Over the past few years, quinoa has certainly earned its halo as a nutrient powerhouse that’s wonderful for our health. In fact, 2013 was officially named the “International Year of Quinoa” by the United Nations. But did you know the protein-packed superfood also makes a healthy and nutritious first food for infants? With a nutritional profile similar to breast milk, quinoa is a perfect first food for babies and makes a healthy and nutritious alternative to traditional rice cereals for weaning.
According to Dr. Laura Jana, a nationally recognized pediatrician, parenting expert and award-winning author of Food Fights and Heading Home with Your Newborn, quinoa offers parents the opportunity to introduce healthy eating habits right from the start, a practice she actively promotes. Says Dr. Jana: “Given that quinoa has long been recognized for being both nutrient-rich and easily absorbed, not to mention less allergenic than other grains, the concept of introducing quinoa as a first food alternative to traditional rice cereal is particularly appealing.”
Not sure how to go about giving your little one quinoa? NurturMe, the organic baby and toddler food brand, recently introduced the first-ever pure quinoa cereal for infants – providing parents a healthy and easy weaning option that is rich in nutrients, gentle on the tummy and supports baby’s growth naturally. Made from 100 percent supergrain, NurturMe’s Organic Quinoa Baby cereals are a complete and balanced protein, iron fortified (50% daily value), easily digestible and gluten-free. They’re also first and only infant cereal to offer 100 percent naturally occurring nutrients from whole foods. Unlike synthetic nutrients, which can cause constipation and indigestion, plant-based vitamins and minerals are easily digested and improve baby’s overall nutrient absorption. NurturMe’s Organic Quinoa Baby Cereals come in two flavors – Pure Protein-Packed Quinoa and Quinoa + Apple Blend – and are available nationwide online and in stores for $5.75 per 3.7 ounce bag.
Q&A with Dr. Jana, nationally recognized pediatrician and award-winning parenting author, about the benefits of feeding your infant quinoa as a first
Q: What’s the difference between quinoa and the rice (and other) cereals that have been used as first foods for decades?
What quinoa shares with the traditional baby cereals is the fact that it can be fed to babies in the same, safe and time-tested form of a baby cereal – the consistency of which can be adjusted to accommodate babies’ developing feeding skills. Referred to as a “supergrain”, what’s different about quinoa is the fact that it naturally offers a higher nutrient value than rice – complete with protein, iron and other nutrients – while also being hypoallergenic.
Q: So Quinoa is safe for babies with gluten and other food allergies?
Two key aspects of quinoa that make it particularly compelling are that it is both gluten-free and hypoallergenic by nature. While quinoa is harvested and prepared in much the same fashion as rice and other grains and has long been referred to as “the mother of all grains” as far back as the Incas, it does not technically fall into the same category as cereal grains at all. In fact, quinoa is actually related to beets, chard and spinach. While this little-known fact may seem like simply interesting trivia, it is quite relevant in helping to explain why pure quinoa foods do not come with the same potential allergy concerns as traditional grains.
Q: What are some other benefits of quinoa as a first food?
I am a big believer in introducing healthy habits right from the start, so the idea of introducing what is considered to be a hypoallergenic and nutrient-rich “supergrain” into a child’s diet as a first food is very appealing. In addition, the ability to mix quinoa with breast milk (which itself is commonly recognized as “the perfect food for babies”) allows parents to serve babies a nutritionally dynamic duo.
Click here to read the full Q&A with Dr. Laura Jana about the many benefits of quinoa and other first-food tips for your baby.
Information provided by NuturMe.
It seems that when I leave the city and hole up in the country, I learn some of my most simple, yet profound, lessons on parenthood. On a rainy day upstate, I was excited for a day of lounging around in comfy clothes and sipping tea. What I didn’t anticipate was how much my almost two year old would still want to play outside, even though the rain was coming down at a pretty steady pace. My first reaction to his pleas was to say, “We can’t go out today- it’s raining!” But then I realized how silly that was- it wasn’t a monsoon, after all. What’s the worst that happens, we get wet?!
