To Plan or Not to Plan? Earnest Thoughts About Birth Plans.

To Plan or Not to Plan? Earnest Thoughts About Birth Plans.

To plan or not to plan? Earnest mom says PLAN!

Okay – so I have to admit, a year and a half ago while chatting with my sis-in-love about her delivery she said the mysterious words “birth plan.”  And my earnest brain thought, “pfft, I planned on having a birth so I had a birth plan right?!”…guess not.  If you are just as mystified as I was, I will earnestly try to help!

A birth plan is something that you write out BEFORE you go into labor, you then make copies and give it to your practitioner, partner, hospital when you register and anyone else that will be supporting you while you experience the delivery of your child.  The purpose of having a birth plan is so when you are in the middle of such a life changing event you will not have to be bombarded with questions like – if you want aromatherapy, or music, would you like a birthing ball or an epidural, etc.  It may not seem like a big deal now but when you are in the middle of a contraction or the doctor is checking dilation – trust me when I say the last thing you want to be doing is making what will feel like, a million decisions.  Your birth plan is a simple plan that is well thought out to communicate how you desire to experience the birth of your child. Flexibility is a must though, life can be unpredictable and so can child birth, so know that depending on how things go, be prepared in case your plan may need to be modified.

I can only speak to my own experience having delivered earnest boy five years ago with no birth plan and delivering earnest baby nine months ago with one.  I had no idea that going into labor I had so many options, and most with no previous patient instruction, are choices that will be made for you. My hospital provided a concise template for my birth plan (was available for my first born but like I said I was CLUELESS) which can be found here at Birth Plan – Beaumont Hospital.  I printed this plan out, filled in my preferences and gave copies to the hospital when I registered, when I was admitted, then to my practitioner, while keeping the original for earnest dad and I.  Because of my birth plan I was able to immediately have access to lavender aroma therapy, a Jacuzzi tub birthing suite and dim lighting (all were arranged prior to my earnest arrival).  I was also able to plan to have limited visitors during labor, have earnest baby placed on me immediately after delivery for skin to skin bonding (no bath until first feeding was established), wait to clamp the cord until it had finished pulsing, of course to have earnest dad be the cord-cutter, and to have earnest baby room in with all procedures (bathing, assessment and tests) while remaining roomed in for the duration of my stay.  I felt so in control with my delivery, especially knowing we were going to do everything that had been planned, it was earnestly liberating and comforting, and I loved knowing that I made my own decisions.

If you are currently pregnant or trying, earnestly consider making a birth plan to keep you, your partner and ultimately that tiny little baby stress-free during what can be the most stress your body and your babes may ever experience.  Below, I have included some easy, some lengthy and very informative birth plan templates to help you on your way.  Happy planning earnest followers!

x.

earnest mom.

The Bump Magazine’s Birth Plan

The March of Dimes’ Birth Plan

Earth Mama’s Birth Plan (which I actually would have used had my hospital not provided one)

United Health Care’s Birth Plan

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Healthy Baby. Healthy Home. Earnest thoughts on Generation Good by Seventh Generation.

Healthy Baby. Healthy Home. Earnest thoughts on Generation Good by Seventh Generation.

As some of you may know, I was recently selected to host a Health Baby Home Party as a member of Seventh Generation’s Generation Good – I feel so honored to host this in Erie, and I felt to share with you why you might want to join too.

Seventh Generation is a brand, yes.  It is an all natural and organic brand that provides household products (from paper plates to dish soap), baby products (from chlorine free diapers to body lotion), to health and beauty (feminine care products to hand soap).  They earnestly care about what you are putting in contact with your skin.  Their name is Seventh Generation because they are concerned about the next seven generations after ours and what things will look like for their futures.  

Recently, Seventh Gen announced that they have teamed up with Whole Foods for a buy/give program.  From May to September 2015, for every package of Free and Clear Diapers that purchased at any Whole Foods Market in the US, Seventh generation will donate a pack of newborn or size 1 diapers to non profit organizations that donate baby essentials to families in need across the US – a program I find quite admirable.

