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Enter to Win a Nursing Wardrobe from Blissful Babes! September 17, 2009
Every season we fall in love with Blissful Babes designs for breastfeeding moms. Here’s your chance to win 6 tops and 1 two-piece lounge set from Blissful Babes’ Fall 2009 collection! This generous prize package retails at over $380 and includes both casual and dressy styles to help you breastfeed discreetly wherever you find yourself. Both nursing tops shown here are up for grabs! Unfortunately, we only have the prize wardrobe available in size small, which fits up to womens size 6. Sorry, ladies, I wish we had it available for any size!
How do you enter? Glad you asked. This time we’re looking for feedback, opinions, comments and suggestions for how we can improve our boutiques at www.EuphoriaMaternity.com and www.EuphoriaBaby.com. Please share any information you feel may help us make positive changes. As a small family business in today’s economy, we can use your help! Consider our products, return policies, customer service, website design.. anything and everything. What are we doing right? What doesn’t work for you? How can we improve? If you’ve shopped with us before, what made you choose Euphoria? If you haven’t shopped with us, is there something holding you back?
Enter to win! One lucky reader will win a 7 piece Nursing Wardrobe from Blissful Babes fall 09 collection. Enter now through October 30th (11:59 EST) by adding your feedback and suggestions to this blog post. We’ll choose one random winner!
NOTE: Just after this post (I know, what timing…) our blog moved. Please enter your comment at the NEW POST!
Shipping included. Winner will be notified by email, at which point a shipping address will be requested. Open to U.S. residents only.
For TWO extra entries, blog about this giveaway and link it back to my blog. Make sure to leave a separate comment on this blog post for your two extra entries.
I will plant my first vegetable garden spring of next year. I will. I really will… I hope. It makes me nervous, actually, but I’ve just got to take the plunge.
If you also aspire to grow your own food, you’ll want to get started this fall. Yes, gardening starts in the fall! The very first step is to start composting. Here’s an article for all composting newbies, posted with permission from the Healthy Child Healthy World Blog and authored by Aviva Goldfarb:
is one of Mother Nature’s miracles – it turns organic waste (like grass clippings, raked leaves, veggie peelings, fruit rinds and other produce leftovers) into rich soil. And it is one of the easiest things the average family can do to reduce their footprint and help the environment naturally. Just think, by turning everyday waste into compost, you can not only reduce the amount of garbage picked up curbside, hauled by fossil fuel operated trucks and dumped into landfills, but you will also gain free, 100 percent natural, organic fertilizer for your garden, flowerbeds and lawn.
While many of us have heard about the benefits to composting, we have hesitated starting this project because we are afraid it is complicated, messy and yet another household chore that is unlikely to get done. But in reality, there are easy ways to get started, and the benefits are vast. Here are some tips for composting simply without the mess and fuss.
1. Start small. One of the most common mistakes of any gardening project is to get over ambitious, and then stare at a half complete project for months, drenched in guilt. You can simply start with a plastic bin or a designated corner where you dump organic refuse. As you enjoy the results you can expand to a larger area.
2. Pick a convenient location. If your compost pile is far from your kitchen or your garden, you will be unlikely to visit it when the weather is cold or rainy. You don’t really even need a “bin.” You can simply make a pile of leaves in the corner of the yard and add material to it. Keep a plastic bin (with a tight fitting lid, of course) under your sink for compostable kitchen waste, and add it to your bin (or pile) when it’s full.
3. Stay with “brown” and “green” materials. Brown materials, as the name implies are dried pine needles, leaves and dead plants. Green materials are “wet” fresh grass clippings and kitchen waste, such as vegetable peels, orange peels, watermelon rinds, egg shells (without egg contents), and coffee grounds (with filter paper). You can even add shredded newspaper and brown paper if you’re feeling adventurous.
4. Avoid adding meats, oils and fruits. Whileeventually breaks down anything, these materials are also likely to attract rodents and slow down the overall composting process.
