Healthy Home

Mamas on Bedrest: 30 Must-Read Blogs for Moms Who Are Returning to Work

March 8th, 2013

Mama working with babyToday’s blog is a guest post from Share a Nanny. Share a Nanny is a blog that shares all the pertinent information parents need if they are interested in sharing a nanny. The blogs range from “Reasons to Share a Nanny” to “Sharing Challenges”. If you are a parent preparing to go back to work after having a baby, you should most definitely check out some of the blogs and links below. Enjoy and Thanks to Share a Nanny for sharing this very timely information.

Whether you are a mom returning to work after a new baby or a long term absence from the work force, you will probably feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety. This is normal, as there are so many things you need to adjust to that didn’t exist before you had children. Now you have organizing childcare, missing valuable bonding time with your child and a whole host of other concerns running through your head.

Moms Returning to Work from Maternity Leave

Maternity leave, no matter how long the duration, will go by in the blink of an eye. Leaving your baby with a stranger and not being able to monitor her constantly will be hard. However, with the right planning and support, you can return to work safe in the knowledge that both you and your baby are in good hands.

Maintaining the Bond with Your Child

Returning to work does not mean you are abandoning your child. Although you will spend less time with her, there are ways that you can keep your bond strong. Bear in mind, this is important for the emotional wellbeing of both the parent and child.

Employer Support for Moms Returning to Work

Your employer has an important role to play in helping you integrate back into the work place. There are a number of ways in which your employer can support you. If you need retraining, reduced or flexible hours or your child has special needs, you should speak to either your employer or human resources department.  These five blogs will help arm you with the confidence and knowledge to approach your employer for help.

Career Advice for Moms Returning to Work

An obvious concern for moms returning to work, especially those who have been out of work long term, is how their career path is affected. Some moms may want to continue on their previous path, while others may want to move upwards or sideways into a different department, or take a reduction in hours. It’s often hard for moms to decide which way to go for fear that it won’t work out.  Another concern for moms returning to work is whether they will be able to adapt to all the changes in processes since they were last part of the workforce. It is for these reasons that moms returning to work will benefit from career advice.

Training and Education for Moms Returning to Work

In today’s fast paced industries, job descriptions and qualifications are constantly changing. As a mom returning to work, this can mean stepping into territory that, although once familiar, is now completely foreign to you. Your aptitude for the work may not have changed at all, however, you no longer have the required tools to perform in the role to your full potential. It is for this reason that further training and education are something to seriously consider before returning to work.

Managing Home and Work-Life

As a working mom, your life becomes somewhat of a balancing act between home and work-life. A full time job, whether it is in a traditional work place or at home looking after a child, is difficult enough to manage on its own. You need to learn how to manage both without causing detriment to your health. These five blogs provide advice on how to manage as a working mom, including tips from career-moms who have been in the same position.

Mamas on Bedrest: The Truth About Chemical Ingredients During Pregnancy

April 13th, 2012

I love it when other bloggers create well written blogs about really pertinent information. So it is with The Truth about Chemical Ingredients During Pregnancy. Aremisa May-Hailey, a doula, peer breastfeeding counselor and herbalist. In her post on Examiner.com, Aremisa gives great information about the effects certain chemicals found in cosmetics can have on your unborn baby. Citing information regarding Kourteny Kardashian having her hair dyed while pregnant, Aremisa provides the following information about potentially harmful chemicals for unborn babies.

Parabens

Parabens which are commonly used as a preservative in skin care products, have been linked to having adverse affects on the reproductive systems of baby boys. Although this research is fairly new, parabens should be avoided.

Phythalates

Phythalates, also listed as DBP (diputyl phathalates), is an ingredient used in nail polish. Absorption in the mother’s blood stream has been linked to genital changes in baby boys.

Toulenes

Toulenes is another ingredient used in nail polish. The constant inhalation of these fumes is believed to cause developmental damage to the fetus.

Lead

In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 popular brands of lipstick. Out of those tested, 61% of them contained unsafe levels of lead. The issue here is that lead exposure can crosses the placenta very easily and can interfere with fetal development.

Retonoids

Retonoids is a form of Vitamin A commonly used in acne treatments and wrinkle creams. High doses of Vitamin A are known to be harmful to the fetus.

Hair Dyes

The Organization for Teratology Information Specialist (OTIS) reports that low levels of hair dye can be absorbed through the skin after application. It is also known that the dye is excreted through the urine. Therefore, there is no significant danger that has been proven as of yet.

Aremisa’s post contained many of the same chemicals we mentioned in our post where we relayed the recommendations and warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics on chemicals and their effects of pregnant women, unborn babies, infants and children. Many chemicals, though not ingested orally are in fact absorbed through the skin, our largest organ. Once in a mama’s system, the chemicals have access to the unborn baby via the placenta. While the placenta acts as a filter for many substances such as nutrients, blood, oxygen and fluids, many other particles (chemicals) are able to penetrate the protective barrier. For some chemicals, such as those found in cosmetics and personal products, the amount of the chemicals in the products may be small, but because the products are used repeatedly (sometimes 2 and 3 times daily) the effective exposure can become significant. So as Aremisa, the American Academy of pediatrics and others have pointed out, mamas need to be aware of the ingredients in their personal products,  avoid those products that have the harmful chemicals listed and use care when using products so as not to produce a cumulative effect.

For more information on pregnancy and chemicals visit otispregnancy.org and or safecosmetics.org

Aremisa May-Hailey, Dallas Pregnancy Health Examiner

Aremisa May-Hailey is a full circle doula (ICTC), breastfeeding peer counselor, and acting state rep for International Center for Traditional Childbearing. She also owns and operates Indigenous Doula Services as well as Indigenous Remedies, which is a resource for herbal and holistic sciences….