Seventh Gen’s Generation Good (which can be found at Generation Good ), there are resources for you to find forums of information and tips from parents who are concerned with toxins that our children come into contact with, you can also apply to host your very own Health Baby Home Party – where you will receive free products from Seventh Generation, Zarbees and Bobble, and a lot of information about cleaning toxins out of our homes. 

   

I am very excited to host Healthy Baby Home Party this coming month – in fact if you are in the Erie, Pennsylvania area and are interested in attending the party please contact me at earnestmomblog@gmail.com.  If you are not in the area but want to participate, like Earnest Mom’s Facebook page to attend the online portion of the party where you will be eligible to win a Seventh Generation Home Prize Pack! (Giveaway open to both residents of Canada and the United States). Date and time will be announced on Facebook page. 

Please know that Seventh Generation does not endorse this post nor am I receiving any compensation  – its just my earnest desire to share information on a such a global conscious company.

x

earnest mom

I Screen. You Screen. An Earnest look at Sunscreen – plus an earnest give away!

I Screen. You Screen. An Earnest look at Sunscreen – plus an earnest give away!

With the summer’s sunny season quickly approaching I have been doing some earnest research on sun safety and our skin.  According to the American Cancer Society, people who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer – sunlight being a main source of UV rays.  If you have been burned once in your life, you may be at a greater risk of developing skin cancer; since our children are dependent on us – lets keep their skin safe.  Of course, this does not mean stay out of the sun completely but to follow basic sun safety.  Seek the shade on sunny days (you will still get UV exposure even in the shade), wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), cool long layers, and a hat.

When it comes to sunscreen, most of us buy one of the major brands like the one with the puppy pulling on the girls bathing suit or the one that smells like sunny vacations – hot and tropical, but I would earnestly encourage that we turn that bottle over and read what we are slopping on our skin in the heat of the day.  Remember, our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs all chemicals it comes into contact with instantly – which is directly absorbed into to our bloodstream.

The majority of big brand labels (non-mineral or organic based) sunscreen’s active UV filter ingredients are Oxybenzone, which acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women; Rentinyl Acetate, a synthetic vitamin A ingredient – the FDA has raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations; Octinoxate which creates hormone-like activity in the reproductive system, and linked to thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies.  These ingredients are among only some of the concerning ingredients (others are parabens and fragrances) that have been proven to attribute not only to hormone disruption, but have been found to be linked to cancer and skin allergies.  So – whoa, earnest information overload I know, and if you are interested in learning more I urge to you to do some of your own research, start with the Environmental Working Groups website article The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals, and from there check out their other links that are helpful and informative.

Okay, so now what?  Well there are sunscreens out there that are mineral based, which on the whole are much more safer for you than the ingredients already listed. When shopping for a safer sunscreen use the following criteria:

  1. Stay away from ALL aerosol spray screens – the inhalation factor raises too many concerns.
  2. Natural does not always mean safe – check ingredients and avoid the ones listed above.
  3. Stay with mineral based – look for the following ingredients Titanium DioxideZinc Oxide or Mexoryl SX.
  4. Avoid SPF higher than 50, there has been little evidence of the increased protection once the SPF has reached 50. (According the EWG – High-SPF products may give people a false sense of security, tempt them to stay in the sun too long, suppress sunburns but upping the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering limiting SPF claims to 50+, as is done in other countries.)
  5. NO tanning oils – the offer minimal sun protection and placing oil on your skin only magnifies the harmful rays we are trying to protect ourselves from.