So we put on our raincoats and sneakers and hit the wet hills. He quickly begins making his way up to the garden which always warms my heart. Even though there aren’t edible vegetables in there anymore, he still feels attached to his experience inside that fence. When we arrive, he finds a shovel and starts scooping dirt from one pile to another. Sure enough, some dirt begins to pile up on his sneaker and I begin to say, “No Micah, put the dirt on the pile, not on your sneaker!” But then I pause. What’s the big deal if the dirt gets on or in his sneaker? So I quiet myself down and let him continue to have his off-season, dirty experience in the garden. He seems quite thrilled scooping soil and getting nice and dirty.
From there we walk to our little pond to investigate if there are any ducks or turtles there (not likely in the middle of winter) and head out onto the dock. We begin to discuss who might be swimming in the water—fish, bugs, frogs? Being quite curious, Micah lowers himself down to his belly on the very wet and dirty dock so he can gaze more clearly into the water beneath us. Once again, I think of how dirty and wet he will be, but this time, I don’t even say anything. How could I deprive him a moment of curiosity? So instead, I allow him plenty of time to look, question, and enjoy the wet raindrops slowly landing on his back.
When I allow myself to step out of it, I realize that the role of Mommy can become very utilitarian and mission oriented (must clean up, must feed, must keep things in running order). It becomes this way and we lose sight of allowing moments to be perfectly imperfect. We forget that disruption and dirtiness is how we explore, discover, and ultimately, how we learn. So we might have a little extra laundry to do and a few more outfits to change, but I can only speak for myself when I say, I never want my son to feel like he shouldn’t explore his surroundings because he might be a little untidy or unkempt. I want his life to be much more exciting than that!
Mommy’s, I think we need to slow ourselves down sometimes. I’m speaking to moms specifically because it seems that the Daddy’s have no problem with dirt and imperfection! We need to occasionally let go of our routine to make room for the beautiful, unexpected moments, don’t we? I share my little moments to inspire you to make room for your own. Take a deep breath and enjoy the dirt with your little ones…who knows what you might dig up!
Information provided by Randi Zinn is the founder of Beyond Mom and randizinn.com, and FitBump.
The Internet has revolutionized how we get information and pregnant women are searching the web in droves to find out everything about pregnancy and baby. C’mon…you are probably one of them! We were! One hot topic to search is “what is safe to take when I’m pregnant”. You know the scenario. You’re constipated, can’t sleep, have a nagging headache and you can’t quite remember what your doctor said was safe. You’re not alone. A whopping 62% of pregnant women surveyed said they use the Internet as a primary or secondary source of information to learn about safe medicines to take during pregnancy and lactation. *
But remember how your mom always said don’t believe everything you read? Well, the same holds true for what you read on the Internet. There is a lot of conflicting information online. In one study**, 22 apparently “safe” products on one or more sites were classified as “unsafe” on one or more other sites. In fact, half of the websites studied were missing a critical message; pregnant women should consult a healthcare provider about any medication being considered for use during pregnancy, nursing and even pre-conceptually. It is so important that you speak to your healthcare provider what is right for you.
And to make matters worse, if you go to the store in search of medication, you still may be confused. Many pharmacists are reluctant to recommend safe remedies and products are not easily found on one shelf in the store. Women end up searching aisle after aisle (when we say we like shopping, this is not what we mean. We’re talking shoes, baby clothes…not medicine). healthy mama® brand is working hard to change all that. Our mission is to provide the safest*** solutions for pregnant and nursing women. Our products are FDA accepted, Made in the USA, all natural when possible and reviewed by our medical advisory board. We are also partners with the American Pregnancy Association and March of Dimes to advocate for healthy pregnancies and better prenatal care. An important benefit to healthy mama brand is that our products are all located on one shelf together at your retail store so you can easily find the remedy that you need when you need it.
