Car Seats Are For Cars: How To Not Container Parent

Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.

Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.

Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.

Nation Wide Childrens

Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.

 Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day

https://azopt.net/container-baby-syndrome
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Earth Mama Organics

Alternatives

Baby Wear

Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and . It allows baby to feel safe and also involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier. 

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

https://www.mother.ly/life/10-benefits-of-babywearing

Lille Baby Carrier

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Play Mat

In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!

Organic Explore Playmat

Organic Cotton Round Playmat

Portable Play Yards

A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still being them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.

Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).

Holding Baby

Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby! 

Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby

If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!

Convertible Car Seat 

A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.

The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.

How to support your baby's development

How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?

Ecocentric Mom box

An Eco-Friendly & Non-Toxic Guide to Gifts for Kids

Unfortunately, a lot of the toys that are in homes today or are largely popular are toxic and leaking BPA, phthalates, and even lead into our children and homes. I won’t even go into the environmental impact because we all know plastic waste = bad for the environment. Thankfully more and more companies are offering safe and eco-friendly options. 

A few favorite companies that you’ll see a lot of below is Haba and PlanToys. Along with these companies, organic cotton toys are always a great sustainable option.

Haba is a fantastic eco-friendly and non-toxic company with high quality toys. The wood is all from sustainable forests and the paint is all water based free of solvents. When any plastic is used, they use the safest plastics, polypropylene or ABS. All of it’s toys are safety certified in Europe which has much higher standards than the U.S.

PlanToys uses sustainable practices and sustainable materials. PlanToys uses non-formaldehyde glue, organic color pigment, water based dyes, soy ink and recycled paper. They even use solar energy in their manufacturing.

As an Amazon affiliate I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Infant & Toddler

Organic Cotton Activity Bear

Organic Cotton Cuddle Bunny

PlanToys Push Car

Haba Color Pyramid

Haba Rattle & Bouncing Toy

Haba Play Gym

PlanToys Push Walker

PlanToys Pull Along Rabbit

Organic Belle Cow

Organic Cotton Tunnel

Toddler & Preschool Age

PlanToys Forest Animal Playset

Cactus Stacker

Haba Garden Peg Stacker

Haba Take Along Farm Play Set

Haba Snug Up Doll

PlanToys Ride On Bike

PlanToys Dinosaur Play Set

PlanToys Kitchen Set

PlanToys My First Doll House

PlanToys Blocks

Five+

Fantasy Block Set

PlanToys Croquet

PlanToys Pinball

PlanToys Trimono Bugs Game and Puzzle

PlanToys Balancing Monkeys

PlanToys Banjolele

You may also find Best Eco Friendly Toddler Products helpful!

Comment below about your favorite ways to stay Eco friendly around gift giving!

Survival Tips For The Work At Home Mom

Plan Everything

Grab the planner, calendar, and sticky notes! If you try to do it all, you realistically just won’t remember it all. Use any tools at your disposal. I fill out a monthly calendar and a weekly calendar hanging for everyone to see. I also use a planer daily to keep track of all the little to-dos that may arise as well as track goals and check off accomplishments.

Minimize

While more organization tools and scheduling is always helpful, doing and having less is always the best route to succeed. Make clear what your goals are and stick to what needs to get done to achieve them. Minimize all the extras that don’t really help you achieve your goal or bring you what you need (note: relationships, happiness, self care, and fulfillment are all needs).

This also applies to belongings. Old toys, clothes, useless extras around the house? Donate them! Or even better, sell them and make a little extra cash. The more things in your space, the more time you will spend trying to manage it all. Clean out anything that does not bring joy, provide a purpose, or is of importance to your family.

Set Clear Boundaries & Expectations

Let everyone know what time will be used to work and focus on working during that time. This may mean agreeing with a partner that you leave the house to work two or three times a week while they’re home or letting children know when a set time is for them to have quiet solo play. For example, I get some work done during nap time, but it is often not enough time, so I take two evenings a week to head to the coffee shop to focus on work.

