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amber teethers

amber necklace

photo credit:neccies

Is there anything more sweetly wistful than the color of amber? It evokes the halcyon days of childhood. Languid and slow-like molasses.The moments right before the sun departs. Sounds of crickets and cicadas rehearsing for their nightly recital. This stone contains the whole of childhood summers in its golden, honeyed morphology. Needless to say,when I came across the use of amber for my baby’s teething discomfort I was immediately intrigued. Read the rest of this entry »

Coconut oil massage improves weight gain and height in infants

 baby massage

photo credit: myreado2

Irrefutably, the power of touch is immensely soothing for an infant.  After having spent many months immersed in a warm, fluid environment, the outside world can feel extremely barren, cold,  and unpredictable.  Infant massage has been shown to alter hormone levels in babies and reduce anxiety and stress while promoting relaxation.  Physiological effects of massage include mobilizing fluids, washing out metabolic  waste products (i.e. lactic acid) that build up in muscles, and promoting blood flow.  Muscles, after being massaged, have decreased spasm. The tactile stimulation can activate nerve fibers carrying touch sensation and the sensory input from those fibers can decrease pain signals to the brain via the Gate Theory of pain. Thus, reducing the perception of pain.

In many cultures, massage with tropical oils is routine.  The tropical oil massage provides multiple benefits.   Oil based substances improve skin barrier function and protect the skin.  Massage has been shown to improve thermoregulation.  A compelling study from India looked at the effects of massage with  coconut oil, mineral oil, and placebo (powder).  Coconut oil massage caused greater weight and height gain rates compared to placebo in preterm and term infants.  Read the rest of this entry »

Selective Organic Spending, thanks to EWG

organic carrots

Organic Produce by: Neal1960
The pressure to buy solely organic produce is heavy.  I am  often debating the toxins and  pesticides in the conventionally grown produce versus the exorbitant price tag of the pristine organic variety.  At other times, the organic version of the fruit or vegetable is unavailable, what to do?  One of my favorite organizations,  EWG(Environmental Working Group) has heroically come to the rescue.   EWG is a non-profit organization “which uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.”  They tested 43 fruits and vegetables  for their pesticide load  and ranked  them based on which ones absorb the most pesticides and those which absorbs the least.  Some fruits and vegetables simply do not absorb high levels of pesticides, therefore buying either conventional or organic will result in very low pesticide exposure. Read the rest of this entry »

Homemade Baby food (that you can buy)

Homemade Baby food

just apples so smooth

just apples, texture: so smooth

I had the good fortune of being able to sit down with Theresa Kiene of Homemade Baby and talk about a pivotal stage in infant development, starting solids. I was given minimal information from my son’’s pediatrician( a xeroxed copy from a page in a book), and not much else.

I was interested in experimenting with making my own baby food, but was also considering supplementing with Earth’s Best organic jarred baby food. After speaking with Theresa I was aghast to find out what comprised even the organic jarred baby food. The quality of produce used to make jarred baby food is usually labeled processor food. This is food that is on the verge of spoiling and can not be put on display as it is overly-oxidized. I was shocked and alarmed to learn that this produce, which would not even be fit for display, was being used to make baby food. Read the rest of this entry »

Peppermint: A minty fresh repellent

peppermint tea

photo credit: tee 1 by inasaka

I hope this has never happened to you. We recently moved into our new apartment with our 6 month old son, and were horrified to see a mouse scurry across the room. The next morning I noticed droppings on our half-unpacked boxes, the floor, the baby’s toybox, and even on our comforter in our bed!!!! It was reviling.

I was desperately trying to find a clean and safe way to rid our home of these unwanted visitors. Also, the fact that we have a 6 month old baby on the verge of crawling made this situation exponentially challenging. I was told by another mom to try peppermint oil because mice hate the smell of peppermint. Simply soak a cotton ball with peppermint oil and rub it it in the corners of your home or near the threshold, if they are coming from the outside. This was a much more appealing solution than trying the traditional poisonous traps, the sticky traps, or the spring-loaded mice traps that would have posed a grave threat to my curious 6 month old. A side effect was a minty fresh smelling home.

Curious, I did a little bit of research on peppermint oil. I could not find any articles describing its’ mouse-repelling properties, but I did learn that it has a wide application for many different health conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Super absorbers in disposable diapers

sodium polyacrylate crystals: dry

Photo credit: Seligmans Dog

You’re changing your babies diaper and notice that his skin is littered with gelatanious beads. If you use disposable diapers, this scenario is familiar. What are those mysterious gel-like beads? This is sodium polyacrylate, also known as a “super absorber.” Sodium polyacrylate can absorb 400-800 times it weight of water. It is ubiquitous in disposable diapers and allows them to be used for prolonged periods of time. I have been leery of this substance, especially when I find it stuck to my babies skin.

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Acupuncture: Needles, Points, and Effects

Photo Credit: acupuncture., originally uploaded by Logan Garrett.

Acupuncture, once considered an exotic treatment, has been making its foray into mainstream health-care. What is acupuncture? It is a medical practice, originating in China, which employs small needles to influence the energy of an organism. The energy is referred to as Qi (Chi). It is described as the life-force or spirit. In Hinduism it is referred to as prana. It is the vitalizing force or energy imbued in an organism.

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Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger points, and Treatment Options

Trigger points in taut bands of muscle

Myofascial pain syndrome can be considered, at least partially, a side effect of our modern lifestyles. It is caused by numerous factors: trauma, tension, inflammation, overuse, overload, poor posture, stress, repetitive strain, poor sleep, emotional stress, or other medical conditions, such as nerve entrapment, thyroid dysfunction, vitamin insufficiencies, metabolic dysfunctions. Myofascial pain is pain localized in the muscles and surrounding tissues. The constellation of symptoms includes achiness, fatigue, poor sleep, chronic muscle tightness, and limited range of motion. Sometimes, myofascial pain can produce numbness and sensory disturbances. If myofascial pain occurs in the neck, it can cause ringing in the ears, loss of balance, or chronic headaches.

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Maca: a Peruvian superfood

Photo Credit: Maca with leaves removed., originally uploaded by Cesar Moncloa.

I was recently offered a taste of a food i had not heard of. Being a curious vegetarian, I decided to try it. A new flavor can sometimes feel like you have discovered a new color. A specific molecular configuration can create havoc on your tongue. Maca is a root vegetable that originates in the Andean plateaus. It is a cruciferous vegetable, similar to broccoli, cabbage, mustard and collard greens. The flavor is especially earthy and nutty. Maca possesses many virtuous health-promoting attributes. For thousands of years, maca has been used as an aphrodisiac and fertility enhancer in Peruvian culture.

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Nature Babycare: A green disposable diaper?

Nature Babycare Diaper ExteriorNature Babycare Diaper Interior

Inspite of the oxymoronic title, Nature Babycare is an environmentally savvy disposable diaper. It boasts the convenience of a disposable without all of the gross plastic and its many associated ills. Nature Babycare was developed by a Swedish mom, who sought to create a diaper with a low environmental impact, but with the ease of a disposable diaper. The end product is a simple, yet ingenious solution.

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