*Independent research provided by Research Now TM
**Peters S, et al. Safe Lists for medications in pregnancy: inadequate evidence base and inconsistent guidance from Web-based information, 2011 Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (2013)
***No medication is considered 100% safe during pregnancy and nursing.
Information Provided by the healthy mama® team
Growing up, I watched my mother cook with traditional European spices – parsley on the baked chicken, garlic in the mashed potatoes and cinnamon in the coffee cake. Although I still use the same herb staples from my childhood, I now smoke my salmon with rosemary, sprinkle fresh mint on my yogurt and put ginger in my version of chai tea. And, like traditional chicken soup for a cold, food has always been medicine. In a nod to past and present, here are a couple of my favorite immune boosting warming herbs going into winter:
Daily Detox Many of my clients report drinking a daily cleansing concoction of cayenne, black pepper, ginger and honey in either apple cider vinegar or hot water. Others have substituted garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and agave in place of other ingredients. If you’re brave enough to face the cold, you might be brave enough to try this warming drink – even if you do have to hold your nose.
Garlic Typically used in Italian cuisine, garlic was a favorite of the ancient Egyptians. The effects of aged garlic have been widely studied for various types of cancers – a 2001 study suggested that garlic can suppress the specific immune response associated with tumor growth(1). A 10 month study found that aged garlic improves cardiovascular health by reducing the mechanisms that cause high cholesterol and high blood pressure(2).
Cinnamon Found in my sweet potato and pumpkin soup, cinnamon used to be a gift fit for a king. A 2013 study on cinnamon extract found that is has potential as an anti-allergic therapy because it decreased the mast cell response in mice(3). And, cinnamon polyphenol extract can affect immune response by anti- and pro-inflammatory and glucose transporter expression(4). So feeling under the weather may actually be a good excuse to indulge in a sweet cinnamon treat.
Ginger Popular in Asian cuisine, the versatile ginger is much more than a palate cleanser with your sushi. It was concluded that ginger (and turmeric) increases one’s defenses against opportunistic infections when fed to immunocompromised mice(5). 2011 preclinical studies found ginger to ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and inhibit the growth of cancer cells(6). I’d call that one powerful spice!
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or syndrome. It should not be used as a substitute for appropriate medical treatment by a qualified practitioner.
- Enhanced immunocompetence by garlic: role in bladder cancer and other malignancies. J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3s):1067S-70S. Review. PubMed PMID: 11238818.
- J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 31 (6): 904–8. doi:10.1097/00005344-199806000-00014. PMID 9641475.
- Cinnamon extract inhibits degranulation and de novo synthesis of inflammatory mediators in mast cells. Allergy. 2013 Apr;68(4):490-7. doi: 10.1111/all.12122. Epub 2013 Feb 15. PubMed PMID: 23409834.
- Cinnamon polyphenol extract affects immune responses by regulating anti- and proinflammatory and glucose transporter gene expression in mouse macrophages. J Nutr. 2008 May;138(5):833-40. PubMed PMID: 18424588.
Information provided by Corinne Kohrherr, MS, LAc, LMT, Herbalist, a licensed acupuncturist, licensed massage therapist, board certified herbalist and DONA certified childbirth doula and FitBump
When touring a child care center, most of us feel unprepared to assess the quality of education and care provided to children. We all want a center that compliments and even enhances what we teach children at home; we want individualized love and attention, a clean, safe place, a home away from home. We want to be sure that caretakers are professional and the center provides families with knowledge about raising children and how to fill our days with growing experiences.
As an educator, and a mother of three boys, I have had the opportunity to be a parent, teacher and Director at many centers. Here is what I’d ask when visiting an infant/toddler center:
- Embrace the Mission—Does the center share my family’s vision of children and educational values?
The most important aspect in selecting a center is finding a place that shares your family’s educational outlook, a place where you feel at home philosophically. Do you believe that play and friendship are central to learning? Do you think it is important to do worksheets and learn to read before three? The school’s mission determines how children spend their days and what they learn. Make sure you embrace the mission before you sign your contract.
On your tour ask the following question:
What is the school’s mission and how does it impact what the children do everyday?
- Professional Background—Are teachers prepared to work with children of this age?
Teacher preparation is the single greatest indicator of a professional educational environment, one that is safe, nurturing and sets appropriate goals for students. Teachers must understand child development and have an understanding of best practices. They must have experience taking care of very young children and be able to love and relate to them no matter what the mood or need of the children.
On your tour ask the following question:
Do Head Teachers have a Master’s in Early Childhood Education?
- Accessibility—Are Administrators and Teachers available to me?
As a parent, you will have many questions, concerns, and hopefully compliments to give at the center. You must be sure that when you need to talk to someone, the staff is available either in person, by phone, via email or able to make an appointment within 24 hours.
