A Review of the Best Carrier in the World: The ERGObaby Carrier

My Only Regret Is That We Didn’t Buy It Sooner

I have been meaning to write this product review since I first started this web site. There are a very limited group of products of which I can say that my only regret is the I didn’t purchase the product sooner. In fact, I think I have said this about our Amby Baby Hammock Motion Bed, my Casio wristwatch with a built-in compass, my Sony PSP, our Baby Björn Travel Crib, and our Ergo Baby Carrier. I truly do regret that we did not purchase it before our son, my wife, and I had to suffer through all of those other carriers. I hope this ERGO Baby Carrier review helps spare you the same regret!

Suffering Through Other Carriers

Lex has always feared the vacuum, but never when he is in the Ergo Baby Carrier

Lex has always feared the vacuum, but never when he is in the Ergo Baby Carrier

Let me be frank with you, I strongly supported and drove the purchase of our Baby Björn Active/Sport. It was supposed to provide extra comfort and somehow bring about world peace. Instead of living up to any of our expectations it caused backaches, neck aches, overheated baby, pinched baby legs, sore skin around the legs and crotch (baby not me), and very long adjustment times for each time my wife and I wanted to switch wearing it. The only expectation that was met was that of the Baby Bjorn’s high resale value. Fortunately, we were able to unload it for $20 less than what we paid for it new. I expect that our Ergo Baby Carrier has a very high resale value because the very few used ones we have found for sale have an asking price at just about 90% or higher of retail. This makes it an excellent and nearly risk-free investment.

We tried some less expensive slings too, sold by Target, when our son was an infant and those were just terrible for everyone involved. I should add that my petite wife, more than I (5’11’, 165 pounds, me, not my wife), found the Baby Björn carrier to be extremely painful and not user friendly.

Web Research Revealed Rave Reviews of an Unknown Product/Company

Staying Dry and Comfortable with the Ergo Baby Carrier ReviewIt was my wife who began to research the web (early fall 2007) and seek out a better alternative. What she found were great reviews spread around here and there of a product and company that we had never heard of. The product wasn’t the cheapest (it seems to me that it was $92 USD at the time) nor did it seem to be marketed very much either, but it seems that it didn’t need to be because it sold itself. The web site of the product’s manufacturer did not have the latest and greatest bells and whistles (then, it is pretty cool now), but it did tell us which local stores we could visit in order to purchase their product. After a short confirming phone call, we jumped in the car and headed straight down there.

It was a small locally owned baby boutique that we had never before visited, but they stocked lots of different colors of this newly discovered baby carrier (the complete opposite of Babies R Us, Walmart, Target, etc.). We were also able to pull it out of the firm vinyl bag and test it out with Lex. They gave us a few pointers, but my wife more or less took over because she had watched some online videos already. The Ergo Baby Carrier came with an instructional DVD (which I watched later) which seemed only necessary for the side/hip mounted position (which we have NEVER used).

It Sold Itself, Love at First Use

We both immediately liked the Ergo Baby Carrier and my wife had already decided that she wanted the “camel/camel” color because from experience with other all cotton products she expected it would look the best over time, or rather that it would hide any color fading better than the darker colors available at the store (from use and washing). Now, looking back, I can tell that she was right; it still looks great 2 years later. I should point out here that the version we purchased is not the current generation of the Ergo Baby Carrier. I will point out the important distinctions below.

Ergo Baby Review: Feeling Comfortable and Secure in the CarrierAt this time, Lex was about 10 months old (about 24 pounds) and he fit perfectly in the carrier. The hood/headrest fit him perfectly too. When mounted in the front my wife would often sit down on the train without any problems or discomfort to her or Lex. Lex was comfortable enough that he began falling asleep in the carrier too (he couldn’t in the Baby Bjorn any longer).

Which Is Best, Putting My Baby/Toddler in Front or in Back?

