ABCs of Earth: P is for Plant – LullabyEarth.com

ABCs of Earth: P is for Plant

There's something so special about picking fresh organic vegetables out of your own garden. Planting seeds and fresh flowers with your kids will help foster their relationship with the Earth starting, literally, from the ground up. This is an invaluable relationship that will get stronger as they mature and start making their own lifestyle choices. Supporting their understanding of where fresh food originates will also them make positive food choices.

Check out these ideas on our ABCs of Earth Pinterest board

 

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How Firm Should A Baby Crib Mattress Be?

how firm should a crib mattress be

One of the most important considerations parents should have about their baby’s mattress is the firmness level. While it’s tempting to want baby to have a cushion-soft surface that seems cozy to us as adults, it can be dangerous if a crib mattress is soft, floppy, or saggy.

Why You Don’t Want a Soft Mattress

For starters, babies’ bones are still developing and their bodies need much more support than ours do as adults. Adults may find comfort and support from a wide range of materials and firmness levels, but for babies it’s important to remember that firmer is always better. If it feels cozy to you, it’s probably too soft for your baby.

Babies, especially newborns and young infants, lack mobility and can’t get around very well. So they have a harder time lifting themselves up and repositioning like an adult would. If they stay on their back during sleep that’s one thing, but once they start rolling onto their tummies this can present a pretty serious risk. A softer mattress that is flexible at the edges can also increase the chance that arms or legs can get stuck between the mattress and the crib.

To reduce the risk of these potential hazards, it’s best to choose a firm crib mattress with firm edges. Safety recommendations also caution parents to place babies to sleep on their backs and to keep all soft materials (bedding, toys, etc.) out of the crib environment.

How Firm Should A Crib Mattress Be?

Consumer Reports recommends that you “Press on the mattress in the center and at the edges. It should snap back readily and should not conform to the shape of your hand.” So when you’re testing crib mattress firmness, feel free to put pressure on the mattress to make sure it resists the impression of your hand. It should feel a bit firmer than you’d think is comfortable. But trust us - babies need the firmer surface and sleep just fine!

The Ideal Firmness for a Crib Mattress

At Lullaby Earth, your baby’s safety is our priority. Our crib mattresses are made with firm, flat support, as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and also feature reinforced edges for a snug fit in the crib.

Our 2-stage or “dual firmness” crib mattresses have a firm side and a cushion firm side. When baby is around one year old you can switch to the cushion firm side for a little more cushion during the toddler years!

We do recommend you confirm with your pediatrician before flipping the mattress, since some babies may need a bit more time on the firmer infant side.

5 Ways To Have A Non-Toxic Halloween

non-toxic halloween

Halloween is synonymous with candy and treats, but you can make some eco-friendly and non-toxic choices to promote a healthier holiday this fall.

1. Ditch The Plastic Pumpkin

Rather than a plastic bucket for carting treats around town, try a cloth bag (or a pillowcase in a pinch) or even a metal bucket that will stand the test of time. Reusable options are more eco-friendly and will reduce your child’s exposure to VOCs, phthalates, and other toxins found is mass-produced plastic containers.

2. Treats With No Tricks

Cut back on the tricks when you offer your kids a candy swap! For each piece of questionable candy they bring home, offer to trade them for healthier alternatives.

YumEarth offers organic pops, gummies, and more in festive Halloween shapes, perfect for a seasonal treat for your little one. Stock up to give these out to the kiddos in your neighborhood too!

For a crunchy treat, try an assortment of snack crackers and cookies from Bitsy’s Brainfood, specializing in veggie-based crisps that your little one won’t suspect are actually healthy!

Try Justin’s for healthier peanut butter cups - their dark chocolate options are dairy free, perfect for lactose intolerant or dairy-allergic kids. If your child has a peanut allergy or is taking snacks to school, opt for SunCups by free2b, made with sunflower seed butter (or “sunbutter”) instead of peanuts! Free2b makes candies free from common allergens for a truly healthier Halloween.

