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  • 2013 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Gifts for Second Time Moms!

    A second-time mom probably has all the most important baby gear items left over from her first born, making shopping for her a little bit trickier. Great gifts for the second-time mom are those that make her life easier and put her at ease.  See our top Holiday Gifts for the second-time mom:

    1) Nine Naturals Regenerative Belly Butter & Unscented Moisturizing Body Cream: Nine Naturals’ soothing creams will spoil mom as she welcomes another new baby to her family. Our products use organic emollients like broccoli seed oil and cupuaçu butter to increase elasticity, provide luxurious moisturization and keep stretch marks at bay.

    2) Diapers.com Gift Certificate: Diapers and baby wipes in bulk may not be the most luxurious gift, but it will rank among the most appreciated!

    3) Amazon Mom’s Membership Program: Open to anyone (mom, dad, grandma, helpful friend), the program provides 20% off many essentials for growing families, free two-day shipping, and a 15% baby registry completion discount. Extra benefits include unlimited tv shows and movies streaming from Prime Instant Video & a Kindle book to borrow free each month!

    4) Netflix Subscription: Nothing will make a 3am feeding more fun for the mom than a chance to catch up on the last season of her favorite show!

    5) Cleaning Service Certificate: With a first born to attend to, a soon-to-be second-time mom can find it difficult to prep the house for baby number two. The gift of a local cleaning service can be a lifesaver. Alternatively, you can use Angie’s List to locate a similar house cleaning service near the new mom.

    6) Professional Family Photo-shoot Gift Certificate: Help the second-time mom capture her growing family with a gift certificate for a professional photo-shoot. This gift will literally last a lifetime.

    7) Food: A gift certificate to a home meal delivery service or websites like Seamless.com or FreshDirect.com will make mealtimes easier. There are a number of companies out there that cater specifically to new moms and new families. They tend to be local – checkout what’s available in your area!

    8) Massage or Spa Gift Certificate: Pamper the second-time mom with a massage or spa treatment; it will help her relax and rejuvenate before the second baby arrives.

    9) Glam Squad: An at home blow out for the second-time mom? Yes please!

    What would you give as a gift to a mom in her second pregnancy?

    Tags: Gift Guide

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  • Things We’ve Read: Week of Nov. 17th, 2013

    Chemicals in Plastics and Cosmetics tied to Early Births (Reuters): A new study finds that women who delivered babies before 37 weeks had higher levels of phthalates.

    Till Baby Comes, Keep Smiling (NYTimes): Ever wondered if pregnant women in ads are just skinny (non-pregnant) models with strap-on bumps? Turns out, there is demand and supply for real pregnant models.

    10 Foods Sold in the U.S. That Are Banned Elsewhere (OracleTalk): Many countries have policies against ingredients that are harmful to humans. This is a practical guide of what to avoid & why.

    Lifestyle Changes Could Reduce Risk’ of Pregnancy Complications (MedicalNewsToday): A new study links lifestyle factors, including fruit intake in the months before pregnancy as well as socioeconomic factors, to certain pregnancy health outcomes.

    7 Natural And Effective Ways to Combat Pregnancy Insomnia (AllWomensTalk): Here are some simple ways to help you rest more easily while pregnant. We’d add tea and a warm bath (under 98 degrees Fahrenheit) to the list!

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  • Win Dapple Cleaning Products!

    We are teaming up with Dapple for a Facebook Giveaway of their green beauty products! Enter on Facebook!

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  • Greening Your “Clean” Routine! Using Safe Cleaners in the Home

    Think of the last ad you saw featuring a cleaning product – you probably heard promises of tough, grease-fighting powers and magical abilities to make soap scum, dirt and grime disappear.

    While we don’t dispute any of those claims, we posit that the price of such disinfecting far supersedes the price on the sticker.

    A danger for you, your baby and your family:

    According to a report by the EPA, the usage of commonplace household cleaning chemicals can create an indoor environment that is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. And the indoor air we breathe is far from the full story.

    We are further exposed to these chemicals through touch, food and objects in our home. Our skin comes in contact with surfaces with residual chemicals – like a our dining room table or toilet seat. We also are exposed to chemicals through the food that touches those surfaces – like countertops, plates and food containers. Toxic chemicals in the air can absorbed by porous household objects, like furniture, pillows, rugs, clothing and stuffed animals, which prolongs our exposure.

