Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breastfeeding - What A Girl Wants?

I originally posted this piece in a different blog on 9/12/09.  At that time, the doll was slated to be released in the U.S. in 2010.  That never transpired, however, recent news stories have the doll, known in the U.S. as The Breast Milk Baby, ready to hit the retail market here soon.  As you'll see in the original post below, two years ago, I was conflicted about the arrival of such a doll.  To be honest, I still am.  What's your feeling?  Is this a doll you would purchase for your daughter, neice, granddaughter, etc.?

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The story on this new doll for girls broke just over a month ago, but I've refrained from writing about it until now. Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about it then, and I didn't want to write something that was simply a knee jerk reactionary piece. Now, 5 weeks later, though, I'm still not completely sure how I feel about it, so I figured that would be the point of the post.

If you haven't seen it yet, the doll in question is Bebe Gloton, the latest offering from a Spanish company by the name of Berjuan who is also the manufacturer of the toy. It is already being marketed in Spain and is slated to hit US stores next year. Basically, the way it works is that the owner of the doll, presumably a young girl somewhere in the age range of 4-7, puts on a specially made halter type top (it can be worn over her clothes) that has two plastic flowers strategically placed right where her nipples would be. When the doll's face is turned toward the girl's chest and is brought close to one of the flowers, a sensor in the flower activates motions and sounds in the doll consistent with that of suckling.

Like I said, I'm still a mixed bag of reactions to this doll. On one hand, I say "great!" I've watched little girls pretend to breastfeed their dolls before. It's only natural if the little girl in question is an older sister to a child that she regularly sees being fed that way or if the little girl herself is still being breastfed. Besides, teaching our young girls that breastfeeding is natural and a healthy way to feed our babies is a good thing.

On the other hand, though, I say "oh, my!" Teaching girls that breastfeeding is as easy as putting on a halter top is not the right message. I mean, didn't people kick and scream when pregnant Barbie came out? They felt it sent the wrong message to have Barbie pregnant one minute and then just remove her belly and have her Barbie-skinny the next. Not to mention the fact that girls at that age are just learning about modesty, and this may send a mixed message to them. And, let's not forget that boys play with dolls sometimes, too. It's hard enough for some people to deal with the fact that their boy wants to play with a doll in the first place. What happens when little Tommy wants to put on the halter top and breastfeed, too?

To their credit, Berjuan did their homework before bringing the doll to market. Director of sales and marketing Cesar Bernabeu has indicated that psychologists and teachers were consulted in the development of the toy, and that it has also received the approval of a pro-breast-feeding organization in Spain, the Asociacion Pro-Lacttancia Meterna de Espana. It's important to remember, too, that in Spain, as well as in many parts of Europe and parts of the world other than the US, breastfeeding is seen much differently. It's seen as a natural part of mothering, and it's much more "normal" to see women breastfeeding.

So, given that this is coming from a part of the world where breastfeeding is more widely accepted, is it so surprising that a doll like this would emerge? Let's face it, we've had dolls in the US for years that drink from bottles, burp, pee, and poop. We don't seem to think that those things are unusual in a doll. We don't seem to think that teaching little girls to feed, burp, and change a diaper is too much at a young age, so why not teach them about breastfeeding, too? Is it rather hypocritical of Americans, in general, to say that this doll isn't sending the right message to our little girls, but then spend our dollars on Bratz dolls, backpacks, movies, etc.? Like I said, I'm still riding the fence as far as what my personal opinion is about the doll. I guess we'll see what happens when they emerge in our market next year!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Easy Tips for Green Living - Part Two

Have you been making some green changes in your life yet?  As promised here are five more tips to help you green up your lifestyle and your family!

6.  Use alternate forms of transportation - save some gas, save some money, save the planet!  Whether it's using mass transit, biking, or walking, it's good for you and good for Mother Nature.  Even if you do drive to run your errands.  Try consolidating your errands so you only have to make one trip.  Park in a central location and walk between your stops.

7.  Visit your library - eReaders are great but think of the energy and parts and pieces that go into creating them.  Likewise, books are obviously printed using paper and that requires trees; lots of them.  Why not find that book you're looking for at your local library?  One book can be shared by hundreds if not thousands of people over the years and, if you really love it, then you can go out and buy a copy of your own to keep.

8.  Grow something edible - you don't have to be a master gardener and you don't even have to have a huge yard (or even any yard for that matter).  You'll be amazed at how great it feels to serve something to your family that you've grown yourself.  Whether it's green beans and carrots from your backyard garden or basil from your windowsill pots, you're cultivating healthy habits for years to come for your family.

9.  Give (and ask for) experiences - be honest, you've got tons of "stuff" around your home.  Most people do.  How many times have you wondered what to give someone as a gift because they "have everything"?  At the end our lives, we won't wish had more stuff but more experiences; more memories.  Give the gift of a dinner out for some new parents.  Ask for a prenatal massage as a shower gift.  Cleaning service once a month, tickets to a concert or play, a donation in the recipient's name to a great charity like Heifer International.  All of those things and more will lead to more memories and less clutter in your life and in your garage!

