Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Hawk Happiness

Thank you for all your help and for the warm experience you provided.  We thoroughly enjoyed finding the perfect solution for the comfort of Nicole and I.  We both love it!

~Amy Velardo, Nicole Velardo ,and Grandma Judie Bouta

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going green with baby rooms

Decorating your child's bedroom or playroom scores high as one of the more fun tasks we can do as parents. It draws on parents' creativity, enjoyment, and love to build a beautiful space for their child to grow up in. A nursery project may also compel functionality to ensure child-proofed features and convenience for the parents and caregivers who will spend considerable time there as well. However, before one gets too caught up in color swatches, another matter to consider is folding in eco-friendly options to maximize a child's health and safety.

Here are a few ideas to make your baby/child's room "green" and environmentally safer:
  • Use low or no-voc paints. Another fun way to decorate a room without the labor or exposure to walls of paint is to blik it.
  • Find furniture made of natural woods with non-toxic finishes. Also, lay down natural wood floors such as bamboo. With carpeting, select natural and non-allergenic fibers.
  • Choose an organic mattress and crib bedding over non-organic sets. Mainstream cotton is a major crop that utilizes chemical fertilizers and pesticides that often retains residues within the material.
  • Do select a room for your baby or child in the house with open windows to allow fresh air and natural sunlight. Though, be careful how you arrange furniture in the room; keep cribs, tables, and other furnishings that little ones can climb upon away from windows, especially if you live on upper levels or floors.
  • Minimize plastic toys, if possible (check out our "Let's Talk Toys" blog entries by store manager Julliet Lowe). Instead, have wooden toys or toys made with no-lead paints and natural materials available for baby to play with. Also consider toys that spark the imagination and can double as learning tools. Contexture mobiles, for example, are designed with a nature and recycling theme. They add great decor as well as inspire awareness of the natural world.
Photo credit: Contexture Design
  • For general cleaning, use natural or organic cleaners to keep baby's environment toxic-free as possible.
By providing a household that is safe as well as eco-friendly, children will become familiar with such concepts that will make growing into responsible stewards easier and more fun. For further information, check out some tips by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LL)

Let's Talk Toys with Julliet Lowe

You're out shopping for a baby gift and/or birthday present for a special little someone in your life and you're wondering what to get..

Here are some questions to keep in mind.

1. Is it about quality or quantity? A quality toy lasts a lifetime vs. a quantity toy, where parts are cheaply made and break in a short time.

2. Is the toy beautiful? How will this toy affect my child? Does the toy feel good to touch and hold? Typically toys made from natural materials will be more satisfying than those made from plastic, particle board, and other synthetic materials.

3. Last but not least, does the toy smell? This might sound weird but our modern environment tends to overstimulate all the senses, including the sense of smell. Toys that have a strong plastic or perfumed smell should be avoided.

Baby aWEARness supports the idea that play is essential for healthy physical and mental development of each child.

Meet our Evi doll selection 

We provide toys that encourage spontaneous free play - such as playing with dolls.

 Sophie the Giraffe

Toys that help develop imagination and self direction

 Kinderkram Dumptruck

Kinderkram Farmhouse with Animals

 Wooden Sitching Cheese

Toys that are beautiful..

Beautiful Playsilks

Taggies-100% certified organic cotton fibers, pure silk ribbons, safe dyes,wonderful for baby while being sensitive to the world in which they thrive.

Please visit us in store if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the toys featured here.

Warmest Blessings to you and yours,
Julliet Lowe

Informed and Empowered Motherhood

Today I remembered why I bought Baby aWEARness all over again. A mom with a 2 week-old called the store inquiring about our lactation consultant Nicky. She was having massive problems breastfeeding and had turned to formula. That led to major engorgement, and as we soon discovered, borderline mastitis. She was in severe pain, emotionally and physically.

When she came for her consultation, the store was filled with mothers who could immediately sense and empathize with her situation. It turned into an impromptu support group, with all of us talking story, sharing our trials and tribulations as mothers. I can honestly say that when this mother left the store she felt informed and empowered to go back home and continue breastfeeding. She knew what she had in store for her, she knew it was going to be painful and hard, but most of all she knew she could do it.

It was a beautiful beautiful thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prevention of Obesity in Breastfeeding Mothers and their Babies

The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) recognizes that obesity is a common problem in the United States for both women and children.