Back then and even up until now (almost 3 years old and 31 pounds) it has always seemed equally comfortable to mount Lex in the front or on the back of the ERGOBaby Carrier. Of course, getting him in the “backpack” position took more delicacy when he was younger and usually required another helper. Now, at age 2.8, I just grab both of his wrists with him standing in front of me facing away from me and I swing him around and up on my back. Its a collaboration between him and I that usually entertains curious on-lookers and the occasional good Samaritan who offers to help. Depending on his mood he may prefer to ride in the front, but usually the back is his choice and for walking, shopping, and even biking the back is the only way to go!

Comfort and Security, Enough to Fall Asleep

Lex stopped sleeping in public long ago, in fact, until recently his last nap outside of this crib (or portable crib) occurred in the ERGOBaby Carrier at Disneyland on Christmas 2007 with my wife (mounted in front). This spring during a walk in the desert, in the midst of a rather active adult conversation, Lex got tired and begged to be put in the carrier. I mounted him in front and he fell asleep immediately outside of his designated bed for the first time in 1.5 years. Since then, he has fallen asleep in the Ergo Baby Carrier almost every time he skips his nap and we go out for a bike ride.

Using the Ergo Baby Carrier in Lieu of a Bicycle Child’s Seat

This is the Bicycle Use that I discuss in my Ergo Baby Carrier ReviewYes, I ride my bike with Lex in the ERGOBaby Carrier, or just “carrier” as he calls it, in the backpack position (this is an entirely independent review and as far as I know ERGOBaby does not recommend this use, just to be clear). Lex wears a helmet and shoes and I put all kinds of flashing lights on the bike. Also I use the plastic D-shaped loops for the hood straps to hang a reflective sash/belt across the main back of the carrier.

After lots of testing, especially at slower speeds and uneven terrain I found that the Ergo Baby Carrier provided a superior solution for mounting a child on a bicycle. Rear and front-mounted child seats made the bicycle unstable at low speeds and provided my son with extra leverage to throw off the balance when he inevitable shifted his weight. Additionally, all of my research identified the most common cause of bicycle child seat accidents occurred when the bike was parked. Putting my toddler in the rear-mounted ErgoBaby Carrier solved both of these issues considerably. It also makes it easier for me to continue on my way without the bicycle if Lex falls asleep as he is already strapped to me.

Flaws, Downsides, or Negatives of the Ergo Baby Carrier

    I am going to list in bullet form the downsides of the carrier and list how I think these have been addressed:

  • The buckle on the shoulder straps falls down all of the time. Our Ergo Baby Carrier is not the current version/generation. From what I can see, but have not yet tested, this flaw has been fixed in the current version being sold by most retailers. I highly recommend you ensure that you are buying the current generation before you put your money out for what I call a defect in design. Anyway, the buckles are on loops that can be adjusted up and down the shoulder straps so that they can be placed where they are most comfortable for you and your baby. This flexibility comes with a price, they can easily slide down off of the padded should straps and down to the adjustable strapping making them very hard to reach when you forgot to check them and you already initiated blast-off with your child.
  • The hood is too short.
    See our reflective sash addition and the annoying hood that always gets in the way

    See our reflective sash addition and the annoying hood that always gets in the way

    While the hood was useful as both a head support and light blocker when Lex was a baby, it is now useless and has been for the past 1.5 years. His head now sticks out beyond its reach. It would be great it the length of the hood was adjustable or if it were removable. Right now all it does is make me want to cut if off when it inevitably falls out of the little pouch, drags on the floor, and catches on things. It is sometimes a safety hazard. I could not tell you if these issues with the hood have been addressed.
  • It is a bit spendy/pricey. This is true. It is nearly as expensive as some cheap cribs and car seats. Nevertheless, if you plan to use it even once every two weeks until your child weighs 40 pounds then you will get your money’s worth. Nothing I have tried made me feel more like my son and I were as securely and naturally fastened together. Like I said, I use this on my bicycle even. Also, you could always put it on Craigslist or Ebay and get back most of your money, so this makes it a great bargain in fact.
  • Your child cannot face outwards. This is true and I think it is part of what make the design work. Comfort and security seem to be the requirements that ERGOBaby was working towards with this one. Maybe they should engineer a different outward facing front-mounted one. It might actually sell based on the reputation of the original, but I doubt it will be as comfortable and might actually harm the brand.
  • No product upgrade program. As you can tell by now, I really wish I had the latest model/version/generation of the Ergo Baby Carrier. It was NEVER worth waiting for, but I might spend a little more to upgrade mine if such an upgrade/trade-in program existed. Maybe I should Ebay ours and buy a newer replacement. Hmm…

