Little ones have the sweetest smiles, but brushing their toothy (or toothless) grins doesn’t always leave them happy. Many toddlers run the other direction when you mention it’s time to brush their teeth. Or curious infants see their toothbrush as a teething toy and eat up their paste like a snack. But we all know that, no matter what, brushing our teeth is a must do.
In fact, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends starting to clean your baby’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water as early as birth. As soon as he or she pops the first tooth, you can use a “smear” of toothpaste for brushing teeth (your toddlers can try a “pea-sized” amount). Of course, make sure to visit your dentist when your baby’s first tooth breaks through—and no later than the first birthday—so she can provide the best oral care plan and options for your family.
Naturally, we want to help you promote healthy teeth and habits at home too. So, we’re excited to introduce Honest Toothpaste and Honest Kid’s Toothpaste. Our fluoride-free and vegan formulas have absolutely no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes—no questionable chemicals, ever! Adults can enjoy refreshing minty cleaning, while little ones will open wide for the yummy and safe-on-their-tummy strawberry flavor.
If your kiddos still need a little coaxing to brush those pearly whites (although we’re pretty sure they’ll love our natural toothpaste), you can lend a helping hand with these great tips from the AAPD…
And our Honest Community…
What are your teeth-brushing tidbits?
We recently received an inquiry asking us why we say our sunscreen is baby-safe when sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months old. It’s a good question! And, with skin cancer on the rise, we felt it was important to help all parents in our community better understand infant sun safety.
Why babies are more vulnerable
Infants are at higher risk of UV damage and skin cancer because their skin is thinner and has lower melanin concentrations than an adult’s skin. According to the article UV protection and sunscreens: What to tell patients, what this means is that “UV penetrates more deeply into skin that is less able to absorb UV radiation.” The doctors who authored the article go on to say, “Animal studies suggest that the skin of children, especially infants, is immunologically immature and less able to respond to UV damage than adult skin. Therefore, extra care must be taken to protect children from UV exposure.”
The latest skin safety recommendations
Previously, the “extra care” recommendation was to keep babies under 6 months of age out of direct sun and covered by protective clothing. Sunscreen was not recommended at all for babies this young. But in the past few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has modified that recommendation. Now they say:
For babies younger than 6 months. Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
Keeping babies out of the sun is still the safest way to protect their delicate, vulnerable skin from the harmful rays of the sun. That’s a fact. But public health officials now recognize that’s not always a possibility and that the safety of shade is relative to the situation. Consider this, even sitting in the shade of an umbrella at the beach cannot entirely protect you from UV rays. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Surfaces like snow, sand, pavement, and water reflect much of the UV radiation that reaches them. Because of this reflection, UV intensity can be deceptively high even in shaded areas.”
At those times, protective clothing can help close the gap and increase skin protection. But there’s inevitably still a little bit of skin exposed (e.g., face, hands, ears)—and that’s when a little bit of sunscreen might be necessary. When that’s the case, the consensus is generally that a broad-spectrum sunscreen made from physical barriers such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the most effective and safest for baby’s sensitive skin.
Why physical barriers are better
In sun protection, there are two categories of active ingredients: chemical absorbers and physical barriers. Chemical absorbers, such as oxybenzone or octocrylene, work by absorbing UV radiation before it affects or damages the skin. However, these ingredients are increasingly being linked to negative health impacts. (For example, oxybenzone — also known as benzophenone - was recently added to California’s Prop 65 list as known to cause cancer and octocrylene is a “strong allergen linked to contact dermatitis in children.”)
The second category of active ingredients in sun protection is physical blockers, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. When the sun hits these blockers it is reflected and bounces away from the skin (versus getting absorbed). These ingredients (unless they’ve been nano-sized – which ours have not been) are natural, generally not absorbed by the skin, and are far gentler on both our skin and the environment.
Honest Sunscreen does not contain chemical absorbers like oxybenzone or octocrylene. It contains only 1 active sunblock ingredient: zinc oxide.
Additional sun safety tips for infants
The FDA recommends keeping the following in mind this summer when outside with infants:
Keep your baby in the shade as much as possible. If you do use a small amount of sunscreen on your baby, don’t assume the child is well protected.
Make sure your child wears clothing that covers and protects sensitive skin. Use common sense; if you hold the fabric against your hand and it’s so sheer that you can see through it, it probably doesn’t offer enough protection.
Make sure your baby wears a hat that provides sufficient shade at all times.
Watch your baby carefully to make sure he or she doesn’t show warning signs of sunburn or dehydration. These include fussiness, redness, and excessive crying.
Hydrate! Give your baby formula, breast milk, or a small amount of water between feedings if you’re out in the sun for more than a few minutes. Don’t forget to use a cooler to store the liquids.
Take note of how much your baby is urinating. If it’s less than usual, it may be a sign of dehydration, and that more fluids are needed until the flow is back to normal.
If you do notice your baby is becoming sunburned, get out of the sun right away and apply cold compresses to the affected areas.
NOTE: Please consult your family health provider with any concerns about sun safety and using sunscreens on your children. The information in this blog post should not replace professional medical advice.
As parents, the wonder, excitement, and exhaustion of having a new baby can overwhelm us. And, of course, we want to remember it all—even the smallest details. Despite our good (sleep-deprived) intentions, recording and organizing schedules, milestones, and memories is easier said than done. And Honest’s Director of Design Tim Hankins—the man behind our new HonestBaby app’s chic visual display—remembers these feelings like they were yesterday, even though his son is now three years old.
“My wife and I tracked every last bit of info about our son’s early development in notebooks. Every diaper change, every feeding, how long he slept. We tracked it all manually. I knew apps existed that tracked that sort of information, but nothing grabbed my attention. So, we continued with our stack of notebooks around the house,” recounts Tim.