One of the easiest and most healthy ways to prevent obesity is to breastfeed and to be breastfed. In the United States 32.7% of U.S. adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3% are obese and 5.9% are extremely obese. The American Obesity Association states that 15.5% of adolescents, ages 12 to 19, and 15.3% of children, ages 6 to 11, are obese.These alarming statistics also drive up health care costs by $100 billion a year!!

Since 1960, the rate of obese Americans has been on the rise. Children who are obese at a young age are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, metabolic disorders, depression and other diseases which will impact the rest of their lives. It is estimated that the increase of obesity in this country has also attributed to the death rate in our country. Each year in the U.S obesity causes at least 300,000 unnecessary deaths. The states with the lowest rates of breastfeeding generally demonstrate the highest rates of overweight and obesity.

Breastfeeding an infant through the first year can decrease childhood obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that "for each month of exclusive breastfeeding, up to age 9 months, the risk of obesity is decreased by 4%." By breastfeeding a child for 9 months or more there is a 30% less chance of a child being an overweight adult. Lactation has also been associated with postpartum weight loss in the exclusively breastfeeding mother.

Not only do breastfed infants reduce their likelihood of childhood obesity, they are taught and learn from an early age what the most nutritious foods are and how to make healthy choices. These healthy choices can potentially impact an adult's health and can avoid the many diseases obesity can cause.

USLCA president, Laurie Beck states, “Educating parents on the optimal nutrition breast milk provides is important for healthy families and can decrease the rate of childhood obesity in this country.”

So let us continue and encourage to support breastfeeding as an early preventive health behavior in the efforts to educate women on the prevention of obesity.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Roots Remedies Baby Butt Wash: New at Baby aWEARness

From Tara, the maker of Roots Remedies:

"When I was pregnant with my first child my husband and I were befriended by a cloth diapering couple who were members of our co-op. They were excited to pass on to us the exquisite hand-stitched cotton diapers her mother and sister had made for their babies. Their children had been born in Japan where everyone drinks green tea with every meal. They told us that in the hospitals in Japan the nurses would pour the left over tea from the pot into a bottle when the meal was finished. Then they would use it on the babies bottoms when they changed their diapers, to prevent diaper rash. When I gave birth to my daughter, I looked at that beautiful baby skin and thought “no wipe is touching this bottom!”. I remembered the green tea story and did some research. It turns out green tea is used for this purpose in Japan because it is full of tannins which aid in the healing of tissue. It also neutralizes the PH creating an environment that won’t harbor rash-causing bacteria. I added soothing, healing aloe and nature’s great anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-viral agent: grapefruit seed extract (GSE). I like to put a little bit on a soft cotton washcloth and dab baby’s bottom between diapers. I stay away from spray tops because they can’t be recycled and clog easily. As cloth diaper veterans who used this product on two children, my husband and I agree that a squeezable bottle with a flip-top is the best container for quick-change functionality. You can soak a few soft clothes in Roots Baby Butt-Wash and carry them with you in a baby wipe carrying case for outings. Because of GSE’s ability to kill germs, it can even be used to clean baby after number two."

I'm currently using RR Baby Butt Wash with my daughter Audrey and loving it!
Contains no chemicals, preservatives, alcohols, detergents or perfumes.
Natural and organic ingredients: organic green tea, organic aloe, GSE, essential oil of lavender.
Hand crafted with aloha in Hawaii.

Choosing a Baby Carrier

You’ve heard and read about the great benefits of babywearing, such as babies cry less, a “hands-free” way to hold your baby while you do housework and easy, discreet on-the-go nursing. Now, how do you choose the right carrier for you?

Here are some key features of carriers you can find at Baby aWEARness:

Stretchy wraps like the Moby Wrap, allow you to carry your baby securely and close to you, while remaining hands-free. You can discreetly nurse your baby in a Moby Wrap. Later, you can use your Moby wrap to hold baby forward-facing. Moby Wraps can even hold twins! The Moby Wrap is the least expensive of the carriers and are excellent for newborn – middle infancy.

