TOMS Baby & Youth Clothes

Written by admin on July 30th, 2011. Posted in Baby Clothing

Blake Mycoskie is inspirational!

One for One

One for One Movement

“In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

Why Shoes?

Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:

•A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.

•Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.

•Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.”

Visit Tiny TOMS Clothing & Shoes

Winter Warmers: Swaddles to Sleep Sacks

Written by admin on April 12th, 2011. Posted in Baby Clothing

Blanket Swaddling

NEW BORNS: Winter for little newborn bubs is tricky. Within a few weeks they’re wriggling out from their blanket swaddling and pushing themselves up and out so any thought of tucking them in at night and finding them still snug in their swaddling under a blanket is a dream. For very young bubs friends have recommended The Woombie. Having not tried it ourselves I can’t endorse it but suffice to say if I’d known about it when the girls were babies I would have bought two (in organic of course).  The Woombie allows movement but only within the enclosed area of the cocoon preventing a startle reflex but not the ability to move altogether. The design makes sense to me. The fabric is 95% Cotton/5% Spandex and if you buy it in organic (not highly coloured choices) it’s a good investment for your bub.

I was also referred to the Miracle Blanket however I believe at 4 weeks our girls would have made short work of these folds and pulled their arms out. (I once recall them grunting and moaning and working their way out from a swaddle blanket for more than 15 minutes….and they didn’t stop till they’d escaped!) They are both extremely strong and extremely determined to get their own way…even from birth.  I also quickly determined that I’m not a fan of restraining natural movement once a baby has shown that it is no longer comforting to be swaddled. Our girls enjoyed it for four weeks and then the party was over on swaddling.

INFANTS/TODDLERS: As they grow (and it happens quickly so don’t spend too much on swaddling) it doesn’t get any better. Our 1 year olds move all around the cot in a night so we’ve invested in Merino wool sleep sacks. I decided on natural breathable fibres because the suggestion that you need to buy multiple “TOG” sacks (at up to $100 a pop) dependent upon the room temperature seemed like a money grab by the retailers. You should simply be able to add or remove a pajama layer underneath the sack to adjust to temperature changes.

After scouring the web for the best prices on Merino wool sacks I actually found it was cheaper to buy them from the UK. It cost me AU$150 for TWO which is usually what you’ll pay for 1 item in Australia or New Zealand.

Merino Wool Sleep Sack

So rather then try to keep socks on your infant/toddler, which they LOVE to tear off the moment you put them in the cot, (I remember sneaking in after they’d fallen asleep to re-don their socks. Holding my breath and peaking with anxiety at the potential for waking them up. Urgh) keep their feet, legs and chest warm through winter by investing in a good quality versatile, but above all, natural fibre sleep sack.

Pro’s to look out for when choosing a sleep sack are: adjustable clips under the arms for growth, a zip from the side down around the base, not down the centre of the garment which is too tempting for little fingers to open, and a natural fibre that isn’t limiting for season (ie: not having to buy different TOG’s for different temperature ranges). The size of the Bambino Merino sack is a bonus too. Good till around age 2 so it’s great value. We bought ours online at Bambino Merino.

Happy hunting!

The Weather – Baby Needs Your Attention to Detail

Written by admin on March 1st, 2011. Posted in Baby Clothing

On a warm but breezy day out shopping, I saw what looked to be a week-old baby in a pram sockless and bare legged with a light sheet thrown haphazardly over her and she was shivering and her little chin was shaking. There was a man standing next to her not paying very much attention so I made an obvious point as we walked past to stare concerned at the baby and say in a raised voice “Oh no! She’s COLD poor little thing!” and his attention returned to the baby (if only to lazily adjust the blanket). My point is a baby’s temperature really needs to be monitored. You may think it’s hot but baby may not have enough covering on to keep her core temperature at a safe level. Conversely you may not think it’s not hot but she may have one layer too many on and be suffering. Especially while asleep babies really need looking after and a mindful eye watching out for sweat around their hairline or shivering, teeth chattering or a change in skin colour. I make a habit of placing an open palm on our girls’ backs to check their body temp is ok and change their clothing immediately if it’s not.

I’m probably getting off topic here but I have to say again how important natural fibres are for your baby, especially while very young pre-6 months of age. Polyester gets very sweaty even if it’s just a polyester blanket wrapped around them. The madness I see in toddlers & bigger kids clothing is throughout their wardrobe but it baffles me why they use polyester in pajamas! The last thing you want to do it sweat in bed.

A Polyester blanket is a sweat trap! Soft to touch but terrible for baby.

With polyester you can find they develop heat rash or sweat pimples because the fibres don’t breathe or allow your baby’s sweat to be absorbed and evaporate. In my other articles in this category Baby Clothing I talk about organic or pre-loved clothing to avoid PBDE’s (fire retardant chemicals) but it’s really important to avoid non-natural fibres too. It can cause a whole host of problems and skin conditions for your child. Stick with natural fibres preferably organic or pre-loved (ie pre-washed) to sidestep the chemicals AND the man-made synthetic fibres.