Another allergy-friendly brand is Enjoy Life Foods, offering everything from chocolate bars to cookies and more, all free from gluten, nuts, dairy, egg, and other common allergens. Stock up on their seasonal Halloween Chocolate Minis before your store runs out!

3. Plan a Trunk or Treat

You can remove the hit-or-miss candy quality and safety concerns about walking down busy streets by partaking in a local “Trunk or Treat” or other celebration. A Trunk or Treat is usually put on by a group of local families who decorate the trunk of their cars for Halloween and let the kids “trick or treat” just among the group, traveling to each car. This is a great way for groups of allergy parents to put something together where they can trust everything will be nut-free, dairy-free, etc. but it’s also great for children on the autism spectrum who may be overstimulated in large crowds. (Plus, it’s a relief for the parents too).

By throwing a Halloween party or Trunk or Treat, you can also control the food and drink to offer things like homemade caramel apples, apple cider, pumpkin goodies, etc. to cut back on exposure to artificial flavors and dyes, GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, and allergens.

4. Choose Non-Toxic Makeup

For makeup and special effects on your little one’s sensitive skin, look for non-toxic makeup kits like Natural Earth Paint’s Natural Face Paint Kit or mineral based makeup. Real Purity has a variety of blushes, lipsticks, and eyeshadows in many hues to find your perfect match as well - all made without harmful ingredients and perfect for adult and kid costuming needs!

5. Make Memories Without Candy

Put on a Halloween classic and join the kids for potions-making in the kitchen! Make the most of the fall season by focusing on carving jack o’lanterns and brewing up some homemade mulled apple cider with your kids. Projects in the kitchen will make lasting memories your kids will remember forever.

This isn’t to say that we recommend doing this instead of Trick or Treat - because, let’s face it, Trick or Treat is fun - but as a festive addition to involve the kids in activities all month long leading up to Halloween.

Any Other Ideas?
What’s your favorite way to have a healthier Halloween? Share in the comments!

Tags: kids, nontoxic

The DL On Sleep Training Methods

baby sleep training

By Jenni June, Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, CLC and mom of 4!

If you are considering teaching your baby or child healthy new sleep habits, so that they can independently fall asleep and connect from one sleep cycle to the next throughout the night, and without your intervention or engagement, then it’s likely you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or confused by the different sleep training "methods" available to you, or even what they mean, in terms of marketing their approaches. 

Allow me to unpack the language for you with a few important facts that will help you to enter into this process with your best foot forward. That way, you may better set your expectations and discern whether or not your child, and the rest of the family, is ready to move forward into the process of change as well.

First, all methods -- every single one ever invented -- involve tears (CIO). Yes, all of them. The only thing that varies between all of the sleep-training approaches out there is how much the parent wants to be a part of the crying process, not that there is no crying involved. That’s where certain sleep training methods are marketed as "gentle sleep" approaches, or even, "no cry" sleep methods. It’s not that there’s no crying involved -- far from it! In fact, with many kiddos there are often more cumulative or intense tears with some of the more integrative approaches than parents are prepared for, simply because there is more active interruption to the child's learning process from parents as they try to help them learn how to get from one sleep cycle to the next on their own.

Furthermore, there is no way to change up a child’s routines, and basically take them out of their familiar comfort zones, without them at least telling mom and dad, temporarily, that they think their new sleep rules suck. Change, even good change, is always accompanied by a couple of days of temporary struggle as we get used to being outside of our predictable routines. But, once we, or rather our babies, have had a few days of a consistent new routine under our belts, they tend to relax again and find comfort with the new changes as they become more familiar with them each day.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a normal and healthy kind of stress or struggle, as babies and children experience changes like this all of the time. A child learning how to master a new gross motor development skill, like walking or going to daycare or preschool for the first time, is not any different.

Secondly, it’s helpful to realize that all methods are safe and effective when properly performed and matched to your unique child and family! We tend to demonize certain methods as being ineffective, or causing over-the-top crying, when the truth of the matter is that 99% of the time, said method wasn’t being performed correctly in the first place.