Ring Slings like the Rockin Baby Sling are great for parents who want something easy to take on and off and stuff in their diaper bag when not in use. Ring slings are excellent for nursing discreetly and on-the-go. Ring slings can hold your baby upright, cradle hold (semi-upright), forward-facing, on your hip and back carry. These carriers are often less hot for the wearer since there is less fabric touching your body. The Rockin Baby Sling is reversible and features two pockets for carrying your wallet, an extra diaper or toys and available in organic fabric.

Mei Tai carriers like the BabyHawk and Freehand Baby Carrier allow you to carry your baby from newborn through toddlerhood. These are great carriers for mom and dad to share when there is a big difference in height or body shape since you don’t have to adjust buckles and clasps each time there is a different wearer. Mei Tai carriers are fairly lightweight and easy to store in a diaper bag when not in use. They allow you to do hands-free front and back carry and work well for hiking and long carries.

Soft structured carriers like the Beco, Ergo, Lillebaby, Angelpack and Pikkolo are easy to use, hands-free carriers, especially good for hiking and long carries. The Beco, Ergo and Lillebaby can be used newborn – toddlerhood. Some may require an infant insert to be purchased. The Lillebaby and Pikkolo allow you to do a forward-facing carry with your baby. The Angelpack is nice for taller parents or taller babies because if its longer design. All of these brands can do front and back carry and feature a hood that you can use to shield baby from the sun or for more privacy when your baby falls asleep. Some are available in organic fabrics.

Another tip: plan on trying on a few different carriers to see which one feels best on your body and your baby seems happiest in. This is the best way to ensure that you’re picking out the right carrier that you’ll want to use all the time.

A Word About Slings and Babywearing Safety

You may have seen some negative stories about slings recently in the news. The type of slings in question are the "bag" slings that are large, worn low on the parent's body and have little to no adjustability. Baby aWEARness does not sell this type of sling. Many carriers are very safe, however any carrier (including carseats and strollers) can pose a threat to a baby when used incorrectly, so here are some safety tips to help you wear your baby safely:

- Wear your baby high and snug on your chest. You should be able to reach down and give her a kiss.
- Make sure baby's chin is not pressed against his chest.
- Baby's face should be uncovered at all times.
- In a pouch or ring sling, baby's bottom should always be lower than his knees.
- Make sure baby's back and head are supported so that she is not curled up like a "C".

If you need some help or a unsure of how to position your baby in your carrier, help is available.
We hold Babywearing 101, the second Saturday of every month where you can get expert adive on carriers. Baby aWEARness employees are also available to help you with your carrier.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nursing Bras, A Mom's Breast Friend!

Breastfeeding frees a mother from all the usual diaper bag paraphernalia -- bottles, cooler, water, formula powder-to-go -- but there is one key item that all nursing moms should have on herself: a good nursing bra.

Many new mothers may think a nursing bra is more of an accessory, but it really is a necessity. They provide comfort, support, and convenience while helping a mother to perform one of the most important maternal acts: feeding baby from her very own body. Nursing bras are designed with cups that open or lower at the front with snaps or hook-on straps. The best nursing bras allow moms to undo a cup quickly and easily with one hand.

Hot Mama Maternity store manager Anna suggests that pregnant moms come in sometime at the end of their eighth month or after week 36 to get an initial fitting. "A mother-to-be can increase up to two cup sizes and even gain an inch or two in their ribcage during pregnancy."

A proper fitting by a professional can avoid problems down the line as an ill-fitting bra, or the construction of a non-nursing bra, sometimes can lead to plugged ducts and/or mastitis (breast infection). The added pressure on lactating breasts by regular underwire bras can also lead to clogged ducts.

Buy one or two nursing bras to have on hand for those first weeks after baby's birth. Once a mother's milk is established and she becomes acclimated to her new breasts, getting more nursing bras, usually in that first postpartum month, is fine. Three to five bras should be enough to meet a full-time nursing mother's needs.

Once you have your nursing bras, don't forget to get cotton nursing pads to absorb leaking milk. Also look into a few good nursing tops that provide added discretion for when you feed your baby in public settings. For at-home comfort, breastfeeding moms can also wear nursing camisoles, tanks, nightgowns, and pajamas.

At Hot Mama Maternity, we offer a complete line of fashionable and high-quality nursing bras and wear that will make mothers feel comfortable, beautiful, and stress-free through their breastfeeding relationship with baby. (LL)