Tag Archives: Mothers

VOD: You’re a Better Mom Than You Give Yourself Credit For

Warning: You might want to grab a box of Kleenex for the following video.

The video was originally posted by the Elevation Church as a special Mother’s Day message. They invited a group of moms to come in and talk about how they see themselves as parents. There’s no manual for raising children so of course there are always going to be doubts. These moms talked about wanting to be better listeners, having more patience, and being there more for their kids – all of them had something they wished they could do to be better. 


A New Perspective For Moms
from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

What they didn’t realize is that to their kids they are already perfect. This is when things get teary, as each child says what they love about their mom and how much their mother means to them. If you’re looking for a dose of heartwarming to kickstart your weekend, this is definitely it.

What do you think of the video? Tell us about videos you think should be in the VOD column in the comments below! 

Cute Alert: Animals Adopting Other Animals

Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 11.24.43 AMHappy Friday! We are bombarded with images of how cruel nature can be so often that we can forget how much animals can teach us about love and compassion.

Are humans the only ones capable of caring for children that aren’t their own? This video goes to show how universal the maternal instinct can be, even with animals you never thought would get along. Dogs with nursing kittens – and vice versa – to literal tiger moms and piglets – share their milk, comfort the young ones and adopt them as their own. Have you ever seen something so cute?


What did you think of the video? Share your favorite animal “love stories” with us in the comments below!

A Mom to Her Young Daughter: You are not ugly. God doesn’t do ugly.

We'll Forsake Our Ages and Pretend We Are ChildrenMy first grader and I were snuggling at bedtime when she confessed:

“Mommy, I don’t like my face.”

She told me she thinks she’s ugly, that she hates her body, “The girls at school don’t want me in their group because my face doesn’t look pretty like their faces.”

Ummmm… Whhaaaaaaat?

She’s too young for self image issues. I was 12 before I started feeling insecure about my body, which is sad enough, but to be feeling this way at age 6?

How does a mother respond to that? Give a pep talk? Borrow a library book about self-esteem? Make a call to the school psychologist? And after I do all that, then what?

Carrying the burden of an unhealthy self image is like being an addict. You know it’s wrong, but no one can convince you of subscribing to another way of functioning until you’re ready. You’ve got to beat yourself up long enough to learn that accepting garbage into your life makes you feel like, well, like garbage – until finally you explode, “Okay, okay enough already! I want better for myself! I’m ready to make a change! Help me!!!”

My 6 year old is not ready for change because she doesn’t realize there’s a problem. Poor self image is her normal.

She doesn’t understand where her feelings are coming from. And honestly, I don’t either. A challenge from a past life? A side-effect of American culture? A chemical imbalance? I just don’t know. But ugly is her truth.

I can’t force her to believe that physical attractiveness is unimportant. No lecture can convince her that she was born perfect and complete. She needs to learn those things on her own. But she chose me as her mother for a reason – and I happened to be equipped with some pretty helpful tools with which she can empower herself and start fixing the bits she doesn’t know are broken.

To start, I talked to her about challenges, a familiar topic in my household and in my writing. I explained that we’re all born with a set of challenges, and it’s our job in life to figure out how to work through them. Challenges are sneaky. They feel like they’re real, but actually they’re more like a series of magic tricks. Smoke and mirrors. Divine booby traps set up to see if we can figure our ways past them and learn a lesson in the process. If challenges didn’t exist, life would be so boring that we wouldn’t exist either. So we deal with them – even welcome them – so we can continue to learn about love and life on this amazing planet.

Some challenges we can embrace and some challenges we can balance. The challenge that my baby girl is facing is one that requires a little of both of these actions. She needs to work on embracing, or lovingly accepting, her body just the way it is and balancing the way she feels about herself, inside and out, so that she can feel happy when she’s playing with other kids.

This idea is sort of lofty so we broke it down, talking about the divineness and perfection of her soul energy and decided together that she looks exactly the way the universe designed her to look. God doesn’t do ugly, only perfect. And there’s no arguing with God.