Before you sign your contract, meet the Director and make sure you feel comfortable with their expertise and ability to support your family. If you call the center and you routinely reach an answering machine, find another center.
On your tour ask the following question:
If I have a concern who do I speak to first and how do I reach them?
- Intention—Teachers should work with a plan, set goals and have a mindful approach to all of their interactions with children and materials.
There are several ways you can determine if the school has a culture of intentionality. When visiting the classrooms, does every object seem to have its own place? Are materials presented to children in an orderly, relaxed manner? Do teachers seem to be thinking with the children, considering what they do and say? Are they listening and observing as they work?
On your tour ask the following questions:
1) Do teachers keep a plan book? What is recorded there?
2) Do the teaching teams meet weekly with administrators? What do they discuss?
3) Do teachers document the children’s work? Are there artifacts that keep track of children’s work and growth over time?
- Tone—Do adults in the center listen to children and speak with respect at all times?
When visiting the center take note of how teachers listen and how they speak to children. Children need to hear their own thoughts, to process what is going on around them and have time to contemplate. There should be a mix of engagement and auditory space throughout the day.
When teachers speak to children, they should use a natural voice. They shouldn’t speak too fast, loud, in angry tones or silly voices. Young children should be treated like they have important ideas to share and are competent, creative people with greatness inside them.
Teachers and administrators should speak to each other with respect, as children are impacted by emotions of adults around them.
On your tour ask the following question:
What is your approach to listening to children? Can you describe how teachers should talk to children?
It can be challenging to select your first center, as you entrust strangers with your most precious and incredible child. Ask as many questions as you can, call the Director and reconnect until you are comfortable. The center should teach and support the whole family and elevate the learning for everyone.
Information provided by Renee Bock, Educational Director of Explore + Discover.
Renee Bock is a dedicated early childhood educator, who is currently the Educational Director at Explore+Discover, a social learning center in Manhattan that is dedicated to setting the standard for infant and toddler care and education. Renee has more than a decade of experience in the field and holds a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College in New York. In her present position, she is helping Explore+Discover open the first of 27 New York City centers focused on children from 3 months to two years old.
Photos courtesy of Rivka Singer.
An important part of getting ready for your baby is organizing all those teeny tiny, super cute new outfits! You’ve washed and folded them and arranged them in size order, so you’ll have just the baby needs as he grows.
Fast forward. You bring your bundle home and that gown you didn’t use right away because it says 3M doesn’t cover his feet!
What are new parents to do? Don’t panic. Here’s everything you need to know about baby clothing!
First, this may be obvious, but it must be stated. Just like you, babies come in all shapes and sizes, a baby may be one size in one brand and another size in another brand.
To make it complicated, baby boys & baby girls are on totally different growth charts, but baby clothing is cut for the average of both sexes.
To make it even more complicated, baby clothing companies are often multinational. Your favorite French brand maybe designed for French-sized babies. Often times, that does not translate well to their American customers.
To sum it all up – using age as a size indicator is a terrible way of buying clothing! Could you imagine going to the store and asking where’s the 21-25 year old section? Where do the 35 year olds shop? Makes no sense at all but this is the standard.
Now that you know that age does not indicate size, how do you keep your baby in the right sized outfits?
1. Look for height & weight guidelines on all hang tags and use that as your best size indicator (not age). Many clothing companies (like Magnificent Baby®!) include this information on every single hang tag. Also, keeping in mind that all babies are different – a guideline is in fact a guide, not a rule, but it’s still the best way to pick the right size for your baby.
2. Don’t wait until your baby is 3 months old to wear something that says 3M. Chances are by the time he actually is 3M, he will be too big to wear it. Also One Size does not mean one size fits all. It means that the manufacturer only makes the item in one size OR that its one size fits most.
3. Use your eyeballs before you make a purchase and before you cut off any tags. Even if an outfit says an age range on the tag, if it looks more similar to items in another size range, chances are you are right.
4. Wash and use outfits as you go. If your baby has a growth spurt, you may be able to go back to the store and exchange the items she couldn’t use for a bigger size if the item is still saleable (original condition, hang tags intact).
