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Health & Safety ’ Category
Friday, March 14th, 2014
Finding time to work out can be tough for any mom, even supermodel Miranda Kerr, mom to 3-year-old Flynn. Just recently, the Australian beauty teamed up with brands like H&M and Wonderbra and squeezed in time to make this steamy commercial for Reebok’s new Skyscape collection, a line of sneakers inspired by (get this!) the same molded foam you find in bras. Parents caught up with the self-proclaimed yogi at the shoes’ launch party this week in New York City, and she had a lot to say on staying fit while raising a strapping toddler.
P: From a mom’s perspective, what appeals to you most about Reebok’s Skyscape shoes?
M: What I like is that they are just so lightweight, which makes them great to walk around the city and take my son to the park. Because I have to be in high heels a lot, it’s great for me to have a shoe that I feel really comfortable in and can also wear with jeans. They are really fashionable at the same time; I love all the colors, especially the pink! And the 3D foam technology makes them so cozy.
P: Being that you’re so into fitness, how does that influence the kinds of activities you do with Flynn?
M: Ever since he was a baby, he’s been there when I do Yoga and Pilates at home. Now he jumps on me when I’m trying to do Yoga and Pilates–that makes it more intense! And I do squats and lunges with him, especially when he was even younger. I’m always like, “Come on Flynn, do it!” I try to find fun ways to encourage him to be active. We go to the park together and run around, but then at home we turn the music on and we jump on the trampoline together. He loves it, and it’s very healthy for him. He also helps me make my smoothies. Just the other day he said, “Mommy, they’re full of antioxidants.” He’s like a little sponge soaking up everything I say!
P: What else do you do together?
M: I love reading stories to him. He still likes Goodnight Moon and The Jungle Book. When he was really little he used to love Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I actually took him to the opera at Lincoln Center, and we got a couple of books there we’ve been reading as well. And I let him draw in the books, so it’s more fun. It’s a really good way for him to express his creativity. I like it when he draws in a book because it’s like a good little memory as well for me when he grows up.
P: For busy moms, what advice do you have for fitting exercise more into their routine?
M: Do things that make it fun and be as active as you can be. Take just 15 to 20 minutes to turn the music on and dance around with your child or go chase him around in the park. Give yourself that time and don’t feel like it’s not enough. Every little bit helps. Even little exercises if you’re in the car on your way to work or traveling on a train or airplane, you can flex and tone different parts of your muscles, like your legs and calves, just by clenching them. I feel like when you’re a parent you’re multitasking a lot, so this is a good way to work out your body in between.
For all you brand-new moms out there, here are some tips for post-pregnancy exercise!
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celebrities, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety
Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Cold and flu season is almost behind us. Though your days of runny noses and coughs may soon be over, another illness is proving to be a more serious hazard for young ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns America is experiencing one of the largest outbreaks of reported pertussis cases in 50 years. That’s an even bigger deal for infants who are much more susceptible to the disease; they can’t get vaccinated until 2 months of age.
As mom to 4-year-old Charlotte and 17-month old Rocky, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, 36, was blown away when she learned how easily the disease can spread. Because newborns can’t get vaccinated right away, it’s still a must for adults who plan to be around an infant; the vaccine you got as a child has likely worn off. Parents caught up with the Sounds of Pertussis campaign ambassador to get her take on the disease as well as her tips for raising a healthy and active family.
P: What makes you so passionate about this health issue?
S: Once you become a parent, your main job is to protect your children in any way possible. When I first had Charlotte, whooping cough was something most of my friends thought had been eradicated. People aren’t aware that 80 percent of the time when you link back to how an infant gets the disease, it comes from a family member or direct caregiver. That’s the scariest thought. Our job is to protect them, and if it’s something as simple as getting a vaccination, that’s something everyone needs to know.
P: What can moms say to convince family and friends to get vaccinated?
S: It’s about making the information understandable. The way I liken it is if someone has a cold usually they will try to stay away from your baby so he doesn’t get sick. So why would you potentially expose a child to something that’s even more fatal, like pertussis? When you put it in those simple terms, how can anyone who loves a child say no? When the information is coming from someone you trust, it’s a very easy decision.
P: It can be stressful when your kids don’t feel well. How do you handle Charlotte or Rocky getting sick?
S: There’s no question that the very first time your child gets that stuffy nose and cold, it completely freaks you out. You have so much guilt because you can’t explain it to them. I think sometimes first-time parents have this thing of, “I don’t want to bother the doctor and be that annoying parent.” But if you have a question, you need to ask it. As you have more children and become an experienced parent, you sort of get to the point with the colds where you’re like, “If it’s not severe, you’re going to school.”
