Thursday, December 30, 2010

Healthy Pregnancy Lectures in 2011

Looking for free pregnancy education?

Finally! A fresh, dynamic, interesting pregnancy class series that won't leave you snoozing! Baby Awearness has teamed up with the best and the brightest of Oahu's natural birth community to educate as well as entertain. Our Healthy Pregnancy Lectures are FREE and open to the public! All classes are scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month (except in January) and located at our store in the Manoa Marketplace, 2nd floor.

We hope you will join us. Reminders will go out for every month but feel free to rsvp anytime. Or you can also just show up!

Coming up on . .

January 19th - Fertility and Nutrition: Nourishing the Miracle of Conception
Whether you are planning your first pregnancy or growing your family, healthy living before and during pregnancy is beneficial for all moms and babies-to-be. Supported by scientific research, nutritionist Stephanie Jurgenson will discuss the link between what you eat and your fertility and offer suggested nutrition and lifestyle steps to boost your fertility.

February 2nd - Pregnancy Nutrition
Nutritionist (and new mom) Kate Greenwell will offer great tips and insight into maintaining an expecting mother's healthy eating habits while optimizing health for her growing baby as well.

March 2nd - Fearless Birth
Natural birth advocate and Lamaze instructor Piper Lovemore will lead a discussion on having a fear-less birth. Many women (and men) often feel some degree of trepidation when confronted with even the idea of labor and delivery. This presentation is a great forum to explore those fears and learn how to replace them with positive affirmations and facts.

April 6th - Home Safety - CANCELLED
Local naturopathic doctor, Dr. Veronica Ford will present tips and advice on how home safety after baby arrives. Beyond the typical childproofing to-do's, she will also talk about how to create a non-toxic environment in the home.

May 4th - Post-partum Rejuvenation
Acupuncturist and doula Tara Mattes returns with this popular topic about post-partum care for new moms. This lecture offers great insight into the importance of helping mothers transition back to health and feel rejuvenated during those first weeks after birth.

Monday, December 27, 2010

How Important Is Breastfeeding, Really?

PART 2:  What do moms say?
(comments from moms of the La Leche League of Central Oahu group)

Breastfeeding is Practical:
  • No hassle or worry about preparation of formula, nothing to sterilize, heat up, clean up
  • Breastfeeding is available anytime, anyplace
  • Breastfeeding is instant gratification for baby
  • Often delays the return of your period
  • No worry about baby getting good nutrition
  • Economical (it’s free!)
  • Helps with losing pregnancy weight

Breastfeeding Deepens Attachment:
  • Helps at birth to bond and overcome the newness for baby and mother
  • Hormones released during breastfeeding makes you feel good
  • Helps you reconnect with your baby during tough times
  • Love how baby looks into your eyes during nursing
  • Skin to skin contact enhances bond
  • Helps baby feel better when they are tired, hungry or hurt
  • Nice knowing there’s always something to do to help your baby, a “quick fix”

Breastfeeding Helps You Know How To Be a Mother:
  • Gives confidence in mothering abilities
  • You’re more in tune with your baby so you can pick up on their cues sooner
  • Perseverance through difficulties shows your strength and helps you confront challenges
  • Opportunities for mother-to-mother bonding
  • More reliance on your maternal instincts, takes outside pressure off and reassure you that you’re doing a good job 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Important Is Breastfeeding, Really?

PART 1:  What does the research say?
(from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th edition)

There’s no formula that comes even close to the milk your body creates.  Your milk has every vitamin, mineral and other nutritional element that your baby’s body needs, including many that haven’t been discovered or named yet.

Living cells unique to breastmilk inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses in your baby’s still-maturing system.

Interferons and inter-leukins are powerful anti-infectives found in breastmilk (they would cost a fortune if they were for sale!)

Without his normal food, baby is at higher risk for ear infections, intestinal upsets and respiratory problems.  Allergy and dental problems are more common.  Vision, nerves and intestines don’t develop fully.

With artificial baby food, a baby’s kidneys and liver work harder to process wastes products from formula.  Baby’s immune system’s response to vaccinations is less effective.

The risk of SIDS and infant death from many other causes is higher if a baby isn’t breastfed.

Colostrum “seals” baby’s brand-new intestinal walls to protect against foreign germs and proteins that could create allergic sensitivities.

When baby is breastfed, his jaw muscles are exercised and massaged in a way that causes the bones in his face and jaw to develop more fully.

When your newborn takes your breast soon after delivery, your uterus contracts and bleeding slows.

Women who haven’t breastfed are at greater risk for metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

Breastfeeding is an insurance policy against breast, uterine and cervical cancer, meaning you are less susceptible to them.  Osteoporosis and fractures are more common in women who didn’t breastfeed.