10 Minute Speed Clean

As a work at home mom, it’s hard to not get caught up in the constant demands of the home. It’s necessary to decide set times to clean so it does not interfere with work time. As soon as my little is down for a nap, I give myself 10 minutes to speed clean and pick up anything that could distract me from my work. This way I’m not overwhelmed with a mess while working, but also not losing valuable work time.

Work While They Sleep

Of course, this a no-brainer if you have a little one who still naps. If they’re really young, you still may need to rest as they nap, but when you’re able to, take the time to get work done because getting work done while littles need your attention is not likely.

Delegate Delegate Delegate

Stop trying to do it all. I learned this the hard way, but it’s true, no one can do it all. You can’t keep the house spotless, work full time from home, and parent while maintaining some sanity. Call on those around you and use what support you can. As I started working more, I asked my husband to take on more of the chores. We keep a chore chart of who does what on what days to keep things fair and organized, which I suggest everyone do. Every family functions differently but make sure to talk to those around you and explain that even though you’re home, you have more than the home to focus on.

Survival Tips for the work at home mom wahm

Any tips you’d share? Drop them in the comments!

Raising A Minimalist: 6 Quick Tips On Teaching Kids Minimalism

We all know consumerism is a huge issue in Western Society. Advertisements and the constant pushes to buy more are everywhere, so it of course effects our children and how they think. From commercials to conversations with friends, acquiring more things is encouraged. For us parents who want our kids to want less and live more, I created a list of tips on teaching our children less is really more.

Limit The Amount of “Stuff” They Can Have

Decide as a family a good number of toys, clothes, and other items such as movies or books that will be a cap for the amount in your home. For example, you can say 5 stuffed animals and 10 other toys then maintain that number by donating anytime you choose to add a toy.

Encourage Experiences

Teach your child to value experiences over stuff. This will mostly be learned through role modeling as well as discussion as they get older. A great way too teach this is to go hiking rather than shopping. Only go shopping when necessary and discuss what you will be getting and why with you child.

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Have A No Presents Rule

Let family and friends know your plans for minimalism! You can tell everyone your happy to accept gifted experiences (season passes to a theme park, state park passes, movie gift cards etc.), but will not be accepting any items.

Read About It

Read books with your child(ren) focused on minimalism and the importance of experiences over stuff.

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Giving Tree

Too Many Toys

The Gift of Nothing

Little Bird

More

Regular Donations

Designate a few times of year to donate anything no longer being used such as outgrown clothes, toys, or books. A great time is before yearly school shopping, holidays, and birthdays. Let children know when donation days are approaching so they can prepare.

Role Model

The best way to really raise a minimalist is to be a minimalist!

 “It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” —Amelia Barr

How to raise a minimalist kid
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The REAL Reasons Moms Skip The Epidural

As a mama who wanted an unmedicated birth herself, I was curious why other moms took a similar path, whether a home birth or hospital birth. I surveyed the moms of Green Mama Life and here are the REAL answers!

Not Enough Time

Fast labor, also known as precipitous labor, is defined as labor that last two or three hours. Many women noted they had planned to have an epidural, but we’re unable to due to quick labor. When quick labor occurs, women may jump into the end phase of labor quickly or arrive at the hospital too close to delivery to receive an epidural.

Hospital Understaffed

The hospital being understaffed was definitely my least favorite answer. The epidural is a choice so I find it upsetting, as I’m sure many women do, that hospital staffing is a factor in women’s birth choices. Although women noted they were usually happy with the overall experience of not receiving an epidural, I do believe we need to do better to support women in birth.

Owning The Power of The Female Body

Some women mentioned their desire to really just see what their body was capable of. A few women who skipped the drugs found they felt more empowered after experiencing natural childbirth as they really saw how amazing and capable their bodies’ are.

What to know about epidurals and women's experiences

Wanted The Experience

Along with owning the power of the female body, women noted they wanted the whole experience. Women were curious about what birth felt like without numbing and wanted full control over their pushing and movement.

Previous Experience

Some women mentioned their previous experiences made them want to skip the epidural. A few women noted bad experiences with the epidural leaving them with no desire to do it again while others noted experiencing an epidural with one birth and not with the second and preferred the birth and recovery experience without the epidural.

