Archive for the ‘ Your Child ’ Category

American Baby’s Baby Booty: Enter for a Chance to Win a $400 Organic Crib Mattress from Naturalmat

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Your baby will, ideally, spend a lot of time in the crib. That’s one of the reasons I’m always preaching to pregnant women to consider spending extra money on an organic or Greenguard-certified crib mattress. You want something non-toxic, that’s safe for baby to breath next to for hours at a time. I know the mattress isn’t as fun to buy as the sheets or the crib itself, but I’d argue it’s the more important purchase.

Probably the most hyper-natural mattress manufacturer I’ve ever encountered is Naturalmat. Watch this video of them making mattresses over in the UK, by hand! Surrounded by cute lambs! You can’t make this stuff up. They are organic down to the ingredients they use to make their mattresses hypoallergenic and fire-retardant

Naturalmat is offering ONE lucky GoodyBlog reader the chance to win its Coco Mat organic crib mattress, which is $400 at retailers such as Amazon.com. The inside is made from coconut husks and lambswool…such a nice change from the days when we all thought we had to sleep on plastic-encased metal springs.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day April 23. Be sure to check back on April 24 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

And since this giveaway closes on my birthday, here’s the horoscope for Taurus Moms like me. Mommy-style horoscopes for all the signs are on our site!

Congrats to our winner Nicole Hessig!

Horoscope for a Taurus Mom
Horoscope for a Taurus Mom
Horoscope for a Taurus Mom

Click here for official rules.

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World Premiere Video: Rockabye Baby Does The Clash

Monday, March 31st, 2014

We always get a kick out of Rockabye Baby, which takes music you love as an adult (from The Beatles to Jay Z to Pink) and plays the tunes out on xylophones and bells. It might sound like sacrilege but turns out to be music that appeals to your infant without you getting “Twinkle Twinkle” stuck in your head, which is a blessed relief.

They have some 60 titles at this point, with each CD selling for about $12 to $17 and also available for download on iTunes. There are single MP3s for about $1.30, including Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. (I know it’s probably inappropriate but the picture of their signature bear, blurred, cracks me up.)

Today they are taking us back to London in 1980, presenting a first look of their video for The Clash’s London Calling, done Rockabye-Baby style. Play your newborn The Clash without risk of raised eyebrows, or show your toddler this gentle little one-minute video for a minute of screentime that won’t grate on your nerves.

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win a $300 High Chair from BabyBjorn

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

My niece is fully onto solids. On most Tuesdays I do Facetime with her, and I eat my dinner while my brother spoons food into her mouth. She seems fascinated to watch me eat while being fed herself! 

This week, when she was done, she started to try and dismantle her high chair. The one she is using is portable and not super sturdy. That got me thinking, gear-obsessed editor that I am, about the Baby Bjorn High Chair. It’s sturdy as a rock, great for small spaces, has a comfy shape and footrest to keep a kid sitting, and wipes down quickly. The $300 pricepoint stops a lot of people, but I would maintain that if you watch the video on the product, you can understand why the design and features are worth it.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that it isn’t giant; a baby doesn’t need a big seat (and you don’t want to clean one). This high chair fits a 5-month-old to a 3-year-old, and BabyBjorn is giving it away to ONE lucky winner. (But not to my brother! He’s going to have to pony up.)

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day April 2. More Qs about our giveaway? Read the official rules. Be sure to check back on April 3 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

Starting solids? Watch our cute video for some tips!

Congrats to our winner Joanna Garcia!

How to Start Solids
How to Start Solids
How to Start Solids

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Mayim Bialik: “I Love Raising my Kids Vegan”

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Mayim Bialik-Mayim's Vegan TableStar of The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik is a mom of two, a trained neuroscientist (!), and the author of the new cookbook Mayim’s Vegan Table. Recently Mayim spoke with us about the challenges and rewards of avoiding meat and dairy and how she gets her kids to eat Brussels sprouts.

What inspired you to write this cookbook?