10.  Choose cloth or paper over plastic - plastic bags have become the norm in most grocery stores these days.  Yes, they have reusable bags for sale right at the check stand but when was the last time anyone asked if you wanted to purchase one instead of using plastic?  Most self checkout lanes don't even offer the option of paper anymore.  Plastic bags take 500 years of more to breakdown in a landfill.  That means the plastic bag you throw away today will still be there when your grandchildren are born... and when their grandchildren are born!  It's not natural.  It's not good for our planet.  It's not good for us and our families.

Like I said at the beginning of the Part One post, I'm not a hardcore greenie but these are all tips that are easy for all of us to incorporate.  And, if each of us does just a little, we can make a big impact on our world and in the lives of our families.

Got a green tip that you'd like to share that wasn't listed in these posts? Please share!  We always love to hear how you choose to live mindfully!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Easy Tips for Green Living - Part One

Let's be honest, I'm not a hardcore eco-green girl.  I still drive an SUV that I love, I still buy instant macaroni & cheese for my kids, and it's been forever and a day since I've visited a farmer's market for anything other than a giant bag of kettle corn.  With that being said, I do recycle like a mad woman, limit my driving in my precious SUV, and grow a garden each year.   I think most people are like that... not necessarily living off grid, but not wanting to make a concerted effort to live a greener lifestyle.

For many people, the shift happens after they have children or even during pregnancy.  It's a common occurrence.  We suddenly find ourselves constantly thinking about the welfare and future of someone other than ourselves.  Whatever place you're at, though, there are some really simple ways to create a greener lifestyle.

1.  Learn to cook - it's surprising how many people don't know how to cook something that doesn't originate in a box, can or jar.  Doing so, though, leaves you at the mercy of food companies and all the additives, preservatives, fillers, and who knows what else they put into their foods.  If you're new to cooking from scratch, don't overwhelm yourself.  You don't have to be Julia Child, after all.

2.  Become a label reader - most of us are used to looking at the nutritional label on foods these days.  But, what about other products you use daily on your body and in your home?  What about your shampoo?  Your laundry detergent?  You'll be surprised at what you find!  In fact, you probably won't even be able to pronounce most of what is in them.  Look for natural alternatives and don't be fooled by a label that says "natural" or "organic".  There are no regulations on the labeling of these products and they are often still filled with all manner of toxic stuff!

3.  Ditch the bottled water - you hear it all the time, right? Sorry to harp on it again, but it's true.  We're only now beginning to understand some of the dangers associated with plastics and our food.  By tossing the plastic bottles, you're not only eliminating that risk but you're also keeping tons (yes, literally tons) of plastics out of our landfills.  Plus, think of the savings. You'll save tons of money by crossing it off your shopping list and replacing it with a great filter for your home faucet and a few good reusable bottles.

4.  Buy second hand - you don't have to do this for all things.  In fact, I don't recommend it for all things (like carseats!).  But, honestly, there are some amazing second hand stores out there.  And, let's face it, maternity clothes are expensive.  Baby clothes are expensive.  How long will you or your munchkin even be wearing them?  Whether it's clothing, furniture, or anything in between, you'll be saving money and reusing some fabulous items!

5.  Green your home with houseplants - they add natural beauty to your home and help cleanse your air, an especially important job during winter months when your home is closed up tight.  Not a green thumb?  No problem! There are plenty of options that require very little attention to thrive.  Try lucky bamboo or a striking bromeliad.  The bromeliad's bloom will last for months, too!

Stay tuned later in the week for five more easy green tips!  Until then, live mindfully!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Ugly Truth About Baby Oil

If you know anything about em, you know that we pride ourselves on using only natural ingredients in our products. Of course, we all know that natural is best; but sometimes I think it's even more important to know why some products out there aren't the best for us to use on/in our bodies, not to mention that of our darling babies!

So, first, a few questions. Raise your hand if you've ever used baby oil on your baby. How about on yourself? Tons of women use baby oil on their pregnant bellies to keep their skin soft, so, if you are/were one of them, it doesn't surprise me. And, baby oil seems like a perfectly natural thing to put on our babies, doesn't it? I mean, it's called "baby" oil, right?  Think again!

I've known for years that the base ingredient in baby oil is mineral oil. You may know that, too. But, mineral oil doesn't sound so awful. It must have minerals in it, right? In reality, mineral oil is made from petroleum. That's something I knew because of all the research I do, but is it something you knew? Most people don't even think of it. Petroleum is, of course, a naturally occurring substance. However, the refining process it goes through in order to render it into what is marketed to us as body products is not.  It includes all types of caustic substances including sulphuric acid. Now add to that the fact that many petroleum compounds are known to be carcinogenic. Thinking twice about the use of baby oil and petroleum jelly yet?

