Thursday, October 22, 2009

Breastfeed your children - especially this flu season

Let's call it H1N1 day at the blog :). Here's La Leche League Canada's press release on breastfeeding and the swine flu.

Does the Vaccine Matter? - The Atlantic (November 2009)

There are a lot of articles out there right now about H1N1 and vaccination in particular. With the approval this week of Canada's H1N1 vaccine, the time for decision-making has come for many of us still on the fence. I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about this - there's plenty to.

This article from the Atlantic offers some good and original insights - not so much into the decision about this particular vaccine, but just in general about how we approach pandemics and what that might mean at a macro-level. Read it - really before you make the call (or even if you have).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guess who is in the Canadian Family Toy Guide?

Oh, yeah, baby - that's us in there with Maple Landmark's fabulous, all natural Maple School Bus.

On newsstands across Canada now! And to top it off, it's up just in time to launch with the new site design at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Forget goblins: it's the (Nestle) candy that should really scare you

A lot of attention has been focussed on the Nestle boybott following a firestorm around a PR junket. I'll let Annie at PhD in Parenting tell the story. I've been heartened by how questions I've gotten about the boycott and reasons behind it. With Hallowe'en coming up, many households are thinking about stocking up on candy - if you're paying more attention to who makes your chocolate these days, you'll no doubt begin to realize that Nestle has much of the market concerned in the typical Hallowe'en candy area.

October 26 to November 1 has been designated Global Nestle-Free Week. Even if you don't boycott Nestle the rest of the year, consider it for just this week around Hallowe'en. Information on how to maximize the impact of your participation can be found at INFACT.

To avoid Nestlé, you need to not only avoid Nestle labelled products, but also Crunch, Cailler, Galak/Milkybar, KitKat, Quality Street, Smarties, Baci, After Eight, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Lion, Aero, Polo and Frutips. It's a long list and it gets confusing. Infact Canada maintains an on-going list and information on the Nestle boycott here.

After you look at that list, you might wonder whether it wouldn't be easier to just list the things that you can give out. Here are a few ideas:

- ok, so toothbrushes and apples are likely to get your house toiletpapered. You might get away with stickers or colourful erasers. How about play dough? The big Play-Doh manufacturer makes tiny containers or you can get in touch with the nice folks over at Dirty Dough for a natural product. For something truly local, try making your own with the kids.

- check out local chocolate makers who make high quality yummies right in your community. My favourite in our neck of the woods is Sitting Around Eating Bonbons . She makes delicious, special chocolates in her tiny little shop - and the only guilt is about my diet with the organic, free trade yumminess.

- if you just need something you can pick up at the grocery store, try Mars products (which include M&Ms as well Mars, Twix and others). Jelly Belly beans are also a long-time favourite here. Now, these brands aren't fair trade compliant and they may contain stuff (like artificial colours) that aren't great for growing bodies and brains - but if it's between Twix and Kit Kat, take the Twix. Smarties vs. M&Ms, take the M&Ms.

Don't forget to have change for UNICEF available - and tell your friends why your Hallowe'en shopping has required a few extra steps this year.

Babywearing Hallowe'en

Proscratinors of the world - Hallowe'en is coming up fast and you have to start planning now if you want your costume to be less lame than last year. So I, uh you, need to get moving. Ok, we need to get moving.
For those with babes of baywearing age, picking a costume can be a bit tricky. But these can actually be some of the funnest out there (if you think your baby can't be any cuter, put bunny ears on him...believe me, he will be cuter).
So, a few ideas:

Kangaroo and Joey
Ok, so not exactly digging deep for inspiration, but this is a really cute one and easy to do with any front carrier. For the grown-up, get a brown/tan sweatsuit (only time this is allowed) - a hoodie sweatshirt is ideal. Then make yourself a headband with medium length brown ears. Take an old fleshcoloured nylon stocking, stuff with poly fill (or rags or toilet paper if you need to) and try off the end. Pin the tied off end to the hem of your pants so your tail sticks out the bottom of the sweatshirt. The joey is in a tan sleeper (or sweatsuit) with a headband of medium brown ears. A spot of black makeup on each nose and you're off.
Credit to for the photo.

Jack in the Box
One of the cutest costumes ever and fairly easy. You can use any front facing carrier. Dress baby up in a colourful sleeper and make/find a jester hat. Find a box about 10cm wider than your carrier and 5cm longer. Cut about a third of the box off with a round cutout at the top and bottom (for head and feet). Apply wrapping paper or paint box brightly (if you have a drooler -consider this in choosing your medium - it will right under them). Firmly tape 10cm of ribbon at each corner of the open side of the box. Once baby jester is in the carrier, tie the box on using the strips and voila - Jack in the Box.
Credit for photo goes to Adam Miller.

Another idea with a front facing carrier, super easy. Using an existing hat with straps, make a cover of white felt and cut a deep zig zag pattern. With more white felt or heavy weight white fabric, cut out a piece slightly larger than the body of your carrier and create a deep zig zag border. Pin it on with safety pins. Dress yourself in all black (you are the background in this one) and baby in a soft yellow sleeper.

Another one from

Itsy Bitsy Spider
The idea for this one goes to Martha Stewart, but is not especially Martha-like in its rigor (and I've great liberties with the instructions!). Take an old bedsheet and cut out a hole for your head. Using a black fabric marker, draw radiating lines from the neck, then carefully draw concentric circles to join them (the web). Your little spider will be under sheet - you'll need to cut a slit for her head to stick out. Just below the slit, glue or sew on a oval "body" made of black felt or fabric. Take eight mens trouser socks (microfiber according to Martha) and stuff with polyfilling. Using safety pins on the reverse side, carefully pin and arrange the legs over the web - use hot glue to make sure they join up well with the body. A black toque tops off the look for baby.

Credit for photo goes to Martha Stewart Living and you can get her proper instructions here .

Sometimes, one of the biggest problems is finding the right colour for a particular costume. How many of us really have a tan coloured sweat suit? (The answer to that question should be ZERO!). One thing you can do rather than try to hunt one down is to take one you already have and dye it. Even if what you have is totally the wrong colour, you can strip using RIT Colour Remover and then redye it.

Have a great idea? A great babywearing Hallowe'en pic? Send it along!