Monday, August 29, 2011

Organic Baby Food Options - What are the best first foods?

This is a hard question, there a ton of baby food brands out there, but for me I went with a brand I trusted and could easily get at the local health food store. I didn't have time to make baby food and store it so I was on the hunt for good quality food already jarred.

Since Ellery was an organic formula kid I wanted to offer her organic baby food as well;  keeping her body free from unnecessary chemicals as much as possible. I ended up using Earth's Best Baby Food since I was already using their formula (and trusted their brand), but along the way I found some first finger foods that Ellery loves too. Actually, even now that she is 14 months, she still eats these snacks every day. Here is what I use and recommend:


Organic Baby Cereal by Earth's Best
The first food is typically cereal and  Earth's Best has great cereal. We started with their oatmeal and moved into their multi-grain cereal. Ellery still has that daily. It has 50% of her daily iron in one serving!

Where to buy: Babies R Us, local health food store, http://www.diapers.com/


Organic Baby Food - 1st Foods and 2nd Foods by Earth's Best
Another favorite of ours is Earth's best jarred foods. This is convenient because you can purchase this at BabiesRUS or your local health food store. I actually purchased this from Diapers.com. I love that site! They have amazing deals if you buy in bulk. Especially if you have picky eater who only eats sweet potatoes - you will certainly buy  flavors in bulk!!

                           Where to buy: Babies R Us, local health food store, http://www.diapers.com/


Organic Baby Puffs - by Plum
Good for breakfast, good for snacks, and watch out dad might steal some too. I don't know why but my husband loves my daughters food. I catch him in the pantry all of the time nibbling on her food! The best part about these puffs is they are a mix of veggies and fruit so they are getting the good stuff while they are snacking.

Where to buy: Babies R Us, local health food store, http://www.diapers.com/






Organic Yogurt Melts - by HappyMelts
This is hands down my daughters' favorite snack, still to this day. They are freezed-dried yogurts that are super easy to carry in your purse for a quick snack. They are also a great source of calcium if your child is milk adverse - like my daughter. They do have some organic sugar in it, but not much.

Where to buy: Babies R Us, http://www.diapers.com/, hard to find at local stores, though request them and sometimes the health food store will pick them up.


Alright, now what do you think? Do you have any favorite first baby foods that are organic that you highly recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Healthy Recipe - Breakfast Crepes that Kids Love

Here is my family recipe for healthy crepes. It is so simple to make, taste great, and healthy. My one year old LOVES them. Don't forget to add the almond extract its the key ingredient that makes these tasty enough to eat without powdered sugar or syrup.

Almond Breakfast Crepes
3/4 Cup Wheat Flour
1 Egg (in egg whites)
1 TBS Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Baking Soda
1 Cup Almond Milk* (Vanilla gives it a little more sweetness and kick)
1 TBS Honey
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries (or any berries that are in season)

* If you use regular Almond Milk, add 1/4 tsp of Vanilla to to the mixture. If you use Vanilla do NOT add the vanilla

Add all ingredients together and mix well. Heat frying pan to a medium/hot. Add a small amount of batter and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remember crepes are thin, but we make them thick sometimes too.

Cut up the fresh strawberries and place on top of your cooked crepe. ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Best Baby Sunscreen - Finally My Baby is Six Months Old, Let's Party Outside

Alright, it's time for the big reveal. Our little fair skin child is six months old and ready to enjoy the California Sun. My husband and I love the outdoors so we were itching to get Ellery all ready for a day in the park. Of course with a hat and proper sunscreen and clothing. Before being six months old we were very hesitant to take her outside because of her glow in the dark skin...kidding. Actually, my husband and I be  like this even if she had olive skin liked her father.

Anyways, back to it. Before the big day arrived, I was doing a ton of research on which sunscreen was best to use. I wasn't about to just use anything on her because our skin is our largest organ and whatever we put on it skin gets absorbed in our body.YIKES! The goal - light on the chemicals. With that being said, the sun screen winner in my book is.....



CALIFORNIA BABY - SUPER SENSITIVE (of course)

A little goes a long way, so don't be scared off by the price. It has ZERO fragrance, no chemicals, and PABA free. This one is worth a try!

This sunscreen also ranks on the to list of the EWG's Skin Deep list, for the full list check out: The Sunscreen List

Work or Not To Work - That was the Question

My plan was go back to work when Ellery was three months old - even though I can say that time-frame never felt right.  But when Ellery was 2.5 months old, I stopped into my place of employment and sat across from the CEO, my boss, with my little one and started to cry. Yep, bucket tears. I told him, "I know I said I would come back at three months, but I am not ready".  He was completely gracious and understanding. He started his business when his kids were young and built it into a what it is today - a multi-million dollar organization, but I know he missed out on a quite a bit of their childhood working 80 hours a week. Needless to say he completely understood and respected where I was coming from. He said to go home and be creative and figure out how you can make this work. So I did. For the next three months I worked from home part-time and went into the office one day a week with the understanding I would be back to the office full time when Ellery was six months old. I was always busy, but it was nice to be home with Ellery.

