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Five Family Halloween Group Costume Ideas

family Halloween costumes

  1. Flinstone’s
  2. Superheroes
  3. Safari
  4. Smurfs
  5. Crayola Crayons

pregnancy baby gift boxesWritten by  Michelle Levine, Founder of Baby Bump Bundle.

Michelle Levine creates BabyBundle gift boxes featuring handpicked products specifically selected for each stage of pregnancy to pamper expecting mom-to-be’s. For the bundle of joy’s arrival, we also offer the BabyBundle gift box, with all items focused on newborns, while our BreastfeedingBundle includes nursing essentials new moms will love and appreciate.

Visit www.babybumpbundle.com and each Thursday she posts a new mocktail!

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Delicious Gluten and Dairy Free Granola Bar Mummies

granola barsLike many people, fall is my favorite season! I love making cute recipes that are festive. So, when my son’s school started planning their annual fall festival and were desperately seeking bakers I agreed to help. There are so many cute things to do for a Halloween baked good but to be honest; I was kind of bored of cupcake witches and cookie spiders. I wanted to make something not only cute, but hearty as well. I love sugar and often time’s one cupcake leaves me wanting more; definitely not the case with this recipe. After one I felt full and satisfied!

I have had a couple granola bar recipes I have wanted to try for a while so this gave me the push. Of course I had to make it festive so I made mummies. I am gluten and dairy free so these I tailored the recipe a bit to accommodate; actually I find that most recipes I tweak.

If you have a function to attend in the next two weeks or you simply are looking for a fun and filling snack, look no further. These will not disappoint!

Happy eating…

Granola Bars

2 cups old-fashion oats

¾ cup toasted wheat germ (I used ground flax seeds instead. I think the fiber helps keep you full)

¾ cup chopped walnuts

¾ cup dried cranberries

2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

½ cup honey

½ cup vegetable oil (I used ½ coconut oil and ½ vegetable oil)

2 lg. egg whites

White frosting

Black frosting OR melted chocolate

Mini chocolate chips or M&M’s

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13”x9” pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a glass pie plate, spread oats; microwave on high, in 1-minute increments, 4 to 5 minutes or until golden and fragrant; stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, wheat germ/flax seed, walnuts, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in honey, oil and egg whites until well mixed. Transfer to prepared pan and press into an even layer.
  4. Bake 32-35 minutes or until dark golden. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  5. When cool, use foil to transfer to a cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 6 strips, and then cut each strip crosswise into thirds. You should have roughly 18- 4 ¼” by 1 ½” bars. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature up to a week, or in a freezer up to 1 month.
  6. Once granola bars are cool, cover with white frosting. Then put black frosting or melted chocolate into a zip lock bag and cut a tiny bit off the tip. Squeeze dark frosting out and spiral across each bar. Place mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

Image courtesy of antpkr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

nursing brasWritten By Nicole Zoellner, Inventor of Nizo Wear Nursing Bras

Nizo Wear is the first nursing bra to have a unique, patented pocket in the pull-down flap that can hold a heating or cooling pack helping bring moms relief and healing faster while being extremely comfortable and super chic.

Nizo Wear nursing bras were inspired by the real-life experience of the company’s founder, Nicole Zoellner. When Nicole became pregnant with her son, she eagerly read all the materials her doctor had given her about the benefits of breastfeeding. She happily anticipated the feelings of serenity and bonding that nursing promises mother and infant.

So, Nicole set out to do for other nursing moms what no-one had been able to do for her: provide a practical, comfortable way to get relief from the soreness breastfeeding mothers often experience. Her design was patented, and Nizo Wear was born.

Visit www.nizowear.com for more information.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

20 Creeptastic Halloween Treats and Crafts

It’s time for a round up! We scoured the web and bring you our favorite Halloween tutorials! You will find 10 of the best treats and 10 more of the best crafts and decor below. Give them a visit, pin their post, and get inspired!

