Board Books + Classic Literature = BabyLit

Alice in Wonderland for babies

It’s never too early to introduce your baby to great literature. If that great lit comes in the form of tough board books for babies, even better. bynature.ca carries the BabyLit series of board books because they entertain us as adults as well as entertaining our babies.

We read to babies because they learn language as we speak, because we want to create the habit of reading in our children. Before babies even come close to understanding stories, we read them stories. Once they start to recognize numbers, colors, animals, and objects around them, we read books about the familiar.

Trouble comes when a favorite book, a book that absolutely must be read nightly, bores us to tears. We might lose it or distract at bedtime. Clever children will find their favorite books, though. You can escape the repeat performance.

Before you find yourself reading a book about a self-sacrificing tree or an inevitably caged monkey for the hundredth time, start with books that will amuse you. I like the BabyLit books because they make me laugh. Reading these books gives parent and child a multi-layered experience.

You will find the structures of the books familiar: counting books, object books, color books, and weather books.

Anna Karenina for babies

Anna Karenina, for example, has one item of cloth per page then encourages the reader to find another. It’s an easy hidden object book, or, as the book itself claims, “a fashion primer.”

“HAT.
“Can you also find the heart?”

Price & Prejudice for babies

Pride & Prejudice is a counting book with “1 English village, 2 rich gentlemen, 3 houses, 4 marriage proposals,” and so on. Jane Eyre and Dracula are also counting books. Alice in Wonderland is a color primer, Wuthering Heights is a weather primer, and The Jungle Book is an animal primer.

Jabberwocky for babies

Jabberwocky will be fun for any child who loves to play with language.

“Twas Brillig, and the slithy toves. . . .”

All of the books have bold, simple artwork that will hold a toddler’s interest.

Moby Dick for babies

BabyLit is a fun series. Though it is made for toddlers, you will find yourself calling friends and family members to read these books to adults. The books are published by a friend of mine, who sent me the whole series. I’ve read every one aloud to my husband and to friends. The juxtaposition of baby and lit delights them. They laugh. It’s a secret between adults, when the children just have fun listening and pointing.

Come by the store in Orillia and choose a few of your favorites for a baby—or for an adult.

Wuthering Heights for babies

10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Environmental Impact When Having a Baby

Parents with baby shoes

Having children creates environmental impact. Even as environmentalists and eco-families, many of us have children anyway. If you are concerned about that, consider these 10 easy ways to lower your impact when you have a baby.

1. Stuff
Become STUFF AWARE. Especially if you haven’t had a baby or been around a friend or family member having a baby before, you won’t know how much of what you are told you need is really needed. The answer: not much. You don’t need all of that stuff on the baby lists. We’ve written about cutting down on baby bstuff to save money, but you also save on environmental impact when you acquire less. Only buy what you need, and even then look for the lower impact stuff.

2. Breastfeed
When you breastfeed, you shorten the chain. You eat food, you make milk, and your baby drinks the milk. No manufacturing, packaging, shipping, selling, or trash to throw away. Breastfeeding is not just good for you and your baby; breastfeeding is good for society.

3. Reusable Diapers
Rather than putting 3,000-4,000 disposable diapers of any material in landfill, wash and reuse a few dozen diapers of any material. You use water, detergent, and energy to wash and dry, but you don’t cause the repetition of extraction-manufacture-shipping thousands of times. To lower impact even further, choose materials carefully, wash warm rather than hot, choose low-impact detergents, and air dry.

4. No (or Few) Diapers
By using the method of infant pottying (elimination communication or diaper-free babies), you use even fewer diapers. You might use more water and cloths for clean up, because accidents will happen, but water is a renewable resource—unlike oil and gas that go into the plastics used to make disposable diapers. Even this choice doesn’t need to be all or nothing. When you follow your baby’s cues, you will probably find yourself doing this naturally.

5. Used Clothing
Buy clothing at a thrift store or consignment store. Babies and children grow so fast. It can be expensive to buy new clothes, but that expense is only one issue. Those clothes that are worn for only a few months have impact where the materials are grown or extracted, where they are manufactured and shipped, and where they are sold. Share great clothes with other parents by passing them around, or buy used.

6. Natural Body Care
One thing you probably will need is a gentle soap for baby baths and perhaps cream or lotion for skin care. Cosmetics often hide nasty chemical ingredients, but you have a lot of choices for baby cream, lotion, soap, and shampoo with all-natural ingredients.

7. Library
If you are like me, you read a lot to learn about new adventures, like having a baby. I had books on pregnancy, on baby care, on parenting, and on and on. Rather than buying every book new and leaving it on the shelf after reading, use your local library. If you don’t see all of the books you are looking for, talk to the librarian about getting them. The process will probably take a while, but you are starting a positive ripple in your community of having these books available for others.

