January 29, 2011 (8:02 pm)

Homeschooling Journey Begins: Cognitive Development Activities, Part I

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

I’ve been researching a lot about baby development since before I became pregnant with Kamea. Even though Kamea is only 7 months old, we have been doing things with her since birth to promote development. I consider this as starting her homeschool even at this young age. So, I plan to blog about these homeschooling activities and share what we are doing and I welcome comments and sharing about what other parents are doing out there to promote development and what homeschooling activities you do.

Did you know that a baby is born with an IQ that is not fixed? There is a range that’s determined by genes, but within that range, IQ can vary as much as 20-30 points depending on pre- and postnatal environmental exposure such as nutrition, health, and experiences. Thus, nature and nurture are braided together.

It’s the environmental experiences I’m focusing on today. It’s fascinating to know that the majority of the brain’s wiring actually occurs during the first few years of life. Most of the brain cells are created before birth, but the all-important connections between them are primarily formed after birth. Before kindergarten, a baby’s brain is developing, growing, and soaking up information like a sponge. Much of the wiring for specific brain structures occurs during critical developmental windows, meaning if certain wiring doesn’t occur by a certain time, it never will. For this reason, from almost the day Kamea was born, Greg and I wasted no time in getting started.

There have been a number of things we’ve done so far… Read More »

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January 24, 2011 (12:26 am)

Packing The Diaper Dude Diaper Bag

topics: Diapers, Travel
by Kristen Suzanne

I was asked recently about what I pack in the diaper bag when we head out. We were about to leave, all packed up, and I thought, “Hey, let’s record a quick video.”

I blogged previously about the diaper bag here. And, for those of you interested in the organic pillow, it’s from here.

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January 16, 2011 (12:45 am)

Review (video) of Babywearing Carriers – Pros and Cons

topics: Babywearing
by Kristen Suzanne

Below are two videos showcasing my favorite babywearing carriers and wraps. I tried to cover some basic information as well as some pros and cons of each. If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below. I also put a summary list of the pros and cons below the videos, with links. Remember… these are my opinions. Certain baby wearing carriers can be great for some moms and not for others. It can depend on the size and shape of the mama, the baby’s body and desires, the climate, the way they’ll be used, etc. My review is based on trying many different models, (some of which are not even mentioned in the video – ring slings, Karma Baby – because they didn’t work for us). To save time, I went ahead and showcased the ones I liked the best and used the most.

Wrap (Moby, Gypsy Mama)

Pros: Looks and feels all-jedi-bad-ass when it’s on, very earth mama, pretty, versatile, folds up easily for travel, organic available in some

Cons: Not always easy to use, fairly steep learning curve,  baby sags after a while (although the “woven” wraps might help with that), no pocket

Pikkolo

Pros: great sun shade, ability to wear front/facing out, super cute, rolls up fairly small, supposed to be able to use with an infant but I didn’t try that, multiple positions

Cons: waist buckle doesn’t have a second security feature, no pocket, have to buckle shoulder straps every time you put it on which isn’t super easy, the place where the baby’s butt goes doesn’t feel as secure as it does in the Ergo and Beco, not organic but I use these organic sucking pads with it

Ergo with infant insertErgo

Pros: organic option, easy to use(!), has a pocket, sun shade, rolls up fairly small, infant insert available, multiple positions, waist buckle has second security feature, super comfy

Cons: there aren’t any really… this carrier does not allow for front/facing out, but I don’t use that position much in the other carriers that allow it anyway. Kamea likes this carrier quite a bit, but prefers the one mentioned below…

Beco Gemini

Pros: organic option, easy to use(!), multiple positions including front/facing out (neat to have even if I don’t use it much), waist buckle has second security feature, super comfy and sturdy, can be used with an infant but I have not tried that, it’s Kamea’s favorite.

Cons: the black collects lint like mad, doesn’t roll up very well, no sun cover, no pocket, due to its “sturdiness” it might not be optimal in hot weather like we experience here in the desert.

I forgot to show you (in the video) the cover I have for babywearing in cold weather. It’s very cool, useful, and super snuggly. Here is a link.

What are your favorite baby wearing carriers and why?

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January 10, 2011 (6:57 pm)

Introducing Solids to Babies… Not Yet For Kamea But Getting Ready

by Kristen Suzanne

Sorry for my lack of posts the past couple of weeks. Between Kamea, taking care of household duties, and maintaining my Kristen’s Raw blog… time sure does fly, eh? Kamea turned 6 months of age at the end of December 2010 – yowza! It’s so exciting to watch her grow and see her little personality coming out. It’s been a non-stop blast with her.

Traditionally, this is the time that many parents are excited to try giving their baby solids to eat. But, we haven’t followed that tradition. She’s about 6.5 months now and I don’t feel the need to introduce solids yet. I’ve read a number of sources that state a mom can breastfeed her baby exclusively for up to a year. While that is not my goal or intention, I do feel a strong pull in the direction to go beyond the conventional 6-month mark of exclusive breastfeeding.

There are a few markers that many parents look for before introducing solids:

1) Teeth – Kamea doesn’t have any teeth yet. However, some babies don’t start teething until close to a year old. This doesn’t mean you don’t introduce solids before that, but some people use it as one indicator (of a few) as to the readiness of baby to have solids.

2) Sitting up unassisted and having solid head control – Kamea started sitting unassisted just before she turned 6 months. She’s had solid head control for awhile.

3) Interest in foods – Many babies show their eagerness towards solids by reaching for mama’s food. Kamea hasn’t really done this. She definitely eyes us when we’re eating, but she doesn’t grab for it specifically. She pretty much grabs for everything within reach, so her reach for my smoothie cup doesn’t tell me she’s trying to reach for it to drink it.

4) Hunger – If a baby seems hungry beyond the normal feedings of breastmilk then it could be a sign of readiness for solids.

Most importantly though, I’m simply following my own mama intuition. Read More »

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January 9, 2011 (12:57 pm)

Congrats, Jess! You Win!

topics: Giveaway
by Kristen Suzanne

Congratulations, Jess! You are the winner of the Vitamin Code – Kids Formula vitamins in this giveaway. Just email me your address and I’ll get them shipped to you.

Here is what Jess had to say when asked what her favorite time of year is and why:

I love fall! The crispness in the air and apple picking! Thanks, Jess

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January 4, 2011 (6:03 pm)

Green Mommy Blog Giveaway! Vitamin Code – Kids Formula

topics: Giveaway
by Kristen Suzanne

Exciting time! It’s Green Mommy Blog Giveaway time. Whoo hoo! This giveaway is sponsored by Garden of Life / Vitamin Code and they’re offering one of my lucky readers a bottle of their Kids Formula – chewable vitamins. I’m a big proponent of getting nutrition through fresh food but to ensure that all the nutrient needs are being met, a multi-vitamin can be a smart way to go. I have not used this product because I don’t have kids of the age that would take them. Also, for vegans out there, this product may, or may not be, considered vegan because of the vitamin D3. You can check out more info on it via their website for that and decide.

According to Vitamin Code, here are some details about their Kids Formula… Read More »

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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