Fashion Friday: Earth Day Shines a Light on Eco-Friendly Baby Essentials

 

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, National Grilled Cheese Day—there are days on the calendar designated to celebrate special events, people and comforts. Monday, April 22, 2013 is no exception, as we mark the 43rd annual celebration of Earth Day. You and your baby can get an early start with eco-friendly apparel, gear and toys that you will want to use 365 days a year. And with designs as cool as these, you might even find a solution to global warming. By Angela Velasquez

 

 

OrganicClothing

BabyLegs Chromatic socks, Hanna Andersson pajamas, Kee Ka Organic yoga pants

Inside the Closet

The stats: Organic cotton is cotton cultivated from seeds that are not genetically modified and have grown without pesticides.

The benefits: Organic cotton doesn’t require as many harsh chemical treatments and pesticides as conventionally produced cotton, meaning your baby’s precious skin will less likely be exposed to harmful synthetic fertilizers, bleaching, artificial dyes and softeners. The au natural fabric also makes garments perfect hand-me-downs as it is less likely to break down as fast as regular cotton—helping you make the most of your earned green—and cutting down on waste.

The look: Gone are the days when the word “organic” meant baby one-pieces in sobering shades of oatmeal. From greens as bright as grass to blues as clear as skies, advancements in organic apparel have introduces a kaleidoscope of colors and prints to the category.

 *Go green tip: Use natural laundry detergent to scrub babies’ clothes clean. Detergents from The Honest Company and GreenShield Organic use ingredients that don’t irritate skin but guard color and rinse as thoroughly as standard detergents.

Eco on the go

Moby organic cotton wrap, Bummis organic wet bag, Fleurville diaper bag

 

Eco On the Go

The stats: Going green is a lifestyle and thanks to baby gear manufacturers incorporating more eco-friendly materials, moms can channel their inner Mother Nature.

The benefits: From blankets to carriers, babies are bundled in fabric from the moment they are born. Organic cotton wraps and swaddling blankets offer the same perks of organic apparel, while diaper bags made with natural cotton canvas and even from recycled plastic bottles let parents walk the eco talk and create good (green) habits for their family.

The look: Modern geo prints and chic, wardrobe-friendly slate and chocolate hues result in looks that say “cool mama”— and that’s a good thing!

 

Play Safe

HaPe racecar, Zoë B Organic beach toys, Yellow Label Kids rattles

The stats: Wood toys are classic, but toys made with bamboo wood—which grows in three years—offers sustainability and a blank canvas for water-based, non-toxic paints. Other materials, including organic knits, natural rubber and plastic made from corn (yes, corn!) keep kids connected to nature.

 The benefits: Toys are bound for baby’s mouth—and the landfill as soon as they outgrow the fun. Natural materials and non-toxic paints and glues make the toy box safer. Plus, organic toys are more likely to have a timeless design and be passed on to other siblings and family members, making the trinkets instant heirlooms.

The look: The most eye-catching organic toys take cues from the sleek, Scandinavian-inspired designs that nurture children’s imaginations and stay relevant with bold colors and whimsical touches.

*Go green tip: Hypoallergenic Natural Nursery & Toy Cleaner by Seventh Generation cleans plastic, painted and wood toys and removes odors.

______

About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.

Pearls of Wisdom: Naptime

Over the years, countless parents have asked me how to get babies to sleep through regular intervals on a daily basis. Naptime is an essential part of a baby’s development and health, but it’s also good for parents, who use those hours to give more attention to other children, catch up on chores, cook, or even to nap themselves!  Here are some of my thoughts on successful snoozing.

Regardless of your child’s age, sticking to a regular routine is essential to get your baby off to a sound sleep. Very young babies will sleep through all kinds of noises and don’t necessarily need absolute quiet…think of how many times your baby has fallen asleep in his car seat while horns are honking!  If a baby grows accustomed to sleeping only when there is silence, parents can set themselves and their child up for problems later on, when siblings are noisy, the telephone rings or the television is on.

When is the best time to lay baby down in her crib for a nap?  You, and not necessarily the clock, will be the best judge of that! It’s vital that you watch for signs of fatigue such as fussiness, crying for no reason, or refusing to play, as these are clear signs that it’s time for a nap.