P: You’re a very active person. How do you encourage your kids to keep fit as well?
S: The beauty of children is that everything is interesting to them. The more you involve them in whatever activity it is you’re doing, they just love to be part of your life. I let my daughter go walking with me and our dog Bella outside. And there’s still so many fun activities you can do for children exercise-wise in inclement weather. My daughter practices Yoga and Jiu-Jitsu. It’s about taking the time to listen to your child and find what interests her. Whatever those things are that appeal to children and get their minds flowing, that can help keep them healthy and active.
P: How do you motivate Charlotte and Rocky to eat healthy?
S: Including children in the actual preparation of food is a big thing. We started Charlotte in cooking classes at about 3, and seeing what goes into it gave her a new appreciation for vegetables. Whether you’re growing produce in your backyard or taking a trip to your local farmer’s market, seeing those different aspects can get children excited to eat better. And anything you can do to give a young child ownership and help him feel independent, that’s what you ultimately want. Even if it’s as simple as letting Rocky sprinkle cheese on eggs or a pizza. You just see his face light up.
P: What else can moms do to teach their children the importance of good health?
S: It ultimately comes down to explaining at a young age what healthy living means, teaching a child what germs are and how easily they are transmitted or how to wash his hands correctly. Those very simple things can really stop the spread, not just for your own family but for your friends and everyone else your child comes into contact with.
Whether you’ve had the vaccine or not, visit the campaign’s Breathing Room Facebook app to help spread the word about pertussis. There, you can create a virtual room for your Baby and invite family and friends to join you in the fight for protection. Every little step counts!
In the meantime, watch this short video to learn what whooping cough sounds like.
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celebrities, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Your Child
Monday, March 10th, 2014
Watch this quick video tutorial called “How Safe is Your Sleeping Baby” by Mindy Walker, Executive Editor of American Baby magazine. It aired on Fox & Friends this weekend.
In case you missed it, American Baby did a poll with Safe Kids Worldwide and discovered that an astounding 73 percent of parents put something in the crib with their baby, often a potential suffocation hazard. A blanket was most common (59 percent), followed by bumpers (35 percent), stuffed animals (23 percent), and pillows (8 percent). Our message: Keep the crib bare! A crib mattress with a fitted sheet is all a baby under 1 needs.
If you want to buy a bedding set that gives your nursery a theme, we like Skip-Hop’s Complete Sheet Set, which for $99 gives you a sheet, crib skirt, wall decals, and a blanket to use for tummy-time. (We know it’s tempting to put that blanket in the crib, but please keep it out!) Instead of a blanket, try a SleepSack like the one from Halo we featured on the segment.
Another sticky issue is cosleeping. Bedsharing is common; a full 65 percent of parents in our poll said they do it and 38 percent said they share the bed with baby regularly. But as Walker points out, just as we’ve gotten used to keeping our infants in a rear-facing car seat for their own safety, so must we get used to having them in their own safe sleep spot. Did you know that in 2010 (the lastest statistics available), 59 children younger than 1 died in a car crash but 3,610 children under age 1 died of sudden unexpected infant death? In about half of those SUID cases, the baby was in an adult bed.
We applaud Delta Children for helping educate consumers about safe sleep and for manufacturing safe, affordable cribs; the one in our segment, above, is Delta’s Waves 3-in-1 Crib and only $129.
We’re also on a crusade to stop the mixed messages that new parents get when they see, for instance, a crib filled with a bumper and stuffed animals but then are told to keep those very things out of the crib. Enough with that! We are working to populate Parents.com with only pictures of safe sleep environments. (At least in our editorial…the ads are harder to control!) Is your baby in one? If so, email a pic to email@example.com and we’ll consider it for our site. You can also tag us on Instagram @americanbabymagazine using #mysafecrib and we’ll take a look. We’re all in this together; let’s work to get all babies through the night safe and sound.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Does your child wet the bed? If so, she’s not alone: Bedwetting happens to as many as one in every six kids from age four through twelve. So you’re not the only parent dealing with middle-of-the-night cleanup of sheets, jammies, and child, or with comforting a distressed and embarrassed little one. Get all the facts on bedwetting, and easy solutions to the problem, in this handy infographic sponsored by Goodnites.
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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
It’s scary to think of all the harsh chemicals we ingest daily during harmless activities. Until recently, I didn’t even know that the shampoos, soaps, and cosmetics I was using contained ingredients that were actually dangerous for my health. Many moms are deciding not to take their chances and are instead switching to products made with natural, organic, and easy-to-pronounce ingredients for themselves and their little ones.
Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, is one of these moms. After noticing a lack of safe yet stylish products on the market, Renfrew created the body and skin care line, which launched last spring. Renfrew’s Beautycounter products, such as the Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner, are vegan, gluten-free, and made without harmful petrochemicals. Bonus: they come in sleek, sophisticated packaging so you can feel good about replacing some of your old favorites on your vanity.
Of course, parents and their children appreciate different styles and tastes, so with that in mind, Renfrew has decided to extend Beautycounter to create Kidscounter. The line, which launched with its Bath Collection in November, is made with the same healthy goal in mind but with a kid-friendlier approach. The first three products of the kids’ line are the colorful and fruit-scented Nice Do Shampoo, Not a Knot Conditioner, and Squeaky Clean Body Wash, retailing for $16 each.
All of the Beautycounter and Kidscounter products are available for purchase at beautycounter.com or through a local Beautycounter consultant.
Image courtesy of Beautycounter
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Beauty, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Solutions, Your Child, Your Life
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
The interwebs are abuzz with the Mimo, a baby bodysuit with a sensor attached that allows parents to track their child’s temperature, breathing, position, and so on from their smartphone. I saw it at a trade show last September and dismissed it, because 1) it’s creepy to have a sensor attached to your baby outside of an obvious medical situation 2) it’s $200! for the starter kit and 3) new parents need to sleep when their baby sleeps, not track each breath on their smart phone.
But the Consumer Electronics Show and one Today Show segment later, everyone is excited about how this will change the baby-monitoring world, and maybe it will. After all, a good video baby monitor costs about $200 (or more). And traditional baby monitors often have cords, which are a safety hazard, so maybe having the sensor stuck right on the baby’s outfit is best. The bodysuit is machine-washable, Mimo promises, and presumably can take the spit up/vomit/explosive diaper happenings that come with a baby.
On the flip side, my brother and his wife are using a nap app, Sprout’s Baby Sleep Tracker, with my niece right now, and I am unsure if it is making them more relaxed parents or making them feel like scientists studying data. Presuming you put your baby in a safe sleep environment, does it matter to have a graph showing whether the last nap was 20 minutes or 40? I look at the bar graphs that the Mimo produces and I start to get agitated. A friend with a newborn posted to Facebook, in regards to Mimo, “Oh yeah. This won’t give me a nervous breakdown.”
Like most things in the baby world, whether or not you “need” something like the Mimo will come down to your personality and lifestyle. Does a flood of information calm you down, or key you up? Do you love tech, and consider yourself an early adopter? Or are you happier doing things the low-tech way? There is no right or wrong answer. Different strokes for different folks.
We are huge safe-sleep proponents here and do like that the Mimo promotes back sleep and teaches parents to watch things such as temperature (overbundling your baby, daytime or nighttime, polar-vortex or no, is a SIDS risk). Here’s a video with some more safe-sleep reminders. And what do you think, would you buy the Mimo?
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Monday, December 23rd, 2013
** Guest-edited by Kristen Kemp, yoga instructor
My last baby popped out 6 years ago, but I vividly remember the feeling that everything—my strength, energy, muscle tone and stamina—had been completely zapped. Where I was once able to run two miles up and down steep hills for exercise, all of a sudden, walking up and down the stairs to the laundry room was as strenuous as running a marathon. I reassured my latest yoga student—her adorable baby is 6 weeks old—to start slowly and steadily. All of our muscles remember what they used to do and luckily, our minds are even stronger than our bodies. We can think ourselves back into fitness.
I learned all of this at the amazing Yoga Journal Conference I attended in November. For yoga geeks, it was a dream come true. I spent two days in an intensive anatomy workshop with the brilliant celebrity teacher Jason Crandell. He taught me about muscles and bones—and how to make them strong. Another famous yogi, Kathryn Budig, taught arm balances (these are post-post natal moves you’ll love working up to). I did some crazy 8-point pose (see photo) where my arms were bent and my legs were parallel in the air about a foot off the ground. I thought, ‘I’ve come a long, long way since my kids were born.” I was so proud of myself. As Kathryn had said earlier, “getting stronger is amazing and empowering.”
For the holidays and New Year, I, of course, recommend yoga. In the wise words of the great teacher and sage Cyndi Lee, sometimes you have to put you first. “Take care of yourself so you can be a better mom, business partner, whatever. You can take better care of other people when you take care of yourself first. Only then will you have a little extra to give.”
If you’re interested, the next Yoga Journal Live conference is in San Fran on January 16 through 20. I’ll be at the YJ Live in New York City in April. Message me if you’ll be there, and we can meet up. I’ll definitely post new-mom moves I get from there, so stay tuned.
