Tag Archives: Newborns

Sweetest Dad Captures One Second a Day of Baby’s First Year

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 8.48.16 PMThere’s nothing like a parent’s pride and love for his newborn. Everything is fresh and sweet, if also exhausting and hard work. Often parents find themselves so immersed in the moment that they lose sight of the larger process of maturation and discovery. That’s why this super sweet dad decided to document his son’s first year of life, by recording one second of each of those first 365 days.

The dad writes:

Meet our son Indigo who was born on the 9th July 2012. From that day my wife and I videoed Indigo at least once a day, every day up to a year old. For his first birthday we’ve spent some time putting together a video of his entire first year. He doesn’t quite appreciate it yet, but we hope that in a few years he will.

If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then we don’t know what will!

A lot happens in the first year of a child’s life. Most grow about 30% of their original weight and 20% of their original length; they begin smiling, reaching for object, rolling over, babbling, and some even take their first steps. It’s a whirlwind time that might seem to take forever in the moment, but which in hindsight goes by in a flash. Taking steps to document the process, as these parents did, can be one way to make sure the moments are never lost to our memories.

How did you document your children’s infancy? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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

Breastfeeding Part II: Sexual or Spiritual?

When I read a passage in Ina May Gaskin’s book that suggested that breastfeeding can be a sexual experience I nearly fell out of bed.  Sexual? Was she kidding? I felt as though nursing was one of the least sexual experiences.  I had heard women say that breastfeeding was physically pleasureful.  While I was curious about whether sexual feelings would arise while nursing, I usually felt more like a dairy cow than a sexual woman when nursing.

But if you had asked me if breastfeeding was spiritual, I would have responded differently.  Not in the first weeks of nursing, but now that we’ve mastered the mechanics of nursing, breastfeeding is often elevated to a higher realm.

Let me explain.

At the outset, I couldn’t stop thinking about whether I was nursing correctly that I couldn’t enjoy it at all.  Breastfeeding was highly technical.  While it wasn’t devoid of emotion—it made me cry occasionally, or wince with pain—nursing certainly wasn’t ethereal.

Then Ayla matured.  She perfected her latch.  She drank more efficiently. So I tossed my nursing pillow aside and learned to nurse her anywhere, anytime. I learned to maneuver her into the right position while sitting in a restaurant, walking home, rocking her to sleep or flying in a plane.  But even with these notches in my nursing belt, spirituality didn’t figure into the picture.

Then Ayla turned 6 months old and began to spend longer stretches of time away from me.  When we were reunited, my breasts were so full that I could have squirted milk across the living room into my partner’s coffee cup.  At those times, I would thank God for her thirst.  It was a tremendous release.  But nothing more than that.

But after six months, something changed.  I began to notice a current of electricity pass between my daughter and I when we nursed.  It grew stronger and stronger.  And suddenly, we began communicating on a deeper level when I lifted my shirt and held her close to my bosom.

If I closed my eyes while nursing, I’d often see images of the two of us in the far future—she as a young adult and I as an older woman.  I also “saw” us playing on the beach, walking in a forest, taking in a sunset on the top of a cliff.  These images were so satisfying.  They helped me trust that Ayla would be loved and protected in her lifetime. 

There were other times when I could “hear” Ayla speak to me when we nursed.  When she looked up into my eyes while nursing, I could almost hear her whisper, “I love you.”  Or, after drinking my milk for a long time, I could swear that a little voice said, “Thank you mama” before falling asleep.

When Ayla was eight months old, she contracted the Chicken Pox.  She was covered in spots, burning hot and crying from the pain. Nursing was the only salve to her discomfort.  I kept Ayla on my breast almost continuously for a whole week.  While nursing her I prayed, recited blessings and sang quiet songs. 

With each passing day, the energy between and around us intensified.  It began with her pain.  Then I showered her with motherly love.  Before long, I called out to the Divine Mother, and asked if She could join us.  Eventually, Ayla and I were both welcomed into what felt like God’s bosom—a place so warm and loving that we couldn’t help but be healed. 

That was the day that I had my first spiritual parenting experience.  Breastfeeding was the act that helped me see God in the bond between parent and child.

 

Do you have a similar story to share? Was breastfeeding sexual for you? Or spiritual? Or both? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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