5. Keep things moist. Water is needed to attract worms, bacteria and fungi. If you live in a dry area or have dry seasons you can water with a hose and then place a plastic cover on top to conserve the water and heat.
6. Mixing optional. Contrary to many guides, turning your compost pile is not necessary – it merely accelerates the process.
7. Compost season. While you can compost year-round, compost will develop more quickly during the warm growing season when your garden and lawn is at its peak. So, don’t worry if you seem to be adding material every day or two during the spring and summer because nature will also have the composting process on overdrive.
8. Finally (after 6 – 12 months) you can enjoy the “fruits” of your labor! Sprinkle your compost on your lawn and garden, once it turns into dark and sweet smelling dirt, and enjoy the beautiful flowers, vegetables and fruits that your own rich soil will inspire.
Aviva Goldfarb is the author and founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble®, an online weekly menu planner and cookbook to help busy families put easy, healthy and delicious meals on the table each and every night.
Courtesy of Healthy Child Healthy World: a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit inspiring parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals.
No Civil Rights in the event of a Swine Flu “Emergency” September 15, 2009
If you live in the state of Massachusetts and aren’t comfortable with vaccinating you may be in for a rude awakening if Swine Flu is declared an emergency.
Upon declaration by the governor that an emergency exists which is detrimental to the public health or upon declaration of a state of emergency…” reads the “Pandemic Response Bill” 2028, which was passed by the MA Senate this April and is now awaiting approval in the House. What happens in an emergency? In the words of Mike Adams of Natural News, “This bill suspends virtually all Constitutional rights of Massachusetts citizens and forces anyone “suspected” of being infected to submit to interrogations, “decontaminations” and vaccines.” That’s the sort version. To get the full scoop, see Mike Adam’s piece “Wake up, America” or this article at World Net Daily. You can also read the actual bill here.
This bill has been slammed as “medical facism” and for creating a “police state.” There are those who argue that such drastic measures are necessary, comparing the Swine Flu to the plague. The bill is shocking, especially in the face of the facts: swine flu is NOT more deadly than regular flu and the swine flu vaccine is NOT as safe or as carefully tested as regular flu shots (see Swine Flu: A Dangerous Shot in the Dark). What we have here is a frenzy of fear and hype snowballing into shockingly un-American policy. If you live in MA, contact your legislators in the House to let them know how you feel about this bill.
If you live in Florida, North Carolina, Iowa or Washington, be aware that your state has also taken legal action in response to the H1N1 virus. You can find details at World Net Daily towards the end of the article.
Reasons to Induce: Poor, Controversial, and Solid September 10, 2009
What’s a good reason to induce and what’s really NOT? Today I’ll be sharing thoughts from Jennifer Bock’s excellent exposé, Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care, as well as opinions offered by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein via an article “Choosing to Wait” in Fit Pregnancy magazine, Sept 2009. Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein produced the film The Business of Being Born and have since published a new book Your Best Birth.
Gary Hankins, MD, chair of the obstetric practice committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says he never induces for convenience. “And induction absent a solid indication absolutely increases all risk to mom and baby” (Block, pg. 8). So maybe you agree. You don’t want to induce. Considering that the induction rate is growing by leaps and bounds, waiting for spontaneous birth may not be as easy as you’d assume. Educating yourself about what constitutes a “solid indication” for induction may help you choose a good caregiver or at least bolster your resolve if your doctor pressures you at some point to an unnecessary induction.
Pressures? Do doctors really pressure women into induction? Author Jennifer Block shares the stories of several women who were induced, all for different reasons. Interestingly, all three women report being encouraged to induce earlier on in their pregnancies. Here’s what one woman experienced:
“It started at 39 weeks,” says Hilton. “She said, ‘When do you want to be induced?’ I said, ‘I don’t.’ She said, ‘Well, I’ll give you one more week and that’s it.'” At her 40-week appointment, Hilton says her OB asked, “So are you ready to have a baby?” and offered to schedule her the following day (Block, pg. 16).
Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is all to common with doctors, for whom an induction scheduled during regular business hours or before a upcomming vacation is so much more convenient. Doctors are people too, with families to see and personal business to do. It is easy to see how they would be tempted to put the needs of their families before the best interests of their patients when our culture becomes accepting of questionable medicine.
Poor Reasons to Induce: Included in this category are indications commonly given for induction that are discredited by medical studies discussed in both Pushed and The Business of Being Born. There is not sufficient medical justification for inducing based on any of these reasons.
- The ultrasound technician moves your due date– an ultrasound can accurately determine a due date early on in pregnancy. Late in pregnancy, an ultrasound technician can only estimate your due date, and can be off by plus or minus 3-4 weeks (Fit Pregnancy, pg. 54).
- An ultrasound shows your baby is “measuring” big– although you’d think this would be an exact science, ultrasounds only estimate baby’s weight and can be off by pounds in either direction! This justification is not supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). And, what’s more “statistically, fetal size appears to level off after 40 weeks gestation” (Block, pg. 9).
- An ultrasound show your amniotic fluid is low – again the ultrasound is only an estimate of your amniotic fluid level. “Amniotic fluid shifts constantly, with more being produced all the time (Block, pg. 11). Your doctor should be recommending you drink plenty of fluids and rest, not scheduling an induction (Fit Pregnancy, pg. 54).
- Your doctor is leaving town – as much as it helps to have the right caregiver, it doesn’t make sense to increase your chances of c-section by 2-3 times to ensure your doctor will be available (Fit Pregnancy, pg. 54).
- You’re 40 weeks pregnant – you are not “overdue” until 42 weeks. A baby is considered normal, “full-term” if it is born between 38 and 42 weeks (Block, pg. 11). “In other words, if we were to distribute a large sample of pregnancies along a graph, we’d see a bell curve. Forty weeks would be the height of the curve, and an equal number of women would give birth before and after… Thus a due date would be expressed more accurately as a ‘due month'” (Block, pg. 11).
Controversial Reasons to Induce: Included in this category are indications commonly given for induction that are rejected by some doctors and most midwives, but not entirely without reasonable medical support.
- You’re 41 or 41.5 weeks pregnant – One large study shows that slightly more stillbirths occur after 41 weeks. Researches disagree as to the reason why this is so (Block, pg. 11). If time in the womb is not to blame, than inducing every pregnancy at 41 weeks is foolish for the vast majority of women (pg. 12). A wise doctor will consider other factors such (fetal nonstress test) and childbirth history, as well as suggesting natural means of encouraging labor, rather than making a beeline for the drugs.
- Your bag of waters is broken– Most women go into spontaneous labor within 24 hours of the bag of waters breaking (pg. 13). But, sometimes labor might not begin for a few days. During that time, there is concern for infection since the seal has been broken, so to speak. How does infection make its way up there? Through vaginal exams. A study of 5000 women (the largest to date) “found no increase in neonatal infection in (women) that were watched for up to 4 days after rupture. The vagina is a nearly airtight passageway, so loss of the plug and rupture alone don’t significantly increase the risk of infection…” (pg. 12). As a matter of course, hospitals insist a baby must be delivered within 24 hours of the waters breaking, which means induction within 6 hours in most cases (Fit Pregnancy, pg. 55). Midwives disagree with this approach, instead opting to use natural means of induction at this point, while avoiding vaginal examines.
- Baby is smaller than normal – while the authors of Your Best Birth state this is a solid reason for inducing, it seems an odd generalization to me (pg. 55). If you’re still 39 or 40 weeks, maybe you baby needs more time to grow? Also, remember that ultrasounds only estimate weight and can be off by over a pound in either direction. Jennifer Block does not address this issue, and neither have I read about it elsewhere.
