Blog Posts by Ask an Organic Mom, The Daily Green

  • Trying to Get Pregnant? Do These 10 Things

    The fruit trees are in bloom in New York City. They're beyond gorgeous -- there's nothing like trees lousy with blossoms decorating this concrete jungle. It's not warm enough yet to abandon our winter coats entirely, but we have had some lovely moments wandering around the neighborhood scouting for our favorite pears, cherries and magnolias, smiling at the crocuses and the daffodils, saying "forsythia" over and over (the word makes my daughter laugh), and sniffing hyacinths. It's a bright, hopeful, vibrant time of year (even in this economy). I suspect these first blushes of spring have something to do with why I know so many people born nine and ten months from April and May, including my daughter, her father, his mother, my grandmother, and my father.

    If budding branches have you in a trying-to-get-pregnant mood, here are a few thoughts -- from The Complete Organic Pregnancy-- on what you might want to add to your regimen and purge from your life as you go at it.

    1. Up Your Read More »from Trying to Get Pregnant? Do These 10 Things
  • It's Easy Family Vacationing Green: California Edition

    Organic-interested people - parents or not - the country over have long told me they cannot find the percentage of organic items they would like to fill their lives with. They don't have enough, or sometimes any, choices, they lament to me, at the grocery store, and certainly not if they want to buy lunch out when at the office. It's hard, they email me, to find local milk, and/or vegetables, let alone pasture-raised animals. The refrain is always the same: "I. Don't. Live. In. California."

    Well neither do I. And while New York, my hometown, has a tremendous variety of organic items, from food to beauty products to crib mattress to cleaning products to year-round farmers' markets, it, too, is not California. A few years ago when I was first researching The Complete Organic Pregnancy, living the lifestyle was much more difficult than it is today, even in New York. Which I find heartening; the bounty has really arrived. Which means it is and will be arriving all over the country.

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  • Organic and Nontoxic Soaps For Green Babies (And Their Parents)


    I've been reading your blog for almost a year now and just love it. I've tried almost every baby and toddler wash available labeled organic, green, natural, etc. So far I haven't found one that I was completely happy with. Upon further investigation of the ingredients some aren't as chemical-free as I would like, others are filled with unnecessary ingredients or fillers, and one in particular was so icky I couldn't get through the whole bottle without switching (and I hate to waste). My favorite "wash" so far has been a homemade concoction of Dr. Bronner's Mild liquid soap, some vegetable glycerin, and a drop of rose essential oil. It lathers up, rinses clean without any residue and smells clean, not perfumey. I'm curious what wash is preferred by the "organic moms."

    Sincerest thanks,
    Elizabeth from California
    baby in the bath

    Hi Elizabeth,

    That sounds like a lovely concoction. For more ideas on how to make your own natural personal care products beyond baby wash, check out

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  • When Is It OK To Give Your Infant Tylenol?

    Toward the end of February, when it feels as though there are no other seasons but winter, an odd never-ending cold arrives in most family households. A few weeks back, my daughter experienced it as sniffles, her father was totally stuffed up, her close friend had a cough that sounded like a painful bark, and my throat was raw. We all got better. But as I type, it's back. My daughter's nose is red and raw from constantly running, her father wakes up glued to the pillow, her friend cancels playdate after playdate, and my ears are so painful I had a dream about my friend's husband, a doctor, making a Sunday house call to our apartment. We're miserable and praying for spring.

    In times like these, it's hard to lay off the pain meds, even for an organic mom. Tylenol and its compatriots take the edge off the awful discomfort, make it possible to fall asleep, or go back to sleep in the middle of the night, reduce aches and low-grade fevers, and offer general ease. But I don't dose

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  • Why Zipcar Doesn't Work For City Families

    One of the things I love most about living in New York is being car-free. Nothing could be greener. Here is how I get to places, in order of frequency: I walk (and push a stroller) or I take subways and buses. Less than ten times a year I take a taxi. I grew up in New York so this is all I've ever known, though at various points in my pre-kid life, I rode more subways, walked less, and took more cabs. Although I did learn to drive in my late teens, and even have a license, I don't drive. I used to but as I never did it with any frequency, I was (and am) terrible. Driving terrifies me. And I all around hate it - from being behind the wheel to the gasoline that makes the cars go.