10 Delightful Delectables

Bloody Brain Balls by Hungry Happenings
Bloody Brain Balls by Hungry Happenings

Angela: Ewwww I would not eat them in a box, I would not eat them with a fox.. But they look so real.
Amber: OMG! I love these so much. I would totally eat these and serve them to my kids to gross them out. They are the perfect balance of yummy and gross!

Witches Wart Juice by Lady Behind the Curtain
Witches Wart Juice by Lady Behind the Curtain

Angela:  It is a little like popping a zit… lol The name totally gets me.
Amber: I am constantly amazed at these inventive Halloween recipes. I never would have thought to use tapioca for this! Ingenious!

Candy Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins by The Happier Homemaker

Candy Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins by The Happier Homemaker

Angela:  This is the difference between Amber and I, this is my Halloween speed. I think this is something I would eat! 
Amber: These are too cute. Definitely something the kiddos could help you with and you could serve at a kid friendly Halloween party!

Mini Mummy Cakes by A Typical English Home

Mini Mummy Cakes by A Typical English Home

Angela:  I would totally make these for my granddaughter’s preschool! How cute are they?
Amber: She said she made these in like 10 minutes, I think? Color me impressed!
These look amazing and I would totally serve these.

Dracula's Dentures by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Dracula’s Dentures by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Angela:   These are HILARIOUS! I love these cookies with a bite!
Amber: I have seen a couple of variations this year with apples and
marshmallows but nothing can beat this one in my opinion!

Not-So-Spooky Oreo Bats

Not-So-Spooky Oreo Bats by Our Best Bites

Angela:  Honestly, you had me at chocolate covered Oreo, but the fact 
they have eyes and wings are even better.
Amber: I can hear my kids freaking out about this one as we speak. I am pretty sure
my son might try to eat the wings though. A very cute idea and perfectly executed!

Sweet Intestines with Bloody Glass by The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Sweet Intestines with Bloody Glass by The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Angela:  I think the glass is really creative and still just gross enough.
Amber: Using puff pastry as intestines has to be one of the most creative ideas I have seen!
I just adore the touch of glass and oozing blood. Yum!

Pumpkin Cake by Make Fabulous Cakes

Pumpkin Cake by Make Fabulous Cakes

Angela:  Excellent job laying the fondant! I love the design-very Tim Burton like.
Amber: This looks like a REAL pumpkin! It is just amazing. I am in awe at her cake skills.
My favorite part about this tutorial is the tip she gave to make the black all shiny!

Spider Web Snacks by Mom Endeavors

Spider Web Snacks by Mom Endeavors

Angela: I love these great Halloween party snacks. These would be great for kid aged 4 to 94!
Amber: Another one my kids would love. This was very clever and it looks delicious!

Healthy Halloween Snack: Cheese Eyeballs by Cute Food for Kids

Healthy Halloween Snack: Cheese Eyeballs by Cute Food for Kids?

Angela: Oh my gosh! I never would have thought of Baby Bell Cheese! A bit grossed out but very cool.
Amber: Ooh, baby bells as eyeballs! Nice!! I am not sure how I would feel about ketchup with my baby bell
but I think this would be a hit for sure. They are realistic but not too realistic, so I think you could serve these at a kids party. 

 10 Creeptastic Crafts & Decor

Spooky Crystal Ball Halloween Candlesticks by Flamingo Toes

Spooky Crystal Ball Halloween Candlesticks by Flamingo Toes

Angela:  This one caught my eye immediately.  Super clever! I thought “How in the world?”
Amber: This is just amazing. Probably one of my favorite Halloween craft tutorials this year! I am so inspired by this!

Halloween Mason Jar Project by Neat Little Nest

Halloween Mason Jar Project by Neat Little Nest

Angela: A lot for a little and you can’t beat that!
Amber: So stinkin’ cute! I love how adorable these are, how easy and affordable
they are, and the fact that I can make them with my kids!