Product Enhancement Wishlist

    These are not flaws, but just a list of improvements or enhancements that I would like to see made to this already awesome product. Nothing is perfect after all.

  • Carrying case included: It would be great if the carrier could somehow be rolled up into a attached carrying case (perhaps an enhanced hood).

Notice the dangling hood and the reflective sash that is nearly covered by it.

  • Reflective/Safety Version: As you can see in this photograph I have attached a reflective sash to my Ergo Baby Carrier in the D-shaped loops, there are only one of these in the current version so this safety hack wouldn’t work without some sewing. Would it be better if ERGOBaby sold one that had reflective markings on the shoulder straps, back, and waist belt?

Conclusions

The Ergo Baby Carrier is truthfully a product with which my only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner. Every time I decide against taking it on a trip or I forget it, I regret that too. It crunches up small enough that it is quite portable and it is comfortable enough that often I just walk around alone with it on while my Toddler terrorizes the merchandise, wildlife, loose gravel, water puddles, grave stones, and smiling innocent bystanders. I hope you find this ERGOBaby Carrier review useful. My son weighs about 31 pounds and he still loves to ride in the carrier and even nap in it. I want him to keep growing, but I don’t look forward to the day he can’t ride in the ERGOBaby Carrier any more.

 

Exploring Tokyo by Bicycle Made Easy by Tokyo Rent a Bike

In a recent visit to Tokyo, one of my favorite destinations, I had an urge to explore Tokyo differently than I had before. Already different from my previous visits, I was accompanied this time by my 2-year-old boy, Lex. I had already conquered the subway and train system, knew how to decipher Tokyo’s cryptic address system, and I had lost myself on foot in many neighborhoods. So you would think doing it all again with a toddler would provide enough of a different perspective and challenge.

Well, you would think wrong. It took us both little time to find all of the hot-spots for toddlers (department store toy stores and miniature rooftop amusement parks, Kameido’s Sun Street, handicap bathrooms {because of their changing tables and toddler restraining seats}, Roppongi’s Tokyo Midtown, Tokyo Tower, and countless hidden playgrounds) and it was not long before the novelty of train riding wore-off for Lex.

Bike Wanted

Mamachari Baby!At first we watched with envy mothers and children zoom from place on their “Mamachari” bicycles while we trudged along sweating (well, the sweating was mostly me because I was carrying Lex everywhere, for speed and safety). An acquaintance made at Shibuya’s Tokyu Department Store (great for kids) suggested I should just buy a bike on Craigslist and resell it when I was done as this would probably save lots of money over renting a bike. I thought their idea had merit except for two points: I wasn’t planning on renting the bike for long and bikes with child seats are rare on Craigslist and Gaijin Pot.

Where to Rent a Bicycle in Tokyo

A third point also pointed me away from purchasing a temporary bike, I discovered Tokyo Rent a Bike. Not only did they rent bikes for as little as ¥600 per day, they gave discounts for renting for 2 days or more. We first contact Tokyo Rent a Bike because they seemed to be the most straightforward show in town and they had the best price. The website was in English and so I thought it would not hurt to shoot them and email and ask if they rented a bike with a child’s seat.

The extremely kind director of Tokyo Rent a Bike, Neil Garscadden, sent me a picture of the child seat with his very prompt reply and told me that it was definitely for rent. I asked him to hold the bike for me for the next day and he immediately confirmed that we would.

