One thing most parents go through is teething. The dreaded, makes you cringe with lack of sleep, time when you feel like the world is ending. Up all night with an inconsolable babe who is in pain. Up all day with the same situation. Sleep has become a luxury. A happy babe has become a luxury. Cold coffee becomes the norm. Meals may or may not be eaten while trying to take care of the small teething babe. Not to mention, if you are breastfeeding, cringing with every suck, worried about the little daggers finding their way to your nipple. What options are there do help? You're in luck, there are quite a few.
1. Camilia by Borion* - I was hesitant to use this at first as it's a homeopathic medicine. I had heard some pretty negative things about Hylands teething tabs and that caused me to question whether or not to buy Camilia. I'm glad I did. It was our main go to. Bee loved it. She knew exactly what it was and even opened her mouth with excitement when I got the little packs out. I always made sure I had an extra box on hand as it really did seem to help Bee. I put some in the diaper bag, left some in the car, put a few in my coat, I didn't go anywhere without the Camilia.
2. Amber Necklace** - Bee has worn her necklace as a bracelet around her ankle for quite sometime. I truly think it helped. She barely drooled and was always in a semi-good mood. She didn't seem to be in a lot of pain most of the time. I wanted to see how well it worked so I purchased one for myself. I have noticed a decrease in pain myself so I can only imagine how much it helped her. I didn't feel comfortable with it being around her neck so it stayed on her ankle.
3. Rash Treatments - One of the main indications that Bee was actively teething was a rash. We never had problems with rashes until she cut her first tooth. They were pretty relentless but we had a routine that seemed to keep the rash down. We ran daily baking soda baths, we switched to disposable diapers (eco-friendly chlorine free, no dyes , perfumes) we alternated between coconut oil (our usual bum change lubricant) and Weleda Calendula diaper cream and if you don't mind the mess, lots of naked bum time.
4. Frozen breast milk - I froze breast milk in ice cube trays and popped it into one of those mesh feeders. I'm sure any frozen item (berries, veggies etc) would work with this as well.
5. Wet Face Cloth - I have a cloth teething toys. You dip the ends in cool boiled water and freeze. The baby sucks on the ends for relief. A cold wet face cloth would do the same, the only difference is, with certain cloth toys or other teething toys, not all of the item is frozen so it isn't too cold for baby to hold in hands.
6. Teething Toys - There are so many teething toys on the market, you have a great choice. Hevea, Natursutten, Ringley, Begin Again Toys, Loulou Lollipop and Caaocho are just a few that come to mind. If you love farm animals like we do, Caaocho has a goat teether. If you love food like we do, Loulou Lollipop has a burger and fries teether. The possibility of teething toys are endless these days. So many adorable options that can help soothe those sore gums!
7. Teething Teas - I discovered these after Bee was done teething so I have yet to try them. However, I do hear good thing about them from those who have used it. Check with your local holistic businesses or even look online for recipes about how to make your own.
Truthfully, teething didn't seem to bother Bee as much as it did her friends. Perhaps it was because of the amber necklace or perhaps she just that she handled it well. It didn't seem to affect her mood or sleep nor had she ever had a fever while teething. She did pull at her ears though, which is one indication that a tooth is about to pop through, and I tried to find the cues she was giving me so I could start our teething remedies before the pain got too bad.
*Please check with your doctor before using.
**Always use caution with anything around a baby's neck.
***These are just my opinions, not to be replaced from professional advice
Our playtime must haves is back for another edition. This time we are introducing wooden toy companies. Since it is inevitable that your little one will put their toys in their mouth, make sure they are at least safe. When considering toy options for you littles, I highly recommend wood toys. Though, not all wood toys are created equal. You will want to be aware of what type of paint is used as some paint can be toxic. A lot of main stream toy companies still use plastic which contains bpa, phthalates, pvc and in some recent cases even lead. Add on the paint they use to paint those toys, it's better to avoid them if possible. I will admit, we do own a few plastic toys. I cringe every time my daughter plays with them but there are only a few and she is old enough to know not to put things in her mouth. The majority of our toys are wooden or safe plastic (think Green Toys or Plan Toys).