Your baby will thank you for it with good health!

Pre-Loved Clothing – Avoiding PBDE’s

Written by admin on February 16th, 2011. Posted in Baby Clothing

I was told by friends how quickly babies grow out of their clothing and into the next size but I couldn’t have fully appreciated it until now. Our girls are 1 1/2 years old and all of their beautiful clothes bought and gifted to us are in a storage box nearly brand new. As children grow so quickly from birth to age 2 don’t be squeamish to buy or accept pre-loved baby clothes. (Especially from 0-6 months the only thing to touch them is breast milk or formula!) And from starting solids at 6 months onward babies grow so rapidly the outfits are probably worn less than 50 times each. They really are practically brand new with the added benefit of being pre-washed! Parents are becoming more aware of PBDE’s (fire retardants) in clothing and looking for ways to remove these very dangerous chemicals from their childrens’ lives. You can’t get much more intimate an issue than the clothing on your children’s bodies 24/7.

Look out for tags saying “Low Fire Danger”. It means the garment has been treated with dangerous Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

If you can’t afford to buy organic material clothing, the benefit of Pre-Loved’s is they have been washed and rewashed so many chemicals in the materials (such as fire retardant PBDE’s) and dyes have been diminished. Clothing, especially from China have a slight acidic/toxic smell to them (some worse than others) so getting seconds rather than brand new is really an improvement for your little baby’s health. Their very delicate skin will absorb, and their little lungs will inhale, absolutely everything in those fibres and increase the chemical load on their organs and system. (The higher risk to children is a result of their higher metabolic rate, higher intake of airborne pollutants and lower resilience, resulting in a two to four times higher absorption rate (Gilbert and Black 2000).

Keep this in mind when you’re eyeing off a lovely new ‘inexpensive’ outfit from China in the shops. If you must buy brand new look for organic cotton or bamboo for all of baby’s clothes in the first 6 months. You really don’t need too many outfits while they’re this young so make any new purchase a good one and go organic.

Babies love Pre-Loved!

Babies love Pre-Loved!

So back to the wonderful alternative of Pre-Loved Clothing. If you’re lucky enough to have friends with children slightly older than yours they may have clothing they want to gift to you. They certainly won’t hand you down tatty clothing so what you do receive will most likely still look brand new (and be gratefully accepted, thank you to our wonderful friends Marianne & Michael and Dean & Amanda!). Alternatively, visiting your local ‘thrift’ shop to buy inexpensive second hand clothing is a great idea. They won’t put anything tatty on the shelves either so you can be sure to find some great items at a fraction of the cost brand new (and more importantly with a fraction of the chemicals!). A good trick to finding lovely 2nds clothing is visiting thrift stores in or near ritzy, more affluent suburbs where the standard of clothing donated by the locals is higher.

For those mums whose children have already outgrown a couple of sizes I stumbled across a great concept called Kids Clothes Swap. If you Google it or ask around your mothers’ groups you may find one in your local area. They usually ask an entry fee and have a maximum limit for clothing on a 1 for 1 swap basis. As an example there’s one on the Gold Coast, Australia for $10 for 30 items swapped and another $10 per additional 30 items of clothing. Of course only quality pre-loved clothes in good condition are accepted for trade (and are what you want to receive in return for yours so it’s only fair). So take along all your outgrown baby clothes and come home with a brand new wardrobe for just the entry fee. Hats off to the fantastic ladies who thought up this idea!

If you see the sense in this approach of Pre-Loved clothing let friends and family know so you don’t receive gifts you feel guilty or worried about using (or that simply end up in the bin). Set your friends and family on the healthy path of finding great Pre-Loved’s from thrift shops. It’s actually quite exciting finding a beautiful item for a great price. It’s like SALE TIME in the retail shops!

More info on the health impacts of PBDE/Fire Retardants in my article Organic Baby Sleepwear – Avoiding PBDE’s

I may actually write a specific article explaining PBDE Fire Retardants and their health impacts based on findings from the Australian Government 2006 study. I’ll highlight excerpts of importance and break down the findings into key points so it’s easy to reach the important information. For those who are concerned about PBDE’s but are time poor, wading through all of these documents just isn’t possible. So stay tuned. More to come.


Written by admin on February 5th, 2011. Posted in Baby Clothing

Somehow, even swaddled, our twin girls would wriggle over to be close to each other. That only lasted the first week and then it was fisty cuffs and give me some space sister! I enjoy these rare few photos of them cuddling in as if they were still in the womb together :*)

When buying swaddling cloth choose at least 1m x 1m. Anything smaller is a waste of time as it comes undone when bub starts to wriggle (which will be faster than you ever imagined!). I bought slightly smaller ones but thank goodness a wonderful, cluey friend sent us two really big stretchy cotton ones (pictured) 1.2m x 1.2m from Bay Bee Cino (thank you so much Megan!). They were an absolute dream and we swaddled the girls in them every day as they were winter babies. When they passed the swaddling stage we used them to drape over the pram if the sun was too bright. The smaller ones I bought are still on a shelf barely used. They became burp cloths!

