Newborn care experts are calling claims for arms-free swaddling and anti-swaddling misleading and irresponsible at best and potentially harmful or even deadly at worst.

Experts say Harmful & Misleading Information Being Spread About Infant Sleep Anti-Swaddling Advice Could Trigger Illness or Have Deadly Consequences

“Swaddling a baby is perfectly safe”, says Raleigh, North Carolina-based Pamela Diamond, a certified postpartum doula and baby sleep consultant.

“There are people out there who are spreading fear-laden messages that are patently false, lacking in evidence, data and clinical studies and go directly against decades of clinical research,*” she said. “To advise parents to use an arms-free swaddle or no swaddle is downright absurd.”

“Swaddling is a vital tool that is clinically proven to comfort a crying, screaming newborn and keep an infant safely asleep on its back.”

Dr. Harvey Karp Pediatrician concurs. An eminent expert on the subject of newborn sleep and whose work spans nearly four decades, Dr. Karp has long advocated swaddling as part of the Five S’s. On his website The Happiest Baby on the Block, Karp writes that swaddling is essential to public health because infant crying and the exhaustion it causes in parents are main triggers for postpartum depression, SIDS, child abuse such as Shaken Baby Syndrome, breastfeeding failure, maternal smoking, marital stress, car accidents, and over-diagnosis and treatment of babies for illness, among others.

Though some published reports claim otherwise, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated swaddling many times and has also written about the benefits of swaddling on numerous occasions.

Nowhere is the anti-swaddling trend more directly evident than in North Carolina. As part of the implementation of the Infant Safe Sleep Campaign the NC Healthy Start Foundation says the long held tradition of swaddling could lead to suffocation due to loose bedding. While loose bedding is no doubt a serious problem, it is altogether a separate issue from swaddling safety.

“Considering the millions of people that have been swaddling newborns every night and every day, if such a theory were correct, there would be literally thousands of such reported incidents over the years, and there simply aren’t,” says Michael Gatten, CEO and Founder of Miracle Industries, LLC, makers of a leading swaddling product, Miracle Blanket. “We are extremely concerned about parents being incorrectly educated regarding sleep positions that have not been clinically studied.”

As an example of the misinformation, the term “swaddling” is being exploited and illegitimately applied to various non-swaddling items to validate the use of clinical studies to promote sales. While most of these products do serve the purpose of eliminating loose bedding, they lack the very discernible scientifically-proven attributes that make swaddling safe and effective.

Arms-free swaddling or no swaddle at all, it’s pretty much the same. In both cases, experts say the efficacy and the benefits are gone. Therefore it’s crucial to separate the MYTHS from the FACTS.

MYTH: A wearable blanket or other zip-up sack is just as good as a swaddling blanket to help babies sleep.

FACT: Medical research showing the incredible efficacy of PROPER swaddling has been done using a snugly-wrapped blanket with arms comfortably immobilized; usually at the sides. Wearable blankets are not snug to apply pressure and do not keep the arms snugly inside.

MYTH: Babies need their hands free to self-soothe, develop motor skills, and to flail their arms if they are in distress.

FACT: Babies are not coordinated enough to practice motor skills and/or self-soothe (ie. suck hands) reliably until 14 weeks. Swaddling is a substitute during this time to limit startle reflex, thus preventing unwanted arousal and facial scratches.

MYTH: Wearable blankets and other zip-up sacks help babies sleep better.

FACT: Only PROPER swaddling has been shown in clinical studies to calm a fussy, colicky baby while helping baby sleep safer, better, deeper and longer on their backs, while also eliminating loose bedding.

MYTH: Wearable blankets and other zip-up sacks contribute to a decrease in the risk of SIDS.

FACT: Only PROPER swaddling has been shown in clinical studies* to reduce SIDS by as much as 30% even over back-sleeping babies without swaddling.

MYTH: Tight swaddling can interfere with lung expansion, contributing to the risk of suffocation.

FACT: Research on PROPER swaddling has shown that a tight swaddle does not inhibit oxygen absorption or respiration. And, no incident of suffocation due to overly tight swaddling has ever been reported.

*Ponsonby, A, et al, Factors potentiating the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome associated with the Prone Position. NEJM 1993; 329:377-82 http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/329/6/377 .

For more information, visit http://www.swaddlingtruth.com/.

This healthy take on a morning favorite is simply brimming with goodness! Maureen Smithe, of Homemade Mothering, has created a delightfully light and fluffy pancake that is a protein powerhouse in the morning. Dig in!