1. Little Peg People - Local to us, Brianne makes the most adorable little peg people. In addition to peg people she also makes a few other wooden toys (cameras, cars, horses). Little Peg People also offers the option to skip the paint and have an image burned with no sealer, making it safe for the smaller babes who put everything in their mouths. Though all the paint they use is non-toxic, sometimes its nice to have the option of burning an image, it gives a very natural look.
2. Hape - I would have to say 1/2 of our toy collection is from Hape. We love Hape and all their toys. Our toys range from their small kitchen to the coffee maker, mixer, cake set, food set, string blocks, pull toys, actually it would be better if I named the things we didn't have. Hape toys are made from sustainable materials and non-toxic ink. They offer such a large variety of toys it would take all day to list them. The best part about Hape, they are often featured on Zulily, a great place to stock up on some safe wooden toys.
3. Haba - A smaller portion of our toys are from Haba. Haba is also made from sustainable materials and painted with non-toxic ink. Haba's plastic toys are pvc, phthalate, lead and bpa free. The list of toys offered is also quite extensive (but that's not a bad thing) and includes our favourite, the french fries. Yes, simple french fries are what my daughter loves. Oh and don't forget the bottle of ketchup to go with the french fries.
4. Elves and Angels - If you are looking for larger wooden toys, Elves and Angels is the place to go. Their dollhouses, kitchens and play stands are made of dreams. Beautiful, handcrafted, made in the USA, finished with a natural beeswax oil, no formaldehyde glue and pieces that are made to last generations. They also offer smaller toys and accessories for their larger items.
5. Bannor Toys - I must admit, our collection does not include any Bannor Toys....yet. I often see pictures posted on Instagram and swoon over their gorgeous wood toys. Their wood toys are made from organic wood, paint and finish. I love everything about the company, small, USA based and made, family oriented and of course, organic focused.
There are plenty of options when it comes to toys. In my opinion, wooden toys are the best option and the safest. I find a lot of wood toy companies are usually local based, so check out your local markets this summer and see what you can find. Make sure to ask what the toys are painted and finished with, as that is as important as the wood aspect. We are now off to "eat" french fries with some ketchup, I may even have some tea made for me. The possibilities are endless.
Perhaps one of the greatest resources in making the switch to a green life (besides us of course) is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). "The Environmental Working Group is an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability". That's the official definition, but to me it's so much more. When I am researching new companies, specifically things that I apply to myself (lotions, soaps, sunscreens etc) I always check the EWG. They offer a database of over 66,770 products that have been tested. Products that meet their requirements are verified with a symbol. When searching products you are looking for products that have a rating of 1 or 2 (a green rating). The ratings go up to 10 but 10 have ingredients with great concern. To read more about the ratings and what they test, visit their about section.
You will often see me refer to the EWG rating if something I am posting about is applied to your skin. I don't tend to post anything that is not a 1 or 2 because I feel those products may cause some harm. That being said, there are some companies who have products in the green category but also have products in the yellow and red categories. Always refer to the EWG when looking into the safety of an applied skin product.
In addition to the database the EWG offers various articles on clean and healthy living, such as the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists and consumer guides. Book mark the page, you will find yourself visiting it on many occasions. It is a trusted and well researched resource available to you.
Summer is almost here, or at least for us in the Mid-West of Canada, we are hopeful that it's right around the corner. The cold, bitter, snowy winter will soon be replaced with hot, humid and sticky summer. As a Canadian, we enjoy the finer weather. We don't see if often, nor does it stick around very long, so even on milder days you will find many of us dressed in shorts and t-shirts. Seeing as we also do not see the sun very often (it can feel like months pass without the bright yellow ball of fire in the sky) we tend to burn a bit easier. Our skin is rather delicate and for my daughter and I, our red hair, ghost white skin is very fragile. I'll admit, I never care about sunscreen and I got burnt a lot. When Bee was born and I made the decision to change our life for the better, sunscreen became a top priority. So what do I use or what do I recommend? Here are 4 sunscreens that are great at keeping one from looking like a sizzling piece of bacon and rather mildly ghost like.