Lex and I made our first trip to Naka-Meguro station and headed directly to the Tokyo Rent a Bike office. We found it without any problems, unless you count our failure to read instructions and end up ascending the wrong building as a problem. Anyway, Neil met us below and pointed out the bike immediately before we went upstairs to the office. We spent only a brief couple minutes in his office filling out a simple form with our info and leaving our ¥900 (we got a bike with gears, the childseat rental was FREE!). Neil even threw in free helmets for us both.

Neil showed us how he had outfitted his nice “city bike” to be a “mamachari” bicycle for us, with the full coverage kick-stand that is essential with child seats. He even ran back to the office to get us some maps and gave us some quick and nice instructions to help us get back home to Jingu-mae. He recommended we stick to the sidewalks and use the bell as we came up on pedestrians. We followed his advice.

A Bump in the Road

This way Da-daOn the way home, we had a flat-tire. It must have been all of that construction near Shibuya. Anyway, we had reached our “hood” and so I knew a good backstreet to walk the bike down. Naka-Meguro hadn’t seemed so close on the train maps, but without a flat tire we would have reached Jingu-mae / Harajuku in less than 25 minutes. I called Neil and he told me how to get it fixed easily. He even offered to come out and fix it if I had any trouble getting it fixed locally. He swore he had never had anyone get a flat and I believe him, because as it turns out it wasn’t really a flat but a lost valve.

After Lex’s lunch and subsequent late nap we set out to find a shop that fixes flats and we hit gold right off. We hadn’t noticed at the time Neil’s message on our phone offering for us to keep the bike for free for an extra day or two because of our inconvenience. After the tire was fixed we headed straight out toward Roppongi and Hiroo. Our first stop was the huge, beautiful, and mosquito-infested Aoyama Cemetery. Lex loved riding through it and running around it just as much: chasing kitties and inspecting the bike a little too. Checking the wheels for integrity.

Destinations and Discoveries

Along the way we found a fantastic playground and we never made it any further. Lex wouldn’t budge and a quick text message to Neil revealed his invitation to keep the bike for at least another day due to our troubles and delay. I was thrilled to keep it another day and in fact I started fantasizing about all of the cool destinations we could visit and unknown locations we could discover with our new wheels.

Our Only Regret Was That We Returned It Too Soon

When it came time to return the bicycle we were reluctant to let it go. Tokyo Rent a Bike had it perfectly tuned and it was probably only a few months old (or so it seemed). It got us safely to where we needed to go. It had good reflectors and a front head light powered by a dynamo. It rode great and looked just as good.

Sayonara and Thank You Tokyo Rent a Bike

Cemetery PathwayWe forgot our map on our return trip to Tokyo Rent a Bike’s Naka-Meguro office, but we knew the general direction and milestones along the way. As we walked away from the office and toward the train station, we felt like just another couple sweaty foreigners in Tokyo. Having a bicycle to cruise the sidewalks/streets and mingle with the natives made us feel special, like insiders. Thank you Tokyo Rent a Bike for making us feel special and effortlessly making our trip to Tokyo much more special than it would have been otherwise.

 

The Impact of the Unlived Life of the Parent

Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist, stated that:

“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.”

This statement is quite profound. Is it a grant of permission, a justification, for a parent to live their life the way the want to? Perhaps, with many qualifiers, yes it is.

Exploring this train of thought then it would seem to say that if your children are not harmed, neglected, or deprived by the life you truly want to live then they will benefit from you living it. When thinking of the inverse, a life unlived, then the truth of Jung’s statement become more clear.

A parent who puts their life on hold indefinitely, who feels unfulfilled, or who longs for a different life will always have feelings of resentment, emptiness, complacency, stress, and even hopelessness with their heart. Children are innately empathetic; they can sense the sincerity and true feelings of others. Indirectly they will also experience less than 100% of who their parent is. The parent may direct at least a portion of those feelings at their children. They may even blame the children for bringing about at least in part inability to live their lives.