I write for a website called Kveller.com where I talk about mom things like what I cooked and how I made things vegan…and there was interest in me publishing a book. I am not a fancy celebrity cook; I’m a regular mom with no chef or nanny or anything. These are the recipes I most often make for the non-vegans in my life as well as for my own family. Dr. Jay Gordon is pediatric nutritionist and pediatrician and he helped with all of the nutrition stuff in the book.

How long have you been vegan? What were your reasons for giving up meat products entirely?

I was always an animal lover and became vegetarian at 19. I still ate dairy and eggs, but after cutting out most dairy in college, my health improved significantly. I didn’t get seasonal allergies, I have not been on antibiotics or had a sinus infection since. When my first son was born, he got gassy, fussy and really miserable if I ate any dairy so I cut it out completely and that solved the problem! I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer about six years ago and after that, I cut out all trace eggs and dairy. I am vegan for environmental reasons, nutritional and health reasons, and ethical reasons. I love the lifestyle and I love raising my kids vegan.

How old are your children now? Did you ever consider not raising them vegan?

My boys are 5 1/2 and 8. Their dad and I assumed we would raise them vegan unless it wasn’t working. But it is working! They are thriving and everyone is happy with how they eat.

What are the biggest challenges of cooking for a vegan family?

Talking to them about “growing foods” – meaning the foods that make you grow – and letting them know that it’s our job as parents to feed them well makes all conversations about food easier in my house. My kids know I expect them to eat food that is good for them, and they also know I want them to eat fun foods, too. I never bargain with them or bribe them to eat. I also don’t have a lot of the rules many of us grew up with such as “No dessert unless you finish everything on your plate” and stuff like that. I have found those things don’t work for my kids, and we have other ways to make meals enjoyable and a success for all!

Mayim Bialik Vegan PizzaDo your children ever ask you for non-vegan foods? How do you respond to them?

Once they hit about age 3 1/2, they understood we eat differently and they could understand why we couldn’t eat everything everywhere we go. I simply tell them that everyone eats differently, and this is how we eat to grow our bodies best without allergies and the problems many people have from eating animal products. Now that they are older, they like not eating animals (which they think are so cute), and they eat a ton of fun, exciting food. They sometimes get bummed out if they can’t eat cake at a kid’s party, but they get plenty of opportunities to eat cake so they are very reasonable about it.

What gifts do you feel being vegan has given your family?

A sense of consciousness in our eating, which is in line with our values. And for our bodies and with the support of our pediatrician, I believe this is the best way to raise my sons for their health and optimal growth.

Which of the recipes in the book are your kids’ favorites?

They like salads, like the green salad with agave (honey!)-mustard dressing. They love brussels sprouts and kale chips, and they of course love anything with Daiya cheese like pizza and quesadillas. They like any burrito I make which is good because I get to pack lots of healthy stuff in a burrito, and everyone is happy. And of course, they like any cookie I make. And my mom’s banana bread recipe!

You’re a busy lady! How do you find time to cook for your family? 

I cook ahead a lot. I generally don’t make super-elaborate stuff during the week since I barely have time! So, simple stuff on weekdays and a special thing or two on weekends or for holidays.

Are your kids choosy? What are your strategies for dealing with that?

My older son is choosier than my younger one. I try not to make a big deal of any food preferences since they invariably lead to struggles around food, which I really try and avoid. I try and have a few reasonable choices for everyone at each meal, and my rule is that if you don’t like the choices, you can eat anything raw in the house: I will cut up any fruit or vegetable and they can have any nuts in the cupboard. It seems to work fine for us.

Mayim Bialik Vegan CookiesWhat are some surprising foods that your kids like?

Well, they love brussels sprouts chips. They don’t taste bitter when you bake them with olive oil like I suggest in my book. It’s better than potato chips we think!

What are your thoughts on organic foods, especially for families on a budget?

If you want to pick and choose, there is a list of which fruits and veggies are most susceptible to holding pesticides, and which “Dirty Dozen” to avoid. We all do the best we can with our budget and lifestyle and I think any produce is better than none. I also hope the day comes when we don’t have to choose between budgeting and having healthy, organic foods available to all of us.