    Still, being a parent, cars are convenient, even for the urban dweller. From time to time over the years we have borrowed cars from friends and family for long haul errands, carting stuff around, or even for weekend trips. Our needs never seemed to be enough to warrant joining Zipcar, an eco-tastic

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  • Don't Outsource Infant Nutrition To A Manufacturer

    There must be something in the air, as I've been getting formula question after formula question this week. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read The Complete Organic Pregnancy or any of my blog entries here or elsewhere that I firmly believe breast is best, unless it is truly not available (adoption, breast cancer, etc.). I have touched on organic formulas here and elsewhere, very basically, when there have been contamination issues and questions. But as a general rule of thumb, I don't stay on top of the latest in formula news, or recommend one formula over another. I don't think infant nutrition is something that should be outsourced to a manufacturer. And I'm fully prepared for the pissed off comments this post will elicit. I recognize exactly how difficult breastfeeding is and can be for mothers and I will go out of my way to find lactation consultants and breastfeeding groups for anyone who emails me in distress, in any corner of the country. And I often direct

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  • DIY Cheap And Green Kids' Room Decorations and Games

    Even before this current economy took the wind out of our collective sails, I had always been a big proponent of minimal, reused, or DIY decorations and games for a baby's nursery or a kid's room. This does not mean you have to know how to knit or sew. Trust me. I don't know how to do either, much to my chagrin.

    I remember vividly being in those first few completely sleep deprived weeks with an infant and reading about/having a nurse in a pediatrician's office tell me that infants really respond to black and white patterns, that developmentally it's a good idea to expose them to them. This explains why so many of the earliest baby toys - animals that rattle and crinkle and coo -- have black and white components.

    So during the next 3 a.m. session when the babe's dad was bouncing her on my birthing ball in an endless attempt to get her to sleep, I took out a few pieces of paper, drew black and white designs on them - swirls, checkerboards, what have you - and fastened them

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  • 10 Healthy, Green Snack Tips For School Kids

    I'm happily in the process of helping to green my daughter's preschool. I've aided them in their search for gentle industrial green products, and more eco- and kid-friendly hand soap. And I'm currently involved with a snack committee. It's a co-op school, so parents are responsible for bringing in food for the kids on the day they're also helping out in the classroom. The goal is to make sure our children are snacking on healthier things by setting up shopping guidelines and suggestions for parents. We're all already being mindful not to bring in anything that could cause allergic reactions, so the committee is thinking it won't be a huge leap to make to scan ingredient lists for a few more best-to-avoid items.

    Here's a working draft of a "top ten" list (in no particular order) which I recently sent to the committee, and which will eventually be sent out to the school. Is there something I'm not thinking about? Or is there a great snack your kids love? Let me know in comments.

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  • Natural Cures for Typical Pregnancy Aches and Pains

    To view a version of this feature with additional photos, see Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks, Back Pain and Other Pregnancy Aches and Pains

    pregnant woman

    In the past week, two lovely, adorable pregnant moms I know - including my across-the-hall neighbor - have mentioned having some serious aches and pains. Both are around the six-to-seven-month mark of their pregnancies.

    I also had some intense discomfort around that time, though I had a very active and comfortable pregnancy overall. Although "comfortable pregnancy" might actually be an oxymoron, I was standing on my head in yoga until the bitter endless end. So I went through my notes - and my book, The Complete Organic Pregnancy- to give them both some natural tips and remedies for common pregnancy pains. I remember how surprised I was that some of the simplest, most obvious things helped me feel better when pregnant and in pain. This was a relief, as I did not want to be taking medicine, over the counter or otherwise, if I could

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  • How to Find Eco-Bedding Options for Baby


    I just purchased an organic crib mattress and now I'm looking to keep it nice with a natural waterproof mattress pad. I've look at getting wool puddle pads at Dax Stores, etc. but they are all so expensive! Can I just buy wool at a fabric store or is it not the same? Are there other naturally waterproof fabric options I have to use on the mattress, cosleeper and elsewhere?

    Thanks for your help!


    Hi Jenny,

    I happen to have two from Dax Stores and really love them. I agree they're expensive, but they last a very long time. These puddle pads are made from pure grown wool whereas regular wool at a fabric store might have been raised in a less pure fashion (sprayed, not well processed, potentially dyed with things you don't want the babe to be breathing). Also the Dax ones are very tightly woven and have been minimally processed so are likely to retain their lanolin/be more waterproof. If you can find pure wool or ecological wool at a fabric store,

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