Protein Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups dry old fashioned oatmeal
1/4 cup water
6 egg whites
1 cup cottage cheese
a splash of vanilla or some cinnamon, if you feel like it

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until well incorporated. Pour directly from the blender onto a greased hot pan or griddle. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until brown. This recipe makes 5-6 good-sized pancakes, or enough to feed two adults and one toddler.

Top with fresh fruit, homemade strawberry jam, homemade yogurt, honey, maple syrup…

*Image and recipe courtesy of Maureen Smithe, of Homemade Mothering.*

There is nothing quite like opening the front door to receive a dozen fresh cookies! To send a little love and all-natural goodness to someone special, check out these sinfully delicious cookies from David’s Cookies! Freshly baked with no preservatives and loaded with goodies – choose from Chocolate Chunk, Macadamia and White Chips, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter, Cherry and Double Chocolate Chunk – these cookies will be a hit! Can’t decide what to send? Choose to give a tin of assorted cookies – there is something to delight every taste.

Mom’s” favorite? The Chocolate Chunk, of course. YUM! In addition to their cookies, David’s Cookies also offers some super cute gift options, such as their Play Cookie Dough for little ones to make their own cookies. Perfect as an after-school activity!

To learn more about David’s Cookies, or to order, please visit their website.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Babies and small children bring so much joy into the world, but they also bring mashed vegetables, snotty noses, melting chocolate, and cracker crumbs with them. What is a young mom to do when she is trying desperately to maintain a comfortable home, but every new piece of furniture is stained with an unknown substance or scarred by teeth marks before it has even had time to become outdated? How can moms make their homes nice on a limited budget and still stick to their green principles? The answer may be easier than you can imagine.

Home Decorating Tips for Green & Frugal Moms

By Caroline Smith

Use Slipcovers

Modern slipcovers for sofas are not like the old sheet-like throws that your grandmother unsuccessfully tried to keep from sliding off the couch. The slipcovers available today have the following qualities to help any mother perform a makeover on the interior of her home:

• They are eco-friendly.

• They are easy to wash in a machine.

• They come in trendy styles and fabric patterns.

• They can be made to fit most furniture.

• They hide stains and torn upholstery.

• They are cost-effective compared to buying new furnishings.

Have a Swap Meet

Stretch Slipcovers will make a radical change in the way a room looks, but the finishing touches are also important when you are working on a home makeover. A swap meet with friends is a great way to obtain some free accessories. First, invite friends and neighbors to bring all of their unwanted decorating items to your home, then clear out your own clutter and find items you no longer have a use for that your friends might like. These items might include some of the following:

• Pictures or frames

• Cushions

• Comforters

• Curtains

• Mirrors

• Vases

• Placemats

• Candles

Once everyone has arrived with the items from their attics or cupboards, explain that they can take one item for every item they have brought to exchange. This is not only a great way to save items from eventually going to a landfill, but it is also a wonderful way for everyone to get free items to brighten their own homes. As a bonus, everyone gets spring cleaning done at the same time.

Go Secondhand Shopping

If the swap meet does not result in all of the accessories needed to finish your home decorating projects, it is time to take the search further afield. Visits to thrift shops and yard sales usually result in some special finds which will cost less than half the price you would pay in a retail store. Although these sometimes require a little repair, painting, or polishing, they can make a great difference in finishing out a room and it can be very satisfying to give new life to old furniture.

Make Your Own Artwork

Another valuable idea is to use family pictures as free artwork for the walls. They can be blown up to any size and placed in unusual arrangements to provide great conversation pieces or they can be placed in unique frames and scattered around on table tops. Even old black and white photos of family members can add a personal touch to the new décor.

Frugal and green decorating is certainly a challenge, but it is not impossible when you are really determined. With some creativity, a little money, and several hours of time, you will achieve more than you ever dreamed.

*Caroline Smith, Professional Writer, has generously offered her home decorating tips to Tiny Green Mom readers.*

This delicious recipe comes from Keys Creek Lavender Farm, where Chef Kate McAloon and Alicia Wolff, the organic farm’s owner, are working on a Lavender Inspired Cookbook. These flavorful shrimp work well as an entree or as a crowd-pleasing appetizer. The flavors go great with a refreshing Agavi Lavender Margarita for the grownups and Pineapple-Limeade for the kids. For more exciting recipes, check out Chef Kate’s website: www.chefkatealiveandcooking.com.

Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple Lavender Marinade

by Chef Kate

Ingredients

2 lbs. Wild Caught Shrimp (cleaned with tails on)

1/4 cup Organic Pineapple Juice

1/2 cup Organic Cold Pressed Olive Oil

1/4 cup Organic Fresh Lime Juice

1 Tablespoon *Lavender Honey

4 Tablespoons Organic Cilantro (Finely Chopped) (reserve 2 Tablespoons for garnish)

4 Tablespoons Organic Green Onion (Finely Chopped) (reserve 2 Tablespoons for garnish)

3 Cloves Organic Garlic (minced)

1/4 teaspoons Organic Red Pepper Flakes (more or less to taste)

1 1/2 teaspoons *Organic Culinary Lavender

1/2 teaspoons *Lavender Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Preparation

Mix all marinade ingredients together well. Add Shrimp and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Heat grill according to directions.

