Is Your Baby Getting Enough of THESE Two Nutrients?

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Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Pediatricians recommend a vitamin D3 supplement for breast fed babies. Although breast milk is the best food for infants it is lacking in one thing – vitamin D3. The body is able to produce vitamin D from sunlight (this article explains how much you might need). However, in today’s society we may not be getting the right amount of sun exposure to create enough vitamin D – especially in Winter months – so it is a good idea to supplement vitamin D3.

The Importance of Vitamin D

There are a number reasons why the body needs Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for immune function in children and adults. Some studies suggest that vitamin D may protect against some types of cancers. It is also helpful in building strong bones and helps with the absorption of calcium in the gut. This article also reported there is powerful new evidence supporting the claim that sufficient vitamin D levels in pregnant women can reduce the risk of having a premature delivery.

Omega 3’s for Development

Another important nutrient for babies is omega-3 fats. Omega 3’s benefit eye and cognitive development in babies. Omega-3 fat and its derivative DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are so essential to a child’s development that if a mother and infant are deficient in it, the child’s nervous system and immune system may never fully develop, and it can cause a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning, and immune system disorders. Sufficient levels of Omega 3’s in pregnant women also ensures that the baby will be full term.

Food Sources

The best food source for Omega 3’s and also for Vitamin D is fatty fish and seafood. Unfortunately, since most fish is contaminated with mercury, PCBs, heavy metals and radioactive poisons it is not safe to eat the quantity that we need to get the Omega 3’s our bodies require. This is the reason why a high quality omega 3 and vitamin D supplement is a smart idea.

My choice for an Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplement for babies is Baby’s DHA from Nordic Naturals. Made exclusively from Gold Standard Arctic Cod Liver Oil™, Nordic Naturals Baby’s DHA is a safe and effective way to ensure that growing babies get the DHA they need for healthy development. Like all Nordic Naturals fish oils, Baby’s DHA is third-party tested and surpasses strict international standards for purity and freshness.

Baby’s DHA comes in a convenient liquid format with a dropper. It is very easy to measure and administer the oil to the baby. It can be given directly in the mouth or mixed with food. I have done it both ways. Surprisingly my son took it straight with no problem – even though it does have a little fishy taste.

You can purchase Baby’s DHA on the Nordic Naturals website or here on Amazon.

Nordic Naturals was generous enough to offer the chance for one of my readers to try this product for free! Enter to win a bottle of Baby’s DHA now:

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

What supplements do you give your baby for Vitamin D and Omega 3?

 

Why I Chose a Home Birth

Photos by Poppy Oakley Photography

On August 11, 2013 I gave birth to my son…at home…on purpose. Yes, that’s right. His birth was quite different from the birth of my daughter in 2010. After my first birth experience, I had the confidence to chose a home birth for my son. Even though I had no drugs or interventions with my daughter, the experiences were much different.

My Hospital Birth Experience

In February 2010, I was due with my first child. My due date was the 19th and I had gone 8 days passed my due date before she was born. I was seeing a Nurse Midwife who delivers babies only in the hospital. On the day I went into labor I was previously scheduled to go into the hospital anyway for a potential induction since I was over a week passed my due date. I wanted to avoid this because I had a natural birth in my plans and did not want any intervention. On that day, my daughter decided to avoid it as well. Read more on my natural birth choices in this post, Why I Opted Out of an Epidural.

My labor started on Friday night at 9 PM and my daughter was born the next day at 7:48 PM – a 23 hour labor. It was 100% natural – with the help of my husband and a fantastic Doula. I took no drugs or pain medications. I had amazing support from my husband and Doula which made the choice to go drug free very easy. They both did a great job keeping me as relaxed as possible. We labored at home for as long as possible and my contractions were inconsistent in time for most of the labor. Laboring at home was very comfortable and relaxing but I had in the back of my mind that I would have to get in the car and travel to the hospital which felt unnatural.

Finally around 4:00 pm on Saturday I knew it was getting close and we went to the hospital. At the hospital, I was not treated with the loving care I was receiving at home. I was rushed into a room, poked with needles for a blood draw and what felt like hundreds of questions were fired at me. I was also reprimanded by the nurses for not coming into the hospital sooner. As soon as I got there I felt like I wanted to cry. Because of this my labor had slowed down and the dilation went backwards. Anxiety and stress were a huge part of the reason why my labor lasted so long. By the time my daughter was born I was starving and completely exhausted. While I was overjoyed to meet my daughter, I was also completely overwhelmed with the need for some rest and something to eat. With that being said, I am very thankful the labor went well and no interventions were needed. I did get the natural birth experience I planned.