The average newborn may spend at least 16 hours a day sleeping!  As they mature, babies’ sleep requirements gradually decrease, averaging about 14 hours by the time they are six months old and a little less than 14 hours by the age of one.  The duration of newborns’ naps are variable, often random, and quite unpredictable depending on circumstances (noise level, distractions, discomfort, etc.)  Ideally, newborns settle into a three-nap–per-day schedule by the age of 2-3 months: an hour in the morning, two hours in early afternoon and another short nap in the evening. Moms and dads who bring their babies to a daycare or a nursery may expect their babies’ sleep patterns to be slightly different but eventually, babies adapt and will stick with a pattern that’s in synch with parents’ sleep cycles.

After two years of age, toddlers do not require that much sleep; usually, 1-2 hours in the afternoon is sufficient. This isn’t true for every child but more important is that he or she is active, playful and energetic.  Here’s something that should be kept in mind: it’s not necessary to stop daytime naps with the intention of making babies sleep better at night. Many new parents assume that eliminating naps will result in better nighttime sleep for their child, or greater willingness to go off to sleep.  Oftentimes the opposite can be true! Keep in mind that lack of sleep during the day may lead to behavioral problems and hyperactivity at night.  An overly exhausted child will be agitated, irritable and less likely to wind down for bed… same as an overly exhausted adult!

By four year of age, naptime is usually eliminated, for better or for worse. Before entering school, I suggest limiting naps to weekends only, in order to prepare your child for this big transition. Though daycare centers often include naptime in toddlers’ schedules, many preschools do not and by kindergarten, it’s virtually eliminated.

There are a few strategies that parents can practice to develop a healthy naptime routine:

1. Mom and dad can observe baby’s behavior to see when he or she exhibits signs of fatigue; making naptimes regular and based on when the baby is tired.

2. Engage your baby in active play when awake.

3. Schedule feeding times before naptime so baby will not get hungry and cut short his naps

4. Again, develop a routine around naptime like using a favorite blanket or stuffed toy to calm her down. Then move her to her crib once she’s sleepy.

5. Other effective strategies include: swaddling baby in a blanket; rocking baby in your arms or in a rocking/gliding chair; using white noise or music (singing quietly to baby or playing lullabies) to drown out jarring daytime noise; changing the baby’s diaper before his nap; taking a short walk with baby in a stroller, or even just turning down the toddler bed and telling a story.

These suggestions, combined with patience and experimentation, should provide a plan for good sleep patterns. After all, it’s a parent’s responsibility to satisfy baby’s needs and helping him or her adjust to family life. This will take time and many tears – maybe even fits and tantrums —  but with effort, you will be rewarded with a child who literally ”sleeps like a baby.”

How do you encourage naptime?  Post in the comments below, or go over to BabyLegs’ Facebook page and look for today’s post on naptime. Share your own pearls of wisdom with other BabyLeggers who might need help with this important part of baby’s daily routine.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Pearl

 

All information contained in this blog and on our web site(s) should be independently verified by you by a medical professional of your own choosing and you should always conduct your own research and due diligence before making any decision related to the subject matter of this blog or our web site. 

———–

Dr. Pearl

 

Dr. Pearl Cenon

A pediatrician in private practice in New Jersey for over 15 years, Dr. Cenon (we like to call her Dr. Pearl) also has two children of her own. Dr. Pearl’s husband, Kevin McDonough is also a pediatrician and they work together. She writes basic posts about topics that interest many parents, from skin care and nutrition to seasonal issues, such as allergies and colds. Her kind, approachable tone in each blog post will have you looking forward to the next one.

Fashion Friday: A New Era of Wardrobe Staples

 

Spring-cleaning is in full bloom. Now is a perfect time to rid your kid’s closet of too small, worn out, chocolate milk-stained clothes—except for those sentimental pieces, of course—and replenish with new colors, the latest silhouettes and trendy accoutrements. Just like your own closet, quality basics are needed to create the foundation for children’s impeccably cute wardrobe, but contrary to what you may believe about investment pieces, it is easy to restock and refresh on the cheap. Savvy moms will enjoy the newest pack of versatile wardrobe builders that will outlast the season and the life expectancy of most trends. Remember these simple rules on your next spring shopping spree.

 

 

 

Windbreakers are to kids as trench coats are to moms.