Mamas on Bedrest: 9 Tips for Greener Living

November 9th, 2011

Click to take the postpartum depression survey conducted by Case Western Reserve University http://filer.case.edu/~axp335/postpartdep.htm Thank you very much for your consideration.
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My friend and colleague Rosalind Haney, RN, ACN, was recently awarded one of the Austin Birth Awards for “Best Nutritionist”.  Rosalind is a wealth of information and helps many couples achieve pregnancy naturally with her programs on health and nutrition. Rosalind recently sent out an e-mail with more alarming statistics on toxins in our environment. (We have discussed these very issues in previous blog posts on Green living and Healthy home.) With her permission, I am sharing the e-mail with you here as it contains some excellent practical tips Mamas can use right now.

Now let’s go green – as in a clean, green home for you and your family!

There is mounting evidence that man-made chemicals might mimic, amplify, or block our natural hormones effecting metabolism, mental processes, physical growth, sexual development, reproduction, and many aspects of fetal development.  [A study just last month in Pediatrics found in the womb exposure to bisphenol A (a compound used in making plastics) was associated with neurobehavioral problems in girls at age three. 10/24/11]

We know that 80 to 90% of our exposure to toxic chemicals comes from the food we eat and from the inside environment where we live and work – thus you do have a large measure of control to protect yourself and your family.

Top 5 changes to a safer, greener home:

1.     Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate!

Open windows a crack for an hour or so every day. Airtight homes allow toxic fumes and pesticides to accumulate to very high levels.  Ventilate the laundry room when washing and the bathroom when scrubbing and your office for clearing computer monitor and printer emissions.  Keep your garage door open for an hour after you pull your car in or park outside to allow the car to cool before pulling it into the garage.  Never idle the car in your garage.  Garages accumulate some of the nastier heavy metal toxins.

2.     Keep dust (pesticides, lead) outside of your home.

Place a commercial-grade doormat inside and outside of each door leading into your house or remove your shoesDust and vacuum inside your home twice a week.  [Active vacuuming increases dust kickoff for several hours.  Ventilate and do not vacuum in the presence of children.  A HEPA filter vacuum will remove 99.9% of dust particles.  Normal vacuuming removes only 5-15%.]

3.     Use only natural pesticides inside, outside, and on your pets.

Use natural cleaning supplies.  Avoid the most toxic offenders, which are oven & drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and any extra strength cleaners.  Do not store any chemicals near heat or hot water pipes, which may volatize compounds into the air you breath.  [See below for recipes on how to make your own green cleaning products.]

4.     **Avoid plastics as much as possible (they are hormone disruptors!).

  • Do not heat food in plastic containers or use plastic wrap to cover.
  • Store only cooled food in plastic containers.
  • Drink from glass containers whenever possible.
  • Do not use plastic cutting boards.
  • Avoid cooking with Teflon, but if you must, use lower temps and never heat an empty pan (oil, liquid or food reduces the temp & the release of toxic gases).

5. Food and drink green checklist:

  • Eat “certified organic” protein foods (butter, cheese, milk, eggs and meats).
  • Most small, wild fish are safe seafood choices, with wild Alaskan Salmon having the most benefits.
  • Wash all produce and eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies.
  • Eat a diet low in rancid fats & trans fats (no fried fast foods or junk foods).
  • Eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods that you cook yourself.
  • Use filtered water.

Regarding “natural cleaning supplies” and making better choices, you can:

1.     Continue to use your current favorite cleaning product but purchase the one that is “Free” of perfume and “Clear” of dyes.

2.     Wean off your products to a green cleaning product line in your grocer.  The People’s Choice for 2011 was “7th Generation”.

3.     Google “healthy cleaning supplies you make yourself” for many simple and inexpensive recipe options with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.

4.     A few examples of how to make your own cleaning supplies.  Many of the products you have in your home along with a few basic, inexpensive products (borax, washing soda, a natural liquid soap) can get you started.

Window Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. of  liquid soap (to cut the wax residue from the Windex you may have used)
  • 2 cups of water

Oven Cleaner

  • Spray the oven with water
  • Shake on baking soda and salt
  • Spray again with water
  • Let it sit overnight
  • Wipe up in the morning and wash any remaining residue with liquid soap.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • ½ tsp. of washing soda (such as Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – a “free” & “clear” detergent that boosts cleaning power by 40%)
  • 2 tsp. borax (a naturally occurring mineral compound that cleans and deodorizes – borax acts like a bleach by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide)
  • ½ tsp. of natural liquid soap (a completely biodegradable soap, uncolored and unscented)
  • 2 cups of hot tap water
  • Combine in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved.  [Optional:  Add 3 drops of an essential oil – lemon, tea tree, lavender or eucalyptus.]

Mold and Mildew CleanerMold is very harmful and difficult to rid.  Prevention is the key.  You have many options.

1.     White distilled vinegar sprayed without rinsing is reported to kill 82 % of mold.  [Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet bowl.]

2.     Equal amounts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

3.     Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic.  [Mix two cups of water and 3 drops of tea tree oil and spray your bathroom walls once a week.]

4.     Use Borax for scrubbing and to inhibit future growth.

Note:  The smell of vinegar and tea tree oil are very strong so ventilate to dissipate.

Conventional cleaning supplies are toxic to you and your family.  To minimize your toxic burden consider one or two or more of the safer options listed above.

To your safe and greener home,

Rosalind Haney, RN, ACN, Fertility & pregnancy guidance through health and nutrition

Note: Another excellent resource for creating a greener home is The Healthy Home Book by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. The Healthy Home is Available in The Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Amazon Store under “Healthy Living”.