Category: Baby Stuff

Fluoride in Baby Formula Can Harm Developing Teeth

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

I’m reading a book called, Kiss Your Dentist Good-bye, in an effort to improve my oral health and came across information on fluoride in baby formula. I admit, I never thought about this. The dentist who wrote this book, Dr. Ellie Phillips, talks about how fluoride is harmful to developing teeth. This was a lesson she learned the hard way.

In her book, she uses her own children as an example. Her 5 kids were born from the late 70s to 1990 and the first actually was religiously given fluoride drops. By the time her second child was born, the dosage had been reduced so the second child received less.

To make a long story short, when her oldest cut her adult teeth they had brown spots on them. When the second child cut adult teeth, they also had spots but not as severe. This condition is known as fluorosis. The younger children who didn’t receive the fluoride had no signs of this condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “the proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.” The question is what is the “proper” amount?

In her book, Dr. Ellie says, “If babies consume a fraction too much fluoride before the age of three, it may poison the cells that form healthy tooth enamel.” She goes on to say that formula manufacturers have been told to reduce the amount of fluoride in their products because of a study that showed fluoride in baby formula had been shown to result in fluorosis in varying degrees.

Another thing to consider is the amount of fluoride in your tap water, if you use it to make your baby’s formula. This can raise the amount of fluoride to an unhealthy level.

Photo credits: nerissa’s ring

Latch Board Offers a Quiet Learning Toddler Toy

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

It’s been awhile since my kids were toddlers, so when shopping for a birthday gift for my girlfriend’s little guy last week I found several new products. He is a curious one year old who loves to open every cabinet, drawer, and investigates anything that has moving parts. I found the perfect learning toddler toys for him in a latch board.

If you haven’t heard of a latch board, it is a board with plenty for busy little hands and inquisitive minds. It has lock and latches, numbered doors that swing open, and when they are opened toddlers find a picture. This wooden board is an educational toy that builds fine motor skills and can be used to learn about colors, numbers, animals and more. Plus, it doesn’t require batteries and yet offers hours of quiet play!

I mention quiet, because I have a toy I bought for him that I keep with toys at my house for when he is here, and it also teaches colors but I am very tired of hearing the phrase “yellow circle” over and over. I’m thinking maybe his favorite color is going to be yellow.

The Melissa and Doug Deluxe Latches Board is beautifully crafted with polished metal locks, latches and clasps. It’s quality all the way with smooth sanded pieces. The toddler in my life loves it, and it’s light enough that he is able to pick it up and carry it.

I’m thinking perhaps I should buy another to have here at my house. Then maybe he won’t notice if the “yellow circle” toy disappears. It’s one of those learning toddler toys that can grow with the child whether they are learning fine motor skills, colors, numbers, or more…quietly.

Photo credits: Amazon

Introducing Finger Foods to Your Baby

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 by No Comments

Pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods to our babies somewhere around age 6 months. Of course, the term “solid” is relative at that point. I started my kids with baby cereal, which compared to breast milk or formula is a solid.

With today’s heavy-duty blenders, it’s easy to make up your own special treats. Instead of just plain cereal, mix mild fruits and even vegetables to make cereal more interesting.

By 8 or 9 months, kids are usually ready for finger foods for self feeding, even if they don’t have teeth. Finger foods are little treats that can be scattered on the tray of the highchair for self feeding. They can be eaten at meal times or can be carried in your purse or diaper bag when on the go.

Today there are many finger food options that are safe and easy to digest. My girlfriend’s little 12-month-old loves Gerber Graduates Puffs. To him they are “cookies.” He likes the mild cheddar Lil’ Crunchies, too, but those she has to hand to him one at a time or he tends to want to stuff his mouth. The standby most parents turn to, though, are Cheerios.

Here are some other convenient finger foods to add to your pantry shelves:

  • Gerber Graduates Banana Cookies
  • Happy Baby Organic Puffs
  • Happy Yogis Organic Yogurt Snacks for Babies and Toddlers
  • Gerber Graduates Finger Foods Harvest Apple Wagon Wheels

At meal times, regular table foods can be introduced as finger foods. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Small chunks of ripe banana – this is also a good food to help teach toddlers to use a fork, too
  • Other ripe fruit cut into small pieces* including peaches, pears, melons
  • Soft cubes of tofu
  • Small pieces* of bread
  • Small pieces* of cheese
  • Well-cooked pasta cut into small pieces*
  • Well-cooked vegetables like potato, squash, carrots cut into small pieces*
  • Small pieces* of cooked chicken, ground turkey or beef
  • Small pieces of hard-cooked egg (experts used to think giving young children eggs might lead to a food allergy, but research presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found no evidence to support this.)

*Small pieces equal the size of a pea

Avoid giving your baby sweets or high-fat snacks. Stick to nutritious options. Peanut butter is not recommended either because it is too sticky for young children to swallow safely.