We also enlisted the support of my 6 year old’s personal hero – her big sister. Self esteem is cultivated safely at home, the perfect training ground for the outside world. We talk a lot about the power of our family and the strength that we emote through the way we love each other. Big sister agrees to help set the pace (as best she can) to help little sister with her challenge. She can help to provide safe harbor for her little sister by showing her kindness, affection, and forgiveness.

In Buddhism it is believed that a beautiful face is a gift from a previous lifetime of demonstrating kindness. But whether or not you believe in past lives, we can probably all agree that kindness and love manifest physically in people. We say things like, “I don’t know what it is. There’s just something about that person.” Or maybe you’ve heard the saying that by the time we’re 50 we get the face that we deserve. It’s rooted in the same idea – kindness IS beauty.

Insecurity isn’t about physical appearance. It’s about a deficiency in love and my family has no shortage of love to give my little girl.

So for another layer of healing, we coupled our breathing and meditation practice with Wayne Dyer’s “I Am” statements to program her brain with affirmations at bedtime saying, “I am loving. I am loved. I am compassionate. I am bright. I am kind. I am helpful. I am caring. I am good.” And she marinates in those words while she sleeps.

Notice that I do not use the affirmation, “I am beautiful.” I decided deliberately not to use that word because her current definition of beauty is solely external. Instead we focus on intangibles.

I’d like to tell you that we did this and it worked and my daughter is now a confident, carefree young girl. But that’s not the case. We keep bestowing our love while practicing our breathing and affirmations, and she continues to feel unsure about the meaning of beauty and her place in the social spectrum. I’m confident, however, that with time and mindful commitment, the momentum will shift and she will start to feel the peace that comes with finding balance and acceptance of her life as it is, just like her Mommy did.

Positive Birthing: 5 Practical Steps to Optimize a Joyful Birth Experience

GeborgenheitBy Ana Paula Markel

In this day and age of media and busy schedules, first time parents are bombarded with images and articles about childbirth. It becomes very hard for one to prepare for the birth of a baby without images on TV that most of the time portray the birthing process as either medieval torture or ridiculous comedy.

The United States has one of the highest induction rates, in some hospital nearly 50% of women do not go into labor on their own, and with that a very high epidural rate and cesarean rate (approximately 34% in the US); more than double of what the World Health Organization recommends (10-15% in developed countries). And that is not even the worst. Not only are the cesarean rates high but our NICUs (neonatal intensive care units) are full, so whatever we are doing here… it is NOT working.

Luckily, not all media is bad, and women are learning that the childbirth movement is a human rights issue. Women do have the right to:

  1. Be treated with respect
  2. Be informed with evidence about their care in labor and in postpartum

Women are finally understanding that birth belongs to them and their families. Childbirth is not a medical event. A woman is never healthier than when she is pregnant. And yes, of course complications could arise, but that is when appropriate medical or midwifery care becomes important, mostly if the mother and her caregiver have an open, honest, and clear relationship.

Here are some of 5 things a woman can do to optimize her chances of having a joyful experience:

1) Choose your care provider carefully.

A midwife or a doctor are ultimately the ones who will make the medical decisions regarding a woman’s care during labor. They are the ones that sign the birth certificate and are in charge of the well being of the mother and baby. Research the best care provider for you, the one that matches your philosophies about the birth process. Some care providers have a very paternalistic relationship with their patients, and that is not wrong or bad if you want someone who will take charge of the experience and make decisions for you…

I do have to say that as a working doula, that is definitely not where the majority of women are these days. Women want to have a voice and say in their care, so hiring a provider who listens to your needs, respects your views, and explain things in terms you can understand will definitely impact how you feel about your experience.