Swaddling (wrapping baby tightly in a blanket) is a great way to soothe your baby giving them a sense of security similar to being in the womb. It also reduces the risk of SIDs by restricting their ability to roll over.

There are many designs for swaddling out there including pre-shaped versions. If you have a winter baby I’d be inclined to buy 2 really good quality ones and if yours is a summer baby you really aren’t going to be able to swaddle them in too much. Square muslin cloths would be ideal. Again, at least 1m x 1m. Choose fabric that is appropriate to the season and remember the wrap counts as a layer of clothing.

Babies can get tired of having their arms restricted by around 4 weeks of age and start to really protest so don’t spend too much on swaddling. Buy 2 quality ones and you can rotate them in the wash. Any more than that and you’ll find in a month you could have better spent the money elsewhere. They always make a good burp cloth if you’ve bought or been given smaller ones.

Some babies are happy to be swaddled longer, some babies never want to be swaddled even from birth. It’s luck of the draw!

And of course if you can get your hands on it, organic is best. Babies are in their swaddling nearly 24/7 the first month when they sleep the most and my feeling is the less colouring and chemicals in their clothing, the better! Brand new baby skin (and their organs) haven’t been exposed to any of the multitude of our nasty chemicals in this world yet so in their first few months especially cheapie fabrics/outfits (from China and the like) should be carefully avoided. See story on Organic Baby Sleepwear for info on PBDE’s. Organic material and pre-loved (aka pre-washed) clothing reins king!

Some favourite swaddling recommendations from other mums in my circle:
The Woombie
The Miracle Blanket

Organic Baby Sleepwear – Avoiding PBDE’s

Written by admin on February 5th, 2011. Posted in Baby Clothing

Babies sleep anywhere up to 20 hours a day during their first few months so whatever you choose to dress them in should be very soft, comfortable and made from natural preferably organic fibres. Avoid buying stacks of el-cheapo singlets and onesies from the main outlets and go for just a couple of quality organic ones. Brightly coloured clothing means loads of dye and that’s the last thing you want on your new born baby’s skin. If your budget is very strained and you can only buy cheapies, just buy a couple and wash them 3 or 4 times before putting them on your baby. You can then feel you’ve done your best to rid as much chemical as possible before use. And because you have fewer of them it means they’re washed more often and that’s a good thing for getting out the dangerous chemicals they may be doused in over in China. Watch out for “fire retardant” or “low fire danger” tagged clothing as they have been treated with a nasty chemical known as PBDE.

Look out for tags saying “Low Fire Danger”. It means the garment has been treated with dangerous Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE’s).

Information on the chronic health effects of PBDE below.

“Flame-retardants are in widespread use in both the U.S. and Canada, primarily in carpet padding, foam cushions, polyester bedding and clothing, wallpaper, and the plastic housings for computers, faxes and other electronics. Most are made from variations of a chemical known as PBDE, which stands for polybrominated diphenyl ether.

According to the Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDE), in laboratory studies some PBDEs have been shown to cause problems in rodent brain development. “Most of these problems stem from pre-natal exposure and exposure soon after birth. The health effects appear to be permanent,” says WSDE. They are quick to point out, though, that levels in humans have not (yet) reached the levels that cause problems in lab animals, but that scientists are concerned because the levels in humans keep rising.

PBDEs are “persistent” in that they don’t break down but remain active in our air, water, soil and food. WSDE says that PDBEs are building up in animals throughout the food chain, even turning up in orca whales in Puget Sound in Washington and in the bodies of polar bears in the Arctic.

PBDEs also stay in our bodies, accumulating in our fatty tissue. The U.S. is the world’s largest maker and user of PBDEs, and levels found in Americans are as much as 100 times higher than in Europe, where most PDBEs were banned in 2001. North American levels, say scientists, are doubling every two to five years. Primarily, human exposure has been through eating fish, though babies can be exposed by drinking mother’s milk. Children are also exposed when they wear polyester pajamas treated with flame retardant. Indeed, PDBE chemicals easily “off-gas” from the very products they are designed to make safe.

Consumers can take precautions and avoid products that contain PBDE. Among other cautions, the Healthy Children Project recommends buying clothing, bedding and furniture made from natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, which do not melt near heat and as such do not need to contain flame-retardants.”

If your budget doesn’t allow for purchasing Organic clothing read ideas in article Pre-Loved Clothing – Avoiding PBDE’s

I may actually write a dedicated article explaining PBDE Fire Retardants and their health impacts based on findings from the Australian Government 2006 study. I’ll highlight excerpts of importance and break down the findings into key points so it’s easy to reach the important information. For those who are concerned about PBDE’s but are time poor, wading through all of these documents just isn’t possible. So stay tuned. More to come.