into the center of the tortilla, roll up and place in the baking dish with the folded side down. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. 5. Pour the remaining salsa over the tortillas; top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with cilantro. 6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and enchiladas are warm. Remove from oven; top with scallions and serve warm.
Simple Recipes, Healthy Meals, Happy Babies Sage Spoonfuls gives you everything you need to make healthy, organic baby food with ease.
What’s In Season Spring is the time to watch your local farmer’s market come alive with color and flavor! And we all know the best way to entice little ones to try new foods is to let them discover them first hand.
Photography by SaraJane VeganHeathen
So while you’re stocking up on strawberries and the usual veggies, try these flavorful foraging additions to mix things up.
High in Iron, Phosphorus, and Vitamin D, morel mushrooms help deliver oxygen throughout the body and play a role in strong bones and healthy DNA. These mushrooms are also one of the only natural foods packed with Vitamin D. With antioxidants and beneficial B vitamins, give your family a boost toward a lifelong love of this versatile food.
Fiddlehead ferns are unfurled fronds of young ostrich ferns. They’re named for the tightly coiled top that resembles the end of a fiddle. Similar in flavor to asparagus, fiddleheads are rich in vitamins A and C. They serve as another great source of phosphorous, which means healthy bones and cell structures. Fiddlehead ferns also provide iron, a mineral essential for redblood-cell production. 55
What’s In Season
Fiddleheads & Savory Scallops
Ingredients: • Scallops • Fiddleheads
• Pickled Beats • Greens
Blanch the fiddleheads by placing them in boiling water for 4 minutes. Remove and drain. Once drained and dried, sauté them over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan on med-high heat. Add scallops and cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Garnish with greens and serve with picked beets or beet salad.
Photography by Edsel Little
Wild Morels with Carrots
Ingredients: • 2-4 Fresh Morel Mushrooms • A Serving of Carrots • 1/4 cup Broth • 1 Scallion (chopped) • 1 tbs Butter Directions:
Photography by Two Helmets Cooking
Roast carrots at 400° for 20 min. Season if desired. Add butter & chopped scallion to a pan and sauté mushrooms at a medium heat. Move mushrooms to a plate, and add broth to the pan. Stir well and then pour the broth mixture over the mushrooms. Add carrots to the plate & serve. Serves 1 (adjust as needed) 57
Getting Comfortable with
“The Talk” |by Kelly Bartlett
It’s never too early to begin talking with your kids about sex. In fact, the earlier you start, the more comfortable you will feel when it’s time to talk about difficult issues. Here are some ageappropriate topics parents should bring up with their children now to pave the way for lessstressful conversations about sexual health in the adolescent years.
Ages 0-2: Positive Perception There’s no better time to start practicing the language of body talk than when kids are infants. At this age, there’s no pressure to say the “right” thing, and your baby won’t laugh, get nervous, or ask any questions. It’s important to get comfortable verbalizing words or bodily functions that may cause some discomfort for you. According to Dr. Laura Berman, a sex educator, therapist, and author of Talking to Your Kids About Sex, something crucial for parents to do while their kids are infants is to adopt a positive view of bodily functions. Shift from looking at a poopy diaper as, “Oh, isn’t that stinky!” to a perspective of, “Wow, you’ve been eating well!” Dr. Berman says many parents have likely learned from their own upbringing to feel ashamed or embarrassed of bowel movements. “When really,” she says, “it’s just a part of life!” Functions involving the genitals are healthy and normal, not something negative or problematic.