There’s a surge of hormones (prolactin and oxytocin) in your body every time you breastfeed that makes you feel loving and nurturing, promoting bonding and attachment to your baby.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Baby Awearness's AMAZING Cloth Diaper Packages are now ONLINE!

Visit Baby Awearness's Online Store to check out our amazing Cloth Diaper Packages. Intended to give you everything you need to cloth diaper, we offer some of the best prices on the web. You can mix and match brands, colors, sizes, etc.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Warrior Mother and the Diet/Autism Connection

(A version of this entry can be found in the Honolulu Weekly)

I never knew Katie Berry had a son with Autism, despite having met him multiple times. Katie is one of those moms who comes into Baby Awearness and blows me away  - she is a funny, crafty, talented military mom. But after attending an Autism and ADHD lecture given by Thauna Abrin, ND, Katie Berry is officially my hero.

The gist of Abrin’s lecture was as follows: Modern day, western diets - diets devoid of the B vitamins, trace minerals, and the essential fatty acids found in leafy greens, whole grains, and nuts/seeds -  have effectively incapacitated the gut and shut down the liver. This dysfunctional “leaky gut” leaves our brains starving for the nutrients it needs to properly function. The liver, meanwhile, can’t properly process environmental toxins, so our body turns into a cesspool of sorts.

Simultaneously, mindless eating has led us to mistake food sensitivities and GI disorders for behavioral problems to be to be treated with heavy doses of medication: from stimulants to anti-depressants.

After Abrin’s lecture, Berry recounted nights of terror watching her then 2-year old son completely shut down, crying and vomiting for no apparent reason. Her days were filled with high-pitched screams and tantrums. Her life was spiraling out on control.

After months of denial, Berry began pounding the pathways of various military medical offices, trying to find the help she so desperately needed. She fired doctors, walked out of daycares, and refused the medication-based treatments offered to her. “It was just me, my husband, and Jenny McCarthy,” Berry laughed.

In addition to the standard occupational, speech, and behavioral therapy, Berry decided that her family needed a total diet overhall, and she began practicing the wholistic DAN (Defeat Autism Now) treatment made famous by celebrity mom Jenny McCarthy. Mixing the Feingold and GFCF (gluten-free, casein free) diets, Berry’s family also got off processed foods and artificial food additives. “It was hard…but within 2 weeks, we started to see the improvements. I didn’t get one new word out of him, but it didn’t matter. The crying stopped. He started to sleep, and I felt sane for the first time.”

DAN, or the biomedical approach to Autism, examines “how GI disorders, detoxification and other metabolic issues, and nutrition, impact a child’s sense of self, behavior, attention, speech, and general health and wellbeing.” It primarily involves testing for toxins, food sensitivities, taking supplements and changing one’s diet.

While mainstream treatments for Autism focus on behavioral, occupational, and speech therapies, diet is often overlooked. “There is a lot of 'anecdotal' evidence to suggest that a gluten free dairy free diet is helpful, there is not to my knowledge any scientific evidence to back up the personal stories,” cautions Kristine Cuthrell, former president of the local HI Dietition's Association. Indeed, MDs disregard the biomedical route because DAN therapies lack the double blind, placebo controlled experiments to soundly demonstrate their effectiveness and safety.

For Abrin, its not worth the wait. “If we waited for these studies to come out for every therapy we use, we'd be missing the opportunity to help kids who could significantly benefit.”

While the biomedical approach to Autism is marginalized, with so many stories like Berry’s, I have to ask, why? Are we so attached to our industrial diets that we are willfully ignoring its tragic behavioral side effects?

Although I am not an expert in Autism, the stories of Berry and Abrin resonate with my understanding of the culture of industrial food consumption.

Eating ignorantly, and on the go, we are surrounded by food – cheap food – seemingly healthy low fat, no-carb food, and yet we still don’t know what to eat. Despite the proliferation of scientifically backed, heart association enforced, FDA-approved products and diets, every year we’re getting fatter and sicker - with heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Our children might be suffering too.

“People don’t see the gut/brain connection,” muses Berry. “They might acknowledge having a sugar rush, or being drunk from the beer in their belly, but if you suggest that processed food causes Autism, suddenly there is no relation.”

Practicing the Feingold or GFCF diets is no walk in the park. Parties, relatives, and even school lunches suddenly become battlegrounds. On top of being difficult, biomedical tests and treatments are expensive (many lack any insurance coverage) and they take time. “People are looking for a quick fix, a magic pill,” explains Abrin. “A biomedical breakthrough generally takes around a year and a half. That can cost close to $10,000.”

