The public world knows Sydney Poitier as a remarkable vision to look at (People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People) and a talented and disciplined actor (Deathproof (Tarantino), Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice).
Her private world knows her as a loyal friend, a dedicated daughter, a moral compass and an eco-friendly and health conscious humanitarian. They know her as a fierce dog rescuer, a bookworm and an educated liberal.
Sydney knows herself as a grateful girl, someone who married the love of her life (musician Dorian Heartsong), whom she has been with for over 15 years. Her life only seems to flourish in blessings with a 360 degree radius. Family, love, lineage, friendships, health, marriage ...and now a child.
Always educating herself like a Johns Hopkins researcher (from foods, beauty products and body emollients – to Feng Shui and naturopathic healing), I naturally turned to her for SHE SAID curatorial guidance on the top NEW MOM MUST HAVES.
Forget what you’ve read in the baby books and ad sponsored articles. Here’s the tried and true good stuff brought to you by this new mom.
TOP 3 BABY PRODUCTS
There are so many baby products that I love now, but when I was pregnant and trying to figure out what I would need, I was completely overwhelmed. There are SO many products out there now. Some I’ve found to be invaluable, others are collecting dust in a cabinet somewhere. What helped me to make the decisions about which products to buy was really honing in on what my “non-negotibles” were. As a health and eco conscious mama, I knew that avoiding certain toxins such as flame retardants, PVCs, phthalates, lead and BPA were of the utmost importance. It’s shocking how many toxic chemicals are in baby products from toys to lotions. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) did a study where they tested the umbilical cord blood of babies and found over two hundred industrial chemicals and pollutants including brominated flame retardants and pesticides. The worst of these flame retardants are called PBDEs have been linked to endocrine disruption, memory and learning problems, delayed mental and physical development, lowered IQ, advanced puberty and reduced fertility. Other flame retardants have been proven to cause cancer. Our babies have these chemicals in their beutiful little bodies before they even come out of the womb because these chemicals are in OUR bodies and they cross the placenta. That is the scary price we pay for living in this modern world. So I wanted to shield her as best I could so as not to add to the toxic burden she and all babies carry when they enter the world. So that leads me to my first favorite baby product, or I should say products because this is really a “three for one.”
1. My flame retardant free and organic mattresses. That includes her crib mattress by Lifekind, her co-sleeper mattress by Arm’s Reach, (which only recently offered an organic mattress), and I’m also including her organic changing pad by Naturpedic because they are a great company and also offer a really nice organic crib and/or bassinet mattress. Most mattresses are heavily treated with chemical flame retardants. Since a baby spends the majority of her time sleeping when she’s young, it’s so important to have her sleeping area be free and clear of toxic chemicals if possible. It’s slightly easier now to find options because the California law TB 117 which used to require furniture to be treated with flame retardants was changed as of January 2014. Now manufacturers are allowed to make mattresses and furniture without flame retardants as long as they pass a “smolder” test. I have greater peace of mind laying her perfect little body down on a clean, non-toxic surface every night.
2.Finn & Emma play gym. I LOVE this little play gym for so many reasons. I bought it because again I was trying to avoid chemicals and most activity gyms are plastic and made with petrochemicals which are not only bad for her but also bad for the environment. This gym is made from solid Birch wood instead of plastic, and uses VOC free stains that do not contain formaldehyde, phthalates, murcury or lead. The knit toys are handmade by artisans in Peru using 100% sheep’s wool stuffing using eco-friendly dyes, and the wood toys are made from Indian hardwood and finished with a beeswax coating. The absolute BEST part about this gym is how much my daughter LOVES it, which makes it one of my top baby products as we all know that anything that captures a baby’s attention and keeps them happy and content is worth it’s weight in gold. Also, it happens to be adorably cute, and while very simple, I think it’s SO much better looking than other baby gyms.
3. My Baby Bjorn Bouncer Balance Soft in organic cotton. I love this bouncy chair, and my daughter loves it even more. My kid likes to bounce. I mean she REALLY likes to bounce. if she had a theme song it would be Jay Z’s Bounce with me. This third fave product was a toss up between this bouncer and my giant Pilates exercise ball which I have spent countless hours bouncing her on. The Bjorn bouncer won out because it really makes my life easier. When my husband was out of town and I had no one to help me with her, the bouncer was how I was able to get anything done. I could put her in the bouncer and bounce her with my foot while I scarfed down a meal, did my make-up for an audition, or returned emails. I also like that as she grows bigger, she will be able to bounce the chair herself with her own movements which is good for active babies that have a lot of energy as she does. Also as she gets even BIGGER and can walk and sit down on her own, the fabric can be turned around and it becomes a chair! I of course like that it came in an organic cotton so I don’t have to worry about pesticides, an added bonus!