Halloween Crafts – wine cork toys by MollyMoo

Halloween Wine Cork Toys by MollyMoo

Angela:  I think these are the most orignal use of wine corks yet. Best ever!
Amber: Okay! This one is it! I MUST make these like right now, today.
I need a basket of wine corks so I can make them too. And I know
plenty of winos, so I think I got this!

Make your own Bell Jar by Crafty in Crosby

Make your own Bell Jar by Crafty in Crosby

Angela:  Very Edgar Allen Poe like! Creepy and Vintage, Got to love that!
Amber: I love these economic affordable ideas. This is definitely
one craft I will be displaying outside of my house on Halloween!
Maybe with some candles around it!

Witch's Urn by BirshyKat

Witch’s Urn by BirshyKat

Angela:  This is too funny!  I would totally put this in one of my father’s planters just to freak him out! 
Amber: LOVE this! I totally have a thing for witches and this is just perfect. If done right it can be really simple and affordable. I might even have this up all year long!

Dollar Craft: Halloween Wreath by My Personal Accent

Dollar Craft: Halloween Wreath by My Personal Accent

Angela:  I didn’t make this so I can comment on it. Since I really can’t stand wreaths, it takes
a lot to catch my attention, I like this because it is unusual and is about as
inexpensive as you can get and not be free.  Yay! Amber!

Amber: Since this is my craft I can’t really comment on it, right? I don’t think I can.
What I will say is I made it for around $6 and that is my kind of craft!

DIY Halloween Yard Decor: Giant Spider in Spiderweb by Mom Endeavors

DIY Halloween Yard Decor: Giant Spider in Spiderweb by Mom Endeavors

Angela:  I am the household spider assassin (maybe not ones the size of a dog),  however webs gross me out so this is pretty creepy!
Amber: Okay so out of all of the creepy, icky, gross stuff… THIS one really freaks me out! I hate spiders and while I want to make this. I think I will have my husband do it… and stay far, far away.

Felt Bat Halloween Brooch by Do Small Things with Love

Felt Bat Halloween Brooch by Do Small Things with Love

Angela:  Very cute! Can’t sew a stitch but I can appreciate it.
Amber: This is TOO cute! I am going to make this ASAP! I love sewing and I
love cute little bats. His little button eyes pull me in. So sporting this on Halloween week.

Glowing Eyes Halloween

Glowing Eyes
Note: I found this one on Pinterest. The link will take you to the full image so you can read the captions. I was not able to find the original blog post for this but I did find one using cellophane and Christmas lights, and one using glowsticks.

Eyes in the Bushes by Thrifty Crafty Girl

Spooky Toilet Paper Tube Eyes by Thrifty Fun

Angela:  I kind of want to try this anytime to scare the neighbors walking their dogs lol.  Didn’t say I didn’t have an evil side.
Amber: Definitely doing this one! You can get a pack of glowsticks for a dollar at the Dollar Tree and then who doesn’t have toilet paper rolls hanging around the house?

Cheap trash bag Halloween decorating by How About Orange

Cheap Trash Bag Halloween Decorating by How About Orange

Angela:  Super thrifty and creative.  This kind of creative diva deserves a “Way to Go!” for making the best out of less!
Amber: WOO! This is what I call creativity on a budget!
You can bet starting tomorrow these will be all over my house!

So tell us, we’re dying to know. ..

Which one is your favorite?

DIY craft blogWritten by Amber Galore from My Personal Accent

My Personal Accent, LLC is an eclectic Do-It-Yourself Blog encouraging anyone to learn, share creative ideas and gain inspiration with a do-it yourself attitude! Creativity drives this blog and we are not afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. My Personal Accent blogs are about a variety of DIY topics such as up-cycling/crafts, gardening, cooking, and blogging tips. Occasionally, we do a review on products that will benefit our readers. We are consistently forming new partnerships and creating cutting edge projects and ideas to capture our reader’s attention. We follow our passion. We are thankful for our rapid growth and loyal followers for our first year.

Amber is a graphic and web designer, crafter, webmistress, Mom, writer, seamstress, nerd, and food experimenter! She is currently finishing up her bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State and working on starting her own web and graphic design business.