Ask potential care providers how much time they spend with women in prenatal visits, how they view women’s position in making decisions for their care and birth, and mostly if they enjoy attending births even if in the middle of the night, on weekends and holidays. Share your views on childbirth and note how they respond, not only what they respond. Do they seem excited by your questions? or annoyed? Are they defensive or appreciating the dialogue. Ask your friends, ask women on random pregnancy lists and lastly, ask the doulas in your community. Doulas know all and tell all, which brings us to number 2…

2) Hire a doula.

Evidence is clear that doulas have an immense impact on the woman’s experience of her birth. Studies have shown that the presence of a doula (professional labor support and information) will decrease cesarean rates, induction rates, and medical interventions.

But mostly, doulas help improve birth satisfaction by asking mothers what they want and listening to them. Doulas are also incredible facilitators and mediators of conversations between the woman, her family, and her medical team. They do not make decisions for clients or they speak for the woman, but they certainly inform women of pros and cons and risks and benefits of every possible option, allowing the mother and her partner to make informed and conscious decisions. Doulas are supportive of the woman and her wishes regardless of whether she chooses medications or medical procedures or not. Doulas do not judge. They inform, support and mostly listen.

3) Choose your birth nest wisely.

Humans are cute and fancy mammals because we can think and that is fabulous… until we go into labor. Other mammals seem to have shorter and less complicated birth than ours and mostly because they do not think, but rather act on instincts. In order for a woman to allow this primal self to come out she needs to feel SAFE. Mammalian birth is all about safety. Women birth better where they feel safe – and that is why hospital birth is not for everybody and homebirth is not for everybody.

A woman needs to consider what does she need in order to feel safe? Quietness, prayer, people she trusts around her, equipment, skilled professionals, an OR next door? Regardless of what her answers are, they do not mean anything if the place she is planning to birth does not offer that. Most women these days are somewhere in between – they want freedom to move and cope with labor and reassurance that the baby is coping well with labor. That is common sense. A simple hospital tour may answer your questions, but asking the community is vital for you to be certain your birthing location is just right for you.

4) Create a sense of community.

Find a supportive community that trust birth, that listens to and honors your wishes. Think about our ancestors, regardless of where we come from. Women have always surrounded themselves with a village of support. Aunts, grandmothers, cousins, neighbors. In our modern lives we are focused on tasks, schedules, and work. Pregnancy is a time to reclaim your village, to connect with other women who are going through similar situations and the ones who have gone before us. Birth is a right of passage, and even big city, evolved, accomplished professionals need the support of their community

5) Practice flexibility. There is a lot we can plan about birth, but there is a lot we cannot. One of the most beautiful things about birth is that we do not control it. We can’t control nature, we respect it, protect it and allow it to amuse us. It is the same with birth. Every child comes with a unique story that will ultimately equip parents with tools that they acquire in labor.

And lastly, enjoy yourself. Take time to do research, read evidence based information but do not let this process consume you as if birth was a college course. Childbirth is a very simple process, by hiring a team and place you trust you will find time to enjoy this unique and special time in your life.

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AnaPaulaOriginally from Brazil, Ana Paula Markel is a childbirth educator, a certified doula with DONA (a leading doula organization), a DONA-approved birth doula trainer, and a certified childbirth educator through ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association). She is the founder of Bini Birth, a center in Los Angeles dedicated to childbirth education classes and workshops, doula training workshops, parenting
classes, doula referrals, and green pregnancy retail. Ana Paula created Bini to fulfill her life’s mission to comfort and spread evidence based information and joy about the birth and parenting process. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four healthy, happy, and vibrant kids.

Angelina Jolie’s Brave Medical Decision – A Double Mastectomy

Angelina JolieIn an honest and self-disclosing article for the New York Times, actress and director Angelina Jolie announced this morning her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. Several questions may be circling your head: Why? When? What does it entail? How will this impact her acting?