Then six months hit. I was going back to work right after the winter holidays. About a week or two before I went back to work, the water works started. Every time I thought about going back, I started balling; not just crying, but expelling all the water in the body to the point of dehydration. OK, I exaggerating at little  but hopefully that is visual enough to understand my heartache. This was the hardest decision for me; I thought I had to go back for the money, but I didn't want to. My heart wasn't in it. I know you all dont' know me well, but I was a ball breaking man when it came to work. I loved being successful and wanted to keep moving up - with the hopes of started my own business one day. So it was a shock to EVERYONE when I had a change of heart and didn't want to go back to work.

But here I was going back...

Things at the office changed. There was a cloud of negativity floating around and I hated it. Why was I dealing with this poo when I could be at home enjoying life with my daughter? And maybe just maybe start working on my dream of starting my own business? This was my thought every day for months. Plus on top of this, Ellery was in daycare and experiencing sickness after sickness being around other kids. Don't get me wrong we have an AMAZING in-home daycare, but the reality is when kids are around other little ones who get sick their immune systems aren't strong enough to ward it off. And the real kicker was, every time she got sick,  I got sick. I don't know how that was possible but without fail it happened. No matter how many vitamins I was taking, I was going down if she came home with something.

So after six months of dealing with her getting sick all of the time and me not wanting to be there any longer, I did it, I left. YIPEEE!!!!!! I finally took the leap of faith to stay home with Ellery and start my own business. I am living my dream....home with my daughter and building my business...life is good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Senstive Skin - Choosing the Best Shampoos and Lotions

Having a baby with sensitive skin can leave you leaving the life of a private investigator. You have to go through all of the clues to figure out what is causing the problem. In my case, Ellery starts out with irritated skin then I immediately run down the list of possibilities in my mind. Is it the detergent, soup, maybe daddy's cologne? The possibles are endless, but you start with one and phase it out until you find the culprit causing the problem.

Ellery was born with the fairest skin ever - everyone says she is a red head (strawberry blond to be exact). I am still waiting to see if that holds true. But at any rate, she sure has the skin of a red head. The doctor told us not use Johnson and Johnson baby products - and man was he right. We use twice maybe and saw the flare up on her skin immediately. Well after doing some digging around, I found out why. There are a ton of ingredients in Johnson and Johnson skin products that I would never want to use on my new born - example alcohol and parabens.

So here is what I found:



Burt's Bee's baby wash and it is great 98.7% natural and organic, and honestly that was the best I could find - and you can find it most major grocery stores.  I was happy with considering the alternative products out there. BUT note to self, do NOT use their buttermilk brand on sensitive skin/eczema babies. Milk based products are horrible for kids with eczema. Trust me, we learned the hard way.




Speaking of eczema, Aveeno is hands down the best product I have found thus far for eczema. I have used natural brands from health stores, but nothing works as best as Aveeno. Now, Aveeno isn't all natural or organic, so mom's if you have found something, please post it. Aveeno does get good ratings, but again it's not perfect in terms of being all natural.





Dolphin Organics - This is a new company and I have tested their product and it's great!! It does not irritate Ellery's skin and it is 100% natural - YES! That is what I have been searching for - 100%. Because they are a new company you can't find their product in stores (unless you are on the east coast, there are few stores carrying it) - only online right now. http://www.dophinorganics.com/. Check them out. The lotion is great too. I use it on myself, but Ellery still needs the extra support from eczema lotions.


Have you tried something else that is natural that you love? If so, let's hear about it. :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sanity Check - Buy the book " What to Expect in the First Year"

Our first doctor appointment was a month after Ellery was born, but I am not going to lie, I was ready to take her in the office every time something came up in that first month. THANK goodness for "What to Expect in the First Year" - if you are a new mom and don't have this book, get it!!

Being a new mom was scary to me. I knew how to take care of myself, but a baby, not a chance. Well, let me rephrase, I knew how to love, feed, and change diapers but that was it. I had no idea how to apply my methods of care to a child, nor did I trust my methods for a 7lb human.

Did you know that your baby has to process your hormones through thier body after you give birth? Maybe  that is common knowledge and I wasn't prepared, but I had no idea. When Ellery was a day or two old, she even passed blood from her privates, I completely flipped a lid..running for the phone to call the doctor when my husband talked me off the ledge for a second. I got the book and read that is totally normal. PHEW! My best friend had all boys and had no idea what was going on, so no comfort there, so I as very greatful for the reference book.