5. Don’t assume that one brand’s items will fit your baby across the board.
This is especially true if you are buying from an international company that manufactures in different countries and makes different styles. A footie is not always a footie. Use height and weight guidelines printed on the tag or take the eyeball approach.
6. Mentally get over the fact that your 4 week old is in a 3M size because as you now know, age as a size is meaningless. Now, could somebody point me to where I can buy a size 21 year old? How about a 242M size?
This handy guide is brought to you by Lauren, co-founder of Magnificent Baby® – the Smart Close Magnetic-Fastening baby clothing company, and a new mom herself. She is addicted to Smart Close and only freaked out a tiny bit when her 7M baby needed size 12M outfits even though she wrote this.
Many baby products, especially baby wipes contain chemicals. Nasty chemicals. These chemicals can be dangerous and cause nasty reactions for babies. All baby wipes simply add chemical preservatives and stack them on the shelves for up to 36 months. Even the ‘natural’ and ‘eco-friendly’ wipes contain potential skin irritants such as methylisothiazolinione, formaldehyde, polysorbate 20 and potassium laureth phosphate. These are ingredients you do not want to put on your baby’s skin!
A baby’s skin can be up to 7 times thinner than that of adults. Therefore a baby’s skin is less resilient than adult’s skin. You change your baby up to 10 times a day, 70 times a week. That is an awful lot of chemicals being applied to your baby’s skin over a week. You would not like to put this amount on your skin so why would you do it to your newly born sensitive baby who is especially susceptible to external irritants.
Any products that you use from baby wipes to creams you should make sure you check the ingredients list so you know exactly what is in the products you are using.
Good thing not all baby wipes contain such chemicals that can lead to diaper rashes or other skin problems.
WaterWipes is the first chemical-free baby wipe brought to the market. Free from chemicals and preservatives, WaterWipes are 99.9% water with 0.1% fruit extract, making them safe for newborns and infants. They are the only baby wipes approved by Allergy UK. This states that the have been tested to prove it is efficient on reducing or removing allergens.
WaterWipes (www.waterwipes.com) are suitable for all babies, particularly those with sensitive skin; they are extra soft and absorbent, and leave no greasy residue. The tiny amount of grapefruit seed extract acts as a gentle, natural skin conditioner, stabiliser and protector. The combination of 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract is pH neutral, non-toxic, anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic, fragrance free and eco friendly.
Information provided by WaterWipes.
How to prepare for a stress-free summer vacation
Whether you’re taking the kids to the beach or visiting a national park this year, summer travel for new parents can be both exciting and exhausting. Planning around nap times, feeding schedules and your children’s comfort can be stressful. For parents of young children, finding ways to alleviate travel burdens can be the key to a successful family vacation.
Below are some helpful tips to keep your summer travels organized and stress-free:
Create Your Packing List:
If this is your first trip with your new baby or toddler, you’re probably overwhelmed by the seemingly endless packing list from diapers and toys to sunscreen. The best way to stay organized and avoid over- or under-packing is to prepare a list of your family’s needs. Research your destination and identify necessities, such as medications or special clothing for activities. Don’t forget that your child may need to adjust to his or her new surroundings, so consider bringing comfort items like blankies and favorite stuffed animals.
Anyone who has traveled with children knows that keeping it light is critical. Heavy strollers and baby equipment are tough enough to pack and carry, let alone with a suite of suitcases. The best way to lighten the load is to find children’s products that are specifically designed for travel and can be used for multiple purposes, such as BABYBJÖRN’s Travel Crib Light. Weighing only 13 pounds, the crib is easily assembled in one quick movement, making it an ideal travel accessory. It can be used as a temporary bed at night and as a playpen during the day. And, when not in use, it folds compactly in its carrying case for easy storage in your trunk or closet or under the bed.
Don’t Rush It:
Traveling with small children can be hectic enough without rushing, so take your time. While it may be tempting to get to your destination as quickly as possible, it can add unnecessary stress to your trip. Make sure to plan enough travel time so you can make frequent stops, and add in some leeway for those unexpected delays, such as an extra potty break. Try mapping out your journey, and tag places of interest along the way to visit. While you may not get there as fast, you’ll enjoy a smoother and happier travel experience.