The money, the time, and the effort – for Berry, it was worth it. “I just needed hope…and the stories of mom’s who had had success through diet, gave me that hope.” Today, Berry’s son is a quirky, happy, healthy 6 year old. Their story, like so many others in the biomedical community, powerfully demonstrates the importance of total health and wellbeing, and the need for all of us to think about what we are putting into our own mouths, and the mouths of our kids.

For more information, visit:

Baby Awearness will host another Austim Lecture with Dr Abrin in April, 2011.

Re-wrap for the Holidays

by Lani Lee

Image courtesy of Loopto

Somewhere between the hours of being a mother and intervals of unexpected calm, I manage to indulge in an old love: making crafty things. Whether in the form of yarn, fabric or paper, I love to knit, crochet, sew, create homemade cards, and more. Long before I spent sleepless nights caring for a baby, I used to have all nighters furiously binding off that last-minute scarf or hat gift.

This year, with limited time, I decided that all I could manage was making my own "wrapping paper." Inspired by my upbringing with a Japanese mother and an affinity for all things zakka-like, I chose to make furoshiki to use in lieu of wrapping paper.

Handmade furoshiki using traditional Japanese printing techniques
Image courtesy of thelinkcollective

Furoshiki is simply a square piece of cloth that is used (and re-used) as a wrapping, lunch bag, or carrying sack. Traditional furoshiki often was made of silk with shibori or designs similar to those used on kimono garments. The furoshiki featured above is created with a modern design twist using complex, artistic techniques, but for D-I-Y or home purposes, the least you have to do is cut a square piece of fabric and sew the edges.

Image courtesy of thelinkcollective

Here is a great tutorial of some different ways to use furoshiki. You also have to check out this jazzy video tutorial here!

For those of you who don't sew or can't get your hands on a furoshiki, you can embrace the Green Grocery Bag Challenge. You can read more about going green for the holidays here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

'Tis the Season to be Giving

By Anna Lahr at Baby Awearness

When I think of the holidays I always think of giving back to the community.  One thing I like to do is really look at all of the "junk" around my house and determine what I don't need anymore.  I know I'll be getting some new things (holidays and our anniversary actually fall in that time frame!) so I try to make room for the gifts we exchange as a family. I also like to start out the New Year feeling fresh and positive and one way I do that is to "de-clutter" my house.

I remember when I was a child my mom would ask my sister and I to go through all of the things we didn't want or need anymore. We did this a few times a year, usually in the summer before we started school as well as in the winter time, this coincided when we usually got new clothes so I think my mom was on to something ;) When we were done we'd take the bags of toys, books, shoes and clothes to a local thrift store, our favorites being the ones that gave back to the community in some way other than just selling goods.  Fittingly, these were also some of the same stores we went when we were shopping for new clothes! Looking back I'm very glad my mom instilled this practice in us. We never grew up thinking we were too good for used items and in fact got a lot of nice things we otherwise may not have been able to afford. We weren't "poor" but I think we were able to afford a lot of other nice things like camp or vacation because my mom saved us money on things like clothing.

Fast forward to being pregnant with a daughter of my own and I'm hearing from every angle "New babies can be SO expensive!" Since my husband and I were tight on money I looked for ways around this. I bought used, accepted hand-my-downs and looked on freecycle as much as I could. My daughter's cloth diapers were either free from freecycle or friends or bought from other moms whose children had already loved and outgrown them.  When my daughter outgrew some of those diapers (and I had to make room for more, of course!) I passed them along to a friend of mine who was new to cloth diapering.

I recently went through a lot of my daughter's teeny tiny things and either donated them or set them aside. Some of them I plan to offer up to Baby A Exchange and others I'm holding on to in case I have another baby... somewhere down the road.

The beautiful thing to me about all of this is the continuing life these items have had and will continue to have. I have been blessed and been able to save a great deal and what I did have to spend I feel good about because the money either went to another family or helped some charitable store provide services to the community. There's less wasted on packaging and production and I feel confident in the quality of these products because they've stood the test of time for me and others.

In a world plagued by consumerism and waste this makes me feel like I'm making a difference. Instead of mindlessly consuming "throw away" items I'm recycling and paying it forward. I especially love it this time of year when money is tight and people are trying to provide for their families an enjoyable holiday season.  I get to feel a little better about all of the blessings I've received without feeling guilty that there are others less fortunate because I'm doing something to help them. Every body wins!
On Saturday, January 8th, from 10am-2pm, Baby Awearness will host a “buy-in,” when the store will handpick high quality, gently used goods from the public. This is a perfect opporuntity for families to off load those not-so-perfect items received during the holiday season, or to clean out their closet for the new year. If unable to attend the Buy In, interested sellers should set-up a meeting with a Baby A Exchange representative.

