Baby

March 19, 2013

Eco-Friendly Nursery: weeDecor Wall Decals (no toxic PVC vinyl!!!)

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For a gift, my son was given some John Deere wall decals (he loves John Deere!). When we took them out of the package, the immediate smell raised red flags. If something smells toxic, then it is toxic. I trust my olfactory sense! Turns out, the decals now popular for decorating kids rooms are made with vinyl and not subject to Consumer Product Safety Information Act regulations for toy safety. Vinyl contains PVC: the most toxic plastic for our children's health.

Fortunately, an alternative exists! WeeDecor makes delightful wall decals that are made from eco-friendly fabric.

Our removable nursery wall decals are made of fabric that will adhere to your wall for years at a time. Sometimes called wall stickers, wall graphics or wall appliques, they are easy to apply and to remove. Our removable wall decals won't damage your wall when you remove them and can be used again and again. Our decals are non vinyl wall decals. Our wall appliques are made of eco-friendly fabric that are more environmentally friendly than standard vinyl. Our PVC-free, lead-free wall decor makes your nursery not only beautiful but safe.

We were sent an Owl Wall Decal and Turtle Wall Decal. They are super cute and delightful. I wish I had a baby nursery to decorate!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 15, 2013

Really Natural Children's Books: Orangutans

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Eye on the Wild: Orangutan by Suzi Eszterhas is a beautifully photographed book that introduces children to the life of an orangutan. This delightful non-fiction book gives children and mothers much to relate to as the baby orangutan grows into maturity. From nursing to needing a nap when baby is playful, moms can't help but connect to the universal motherhood experiences. Children also delight in these associations of the close relationship between mother and child, as well as watching baby orangutan learn to swing from branches at the same age baby humans are learning to walk.

High in the trees of the rainforest in Sumatra, a baby orangutan is born. Follow her from birth to adulthood, as she learns to look after herself. See her eating her first solid food -- mashed fruit, learning to climb, and relaxing in the "nest." She will stay with her mom, learning how to survive in the forest, until she is five years old.
I really like this book as it is developmentally appropriate non-fiction, well-written, and beautifully photographed.  Creating such connections to nature and wildlife ensure are children will grow up to protect our environment. 
 

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 1, 2013

Chic and Versatile Ju-Ju-Be Earth Leather Be Fabulous Diaper Bag

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Are you looking for a chic and versatile diaper bag this is also animal-friendly? The Ju-Ju-Be Be Fabulous Earth Leather Diaper Bag has every feature you want in a diaper bag. The "earth-friendly" leather give this bag more of the feel of a fashionable bag than a diaper bag, yet it has all the features you would want in a bag for carrying around the essentials for a little one.

- Front mommy pocket holds keys (stretch key fob) and sunglasses (cleans lenses too!) with plenty of room for more!
- Quick reach pocket for cell phone.
- 2 exterior insulated bottle pockets ... with Thinsulate by 3M. Keep it warm? Keep it cold? Sure!
- Unique main zipper closure system makes for easy access.
- Picture pocket to keep photos handy when bragging to friends.
- Detachable and adjustable messenger strap has removable memory foam shoulder pad & can be shortened to tote strap length.
- Optional shoulder straps ... so versatile!
- Inside organization includes 4 gusseted pockets, 3 zippered pockets & lots of wide open space!
- Back pocket works great for diapers and wipes organization.
- Structured bottom with luggage feet.
- AgION Antimicrobial Linings ... kills germs, mold, mildew, fungus, bacteria, and other bad stuff.
- Metal Hardware ... we don't trust any of the cheap plastic stuff.
- Light-Colored Linings ... you can actually see what's inside; it's not just a big black hole in there.
- Machine Washable ... air dry.
- Earth Leather ... an environmentally friendly alternative to animal leather. Luxurious, durable and machine washable!

I could not find any information on the Ju-Ju-Be website or the product tags about the earth leather. Most fake leathers are made of vinyl, which is not eco-friendly or good for your health, and this does not feel like vinyl. I would hope it is made from recycled plastic, but there is no information to support this hope. I also have concerns about anti-microbial linings.  I am not too thrilled about the Teflon fabric protector either. 