Some people may not be ready to be 100% vegan, but still interested in eating a more plant-based diet. What are some baby steps you recommend? 

I know being vegan isn’t for everyone and that’s fine! My book isn’t designed to make you vegan; it’s simply providing plant-based recipes that are yummy. I think it’s good to think about what foods you already enjoy that happen to be vegan, and eat more of that kind of thing. Bean-based chills, Asian food (which requires almost no dairy and rarely needs meat for a variety of dishes), and pastas are a good place to start. You don’t need to eat processed vegan foods if you don’t want to. There are plenty of plant-based options and recipes that you probably already can enjoy, and every meal counts!

Interview has been edited and condensed.

Click here for more ways to eat clean, or try one of these delicious meatless meals. For healthy recipes sent directly to your inbox, sign-up to get our weekly newsletter!

Sesame Street Lessons: Healthy Eating
Sesame Street Lessons: Healthy Eating
Sesame Street Lessons: Healthy Eating

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Sarah Michelle Gellar on Pertussis Vaccine: “How Could Anyone Who Loves a Child Say No?”

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.

What Whooping Cough Sounds Like
What Whooping Cough Sounds Like
What Whooping Cough Sounds Like

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Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Watch This!

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 cribsafety@meredith.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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How to Drink Your Vegetables

Monday, March 10th, 2014

VanTrang Manges - Green MustacheYour kids happily eat plenty of vegetables. They look forward to lettuce, zero in on kale, and beg for broccoli. Right?

Ha.

Chances are, they don’t. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a four-year-old child should eat 1 1/2 cups of veggies a day. That can be a tall order especially when you have picky eaters on your hands.

Enter NYC mom of two VanTrang Manges. VanTrang began experimenting with green drinks for her youngest daughter when she realized that the toddler ate virtually no vegetables. One delicious drink led to another and VanTrang abandoned a career in finance to launch Green Mustache, a line of organic fruit and vegetable juice smoothies for kids. Green Mustache features three yummy flavors and is currently sold throughout the New York area.

If you can’t find Green Mustache at a store near you, or if you simply wish to DIY it, VanTrang shared with us a simple formula for blending up one of these nutritious drinks at home.

Start by enlisting your kids to help choose ingredients from each of these categories:

Smoothies are an easy way for kids to eat fruit and veggies.First, pick one of these for your base:

  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • Low-fat cow’s milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Orange juice
  • Water

Next, choose a green veg:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Collards

Then, pick a fruit (or two or three):

  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apple

Finally, supercharge it with one of these power foods:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Chia seeds
  • Nut butter
  • Raw cacao
  • Spirulina

Then simply blend it all together!
More smoothie tips from VanTrang:

Make It a Family Activity: Allow your child to choose which ingredients she would like to try mixing together—experimenting with different combinations is part of the fun! And this simple formula is a great way to start teaching children about proportions and how to follow a recipe.

Color is Key: Use berries to help turn your smoothie a reddish or purple color, which might make it more visually appealing for your child. Or use lighter-colored ingredients like peaches, bananas, and mango for a paler shade of green.

Choose Dark Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens contain high-quality amino acids, important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant-based chemicals that support your immune system, improve health and longevity, and may reduce life-threatening diseases.

Freezer Fun:  Keep some frozen fruits on hand, especially some of your favorite seasonal fruits to ensure that you can have your tasty smoothie anytime. Freezing fruits is also a great way to not waste ripe fruit. If you like your smoothies extra cold like we do, use at least one frozen fruit to help chill the smoothie. And of course, you can turn your smoothie into an ice pop and serve it to the kiddos as a healthy treat!

Smoothie Sweetness: You’ll notice we didn’t add any sweeteners to the smoothie formula. Using fruits like bananas, mangos, or apples will naturally sweeten your smoothie and help mask the “green” taste of the veggies.