Remove Shrimp from Marinade (reserve Marinade) and grill Shrimp for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until done. While grilling Shrimp bring the Marinade to a boil and reduce by half.

Remove Shrimp from grill and keep warm on a covered platter.

Pour Marinade over Shrimp and sprinkle with the reserved Cilantro and Green Onion. Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 4 as an entree or 6 to 8 as an appetizer. If serving as an appetizer use toothpicks or mini skewers.

Organic Lavender products available at www.keyscreeklavenderfarm.com.

*Recipe courtesy of Chef Kate of www.chefkatealiveandcooking.com. Image taken by Lauren Lemons, Photographer.*

Kicky Pants has launched their Fall 2010 Collection in style! This adorable line of luxe, silky-soft and organic bamboo clothing for children is simply too cute for words! The mix-n-match separates create adorable combinations for both boys and girls, and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. With the holidays right around the corner, now is the time to pick out some stylish outfits to wear to the festivities!

Little ones will love kicking around in comfy Cord Pants or Velour Coveralls. Paired with Kicky Pants’ bamboo basics, these are great for jumping in the piles of leaves in the yard! Little ladies will adore the Print Long Dresses while twirling and dancing around the house when it is too chilly to head outdoors.

With a smattering of oh-so-cute offerings for infants, such as Knot Hats to keep tiny heads warm and toasty – Kicky Pants has thought of everything this Fall!

To view their newest collection, or to order, please visit KickyPants.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The creators of Kicky Pants, Nick and Erin Cloke, were kind enough to answer some of “Mom’s” questions about their eco-fabulous line of clothing made from sustainable bamboo for children. Founded in 2007, this line has now expanded to include seasonal pieces as well as their bamboo basics! Check them out online at www.kickypants.com.

Tell us about your eco-inspired company:

Kicky Pants is an infant/toddler and maternity clothing manufacturer utilizing bamboo fabrications and fashion forward designs. We control our process from fabric mill to completion using certified organic bamboo in our milling process. The line includes super soft wearable clothing that allows for a child’s natural movement and comfort. Our prints and designs are inspired by the natural world (trees, flowers and animals), encouraging children to enjoy the beauty around them, while our whimsical take on these themes (unicorns, dragons, leaping frogs) encourages all of us to “celebrate innocence.”

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

In our family recycling is very important, not only for trash, but old toys and clothing as well. We try our best not to be wasteful and to pass along items we are no longer using, or create an art project from them to give them a new life! Also, we noticed the large amounts of trash generated with our children’s lunches, so we have switched to “trash free lunches” with reusable containers for drinks, sandwiches and snacks. Nick was an environmental science major, so he is regularly considering new and different ways we can make a difference in our own lives as well as in our business.

What is your guilty green pleasure?

Organic stone ground chocolate! So good! We get it from our local farmers market. It’s very different from the consistency of regular chocolate, but super yummy!

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Whenever you make the choice to include the “overall picture” of the world we share when you create something, you are not only serving those around you with a great product, you are also adding something to the way of life in your community. The idea is for “green thinking” to eventually be an expectation that we all have, and not a novelty or a trend. You are on the right path if you go in the direction of sustainability. Let your product speak for itself, and best of luck!

*Image provided by Kicky Pants.*

This recipe from the French Meadows Bakery takes a bit of planning, but is definitely worth it! It makes the perfect breakfast when you have overnight guests – just prepare the casserole the night before and bake the next morning! Breakfast is served!

GLUTEN FREE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

Ingredients

1 loaf French Meadow Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread, cubed

2 oz golden raisins

4 oz cream cheese

4 eggs

¾ cup milk (“Mom” prefers organic)

2/3 cup half and half (“Mom” prefers organic Soymilk creamer)

¼ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

Preparation

Grease a 8×8 baking pan and place the GF bread cinnamon bread cubes and the golden raisins in the pan. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend. Add blended mixture to the raisin bread mixture, press down and let soak in. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning place in a 350°F oven and bake for about 40-50 min until golden brown. Serve with fresh sliced fruit.

*Recipe and image courtesy of French Meadows Bakery, internationally recognized as a leading provider of naturally delicious and nutritious bakery products and desserts that suit a variety of dietary needs, such as certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, yeast-free and kosher.*