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Resolve Early Rising and Small Changes for Wellness

 Toddler standing up in crib
Tips to Resolve Early Rising 
You work really hard the first few months to develop your baby’s circadian rhythm.  As the sun creeps in early am, your baby may wake early naturally.  As a reminder, if you baby is over three months, I want your little one waking spontaneously a little before 7am, happy and playing in their crib.  This is a great sign of a well rested baby!!It your baby is waking earlier than 6:30am, here are a few tips to help with their last early am stretch of sleep.
1.  Make sure your baby is not overtired.Getting in bed too late for bedtime is the number one cause of early rising.  Instill an age appropriate bedtime every night and try to accommodate a great nap schedule too.

2.  Block out the light.  
Blackout shades are must for some children’s rooms.   Controlling early am light can halt the body’s natural response to sunrise.  Summer nights can also be too light.  If your baby’s room is light at bedtime and they play in their crib a long time, they will be overtired causing early rising too.

3.  Ensure your baby is not hungry. 
Keeping your baby on a daytime schedule accommodates the necessary daytime feeds.  Some busy babies are too busy to eat sometimes though.  Try nursing or bottle feeding them in a low stimulating environment to allow them to eat the necessary calories they need for growth and development.  If your baby is eating solids, make sure solids are offered after nursing or bottle feeding to ensure baby is not filling up on solids and still hungry for their milk.

4.  Stay away from sleep crutches.  
Your baby should always put themselves to sleep.  Optimally, your baby goes in the bed awake but drowsy.  If your baby needs you, to nurse or bottle feed, a paci etc to go to sleep, then they can’t get back to sleep without their sleep crutch.  If your baby hollers out at night, always wait a bit before checking on them.  Sometimes a sleep transition is harder and it takes a bit for them to fall back into another.  If you run into their room at the first cry out, they will quickly learn how to get you there middle of night.

Small Change #1, Safe Sunscreen

As moms, it is in our DNA to do everything we can to protect our babies and raise them to be healthy, safe, and happy. As temperatures rise well above 100°, this is a great time to chat about sunscreen. Twelve years ago, I discussed safe sunscreens for my new baby with my pediatrician, who recommended Neutrogena Baby for my six-month old baby. Now, new research comes out frequently, which leaves us questioning the safety of sunscreen and numerous other products we purchase. This research can often be overwhelming and confusing for what products we should be using. Plus, the last thing you have time to be doing with a new baby is searching the Internet for safe sunscreen. Hopefully, this sunscreen rundown will “shed some light” on this subject and make it much easier to navigate through endless product aisles.


Sunscreen is a complicated subject. We hear we need it to fight skin cancer. But new research links certain sunscreen ingredients to cancer. So, until the FDA steps up regulation, it is ultimately up to us as consumers to understand the potential safety questions arising when we discuss effective sun protection.


A broad-spectrum sunscreen should be every woman’s best friend! It is the best, least expensive anti-aging product you can buy. But we need to use it 365 days a year, despite the weather. UVA rays are the aging rays and are present sunup to sundown—They even come through glass and clouds. UVA rays cause tanning, other signs of premature aging, and can contribute to skin cancer. UVA rays are different from UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburns and also contribute to skin cancer. UVB rays are most intense in the spring and summer months from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at high altitudes, and on reflective surfaces, such as snow, ice, or water. For best coverage, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays.

It may sound simple, but picking one can be confusing. And who has time to read ingredients at Target with a baby in tow? There are different products with different ingredients, and labels are constantly changing. In fact, some sunscreens contain potentially dangerous ingredients, even though many of these ingredients are approved by the FDA and are supported by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).


Sunscreen ingredients to avoid as listed in Women’s Health Magazine:


Retinyl: Just like the vitamin A we eat, retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant. As an ingredient in sunscreen, it’s function is to improve the product’s performance against the aging effects of UV exposure, However, certain forms of vitamin A found in sun protection products—namely retinyl palmitate, a combination of retinol (vitamin A) and palmitic acid, an ingredient found in tropical plants such as palm and coconut—can be cause for concern. When exposed to the sun’s UV rays, retinol compounds break down and produce destructive free radicals that are toxic to cells, damage DNA, and may lead to cancer. In fact, FDA studies have shown that retinyl palimitate may speed the development of malignant cells and skin tumors when applied to skin before sun exposure, so steer clear of skin sun products that harbor the stuff.