    Especially if you are pregnant or have young children at home, the quality of air in your home, where most of your day is spent, is vital to the healthy development of your children.

    Think of your laundry detergent, liquid hand soap, dryer sheets and air freshener. All are powerful disinfectants. Here is some information about the chemicals that are both powerful disinfectants and also dangerous for humans – particularly babies in the womb.  Some harmful ingredients in common cleaning products are

    • Perchloroethylene or “PERC”: Found in dry cleaning, spot removers and carpet cleaner, PERC is classified by the EPA as a  “likely human carcinogen”. Certain states such as California have already taken measures to phase out the use of PERC in cleaners by 2023. The most telltale sign of PERC’s presence is the chemical smell that lingers in your clothing after picking it up from the dry cleaners or in your carpet after a cleaning.
    • Triclosan: Found in “antibacterial” hand soaps and cleaners, triclosan is not currently known to pose any danger to humans; however, according to the FDA, studies involving animals have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. Furthermore, the American Medical Association recommends limiting the usage of anti-bacterial hand soaps containing triclosan because it may promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
    • Ammonia: Because of its ability to keep windows and glass surfaces streak free, ammonia is a frequently used ingredient in surface cleaners. Ammonia emits a strong, distinct chemical smell that is corrosive and irritating to people who inhale it. If you must use ammonia, use it in well-ventilated areas, as inhalation of ammonia fumes in high concentrations may cause respiratory distress or failure. Parents with young children should be extra cautious when they use ammonia-based cleaners, as children have less lung capacity than adults and could more quickly succumb to the potential harmful effects of ammonia fumes.
    • Sodium Hydroxide: It’s found commonly in oven cleaners and drain openers. Also known as lye, sodium hydroxide is a heavily corrosive compound and can cause severe chemical burns to the skin and eyes if exposed. If inhaled, sodium hydroxide may cause a sore throat.
    • Synthetic Fragrance: Many cleaning supplies contain synthetic fragrances to mask the chemical smell of the product itself. The fragrances added to these cleaning supplies, much like fragrances found in cosmetics, contain allergens and phthalates. The presence of synthetic fragrances may potentially cause respiratory problems for individuals with asthma or allergies or contribute to serious health problems in the long term, such as cancer or reproductive difficulties.  And “fragrance” is only one of the many potentially harmful ingredients found on the labels of cleaning products.

    A danger to the environment:

    The environmental impact of using conventional cleaning products is no more cheery than that of its affects on humans. Phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonia—all common ingredients found in commercial household cleaners—are listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as volatile organic compounds and as the worst environmental hazardous ingredients. After being rinsed down the drain or toilet bowl and traveling through miles of pipes, the chemicals resurface in bodies of water where they end up harming the aquatic wildlife, reducing the quality of water and contribute to local pollution.

    Greening your cleaning routine!

    So up until this point if you’ve “greened” your skincare regimen, your makeup routine, and your diet, that’s great news! And now it’s finally time to start on greening your cleaning routine.

    Here are some tips!

    • Look for eco-friendly commercial cleaners. Look for cleaning supplies that have plant-based ingredients.Nine Naturals supports Dapple, Seventh Generation, Bon Ami, Earth Friendly Products, PlanetInc, Dr. Bronner’s, Nature Clean & Eco-Me.
    • Avoid fragrances. Unless they’re derived from plant-based sources, avoid them. More often than not, the term “fragrance” will encompass phthalates. As we mentioned, synthetic fragrances may cause irritation to those with allergies and sensitivities. Look for fragrance free cleaners to take out the possibilities of you, or someone you love, suffering from
    • DIY! Your cabinets probably already have the ingredients to make much safer, and more environmentally friendly cleaning products. Checkout The Daily Green’s list of Green Cleaning Recipes!
      • Use vinegar to your advantage. It works wonders not only in your food but also as a multipurpose household cleaner. Vinegar works as a glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner and stain remover. (Look here on how to prepare the vinegar.) Plus, it’s inexpensive—you can buy it in bulk at the supermarket for cheap.
      • Baking soda is an effective alternative cleaner. On a segment with the TODAY show, environmentalist Deridre Imus recommended practical green cleaning solutions, one of which was to sprinkle one’s carpeting with baking soda to prevent mold and curb bacteria growth.
      • Lemon juice battles tough stains. Use lemon juice to clean off tough water stains on your shower doors and chrome. You can also scrub your pots and pans with lemon for a nice, green clean.