TOP 3 FAVORITE BABY STORES / BRANDS
My top baby brands right now would be:
1. Finn & Emma. The company that makes my lovely activity gym also has an incredible selection of organic clothing. They’re SO cute and modern and sustainable! They also have wonderful, whimsical, unique handmade toys, and organic bedding.
2. Honest Company. I really like the philosophy behind this brand which is to reduce a baby’s exposure to toxic chemicals, and offer products that are both stylish and sustainable. I love the sweet prints on their diapers as well. I know some of my friends have complained that the diapers leak, but I haven’t found that, and I mostly hear complaints from those with boys. So maybe the “extra equipment” changes the fit of the diaper. But they’ve been great for us.
3. Nuna. Their products range from carseats and strollers to high chairs and swings. Their designs are very modern and really cool, and they are a company dedicated to sustainability. The first thing I got from them was a carseat. As all carseats are required by law to be treated with flame retardants for obvious reasons, I was looking for one that contained one of the less toxic forms of flame retardant. This carseat was the only one that I found. It’s a great carseat, and it was also compatible with my Stokke stroller. I also purchased their small “on the go” stroller called the Pepp. It is super light weight (between a regular stroller and a snap n go), is made with okeo-tex certified fabric and fill, and does not contain any flame retardants. I also have their swing called the LEAF. It is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. It also has a very sleek design that actually looks good in our living room and not like a typical baby swing which is nice. It also isn’t run on electricity or batteries. It has a unique design where you push it, and it will sway back and forth for a few minutes on it’s own. It can also hold up too 130 pounds! As your baby grows into a toddler and beyond it becomes a cool chair they can swing in.
3 WAYS YOUR LIFE HAS CHANGED FOR THE BETTER SINCE BECOMING A MAMA
Being a mama is the best thing in the world. No one can really prepare you for how incredible it is. It is challenging in many ways, but the rewards are infinitely greater than the challenges. I think being a mama has changed me in many ways. Here are three of them.
1. My heart is more open. The cliches are all true. You think you’ve loved and then you have a baby and your heart expands exponetially. I did not expect this. I assumed I loved my husband and parents and sister and two dogs so fiercely that I figured there was no possible way for there to be MORE. There is. I don’t know how, but there is. This is awesome to experience but also challenging because it means I tear up when I see a mom wiping her toddlers face at the supermarket. Or feel straight panic when on our first night away from the baby my cell phone lost coverage. Granted I’m still new to this and a giant ball of hormones so I imagine it gets easier. But right now my heart is walking around (well not quite walking, she’s only three months!) outside my body and while it is an awe inspiring love, it also creates a vulnerability unlike any I’ve known. It’s the hardest thing and the best thing and nothing really prepares you for it.
2. It has given me perspective. In our society, we tend to measure our worth by how much we’re doing, and how much we’ve achieved. Becoming a mom has forced me to go from “doing” to ” being.” In those first few months the baby demands that you are there. Present with her and attuning to her needs. Everything else becomes background noise. I realized how unimportant anything else was during that time. During early motherhood it’s almost as if time doesn’t exist. One day sort of melts into the next, and that frantic need to schedule and be productive disappears. It’s a really lovely place to be because it reminds you of what is most important in life. It’s the moments of connection with our loved ones, those times we can slow down and really be present that matter. All the achievement in the world can never compare to that. That’s not to say you lose your ambition, but rather it restructures itself into something more powerful. Now I want what I acheive to be in service of this little being. Whether that achievement is allowing us to spend more quality time together or making the world a better place for her, everything I do has a new purpose now.
3. I’m seeing the world through fresh eyes. Seeing the world through her eyes is so much fun! When she’s delighted by some inanimate object so am I! I actually look at something like a leaf or a dog and imagine what it must be like for her to have no frame of reference for these things. It makes you realize how AWESOME this planet is. How cool nature is. There are so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis, that I’m now seeing through her eyes and realizing how spectacular everything is, and how lucky we are to be living on this planet. It’s humbling and awe inspiring.
Thank you, Sydney. Beautiful reminders and beautifully said. Congratulations on your feats, pursuits and celebrations.