What are the possible unlived lives we are speaking of for parents. They may be unpursued education, career opportunities, hobbies, social relationships, or romantic relationships. In many cases such pursuits are postponed partially in the name of parenthood and its demands. Carl Jung tells us that making such choices for the benefit of our children will harm them psychologically.

Perhaps I assume that they will harm them, therefore let us state that deferring life choices will ultimately strongly influence children. The single quote, taken from its context is all that I have now. Nevertheless, I logically assume that the strong influence would be a negative one.

What life have I not lived that maybe harming my son? Social relationships stand out as a deficit that I sometimes long for. To be honest that “life” went unlived after marriage, long before my son came along. Therefore, I can’t even logically blame his existence or demands of my time for this life deficit. Nevertheless, I could, ultimately for his benefit and that of my wife, seek to develop a portion of this unlived life. We may all become more complete as a result.

 

Advice for Traveling with Infants and Toddlers

When Lex was 10 months old we took him on a plane to see my in-laws (4 hours by plane non-stop, 1 hours by car). 1 month later, for Thanksgiving 2007, we took him to see my parents (another flight with 1 connection, 1.5 hours by car). Then for Christmas we took him to Disneyland (I should write an article about that); it was another flight, nonstop going and 1 connection coming back). After those 3 months of travel Lex completely stopped napping outside of a crib, drinking milk (EleCare formula, dairy allergy) during the day, and my wife was freaking out all of the time. Lex hasn’t traveled further then Costco for the 13 months since then. In March 2009 he gets his wings back as he and I are going to visit my family in Arizona again.

A Moving target

Looking back I want to tell myself that Lex was going to stop napping outside of a crib and drinking his formula except before bed anyway. As his pediatrician often reminds us, he is a moving target. This is true and therefore it makes it very hard to draw conclusions about cause and effect. I would just recommend that you keep this in mind first.

Circumstantial evidence

I really don’t want to dwell on what we did wrong. My wife and I agree that traveling every month for three months was the main issue. After the recent and many changes in Lex that I observed following Christmas 2008, during which we stayed home and had no visitors, I feel justified in saying that it is entirely possible that 13 months ago Lex really was going to change core eating behaviors and have a few hunger strikes whether or not we had traveled. What if I blamed his beginning to walk on the travel and the familial encounters? It would be just as logical. Don’t tell my wife I just said that. 😉

What went well? Quite a bit!

Lex slept through the night almost every night that we were away visiting. Even in strange beds, pack-n-plays, surroundings, humidity levels, and environment smells, Lex slept through the night. He also napped very well, in his bed as he did at home. Lex was actually quite happy during the days. He didn’t complain too much on the airplane flights or during the latter long car rides. He played quite well and even tried different table foods and ate surprising portions of them.

Easing the stress of actual transit to and from

Reducing the stress that traveling can cause your little one will pay-off during transit, while at the destination, while sleeping, and during the recovery back at home. Here are list of the things we found most helpful:

  • Toys:

    Bring some portable favorites and you must get some completely “new-to-him” toys as well. You don’t have to buy new ones, you could borrow or go to a thrift store! Clean them well if you do. Also a good suggestion is to hide away favorites a week or two before the trip then bring them our at dire moments and you will be so glad you spent some planning and preparation time on this. Only bring washable crayons and get the new triangle shaped ones with three sides to prevent rolling off of surfaces. Lauri makes a travel tote that includes some well traveling toys for toddlers.