Here are the two main reasons why many behavioral sleep training methods fail:

1. The child was not set up for success with The 4 pillars of sleep hygiene ™ (i.e. environment, ability to detect true sleep cues, effective pre-sleep routines, timing of sleep, etc.). This is my trademarked foundation to all sleep shaping and training. Without this important and natural sleep science foundation, no sleep training method will work. And if it does, it will be very short-lived when real-life circumstances come your way -- such as travel and illness.

2. Parents or caregivers were unwilling, or unable (due to their own anxiety or sleep deprivation) to provide the necessary consistency, patience, and commitment children need from their securely attached caregivers to support them through the important changes being made to their sleep health, habits, and safety.

In conclusion, I'll summarize all of this by likening it to breastfeeding. If the latch doesn’t go well right out of the gate (if breastfeeding is being performed incorrectly), then it’s going to be a miserable, tear-filled experience for both mom and baby, right? But that doesn’t mean we should demonize breastfeeding. It’s just that it was not performed properly. Applying this same logic to sleep training methods helps parents better understand why consistency, attention to detail, and patience with their chosen method, is absolutely essential!

Also, it’s equally important to properly match the right sleep-training method to accommodate the child’s age, temperament, and possible past-failed sleep training attempts in their background, as well as a parent’s realistic ability to be consistent with the performance of the chosen method.

 

About Jenni June:


jenni june Jennifer Metter, founder of Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, specializing in pediatric and adult sleep hygiene; A Certified Lactation Counselor, Host, Nationalspeaker, and Mom of 4!

With thousands of successful sleep cases under her belt since 2011, she is a valuable resource for everyday and celebrity parents all over the country, including Guiliana and Bill Rancic for the Style Network! And, she is the sleep training expert on The Doctors TV show! She is a practitioner member of the National Sleep Foundation and collaborative health care provider as a certified sleep coach for infants, children and adults for the Breathe Institute, and the go-to sleep trainer for LA’s top pediatricians!

Jenni is also a popular national speaker and guest on CBS, FOX, NBC news and the host of series, “Baby Care with Jenni June” and the resident sleep expert for the BabyLeague and FamiLeague Networks.

If you were to ask Jenni why she has joyfully dedicated her entire life to building up and equipping families (including her own, who are now all grown!), she will tell you, “Because the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” She is gifted in encouraging new parents to raise the standard of their significance.

Tags: baby, sleep

The Truth Behind Flame Retardants in Baby Products

Flame Retardants in Baby Products

You’ll see on our product pages that we say our mattresses and accessories have a safer design with no flame retardants - but do you know why? Flame retardants seem to be a pretty good idea, since obviously no one wants their crib mattress or baby product to be flammable! But the truth is that as long as baby’s things aren’t made with highly flammable materials, there’s really no need for flame retardants to be added.

Flame retardants are found in many products, from baby mattresses and car seats to your adult mattresses, couches, electronics, and insulation material. Unfortunately, research is showing that chronic exposure to flame retardant chemicals can lead to many health hazards including endocrine disruption, cognitive delays, and decreased fertility. Babies are at particular risk since their bodies are still developing.

In fact, a study by the Environmental Working Group and Duke University found higher concentrations of flame retardant chemicals in children than adults. It’s increasingly important to avoid flame retardant chemicals in home products, especially products that your baby or child is in frequent contact with.

Laws About Flame Retardants



Many states have various flame retardant bans and other legislation in place to help control exposure to flame retardant chemicals in consumer products. However, it’s very easy for manufacturers to change their flame retardant materials to another option that’s just as toxic without being in violation of the ban.

Household items like mattresses and furniture have to pass federal flammability standards. These types of products often have flame retardant chemicals added to highly flammable synthetic materials like polyurethane foam and memory foam. In addition, some manufacturers do not disclose that they use flame retardant chemicals. By using materials that are pre-treated with flame retardant chemicals, manufacturers can say that they don’t add any flame retardants to the final product, even though it still contains flame retardants.

How Lullaby Earth Avoids Flame Retardants



By using materials that are not highly flammable, we’re able to create a crib mattress that doesn’t need any flame retardants at all. Using food-grade polyethylene and polyester filling and fabric means that our crib mattresses meet flammability standards without the need for flame retardant chemicals or barriers of any kind. Remember: the safest flame retardant is none at all!