8. Low Tech
Gadgets are certainly available. I see crazy new baby gadgets every year at baby trade shows. You don’t need a plug-in wipes warmer, a baby monitor, a sock that continually takes your baby’s vital signs, or a mechanical arm that feeds your baby a bottle. All of those gadgets are used for a short time then they become waste. They use materials and energy that wasn’t really necessary. Maybe you need a gadget here or there, but you don’t need them all.

9. Good Wood
If you choose to buy baby furniture, like a cradle or a changing table, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, which tells you that the wood comes from a forest that was managed according to best practices environmentally and socially.

10. Plant a Tree
It isn’t just that a tree can absorb more than a ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Your child will really connect with a tree that was planted at their birth. This tree could become the place where you sit together to talk about their impact on the world. A tree has physical and psychological impact.

Keep in mind, too, that having a child in North America does not have the same impact as in other areas of the world. We use more resources, so having a baby here means a bigger environmental impact. A study out of Oregon State University in 2009 on family planning and environmental impact made the rounds of environmental news that year. The statistical study looked at the impact of having children as compared to efforts to reduce impact through small steps that many of us take. When you look at the numbers, it is clear that having a baby in a high-impact country makes a big difference.

By being conscious of the choices you make and the impacts both now and over time, you can make choices that will significantly lower the impact your baby has on the environment.

Image  ©  | Dreamstime.com

Protect Newborn Babies from Extreme Heat

Mother and baby in the shade at the beach

With a heatwave across much of North America, be sure to take care of the most vulnerable members of your family. In particular, take steps to protect newborn babies from the extreme heat.

Every day lately I see heat-related weather alerts. In my city today, there is a red air quality alert, which is a frequent occurrence on the hottest days of the year. With highs in some areas of Canada expected to be in the mid-30s Celsius and highs in the U.S. well over 100 Fahrenheit, a lot of us are focused on keeping our children cool. As average high temperatures trend upward, we can all expect to need more information on how to stay safe in extreme heat.

The heat alone, though, puts elders, pets, and especially babies at greater risk. Babies don’t sweat as much, but they gain heat faster than adults. A baby’s heating and cooling systems are as well developed as yours.

Your baby can’t cool off alone. Your baby depends on you to reduce the impact of summer heat.


Precautions for Babies

  • Make sure your baby drinks a lot. Breastfeed on demand. Babies don’t need water as a supplement, just be sure to feed your baby frequently.
  • Avoid the sun. If you do go out, stick to the shade, or make your own shade. Have your baby wear a hat with a wide brim. Don’t use sunscreen on a baby less than 6 months old.
  • If you do go out, go in the early morning or in the evening when it is cooler.
  • If the Air Quality Health Index (pollution) is high, stay inside. Babies and children are more vulnerable to pollution both in the short term and in the long term for their developing lungs.
  • Choose a baby carrier that allows maximum air circulation, and check frequently that your baby is well. You might also want to put a prefold cloth diaper between the two of you to absorb any excess moisture.
  • Keep your house cool by opening windows at night and closing them again when the sun comes up. Also, don’t cook hot meals during the day, since the oven warms up your house.
  • Take a cool bath. If it isn’t too hot outside, play in a wading pool. Even splashing by drumming on a bucket of water will keep a baby a bit cooler (and distracted).
  • Dress your baby in lightweight clothing. If you are staying home, try diaper only or going diaper-less (if you don’t mind cleaning up the occasional mess).
  • Never never never leave your child in the car. The temperature inside a closed car is much higher than outside. We hear too many sad stories of deaths in locked cars.


Signs of Trouble

Dehydration signs are dry mouth, irritability, listlessness, no tears when crying, or concentrated urine in the diaper. If you see these symptoms, rehydrate. Breastfeed, or, for an older child, you could use fluid replacement (electrolyte) solution.

Heat stroke signs are flushed skin, dizziness, and little or no sweating. If you see these symptoms, start with a cool bath.

Heat rash looks like tiny pimples, often in the creases where your baby isn’t getting as much air circulation. If you see rash, dry the area and keep the air less humid when you can. Consider going diaperless. Heat rash is less serious that dehydration or heat stroke.

If you have any questions about your baby’s health, call your healthcare provider. In this heat, you won’t be the only one with questions.


Sign up for weather alerts by email at:

Weather Watchers in Canada (Environment Canada provides alerts) – http://www.weatherwatchers.ca/
National Weather Service in U.S. – http://www.nws.noaa.gov/emailupdates/index.php/

Image © Jandrie Lombard | Dreamstime.com