  • Snacks: Bring a variety and even some new ones. Consider candy. Traveling is already different enough that maybe the worst you will do is cause your little girl to think that she gets tasty candy if she travels.
  • Nose Drops: Traveling often leads to dry air. I think it has to do with the air conditioning. Anyway, train you and your little on on these ahead of time. The “Little Noses” brand is very good.
  • Ear Pressure Management: Swallowing is essential here. Delay a drink until descending is a good strategy and then help make it last. With a baby you can use a medicine dropper to serve up juice or his favorite electrolyte beverage.
  • Pain Killers:Get one of those dosing syringes (Oral Medication Syringe 1 Tsp (5 Ml) with Dosage Korc). If you can get the one with the little blue cap for the tips you are set. Before large changes in elevation appropriate doses of Tylenol helped Lex be more comfortable.
  • Books: Get some new ones if you can and bring some favorites. Really I can only repeat the same advice that I offered for the toys.
  • Videos: Laptops make great portable DVD players, especially if you can get your video in file format and just run it straight from the hard disk without having to swap discs. I highly recommend this if at all possible, but I highly discourage video pirating. Don’t do it. Bad Kharma is not going to make your trip go better, that is certain. I really wish that they would start selling the file version of a video along with the video disc. I would pay extra for that!
  • Carriers:

    My wife talked me into selling our Baby Bjorn and getting an Ergo Baby back when Lex was just 8 months old. I am so we did that! Ergo Baby does not market as well or have placement in major baby stores, but it is a superior product. During travel it is better then a stroller as well and in fact I think it safer and definitely lighter (if you end up hauling your little one in your arms regardless).

  • Drugging: I had heard that a dose of Benadryl would help immensely during airplane travel. Well, it seemed wrong and I should have trusted my gut. We didn’t test this with Lex ahead of time. The drowsiness he felt while in the air just made him more upset. Some swear by this, but I don’t.

Our tricks for helping our little one SLEEP WELL in a strange place

With a lot of planning I think you can bring enough of home with you to help your little one sleep through the night. Let’s break this down in a list:

  • Sight: get the light level as close as possible to that of his room. Think about the source of light as well position and brightness. You would be surprised how much you can arrange some furniture, closets, etc. in a hotel to make things more homey. My Lex is used to total darkness at night so we eliminate all glowing clock radios and we even bring our excellent room darkening curtains (from Wal-Mart, dark brown, not cotton, trimmed with some kind of beads, but the best room darkening curtains by weight/volume hands down) to help. And those 3M Command adhesives and their hooks with some clothes line can create a curtain rod anywhere you need it.
  • Sound:

    White noise is a beautiful thing and it can be your ally. We got our son used to sleeping with a 1.5 hours long ultrasound recording of blood flow in the womb. We played it through an iPod and some portable speakers (I will try to link some products later for better reference). We brought this and then later we added a noisy air filter to help drown out other noises that were present in the new environment. A noisy air filter is and excellent tool as it replaces foreign sounds with a familiar one while it also cleans the surrounding air and encourages circulations

  • Smell: We changed Lex’s crib sheets a few days before the travel and then we brought the sheet and pillow cases with us. We put these on his crib and we DEFINITELY brought his favorite bedtime props (including backups) such as down feather pillow, stuffed goat, and Gerber burping clothes. While away try to use the exact same laundry detergent for his bed linens and clothes if necessary. If not mandatory, don’t wash them.
  • Touch: The same bed linens helped the bed feel like home. Also we event brought his little memory foam topper to help it feel even more familiar. Wearing the exact same bed clothing helped a lot too.
  • Touch – Temperature:

    Temperature variances can cause huge problems for your little sleeping beauty. I highly recommend getting a remote thermometer setup for use at home and DEFINITELY while away visiting. These things are amazing and they will enable to you know the temperature near your little one without disturbing her sleep. You we feel so empowered and prevent disturbing sweaty wake-ups in a blink of an eye! Learn what your little one’s best sleeping temperature is at home and make that temperature happen while away. You will love the results, the sweet peaceful uninterrupted sleep. Also many of these report humidity variations as well, if you want to take environment control to the next level. Honestly, this is one of my FAVORITE “baby purchases” and I need to write more about it in another article. Do you and your little one a favor, get this and use it at home and on-the-road. You will not regret it.

  • Taste: It goes without saying, but where possible try to make sure your have the brand of formula, juice, water, whatever. Even if he can’t have this all day, save it for night time. And of course bring his sippy cups and/or bottles.