Ages 2-3: Touching & Being
Children will inevitably discover their genitals, and when this happens, it’s time to start the conversations about touching. Normalize self-touch by not reacting strongly to your toddler playing with his genitals. Instead, just let him know that there are appropriate times and places to do so. If it happens at an inappropriate time, Dr. Berman advises parents, “Explain that while it feels good to touch your private parts, they are your private parts and this touching should only occur in private.” This age is also a good time to teach children that their private According to Dr. Laura parts are their Berman, a sex educator, own; no one else therapist, and author should touch of Talking to Your Kids them other than About Sex, something parents or carcrucial for parents to egivers who are do while their kids are helping to clean infants is to adopt a them, or a doctor positive view of bodily who checks to see functions. if they are healthy. This includes people they know and love. Amy Lang, sex educator and author of Birds + Bees + Your Kids says, “More than ninety percent of the time, child molestation occurs by someone that child knows. Strangers very rarely molest
Getting Comfortable with
children.” She also says to let kids know that while other people should never touch their private parts, they shouldn’t be touching anyone else’s either. If you haven’t started teaching your toddlers the proper names for their private parts, now is the time to do that, too. Using nicknames sends a message that there is something shameful or illegitimate about their private parts, as opposed to something they should embrace. “When you use anatomically correct names for their private areas right from the beginning, you've already started the conversation,” says Lang.
Ages 3-5: First Questions When children are old enough to ask questions about how babies are made, “Parents should buck up and tell them,” says Lang. Though, she says it’s fine to keep the explanation simple and brief. Something like, “Babies come from inside mommy’s belly,” is enough to start. When kids ask follow-up questions like, “How does the baby get in there?” continue to keep the answers simple and direct. “Mommies have eggs, and daddies have sperm. When a sperm and an egg come together, it starts growing into a baby.” Let the child’s questions lead the conversation. Reading books together is a great way to answer some hard questions. Amazing You by Gail Saltz is a perfect book for parents to read with their preschoolers. With its simple text and color illustrations, it is an engaging way to open the door to talking about bodies.
Age 5-8: Sex and Values
When kids reach kindergarten, and by age 7 at the latest, kids need to know about intercourse. That might seem early, but according to Lang, it
isn’t too much for them to handle. “Adults come to the conversation with a different perspective than kids,” she says. “We know all the good and the bad stuff about sex. They don't. Little kids take in this information like they do everything else. We're the ones who bring discomfort, shame, or embarrassment to the sex talk party.”
The sooner the better is Lang’s rule of thumb. “Bring it up before the ‘ooh-gross!’ factor kicks in. When they are young, they are just very open and not grossed out. That being said, it’s never too late.” What’s important is that discussions about intercourse are family-oriented. Other people shouldn’t talk to them about sex. Let your kids know what you believe to be true about sex, relationships, and your spirituality. Kids need to know where you stand and what your family values are when it comes to sex. Lang tells parents, “The key to great conversations with your kids is combining the facts with your values.” Other topics to bring up at this age are the “logistics” of what’s coming next in their development, such as different hygiene habits that accompany body changes and puberty. Talk about how to keep their bodies healthy when it comes to sexual development. Parents should not be thinking about when they’re going to have “The Talk” with their children, but instead how they can start opening a dialog about sex right now. No matter your child’s age, there are topics that can be broached. And the earlier you start, the easier the discussions go. Start now to turn one weighty talk into a dialog for life. As Lang tells parents, “No one has ever died from having conversations about sex and you won't either!”
For Further Reading To help broach some of these topics with kids, reading books together helps. These resources are all great for starting conversations about sex and body issues: Touching: It’s MY Body, by Lory Freeman Your Body Belongs to You, by Cornelia Spelman The Right Touch, by Sandy Kleven Anatomy and Reproduction: Amazing You, by Gail Saltz It’s Not the Stork! By Robie Harris It’s So Amazing! by Robie Harris Elementary-Age Body Books: The Boy’s Body Book, by Kelli Dunham (for boys) The Care and Keeping of You, by American Girl (for girls) For Parents: Birds + Bees + Your Kids, by Amy Lang Talking to Your Kids About Sex, by Laura Berman
Just to be Clear… If there’s any confusion about what names to teach your kids about their private parts, here they are. For boys, it’s penis, testicles, and scrotum. For girls, what they see when they look down is their vulva, specifically the labia. The vagina is completely internal; it’s only the opening that is visible. Bath time provides an easy opportunity to practice using proper names for private parts. “Did you wash your penis?” or, “Your vulva looks a little red, does it feel OK?” Practice, practice, practice—using them in conversation will soon become second nature.