Photo credits: LizMarie_AK

A Better Way to Diaper Your Baby

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 by 1 Comment

I used disposables with my son because cloth diapering looked complicated and time consuming. If I had known about gDiapers, I would have seriously considered this option. The covers come in all sorts of fun designs and the whole system seems more eco-friendly than using regular disposable diapers.

Jason and Kim Graham-Nye invented gDiapers to provide an easy-to-use yet eco-friendly alternative to disposable diapers. They were shocked when they learned that traditional disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to biodegrade in a landfill and that disposable diapers are the third largest contributor of landfill waste.

To diaper your baby using gDiapers, pick a washable cotton pant, add an insert, and then close the Velcro tabs around your baby’s back. You can use washable cloth inserts or disposable inserts, depending upon your personal preference. If you use disposable inserts, wet only inserts can be composted to provide nutrients for your garden. Poopy diaper inserts can be flushed down your toilet, so there’s no stinky diaper pail to deal with.

GDiapers are certified Cradle to Cradle Silver. This designation means everything that goes into the company’s disposable inserts has been judged on 19 different human and environmental health criteria and found to be re-absorbed back into our eco-system in a neutral or beneficial way.

If you want to give gDiapers a try, now is the perfect time! On April 9, gDiapers released a new limited edition Great White Shark gPants and Clean Water tee online as well as at select retailers in the US, Canada, and the UK. This is part of their partnership with the environmental group 5 Gyres. With each item sold, 5 Gyres commits to undertaking a foot of beach clean up.

Photo credit: gDiapers

What’s All the Fuss About Daniel Murphy’s 3 Day Paternity Leave?

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 by No Comments

New York Mets’ second baseman, Daniel Murphy, missed opening day by choice. In fact he missed the second game, too, as he took three days off to be with his wife during the birth of their first child.

He made the decision after getting the news that his wife’s water broke late Sunday. He traveled from New York to Florida to be at her side and arrived in time to welcome his 8-pound, 2-ounce son, Noah, into the world at 12:02 p.m. on Monday.

Noah’s arrival was about an hour before the first pitch was thrown in the Mets’ opener against the Washington Nationals. The team had Tuesday off, and then resumed the series on Wednesday. Murphy took paternity leave and rejoined the team for the Thursday afternoon game.

The fact that Murphy chose to be by his wife’s side for the birth raised both praise and criticism. In fact, several high-profile sports radio announcers were quite vocal. Boomer Esiason suggested Murphy’s wife should have “had a C-section before the season starts.” He also said that a player should get back to his team and play ball, assuming the mother and child are fine.

Mike Rancesa of WFAN Sports Radio expressed similar opinions on his Tuesday morning show. “I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back . . . .Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple days, you know that.” He went on to say that, “In the old days, guys weren’t present. They were in the waiting room when they gave birth. Then they went to this natural child birth stuff, and the guy was part of it.”

Esiason did issue lengthy apology first thing on his radio show. “I just want to say again on this radio show that in no way, shape or form was I advocating anything for anybody to do. I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. […] And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into a conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”

I was glad to see Esiason apologized. First of all, Murphy’s contract allows for paternity leave. Players are permitted to miss three games. He only missed two. The problem is that people want to impose their expectations on others. It’s happening more and more in society.

It wasn’t a clear cut right or wrong for Murphy to be with his wife. It was his personal choice for his personal life. It has to do with his relationship with his wife, and the decision was within the parameters allowed by his contract. All the fuss feels much like bullying as others try to put on the pressure to make things go the way they think they should.

Photo credits: Keith Allison

Add Onsie Decorating Station to Baby Shower Activities

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 by 2 Comments

When my girlfriend was expecting her son, I had nothing to do with planning her baby shower other than attending it. I had only known her a few months, and at 43 she was the mother of 3 teenage girls and an 11-year-old daughter…and expecting in a couple of months.

No he wasn’t planned, and at the time she didn’t know she was having a son, so the baby shower theme was gender neutral.

The diaper cake was awesome, and the food in general was so creative, but the women putting on the shower included a onsie decorating station with a whole slew of onsies, fabric paints, markers, and stamps. People sat around the table creating individual works of art the baby could wear.

Some of them turned out very cute and I’d say some will actually be treasured as keepsakes.


Items Needed for a Onsie Decorating Station 

  • Onsies (various sizes so they aren’t all outgrown at the same time)
  • Cardboard cut into rectangles that fit inside the onsie
  • Fabric markers (and/or fabric paint)
  • Rubber stamps
  • Versacraft inkpads

For the kids, fabric markers keep the craft simple as they create artwork of their choice. Adults can use fabric markers to write a simple message like Daddy’s Little Darling, Brand New Miracle, or Goodbye Tummy. Hello Mommy! Medium-level crafters will enjoy using stamps to create a unique pattern, and those with patience and artistic talent can create a masterpiece using fabric paints.

The one mistake the hosts of the shower I attended made was that they bought all the same size onesies, so at a year old, the baby has outgrown all of them. I recommend a variety of sizes.