For all accepted items, the customer will have a choice of being paid in cash, store credit, and/or donating any portion of their payment to a local non-profit.  Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from all Baby A Exchange purchases will be donated to various non-profits. Non-profits interested in being a beneficiary of the Baby A exchange, should contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Toy Sale!

Toys will be on sale 10 to 20% off on Dec 11th and 12th (consignment toys excluded). Snatch up these great holiday specials this weekend only
Nova Naturals
Wooden Horse Stable Barn

Great for imaginative play with animals and dolls!

20% off regular price: $199.99
** Sale price: $160.00 **
Wooden Vehicles by Kinderkram, handmade in Germany

15% off regular price: $95.00
** Sale price: $80.75 **

Also available:
Wooden Tow Truck
   Table Top Kitchen
Handcrafted cherry and walnut stove with knobs that turn and a removable sink. Perfect for hours of cooking play!

10% off regular price: $150.00
   ** Sale price: $135.00 **

Also on sale ~ 15% to 20% off all toys by Maxim, Green Toys, Evi Dolls and Gnomes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Its hard to say goodbye

Its hard to say good bye. Its hard to make big changes...but it seems that Baby Awearness has to do both in 2011. After much thought, Hot Mama and Baby Awearness have decided to say goodbye as partners and roomies in Manoa. Now under new ownership, Hot Mama Maternity will re-open in Pearl City in the summer of 2011. As Baby A's closest fans and families, I thought I would use this opportunity and this forum to reflect on the past year and what I have learned.

Joining up with Hot Mama was not a choice - I think Mel and I both agree, it was fate. A chance meeting with Mel in Hot Mama's old Waialae location quickly turned into an amazing partnership. Within 2 months of meeting, Hot Mama moved in to Manoa, and their creative and financial support allowed Baby A to grow tremendously. 

Together we developed the Hawaii's Next Hot Mama Contest, which we hope to hold again this Spring, and from that, the Hot Mama Network. Through these events, I realized just what an amazing community we have built through Baby A. Smart, talented, creative, driven women attend these events. Moms who give amazing advice. Honest advice. Women who speak truth. We've developed this incredible network of crafty, funky, fun mamas...and despite Hot Mama's departure, we will continue to support them through our classes, events and products.

Part of me is kind of scared to go off on our own - will we make it? Does natural and eco-friendly parenting have the interest and support that the continued operation of Baby A requires? I think we will and I think we do. The success of small businesses like baby awearness is not simply a result of our products and prices - although we try to be as competitive as possible. Our success is about the relationships we have cultivated - relationships with our customers, with other local businesses, and the amazing mama-prenuers here in Hawaii.

It was the suggestions of these woman that will drive Baby A's new direction. I'm exicted to share this new direction - details are coming within the week.

But for now, I pause to reflect - and give thanks.

Mel, Hot Mama's former owner,  is an incredible woman, and an asset to our community. I was/am honored to have the chance to work with her. To the new owners of Hot Mama Maternity - we wish you the best and we're here to help!

Bye Bye Hot Mama. We'll miss you.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Healthy Pregnancy Lecture

Post-Partum Rejuvenation

Sunday, December 12
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Led by: Tara Mattes, LAc

Cost: FREE!

Join us for our next and last Healthy Pregnancy Lecture of the year. Tara Mattes, LAc and certified doula, will offer an interesting presentation on post-partum care.

The Postpartum Period is a vital time for a woman's present and future health. It is often considered the fourth stage of pregnancy as it is an essential time to heal, nourish and bond with her newborn baby. The mother's health and state of being is the foundation for building a new or growing family, but in this fast-paced modern world it is often the most neglected. This lecture will be about what all traditional cultures have known and practiced since the beginning of time; the importance of postpartum care and recovery. Understanding these universal and time tested traditions, we can adapt and apply them in a way that fits to our modern lives.

In the lecture, we will examine cover topics such as perineal care, nourishing foods, rest, warm therapy, proper support, mental and emotional well being, breastfeeding and cultivating energy. The aim is to best prepare mothers and/or their caretakers for the postpartum period that creates a positive experience and healthy start to a new life.

Tara Mattes is a licensed acupuncturist, certified doula, and certified detox counselor. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Pre-medical Studies from University of Colorado. She later studied in Hawaii under Taoist Master Chang Yi Hsiang at the Tai Hsuan College of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine. Her training in Chinese Medicine focuses on qi gong, acupuncture, herbal medicine and Taoist philosophy and arts. When not serving her patients, she enjoys receiving acupuncture treatments, dancing, hiking, swimming, and being with her daughters.

TO RSVP for the lecture: e-mail or call 988-0010