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Staying Healthy & Active
...After Baby |by Lisa Druxman
Movement and exercise are vital for good health. But it can be a challenge finding the time and energy for a workout. Your baby is only a baby for a very short time, so try to find mommy and me or stroller workouts that you can do together. Instead of obsessing over getting in to pre-pregnancy clothes, focus on regaining the strength and energy that you need as a new mom. Most doctors or midwives will suggest waiting 6 weeks after birth to begin traditional exercise.
Use the environment. You don’t need a gym and you can take your baby with you. The best exercise out there is walking. It’s something everyone can do and you don’t need special equipment to do it. You can put your baby in the stroller or in a baby carrier for your walks.
New moms don’t have a traditional 30-minutes, three times a week to workout. So, just get active whenever you can. It doesn’t need to hurt. In fact, it shouldn’t. Your body needs lots of energy to recover from pregnancy and childbirth and to take care of your baby (especially if you’re nursing). Exercising at the right intensity will give you more 62
energy, not take it away. How do you know if you’re working at the right level? Try the talk test. If you can talk so easily to your baby that you can carry on a regular conversation then you are definitely not working hard enough. However, if you’re working so hard that you can’t sing the ABC’s to her, then you are working too hard. Find a good balance of being just a little bit out of breath.
Any time is the right time. New moms don’t have a traditional 30-minutes, three times a week to workout. So, just get active whenever you can. Take a 10-minute walk here, do some push ups there, and before you know it you’ll have a workout. Get creative.
Figure out ways to turn your chores around the house into a workout. The most important thing is consistency. Make a commitment to get active regularly.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Everyone is supposed to drink 8, 8-oz glasses of water a day. If you are nursing, you’ll need even more. Make sure that you are drinking water throughout your workout. The best gift you can give to your child is a happy, healthy mom. Choose foods that will fuel you, exercises that will energize you and enjoy the moments in-between.
go anywhere onyababy.com
Onya Baby 1045 17th. Ave Santa Cruz, CA. 95062 63
Screen Free Week is May 5 - 11! This annual, international initiative was created in 1994 to encourage families, schools, and communities to embrace screen-free entertainment for a week. Hundreds of organizations such as the American Medical Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the YMCA, support the movement. Here are some fun ways to shut off the screens and get outside with your family. These ideas are also good to think about as we all begin planning for summer! 1. Get the imagination going by helping your kids write their own book. 2. Take a ride and ask the kids to paint what they saw. 3. Go for a bike ride, or teach a little one how to! 4. Gather some yummy goodies and take the family on a picnic. 5. Take your kids to read to patients at nursing homes. 6. Visit the local humane society to give love and attention to the animals waiting for new homes.
7. Spend an afternoon sorting through old clothes and toys that can be donated to a shelter. 64
8. Play cards! This old pastime is always good fun. 9. Prepare and plant a garden - even if itâ€™s just in pots! 10. Go on a nature hike & have your kids journal what they see.
11. Learn about your local culture and history. 12. Make a family tree. 13. Attend a local event, play, or musical performance. 14. Spend some time at a local bookstore. 15. Visit a new restaurant. 16. Visit a museum. 17. Create costumes out of old clothes and craft scraps.
18. Build a blanket fort and tell camp-style stories. 19. Play hopscotch or freeze-tag. 20. Draw portraits of each other. 21. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. 22. Play in a creek and discover what lives there. 23. Help your child complete random acts of kindness.
24. Go tree climbing. 25. Visit a “pick your own” farm. 26. Visit a local farmers market and get to know the farmers. 27. Visit a local park - help pick up trash if you see any. 28. Put on a play. 29. Help the kids plan a meal that they can make.
30. Play board games. 31. Take an art class. 32. Plan a living room ball and dance the afternoon away. 33. Make mud pies. 34. Create crafts from upcycled items like toilet paper rolls, milk cartons, etc. 35. Go camping. 36. Blow bubbles. 37. Build a sandbox. 38. Explore local landmarks. 39. Spend an afternoon picking wildflowers. 40. Grab a blanket and watch the clouds - what shapes do they see?