So go ahead and get started now. I’ve posted one of my favorite beginner videos by Jason. He’s a super-safe and inspiring teacher who offers this cool and relaxing 15-minute beginner yoga sequence. I’m taking this to my postnatal client on Friday.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Whether your child has an aversion to many foods due to sensory processing disorder (SPD) or is just plain picky, getting through those big holiday meals can be more stressful than joyful. I recently tuned into a picky eaters webinar by the SPD Foundation, and Dr. Kay Toomey, a pediatric psychologist with more than 30 years experience working with children with feeding problems, provided some great ways to help kids she categorizes as picky eaters (children who will only eat a limited number of foods) and problem feeders (kids who suffer from SPD and are extremely selective about what they will eat). Here are some of her tips for getting through—and enjoying!—the holidays:
- Talk about the holiday plans. Unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations can be overwhelming for kids and ultimately decrease their appetites. Before you travel or have extended family over, pull out the family photo album, have your child draw pictures of what she thinks the holiday meal will look like this year, or chat about the upcoming plans—anything that will give her a better idea of what to expect. This is also a good time to remind her about table manners such as using utensils, not interrupting, and saying excuse me.
- Serve the food ahead of time. Most family traditions are about eating specific foods (ham, latkes, turkeys, yams, elaborate desserts, etc.), many of which children may not encounter during any other time of the year. If an unfamiliar food appears in front them, chances are they’re not going to eat it and even seeing it on their plate can cause a great amount of stress, especially for problem feeders. Try making some of these foods throughout the year so by the time the holiday comes around, your child will know what they are and how they taste, making him more likely to eat them during special occasions.
- Prepare the meal together. If you’re doing any cooking for the holidays, have your child lend a helping hand in the kitchen. By letting him assist you, he experiences the smell and taste of the food without the pressure of having it on his plate. Toomey’s rule of thumb when it comes to cooking with the kids: 3- to 4-years-olds should be able to help you stir, open a package, or do a simple task to assist; 5-year-olds should be able to abide by safety rules and help cook a family meal once a week; and 7-year-olds should be cooking with you twice a week, actively preparing some portion of the meal.
- Minimize changes in his routine. Getting off schedule when away from home is disruptive to children’s sleep patterns and appetite, so the less changes in their daily routine, the better. Try to serve your child meals and snacks at the usual time and resist the urge to let him stay up past his set bedtime.
- Feed her before the main holiday meal. You can’t expect picky eaters or problem feeders to mind their manners and try new foods during a holiday meal. They realistically will only be able to do one or the other, so you’ll have to decide which is more important to you. It’s helpful to put something in their bellies beforehand so they’re not starving at the dinner table and so there’s less pressure for them to eat what is offered. This way they’ll be able to concentrate more on participating in the conversation and bonding with family, less on stressing over the fact that they’re hungry and have to eat unfamiliar foods. Remember: it’s more important they’re at the table and a part of the celebration than whether they’re eating what everyone else is.
- Add one food they are sure to eat to the table. Even if children eat beforehand as recommended, you still want them to come to the table and participate in the meal as much as possible. To help them feel included, bring one food you know they’ll nibble on—even if it’s as simple as a roll, apple slices, or crackers. If they do happen to try something new on their own, don’t make a big deal out of it. You can mention something to them afterward or quietly at the table, but you don’t want to embarrass them in front of the family. And if they don’t eat at all, that’s also okay, as long as it is an option.
- Bring something familiar from home he’s used to eating with or on. His favorite utensil, placemat, or cup can serve as a reminder of how he normally eats at home and cue the same eating habits in an unfamiliar place.
- Create a secret signal. It’s a good idea to come up with a way for your child to let you know if she is getting overwhelmed during the meal and needs a break. You can give her a small card to hold up or establish a simple tap on the arm or leg to signal it’s time for a breather. This can also go the other way and you can signal to let her know she’s excused before a pleasant situation turns sour.
- Control and limit the sweets. This can be difficult because those Christmas cookies and Hanukkah chocolates are a large part of the holiday, but it’s important to stand your ground. Not only does sugar cut down kids’ 20-minute appetite window to only 10 minutes, it also suppresses their appetite for substantial food and leads to cravings for more sweets. Aim for one sugary treat a day, and make sure they know to ask permission beforehand—they can’t just raid grandma’s cookie jar at their leisure.
- Mask the scent. The smell of food can be too much for problem feeders, so it’s best to lessen it as much as possible. Try placing an isolating fan in the room where you’re having the main holiday meal. Or ask family members if they can open some windows while they cook so the smell isn’t completely permeating the house.
Image: Thanksgiving dinner via Shutterstock
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