Visit www.mypersonalaccent.com for more information.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Hidden Hazards in Your Baby’s Nursery

nursery hazardsWhen buying new products for baby’s nursery, parents need to be aware of what hazardous chemicals and toxins are often hidden in those products. I had to go above and beyond to make sure other parents know what to avoid – and why – when buying baby products. I was shocked after I read a recent Duke University research study that exposed hundreds of toxic culprits within nursery products. I want parents to be aware of the hazardous chemicals that can be found in everyday products that expose not only infants but all family members. One’s buying power should involve not only cost and value, but even more importantly, safer choices within the home.

1. Clothing

There are still many wrinkle-free clothing items and linens that release formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical. If your child has broken out into a rash after wearing new clothes, check the ingredients label on these items for formaldehyde-releasing preservatives called DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium 15 or Bronopol.

2. Toys

Baby and kids toys that are made of vinyl plastic are likely to contain phthalates. Phthalates are the chemical used to soften vinyl plastic and are linked to birth defects, cancer and low testosterone. Laboratory testing is required to know if an item contains phthalates but if the label says “fragrance” or is made from PVC, it might contain phthalates. You can Google and ask the manufacturer of your children’s toys, lunch boxes and other products to find out if they contain phthalates.

3. Shampoo and Conditioner

Many health and beauty products like cosmetics, sunscreen, hair-styling gel, shampoo and conditioner contain parabens. Parabens are endocrine disruptors that mimic the hormones that control functions like growth and development. Check labels on products for any ingredients ending with “paraben”.

4. Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups

The FDA has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and children’s cups but still insists that BPA is safe. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical that has been used in hard plastics for years and can also come into contact with food, especially if it’s canned. Many canned foods and metal jar lids have BPA-based linings. When buying plastic bottles make sure they are specifically labeled as “BPA-Free.”

5. Pillows and Mattresses

Flame retardants are often added to nursing pillows, foam cushions, changing pads, etc. The Bureau of Home Furnishings requires all products made of polyurethane foam, a highly flammable (and petroleum-based) material, to be treated with toxic fire-retardant chemicals. These chemicals are linked to cancer and can damage the reproductive and nervous systems. Take a look at this chart to see a number of children’s products have been tested for flame retardants:  http://watoxics.org/publications/list-of-products-tested

Image courtesy of  sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

nursing pillowWritten by Sandy Clark, Inventor of San Diego Bebe Eco-Nursing Pillow

San Diego Bebe® was designed by San Diego native Sandy Clark, a passionate breastfeeding advocate and mother of twins. Clark was inspired at a San Diego beach one day where she witnessed a young mother unsuccessfully nursing her baby. As the mother struggled to keep a blanket across her shoulder while her baby wailed from heat and hunger, Clark vowed then and there to design a product that would help resolve the issue of privacy while nursing. San Diego Bebe® was born that day.

When Clark sent her nursing pillow to Duke to be tested and reviewed, Duke University Chemical Scientist Dr. Heather Stapleton, who is a mother herself, said, “The San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is not only a very supportive pillow with amazing features for discreet nursing, but is also free of flame-retardant chemicals that have been shown to cause adverse health effects in animal studies. I applaud Double Blessings [Clark’s company] for taking steps to produce high quality products that meet the same flammability standards without using these chemicals.”

San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is the healthiest and most innovative nursing pillow on the market. Made with virgin polyfiber Eco*Loft™, a non-toxic and hypo-allergenic foam-alternative, it’s void of harmful chemicals. It’s also recyclable and eco-friendly. San Diego Bebe® is available in two versions, for nursing one baby or twins. The entire line is baby-safe, and is covered with deluxe plush fabrics including organic cotton.