41. Get up early, grab a cup of tea, and watch the sun rise. 42. Prepare a freezer meal for a neighbor, new mother, or pantry in your area.
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Raising Your Infant or Toddler the Montessori Way
Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! By Rachel Macy Stafford
Even though her term “hands free” is not about babywearing, Rachel Macy Stafford is quite the attached parent. We all know our kids want to see more than the side of our face illuminated by a screen. Drawing from her own experiences, Rachel shares how she trained herself to move away from the constant distractions of her schedule and her smart phone, and toward appreciating the here and now with her family. Her book offers gentle advice for focusing on what matters most. $8 at Amazon
Farmstand App Finding farmers markets and local food sources in your area just got a whole lot simpler. With the Farmstand App for iOS, you’ll never miss the chance to buy fresh, no matter where you are. There’s also a social media style news feed where you can share posts with your friends, or follow other shoppers as well as the market itself. Who’s ready for spring? Free at iTunes
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal What do you get when you combine a word and a number? A wumber! If your little readers love deciphering license plates on a road trip, this book takes it a step further. From simple signs like, “Welcome 2 the 4est Preserve” to full conversations, your child can exercise her language and reasoning skills to understand the meaning. Colorful illustrations offer hints so she gets the hang of it. $12 at Amazon
Prince the Surprise Horse
By Nita Kay Logemann, Illustrated by Anne Michelsen Prince’s Mama and Papa are famous racehorses. Papa wants Prince to grow up and win ribbons and trophies, too – but he soon realizes that Prince is different from other horses. Mama and Papa love Prince the way he is, but he endures some hard times before he learns that the same things that make him different also make him very, very special. In a surprise ending, Prince finds happiness in using his unique qualities to bring happiness to others as well. Written by a former school teacher, Prince the Surprise Horse’s whimsical storytelling and delightful illustrations offer an engaging way to introduce the complex issues of bullying and self-acceptance to young audiences. $13 at Amazon 67
Creating an edible Patio Garden with Your Child |by Jennie Lyon
Spring is right around the corner and one of my favorite activities to welcome the new season is creating an organic garden with my son! I love that simple potted gardens can be created in any home, whether you live in a house, apartment or high-rise condominium, you can almost always find a small sunny spot to grow a simple garden.
ber, to choose plants that will still be comfortable in your pots when they are full grown.
A potted garden is great for child because they can pick up the pot and bring it to the kitchen to harvest the goodies and it gives them great pride and accomplishment to watch their garden grow. The best part, however is spending an hour in the spring sunshine with your little ones making memories that last a lifetime.
You Will Need: â€˘ Assorted pots (we like to collect our from thrift shops) â€˘ Organic fruit and vegetable plants (minimally packaged) â€˘ Organic potting soil
Step 1: Pick the Perfect Location First, decide where you will grow your garden goodies. Then, choose what size pots and plants your space can accommodate and that will grow well in your local climate. Remem-
Step 2: Add Soil to the Pots Add organic potting soil to the bottom of
each pot. This project is perfect for children who love to get their hands dirty.
Creating an edible Patio Garden with Your Child
Step 3: Prepare the Plants Carefully remove the plants. We look for plants from our local nursery that have minimal or compostable packaging. If the plants come in compostable packaging, we tear it up and add it to the bottom of the pot before putting the plant in. (We only remove the bottom, leaving the sides of the compostable pot intact.)
Step 4: Add the Plant to the Pot Add a plant to each pot ensuring that you have added enough soil and compostables underneath.
Step 5: Top Off with More Soil Finish adding the organic potting soil to the top of each pot and then water away.