2+2+3 Rule: Part of the fun of making smoothies is experimenting with all the different possible flavor combinations. But keep in mind the following proportions to ensure a tastier experience: 2 cups greens + 2 cups liquid base + 3 cups fruits. Adjust as needed to make it more palatable for your child.

Thanks for the tips VanTrang!

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How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

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Care for Your Kid’s Hair

Friday, February 7th, 2014

* guest-edited by Cozy Friedman, founder of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids in Manhattan and the SoCozy line of hair products, and author of Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair

Q: My daughter has super-curly hair and I don’t…the shampoos I’m used to just make her hair wild. How often should I be cleaning her tight curls, and with what? 

Cozy: Curly-haired kids don’t need to shampoo as often as their straight-haired friends. Over shampooing is very bad for curly hair. It ruffles the cuticle, which makes it hard to manage and look frizzy. Always use a paraben-free (and tear-free of course) shampoo on them, like my SoCozy Shampoo in Verry Berry ( $12, socozy.com). I also strongly recommend using a thick and creamy conditioner that will hydrate and keep hair smooth. 

The other mistake people make is brushing curly hair. You should NEVER, EVER brush curly hair! After bathing, ‘scrunch’ hair dry with a towel and scrunch in a light-to-medium hold gel (always alcohol-free) like my SoCozy Gel in Groovy Grape ($14, socozy.com) to help hold the hair’s natural curl. Air dry or dry with a diffuser. This topic is close to my heart because I have curly hair, but growing up I never really knew it or understood it. I would spend hours blow-drying my hair and then go outside and POOF- it was a frizz ball.  I learned how to care for my curls the hard way!

 Q: My son wants his hair so long, it’s getting in his eyes. If I force him to go short he’ll be mad, but I am hating this monster look. What do you suggest? 

Cozy: You’ll be comforted to know that you are not alone!  I believe that a person’s hair is a very big part of their self-definition, as well as their self-esteem and that it’s important for a child to be able to express themselves. However, as a parent I know only too well how important it is that your child looks great. I think it’s important to find out why your child has a style idea in mind (is it to look like his friend or is it a power-struggle issue), so you know what is driving it and how to address and negotiate.

One summer both of my boys wanted buzz cuts. They both had long great hair and I really didn’t want them to cut it, so I said no and off to camp they went. Wasn’t I surprised on visiting day to find them both with buzz cuts?!  I was even more surprised by how much I liked it and how happy they were with their cool new look. They are now 16 and 14 and needless to say they have gone through many different hair phases. One of my sons went through a phase where he wouldn’t cut his hair for over a year. He looked like he was wearing a wig!  But he liked it and it made him feel good about himself and of course he eventually got a haircut. I can’t assure you that it will always be easy to navigate, but I can assure you that hair is just hair and it will always grow back!

Q: We just heard from the school that there’s lice going around! How should I check my kid and, if she’s got it, treat her?

Cozy: Oh boy, that’s never pleasant! I recommend that you check often. Be sure to check the head section by section, paying attention to the nape of the neck and area behind the ears, where lice like it most. (Here is what full-grown lice look like.) Also keep in mind that you aren’t just looking for the lice itself, but also for nits, which are the lice eggs. If you see tiny whitish/gray teardrop-shaped specks attached to the side of a hair strand, try to remove it with your fingernails. If it feels “stuck”, it may very well be a nit.

Head Lice Remedies
Head Lice Remedies
Head Lice Remedies

As for how to treat lice, there a few different schools of thought. Some people use chemicals and some prefer to smother the bugs (usually with thick, white conditioner or something like mayonnaise or olive oil). Regardless of which you choose, the most important part of lice removal is getting rid of every nit! I can’t stress this enough. If you leave even one nit, when it hatches you will have lice again. That is why it’s so hard to get rid of it. There is no way around physically removing all the nits, best done by sitting down and combing section by section (with a nit comb). That’s why so many parents choose to give boys, at least, a crew cut, because getting rid of the hair automatically gets rid of any nits on that hair. You will still have to comb out, but with less hair! It’s not fun, but unfortunately it’s often a part of growing up.

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