Fear of Epidural

Many women, including myself, noted our fear of the epidural. Their fears ranged from a literal fear of needles, fear of it leading to a c-section, to fear of it harming the baby. All of these fears are valid. As mentioned in the Previous Experience section bad experiences with epidurals do happen.

Common symptoms from an epidural include itching, nausea and vomiting, fever, soreness, and a drop in blood pressure, while more uncommon, yet still prevalent, symptoms include difficulty breathing, severe headache, infection, seizure, and nerve damage.

Healthline

Did you skip or plan to skip the epidural? What was your reason? Have you had an experience with an epidural?

Skip The Epidural Women's Experiences

You may also be interested in Natural Home Birth Plan

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Check out our birth and postpartum recommendations!

15 Nature Themed Baby Names

For those of who love the great outdoors, we want to pass that love down to our children. One way to start is to give your little one a nature name!

Neutral:

River

Aspen

Sky

Quill

Rain

Sage

Storm

Feminine:

Lily

Rose

Opal

Daffodil

Iris

Willow

Ivy

Masculine:

Bear

Cliff

Wolf

Forest

Grove

Reed

Crunchy nature themed baby name ideas boy and girl gender neutral
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Best Eco Friendly Toddler Products

Safe, Non-Toxic, & Healthy Toddler Products

As parents who are Eco Friendly, it can feel like an uphill battle trying to get everything your little ones need and make parenting a little easier, while also minimizing the amount of waste we create and the amount of non-natural products we use. Being a mom focused on creating minimal waste and providing my daughter with a non-toxic environment, I wanted to share tips and products I use so you don’t have to spend hours researching all the different options like I did!

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.

Bamboo Dishware

I knew from the start I wanted to limit our use of plastic because it’s bad for the environment and leaches toxic chemicals over time (even BPA free), so also bad for our babies! I know what I DIDN’T want to use but had no idea what could be a kid friendly alternative. After lots of research I decided bamboo was the best option! Not only is bamboo sustainable, but it’s also a natural, sustainable, and non-toxic material.

On The Go

Toys

Not only is it more Eco friendly to avoid plastic and electronic toys, it’s actually better for your little one’s development! (Check out Growing A Creative Child for more information). These are my toddler’s favorite simple and eco friendly toys. These toys are also great because your little one won’t grow out of them quickly!

Ok, so this is the one plastic toy I will suggest because my daughter is obsessed with the song “Wheels On The Bus” and this company is great!Their products are made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk containers that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also great to have some toys with wheels to help children explore cause and effect.

Potty Time!

We love cloth diapering and use them most of the time. They’re great because nothing goes to the landfill and no harsh chemicals on my little, however, I know it’s not for everyone, so bamboo disposable diapers are a great second option and we’ve used these a lot as a backup option, especially when traveling! 

For the little ones who are ready to start potty training, we found this awesome BPA free potty. Our little one loves it and it’s super easy to clean.

I hope you find these products are helpful in your search for being an eco friendly parent!

Comment below any other eco friendly items you may be looking for or your favorite products you’ve found!

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Our Big Announcement!

Making The Decision To RV Full Time

From Santa Cruz, CA to Bend, Oregon, and to our current home Montpelier, Vermont, we have explored dozens of small towns and big cities, driven cross country, sold all our belongings and relocated (twice), and lived on opposite ends of the U.S., yet, we are wanting to go again! We’ve been considering moving to Washington as we miss the West Coast, yet want to avoid wildfires (OK maybe you can’t avoid them in Washington either), but really we just aren’t sure where to land. We are over moving, yet not content in staying still. Solution? RVing.

We’ve made the decision to become full time RVers this coming spring. We’ve decided the best thing for us is to pause the hamster wheel, jump out of the cage, and get on an adventure. A real, never experienced this and have no idea what we’re doing kind of adventure. 

And we are bringing our toddler (duh), two dogs, one cat, and a fish named cookie.

Are we crazy? Maybe a little, but we manage all this craziness in a home where I stay at home by myself with all these crazies, so life will indeed be easier and more fulfilling for me when my husband quits his job and starts directing this circus with me full time.