Although the features of this bag are really nice, it is extremely expensive at $225!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 22, 2013

Sprout Organic Baby Food

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It's always best to make baby's own food at home, and it is not that hard. There are times when convenience is needed, and thankfully there are many organic options available.

We were sent many samples of Sprout Organic Baby Food to try:


Sprout Organic baby food comes in all different stages from infant to toddler. The ingredient list is simple and understandable on each package. I did not taste this baby food, as I want to be able to give it to a family in need. My only criticism is the packaging, although BPA-free, is difficult to recycle. You can send them in for free to Terracycle though for upcycling. 

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 29, 2013

Really Natural Books: The Business of Baby

business_of_baby.jpgThe Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line by Jennifer Margulis is an eye opening book that discovers what many midwives, natural childbirth advocates and mothers suspect about the maternal medical infrastructure of this country.

In the tradition of Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death, an eye-opening work of investigative journalism that challenges our common wisdom about pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of a baby's life, showing how the mother and child's wellbeing are often undermined by corporate profit margins and the private interests of the medical community

Award-winning journalist Jennifer Margulis questions the information parents are given by the medical community and the consumer culture, addressing the relationship between the vast money-making business of pregnancy and the early childcare advice parents are given. Margulis encourages us to question what we're told about prenatal and infant care and explains how financial interests skew the care we give to mothers and infants. She investigates how the diaper industry perpetuates longer delays in potty training than ever before; why cesareans are increasingly prevalent; why more women don't breastfeed; and why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, the United States has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world.

An illuminating combination of investigative journalism, meticulous research and in-depth interviews with parents, doctors, midwives, nurses, and scientists, Margulis's critique uncovers how business interests and profit margins undermine the health of pregnant women and their babies. Shocking, groundbreaking, and revelatory, The Business of Baby arms parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their infants.


Randomly opening the book, I came upon a section discussing the Hepatitis B vaccine which is given to hospital born babies in the US almost immediately after birth. Why? It is a sexually transmitted blood-borne virus. My midwives taught me your child was only at risk if you were an IV drug user or prostitute. Furthermore, instead of vaccinating the vast majority of infants, it would make more sense to test the mothers for the illness (which does occur in routine prenatal care) and then respond appropriately. Margulis quotes a pediatrician that says the vaccine is given not because they fear children will get sick but just in case they grow up to be part of this at-risk group (IV drug users and prostitutes). Plus, there are safety concerns with the vaccine.

Vaccine discussion is just a small part of this book. From Cesareans to ultrasounds, this in depth analysis of birthing practices in the United States needs to be read by all expectant parents to help you make informed choices and save money. I highly recommend this book!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 15, 2012

Soft Gear My Booster: Recycles Raw Materials, Made in the USA

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Booster seats can be helpful for little children sitting in big chairs at big tables. Soft Gear My Booster Seat is made from some synthetic material that makes it firm yet squishy, as well as tactile enough to stay on a chair.

Soft Gear My Booster is made with our exclusive closed cell foam technology and is mold-resistant and latex free. The patent pending suction cups on the bottom of the booster and the hand holds on each side help to prevent your child from slipping and falling. Plus, it's anti-microbial so microorganisms won't degrade your booster or affect your child's health. My Booster is lightweight and transportable so your toddler can avoid germs from public booster seats. Carrying case included.

Booster seats can get pretty nasty, as little kids drop food all over them; however, I am afraid of anti-microbial products. I think they weaken our immune systems, create super bugs, and often contain nano-technology.