Then a few months later I found a breast cyst. Seriously? Yes, but I have had breast cysts since I was 12 years old, and now my daughter has them. Again my hormones and completely normal. Her body was processing out my hormones and it took a good 6-8 months to finally get them out - again mentioned in the book. And in that process, she actually got pretty bad acne too. Poor thing! Well now that process is over...YES!

For me the book was a sanity check for me!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Diapers - Disposals or Cloth?

Alright, hands down cloth is 1000x's better for the environment and I have to admit this is the one place where I didn't do the best thing for the environment. I use disposable diapers. I know, I know, but Ellery started daycare at three months and I daycare won't allow it. OK, I am being honest, I was lazy and didn't want to deal with it so I took the blind eye approach. But I did a ton of research on this and the found out that ONE diaper takes 500 years to decompose. Yep, 500 years! But even knowing this it wasn't enough for me to not use disposable. Maybe something needs to change about that? Hmmmm....

BUT, like I said I did a ton of research on compostable diapers, cloth diapers, and the combo diaper - known as the G Diaper. Here is my review of this based on my testing and research:


G Diaper: This is a great diaper, but man it is bulky. My daughter inherited my bubble butt, so with her genetic disposition for tight pants, it was hard to use the G diaper; but I found that it was pretty easy to dispose of her mess after she used it. If she was just going to sport the diaper and not wear it under pants, it worked perfectly, but that wasn't enough to hook me. I never finished using them, I ended up giving my remaining inserts and diapers to a friend who is having a baby.




Cloth Diapers: I never did use cloth diapers, so for all of you moms out there who used them - I pose the question to you:  How easy is it really? I did do some research on it and found for $100-$150.00 a month I could have a diaper service come to the house and drop diapers and take the dirty ones. You just had to rinse out the poo and store them for the month. Now can you do this when your kid is in daycare? This is a serious question - I have no idea. So I passed on this option.

Compostable/Biodegradable Diapers: Alright I found another company, Bamboo Nature, who was the most helpful company I have come across in my research. I will say that I never did use their diaper, but I got an amazing email from their staff helping me understand how diapers decompose and why its good and bad. Their diaper works like a typical Huggies Diaper and can be thrown away. The only downside is the cost. If anyone has used them, write a review. I will tell you that they are amazingly smart and informed. If you every want to read the email they sent me about this...shoot me an email. I will pass it along.



And the fact is all of these options are still more expensive. But is the expense worth the impact? It shouldn't be but as I said before I didn't go down this path.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Organic Snap Baby Bibs - Teething at Two Months, Really?

Could this be right? Could my daughter really be teething at two months old? I had no idea and my doctor poo-poo'ed me a little bit so I was just going with my gut on this one. But, sure enough I was right; even inexperienced moms have a clue sometimes, LOL! But seriously, I had never seen a child drool so much. It was like a pipe burst under the sink and the plumber couldn't get it turned off. OK, I know that sounds extreme, but believe me when I say that is the God honest truth. Ellery is a drooler and it hasn't stopped yet.

To step back, I am a little slow on getting my posts up on my journey. My Ellery is a year old, but I am hopeful I can get my fingers and brain working fast enough to bring this blog up to speed very quickly.

Back the drooling machine. What I soon found out was Ellery was plowing through a typical terry cloth bibs in a hour or two during her peak teething days. There were some days when I would get my bag back from daycare with 4-5-6 bibs soaked completely through. I didn't really find any bibs at the big stores (target, babies r us) or boutiques that was absorbant enough for this little girl. She gets this from me. When I was a teenager and at the orthodontist one day, the hygienists said, are you a bad kid? I said "No I dont' think so", though my mom would beg a differ, I am sure. I proceeded to ask her why and she said you have so much saliva and from what I have seen a lot of saliva means bad kids. WHAT? Who says that?

Anyways, I actually started sewing my own bibs that were cute, fun, bold, absorbant and ORGANIC. And recently, I have taken the bibs commercial; which is super exciting. I left my job in June to make a career out of this. Wish me luck!! But seriously if you have a drooler and want a bib that is organic, absorbent, and made from designer fabric, I ask that you just check it out : http://www.organicallycute.com/. I swear this will be my only plug for my bibs. And trust me, I have other brands of bibs too, especially for eating. Don't get me wrong Ellery wears her drool bibs to eat sometimes, and they wash up great, but Green Sprouts has a GREAT plastic bib that washes right off. Highly recommend those as well. My only advice living through this is make sure the bibs are snap bibs - otherwise the baby will just rip them off.

So the moral is, yes your baby can cut teeth super early, and your precious girl can be the biggest spitter you have seen. And make sure you find a bib that really works and remember there are options to get GREEN/ ORGANIC bibs for your drooly chewy baby!