So, that brings me to something I found online awhile back that really made my skin crawl. Really, it's stuff I already knew; but I had never heard it worded this way and it's pretty powerful. This is from a description of mineral oils found on a Canadian aromatherapy site...
They should not be used for massage with essential oils; they are not a suitable medium as they do not absorb into the skin, but lie on the surface therefore stopping the skin functioning effectively. The body cannot cope with mineral oils so they are deposited in the tissue as toxin. Mineral oils are dead oils that diminish the positive effect of essential oils.
Umm, OK, like I said, can you say "gross"? Makes you really think about putting petroleum jelly on anybody's body much less using baby oil, right? The thought, like I said, makes my skin crawl. And, again, that's why em only uses natural ingredients. Mother Nature gives us some mighty fine ingredients to use, and we think Mother knows best.

If you haven't tried our fabulous body products yet, I invite you to try them. You'll be delighted at how great your skin feels, and you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're doing the right thing for your skin. If you're specifically looking for something to replace your baby oil with, try our body oil. It's a delicious blend of 4 natural oils that absorbs easily and won't leave you feeling greasy.  Light enough to use every day, it's the perfect replacement!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sensational Strawberry Facial

Summer is in full swing and it's nearly impossible to not find strawberries in grocery stores, farmer's markets, and backyard gardens everywhere.  While they are packed with nutritional goodness for your insides, they're high levels of antioxidents and salicylic acid make them the perfect ingredient for a wonderfully refreshing summer facial, too!

We found these super simple facial recipes at, where else, http://www.strawberry-recipes.com/.  You can quickly whip these up with ingredients you likely already have at home.  Then, all you have to do is relax while the facial does the rest (and maybe munch on a few extra berries, too)!


  • 4 to 5 very ripe, medium size strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Rinse strawberries and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. In a small bowl, mash fruit with a fork. Add cream and honey, mixing well. Apply immediately and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse of with lots of warm water.


  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh milk
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour or cornstarch
Mash together all the ingredients to make a smooth paste. Spread over your face and neck and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.

See what we mean?  EA - SY!!  This would be a perfect way to use some of those berries that may be getting a little soft and on the overly ripe side, too!  Live mindfully, facial friends!

Baby, It's Hot Out There

Recently, I've been seeing a lot of pregnant women when I've been out and about.  That's not necessarily unusual because I seem to have knack for spotting them; but lately it seems I'm seeing an unusually large number of them.  And, they've been VERY pregnant women. Gosh, my heart went out to them during these warm summer months! 

When I was pregnant with my first child, it was a blazing hot summer. I remember spending many hours under the one ceiling fan in the house, sucking on 7-Up ice cubes (one of my cravings during that pregnancy), and trying in vain to feel cooler. It's hard enough to keep cool when you're not pregnant, much less when you're walking around feeling like you really are cooking a little bun in an oven!

Right now you're body is working very hard at creating that beautiful new life inside of you, so the massive amounts of energy that it takes to cool your body, too (and keep it that way), can easily leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, and even the victim of heat exhaustion. Even worse, when you are feeling the extreme effects of the heat, so is your baby. That's why, when it's so hot outside AND you're pregnant, it's especially important to find ways to keep cool.

So, what can you do to keep cool? Well, first thing's first. Stay hydrated! Yes, you already feel like you have to pee every 40 minutes and the thought of consuming more liquids is a bit terrifying; but, believe me, it's the right thing to do. First, because your body needs it to replace the fluids that you're losing from sweating. Second, because it's just plain good for you; and, third, dehydration actually increases the body's core body temperature.

The next thing you can do to stay cool is to actually try to not do anything. Be still; try to be active as little as possible during the hottest parts of the day. Do your errands early in the day. Wait until night to do that load of laundry. And, during the afternoon, take a rest near a fan, lie down and watch a movie, or catch up on your journaling. Just promise yourself to do so guilt-free! Remember, by taking it easy in the heat, you're actually doing the right thing for your body and your baby.

Third, lower your core body temperature by taking a cool shower or bath. No time for that? Try placing a cold washcloth on the back of your neck. You can even use paper towels if you're away from home and need a quick cool down. Another easy trick that was, and still is, one of my favorites is to sit with your feet in a tub of cool water. You see, our bodies are curious things. When we're cold, the body's reaction is to conserve heat in our core by reducing circulation to our extremities. That's the reason our hands and feet are usually the first to feel the effects of the cold. When we're hot and the body is trying to cool itself, the opposite happens with those extremities. Think about how great it feels to go wading in a cool pond or stream on a hot day. Soaking your feet in a tub of cool water will give you the same feeling. It's amazing how much cooler you'll feel all over if you focus some of that cooling on the right places.

Finally, if you think you may be suffering from heat exhaustion - signs may include headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and a faint or rapid pulse - contact your health care provider immediately.

Keep cool, my friends, and live mindfully!