If you are not in the mood for looking and researching all ingredients here are some of my favorite, low toxicity exposure sunscreens that I love (and will also be giving away).  For the earnest kiddos, I like BabyGanics, not only is it mineral based but is also friendly on the checkbook.  BabyGanics offers 2 cream based sunscreens (one in a tube, another in non-aerosol, pump spray form) both go on nicely and are fragrance free for sensitive skin, water resistant (80 minutes), tear free, hypoallergenic, and have NO PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.  BabyGanics can be found at Target, Babies R Us and other big box stores that have natural or organic sections.  For the whole earnest family I like The Honest Company‘s Sunscreen Lotion.  It is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, it is also a bit higher in cost.  If you are already a subscription holder you can get it at a discounted rate, and can also be found at Target stores.  This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, non-Nano, mineral-based, biodegradable, reef-friendly, water resistant (80 minutes)  and pH balanced.

For my everyday facial lotion, I am sure to use a face cream that contains SPF 20, I use UrbanOreganics Green Tea facial moisturizer (you can find my review of the item here).  This cream contains no harsh chemicals and leaves your skin feeling soft and well moisturized, without feeling greasy. It is thick, but not heavy, and will fully absorb into your skin in a matter of minutes. Perfect for all skin types. SPF is from Zinc Oxide and the cream is vegan, organic and contains non GMO ingredients.

Earnest followers, get out and enjoy the sun, its vitamin D, its light and its warmth – but let’s be safe and choose mineral based coverage in addition to covering up when we can. Have fun in the sun!

To Enter To Win Sweepstakes:

Please share your sun safety tips in the comments below (one entry per person) to enter to win an earnest sun safe prize pack that will include my favorite sunscreens listed in this post (UrbanOreganics SPF 20 facial cream, The Honest Company SPF 30 Sunscreen lotion and BabyGanics SPF 50 mineral based sunscreen lotion – valued at over $50.00). Earn extra entries by sharing on Facebook/Twitter and come back and comment “shared” in the comments section.  The earnest giveaway closes 5-31-15 and is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on 6-1-15.  **Participants must 18 years of age or older.

x.

earnest mom.

Earnest Tip:  SPF cannot “add up” – if you use SPF 15 facial cream, then apply SPF 30 suncreen, the protection factor is 30 – it does not add up to 45.  This is a common consumer mistake so lets spread the word and be sun safe.

Baby Steps. An earnest attempt at homemade baby food. 

Baby Steps. An earnest attempt at homemade baby food. 

Wash. Peel. Steam. Purée. That easy right?? Sure – it was that easy, four exhausting hours of easy; but for two weeks worth of what 7 month old earnest baby will eat – it’s worth it’s weight in gold…err time.  How did I find the time? I mean, I AM a stay at home mom and all but time is not a luxury of the stay at home mom. To be earnest, earnest dad and earnest boy were stuck at the dealership getting something fixed on the van (yes for four hours) and I thought ” how glorious, I have all the time in the world, what shall I do with it?!” I chose to make baby food.

  I used two ripe bananas, two sweet potatoes, five medium gala apples and a half bag of baby red, yellow and orange carrots (all organic of course for earnest baby, but if organic is a bit out of the price range stick to EWG’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists found here Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 ). Washed, peeled and chopped the apples and sweet potatoes, then steamed all but the bananas. Using Sage Spoonfuls immersion blender, puréed the carrots and the apples, then with a fork simply mashed the bananas and the sweet potatoes.


All of this yielded quite a bit of food, I ended up with two 4oz jars of each – apples, sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots and banana-carrot blend and two 8oz jars of sweet potato-apple blend.


Of course, earnest baby had her helping hands in there too…

Now that I have made the earnest effort, I will plan it a bit better next time so hopefully the time can get pared down, but all in all I enjoyed the experience. Even more, I earnestly love that I have baby food ready to eat in the freezer – all organic and no question of what’s inside the label. It’s all 100% food for earnest baby!!  The recipes were simple, the Sage Spoonfuls system is awesome (comes with freezer safe glass jars and a cook book with information on cooking and storing all kinds of first foods) but can be substituted with a food mill, immersion blender or a bullet type blender as well.

Have fun feeding your baby foodies you earnest followers and please post recipes or even pics of your handy works in the comments below!

x

earnest mom

Sage spoonfuls can be found here: Sage Spoonfuls Baby Food Making System check it out if your in the market for a great system to make and store your own baby food.