On the back of the package, My Booster states, "By purchasing Soft Gear products you are also helping to reduce your carbon footprint." The reasoning given is each product is made in the USA reducing fossil fuel consumption in transport, and the facilities recycle raw materials. Both are commendable actions, yet I do wonder about the actual materials used in the product and whether they could also be made from recycled content.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 19, 2012

Safety 1st 98.79%-99.98% Naturals Baby Beauty Care

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You may be familiar with the brand Safety 1st for their baby proofing products, like cabinet latches and outlet covers. Safety 1st also makes a line of 98.79%-99.98% natural baby beauty products called Naturals. Each product clearly states on the front what its percentage of natural ingredients content is. We were sent the following products to try:

Only two of these products have been scored by the Environmental Working Group. Both received a hazard score of five, with greatest ingredient of concern being fragrance. I'm always concerned when a product says fragrance on its label. What exactly is that fragrance? If it is an essential oil, why not just come out and state it?

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 31, 2012

Dr. Bronner's Organic Pure Castille Soap: Still the Best!

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Dr. Bronner's was one of the first natural brands I discovered before "natural" was trendy and a marketing term. The tiny print quotes were a constant source of inspiration, and the multi-use formula is all you need.

Vita Cost, which beats Amazon's price by a few dollars, sent us Dr. Bronner's Organic Pure Castile Liquid Soap Baby Mild Unscented:

  • Enjoy 1 soap for 18 different uses!
  • Our unscented organic baby castile soap contains no fragrance.
  • It is also great for people who have allergies or sensitive skin.
Guaranteed no synthetic tea tree oils and 100% vegetarian. Super mild castile has outstanding water softening and cleansing powers. Preferable to harsh soap and defattening synthetics. It does no cut dirt, but dissolves it. It is the mildest pleasant soap you ever used. Enjoy body rub to stimulate body mind-soul-spirit and teach the essence moral ABC uniting all free in the shepherd. 100% Biodegradable! Not animal tested. Our unscented organic baby castile soap contains no fragrance. It is also great for people who have allergies or sensitive skin.
  • Made with organic coconut, olive, hemp & jojoba oils
  • All oils and essential oils are certified organic to the National Organic Standards Program
  • Packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles
  • Contains no synthetic surfactants, no petrochemicals, and no floral water fluff
Free Of Synthetic surfactants, petrochemicals, floral water fluff, detergents, animal ingredients, animal testing, artificial ingredients.
This is the only soap I will use backpacking!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 4, 2012

"No Nasty Chemicals" Baby Products from New Zealand's Eco Store

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They say never judge a book by its cover, but some product packaging just makes you feel good and imparts instant trust. Eco Store baby products not only have aesthetic labeling, these are quality, natural products you can trust on your little ones. They contain "no nasty chemicals".

We were sent the following products to try:


  • SLEEPYTIME BATH: "Our baby sleepy time bath is a plant-based infusion with Lavender and Geranium oils to soothe and relax your baby."

  • BABY MOISTURISER: "Our plant-based baby moisturiser contains nourishing cocoa and shea nut butters in an olive, jojoba and coconut oil base to gently nourish and protect your baby's delicate skin. Use daily to moisturise, soften and condition the skin, protecting it from dryness and potential irritation."

  • BABY SOAP: "Our baby soap is enriched with creamy goat's milk, lavender essential oil, wheatgerm and is rich in vitamin E."

  • BABY NAPPY BALM: "Our nappy balm is rich in antioxidants, is non greasy and non staining and helps create a protective barrier uniquely aligned to the skin's natural chemistry. Use for nappy rash, cradle cap and other sensitive skin conditions."

We were also sent baby massage oil, but I could not find it on their website, so it may no longer be available.

All of these plant-based baby care items are GE-free, made in New Zealand, and not tested on animals. The company receives very low hazard scores from the Environmental Working Group of zero to one!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 23, 2012

Never Leave Your Child in the Car: Childminder Smart Clip and Key Ring

childminder.jpgAs the weather starts to warm, inevitably there will be tragedy when a parent forgets their child in a hot car. This is one of those situation that you hear about and can't really understand how it could happen, but it does. A simple device could prevent these deaths.

Childminder Smart Clip System attaches to the car seat and your key ring. It alerts you if you walk away from your car without your infant.


The ChildMinder Smart Clip System should greatly reduce the opportunity for a child to be inadvertently left unattended in a motor vehicle while fastened in a child safety seat. The smart clip is deactivated upon unfastening.