Step 6: Watch Your Garden and Childâ€™s Delight Grow Water your new plants in the early morning or evening. Make sure to move them routinely to prevent them from burning in the sun. Enjoy your fresh organic fruits and vegetables that you grew in your own organic garden. 70
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Where Fads & Health Intersect Does Your Family Need to Follow A Special Diet? |by Louise Goldberg
With all the talk of eliminating certain foods from your diet, it’s natural to wonder if the latest eating trends are right for your family. Generally, fad diets have been thought to be not appropriate for growing children because they can be rigid and too restrictive. However, in many cases, fad diets have led to surprising and genuine health benefits that might not have been discovered otherwise. Ten years ago, only the few people who had been diagnosed with celiac disease were aware of a gluten free diet. They resorted to using the few commercially available safe products or learning to prepare foods that were naturally gluten free. Over the years, this population has expanded to include those with gluten sensitivities. The diet has gained significant attention, attracting celebrities and inspiring best-selling books that blame gluten for the cause of numerous other health issues, including obesity. The food industry responded to this diet’s rising popularity by producing numerous gluten free products to meet the demand. The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center estimates that 3 million Americans live with celiac disease but only 3 percent of them have been tested and are aware of it. This popular diet has allowed previously undiagnosed celiacs or unaware gluten intolerants to identify the problem. Maye Musk, MS RDN, was working with a patient in his late twenties who had spent a significant portion of his life in pain. His parents didn’t speak English, and he had never been tested for celiac disease. After reviewing his symptoms and diet history, Maye recommended trialing a gluten free diet and set up a meal plan with lists of recommended foods and ones to avoid. “At his follow-up appointment, he didn’t
show. Instead he left his fee in cash in an envelope at reception. He said he was feeling so well, he didn’t need to see me anymore.” Following fast on the heels of gluten free diets have been other avoidance diets, especially those for food allergies.
According to a 2013 study released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of food allergy has doubled over the past 14 years. The most common food allergens are eggs, cow’s milk, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts. Many more people experience food intolerances though, which don’t trigger an immune response and are typically contained to gastrointestinal issues. Vegan diets, in which no animal products of any kind are consumed, have become popular among people who are drawn to the idea of consuming cleaner foods. Amy, a high school teacher and mom of 2, tried a vegan diet for 2 weeks to lose weight but when she re-introduced dairy a couple weeks later there was an immediate difference in how she felt. “After eating a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, my stomach problems were back. I hadn’t realized how bad it was until I realized how good I could be feeling.” There are no definitive blood or skin tests for intolerances that have been accepted by the mainstream medical community. An elimination and challenge diet, under the close supervision of a physician and dietitian, is still the most accurate way to diagnose a food allergy or intolerance. With this heightened awareness about food
Where Fads & Health Intersect Does Your Family Need to Follow A Special Diet? allergies and intolerances, some parents have prematurely omitted certain foods fearing that the exposure could lead to a food allergy. However, the guidelines from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases state that “there is no evidence to suggest that restricting a mother’s diet while she is pregnant or breastfeeding prevents the development of food allergy in her child, nor is there evidence to support delaying the introduction of solid foods to an infant 4 to 6 months of age to prevent allergic diseases from developing.” Cases of rickets and malnutrition have been reported in unnecessarily restrictive diets without nutritional guidance. Talking with other parents about food choices
can also be a big influencer on what you try for your own family. When another parent believes the diet change that worked for her child is what’s best for every child, it could be harmful advice, even with the best of intentions. On the other hand, it can sometimes be right on point. Nicole thought her son John was just a very active little boy but when he started school, she got feedback from teachers that John was impulsive and had difficulty following simple instructions. “It got to the point where I felt sick to my stomach when picking him up from school because there was usually a note about his behavior from one of his teachers.” John’s pediatrician suggested the next step was to consider medication. “So I walked out of the office that day with a script for Adderall”, a stimulant used in the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) “but once we were faced with the decision to medicate our child, I just couldn’t do it.” It wasn’t until Nicole openly discussed the situation with a mothers’ group did she hear about a connection between hyperactivity, food dyes and preservatives. In a 2007 study on the effects of preservatives and artificial food dye on young children, the outcomes concluded that food additives and/ or sodium benzoate increase hyperactive behavior in children. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends, “For the child without a medical, emotional, or environmental etiology of ADHD behaviors, a trial of a preservative-free, food coloring–free diet is a reasonable intervention.”