Oxybenzone: This penetration enhancer (i.e., chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin) undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to UV rays. When oxybenzone is absorbed by your skin, it can cause an eczema-like allergic reaction that can spread beyond the exposed area and last long after you’re out of the sun. It also disrupts hormones (i.e., mimics, blocks, and alters hormone levels), which can throw off your endocrine system (disrupting fertility and increasing weight to name a few). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 97 percent of Americans have this chemical circulating in our bodies, as it can accumulate more quickly than our bodies can get rid of it.


Octinoxate: Is one of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens with SPF. Octinoxate is readily absorbed by our skin and helps other ingredients to be absorbed more readily. It is now know to cause hormone disruption, especially estrogen. Though SPF products are designed to protect skin from sun-induced aging, octinoxate may actually be a culprit for premature aging, as it produces menacing free radicals that can damage skin and cells.


Homosalate: This UV-absorbing sunscreen ingredient helps sunscreen to penetrate your skin. Once the ingredient has been absorbed, homosalate accumulates in our bodies faster than we can get rid of it, becoming toxic and disrupting our hormones.


Octocrylene: When this chemical is exposed to UV light, it absorbs the rays and produces oxygen radicals that can damage cells and cause mutations. It is readily absorbed by your skin and may accumulate within your body in measurable amounts. Plus, it can be toxic to the environment.


Paraben Preservatives: Associated with both acute and chronic side effects, parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-) can induce allergic reactions, disrupt hormones, and induce developmental and reproductive toxicity.


Nano or non-nano: These fancy words are used to describe particles (ingredients) that have been shrunk to micro or nano-size to become colorless on the skin. In theory sounds great, but they pose numerous concerns like showing up in our blood and liver because they are so small they penetrate the skin. Considering they are banned in most countries, just not ours, it gets confusing. Studies are linking titanium dioxide nanoparticles with brain damage in fish.


Titanium dioxide: (Anatase nano-TiO2): Has been shown to cause an increase in certain skin cancers. Anatase nano-Tio2 is an aggressive free radical producer (free radicals are linked to aging and caner). Many companies (Nivea, L’Oreal, CoverGirl to name a few) use this ingredient in their products, not just sunscreens. Take Nivea Sun ‘Kids Swim and Play’ sunscreen for example, an independent analysis found more than 90 percent of the particles extracted from the product were nanoparticles. Banned in Italy, scientists warned that anatase titanium dioxide is “capable of destroying virtually any organic matter.”


The big SPF Debate! I remember being so proud of myself for using a SPF 75, thinking I was such a great mom! Totally unnecessary! For example, SPF 15 means it would take your skin 15 times longer to get red than if you were wearing no protection at all. So if your unprotected skin begins to redden after 10 minutes in the sun, then with a generous coat of SPF 15, it would take 150 minutes for your skin to begin to turn red. But to get this protection, you’d have to slather sunscreen on as thick as icing. “So we’re really getting, say, half the number that’s on the bottle so just buy the SPF 30”. (AAD)


If you can make one change today, then just stop buying spray sunscreen. I know it is convenient and easy, but the risks are so much greater. Most sprays contain nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and the FDA is concerned that these chemicals are more harmful in spray form, since they’re more likely to be inhaled by kids.


Cheat Sheet of Safe sunscreens:


  1. Beautycounter – My favorite for many reasons and Melissa uses this too! This company is not just about making the safest products, but they use their proceeds to work to get laws changed forcing all companies to have to make safer products. Who doesn’t love that? I sell Beauty Counter and am offering 10% off all orders over $100 when you mention this newsletter. Plus, I can wear this with make-up 365 day per year! http://www.beautycounter.com/erinwilliams
  2. Think Baby/Think Sport- Great for athletes, kids and adults for prolonged exposure in sun.
  3. John Masters Organics – SPF 30, only one option available

4.Seventh Generation – SPF 30, only one option available

  1. Aubrey Organics- SPF 26-45 available, unscented available
  2. Raw Element – The first organic, non-GMO certified sunscreen
  3. Kids, Face and Body Protection – one of my favorites, because it glides on easily


There are still many manufacturers out there who will say that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that any of the above ingredients are toxic. You can find a counter argument for this topic as well. My theory is that I am simply not willing to jeopardize my health or the health of my family with exposure to ingredients that are toxic or even potentially toxic, especially when better alternatives exist.


If you are concerned with your sunscreen or any other products you use, don’t panic or beat yourself up. Check the labels, and look for “non-nano” under active ingredients. Until more studies fill in the information gaps, it is safest to conclude that sunscreens made with non-nano zinc oxide are the best alternative.




Author: nightingales

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