The name might conjure up horrible Eighties fashion, but light weight packable windbreakers are a go-to item for chilly mornings at the school bus stop and rainy day trips to the movies. An old-school elbow patch helps to tailor the athletic style and smarten up the look in the style of the trench, while the tech-y fabric excels at soaking up hot hues.

Hooded Jacket by OshKosh B'Gosh

Hooded Jacket by OshKosh B’Gosh

 

Layered Skirt by Mim-pi

Layered Skirt by Mim-pi

Tutus are to kids as little black dresses are to moms.

Moms know how the LBD takes the guesswork out of dressing up for a special occasion, and tutu skirts for girls does the same—plus add fairy-like fantasies to a gal’s day. From birthday parties and communions to kindergarten graduation ceremonies and weddings, tulle skirts pack a fancy punch for a myriad of events and even looks cute with a casual tee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twofers are to kids as twin sets are to moms. 

The look might be less prep school chic and more skater boy, but twofers serve the same purpose as their more genial counterpart: options! The layered style is a mainstay in kids’ fashion. However, on extra warm day a wiser option is to fake the look by pairing arm warmers with a cotton tee. By midday, toss the warmers in the diaper bag.

T-shirt by Zutano. BabyLegs Jolly Jack

T-shirt by Zutano. BabyLegs Jolly Jack

 

________

About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.

Pearls of Wisdom: Promoting Physical Activity to Your Child

The importance of keeping an active lifestyle is one of those things that we know so well, but often have a hard time practicing.  We admit that exercising our bodies is just as important to our well-being as eating and sleeping. But many things can keep us from taking part in physical activity; in fact, a recent U.S. News and World Report offered the top 10 reasons that people give for not exercising.  Can you guess what they are before you read on?  Among the top 10 were:

“I’m too busy.”

“It’s so boring.”

“I’m not a gym rat.”

”My kids get in the way.”

 

If you have ever felt like physical activity is eluding you for any of the above reasons, today’s Pearl of Wisdom might help you re-focus and re-energize.  Let’s consider for a moment that your children must keep active and move their bodies to stay healthy.  And consider, too, that we are the best teachers by way of example. That may change things a bit…

… if you are too busy or think think that the kids get in the way, include the kids in a fitness routine!  And if exercise seems boring, kids can easily kick up the fun factor.  Let your kids be both the motivating factor in your own routine and the beneficiaries of an exercise program that trains them to be physically active. Why is this so important for your child?

Muscular strength, coordination and stamina all improve progressively, as does the ability to perform complex-pattern movements like dancing or shooting a basketball, so it’s best to start early in life. By the time your child is age 6, he or she should be encouraged to engage in physical activity to develop higher order motor skills that will progress as they grow older and continue training. Sedentary habits during their early school years are associated with lifetime risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Several of my own friends have admitted that rote exercise — say, running on a treadmill or endless rounds of situps — is less enjoyable than playing a sport.  Kids often feel the same way!  Sports such as swimming, basketball, cycling, dancing, or running provide fun and enjoyment but more importantly, also promote health.  Some of the benefits of physical activity include increasing cardiovascular endurance.  Aerobic activity can make the heart pump more efficiently, lowering blood pressure and increasing the levels of HDL ( good cholesterol ) that eliminates the “bad” fat in the bloodstream. T his may be hard to believe, but studies have shown fatty deposits in the arteries of children as early as age 3.

Other benefits of exercise include increased flexibility, making your child more agile. Stretching exercises are encouraged to improve flexibility and could be incorporated into the warm-up and cool-down part of an exercise regimen. As your child matures, he or she will be able to exercise for longer periods of time. Remember, stronger muscles also provide better support for the joints, hence offering protection from sports injuries.

On the other side of the coin, Livestrong.com lists media distractions and family influence as two of the main reasons why so many children don’t get enough exercise.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 18% of American children in the pre-pubertal years are obese. Medical complications aside, exercise can help burn calories and fat and reduce appetite. Additionally, a physically active child is less likely to experience stress related symptoms like headaches, stomachaches and more, caused partially by muscle tightness from unmanaged stress. Just as we all do, our children need to learn how to manage stress and diffuse it efficiently — engaging in exercise is an excellent way to do this. To most of us, a minute or two of walking doesn’t sound like a lot but to a child trying to lose weight, every bit of activity helps, whether it’s  climbing up a flight of stairs in school or taking a short walk through the park, accompanied by an adult.  Once your child gets into better shape, you can encourage her or him to pick up the pace and challenge her to increase the duration and intensity of the activity. The most important thing is to get them moving and have them do it on a regular basis!