Not only have we made the decision to find our ideal forever home by RVing and exploring all the edges of North America, but also we LOVE to travel and we LOVE road trips. 

Two weeks ago, we went on a small road trip to camp for a few days by Lake Champlain in Vermont. What I realized on this trip, although I’ve thought about it occasionally previously, was I’m truly at my happiest when exploring a place I’ve never been. It also seemed this was true for our toddler and dogs (also brought along our beta fish). We all were blissfully exploring and playing, so why not live that pretty much everyday?

Traveling with kids full time rving

That is the question we have been asking ourselves over and over – why not live our happiest moments all the time – that lead us to this decision.

So here we go!

Follow along on our journey to pick our home on the road, remodel, and begin the traveling!

How To Grow A Creative Child

Five Ways to Encourage Creative Play

Raising a creative child promoting creativity and brain development

Why Is Creativity Important

Creative play supports cognitive development, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills.

Creativity involves cognitive processes that transform one’s understanding of, or relationship to, the world.
The Conversation

Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.

Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!

Set Up The Environment

The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits. If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well. 

Simple Toys and Supplies

Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys. Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.

Children independent play tips

Schedule Free Time (or Don’t Schedule)

Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal. See the article How Lazy Parents Win at Parenting for more information.

Ecocentric Mom box

Give Children Space

Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.” A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.

Role Model

Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand. Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.

 “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

Support healthy brain development through imaginative play

Finn + Emma Organic Baby

The Secret To Being A Calm Mom

Going From Angry Mom To Calm Mom 

Tip 1: Say What You Do Want

It can be difficult to not just shout emotionally whatever needs to change, however you and your little will be much happier if you calmly state your expectation before the crazy arises. Set both of you up to succeed by always saying what behaviors you do want rather than what you don’t want. Most children under 3 actually can’t process negative commands, so literally cannot do what you want. Try saying “please keep the marker only on the paper,” rather than “don’t color on the wall.” You’ll feel like they’re listening way more & you’ll feel like a calmer mama!

Tip 2: Internal Mantras AKA Check Your Thoughts 

How you think about what your child is doing will reflect in how you treat your child. Therefore, we need to change when we are finding ourselves irritated. When you find yourself thinking “they’re really doing that again” or “I’m so annoyed right now,” stop yourself and think positive. For example you can think to yourself “actually I’m really not bothered” or “that actually isn’t a big deal.” Sometimes we need to choose our battles and realize what’s really worth the stress.

Post a few daily mantras to start shifting your thinking. For some encouragements you can check Encouragements For The Overwhelmed Mama. Start simple with a few like “I’m feeling calm” or “I control my inner peace” and slowly work up to more specific mantras about you and your family. It is helpful to mantra around behaviors your child does that are pet peeves or a stress trigger for you. One I use is when my little randomly screams at the top of her lungs- “I feel calm. She’s just exploring her voice.” Using a mantra around the behavior will keep you from getting worked up and reacting in an undesired way.

Tip 3: Decide Each Morning How You Will Speak To Your Child(ren)

 Make a list, or at least a mental list, of how you’ll respond to common issues with your child for the day. For example, if you know that your child is a tantrum thrower, decide in the morning that you will keep your calm and address their feelings calmly and kindly and not take the tantrum personally.

Becoming A Calm Mom
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Tip 4: Care For Yourself First

All right, I’m sure you’ve heard this on repeat now because it’s all the rage on social media right now, but it needs to be said. You can only be the best parent when you are feeling your best. This means feeling healthy, mentally and physically. Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are linked to depression and anxiety as well as irritability. Also try getting a food sensitivity test, food sensitivities can cause irritability as well. Exercise and getting outside daily are both great ways to relieve stress and feel better.

Tip 5: BOND BOND BOND

Pay absolutely no mind to people who say you’re going to spoil your child. You literally can’t love on your child too much, research has confirmed this people. Hold those sweet babies (or jumbo kids) any chance you get. The more you touch and bond the more you will trigger the release of oxytocin in each other and the less stressed both of you will feel!

The real secret to being a calm mom is trying out the different approaches, finding what works best for you and your family then sticking to it! You got this Mamas.

For more support and tips check out 5 Tips To Be A Better Parent.

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