To address the last one, it looks like the surgery hasn’t made Jolie skip a beat. Amidst red carpet events and the G8 Summit this spring, the actress was as poised and beautiful as always, despite having had procedures done from February 2 to April 27. In her article, Jolie describes her procedures in detail, undoubtedly in the attempt to create an open dialogue about this issue and deflect some of the fear that can develop simply out of ignorance.

Some realities:

  • About 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime
  • A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative – a mother, sister, or daughter – who has been diagnosed with the disease
  • Women with mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime
  • Angelina Jolie’s mother died of cancer and the actress carries a faulty BRCA1 gene – which gave her an 87% chance of getting breast cancer
  • Post mastectomy, her risk is now under 5%

What does the procedure entail?

Simply speaking, a double mastectomy involves the removal of both breasts. In Jolie’s case, she was able to first have a “nipple delay” which ruled out the disease in the breast ducts, allowing the surgeons to keep the nipples in tact. Then her breast tissue was removed and replaced with temporary fillers until nine weeks later when the final implants were put in place. As Jolie writes, “There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.”

Did the surgery alter her perception of herself and her feeling of femininity? Not at all.

It is reassuring that [my children] see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.

For women with a high risk of breast cancer, a preventive double mastectomy is an option to explore. Every women makes that decision for herself, crosses that bridge when she gets there. We applaud Jolie for her brave decision, and even more for her courage in coming forward to share her story and open a dialogue about this critical issue.

Have you or one of your loved ones had or explored the option of a mastectomy? Tell us your story in the comments section below!

Breastfeeding Pain – The Aspects of Motherhood No One Told Us About

AlmuerzoBy Jackie Lai

Gift, joy, fun, and of course, love. The words most often mentioned when we think of motherhood. The less spoken, possibly even taboo words: painful, overwhelming, relentless, stressed, anxious, also often describe motherhood. As with any other life experience, the positive and the negative have to coexist. Together, they balance each other and without the negative, it is all too easy to take the positive moments for granted.

When we are pregnant and become new mothers, everyone tells you only about the positive stuff. About how you should enjoy each moment, because time is fleeting and the babies grow up so fast. Because being a mother is such a joy. Because, because, because. But what happens when we start feeling the other stuff that no one talks about? It ends up being an unspoken truth which transforms itself into guilt, disappointment, resentment, and even depression.

It is in this spirit that two friends and I founded Pariday. Pariday is about the parts of motherhood that no one tells you about. One of it, we discovered, is that breastfeeding really hurts! Even after going through two natural childbirths, the first of which took three days, breastfeeding remains the most painful thing I have ever done. While labor and childbirth are painful, it is broken up into minutes at a time, usually with a beautiful prize at the end. The pain experienced during the early days of breastfeeding however, is constant and exacerbated by the fact that after being sucked on a sore nipple, you have to do it over and over again and somehow expect the soreness to heal.

The benefits of breastfeeding have been researched and touted to no end, so much so that now women are almost pressured into doing it for that golden first year. No doubt, breastfeeding is natural, but it is also extremely difficult! The learning curve is steep, and the ladies who have a hard time ultimately end up blaming themselves when it does not go perfectly “the way everyone else says it should.”

To add insult to injury, a common advice for soothing said pain is to use frozen peas on your sore nipples and engorged breasts. Faced with excruciating pain, holding a stiff plastic bag of solidly frozen peas to your body is just another sacrificial thing we mothers do to power through this difficult time for our babies because everyone else says we should. Breastfeeding is painful enough, why does the recommended solution have to be equally painful?

Many women stop breastfeeding just a little too early because of the pain they experience. Without judgment, we created the TendHer Pillows and Pillowcases because we wanted to give women the opportunity to try and overcome the initial hump by providing a more elegant pain relief solution to one of the less elegant parts of being a mother.