Do you have a personal physical activity routine that you’d like to share with other BabyLeggers? Do you incorporate your children into your own exercise regimen, or encourage them to stay active and have fun? Comment below  and head over to our Facebook page tomorrow to discuss with other fans!

 

Warm Regards,

Dr. Pearl

All information contained in this blog and on our web site(s) should be independently verified by you by a medical professional of your own choosing and you should always conduct your own research and due diligence before making any decision related to the subject matter of this blog or our web site. 

———–

Dr. Pearl

 

Dr. Pearl Cenon

A pediatrician in private practice in New Jersey for over 15 years, Dr. Cenon (we like to call her Dr. Pearl) also has two children of her own. Dr. Pearl’s husband, Kevin McDonough is also a pediatrician and they work together. She writes basic posts about topics that interest many parents, from skin care and nutrition to seasonal issues, such as allergies and colds. Her kind, approachable tone in each blog post will have you looking forward to the next one.

Fashion Friday: April Showers Bring May Flowers and Fun Rain Boots!

Fashion meets function—you’ve heard it a million times to describe everything from handbag-inspired diaper bags to colorful Kitchen Aid mixers, but when it comes to children’s rain boots, I say let the flood gates open for imaginative, water poof designs guaranteed to brighten up April showers (and possibly snow showers).

Once considered a novelty item, like jelly sandals and cowboy boots, rain boots have secured a spot in children’s closets as a year-round essential ready to take on the increasingly unpredictable weather. Improvements to the materials, including more flexible, comfortable and lightweight rubber, have improved rain boots’ functionality, even stretching the use of the boots across all seasons. And the newest styles’ don’t muck about. Their durable, grippy soles can handle rain and flurries. Just slip on a pair of BabyLeg legwarmers for added warmth, or try out one of the latest neoprene models that trap heat and keep little legs dry.

But let’s get back to the fun stuff—fashion. The season’s pick of rain boots are not your old-timey, duck-like yellow wellies. (Although, Hunter has a new adorable yellow boot this spring that can conveniently roll up and pack into a school bag.) With rain, comes a blast of bright colors, bold prints and new silhouettes that will make you rethink functional fashion and have you checking the forecast for the next rainy day.

RainBoots2Water Babies

Monet was onto something when he painted those water lilies: magic can happen when you blend water with a dreamy color palette. Boots by Nina Kids and Kamik take on a painterly look with watercolor hues and is the perfect canvas for pretty prints like soft polka dots. For a more tongue-in-cheek nod to the artist—and inspiration for the next generation of great artists—Nina offers a whimsical boot with finger painted tulips.


Shape Shifters

One of the biggest gripes about rain boots is their bulkiness. This season brands are rethinking waterproof footwear by introducing a new class of easy-to-wear rain shoes in unconventional silhouettes that can be worn all day. Waterproof Mary Janes by Chooka will protect fancy socks from puddles, while low rubber slip-ons kick off as easy as kids’ favorite sneakers. Plus, these are the perfect silos to show off a pair of new legwarmers.

RainBoots1

 

RainBoots3

Sharp Contrast

Black and white meet again to create a bold, statement-making look, but a pop of red will surely help these boots hail down cabs (or school buses) in a flash. As in women’s fashion, the très chic combination smacks of uptown sophistication, but oversized prints like Hatley’s polka dots and Henry Ferrera’s take on hoodstooth add an element of downtown coolness to traditional rain boot silhouettes.

 

RainBoots4

 

 

 

 

Sporty Spice

Expect to see scuba-inspired neoprene in on boys’ tees and girls’ frocks and accessories as the athletic material trickles into fashion. Footwear brands are also discovering the wonders of neoprene by incorporating the durable and flexible material in their designs to help bring rain boots’ weight down and to add warm and comfort. Styles by The Original Muck Boot Company soak up springtime hues, while Lume offers a sportier alternative with neon and a side pocket to keep treasures.

Do you have a favorite pair of rain boots that you and your kiddos love?

 

________

About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.