This activity is ideal for children and adults. Even some of the husbands sat down to create a unique onsie. Some were funny, others cute, and some were downright inspirational, but they were all special.

Photo credits: squant, lostintheredwoods

Are You Ready to Bring a Baby Home?

Posted on Apr 2, 2014 by 1 Comment

I grew up as the oldest of seven. The next oldest sibling was almost five years younger than me and the youngest was almost 13 years younger. I admit, I regularly played a second mother role for some of the younger ones, so when I was expecting my first baby I didn’t feel the trepidation some do about impending parenthood and what to do – that is, until I actually gave birth.

All of a sudden I was holding my daughter…my responsibility. Somehow I didn’t feel as well equipped. Caring for your own child is different than babysitting because there isn’t a time when the parents will come back and relieve you so you can return to your own life. You are the parent and this is your life!

Many of us read our way through pregnancy to prepare for the big event, but once the baby arrives it becomes clear our children don’t come with an instruction manual. Every baby is an individual and, as such, offer a unique adventure in parenthood. No matter how much experience we have or how much knowledge we gather, I don’t think we are ever quite ready for the real-life adventure of parenthood.

In fact, I think the fact that babies can’t remember their infanthood is a gift from God as we muddle our way through the first weeks and months of life together. They are helpless and we are there to help. It’s a growing process for everyone.

It’s not easy, but it is one of the most rewarding roles in life and a lifelong learning experience.

Expect the first year to be kind of crazy because you’ll be tired, and probably dealing with a post-pregnancy body that’s a bit disappointing. Lots of people will be willing to give advice, but don’t feel obligated to take it all.

My experience with children helped prepare me on some levels, like dealing with poopy diapers, but having a good pediatrician made all the difference for me. He never treated me like my questions were stupid. My mom was like an anchor, too. Gather wisdom from trusted people like this and you can’t go wrong.

Photo credits: thetejon

Reminder to Take Photos of Second Child

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 by 1 Comment

I saw yet another expert on one of the talking head shows telling me how smart and responsible first children are and how those middle children are social and have great people skills. Within the conversation they joked about how we take so many pictures of our first children and when the second and third come along there are very few snapshots.

While we can’t do anything about birth order, we can do something about the photos we take.

Second baby

Many photos of second children include their sibling.

When my first baby came along, I took pictures of her at one week, two weeks, three, weeks, one month, two months, and every month thereafter. It was a way to mark her birth date anniversaries each month and to chronicle her growth.

When our son came along, I decided to do the same. At the time, I didn’t realize the benefit of this approach. It gave me a scheduled reminder to take his picture, and today I’m glad for every snapshot I have.

A recent poll of 2,000 UK mums showed that 61% didn’t have any of the same keepsakes they saved from their firsts like hand or footprints, locks of hair from the first haircut, etc.

Moms admit their first children are praised and encouraged for every milestone; in fact, 91% of the UK mothers admitted that they recorded every moment. However, 87% of these moms admit they have noticeably fewer photos of the second child and the photos they do have almost always include their older sibling.

I admit, when you add a second or third child to the mix it does add to the juggling act. The top excuses for fewer photos was that people are too busy (83%), but my birthday anniversary method actually works because it is the day for taking a few snapshots.

It doesn’t have to be a big photo shoot. Just take some snapshots. It really will make a difference later in life when the kids are paging through the photos and everyone is well represented.

Photo credits: ToddMorris, ToddMorris

Having a Baby Costs About $21,000

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 by No Comments

One of the first things I thought about when I learned I was expecting was how on earth I was going to afford a baby. Then 13 months later I was pregnant again, despite using protection. Again, I thought about how I couldn’t afford another child, but he was born the following fall, and somehow we made due.

In this day and age where we are looking for affordable health care, a new study has taken a look at the increased medical expenses for maternal and infant care associated with IVF-assisted pregnancy. Women who turn to IVF to get pregnant run the risk of multiple pregnancies and according this study, expecting parents are faced with a cost of about $21,000 for having a single baby.

Those expecting twins can expect the bill to skyrocket to $105,000 and for those who have triplets or even more babies the cost is around $400,000. I was surprised by these numbers until I read that it included medical expenses for the mom for prenatal care and for follow up exams for the month following the birth.

It also includes expenses for the baby for the first year. Even with that, it certainly seems a daunting amount, doesn’t it?

When seeing the difference in costs for multiple births, and the higher rate of multiple births occurring due to IVF procedures, the researchers recommend looking for more strategies to minimize how many embryos are transferred during the procedure.

The authors of this study suggest that the increased use of Caesarean section combined with longer hospital stays for moms and babies related to multiple birth are directly related to the higher costs. According to their findings, 60% of medical expenses related to single births are tied to the mother’s care while 70 to 80% of costs are related to infant care with twins or multiple births.

With all that said, wouldn’t it be nice if the cost of having a baby was really affordable!

Photo credits: maessive

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