Naturally, some women do face other genuine issues like low milk supply, recurring infections, and difficulties with baby which cause them to stop breastfeeding, usually not without some emotional distress and feelings of inadequacy. To me, these women are the ones who truly have it right because they realize that it is about enjoying this precious moment with their baby, and not about stressing out over where their baby’s food is coming from. To be able to give up something that everyone else says you should be doing represents the greatest love and respect for yourself we all need to be good mothers. Without a deep well of self-love to tap from, it would be impossible to take care of yourself enough to fend off the many taboo emotions that arise from motherhood.

For the month of May, we are offering Intent readers $5 off all online Pariday orders! Use promo code: INTENTMOM

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jac head shotJackie Lai is a co-founder and an expert in product design and manufacturing at Pariday. A structural engineer by training, Jackie has broad experience spanning the entire product design process from concept to manufacturing. Jackie’s driving force is to help people. She is a certified yoga instructor specializing in Prenatal Yoga and therapeutics. After having her first baby, she realized there was another way she could serve others – by offering better solutions to the genuine issues faced by new moms. Visit our website and find us on Facebook!

photo by: Daquella manera

Give It Up For Beautiful Mother’s Day Cards Representing LGBT and Alternative Families!

Screen-Shot-2013-05-06-at-12.29.35-PM

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, and you may be scrambling to get cards, gifts, and plan get togethers with those special moms in your life. But for many families in the United States, this holiday is more problematic. After all, does Mother’s Day representation in media and on greeting cards pay equal tribute to single moms, young moms, queer moms, incarcerated moms, or minority moms? And what about families headed up by two dads – should they just wait until Father’s Day and leave it at that?

One organization, Strong Families, is tackling this issue head on. This grassroots organization states that their mission is to help all families thrive regardless of race, class, age, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other marker of relative enfranchisement and alienation. Strong Families’ line of custom alternative Mother’s Day cards is as  beautiful as it is groundbreaking. Take a look at these amazing cards, and if you feel inspired, go ahead and create on for a special parent in your life:

Click here to make your own Mother’s Day card using one of these beautiful templates from Strong Families.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day this year?

 

Images from http://strongfamiliesmovement.org

Mothers of the Wrongfully Imprisoned: 7 Causes in 7 Days

My mother, Credit: Farah N. Mawani

Yesterday I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mother, my aunt (a ‘bonus’ mother as my friend puts it), my brothers, and my niece and nephew. We had a barbecue on a sunny deck overlooking a tree-filled park. It was a beautiful day with my family that I will always remember. Only a few years ago, we feared losing our mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Mother’s Day.  Last year we were able to celebrate the milestone of 5 years of remission with her. This year she looked stronger and healthier than ever, and in less than a month, my brother Zohrab is doing an epic two day bike ride to raise funds for the Princess Margaret Hospital, where she received treatment.

In the midst of our joy at simply being able to be with our mother, I couldn’t help reflecting on how I spent Mother’s Day last year and the year before: fighting for FREEDOM for my precious brother Josh Fattal, and my friends Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, held hostage by the Iranian regime for two years and two months. It was heartbreaking to be working closely with their mothers, Laura Fattal, Cindy Hickey and Nora Shourd, who were at the forefront of our Free the Hikers campaign but unable to even speak to Josh, Shane and Sarah over the phone on Mother’s Day.

On the first Mother’s Day during our campaign, Josh’s brother Alex sent this message:

“Hi Friends and Supporters of Shane, Sarah and Josh,

Today is a particularly tough day for our families as we are passing Mother’s Day without Shane, Sarah and Josh. We are shocked that over five months after their mothers applied for visas to visit them those visas have still not been issued.  Prisoners around the world are entitled to visits from family members. This egregious delay in issuing the visas is just one more right that Iran is denying the hikers.”

Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew

I sent this message to Laura, Cindy and Nora:

 Hi Laura, Cindy and Nora,

When I last wrote to you I almost addressed you ‘Hi Moms’.  So of course I’m thinking of you today and wishing that your biggest Mother’s Day wish could be granted.  The CNN video is great and getting good circulation on twitter & facebook.

I do have a couple of positive support stories to share.