  1. The ChildMinder system performs a self-test upon each use to insure its proper functioning.

  2. The ChildMinder system reminds the parent/caregiver with an alarm six seconds after the parent/caregiver has moved more than 15 feet from the child in the child safety seat.

  3. The ChildMinder system even serves to remind the parent/caregiver of the child's presence even when the parent/caregiver has inadvertently forgotten the key ring until the smart clip is deactivated.

  4. The ChildMinder system installation takes less than three minutes. Simply replace your child's safety seat chest clip with the ChildMinder system's smart clip and place the key ring alarm unit on your automotive key ring.

The ChildMinder system will not compromise the integrity your existing child safety seat.

This product was actually sent to us as part of Earth Day promotions: "As a SGS certified product, all materials in the monitoring system are made with environmentally friendly materials."
 

I can't tell what those "environmentally friendly materials" are. It is made of plastic and uses lithium batteries. It does automatically turn off when not in use to save battery life, but I think the eco claims are a stretch.

Last year, 33 babies died in hot cars. This device could have prevented these deaths. Perhaps all car seats should come with one installed; however, education is also strong prevention strategy. It happens to pets too.  Maybe they need a similar clip on their collars.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 9, 2012

petiteBox: High-End Mom and Baby Subscription Service Features Natural and Organic Brands

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New moms and babies deserve the best, and petiteBox has got that one covered! This high-end subscription service makes it easy for new families with a delightful box of the "most coveted products", which thankfully are organic and natural!

Not sure which baby products are the best for your precious little one? petiteBox is an exclusive baby box service that sends the latest baby product samples from top brands and wellness products just for Mom straight to your door. Each month you'll receive a new baby box full of baby necessities such as baby lotion, baby clothes, baby food, calming oils and more. The contents of the baby boxes change each month, but only the best baby products are always included. You will never get the same thing twice.

Many of my favorite brands are represented in these aesthetically pleasing boxes: Haba, Dr. Hauschka, and Weleda. It's also great to discover new brands!

We were sent a box designed for the seven-month-old baby and mom. It included a Haba wooden toy for teething, a sippy cup, Happy Squeeze organic baby food, a super soft snuggly item by Angel Dear, and Dr. Hauschka Lavender Bath.  It also includes some advice on sleep routines, travel, and developmental information.

I think petiteBox is affordable at $25 a month, and I think it would make a really nice gift for a new family!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 21, 2012

All Natura, Sulfate Free Monkey Balm with Organic Sea Buckthorn Oils

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It must be sea buckthorn oil week at Really Natural! On Monday, we reviewed Sibu beauty products made with sea buckthorn. Today, we review a product designed for children with this amazing oil.

Balmers Monkey Balm is designed for "baby soft skin for your monkeys".

Monkey Balm is a 100% homemade, all-natural remedy for eczema and extremely dry skin and is formulated specifically for children and infants. This formula includes all-natural ingredients and features the amazing healing power of the sea buckthorn berry. Sea Buckthorn (seed and fruit) oil is time-tested and clinically proven to soothe irritation and heal dry, cracked, even abrasive skin resulting from eczema, rosacea, dry climates, seasonal changes, sunburn, rashes, and even minor burns and wounds. Sea buckthorn has been used for centuries in Asia and Europe to heal skin problems and is considered a Holy Fruit by ancient and modern Tibetans. Its been recommended by doctors (even Dr Oz) as the best natural cure for acne. Monkey Balm incorporates these oils from the sea buckthorn berry with other soothing botanicals like cocoa butter, and Vitamin E to create a truly remarkable product in an easy-to-use use 2.0 oz lotion-bar, kind of like a super-sized lip balm for your whole body.

I do like the bar applicator, as my son has sensory issues and does not like lotions. He does not mind stick applicators for sunscreen, and this is very similar. I also trust this product as 100% natural. It's great for grown-ups too!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 12, 2012

How to Find if a Product's Natural Claims are True: No "Harsh" Chemicals?