My Home Birth Experience

After having my daughter naturally with no drugs or interventions I knew I could handle a home birth. As much as the idea sounded amazing to me the first time I was pregnant – I just wasn’t there yet. The birth of my son went so smoothly and I had virtually no stress or anxiety. This labor was a total of 8 hours with 6 hours of contractions and only 4 hours of intense labor. In comparison to 23 hours for my first this was almost unbelievable. Around 4:00 PM in the afternoon I went for a walk around the neighborhood with my daughter and my parents and shortly after my water broke. At 6:00 PM light contractions started and they grew in intensity starting around 8:00 PM and my son was born just after Midnight. I was not afraid, anxious, or stressed because I knew I could just hang out in my bedroom, be comfortable, and let my body do what it was made to do. I know Mothers who have spent hours and hours pushing during their labor (which I can’t imagine) but my son was born with less then 5 minutes of pushing.

My home birth experience was amazing – so natural, and as relaxing as it could have been for child labor. After my son was born, we held him and my husband and I got to lay with him in our own bed. He wasn’t taken away for testing and bathing as he would have been in a hospital. We were in our own little world enjoying our son in a completely calm environment. It was the middle of the night but I felt empowered and energized by the experience and filled with happiness.

Why I Chose Home Birth

My whole philosophy on health is for things to be in line with Mother Nature. Eating the foods that the Earth provides for us with minimal processing, letting the body heal itself with natural medicine, plants, and herbs, and learning to listen to your own body. Having a home birth is in line with the way I live my life. I had low-risk pregnancies so there was no need for a hospital. Others with potential risks may need to be in a hospital but for me it wasn’t a concern (and I completely understand why some may need to be in a hospital). I was a good candidate for home birth since my previous birth went well and I am a healthy person. To me, a hospital birth seemed more risky. In a hospital I could potentially be exposed to hospital acquired infections or be pressured into interventions if my labor went long. My midwife brought with her all the equipment should would need to take care of me and my baby – which is pretty much everything that a birth center would have.

The care I received at home from my midwife far surpassed the care I received in the hospital. I felt that my baby and I were well taken care of at home and I did not have this feeling when I gave birth the first time. In the hospital, I was worried my baby would receive things I did not want without me knowing but at home there was never any concern because everything was discussed with me before it happened.

I firmly believe you have to chose what is right for you. I am certainly not saying that everyone should have a home birth, there are cases where it is not the best option. Home birth was the right choice for me because I knew in my heart it was how I wanted my experience to be for myself and my son and I was a low risk case. To some, having a home birth might sound outrageous, but I hope my story shows why it is anything but. I share my story in hopes to give other Mothers the confidence to chose a birth plan that is right for them even if it is outside what is considered “normal” today.

What are your thoughts and feelings around home birth? Please share.

Benefits of Mommy & Me Exercise

by Victoria Moore from Yogi Mami

Many mothers discover that it can be difficult to find time to workout after having a new baby. The demands of taking care of children can often get in the way of the mother taking some time for herself.  The growing trend of Mommy & Me exercise classes are a perfect way to allow moms a way to remain active while bonding with their child. Mommy & Me classes allow moms to interact with other mothers and create friendships and community while taking some time to be healthy.

Benefits of Mommy & Me Classes

Mommy & Me exercise classes come in many forms: From Yoga, to Pilates and even outdoor stroller workouts. These types of classes can be found in most cities and are becoming increasingly popular. Including a prenatal fitness routine can provide numerous benefits such as re-awakening the pelvic floor muscles and restoring muscles that were stretched during pregnancy and labor. Exercise is an important way to regulate changing hormones during and after pregnancy to prevent post partum depression. Benefits of Mommy & Me classes include building relationships with other moms, bonding with your child, taking care of yourself and setting an example for your child introducing the importance of fitness from the beginning.

Mommy & Me classes are great for socialization for both the parent and the child. Many at home moms can feel isolated with very little adult interaction, these classes help to provide a break and make new friends. It’s a great way to meet other moms with kids around the same age in your community and can often translate into play dates outside of workouts. For the child it helps to stimulate the senses, introduce them to people and aid in cognitive development.  Classes often include songs and new unfamiliar sounds which is very appealing to babies and if your baby does cry or need to be changed or fed during class- No big deal! Guaranteed your kid won’t be the only one causing a few interruptions, but most classes are designed to accommodate these types of situations.