Avoiding Flame Retardants in Your Baby’s Nursery



To avoid and reduce your baby’s exposure to flame retardant chemicals, start with the big items like a crib mattress. Make sure you research all baby products before you buy to make sure you select options made without flame retardant chemicals.

You should also use caution if removing old carpeting from your nursery, and avoid putting down new carpet to reduce exposure to flame retardants and other off-gassing VOCs. You can use a vacuum cleaner or air purifier with a HEPA filter to keep the air cleaner from small particulate dust that can carry harmful chemicals.

For a safer crib mattress, remember to shop Lullaby Earth! Our Breeze 2-Stage Breathable Crib Mattress is made without flame retardants and also provides maximum airflow for baby’s comfort.
Tags: baby, nontoxic

8 Ways To Naturally Reduce Anxiety During Pregnancy

Reduce Anxiety During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is stressful, both physically and mentally. While your body changes to accommodate a new little human, you’ll experience new sensations and stressors in all parts of the body. Plus, the emotional task of preparing for your new responsibilities can be overwhelming, especially for first time parents. Some stress is to be expected, of course, but sometimes parents-to-be might experience prenatal anxiety that’s worth checking out with your doctor.

If you are experiencing worry, stress, and anxiety, consult your care provider (OB/GYN, midwife, therapist, general practitioner, etc.) to discuss methods for you to help reduce your anxiety and stress. This blog post will explore 8 ways to reduce your stress and anxiety during pregnancy - we hope that a few of our tips will be just what you are looking for!

1. Snack Smart: It’s tough when you’re fighting morning sickness, but long stretches without eating anything will tank your blood sugar and lead to bodily stress and anxious behavior due to the lack of available fuel for your brain. Try to graze throughout the day, especially on snacks rich in quality proteins and fats along with whole-food based carbohydrates (think nuts and seeds with dried fruit or veggies with hummus). Sugary treats in moderation are perfectly okay, but relying on them could affect your blood sugar and leave you feeling even hungrier.

Sarah G. says: “Macadamia nuts are quick anxiety fixes - great to carry in your purse.”

2. Reduce Caffeine: You probably already know this one, but pregnancy and caffeine don’t always mix well. Caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, and coffee can also increase anxiety symptoms and leave you feeling breathless and stressed out. With your doctor’s okay, figure out how much caffeine is right for you (ranging from almost none to 1-2 cups per day) and work on tapering down to your ideal level.

For some parents, finding the sweet spot of just the right amount was key to managing their stress when it came to a morning cup of java.

Katie C. says: “Having my one cup of hot coffee in the morning was my relaxing escape during pregnancy.”

Andrea H. says: “Waking up early to enjoy a hot cup of coffee can be the most relaxing moment of the day when you have other kids.”

3. Stretch It Out: Yoga can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Try a prenatal yoga routine to help stretch and soothe your body and mind. There may be a yoga studio in your area or you can check with your doctor or practitioner about poses and stretches that are safe for your pregnancy.

Kat B. says: “I did yoga in my first trimester to help reduce stress and practice mindfulness.”

4. Practice Mindful Breathing: Breathing technique isn’t all about labor and birth - practicing deep breathing techniques can also help you get a handle on your stress levels when you feel yourself start to panic. You can try a meditation app like Calm or Headspace, or just practice breathing in for a count of eight, holding for a moment, and exhaling for a count of eight. Start each morning with deep breath and a positive intention for the day.

Addie A. says: “Daily meditation, especially in the evenings for me, helped to alleviate the excess stressors. It allowed me to clear my mind so that I could focus on what was actually happening.”

5. Delegate and Say No: Many of us tend to try and have it all, do it all, and control it all. Involve your partner or a friend in handling some household chores or nesting activities that are overwhelming you. If you’re worried that nobody can perform a task the way you do it, ask yourself: is it better to get it done, or is it better to get it done “perfectly”? See what you can let go and allow someone else to take care of for you. The people in your life are here to help, if you’ll let them!