1. One of our twitter supporters wrote this blog post for you: Sad Mother’s Day for Families of Hikers Detained in Iran

She’s working hard to disseminate it on twitter and especially to urge people to take action.

2. You may already know that Safe World has decided to feature us on their home page. They have also created a ‘Film’ page for the two (soon to be three) films they’ve created about us.

I hope these supportive gestures provide you with some added support to reassure you that you are not alone in this. Many many supporters’ thoughts are with you today. I’ll keep letting you know of their supportive messages directed at you. I know that Sarah, Shane and Josh are sending you much love while feeling and admiring your strength across the miles. I share their admiration.

Love,

Farah

I expected very low traffic on our social media sites. It was a Sunday, generally a lower traffic day, and I assumed that most of our supporters would either be spending the day with their mothers or with their children.  Instead, it was one of our busiest days to date.  We were flooded with messages like these:

@fire_girl: @freethehikers celebrating the strength, resilience, courage & tenacity of #SSJ‘s moms this mothers day. you encourage & inspire many! #SSJ

@majorhissyfit: I have learned much abt motherhood from Nora, Cindy and Laura @freethehikers. Please keep them and their children in your hearts and prayers

I have no doubt that the immense support we received on Mother’s Day was largely responsible for Iranian authorities granting visas to Josh, Shane & Sarah’s mothers just two days later on May 11 2010 and enabling them to visit them on May 19, 2010.

Last year, the Iranian regime scheduled a trial session for Josh and Shane on May 11th. When Iranian authorities failed to bring Josh and Shane to court for that hearing, without any explanation, Laura Fattal and Cindy Hickey began a hunger strike in solidarity with their sons. People around the world, including the entire Chopra family, joined them in a solidarity fast.

No mother should have to go through what Laura, Cindy and Nora did. Unfortunately many continue to do so. This Mother’s Day I am working with the family of Jason Puracal, an American citizen wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua. His mother’s pain and loss intertwined with love and hope is evident in her words:

I had so hoped that having my son with me would be my Mother’s Day present.

It will be two years in a row now that I will not hear my son’s voice wishing me “Happy Mothers Day” or feel his warm bear hug.

A line from one of Deepak Chopra’s books comes to mind — “in our lives there is somebody out there.” Yes, there are more than 86,000 people plus the 43 members of our powerful legislative body that are showing love and support for my son, Jason. I can’t help but believe in the power of the collective consciousness and that this focused intention from so many has to trigger a transformation. I know my son shares this belief and is counting on it for his freedom. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude goes out to all of you.

I keep the hope that we will be reconciled by Nicaraguan Mother’s Day which occurs on May 27th. May that day come soon.

I hope that the support and action of people around the world buoys the spirits of Jason’s mother and family as they did over the holiday period. I hope even more that the collective intent, support and action triggers the transformation that Jason and his family need and deserve.

Mother gives her life to save child in Japan earthquake

This powerful image was shared with us via Facebook. According to the post, it depicts “a true story of one mother’s sacrifice during the Japan Earthquake.”  We have no way to confirm that the details of the story are all correct, but found the image and accompanying narrative too inspiring not to share with Intent readers.

After the Earthquake had subsided, rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman’s house. They saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was strange. She had knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were supporting by an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.

With so many difficulties, the leader of the rescuer team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman’s body. He was hoping that this woman could be still alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away for sure.

He and the rest of the team left this house and were going to search the next collapsed building. But for some reason, the team leader felt compelled to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his had through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. Suddenly, he screamed with excitement, “A child! There is a child!”

The whole team worked together; carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3-month-old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother’s dead body. The woman had made an ultimate sacrifice for saving her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to protect and cover the little boy, who was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up.

The medical doctor came quickly to examine the little boy. After he opened the blanket, he saw a cell phone inside the blanket. There was a text message on the screen. It said, “If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” This cell phone was passing around from one hand to another. Every body that read the message wept.  “If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” Such is the mother’s love for her child!!

via Info For U

Warning: Your Baby Contains Toxic Chemicals!