Routine, routine, routine

As much as possible you should try to replicate your routine and rituals for bedtime, naptime, and meal time if possible. Not only will this help your little one know what to expect and feel more comfortable, but it should result in better sleeping and eating. It will also help retain these routines during a very exceptional time and in a very exceptional location. Even if you don’t have much of a routine at home, you probably do have certain things you do or say each time before these events and you should try your hardest to make these same things happen.

You’re not fooling anyone

I must say that in none of these “techniques” were we trying to fool Lex. We were trying to help a strange place feel more familiar and therefore contribute to a safer and more comfortable state of mind. I think all of this took more planning and very little execution while traveling. The pay-off was well worth it. Of course, getting your child used to these things so that you can use them during travel to bring some of home with you means that you may establish props and routines that you might have to sustain or wean from when you get home.

A sincere request

With my trip with Lex less than 2 months I would like to get as many suggestions as I can on how to make the trip easier on him and on me. Please leave any suggestions in the comments on this post. Lex and I will appreciate them all and I assume your fellow readers will do the same. Many thanks!

 

My New Favorite Father-Son Outing Shoes

My son recently got some Kamik Snowkone boots and he is now invincible and impervious to the elements when we go out in the afternoons to explore.. Unfortunately, my basic Nike running shoes leave me completely exposed to the elements of soggy grass, puddles or water, rain, and river banks. So I looked around and found a simple solution, upgrade my shoes. Fortunately, since I am a cheapskate I was able to find some Columbia Sporstwear Karasi from last season at a great price on Amazon ($22.49 with Free Shippign if you get the order up to $25 or if you have a Prime account). They are marketed as waterproof, but they don’t include Gore-Tex, so we shall see. I am eager to put them to a real test when it starts raining again! Yes, I am excited for the rain to come back! (hint: I don’t live in the desert).

Oh and I highly recommend Kamik’s Snowkone boots for kids. They are truly waterproof and my 2 year old was able to move naturally even 2 months ago.

 

Unselfishly Give a Great Deal of Ourselves

Parenting is hard. Balancing work and family is hard. Kids are kids. Our families are not accessories to our lives or objects we can control completely. And if we want to be the sort of parents to raise children of character and integrity, we have to unselfishly give a great deal of ourselves to the project.

“Toy Times”, Holiday 2008/2009, Author Unknown

 

Coconut Bliss – Great Tasting Ice Cream for Children Allergic to Dairy

My son Lex and I recently discovered Coconut Bliss during a product demo at our local Wholefoods. Actually we had been told about it at the beginning of the summer by a friend who recommended it as an ice cream substitute for Lex (he has a dairy allergy). For whatever reason I had forgotten about this interesting product until we came across the product demo.

First of all Coconut Bliss is not only made from a list of ingredients that you can pronounce, but you can even remember them because they are so few. For example the Vanilla Island flavor’s ingredients are only four: Organic Coconut Milk, Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Fair Trade Vanilla Extract, Organic Fair Trade Vanilla Beans. You really can’t beat that. Now, the main draw of this new product, it is vegan and 100% free of dairy, soy, and gluten.

But it gets even better; coconut is not only an alternative ingredient, it comes with excellent benefits beyond taste. Instead of trying to paraphrase, let me quote Luna and Larry’s website: “While its natural richness creates the creamy texture that people love, the fat in coconut milk is very different from other fats. High in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) identical to those in human breast milk, coconut milk has similar germ fighting and heart-protective properties.” You can read a lot more about the nutritional value of consuming coconut at www.coconutresearchcenter.org.

the makers of Coconut Bliss state that their customers make the bold claim of Coconut Bliss being the “only dessert they can feel good about eating, and feel good after eating”. I have to agree. It taste phenomenal and leaves you feeling pretty good too! The only part that won’t feel great is the dent it leaves in your wallet, but there is a reason for it premium price: the ingredients are premium and fair trade. Also I’m not sure that Luna and Larry have yet reached complete economies of scale. Their rice and soy based competitors better hope they never do or they will be pushed right out.

