Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brush Those Baby Teeth!

February is upon, and among many things, it is National Children's Dental Health Month. Yes, the American Dental Association wants to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.

To get kids involved you can print out puzzles, word jumbles, cool coloring sheets, meandering maze and a smile calendar from the ADA's webpage.

Check out these great books from the library and read them with your kids. Letting them pick out their own toothbrush (Elmo, Dora, etc) also greatly helps in motivating little ones to brush.

For the littlest ones
Brush Your Teeth Please

Kids 4-8
Clarabella's Teeth by An Vrombaut

The classic
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reconsider 'Childproof' Packaging

US News and World Report writes an interesting article today on childproof packaging. Their outlook? Don't trust it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that each year over 4500 children get into medication and treat themselves to too much, requiring treatment for an overdose. While all of the children studied survived the accidental overdoes, one quarter needed activated charcoal to neutralize the toxic effects. The majority of the children were between ages 2 and 5.

Melissa Schaefer, a physician in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC and the study's lead author said chances of children going after the OTC meds increase when they are sweet and fruit-flavored.

Her advice for keeping pesky hands out of the medicine cabinet:

  • Keep medicines locked away from kids, even if the drugs have child-resistant packaging.
  • Never tell a child that medicine is candy.
  • Don't let children see you take medicine. They love to imitate grownups.
You may also consider ditching all your children's OTC cold medicines soon anyway, with the new FDA warning that was released this month.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Birthday LEGO!

Yes, this January LEGO turns 50. To celebrate here are some fun LEGO facts.

LEGO began in 1932 in Denmark, when Ole Kirk Christansen founded a small factory for wooden toys in the town of Billund

The name LEGO came from a fusion of the Danish words “LEg” and “GOdt” (“play well”).

Even though there have been small adjustments in shape, color and design- today’s LEGO bricks still fit bricks from 1958

There are 2,400 different LEGO brick shapes

LEGO bricks in boxes that are not sold are melted again and turned into new bricks, in accordance with waste prevention and environmental responsibility

So grab some bricks and start building today!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dwell Baby has Arrived at Target!

Walking through Target yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see some Dwell Baby stuff already on the shelves! Unfortunately it wasn't a huge display but it was very promising. There were two print lines out, a Zoo theme for the boys and a pink/brown tree leaf for the girls called Olivia.

Here are a few pics I snapped with my camera phone. The crib blankets were incredibly soft and cute. I love that they included wall decals with this line, they are so easy and chic (no wallpaper here!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Big City, Small Nursery

For those who live in downtown condos, apartments or the like, space is a luxury. Space is something you give up to get you closer to the hot spots, or to be in the cooler neighborhood. But what happens when a baby makes three in a one bedroom? You get creative!

1. Skip a changing table. They take up space, and you will soon learn that you can change a baby anywhere. Put a blanket down in the middle of your bed. Or get a contoured changing pad and put it on top of a waist high dresser- its basically the same thing.

2. Try a stylish mini crib. Full size cribs are huge, a lot of them convert into a headboard for a full size bed. "Mini cribs" sound strange, but there are actually a great size. It coverts into a twin size headboard instead, looks just as stylish and take us way less space. Check out the Da Vinci Annabelle. Or, if you have a huge closet and an extra 10 minutes, you can get a folding crib. Once the baby is up, snap and pop it into storage mode and roll it out of site until nap time.

3. Avoid a huge glider. Sure they look comfy and all, but with the ottoman that always seems to show up with them, they will cut into your floorspace quickly. If you already have a chair that you like with good back support (for all that feeding you are going to do) you don't need a huge motherly chair. Pick up a boppy and you're all set.

4. Go for multifunctional. A swing that is also a bouncy chair (eliminates one big hunk of plastic), a high chair that is also a toddler chair, a stroller that will work at many ages. The longer you can use it, the better off you are- less stuff to store and added bonus- less stuff to buy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

'Modern Twist' On Kids Storage

Check out Modern Twist's PJ Box! Keep your kids things stored in comfortable, clever style.

Inspired by a Japanese anemone box, this handmade PJ Pocket is a contemporary home accessory with a purpose. From afar it looks like a simple pillow, but a closer look and a twist of the lid reveals your secret stash. For little tikes the abstract elephant and squirrel designs are delightful. For children it's the perfect hiding place for PJ's, blankets, a stuffed animal, or pacifier.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Caffeine Pregnancy Report

Currently the general recommendation for pregnant women is to keep their caffeine intake under 300 mg daily. But a new study published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day — the amount in 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea — may double their risk of miscarriage. At the least, pregnant women give up caffeine for at least the first three or four months.

Don't fret too much is you still have the occasional coffee though, “Moderation in all things is still an excellent rule,” Dr. Westhoff said. “I think we tend to go overboard on saying expose your body to zero anything when pregnant. The human race wouldn’t have succeeded if the early pregnancy was so vulnerable to a little bit of anything. We’re more robust than that.”

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kids Frown on Hospital Clowns?

Here is an interesting tidbit: Researchers at Britain's University of Sheffield surveyed 250 children to look into what might best improve children's areas of the hospital. Every single child disapproved of using clowns to cheer them up, many of them even reported the clowns as being scary!