Click to view a Nursing Pillow Comparison Chart to learn more.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

The Perfect Halloween Night Supper

halloween dinnerHalloween – a night for frights. Kids love it; parents mostly seem to love to hate it, but I guarantee if you throw yourself into the festivities with a Halloween-inspired open house, the whole evening will be a lot more fun for grown-ups too. Just don’t let dinner be ghoulishly absent from your evening. Going out into the dark on an empty stomach isn’t a smart move for anyone with a large bag of candy in his or her hand.

The key is to keep things simple, that frees you up from the kitchen and give everyone something they can enjoy. Dinner should be:

1) easy and quick to eat, as everyone’s always in such a rush on this particular night, as we know,
2) warming, to beat that Halloween chill, and
3) healthy – because things are only going to go in the other direction as the night wears on.

Try this Halloween-inspired Turkey Pumpkin Chili – it’s easy to prepare earlier in the day and makes a stunning dish served inside a sugar pumpkin that doubles up as a lidded crockpot to keep things nice and warm. The addition of pumpkin gives it a nice velvety texture and big nutritional bonus from the added pumpkin, an excellent source of Vitamin A, C and Dietary Fiber, makes this a crowd pleaser. Offer a selection of toppings – grated cheese, sour cream, salsa and some warm cheesy muffins to mop up all that great sauce. To make things even easier, provide paper deli soup containers that people can either eat from or take with them into the cool night air.

So, get out that box of decorations, open up some wine, and make it a night that everyone will enjoy.

Turkey-Pumpkin Chili – serves 8
(adapted from a recipe from Whole Foods Market)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
  • 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Cooking Directions: Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. If serving inside of pumpkin, carefully cut the top from a medium pumpkin, scoop out seeds and discard. Ladle the chili into the pumpkin and let your guests serve themselves with chosen toppings.

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Personal chef greenwich CTGuest Blog by Joanna Wallis of The Cooking Fairy

Joanna Wallis is a busy mom of 3 who started cooking over 20 years ago. Her culinary knowledge is self-taught and spans a variety of different cuisines and styles. Her love of food was the inspiration for The Cooking Fairy which started out as a glimmer of shiny magic over three years ago. Joanna works as a personal chef in Greenwich, CT for a wide range of clientele and she loves bringing families together with healthy, delicious, and fresh meals prepared just for them.

Visit www.thefairycook.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

7 Ways to Lower Her Risk of Breast Cancer

lower risk of breast cancerAccording to The American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. With earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, women can educate themselves and work to lower the rates of death from breast cancer. It’s important to note that breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits. Here are seven tips every woman should know to help lower her risk of developing breast cancer.

1. Stay a healthy weight.

A woman is at a higher risk of developing breast cancer is she is overweight or obese. Research shows that postmenopausal women who are obese are 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer. According to oncology dietitian Katrina Claghorn, R.D., body fat may convert adrenal hormones to estrogen after menopause. However, losing weight before menopause lowers risk.

2. Exercise.

The National Cancer Institute shows that exercising four or more hours a week can decrease estrogen levels and in turn help lower breast cancer risk. Since physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, it can also help prevent breast cancer. It has also been suggested that exercise may stimulate the immune system or fight free radicals that corrode cells.

3. Limit alcohol.

Limit yourself to no more than one alcoholic beverage a day, including beer, wine or liquor. The more you consume, the greater the danger as alcohol reduces the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. Some studies show that even one to two drinks a day over your lifetime can spike your risk of breast cancer.

4. Know your family history.

If your mother, grandmother or maternal aunt developed breast cancer at age 50 or earlier, you may carry the gene BRCA1 or BRCA2, which can place your lifetime risk of breast cancer at 60% (and your risk of ovarian cancer at 15-40%). Your family history can’t be changed but you can work on making other healthy lifestyle choices to lower your risk.

5. Eat Healthy.

Diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, whole grains and legumes is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Fiber can enhance the bacteria that metabolizes estrogen and escorts it out of the body. Eating healthy can help you maintain a healthy weight and can also decrease your risk of developing other types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

6. Check your D levels.

Vitamin D has been shown to block the growth of breast cancer tumors. Research shows women who got a lot of vitamin D from diet, supplements or spending time outdoors were 25-50% less likely to develop breast cancer than those with lower levels.