Solid Reasons to Induce: Included in this category are indications commonly given for induction that are supported by good reasearch.
- You’re 42 weeks pregnant: the placenta may start to deteriorate after this point, failing to support baby properly with oxygen and nutrients (Fit Pregnancy, pg. 55).
- Baby is moving less: your observations and further testing show baby is moving much less than normal (pg. 55). Keep in mind that babies do move less as they reach term because they have less room! But, if baby stops moving at all, you should seek care immediately.
- Baby’s heart rate is irregular: clear irregularities indicate distress and should be treated seriously (pg. 55).
- You have signs of Preeclampsia: spiking blood pressure and protein in the urine indicate preeclampsia (pg. 55).
You CAN Stop Stretch Marks September 8, 2009
Yesterday my mother saw my stomach as I was changing and exclaimed, “You didn’t get stretch marks!?!” Most women get stretchmarks during pregnancy, but a lucky few do not. Research shows that genetics has a lot to do with it. And yet, my mother and sister both got a fair amount of stretch marks, but I did not – at least not on my belly – even after two pregnancies. How’s that?
First off, I realize that getting stretch marks is not the end of the world. It’s true that a woman has more pressing concerns during pregnancy than preserving her smooth skin. She’s got a lot to do between having a healthy baby, preparing for birth and shopping for must-have bedding and gear. And yet, all of us do have some concern over the fate of our looks, do we not? And if we can preserve our youth without threatening our health or baby’s, why not?
I believe that most women can prevent or greatly reduce stretch marks with frequent and early use of conditioning oil. Before my first pregnancy, I worked with pregnant women in a local maternity boutique. It was there that I first became aware of all the many creams, oils and solutions designed to prevent or fade stretch marks. I learned that oils are better than creams, as far as efficacy, since they are more readily absorbed into the skin. I learned that those who shopped for fading creams usually wished they had used a preventative product during their pregnancy. I decided I would invest in a bottle of preventative oil as soon as I found out I was pregnant. If that bottle could preserve my skin for years to come, it was worth the investment.
So, I did. I applied a pregnancy oil early on in my pregnancy, at least once and sometimes twice a day (twice a day is recommended!). It was a pleasant after-shower regime that kept me in touch with the daily changes caused by the life growing inside. After my first baby was born and my body recovered, I noticed that my belly was stretch mark-free. But… I had stretch marks at both hips and very slight ones at the breasts. Oops! Yes, the pregnant belly is not the only spot that grows. So, here’s my take-home for you – apply that oil wherever you’re seeing growth, considering hips, thighs, buttocks, and breasts.
With baby #2, I used Motherlove Organic Belly Oil as faithfully as before, but this time I slathered my hips and bust too. I came through that pregnancy with no new stretch marks and lots of confidence in a good quality pregnancy oil! By the way, I gained the recommended amount of weight (about 25 lbs) with both pregnancies.
You may have heard that some women have good results with plain cocoa butter. I’m sure that’s true, but I’d recommend that you choose an oil actually designed for pregnancy. Oils have been shown to penetrate the skin better than creams. Since oils are naturally produced by the skin, it’s not surprising that the skin finds it easiest to recognize and utilize nutrients carried in oil. Pregnancy oils are complex, super-nourishing blends that prepare your skin to stretch and bounce back without becoming damaged. When choosing an oil, check the ingredient list for questionable chemicals and preservatives. Choose something safe and natural, since you’ll be using it consistently during your baby’s most vulnerable months.
You CAN stop stretch marks:
- Buy a safe, natural pregnancy oil as soon as you find out you’re pregnant
- Apply it at least once, hopefully twice a day, especially after a shower
- Massage the oil into your belly, hips and bust – or wherever you’re experiencing growth
Enter to Win an Amber Teething Necklace! September 5, 2009
One day a few local moms came in to shop our cloth diapers and non-toxic finds at www.EuphoriaBaby.com. They came with their adorable toddlers, and I couldn’t help but notice that both children wore necklaces. The little girl wore a solid cognac amber beaded necklace, while the little dude sported a multi-colored version. Both looked adorable! As we talked, one of the moms decided to share the story behind the necklaces.