The reason I am writing here is mostly to let you know that I have found this to be an EXCELLENT ice cream alternative for my son. As he gets older he is not satisfied just watching others eat yummy ice cream while he suffers through some imitation. Each time we have serve Lex Coconut Bliss he almost attacks it. He loves it. He pretty much ripped ever sample out of my hands last week at the Wholefoods product demo. The small amounts that I have eaten were wonderful, just thinking about it now, mmmmm, looking at the refrigerator, rationalizing, justifying, ok, I gotta go, there is a scoop of Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island with my name on it…

 

Culturelle – Probiotic for Digestion, Immunity, Regularity for Little and Big People

My son came into the world with quite a few health problems. I discussed these in detail in my article called “My Son Has Reflux” and I also mentioned one the remedies that we adopted way back then, a probiotic called Culturelle. At 2 months of age we had my son diagnosed with severe reflux, but with our first visit to the Pediatric Gastroenterologist, before he was diagnosed, we were urged to put little Lex on probiotics immediately for treatment for his colic. This particular practice in Houston during early 2007 was actually conducting a study on the use of probiotics to treat colic in infants.

Probiotic: A Definition

Translated means “for life”, billions of bacteria living inside mammals that have a positive effect on the health and digestion of their host

The Science of Culturelle’s Probiotic

The doctor highly recommended the Culturelle brand of probiotic because of its exclusive probiotic strain, Lactobacillus GG. Culturelle’s doctors and scientists spent years studying the health benefits of ingesting the many strains of the “good” bacteria called lactobacillus which is commonly found in various dairy products. The found that most of the strains were unable to survive the harsh conditions of the human digestive system. However, after much searching they found a resilient strain that could survive and even grow there and they named it Lactobacillius GG.

The All-Natural Winner

Culturelle’s probiotic is the most studies strain of probiotic. It is much more sticky and potent than the lesser probiotics found in yogurts. Culturelle packages their probiotic in foil-sealed capsules and they guarantee 10 billion live cells at the time that each capsule is used. Delivery through capsules makes the Lactobacillus GG easy to swallow; however, it can also be sprinkled over food or drinks.

Real-life Experience with Culturelle

My son has been on Culturelle since he was 3 months old (it took us a little while to convince ourselves that Culturelle was better than the probiotic we were getting at Wholefoods). His colic started to disappear within weeks of starting the daily treatment (sprinkle one capsule in Lex’s bottle which he was most likely to finish-off each day. At 8 months old Lex ran out of Probiotic, we were moving, and there were lots of changes to keep track of. One month later Lex began a month-long spree of diarrhea that ended with a diagnosed milk-allergy and our starting his daily Culturelle dosage again. I am not saying that I know for sure that he would have been fine had we kept-up on giving him Culturelle, but there is no way to be certain that this circumstantial evidence doesn’t have some significance.

A year later and Lex still get’s his daily dosage of 10 billion live cells of Lactobacillus GG. For a time we gave it to him sprinkled over fruit and applesauce, but now he gets it with his fresh sippy cup of 1 part juice and 4 parts water. Most mornings he drinks it down, but if he doesn’t then he usually finishes of the top-off sippy cup before lunch. He also has had no new symptoms. His reflux is MUCH better and his milk allergy seems to ignore foods with trace amounts of cow’s milk now. Lex is a very regular little guys and as long as we don’t start feeding him dairy products his stomach never seems to bother him.

The Proof is in the Results


I am not a scientist, but I can say that Lex’s health is better than it was at the times he was not taking Culturelle. In fact, now that I think of it, his scrapes and scratches seem to heal faster than normal (no infections) and he rarely, compared to his peers, gets a cold or stomach bug (maybe once every 6 months). He seems happier all-around and so we have no plans to take him off of the best probiotic that we know of, Culturelle’s Lactobacillus GG.