Bonding with your child is a great way to alleviate and prevent postpartum depression. It also helps promote security and self-esteem in both the child and adult. By taking the time to do something beneficial for the body helps to improve overall attitude and outlook on life.  Another benefit is that these classes allow us an opportunity to set a healthy example by showing our children that we take the time to exercise and keep a healthy lifestyle. It is a great way to be a model of how to make health a priority in our lives. This is especially important with childhood obesity on the rise. It’s never too early to teach our children healthy habits.

If Mommy & Me classes are not offered in your area you can find books or DVD’s, which will provide all benefits except for social interaction.  Another option is if you have a group of moms who are interested you can usually contact a studio, gym or even library to see if possibly they would like to coordinate or offer such a class. After the birth of my first daughter there were very little Mommy & Me classes offered in our area. As a yoga instructor I began to offer these classes and it has been such a fun and rewarding experience. My children enjoy getting out of the house and meeting new people, my daughter loves exercising with us and we do our workouts at fun places where they can see boats, ducks and sometimes even seals. We have met lots of amazing people along the way and love adding to our community.

Did you participate in Mommy & Me exercises after having children?  If so, share your stories. We would love to hear them!

Victoria Moore is yoga instructor, Usui Reiki master and natural health author and blogger. She enjoys cooking, homesteading and spending time with family and friends. Her passions include empowering women on how to prepare for natural labor, teaching yoga to adults and children and learning about alternative approaches to health and lifestyle. Through her website yogimami she enjoys connecting with other like-minded people and sharing information about health and wellness, natural parenting, alternative medicine and organic living.

Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care

Personal care products are filled with unhealthy ingredients. Conventional products in a drug store almost never live up to my standards. Even most products in a health food store still have a lot of junk in them. That is the point that bothers me the most because people buy these items in a health food store thinking that they are free of possibly harmful ingredients when it’s not the case. I have become quite the label reader and it takes me a long time to pick out products in a store when I need to buy them – which is why I rarely buy them anymore (I make my own instead). It is important to learn how to read labels but sometimes it feels like you need to be a scientist to figure out what any of the words mean.

Here are some of the ingredients to avoid because of their possible health effects…

Parabens

Parabens (esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid) are used in personal care products as antimicrobial agents to preserve the product and prevent spoilage. When reading labels the ingredient might say Methyl, Propyl, Isopropyl, Butyl, and Isobutylparabens. The major problem with parabens is that they are estrogen mimicking substances that disrupt hormones. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2004, called Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumours, reported that parabens were found in samples of tissue from human breast tumors in 19 out of 20 studied. Although the FDA acknowledges the hormone like qualities of parabens they still state the following (updated in 2007), “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area.” I don’t know about you but I’m not willing to take their word for it.

Retinol

Retinol is a common ingredient in facial products like moisturizers, anti-aging products, and acne products. Words to look out for on lables might be Differin (adapelene), retin-A, renova, tretinoin, retinoic acid, retinol, retinyl linoleate, retinyl palmitate, tazorac and avage, and tazarotene. Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A which encourages skin to regenerate which makes skin appear younger. The problem is that that new skin is more sensitive to sun damage, and can actually increase risk of sun damage and skin cancer when used in daytime products. The skin is not only sensitive to the sun but also to anything else you may use on it. It is even more important to be cautious about Retinol during pregnancy or breast feeding because of the high levels of vitamin A. If you are pregnant and you have been using skin-care products with retinol, don’t panic. No studies have definitively linked topical use of retinol to birth defects or harm to unborn infants. To be on the safe side, though, avoid skin-care products with this ingredient. Read more about this on BabyCenter. If you like the effects of products with Retinol in them and how it makes your skin look read my post on this effective natural alternative, Effective Natural Alternative to Retinol.

Fragrance

Fragrance is a term you see on most products. In the ingredient list it will simply say the word fragrance which seems harmless – especially next to all those chemical looking words that we don’t recognize. The problem with fragrance is that Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. This means we have no idea what is in it and if there are any health concerns. Recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Fragrance can also be an issue if you have food allergies – you don’t know if there are hidden things like gluten in there as well. To be safe, by fragrance-free products or make your own with essential oils instead.

If you are interested in learning more about making your own personal care products, my eBook, The Holistic Mama’s Guide to Homemade Skin Care is a great resource.

Were you aware of these potentially harmful ingredients in your products?