1. Goddess Garden* - Made with a simple ingredient list for your baby's sensitive skin, free of chemical sunscreens and made with certified organic ingredients. Water resistant to 40 minutes with SPF 30 broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage, pediatrician & dermatologist recommended, biodegradable, reef-safe, cruelty free, vegan, Non-GMO, and Non-Nano.
EWG Rating -1
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (6.4%), Zinc Oxide (6.0%) INACTIVE: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Glycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sorbitan Oleate, Stearic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum *CERTIFIED ORGANIC
*This is what we use, love it and have great success with it.
2. Green Beaver - Organic Certified, Health Canada approved non-whitening, waterproof, fragrance-free Non-nano, non-silicone coated, spreads evenly and quickly.
EWG Rating - 1
Ingredients: Active Ingredient Actif (W/W): zinc oxide / oxyde de zinc 21% Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Glycerin, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Acacia decurrens/Jojoba/Sunflower seed wax/Polyglyceryl-3 esters, Dicaprylyl carbonate, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil*, d-alpha Tocopheryl acetate, Hydrolyzed Jojoba esters, Jojoba Esters, Aqua (Purified water).
3. Think Baby - First Sunscreen to pass Whole Foods Premium Care Requirements. Free of biologically harmful chemicals. No Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV Chemical absorbents. Highest SPF 50+ (per FDA 2012 Rules - any sunscreens boasting higher are falsely marketing) Highest level of Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection (per FDA 2012 Rules) Highest level of water resistance (80 minutes) (per FDA 2012 Rules) Non-nano, paraben, phthalates, PABA and 1,4 dioxane free, Applies and absorbs easily.
EWG Rating - 1
Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% (Non-nano) Inactive Ingredients: purified water (0), aloe barbadensis leaf juice(0), capric caprylic triglycerides(0), sorbitan stearate (coconut based) (1), pine wood resin (0), vegetable glycerin (0), cetyl dimethicone(0), hydrogenated castor oil (0), magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) (0), sunflower oil, jojoba oil (0), ascorbic acid (vitamin ) (0), tocopherols (vitamin E) (1), olive oil (0), raspberry seed oil (0), cranberry seed oil (0), hyaluronic acid (made from vegetable) (0), papaya (0)
4. Badger - Safe, Effective, & Gentle Baby Sunscreen. Badger's SPF30 Baby Sunscreen Cream contains non-nano Zinc Oxide to protect from both UVA & UVB rays, in a base of safe, soothing USDA Certified Organic ingredients. It is water & sweat resistant for 40 minutes, biodegradable, and works immediately upon application.. Packaged in a BPA- and Phthalate-free, recyclable #2 plastic tube. This Baby Sunscreen Cream has the mild scent of Chamomile and Calendula, and can be used by the whole family! Pediatrician tested & approved safe for babies and kids.
EWG Rating - 1
Ingredients: Active Sunscreen Ingredient: Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75% Other Sunscreen Ingredients: *Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower) Oil, *Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), CO2 Extracts of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Organic Seabuckthorn), and *Calenduls Officinalis (Organic Calendula), *Anthemis Nobilis (Organic Chamomile) Essential Oil.
* = Certified Organic
There are other sunscreens on the market. Make sure to do your research, I highly recommend visiting the EWG to view their ratings, keep in mind you want something that is either a 1 or 2. You will want to look for natural and organic ingredients, something that is reef safe, mineral based, a decent uva/uvb strength and easy to apply. Most importantly, ingredient read, there are some sunscreens that may use organic and natural ingredients and market that, but if you take a look at their ingredient list, you will quickly see there are some chemicals in those sunscreens that are best to avoid.