7. Breastfeed.

Research has shown that breastfeeding lowers the mother’s risk of breast cancer. It is thought that breastfeeding interrupts ovulation which lowers estrogen output. DiscoveryHealth says, “Breastfeeding may help breast cells become fully mature and thus less prone to mutations that can turn cancerous.” The longer that you breastfeed, the greater its protective effect.

For more information on how to lower your risk of developing breast cancer, visit http://www.breastcancer.org/risk.

Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

nursing brasGuest post by Nicole Zoellner from NizoWear.com 

Nizo Wear is the first nursing bra to have a unique, patented pocket in the pull-down flap that can hold a heating or cooling pack helping bring moms relief and healing faster while being extremely comfortable and super chic.

Nizo Wear nursing bras were inspired by the real-life experience of the company’s founder, Nicole Zoellner. When Nicole became pregnant with her son, she eagerly read all the materials her doctor had given her about the benefits of breastfeeding. She happily anticipated the feelings of serenity and bonding that nursing promises mother and infant.

So, Nicole set out to do for other nursing moms what no-one had been able to do for her: provide a practical, comfortable way to get relief from the soreness breastfeeding mothers often experience. Her design was patented, and Nizo Wear was born.  Visit www.nizowear.com.

5 Tips for SIDS Prevention

traveling-sleep-tipsOctober is SIDS Awareness Month and parents are encouraged to learn more about the risk factors involved in SIDS and what steps they can take to prevent it. SIDS is defined as the death of an infant, less than 1 year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted. SIDS is the leading cause of infant death from one to twelve months old. When parents better understand the risks involved with SIDS, this can help to reduce future infant deaths. Here are five tips on how to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

1. Always place baby on his back to sleep. Many studies have found that there is a higher incidence of SIDS among babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs. It is thought that sleeping on the stomach narrows the baby’s airway and causes difficulty breathing. There is also a possibility that an infant sleeping on his stomach is “rebreathing” his own exhaled carbon dioxide. Baby must be put to sleep on his back throughout the first year of life.

2. Keep baby’s crib clear of blankets and toys. You never want to put blankets, comforters, bumpers, stuffed toys or pillows anywhere near the baby while he is sleeping. Baby’s head and face must remain free of any blankets or coverings. If using a blanket, make sure it gets tucked around the mattress. By keeping the crib clear it can prevent rebreathing and suffocation. Bumper pads should also be avoided as they can be a potential risk of suffocation or strangulation.

3. Practice safe swaddling. Pediatrics study suggests that babies who are swaddled experience a more restful sleep than unswaddled babies and can awaken more easily in response to noise, potentially decreasing the risk of SIDS.

For safe swaddling parents should always:

    • Use a swaddle where baby can have good hip range of motion; swaddling too tightly can cause hip dysplasia.
    • Use a swaddle that will not unravel- this prevents blankets from covering baby’s face. There are swaddles that do not even require wrapping!
    • Don’t over-swaddle your baby or double swaddle- overheating baby is linked to SIDS. The new Woombie Air is the first breathable swaddle that regulates baby’s body temperature by allowing excess heat to escape.
    • Consult with your pediatrician for next steps once baby is actively rolling. Also, try an arms-free swaddle to help the transition such as the Convertible Woombie.

4. Keep baby at a comfortable temperature. You don’t want baby to get too warm while sleeping so it’s best to keep them somewhere that’s room-temperature and don’t excessively clothe them. It has been suggested that babies who get too warm go into a deeper sleep making it more difficult for them to awaken. KidsHealth.org suggests keep the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for an adult in a short-sleeve shirt.

First Candle, a national nonprofit health organization uniting parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide with government, business and community service groups to advance infant health and survival, says, “When a healthy baby becomes overheated their brain recognizes the problem and attempts to correct it. When a baby predisposed to SIDS overheats, nothing happens to correct the situation.”

5. Place baby on a firm sleep surface. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” and while cribs themselves don’t cause SIDS, the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of deaths. It’s important to use a safety-approved, firm mattress covered with a fitted sheet and avoid placing baby on a pillow, waterbed, couch, chair or other soft surface. This can help prevent smothering or suffocation. You can check the safety of your baby’s mattress or crib by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.

Karen-Barski-baby-swaddle-inventorWritten by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle

Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.

Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.

Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies…and counting!

Read Karen’s story on how she invented the Woombie in the middle of the night on her grandmother’s sewing machine which turned into a million dollar mommy business. Read Woombie Baby Swaddle Story

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

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Halloween Treats for Babies and Toddlers

Halloween doesn’t just have to be a fun time for older kids, babies and toddlers can enjoy it too! While they can’t eat the same sweets and treats as older siblings, you can still provide them with healthy and safe alternatives so they don’t feel left out of the fun. Keep them entertained with fun activities and toys and they’ll enjoy Halloween just as much as the rest of us! Here are some creative ideas for celebrating Halloween with your little ones.

1. Little Toader LOL! Sucker AppeTEETHERS

This adorable toy is perfect for babies and toddlers who are teething. The patented, silicone teething toy looks just like a real lollipop! While it safely and effectively soothes baby’s sore gums, it will look like your baby is enjoying Halloween candy just like the rest of us!

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2. Sticker Activity Books from Kids Love Play

Toddlers love playing with stickers and these activity books come with over 150 stickers to choose from to help them dress up fun characters in cool costumes — just like Halloween costumes! Kids can choose from books to dress up pirates, princesses, heroes, ballerinas and more and maybe even get some ideas for Halloween costumes of their own.

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3. Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are great for lighting up the night on Halloween but they’re also great for entertaining little ones (over 3+). Kids love wearing them as bracelets and necklaces but you can also use them for arts and crafts projects, placing them in balloons or pumpkins and more. Just make sure you keep a close eye on kids when they play with them so they don’t break them open. Always first inspect them and make sure that there are no leakages or cracks and never let your child put them in their mouth.

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4. Pumpkin Baby Food

There’s nothing like pumpkins to get kids in the Halloween spirit! Pumpkin is loaded with vitamins, calcium and antioxidants making it super nutritious for babies and super yummy as well. Try making a pumpkin broccoli puree or baked mashed pumpkin and spice baby food.

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5. My First Pumpkin Play Set

GeniusBabies.com offers an adorable play set for ages 0 and up that kids will love. The play set comes with four fun pieces in a sweet pumpkin carrying case. The pieces include a ghost that squeaks, cat that meows, spider that rattles and a candy corn that crinkles. The toys are super soft and safe for babies and toddlers.

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6. FunBites

funbites(R) is the first state of the art kitchen tool that instantly cuts kids’ food into BITE-SIZED FUN SHAPED PIECES. funbites(R) is 100% MADE IN THE USA and BPA free. They are perfect to get even the pickiest eaters to try something new and eat healthier. funbites(R) make mealtime and snack time more nutritious, a little easier and a lot more fun. Use on any kid-friendly food from pancakes, fish, cheese, and bread to waffles, watermelon and burgers! funbites(R) are perfect for Halloween too!

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7. Halloween Cookies

Making cookies in fun Halloween shapes like ghosts and bats is easy and a sweet treat for youngsters. You can keep them simple with no frosting or add a little bit of icing made with non-toxic food coloring. Put a different spin on cookies by making pumpkin oatmeal cookies shaped like pumpkins! Here is a great healthy pumpkin cookie recipe from Vital Days.

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8. Halloween Books

There are plenty of Halloween-themed books for babies and toddlers that will definitely become favorites during this special time of year. Check the kid’s section of your local bookstore for a Halloween display and you’ll likely find a Halloween version of your kid’s favorite series like Biscuit, Corduroy or the Berenstain Bears. Just make sure to pick a book that’s not too scary!

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