    If you are unsure about the “greenness” of your cleaning products, visit EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning Products.

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  • Things We’ve Read: Week of Nov. 11th, 2013

    Pregnant mothers who exercise boost babies’ brains, claim researchers (The Guardian): The babies born to mothers who were physically active during pregnancy are found to have more mature cerebral activation as early as 12 days after birth.

    Staying in the Game (WellRounded NY): Thinking of leaving your job once the baby arrives? Here are 3 great tips for staying relevant while out of the workforce.

    BPA may affect sperm quality (Environmental Health News): BPA is a family issue. Men with higher BPA levels were more likely to have poorer sperm quality.

    Extreme Chemical Sensitivity Makes Sufferers Allergic to Life (Discover Magazine): Ever heard of TILT? Interesting article about about chemical sensitivity and the disorders we might develop due to extreme chemical exposure.

    Don’t Ever Apologize for being a Good Parent (Fast Company): Read about this important lesson, as well as more advice from the author for hard-working women.

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  • Shop Smarter: Buying Organic While Pregnant – Introduction to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

    Buying organic produce has become an increasingly popular shopping habit of consumers in the recent years. Although, organic produce is priced distinctly higher than their non-organic counterparts, buying organic produce comes with its benefits. By shopping organic, one avoids ingesting pesticides that are found in non-organic produce—the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has estimated that individuals can reduce their exposure to pesticides by 80% by eating organic produce.

    Avoiding the consumption of pesticides is important to the health of you and your family. According to laboratory studies conducted by the EPA, long-term exposure to pesticides via consumption can cause birth defects, nerve damage and cancer, depending on the type and amount of pesticide exposures.

    To help educate consumers as what to avoid when shopping for non-organic produce, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases the annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce detailing produce that contain the highest amount and lowest amount of pesticide residue.

    In government tests conducted by the FDA and USDA and analyzed by the EWG, detectable pesticides were found in approximately 67 percent of these foods after being prepped for cooking (washing and peeling). Every year, the EWG uses the government pesticide-testing data to compile a list of the fruits and vegetables with the greatest amount of pesticide residue and the least amount of pesticide data known as the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

    Dirty Dozen

    The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. When conventionally grown, the fruits and vegetables collected tested positive for over 47 chemicals.

    The most contaminated fruits are apples, strawberries, grapes, peaches and imported nectarines.

    The most contaminated vegetables are celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers.

    In addition, the EWG cautions consumers about conventionally grown summer squash and leafy greens.

    Clean Fifteen:

    On the flipside, here are the Clean Fifteen – the 15 fruits and vegetables possess the lowest amount of pesticides after they had been washed: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushroom, onion, papaya, pineapple, frozen sweet peas, sweet potatoes.

    If you decide to buy non-organic, conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, these are the ones to familiarize yourself with.

    Shopping Smarter During Pregnancy

    While you want to avoid environmental toxins such as pesticides, the Environmental Working Group emphasizes that the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh pesticide exposures. It is particularly important for pregnant women to eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables to ensure the proper intake of vitamins and nutrients for the healthy development of their babies.

    That said, use the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen to help inform your shopping decisions. You can lower your pesticide exposures buy choosing organic alternatives for the 12 fruits and vegetables that comprise the Dirty Dozen. Choose the least contaminated fruits and vegetables by using the Clean Fifteen as a guide.

    You can use the labeling on produce at the grocery store to help you determine whether a fruit or vegetable is organic or not. The Price Lookup Code, also known as the PLU, on the produce sticker will tell you how the food was grown.

    1. Organic: If the PLU code starts with “9” and is comprised of 5 digits, that means that the produce was grown organically and is not genetically modified (non-GMO). Ex. An organically grown banana has the code 94011.

    2. Conventional: If the PLU code is comprised of 4 digits, that means the produce was grown conventionally and with the use of pesticides. Ex. A conventionally grown banana has the code 4011.

    3. Genetically Modified: If the PLU code starts with “8” and is comprised of 5 digits, that means the produce is genetically modified. Ex. A genetically engineered banana has the code 84011.

    We hope these tips help you to make you a smarter shopper! Here’s to healthy eating and healthy families!

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