To listen to this report on NPR's morning edition click here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

FDA Says No to Cough Meds

Back in October, drugmakers voluntarily pulled several children's cold medicines off the market based on the FDA investigation that was pending about their safety. Today reports are out that the FDA has made a decision. They are issuing a stern health advisory- to not to give babies under two years of age over-the-counter cold and cough medicine because of potentially "serious and life-threatening side effects." This includes decongestants, expectorants, antihistamines and cough suppressants.

The FDA is looking into OTC meds for children aged 2-11 and should come to a decision on safety by this spring.

Until then try these remedies. NPR asked doctors and reports:

- Always encourage a child by telling him or her that colds are usually short-lived, and that they will feel better in a few days.

- Products containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol; or products containing ibuprofen, such as Motrin or Advil, can make a sick child more comfortable, when given in the proper dose.

- Saline nose drops or warm steam from a shower can help ease decongestion. Of decongestants and cough medicines on the market, Benjamin says, "There is not anything out there that is effective."

- Ensure the child drinks plenty of fluids.

- If the child is not getting better or is getting worse, reevaluate his or her condition.

- Doctors emphasize the importance of reassuring the child by providing affection, comfort, and understanding.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dwell Baby Coming to Target

The NYTimes Home and Garden section had some great news this morning. Dwell Studio is coming out with two lower priced lines for Target. Yes, one of those line is Dwell Baby! The nursery collection will be available at the end of the month. The crib sets will include a sheet, blanket and bumper in for about $80. Furniture will be available online only. Cribs from $290 to $300 and changing table-dressers from $280 to $290 will be available. Also keep an eye out for night lights, curtain panels and their famous wall decals.

(click for larger)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

US Baby Boomlet

The United States is experiencing a small baby boom, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years CNN reports. The 2006 fertility rate is reported at 2.1 children- the highest since 1971.

What is contributing to this jump? One thing is the fertility rate among Hispanics is now at 3 children per woman the highest rate for any group. Another increase is in teen births. The rate of teenage pregnancies rose for the first time in 15 years.

Year of Celebabies!

It's only the 3rd week of January and we have a ton of celebrities announcing their pregnancies. Seems the old Wait-Until-they-Spot-the-Bump is out of style and telling the press early is in!

So far we have:

Nicole Kidman with her husband
Jessica Alba and boyfriend
Matthew McConaughey's girlfriend Camila Alves
Lily Allen and boyfriend
Singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk is pregnant with her 3rd

Rumors are also swirling that:

Gwyneth Paltrow Pregnant With Third Child

Fergie is pregnant with Josh Duhamel's baby

David Spade's ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his baby

Thursday, January 10, 2008

the Daily Green's Mom Blog

If you have never been to The Daily Green, its a pretty cute informative website. Think- Real Simple meets GreenBlog. Not that websites should be graded on layout and presentation- but with a lot of the content being available via many sources, why not go for the one that is the easiest on the eyes?

I just found the Daily Green has a section called Ask An Organic Mom. It is written by the co-authors of The Complete Organic Pregnancy. Posts include topics like

Feeding Baby Organic (Even Vegan) On the Road

Finding Organic Food from Local Farms - Even in Winter

Pregnant? Breast Feeding? Best Avoid Nail Polish

Enjoy! It's a great resource!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Gift of Diapers to Orphans in Need

Mother of Eden, the company that makes Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers and other diapering accessories now has programs that you can donate used cloth diapers to. If all your kids are finally potty trained and you are wondering what to do with those diapers- check out this page.

Mother of Eden has sent thousands of diapers to orphans in the U.S., Africa Haiti and Ukraine. An example of how your diapers might help:

Healing Hands for Haiti

Healing Hands for Haiti is a non-profit grass roots organization dedicated to fostering the expansion and quality of rehabilitation services for physically disabled adults and children in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the fifth poorest in the world. Orphaned babies and children live a daily struggle to meet basic needs. And with streets overrun with trash, Haiti's orphans are in desperate need for cloth diapers. We are proud to have partnered with this organization through our donation of 500 Fuzzi Bunz diapers.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Approach to Autism Research

The University of Washington is looking for 200 local families to participate in a new study. The idea behind the research is to look at babies and treat babies before the symptoms even show up. 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism- usually around the age of two years. If an older sibling has Autism- the likelihood of being diagnosed jumps to 1 out of 20 children.

This study is "one of the nation's first studies on preventing autism in infants and will spend the next four years exploring the benefit of intensive and early therapy on the mysterious disorder" according to the UW clinicians have seen more successful the earlier they have treated children and hope this study will help them understand why.

Parents interested in participating in the study can call the UW Autism Center at 800-994-9701 or check

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Favorite Pregnancy Book

Sure we all got a copy of What to Expect When Your Expecting- but if you are looking for a book that offers a wide spectrum of views and a bit more personal an approach check out From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent.

What I liked most about this book is the cartoonist bubbles that have quotes from "anonymoms" and "anonydads" as they call them. It is so refreshing and comforting to hear that you are not the only one who thinks:

"man- I didn't realize how much my social circle drinks until I stopped drinking- it was tough!"

"I was so scared about loosing the baby that I kept running to the bathroom to check my undies"

"my milk didnt come in for 4 days and I thought my baby would starve! My doula said it was perfectly normal and in the end everything was fine"

The quotes say things that more straightforward (read: dull) pregnancy books don't and they truly are unbiased and supportive of all pregnant women and new mothers. If it is your first pregnancy and you don't have friends who are pregnant yet it is a great way to hear real women talk about all kinds of issues- on your own time and in the privacy of your own home.