Monday, July 18, 2016

Babies in the Sun! 5 Tips for keeping babies safe on the sunniest of days

Summer can be one of the greatest times of the year for families who like to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  A day at the beach can mean lots of fun for everyone, but it can also turn ugly. For all children, sun protection is something important to be considered, but especially for the youngest ones who are not recommended to use sunscreen! Here are my top 5 tips for having your little ones out in the sun! Please subscribe to get more from me on health, nutrution, exercise, holistic treatments and alternative care for pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

1. Sunscreen. If you can, use it! I recommend Badger sunscreen. The non-nano particles of aluminum in the formula mean that the toxins of aluminum don't absorb into the skin. If your child is younger than 6 months, or if you want to avoid aluminum altogether, many people suggest a homemade sunscreen of coconut and carrot seed oils. These oils have a natural SPF, but the extent of protection from using them alone is not known. 
2. Shade: Bring your own shady spot and ensure everyone has a place to sit and take a moment out of direct sunlight!

3. Sleep spot: If you have a little one that naps, having a safe space for them to sleep is an absolute must!!

My secret?
Dig a child-sized crater in the sand BEFORE putting down your shaded tent. Put the crater near an outside edge, and lay a blanket over it. Presto! Instant comfy spot for the little one to nap. <3
4. Hat: Make sure light-skinned and light-haired children have a hat to wear when they are in direct sunlight. While the hat only has a 50 % chance of staying on while the child is in the sand, and probably less than 10% once they hit the water, the more protection you can give, the better especially for those younger ones with less hair to protect them. 

5. Food: Don't forget the most important part! If you're going to the beach, or the pool, or even the lake with kids, you MUST bring food! Bottles of water are also important. Bring sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, veggies, and whatever else is portable that your children will eat. Expect them to be hungry.. but realize they may be so 'busy' they don't want to eat too! Keep after them to drink water at the very least.

And of course, water safety is paramount in any location that has it available. My older children have been taught the buddy system, and while it's not perfect (I've had one incident of a child wandering off this summer) and I will have a life jacket on O when he is old enough to put himself in the water.
Most of all, be safe. Children can develop heatstroke very easily, especially those with boundless energy who refuse to rest in the sun all day. My own daughter is this way, and finding her limits has been hard.

So from my family to yours, Happy Summer!! I'm so glad it's finally here and we are loving every moment!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

When all else fails.. just be you

Hello Everybody!!
Crystal Kelley, The Baby-Guru

This blog has laid dormant for years. I had given up, in a way. In the midst of the mommy life, I had forgotten the writer that laid beneath the surface. The sleepless nights, endless obstacles, financial and emotional pain that I experienced; it all led to this person that I am. For a long time I remained quiet, scared to speak up for myself, lest someone feel inclined to make speculations about my life or my character because of the choices that I've made or the things beyond my control and my personal decisions on how to handle the situations presented to me. It was safer to keep my true self quiet, and be who everyone thought I was. During this time, while my children were very young, I lost myself quite a bit. During that time I stopped creating, something I"d loved in my school days. I wasn't able to write; something that had brought me great joy for a long time. I began writing again during my surrogacy; briefly until things went haywire, and more significantly after the birth of my surrogate daughter. The words poured out of my hands while I sat in the hospital with her for the time when she was legally mine; I finally had a reason to write. Telling her story was jumbled, and broken at the time, nothing like the book that now graces the pages of Amazon . It was like learning how to walk again, and it helped me remember that I had a voice. My voice; my true voice with its years of pondering and deciding and challenges and achievement, had been silent for so long that it almost was reduced to term papers and research arguments alone. In my sad state I had really forgotten how to bring my voice alive and my surrogacy was a vastly significant moment in my personal development.

But a part of me was gone, for that time. I really struggled with living with someone full time.. even someone I loved and shared a blood relationship with. I struggled with depression and anxiety. As long as I found myself unable to write, I also found myself less able to do the other things that I had enjoyed in my pre-child life. I didn't do art projects with my kids. I didn't always treat them with the love and respect that I do now. It was difficult, this different life of actually having sole responsibility for these little people. The childcare model of how a child is cared for and the real-life models in front of me were very different. We struggled, we fell, but we always got up; and we moved forward. And I sit here tonight, in the tin can silence of a little postage stamp sized house, with my two daughters asleep upstairs, and my son in my bedroom snoring like a puppy. Rain beats on the house and the cool breeze fills the night. This is good.. this is home.

 I feel as though I've come back to myself, in a way. The person that I was before I had children, and when I was on my own in a two room apartment on the third floor of a historic building. I liked myself then, and there. I was dabbling in crystal work and energy healing. I knew how to cook my own meals, even though my nutrition at that point was horrible, it was a step above tv dinners and I was proud of that. I held a job, I paid my own bills, and I actively worked to live a positive life and do good in the world.

So you'll believe me when I say that having my children rocked my entire existence. I fell apart; and at times I feel as though I'm still falling apart a little bit. I've gone from one to two, to nearly three, and then four children in under 10 years. Most of my sanity is gone, and my hair is a little darker and a little lighter all at the same time now. But those 3 little spawn that inhabit my home, and my heart, they taught me what is important in this lifetime. Or at least, what I think is important. And that is to leave this world a little better than how I found it. That means raising healthy and happy and educated and empowered kids who can challenge the status quo and make a difference for their fellow man. Of course, that means that they have to make it to adulthood first. So far, so good.


I would say that my children are lucky. It hasn't always been this way, but today they are lucky. The littlest is very lucky. My love of children in general has always led me to want to look into research regarding how I handle different aspects of parenting, and so I've always been aware of the research behind the different parenting choices that I"ve made like extended rear facing in the car seat, babywearing, attachment based parenting, breastfeeding, and baby led weaning.

You'll be surprised what happens :)

Here is some meditative music to listen to while you try this exercise. Deepak is a great meditation guide and I find his channel on YouTube to be a great help to my meditative practice: