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Hug the Earth

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Native American Proverb

My generation and my son’s generation are at a point where we have lost the art of “waste not, want not.”  The skill set of taking and using only what we need, reusing items for practicality, and being intimately aware of our carbon footprint on the earth is something we must learn. . . chances are, these things have never been demonstrated or taught to us beyond tossing a plastic bottle into a recycling bin.

As a parent, I think the greatest impact I can make to help the future of this planet is to make smart choices about green living every day.

My son won’t learn about green living through a television special or even an educational pamphlet, but he’s going to learn about growing and culling food, cooking from scratch, re-using fabric scraps, avoiding items of waste, and other green practices by learning from his mom and dad.


I grew up in the eighties where littering on the side of the road was common practice (until the famous Don’t Mess with Texas anti-litter ad campaign put a grinding halt to that mess).

Recycling wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary until I attended a girls’ leadership, math, and science camp where I turned into an eco-activist overnight (with a letter from the city Mayor to thank 11 year-old me for my fervor and passion).

Years later, I’ve toned down my passion and put it into practice with breastfeeding and cloth diapers.  I’ve picked up a few sewing skills to create loving handmade gifts (instead of buying things with wasteful packaging), and I’ve learned some fun options for food preparation and stretching leftovers to improve my family’s health and to stretch our dollars.

Green living may be the “cool” thing to do these days, but if the trend ever swings the other way, I hope that my son appreciates the practicality of being resourceful and thoughtful of the earth.  May he teach his children to leave this place better than they found it.


National Geographic recently published the Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents by Catherine Zandonella.

Printed on recycled fibers, this 400 page reference book gives eco-friendly and budget-friendly tips for raising baby and minimizing your footprint and toy closet.

Chapter 1 includes tips on creating a safe and eco-friendly home to purchasing and making your own household cleaners, parents are armed with tools to have a toxin-free home.

It’s not a super comprehensive guide to cloth diapers, but there’s a basic intro with extra green tips that will help a new parent get started well in this arena in chapter 6.

I like the ideas for eco-friendly holidays, parties and celebrations in chapter 9.  Those are definitely times where pretty packaging and decor lead to unnecessary waste.

Beyond the home, this guide arms families with ways to introduce recycling and reducing toxins in schools  (chapter 8 ) plus how to take “green” vacations (chapter 10).  To urge the next generation to care about green living, chapter 5 is dedicated to that purpose.

Overall, the book is mostly positive toward breastfeeding, but on page 196, it mentions “toxics in breast milk” discussing various chemicals that mom can absorb through skin, environmental contact, or pharmaceuticals that can be passed along to baby via milk.

I thought it was a little unusual that this section of the book states, breast milk can contain toxic substances that have negative consequences to developing babies, leaving some of us to wonder if breast milk could be harming the cognitive development of babies.  All of the chemicals listed below have been found in breast milk and are known to cause cognitive deficits. . . these contaminants are no reason to choose formula, however.

Unfortunately, the editor failed to mention the studies that indicated breastfed babies tested with higher IQ’s than those who weren’t breastfed.  True, she’s referring to the chemicals and decreased IQ, but she links the chemicals directly to breast milk.  By generalizing the statement, she makes it sound as though all breastfed babies are exposed to those chemicals, when in fact, it’s babies who’s mothers are taking prescription medications, using shampoos with phthalates, and around heavy metals and toxins.  I hope that moms on the fence about breastfeeding won’t read this section of the book and think that perhaps they should use formula instead.

There’s a lot of info that’s touched upon in this book, as a result, it skims the surface of some topics that have more detailed options, discussions, and information.  There are no pictures, drawings, or diagrams in this book.  It is purely a text reference.

I hope the future revised edition includes pictures of the different types of cloth diapers, pictures of examples of green baby toys and party decor, and it changes the misleading negative paragraph on breastfeeding.

Otherwise, I think it’s a fairly comprehensive resource to help new parents embark on the journey of green parenting with a great start.

The Green Families Guide retails for $21.95 from National Geographic, and it’s also available through Amazon.com.

Happy Earth Day!

Your turn: How do you teach your child about green living practices?  What’s the easiest (and most difficult) green practice that you do in your home?

It’s easy being Green!

My favorite pajama company, Hatley, is offering great savings from now until Earth Day with code: EARTHDAY!

Earth-friendly dyes and water conservation practices go into each and every Hatley pajama product.  Plus, they make super cute pajamas.

Calvin just got a pair of Shark jammies in the mail yesterday, and he can’t wait to put them on!

Note: I don’t receive any compensation for promoting Hatley.  We just love their pajamas!

Traveling Teething: Oh Plah! Bracelet {Review}

Welcome to Tuesday Travels, a regular series at Traveling with Baby featuring ideas for local day trips and travel tips for families with kids-in-tow. You’ll also find get-up-and-go related product reviews and giveaways. I enjoy hearing about your traveling adventures, too.

I mentioned last week that Lucien has started teething, and some of the measures we’ve been taking to make him more comfortable. I’ve been noticing lately how much his motor skills have improved and how he enjoys having a toy to play with in the car. I try to remember to keep toys in his diaper bag or car seat, but I’ll admit it’s not always the first thing on my mind when I’m heading out the door (more like “do I have matching shoes on??). He’s also old enough now that he can remove his binkie, turn it around, suck on it, and (sometimes) get it back in. I thought that given these factors I’d like to try out a product I had heard about.

Roundhouse send me their “Oh Plah!” bracelet in “serenity” and I have to tell you that I love it. It’s stylish so I’ll wear it with my clothing and it makes a great accessory. The bracelet come in a variety of colors and patterns so that you can choose a color that reflects your style and goes with your wardrobe. Mommy approves.

Unlike a pacifier (which easily slips out of his mouth and onto the floor) and toys (which are sometimes left at home and aren’t handy), the Oh Plah! bracelet is at my fingertips in a second and satisfies Lucien’s craving for something to look at, play with, and chew on.

Lucien enjoys the bracelet too! It’s super flexible, so he is almost strong enough to take it off my wrist himself. It’s durable and washable (a must for a new mommy!). It has a smart little hole that he slips his fingers into to hang on. It’s free of BPA and other harmful chemicals.

Here’s a little more information about the bracelet:

  • Constructed of medical grade thermoplastic- non-toxic, bacteria resistant, and free of lead, latex, PVC, BPA and phthalates.
  • Meets or exceeds the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulations, in addition to meeting or exceeding safety testing standards for Canada (C.R.C. c.931) and the European Union (EN-71).
  • No small parts means it’s safe for even the tiniest babe.
  • Extremely durable yet flexible, standing up to frequent chewing without looking worn or damaged.
  • Easily cleaned with soap and water, and dries quickly so that it can be worn again right away.
  • Great as a nursing reminder (switch wrists to remember which side comes next).
  • Made in the USA.

Exclusive for Traveling with Baby readers: Readers of Traveling with Baby will receive 15% off their purchases at  Roundhouse using the following code: “Traveling15”

Note: One bracelet was provided for the purpose of this review. Read the full disclosure policy.

For the Whole Family: Green Batteries

Welcome to the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide on Traveling with Baby.  From now until February 14th, you’ll find great Valentine’s gift ideas for the whole family.  You’ll even have the opportunity to win some of the products featured on the Gift Guide–isn’t that lovely?


Did your family end up with holiday gifts that require batteries?  Thankfully, we did not, but during my son’s first year, he received multiple gifts that sucked down batteries faster than we could keep up!  Not only was I concerned with proper disposal of the batteries, but I was also concerned about the environmental footprint they’d leave behind.

I’ve tried rechargeable batteries in the past, but they just don’t last as long nor pack the same power punch as traditional batteries.  So, when I heard about Fuji’s new Enviromax batteries that are branded as environmentally friendly, I thought they were worth a try.

Compared to conventional batteries, they work just as well and last just as long.  I asked about the composition to understand just how environmentally-friendly these batteries are.  I learned from Fuji that they’re comprised of “iron, nickel, zinc, electrolyte-manganese dioxide, bronze and paper. Unlike most batteries, they do not contain lithium.”


  • mercury-free
  • cadmium-free
  • PVC-free

My step-dad has worked with battery recycling for close to 24 years.  I asked him what he thought about these new environmentally-friendly batteries from Fuji, and this is what he said,

Iron-nickel batteries are a very old technology (over 100 years).  Nothing ground breaking here, but maybe there will be a new appreciation for them given the relative environmental friendliness of the materials in them.  The batteries are relatively heavy, expensive to make, and have poor charge retention.

I love that Fuji is taking the lead on green batteries, even if it is re-marketing old technology, and I hope other manufacturers will follow suit.  Meanwhile, if your holiday gifts are running low on battery juice, the Enviromax batteries by Fuji are a great way to re-charge while being kind to the earth.  When a 2-pack of Cs or 4-pack of AA’s run $5.99 they’re comparable to conventional batteries in cost as well as power, at least in my experience.


One (1) winner will receive a 2-pack of Fuji Enviromax batteries in size C (retail value $5.99) and 4-pack in size AA (retail value $5.99).

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to February 14th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

Extra Credit

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide or this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Tweet (include @drdolly) about this giveaways or the Valentine’s Day gift guide, then leave a second comment telling me that you did with a link.

FOR A FOURTH ENTRY: Enter another contest on the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, and leave a comment telling me which one you entered.

*I received a product samples of Fuji Enviromax AA and C batteries for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
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*UPDATE* Congrats to #19 LauraB!

For Kids: Memory-Making Gifts

I’m not really into giving small kids impractical gifts for Christmas.  In fact, I’ve almost always made a point to give my nieces and nephews great books or something else that’s practical and useful and perhaps educational.

My fondest Christmas memory from childhood was the first year I made Christmas cookies with my grandmother.  On my 6th birthday, we made petit coat tails (a shortbread cookie with delicate icing flours), Russian tea cakes, sugar cookies, and Esses (“S”-shaped).

I felt so grown-up wearing an apron and using the icing bag on the delicate cookies.

Child to Cherish, a company that is excellent at creating innovative memory-making keepsakes, created a new “Little Baker” suitcase collection designed by Patricia Lowe. There’s 6 suitcases available: 3 that are perfect gifts from parents or aunts and uncles (boy, girl, Christmas), and 3 that are specifically designed as gifts from grandmas (boy, girl, Christmas).

We got to try their adorable red Christmas-themed suitcase with tree, gingerbread man, and star cookie cutter shapes, a toddler-sized wooden rolling pin, and a toddler-sized wooden spoon.  The suitcase also includes a red apron with the sweet embroidery “Little Baker,” and 4 cookie recipes for Christmastime.

The day before we baked cookies, I let Calvin use flour and water to make dough with the Little Baker set.

The wooden spoon and rolling pin were the perfect size for a toddler’s small hands.  My son loved measuring, pouring, and stirring dry ingredients.

We made whole-wheat flour chocolate chip cookies with sukenot over the weekend.  Calvin Mommy insisted that he wore his red apron while he baked, because it is just too adorable.

Calvin enjoyed tasting the result of his labor.  I let him have one very small cookie, and he washed it down with raw milk.

I’m looking forward to trying some tasty gluten-free cookie recipes with the tools in the Little Baker Suitcase later this month, and every year around Christmas.

This is a wonderful gift to enrich lasting memories around the holidays with your child.  The Child to Cherish Little Baker Suitcase retails for $42.99.

Child to Cherish not only creates wonderful gifts to capture memories, but they have gift options to help make the earth a little greener: Plant a Christmas Tree for Me.  Their mini greenhouse is complete with a Christmas tree pellet and instructions.  All you need to add is water and sunlight.  Simple, right?

At 3 and 1/4inches tall with a red-ribbon topper, it’s perfect to hang on the tree the night before Christmas.  The Plant a Christmas Tree for Me retails for $6.99.


One winner  will receive a Plant a Tree for Me, (retail value $6.99).  Stay in the know and win a Nest Egg by becoming a Child to Cherish fan on Facebook.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to December 21st at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: complete a quick 10-question reader demographic survey. Then, leave a second comment telling me that you did.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about the Holiday Gift Guide (or about this giveaway), then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted or blogged with a link to your tweet/post.

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A Little Baker Suitcase and a Plant a Christmas Tree for Me were provided for the purpose of this review.  Read Traveling with Baby’s complete disclosure policy.


Congrats to the winner, #1 Leslie!

Green Works Natural Laundry Review

I’ll admit it…

I’m over 30, and I still can’t quite do laundry well.

By that I mean, I’m not that great at getting stains out of clothes.  I know you’re supposed to pre-treat stains as soon as they occur, and there’s some magical combination of soak time and certain cleaning agents that can do the trick for almost anything from food stains to tar.  But, I must have missed out on that class in Home Ec.

My grandmother has a knack for getting old dingy whites particularly bright and cheery.  I don’t know how she does it, but she can get almost any article of laundry clean…and her formula almost always involves bleach.

As much as I love bright and clean whites, I also don’t like having toxic chemicals in my home.  Ya know, stuff that can cause blindness, like bleach.

I’m a huge proponent of green cleaning products in the home not just because they’re good for our local environment, but because they’re safer for babies and children.

Yet, many “green” laundry products just don’t make the cut when it comes to getting the laundry clean. 

I was eager to try Green Works’ new laundry detergent and stain remover to see if they pass the test for that delicate combination between being safe and green as well as effective on cleaning laundry.  Here’s how those products fared in my home:

The Clean Test

I treated two white laundry articles with the green works stain remover and let them sit for a couple of minutes before starting a load of whites.  I added the green works liquid laundry detergent to a medium load with the pre-treated articles.

Toddler’s white crew socks (BEFORE)

Toddler’s white crew socks (AFTER)

My great-grandmother’s embroidered flour sack dish cloth stained with mango salsa (BEFORE)

My great-grandmother’s embroidered flour sack dish cloth stained with mango salsa (AFTER)


The detergent works…laundry gets clean.  The directions for both products are simple, and they’re both easy to use.  The liquid detergent is good for over 30 loads of laundry.


Fragrance with essential oils is used to created scents.  Why not just essential oils?  The effect is a rather potent scent that may be an irritant to newborns or people with sensitive skin.  Dyes are added to the liquid detergent, and it would be a far greater product sans dyes that are also a potential irritant and additional chemicals.  On a brighter note, Green Works created two other detergent options available, lavender scent and free & clear (that doesn’t have dyes or fragrance!)


Overall, I LOVE that the maker’s of Clorox are on the green bandwagon.  More companies should take note and follow suit.  In the future, I’d love to see them create a laundry product that is truly 100% natural, instead of 99%.  However, this is truly a huge stride in the right direction.  I think I’d like to try the Green Works Free & Clear–that may be a wonderful combination of green cleaning product without the extras that would be perfect for my family.

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I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Green Works and received a bottle of natural laundry detergent and a bottle of stain remover to facilitate my review.  Read my full disclosure statement.

Happy Green Baby Hearts Military Mamas

Recently, Teri Kent of Better World Betty interviewed me on green baby practices for the November issue of C-Ville Abode Magazine, on news stands now.  I “heart” her post title, “Greening Up Baby.”  Why didn’t I think of that?

Heart of a Military WomanAlso, I just found out that my article submission was selected for publication in a new Heart Series book by Sheryl Roush and Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, called Heart of a Military Women.  I’m SO excited about this!

Previously, I was interviewed and submitted two selections to Michele Hunter Mirabile’s book, Your Mother Wears Combat Boots, that were published in the final edition of the book.  What’s so special to me about that particular book is that my great aunt Vivian who served as a nurse in the Army Air Corps in World War II also has a personal story published in the same book!

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on Heart of a Military Woman–especially if there’s some book signings by the authors in the local area.

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Ear Infections: Hear Your Other Options

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

I get a lot of questions from moms who are looking for alternatives to antibiotics to help their babies or children suffering from ear infections.  Many of them are surprised to learn about the benefits of gentle pediatric chiropractic care that often help children’s ear infections resolve.

Are Antibioitics the Answer?

This is just one of many studies that indicate the ineffectiveness of antibiotics for ear infections (not only do they damage gut flora, but they don’t necessarily work for their prescribed purpose!)  Here’s another that indicates antibiotics only have a short-term, and non-lasting effect.  Doctors prescriptions for antibiotics for middle ear infections is so rampant and automatic.  Here’s a study that suggests doctors cease defaulting to the antibiotics prescription…STAT.  When specifically testing amoxicillin, a study found no difference in the drug compared to a placebo, thereby claiming amoxicillin is ultimately ineffective for treating ear infections.

listening edit

Alternatives to Drugs for Ear Infections

Instead of antibiotics, many doctors are encouraging parents to “watch and wait” instead.  Read more from WebMD.  Also, check out this health article on CBS where chiropractors teach young children to fight against ear infections.

As for medicated ear drops, there was a study that found that a naturopathic ear drop was just as effective as the medicated ear drops, minus the side effects of the medications.  This study followed 103 test subjects between the ages of 6 to 18 years of age.  After 3 days of receiving the Naturopathic drops compared to the group receiving the medicated drops, both groups reported the same decrease in perceived ear pain.

Here’s a great article on holistic approaches to ear infections by Lawrence Pavelsky, M.D.  I like that he helps parents differentiate between an ear ache and an ear infection, he describes how ear infections develop, and he discusses alternative methods of treatment that won’t leave your child’s gut blanched from the beneficial bacteria killed off by anti-biotics.

I encourage you to find a chiropractic physician in your area who will support your choice for health care.  Check out the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association, today!

Your Turn:

What about you?  Has your child suffered from an ear infection?  What treatment methods have you tried?  What did you like or dislike about the treatments you tried?

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Happy Green Baby — Seminar Scoop

happy-green-baby1Thanks to everyone who participated in today’s seminar!  What a fun group.  For those of you who couldn’t make it and are out of town, no worries…get your Happy Green Baby highlights right here.

As promised, I’ve collected all the links and info into one location to serve as your Happy Green Baby information headquarters.  Don’t forget to bookmark this post for future reference.

Cloth Diapers

Feeding Baby



Family-Friendly Grand Opening

As a friendly reminder, I hope to see you at the grand opening festivities for Spinal Health & Wellness on Thursday, October 8th from 4PM to 7PM.  We want to make this fun-filled event enjoyable for the entire family. Participating vendors are offering FREE portrait sittings, chair massage, face painting, and kid-friendly snacks. There’s also fabulous door prizes including 8×10 portraits, HappyBaby coupons and snack samples, and much more.

Healthy Mama Workshop

healthy mama smallI’ll be back at Downtown ACAC on Saturday, November 7th as the featured speaker for the Pre-Natal and Post-Natal seminar series offering a Healthy Mama Workshop that begins at 11:45 AM.

Moms will learn safe and ergonomic postural considerations for both parent and baby while babywearing.  Also, augment the breastfeeding bonding experience by caring for mom and baby’s back needs.  This workshop will teach you how to stay comfortable longer while wearing baby–preventing spine or pelvis injuries on baby.  You’ll also learn body support tips for the most common nursing positions, and caring for your baby’s back from infancy to toddlerhood.

Bring your baby carrier/sling and nursing pillow, if you use them.

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Green Baby & Ribbon Cutting

happy-green-baby1It’s almost here…

The Happy Green Baby workshop at Downtown ACAC (111 Monticello Ave.) in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, October 3rd at 11:45 AM.

I’m teaching new parents simple ways to go green with baby through an intro course in cloth diapering and I’ll show you how to make organic baby food from scratch–don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds!

This class is part of ACAC’s pre-natal/post-natal program and the first 15 minutes includes yummy snacks and social time with other new parents.  We’ll wrap up at 1PM (just in time for the afternoon nap).

The best part about this event, it’s FREE for the general public.  So, bring your friends, and let’s have some fun!


Then, on Thursday, October 8th from 4PM to 7PM, Spinal Health & Wellness, my practice, is celebrating our official opening in grand style with a big party and a ribbon cutting ceremony.  The office is located in Charlottesville in Berkmar Crossing, near the intersection of Rio Road West and Berkmar Drive at 679 Berkmar Circle.

We want the entire family to enjoy the fun, so we’re offering yummy Asian-fusion styled tapas, chair massage, kids crafts, face painting, portrait sittings, kid-friendly snacks, and cake!

Non-profit National Eating Disorders Association and Rabbits for Recovery will be represented at the event along with Charlottesville Regional Airport (cuz  hey, we’re building a patient base that extends beyond central Virginia!), SuzySaid.com, and many other community partners.  Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is officiating the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Don’t forget the fabulous door prizes:

We can’t wait to see you at the par-tay!

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