 Hundreds of toxic chemicals, including PCBs, DDT, endocrine disrupters, and dioxins — to name just a few — are showing up in mothers’ and their newborn babies’ bodies. These chemicals, found in everyday household products, can get absorbed during a typical morning routine.

Consider this scenario:  the pregnant mom awakens after a night of breathing toxic fumes from a mattress containing chemicals like flame retardants and melamine. She showers with synthetically scented soap, shampoo and conditioner, and uses popular brands of body lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen, cosmetics and perfume that contain hundreds of chemicals which have been linked to cancer, hormone imbalances, and other illnesses. These chemicals may be seriously compromising her health, as well as her unborn baby’s.

Want a Non-Toxic Baby? Create a Healthy Nursery

Chemicals can also migrate into a baby through the nursery. New parents, with good intentions, buy new baby furniture, install new synthetic carpeting, and paint or wallpaper the room — all the while creating a toxic environment from airborne chemicals released from these products. Plus, there are toxic chemicals in the poorly-labeled bottles of kitchen and bathroom cleansers, and in bug sprays and air fresheners used throughout the home.

In addition, common infant body care products can be problematic. A Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute study reported that babies recently treated with baby lotion, shampoo, and powder, were more likely to have phthalates in their urine than other babies. Phthalate exposure in early childhood has been associated with altered hormones as well as increased allergies, runny nose, and eczema.

Be aware that the FDA does not review personal care ingredients for their safety before they come to market. Manufacturers are free to add almost anything they want into their products, so it’s important to buy safe, preferably organic products from trusted companies. The good news is that it’s easy to create a safe and natural baby nursery.

Top 10 Ways to Make your Baby Nursery a Safe, Healthy Haven:

  1. Choose a crib mattress made from untreated, nontoxic, natural materials like latex foam rubber, wool and cotton. Use a wool and cotton mattress topper.
  2. Buy a solid wood crib or cradle/Moses basket instead of one made from fiberboard or particleboard (which contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen).
  3. Use low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint for the walls, or paper-based wallpaper instead of vinyl. Traditional wallpaper paste is better than self-stick, which contains high levels of VOCs.
  4. Install wool carpet instead of synthetic. Wool is naturally flame retardant and hypoallergenic.
  5. Stay away from synthetic fragrances in things like dryer sheets, air fresheners and body care products. These contain phthalates — chemicals that interfere with hormones. Use 100% essential oils instead.
  6. Pick all natural, non-toxic cleaning products or try white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Kill odors with baking soda, lemon juice (or lemon essential oil) and water in a spray bottle. Avoid bleach, ammonia and other harsh chemicals to clean clothes, furniture and carpets.
  7. Stay away from plastic bottles and food storage containers — they contain chemicals that leach into food and water. Use glass or metal instead.
  8. Choose wooden toys with nontoxic paints and finishes; and all-natural fibers like cotton, hemp and wool.
  9. Don’t put electric clocks or cell phones next to the baby’s crib, or use electric heating pads or electric blankets in the crib — these have electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that can negatively impact behavior and health.
  10. Make your home shoeless — remove your shoes, especially before entering bedrooms, so you don’t track in pesticides and other toxic chemicals from the outside.

The 2010 President’s Cancer Panel study says there’s a link between environmental toxins and disease. For information on ways to change the government regulatory practice to the Precautionary Principle, go to the Center for Environmental Health’s (CEH) website. To learn more about the Safe Chemical Act in Congress, check out the EWG website. For more information on ways to protect children from toxic chemicals visit Healthy Child Healthy World. For resources on where to buy safe, natural baby products, check out my website.

To order an advance copy of my new book “99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Setting Up a Healthy Baby Nursery,” contact me on my website.

 Photo: CC Flickr//hbfotographic.com

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