Nicole removed products with artificial ingredients from the family’s diet. She and her husband bought less processed foods and prepared more at home. “I received a call from his homeroom teacher praising John’s behavior; he was doing much better following directions and not interrupting. We had never received feedback like that. The only thing we changed was our food.” Following a fad diet on a whim could have negative consequences for your child’s growth and functioning. “It’s important to understand the impact fads have on your own food choices,” Allison Beadle, MS, RD, LD told the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics members at the 2013 Food and Nutrition Conference. “They are often shrouded in emotions and are
heavily marketed.” If your family already follows a healthy diet and they aren’t experiencing adverse symptoms associated with eating, altering their diet is not worth the headache or additional expense just because it’s what everyone else is doing. Yet there are also situations where it might be appropriate. If gastrointestinal issues are present or your child is struggling with behavior and focus, it may be worth a trial on a special diet, temporarily omitting the problem food to see if you notice improvements. If you aren’t sure whether your child is intolerant or truly allergic to a certain food, seek out testing from an allergist. Guidance from a dietitian may also be helpful to ensure he receives adequate nutrition to support his growth.
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Ask Hana Haatainen Caye
Geena writes: I heard clay cat litter is bad, not only for the environment, but for my cats as well. Do you recommend a greener and healthier option that actually works? GG: What you heard is correct, Geena. As a matter of fact, we suspect three of our cats died due to the use of clay litter. The culprit is the sodium bentonite in clay litter, as the dust from this toxin can expand in a cat’s lungs, which can cause breathing problems. Additionally, cats tend to ingest a bit of the clay from their paws as they groom themselves. This can cause a variety of issues, including tumors, IBS, vomiting, depressed immune systems, and intestinal blockage. The litter can cause this blockage as it expands in the intestines, resulting in dehydration and malnutrition. The ASPCA recommends against clumping clay litter. When silica-based litters are used, cats sometimes develop a form of pulmonary tuberculosis (silicotuberculosis), which is fatal. Additionally, when sodium silicate is inhaled by humans, the dangers are very real. Bronchitis, lung cancer, and silicotuberculosis have all been linked to inhalation of the dust of this kind of litter. The addition of chemically-based fragrance leads to even more concerns. Over 2.5 million tons of clay is strip mined every year, with 85% used for absorption of pet waste, according to the U.S. Geological Society. Keep in mind that clay litter never biodegrades. Therefore, every bag of clay litter thrown into the landfills, remains in the landfills forever. Of course, I’m not going to give you all of the bad news without offering some better alternatives.
There are a variety of cat litters that are safer for the environment, your pets, and you. • The World’s Best Cat Litter – my favorite. This corn-based litter absorbs and traps ammonia, so odor simply isn’t much of an issue. I appreciate the lack of litter tracked through the house. • Swheat Scoop – This is made from processed non-food grade wheat. It has a soft texture which works well for sensitive paws. What I didn’t like about Swheat Scoop was the little grains of evidence scattered throughout the house, indicating that my cats had used the box. • Feline Pine uses pine sawdust. The sawdust is sterilized, which makes it the perfect choice following any kind of surgery. It is dust-free, but I found it tracked through the house. • Yesterday’s News is one of the best environmental choices, as it’s made from recycled newspaper. Brilliant! While I’ve not tried it with my cats, I hear it is kind to kitty’s tender paw pads and it does not cling to their feet or furry behinds. I recommend trying the above types of litter to determine what works best for your family. While the litters may claim to be compostable and flushable, flushing can lead to serious health threats to marine life, as the Toxoplasmosis gondii (TG) parasite is often found in cat feces. Most water treatment plants do not filter this out, which means it heads into the water and can be deadly, especially to sea otters. This is simply not a good option. Composting should only be done if the composted soil is not used to grow food. Period. When tossing into the trash, as always, using a compostable bag is your best option.
Hana Haatainen Caye, is a wife, mother, grandmother, and author of the book Vinegar Fridays, who shares her passion for common sense greener and healthier living.
ReUse : Planters Gardening in small spaces is a great way to bring fresh ingredients into your diet. Try these easy upcycled planters (perfect for herb garden!) to get you started.
