Category Archives for "Natural Baby"

Attachment Parenting: An Explanation

The term “attachment parenting” is credited to Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician, and his wife, Martha Sears, a nurse. Attachment parenting, or AP, is a natural form of parenting, which means it will look different in different families. Because AP is more about a state of mind than a parenting method, it is not a “one size fits all” approach to parenting.

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Nonetheless, there are some trademarks and characteristic of AP that help define and clarify what it is. But even these traits will vary among families.

Here are some of the elements of Attachment Parenting:

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The Emotional Benefits of a Family Bed

One of the key components of attachment parenting is the family bed. This refers to the sharing of sleeping space among family members and particularly denotes a mother being physically close to her baby during the night. “Co-sleeping” refers to sleeping in close proximity to one’s baby or child, and could simply mean sleeping in the same room; “bed-sharing,” on the other hand, is literally that – family members sleep in the same bed. Therefore, the family bed does not have to be one enormous mattress; it can be whatever arrangement works for a family that fosters attachment.

The family bed has many physical and emotional benefits, with some cross-overs. Among the emotional benefits are increased trust on the part of the infant, emotional well-being for the mother, and a stable relationship between parent and child (thus setting the stage for healthy relationships later in life). Following is a list of these benefits explained in more detail.

1. Trust
A baby does not understand that you are still “there” when he is sleeping in another room. He may become fearful and distrustful if he wakes at night and his mother is not available. A baby who has his needs met consistently – day or night – learns to trust his parents. The family bed makes the mother available to nurse the baby or simply provide physical contact. The baby then comes to trust his parents and develops a sense of security.

2. If mama’s not happy…
Have you ever heard the saying, “If Mama’s not happy, then nobody’s happy”? There is some truth to that statement! A mother who participates in the family bed gets more sleep than a mother who gets up multiple times during the night, thus making her refreshed and in a much better mood. Also, a mother’s nursing through the night produces “happy hormones” that bond her with her baby and make her feel content.

3. Relationship
The family bed fosters strong relationships. For mothers or fathers who work all day, this may be the only time they get to have physical “cuddle time” with their child. And, once again, the family bed facilitates the breastfeeding relationship, which fosters important, healthful bonds that set the stage for healthy, functional relationships later in life.

4. The human pacemaker
While this is a physical benefit, its emotional ramifications are significant. Statistics show that babies who sleep in a family bed arrangement are far less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than those babies left to sleep alone (this is why SIDS is also called “crib death” or “cot death”). In countries where bed-sharing is common (such as India), SIDS is virtually unknown.

When a baby experiences SIDS, she simply stops breathing inexplicably. Studies from as far back as the mid-1900s have shown that babies who sleep with their mothers actually match their breathing patterns to the mother’s – she is like a human pacemaker for her baby’s breathing. Current research supports these studies from the first half of the 20th century.

While society is still coming to terms with accepting the family bed, the important thing is to choose what is right for your family. There are many benefits to the family bed, and many nay-sayers are simply unaware of such benefits.

October 4, 2009

Cloth or Disposable Diapers – Pros and Cons

With all the decisions new parents have to make you wouldn?t think diapers would be such a tough decision, yet it is one parents routinely struggle with: cloth or disposable diapers? This article lays out the pros and cons of both to help you make the right decision for you and your family.
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Disposable Diaper Pros

* Disposable diapers are extremely convenient, no doubt about it. It makes changing your infant a quick and easy process. When you?re shopping and you have to change a messy cloth diaper, you don?t get to just drop it in the garbage, you have to haul it around with you. Ick!

* Disposable diapers seem to fit better. The adjustable adhesive fasteners make it easy to fit any size or shape baby. This is not always so with a cloth diaper which always seems to stretch out once you have it on your child and certainly more so once it?s been soiled.

Disposable Diaper Cons

* Disposable diapers are petroleum-based products, which means they?re just downright awful for the environment. Carbon emissions are created in the manufacturing of disposable diapers, fuel is used in the transportation from manufacturer to store and diapers don?t biodegrade but sit in landfills for decades.

* Disposable diapers also contain a number of chemicals, which may harm an infant?s sensitive skin.

* Disposable diapers are more expensive than cloth diapers even if you have a diaper service.