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I have become a little more vigilant after reading last week's report on products, including green ones, with hidden toxic chemicals in their ingredients. I try to read labels diligently when writing product reviews, but frankly, it is hard to stay on top of all claims of natural and chemical-free.

Le Baby Detangler makes such claims that I find suspicious.

  • Le Baby Detangler gently detangles hair spray on wet or dry
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No harsh chemicals
  • No parabens
  • No sulfates
  • Not tested on animals
  • Fragrance-free
  • Natural scented botanicals
  • Does not irritate skin with it's easy on the hair ingredients
Thankfully, they do disclose ingredients:
Ingredients: water (aqua), citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) flower essential water, polyquaternium-7, glycerin, polysorbate 20, aloe, barbadensis leaf, polyquaternium-10, 1,2-hexanediol, sodium benzoate, tocopheryl acetate, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, peg-8 dimethicone, disodium edta, potassium sorbate, caprylyl glycol
Whenever I can't read an ingredient that includes numbers and dashes, etc., I suspect chemical compounds.
 

Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Groups cosmetic database, is my go to resource for looking up products. If the products, such as the LeBaby one, has not been reviewed, I look at some of the ingredients.

For example, I don't know what peg-8 dimethicone is, and it doesn't sound good. EWG gave it a hazard score between three and six.

About PEG-8 DIMETHICONE: PEG-8 Dimethicone is a polyethylene glycol derivative of Dimethicone (q.v.) containing anaverage of 8 moles of ethylene oxide.
USE RESTRICTIONS
type of concern
Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin

Those hazard scores are not terrible, but it is still a chemical.

Nowhere on the LeBaby label does it warn not to use on "injured or damaged skin". In fact, it says, "for babies, kids and everyone with sensitive skin".

We have previously reviewed LeBaby's Chemical-Free, Fragrance-Free Hair Gel for Babies and Kids raising similar ingredient concerns and claims of chemical-free.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 8, 2012

Baby Gourmet: Organic, Convenient, BPA-Free Baby Food

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In an ideal world, parents would have time to make their infant's and toddler's baby food from scratch.  Actually, it's not that hard to do if you eat whole foods yourself.  Baby can eat what you eat if you follow a simple diet; however, we don't live in an ideal world.

Even stay-at-home parents need the convenience of prepared baby food, and you better make it organic and contained BPA-free packaging for optimum baby health.


We were sent samples of Baby Gourmet:

Healthy, organic, and nutritious food for babies (6-12mo) made by moms with a little ingenuity. With all products starting in owners, Jen's and Jill's kitchens, each recipe and batch thereafter is taste-tested and poured out if it's not absolutely loved. Creative recipes include:
6mo - Simple Purees

  • Harvest Pear, Pumpkin, and Banana

  • Juicy Pear and Garden Greens

  • Orchard Apple, Carrot Prune


7mo - Yummy Combos

  • Baby's Sweet Potato Pie

  • Roasted Squash and Fruit Medley

  • Apple, Sweet Potato Berry Swirl


8mo+ - Tasty Textures

  • Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

  • Vanilla Banana Berry Risotto

  • Tropical Banana Bliss


All products are organic, no salt, sugar, fillers, preservatives, no nuts. No dairy, except in Old Fashioned Apple Crisp. Packaged in in a specially designed pouch allows for less cooking time, locking in nutrient values and flavors.

All ingredients are organic with the exception of the ascorbic acid.

Unfortunately, the BPA-free packaging is not recyclable, but it does make for easy heating.  Personally, I like baby food jars. They are very handy to reuse for multiple purposes, but I would assume the lids on them contain BPA, as most canning jars lids do.

As much as I aspired to always make my own baby food and freeze extras, I did resort to store bought baby food on occasion, especially when traveling.  Baby Gourmet is a good option, and I trust the product's safety and quality, especially since it is made in Canada.

I like that Baby Gourmet is very organic (not just one or two ingredients), but I do wish the packages were recyclable.  I also like how they have recipes where you can incorporate the baby food with solids to help transition children.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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