What I initially took for funky, crunchy kid’s jewelry were actually beneficial necklaces made of Baltic amber. Have you heard about amber teething necklaces or amber nursing necklaces? I didn’t think much of them, but I had never really given them a chance or done any research. These two moms just raved about how helpful they are. They said the necklaces really help with teething and general irritation. In fact, they can absolutely tell the difference when the necklace isn’t on! One mom had loaned her necklace to a friend whose baby was really struggling with teething. That baby did better and kept using the necklace… all the while the toddler was acting irritable. Mom ordered another necklace to replace the one she’d loaned and her son improved immediately. I know it sounds crazy, “weird” and unlikely, but if you do the research, it’s not actually strange at all.
Baltic amber is not really a stone, it’s fossilized tree resin. Historically, Baltic Amber has been used in Europe as a natural and traditional remedy and curative for many ailments for centuries. Long ago it was considered one of the leading ‘medicines’ of its time. Baltic Amber is the most esteemed amber in the world, and the healing qualities of Baltic Amber make it unlike any other type of amber found in the world.
How does it work? When baltic amber is worn on the skin, the skin’s warmth releases trace amounts of healing oils from the amber. These oils contain succinic acid and are absorbed into the skin.
Baltic Amber has some of the highest concentrations of Succinic Acid found in nature, and this is what makes it so special. Succinic Acid is a natural component of plant and animal tissues, and it’s presence in the human body is beneficial in many ways:
- Pain relief – it has analgesic properties
- Immune boost – naturally increased the body’s healing abilities
- Restoring energy – the salt of succinic acid (succinate) is one of the most active substances in the processes of cellular respiration and intercellular energy creation. Succinic acid restores oxygen and energy supply to depleted cells and helps the body return to a normal, functioning state.
- Maintaining wellness – enabling full oxygenation of cells
- Anti-Inflammatory – helps break the cycle of chronic inflammation. Inflammation is part of the disease cyle.
If you have a chronically irritable child or one tortured by teething, you should try an amber teething necklace. My kids are pretty well past that point, or I would! You can purchase one from Inspired by Finn(the shop those friendly moms recommend) at 20% off with coupon code “blog.” Inspired by Finn designs her necklaces with safety in mind, creating knots between each bead and offering necklaces with magnetic closure. Check out the hazelwood necklaces too, which help in cases of acid reflux. And, one lucky reader will win his or her choice of any 16″ necklace ! That’s just the right size for your little tike.
Enter to win! One lucky reader will win an Inspired by Finn amber necklace ($14.75-20.45 value) in the style of your choice, up to 16 inches long. Enter now through September 30th (11:59 EST) by adding your comment to this blog post. We’ll choose one random winner!
NOTE: As of mid-Sept, our blog moved! Please post your comment at the NEW POST.
Shipping included. Winner will be notified by email, at which point a shipping address and preferred necklace will be requested. Open to U.S. residents only.
For TWO extra entries, blog about this giveaway and link it back to my blog. Make sure to leave a separate comment on this blog post for your two extra entries.
A Priority List for Switching to Organic Foods September 3, 2009
It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? Organic food is expensive and there are choices to make everyday. Maybe you know in your heart that choosing organic is best, but you just can’t see how to do it.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And, really, it never is. All of us on this road of natural living are pushing along, changing one more thing and one more thing to make our world and our families healthier. So, if you need somewhere to start, consider this priority list from pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, author of Raising Baby Green. His list answers the question, “What are the most important foods to buy organic?” considering more than just pesticides. So, in order of first priority, here goes:
- Peanut Butter
- Baby Food
Dr. Greene gives a thorough, well-written account of how he created this list, and what is gained by choosing organic for each product. For more details read through Dr. Green’s Organic Rx. I can’t say I agree with his reasoning on potatoes. He mentions that kids eat more potatoes than any other vegetable – but in French fries. Given that fact, I don’t see how buying organic potatoes for the home is going to translate, unless you’ll be making fries at home…
Also, I can’t recommend eating any conventional soy products, organic or not. From what I’ve read, only traditional fermented soy products are actually healthy. But that’s another story.