Cloth Diaper Pros

* Cloth diapers can be environmentally sound, particularly if you purchase organic cotton diapers. And while cloth diapers have to be laundered, which does contaminate the water supply and use water, they can be washed with biodegradable detergent. This makes them more environmentally friendly than disposable. However, if you have a diaper service then you?ll also have to weigh in the fact that delivery is contributing to greenhouse gases.

* Cloth diapers, if they?re organic cloth diapers, don?t have harmful chemicals which means they?re not going to be as likely to irritate your baby?s skin.

* Cloth diapers don?t fill landfills. They?re reusable.

* Cloth diapers are generally less expensive than disposable.

Cloth Diaper Cons

* They?re inconvenient, particularly for moms on the go.

* They don?t necessarily fit as well, though some cloth diapers being manufactured today do have a better fit and fastening system than the old rectangle and diaper pin method.

* If cloth diapers are not organic, then the cotton used to make them is grown and harvested with pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other environmentally harmful chemicals.

Wrapping it all up

Disposable diapers are more convenient, though more expensive and they are generally an environmentally unfriendly practice. There are some more natural disposable diapers but for many they leave little to be desired. Cloth diapers, if they?re organic, are the most environmentally sound practice. The downside is they?re inconvenient. Ultimately, the decision to buy disposable or cloth must meet your personal beliefs as well as your lifestyle.

September 25, 2009

10 Green Nursery Tips

We all benefit from cleaner air and fewer chemicals in our home. However, babies are much more susceptible to environmental contaminants. Their organs, including their lungs, are still developing and deserve the best chance at a long and healthy life. To give your baby a great head start, to provide them with a chemical-free zone, here are 10 green nursery tips.

1. Paint your nursery with non-toxic paint. Non-toxic paint essentially comes in two varieties – low VOC or volatile organic compounds, and VOC-free paint. The difference, other than the levels of toxic compounds, is generally a few dollars per gallon. VOC-free paint isn’t available at all retailers so it pays to plan in advance.

You’ll want the paint in your nursery to be good and dry and to have plenty of time to air the room out before your baby moves in. Planning your baby’s nursery when you’re still 4 or 5 months pregnant should give you plenty of time to find a retailer that sells VOC-free paint, choose a color, get the room painted and leave time for it to dry and air out.

2. Safe flooring. Consider also pulling the carpet up and using an environmentally-friendly flooring option like bamboo. If you are set on carpet, stick with natural fibers and make sure whoever installs your carpet uses only non-toxic adhesives.

3. Clean air. Bedding, carpet and other items harbor dust mites, pollen and other irritants. Consider purchasing a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) to clean the air your baby breathes. Babies are particularly susceptible to respiratory problems and an air filter can go a long way toward helping them develop strong lungs and a good immune system.

4. Non-toxic cleaning products. Baby nurseries can quickly become full of germs and contaminants. However, most commercial cleaning products contain chemicals and fragrances that are harmful to our health and can harm the immune system of your little one. Use natural products that you can make at home yourself or check out the natural products in your local stores. More and more natural cleaning products are becoming available every year.

5. Chemical-free cribs and dressers. Look for nursery furniture made from sustainable wood like bamboo or recycled wood products, and which is finished with VOC-free paints or stains. Many plastics emit toxins. Furniture made with plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard or MDF often contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

6. Organic bedding and clothing. Sheets, blankets and the clothing closest to your baby’s skin should ideally be 100% certified organic. This not only ensures your baby’s sensitive skin is protected from pesticides and chemicals, but that fewer pesticides and chemicals are added to our environment.

7. Chemical-free toys. Every day we read about some toy recall. Lead, mercury and other toxins like Bisphenol A (BPA), can cause serious health issues for adults and children alike. Because children explore with their mouth, it’s even more important to make sure their toys are safe and chemical free.

8. Organic baby mattress. Choose a mattress made with wool casings or organic cotton filling to protect your baby from harmful plastic toxins and chemicals.

9. Choose cloth diapers. Disposable diapers are certainly convenient; however, they are a landfill disaster. They don’t biodegrade and cause terrible pollution. Instead, consider cloth diapers and supplement with the occasional chlorine-free disposable.

10. Launder your baby’s clothing and bedding in a fragrance free, natural detergent to prevent harsh chemical reactions. There are many options at your local supermarket and your natural food’s store.

Creating an environmentally friendly and chemical free nursery for your baby, gives them the best start at life. They’re not exposed to harmful chemicals and your carbon footprint is reduced.

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