Materials: Planters: • • • •
Empty Cartons Scissors Soil Seeds or plants
Seed Pods: • TP Rolls • Scissors
Seed Pod Instructions: An outdoor garden is great, but putting plants out too early can put them at risk of under nourished, eaten, frosted and more. Start your little seedlings indoors affordably with these super simple pods that fit nicely on a windowsill. 1. Remove any leftover toilet paper from your roll. 2. Cut the roll in half. 3. Make four cuts about 1” deep evenly around one end of the tube. 4. Fold the ends in (much like closing a box). 5. Place a folded a square of TP in the bottom of the planter to keep dirt from spilling out of the bottom. 6. Fill with soil and plant your seed!
When they are ready for the sun, place them in a windowsill or set them out on warmer days.
Carton Planter Instructions: Have one or many, these easy planters are cute, functional and perfectly sized for herbs or small flowers.
1. Rinse your carton and let dry. 2. Using a knife or scissors, carefully cut out one side of the carton. 3. Fill with soil, plant your seeds (or seed-lings!) and watch them grow!
Because these cartons are made for liquids, you can water your plants without fear of leaking - just be sure to give you plants plenty of sunlight and resist the urge to over-water.
GCM Community Marketplace
Gracie and Sam (LLC) Handcrafted Baby Carriers specializes in Mei Tai Carriers - classic, full-featured, wrap conversion, even doll carriers! Cottons, linens, & other natural fibers. CPSIA, BCIA.
We carry affordable Natural, Organic, Eco-Friendly products for baby & toddler. Created by a mom, we understand the importance of chemicalfree products for our children and environment.
Bebe & toddler apparel that is local, eco, modern and affordable. Made in Canada from start to finish. Check out our innovative Magic line, functional leggings, and most loved Ninja Outfit - all of which are built to last.
Protecting our beautiful planet can be fun & fashionable. These frills are a reminder that we can leave the earth a little greener than we found it. Use GREENCHILDMAG15 for 15% off at checkout.
Search from over 200 brands and models including bumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Smartipants, GroVia, Happy Heinyâ€™s, WAHM brands, and more! Read user reviews or add your own. 84
Click here to learn everything you ever wanted to know about cloth diapers, plus a FREE printable, shareable guide to cloth diapers download!
Tuning in to your child’s instincts to stay clean and dry is easy with EC Wear’s selection of eco-friendly training pants, diaper belts, split pants, and other clothes for easy elimination communication.
GRC Eco Store is your destination for educational, all natural, eco-friendly products. Schools, homes & offices love us. You will too! Use coupon code GCM10 to enjoy 10% off your purchase.
Take baby in the water in style! Available in wrapstyle or ring slings in 10 colors and 3 sizes. Use code “GreenSpring” to save 10% through May 31st.
An online boutique to meet the needs of naturallyminded parents. Modern, eco-friendly & organic baby clothes, bedding, skin care, toys & more. Send or register for the perfect baby gift today!
An Apple A Day Nutrition Consulting With Louise Goldberg RD, CSP, LD, CNSC A registered dietitian with over a decade of experience working with children and families to find realistic solutions for their nutrition concerns. One-on-one consultations online or by phone.
Written by Hana Haatainen Cay, Vinegar Fridays offers tips on how to use vinegar for cleaning, pet care, diet, healthcare, car care, beauty and more. The perfect guide for greener & healthier living!
Your Green Child
Christalin Grandma & Wyatt
Community - Get advice from other parents on attachment parenting and raising eco-conscious children Go Green - Learn how to get your kids involved in causes they care about Activities - Have a ball with games, crafts, and more Giveaways - Win eco-stylish and fun green gear for families Learn - Articles by experts in health and green living Get Involved - Let us know what you like
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Apis Mellifera â€œHoney Beeâ€? by Zoe, age 11 from New Orleans 88
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Published on Mar 18, 2014
Celebrate Spring with all the latest in natural parenting and green living. We searched high and low for the safest, most convenient and eco...