But like all moms and dads, Tim found inspiration in his life at home and came up with a solution to the piles of notebooks. “I wished there was an app that satisfied our tracking needs, but was also really fun (and easy) to use and great to look at so we would continue going back to it,” shares Tim. “I truly think we’ve accomplished that goal with HonestBaby—something intuitive, fun, a delight to use, and also a beautifully designed experience to keep people coming back.”
Tim’s partners in the app development process—and our tech team colleagues—felt the same way. “Developing the app was interesting because we saw an opportunity to create something both visually appealing and functional. Throughout development, we made it our goal to make tracking early childhood fun and personal. Taking inspiration from modern apps such as Path, Facebook, and DayOne, helped us craft something we hope parents will enjoy,” says Tony Huynh, Mobile Software Developer.
HonestBaby will help parents chart their children’s daily activities and development, all conveniently within reach and in one organized place on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Now, you can track feeding, diaper changes, sleep, growth, doctor visits, and honestly special moments before you forget. And if you’re an Honest member, HonestBaby provides you the added benefit of managing your account, subscriptions, and other orders.
Download your HonestBaby app for free via the iTunes App Store, and stay tuned for a Windows Phone app in the near future.
As a father of two daughters and now a 15-day-old son, I thought I knew everything about how dad can be as helpful as possible when mom has just given birth. Well, I was wrong. There’s always something new to learn. So, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for other dads, which I’ve figured out from my experience helping my wife and family at the maternity ward (times three).
1. Bring a folder so you can organize all the information and forms you get from the hospital (a brightly colored one is great, so you won’t forget it in the haze of everything).
2. Decide on the baby’s name (and spelling) as soon as you can. My wife and I were torn throughout her entire pregnancy about what middle name to give our new son, but I knew we had a self-imposed deadline—leaving the hospital! Not deciding early can delay your discharge process. Not to mention, if you name your baby after leaving the hospital or decide to change it after submitting the birth certificate and social security application, I hear the paperwork process can be very time consuming.
3. Research Feeding Options. Breastfeeding gives your baby a great start, but for many health and personal reasons nursing exclusively isn’t always an option. If you’re concerned about what formula you may feed your new baby, call the hospital ahead of time to see what they offer and then do your research to find one that your family is comfortable with—we recommend organic. Then, you can bring a small amount of your preferred choice if they don’t offer it. Also consider taking advantage of the hospital’s lactation specialist before, during, and after your stay at the hospital. They are very helpful since each baby is different. One more suggestion, dads: Try to refrain from giving the mom breastfeeding tips. Trust me.
4. Take everything! There are so many little mementos you can take with you and cherish for years. Examples include: your baby’s nametag (ankle bracelet), the name card on the baby bassinet, pictures (and names) of your nurses, the baby cap, and more pictures! You can also take supplies, which you pay for as part of your hospital stay. I know when there are free products for the taking, it’s hard to be selective and you end up grabbing everything. My advice is to check the ingredients and make sure that it’s the best, safest product for your baby before taking it home. My pick? The dry gauze wipes!
5. Ask your nurses questions! Even though I’ve done this before, there are always things you forget and new ways of doing things. The nurses know everything, so ask them whatever is on your mind from diapering to caring for the umbilical cord to giving the first bath to new swaddling techniques. Because labor and delivery can leave you exhausted (making it hard to process and remember everything), ask if it’s okay to take videos of the nurses teaching you these things. It’s a great reference tool once you get home.
6. Pamper your wife. After the baby arrives, consider getting your wife a special gift. Pamper her. Treat her to a spa day once she’s ready for it and invite her close friends to keep her company. Hire a family photographer to take photos of your children together and capture their first moments as siblings. Give commemorative jewelry. A colleague at Honest suggested these great necklace pendants personalized with a monogram. Since we have girls, I chose the first initials of each of our girls. An “L” for Lauren and an “M” for Madeline. Now that our son Max is here, I’ll be getting my wife another pendant with an “M” for Max!
7. Buy a big sister or big brother gift for your baby’s siblings. Given the new addition around the house, some kids may feel deprived of mom and dad’s love and attention. Big bro or sis gifts go a long way. FYI: Your work is definitely not over…making sure older siblings (especially the middle children) adjust well to their new baby bro/sis will take some time.
Enjoy your growing family!
~ Honest Eugene (aka Max Daddy)
Whoever came up with the cliché of sleeping like a baby, clearly never had a baby. Babies are much more well-known for waking up multiple times every night and causing long-term sleep deprivation for their parents. It’s perhaps one of the least enjoyable aspects of parenting.
Next time you’re trying to soothe your sweetie to sleep, or back into slumber in the wee hours of the night, try one of these easy tips:
1. Make some noise. Try a variety of soothing noises to see which one your baby responds to. Some common helpful sounds include: heartbeat recordings, white noise machines, the sound of ocean waves, gentle humming, and ssshhhing in your baby’s ear.
2. Swaddle your sweetie. To a baby, swaddling feels like a cozy, cramped, comforting womb. Wrap your wee one snug enough so she can’t wriggle free to flail and fuss.
3. Wash & rub. Who doesn’t get uncontrollably relaxed and sleepy after a warm bath and massage? Keep bath time simple without too much stimulation and choose plant-based body oils that are either unscented or lightly scented with calming essentials like lavender.
4. Nurse & nestle. Cuddle up with your baby and breast-feed or bottle-feed until satiation leads to sleep. The warmth of a cozy cuddle combined with the comfort of a full tummy is a recipe for relaxation. And, it’s especially effective after a tubby and massage.
5. Be consistent. Whatever works for your baby, make it a habit. Doing the same things every night helps your baby know it’s sleepy time.
What tips do you have?
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before undertaking any course of treatment, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.