I noticed that Dr. Green listed cotton as product number 6. For those of you as confused as I was, he’s talking about products that contain cottonseed oil or an unidentified vegetable oil (like salad dressing, peanut butter, etc). Sure, it would also be great (and hugely beneficial to the health of our world) to buy all of our cotton fabrics, organic too. But, unfortunately, that’s probably the most expensive realm of organic living.
This list helped me to realize that the peanut butter we buy is not organic. Oops. Time to change that.
Would you Like to Induce Labor? September 1, 2009
Last night I began reading Jennifer Block’s Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care. It is well-written and clear, with compelling stories about real births too. Block cites the information she shares in detail in her book, so you can look up any studies or reports of interest. The first chapter,”Arranged Birth” examines the subject of induction in detail, with interesting perspectives from nurses and doctors too.
According to the CDC, the induction rate was under 10% in 2004 (Block, p. 5). Contrast that with 40% induced into labor and 70% receiving Pitocin during labor to speed up progression in 2006, according to a study of 5500 low-risk, first-time mothers (p. 5-6). Pitocin is a hormone-mimicking drug that stimulates contractions and is commonly used to induce labor.
Why are doctors recommending inductions and women agreeing in such drastically increasing numbers? There are any number of official reasons that a woman may be given when an induction is ordered. We’ll look at these in more detail next week. But, before we get bogged down in medical debate, take a step back and ask yourself this: Do you think our ability to give birth, to progress in labor has drastically changed in the last 6 years? Or, could it be, that it’s just more convenient for mothers and doctors to induce? In America, isn’t convenience king? We want to do the best for ourselves, for our babies, but when something is touted as pretty safe, easier, more convenient for everyone, will mom say “no”? Judging by the popularity of fast food, obviously not.
It is convenient, but is it safe? Is it wise? Here’s an excerpt from Pushed, beginning with a quote from Kathleen Rice Simpson, PHD:
“‘I firmly believe that mothers are not informed enough to know that this is not a good idea, and that any woman who has the right information would not want to have her baby induced.’ Inducing tends to create longer, more difficult, more painful labors in general, and it ups a woman’s chance of a C-section by two to three times.” (p. 14)
But who is this Simpson? She’ s only a professor of nursing at St. Louis University School of Nursing, a labor and delivery nurse of 30 years, author of dozens of journal articles, conductor of several studies, author of safety manuals for the American Society of Healthcare Risk Management, the American Hospital Association, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, etc. She claims that liberal use of Pitocin to start and speed up labor often violates safety standards and is under-reported. “Mismanagement of Pitocin, she says, is the leading cause of liability suits and damage awards” (p. 14).
So if Pitocin is the most common mistake doctors make, why do we feel so at ease to induce labor for convenience? If this is beginning to bother you, you’re not alone. That’s why Jennifer Block subtitled her book “The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.” A mama ought to be informed. More on induction next week!
Congratulations, Jeralyn, you won the Blessed Nest organic nursing pillow giveaway!
Thanks to all of you who shared your favorite natural products. What a fun way to spread the love. Bethany’s comment about cleaning with baking soda came back to me next time I was scrubbing my tub :). It’s great to see that so many of us are using cloth diapers too. And, I loved Merissa’s comment, “I think my favorite natural product for my babies has actually been breastmilk. It doesn’t get more natural for baby and it’s super easy for mom. Plus, there’s no packaging or plastic bottles to worry about, so it’s green too.” So true!
This month I have a few giveaways up my sleeve. More on that soon!