Archive for April, 2011

Podcast: Can you give your baby enough Vitamin D by increasing your own levels?

You’ve probably heard about the importance of having enough Vitamin D – both for yourself and your baby.  And your pediatrician may have recommended that you give your baby a Vitamin D supplement.

In recent years, research has shown that having low levels of Vitamin D is associated with a number of health problems in adults, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.  It’s important for your baby’s development, and low levels in pregnancy may even increase the risk of preterm birth.

But because of lifestyle changes – we spend a lot more time indoors than we used to and we wear sunscreen when we’re outside – it can be hard to maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D.  And if you’re breastfeeding, not having enough Vitamin D in your system can mean that your baby doesn’t receive enough.  For these reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a Vitamin D supplement for babies from early infancy.

But is there a way to give your baby the same amount of Vitamin D by increasing your own levels?  And if so, what amount would be required?  Is it safe to “supplement” your baby this way?

In this podcast interview with one of the world’s premier researchers in the area of Vitamin D and lactation, Dr. Carol Wagner, author of New Insights into Vitamin D during Pregnancy, Lactation, and Early Infancy,* discusses what constitutes a healthy level of Vitamin D,  whether a mother should have her levels checked, the origins of the current recommendations, and her ongoing research into whether you can safely give your baby enough Vitamin D through your milk by increasing your own levels.

You can listen to this podcast with the player below, listen with Quicktime, or download it from our free iTunes store.

Please note that this information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.  Discuss any questions you have about Vitamin D with your healthcare providers.  * We received a review copy of this book.

At Motherlove, Every Day is Earth Day

This week, communities around the world will celebrate Earth Day.  Here at Motherlove, we’re not doing anything special.

That’s because we observe Earth Day every day of the year.

Motherlove was born from a deep respect for the gifts from the natural world, and we aim every day to create our products in ways that protect and preserve it.  Our products are truly gifts from nature, and we aspire to honor that generosity in every choice we make.

Here are just a few of the ways we maintain our commitment to the environment:

  • Our certified organic ingredients reduce the use of pesticides and create a healthier product for you.  All of our products score a “zero” (zero toxins) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database.
  • We manufacture using wind credits, lessening the use of non-renewable energy sources which contribute to global climate change.
  • All of our office supplies, packaging, and company literature is made from recycled materials.
  • None of our products are ever tested on animals and all are completely cruelty-free. We are third-party certified by Leaping Bunny, which means that not only our end products, but also the ingredients (where most animal testing occurs) are third-party certified. There are lots of bunny seals, but only Leaping Bunny is a third-party certification and not just a company statement.
  • Through our Nurturing Life Foundation we support environmental education for kids at places like The Mountain Park Environmental Center.  Over 10% of all Motherlove Herbal Company’s profits are donated to organizations that help nurture life and give children the opportunity to experience and explore the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
  • Our founder, Kathryn Higgins, teaches on the gifts of the natural world through her lectures and writing on the use of herbs for nutrition, medicine, and body care.  Kathryn’s first book, Pocket Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, not only showcases the ingredients found in Motherlove’s products, but focuses on using native plants and sustainable harvesting methods. Kathryn is currently working on her second book, Sowing Seeds: Growing our Future, which focuses on growing herbs with children.

We are constantly striving to make Motherlove as respectful of the planet as we can, and encourage everyone to do what they can to make every day Earth Day!

Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

We’re posting today as part of the April Carnival of Breastfeeding, sponsored by the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog and the Blacktating Blog.  The theme this month is extended breastfeeding, and you’ll find lots more on this topic in the links at the bottom of this post.

At Motherlove we fully support breastfeeding past infancy.  Here are some of our favorite reasons to love nursing a toddler:

Comfort like no other. There are few things that can comfort your child like nursing, and when you’re parenting a busy toddler who is exploring the world, nursing provides a special connection that soothes, calms, and recharges.

Great nutrition and immune support. As your baby turns into a toddler, breastmilk remains a source of great nutrition and custom-made antibodies.  In fact, it changes to meet your child’s needs as she grows.  This nutritional support is particularly reassuring if you have a picky eater, and the immune support may be helpful during cold season.

They can tell you all about it! There are few things more endearing than hearing that breastfeeding “tastes like flowers” or “makes my tummy smile.”  If you nurse into toddlerhood, comments like these are a big reward!

It’s good for you, too. Much of the research about breastfeeding shows that it’s “dose dependent,” meaning that the longer you do it, the more protection it offers.  For mothers, this means that longer breastfeeding duration means lowered risk of breast cancer, for example.

For some, tandem nursing. For some mothers, nursing during pregnancy and nursing both a newborn and toddler is a special experience.  (We even make an herbal blend designed to be used when nursing while pregnant!)

Of course, nursing a toddler can come with its own challenges, and we love these resources for support:

What’s your favorite thing about nursing a toddler?  Let us know!

And check out these other carnival posts on the topic of extended breastfeeding:


Why do we use glass containers?

Here at Motherlove, we are dedicated to creating the highest quality herbal care products to support you in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and in caring for your baby.  We use the utmost care in our choice of ingredients and methods of production.

We don’t just say that, we really mean it. We were making these products long before stores like Whole Foods Market were popular.

And our dedication extends to the packaging of our products.   We take great care to ensure that our products come to you in the safest, most environmentally responsible manner.

We have always packaged our salves (Nipple Cream, Diaper Rash & Thrush, Rhoid Balm, etc.) in glass containers.  As more and more evidence is produced that glass is the safest and most responsible packaging, we feel even more confident that this has been the right choice.

Here are a few of the reasons why:

Glass doesn’t leach chemicals into our products.

Salves are poured warm/hot into the container you buy. They are poured hot as a liquid and then cool into the consistency you use out of the jar. We have always felt that pouring a warm liquid into any plastic was not the safest choice, and while many companies are now using BPA-free plastics, new research evaluating more than 450 plastic products has concluded that “Almost all commercially available plastic products…leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA [estrogenic activity], including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products.”  Now more than ever it’s clear that glass is the safest packaging choice.

Glass is Fully Recyclable

Our containers can be recycled into new glass products, and glass can be endlessly recycled. Current estimates are that only about 10% of plastic is recycled, and the plastic bottles that are recycled can’t be turned into new plastic bottles but have to be “downcycled” into other, lower quality products.  There they often hit a recycling “dead end” – so degraded that they can’t be recycled further – and form  a permanent waste stream.

Glass Reduces Plastic Production

It’s sobering to think that every piece of plastic we’ve ever used and thrown away still exists.  And all that plastic is generally made using petrochemicals – a non-sustainable resource that contributes to global climate change.  Every glass jar we use is one less plastic container created and discarded.

Glass is Reusable

Our blue glass jars are safely reusable, and we encourage you to find new uses for them.  Line up our bottles on your windowsill with little bouquets of spring flowers.  Use our jars to hold jewelry, a votive candle, or even your own homemade lip balm.  We hope you’ll use your imagination!

Finally, we think that our blue glass containers are beautiful.  We hope you do, too!

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