Your children’s safety is always top-of-mind; so how can you manage their safety and your own anxiety while traveling? Research the location you’re traveling to, and prepare your own first aid kit before you hit the road with things like sunscreen and bug repellent. Be aware of any hazards in your temporary accommodations, and make sure you have a secure place for your child to play and sleep. Products such as the Travel Crib Light sit firmly on the floor, making it a safe place to sleep and play for babies and toddlers alike.
With the right preparation, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic summer vacation and make memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy the time together, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
For more information about baby products, visit www.babybjorn.com.
Information Provided by Baby Bjorn
Whether you are a new mom with a baby heading to daycare for the first time or a seasoned pro, it’s always helpful to have a checklist prepared before you send your little one off. You can always ask your daycare if they have a list prepared since they will know what’s best to bring for their program, but if they don’t, we’ve rounded up some of the essentials.
In Your Baby’s Diaper Bag
Baby bottles with breast milk and/or formula
Blanket for nap time
3 changes of clothes (weather appropriate)
Items to Keep at the Daycare
Above all else, make sure to label EVERYTHING! We suggest Name Bubbles labels, as they are waterproof, dishwasher safe, and keep it all coming home. Not to mention, there are tons of varieties and personalized choices that make it fun.
Click here for a printable version of the checklist shown above that will keep you organized, provide peace of mind, and help you impress your caregivers by showing up with all your ducks in a row!
Information Provided by Name Bubbles
Most expectant and new parents view the search for childcare with at least some amount of dread, and why shouldn’t they? Whether your search for a nanny has started before your child is born, when you’re frantically outfitting a nursery and coordinating your birth plan, or after, when you’d prefer to spend your few quiet moments sleeping, it’s never easy to hire a caregiver. We get it—each of us wants our child to be cared for by a loving, responsible, individual—a Supernanny. So where to start the search for Mary Poppins? Here are three ways to identify the best candidates for the job.
1. Word of Mouth
If there’s one thing you can do with a sleeping baby on your chest, it’s text your pals! Send a mass e-mail to friends in your area asking for recommendations and let them know it’s okay to forward your query on to others. Good nannies tend to find new employment via their current employers, since most families are eager to help their beloved nannies find new work when it’s time for a family to move on. Make sure you include as much information about hours and days as you can to save yourself the trouble of fielding calls from nannies whose schedules don’t match. If you belong to a parents’ listserv, Facebook page, or other online group, now is the time to harness the power of social media. Post about the position and let other parents send you references, and don’t forget to ask them if they’ve previously obtained background screening on their nanny. (Older searches may need to be updated.)
Tip: Start early. It may take a couple of rounds of posts and queries before you find a match.
2. Nanny Agency
Far and away the most expensive option, finding your nanny through a traditional nanny agency can set you back thousands of dollars. If you contract with a reputable agency, your money should be getting you a fully-screened, professional nanny who fits your specific requirements, plus a guarantee from the agency (in your contract) that if the nanny isn’t a good fit they will assist you in finding a replacement. The very best agencies attract a talented pool of caregivers who have passed several rounds of interviews and all relevant background checks. The agency handpicks nannies from this pool and sends them to you to be interviewed, whereupon you meet a candidate knowing that she’s a fully-vetted professional. Still, there are hundreds of nanny agencies out there, not all of which are rigorous in their selection process. Before you sign on the dotted line make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for—you don’t want to find out later that a background report isn’t included in the fees you paid the agency.
Tip: Do your homework. A little research will help you to find a reputable agency.
3. Online Sources
With most online nanny-finder services, you’ll pay a membership fee in order to access postings or to post your own job advertisement. Remember, these individuals have not been pre-screened so you will need to conduct your own background check. As with nanny agencies, the quality of the service can vary. Good online nanny-finder services can be great resources for accessing a large pool of candidates quickly, and often these sites offer extremely helpful information and tools for you, the employer, relating to a nanny’s hiring, such as details about your tax responsibilities and salary payment tools.
Tip: Before you pay a membership fee, find out more about the site’s traffic: How many individuals you can expect to view your post? How many new postings can you expect to browse each week?
Information provided by NannyTrack