Briary R. says: “Knowing limits and saying NO is a huge one for anxiety and self awareness in pregnancy. You’re already taxed because of growing another human. Saying NO that you don’t want to do something or physically cannot is liberating for both stress and anxiety.”

6. Stick With Your Self Care Routine: Pre-pregnancy you may have had certain routines and rituals like a daily bath or an evening walk. Try to keep your routine as much as you can, with accommodations as your pregnancy advances. Taking a warm bath or shower can help you relax, especially if you include aromatherapy essential oils or candles. If you ever don’t have time for your full soak, take a sniff of your favorite scent - it’s associated with relaxation in your mind and will help you take a mental break.

Rachel C. says: “Keep up with your known and enjoyed hobbies as long as you can, and make sure to take time out for yourself.

7. Talk It Out: Join some parenting groups in person or on social media so you can establish a trusted place to talk out your concerns. You can also talk to a family member or friend, or even go to a therapist for a totally guilt-free third party to vent and talk to. Of course, you can also talk out any worries you have with your care provider.

Rachel C. says: “Join groups or find other moms-to-be to talk through your concerns with. You can find them online, in your community, and even some hospitals have parenting classes where you can meet people going through the same thing. Talk to others, especially your doctor or midwife.”

8. Set a Timer: Know that you will have stressful and anxious moments throughout pregnancy and as a parent. Everyone gets worried and stressed, and so will you. The important thing to remember is how to not let the stress overwhelm you. Establish a set amount of time you’ll let yourself go over all the what-ifs and worries. Jot any recurring stressors down to discuss with your doctor or therapist later.

Sara M. says: “Give yourself a fixed time period to go ahead and freak out. I had a high risk pregnancy and some of my anxiety was based on very real possibilities. When I couldn’t talk myself out of worrying about them, I set a time and let myself worry for fifteen minutes. After that, I took a hot shower until I felt better.”

Remember that stress and worry can be normal, but that doesn’t mean you have to handle it alone. No concern is too small, and no two pregnancies are the same. What worked for your best friend might not work for you, and what you experienced with your first baby may be completely different from later pregnancies. Anything that seems off is an acceptable reason to check in with your provider!

Are there any tips on this list that you want to try out, or do you have a favorite stress management tip to share with other pregnant parents?

5 Instagram Accounts That Celebrate Dad Life

dad life

We rounded up 5 Instagram Accounts you should follow right now to see these guys totally nailing fatherhood.

How To Be A Dad

Charlie and Andy at @howtobeadad are the two friends behind this awesome #DadLife brand, which includes more “what not to do” advice than actual tips on how to be a dad. Plus, a healthy serving of snark and humor. They have fun while handling the journey of fatherhood as best they can.

Fatherhood Without Fear

You’ve heard of Birth Without Fear? This is the dad version! Follow @dontforgetdads to see amazing photos of new and seasoned dads experiencing this crazy thing we call parenthood. There are some amazing photographs on this account, we can’t get enough.

Nerdy At Home Dad

James Estrada - @nerdyathomedad has been living it up as an at-home dad since 2012 and shares photos of daily life with his kiddo, J. His blog even features a weekly comic written and directed by his son. The force is strong with this dad.

Inside Martyn’s Thoughts

Delivering a mix of homeschooling and parenting advice, Inside Martyn’s Thoughts is the blog of a stay at home dad who handles the day to day like a pro. His blog and Instagram are full of recipes, education tips, and parenting lifestyle anecdotes. It’s a great mix of topics and you can follow @mr_kitney.

Life With Micah

Mike Quinones uses his website and Instagram to share the day to day raising of his son Micah, who is a serious cutie and who has Down Syndrome. Get your daily dose of adorable when you follow @lifewithmicah.

We hope you found a new account (or five!) - share your own recommendations for #DadLife accounts with us so we can fill our feed with awesome dads.

Please Note: The viewpoints of these Instagram accounts do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Lullaby Earth or Safe for Home Products LLC.

Tags: dads, parenting