General Shopping Guide for New Moms

If you are a new mom, it is important to know how to properly shop for baby outfits. It is not at all uncommon for new mothers to find themselves in awe of name brand newborn clothing and designer baby outfits. As a matter of fact, most find themselves overwhelmed with the urge to stock the baby nursery with the latest high-end baby apparel. Today, newborn clothing is trendier than ever. There are many styles, designs and colors that are completely irresistible to new mothers.

Clothing manufacturers are creating fashions that are appealing to adults that have a keen fashion sense, and as a result, it is not at all uncommon for new moms to purchase more than is necessary or items that are relatively expensive in order to dress their baby in the latest fashions. As a new mother, there is one basic fact that you need to keep in mind when purchasing baby outfits. That is, your baby’s only true need when it comes to clothing is for it to be comfortable. In this general shopping guide, you will be provided with some basic steps on how to properly select newborn clothing for your new bundle of joy.

Size Matters

When shopping for baby outfits that are designed for newborns, it is important to understand that size truly does matter. Many parents spend a lot of time searching for and money into purchasing clothing that is specifically designed for newborns. It is best to purchase only a few items that are specified as “Newborn”, when it comes to size. A baby typically grows relatively quickly and you will find that they do not stay in newborn clothing for very long at all. Most parents, as a general rule, purchase more clothing in the three to six month range and even more concentrate their efforts on buying baby outfits that are in the six month to nine month size range.

For the most part, when buying clothes, take your child’s age and double it in order to ensure that you are purchasing clothes that will properly fit them. For example, if your child is a month and a half old, they will likely benefit from clothing that is designed for a child that is three months old and so on. Of course, this rule may not always work – it depends on the way that a clothing manufacturer’s sizing runs. You may have to do a little experimenting in order to ensure that you know which size is most appropriate for your new baby.

Safety Considerations

When shopping for newborn clothing, it is difficult to bypass clothing that is highly decorative and attractive due to apparel enhancements; however, you must consider safety over appeal. Have you ever stumbled across newborn clothing that has cute little buttons, decorative hooks and snaps, appealing pom-poms and even adorable bows? If you are like most parents, you probably answered “Yes” to this question. If you want to purchase baby outfits that include decorative pieces, you must ensure that the pieces are secured to the clothing and will not pose any harm to your child. It is important to also carefully evaluate the clothing for loose threads, loose seams and designs that may restrict your child’s movements or your ability to easily manipulate the clothing.

Fabrics

Prior to purchasing baby outfits, you should evaluate the fabric details associated with the apparel. Each label or description that you stumble across that is associated with newborn clothing must contain detailed information pertaining to the fabric that is used, the content of the fabric and the instructions regarding the care of the fabric. It is critical that you ensure that you avoid pieces that are composed of fabrics that are uncomfortable on the skin or have previously been proven to irritate the sensitive skin of a baby.

Additionally, it is important to avoid fabric types that may shrink when maintained or could result in complications such as the development of wrinkles or shredding of threads within the seams of the clothing. By ensuring that you purchase baby outfits that are composed of high quality fabrics that are the right size for your baby and do not pose any dangers to your baby, you are on the right track to selecting the best newborn clothing on the market.

Definitive Shopping Guide

If you have larger than normal feet, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be to find shoes that fit. Manufacturers are more interested in creating shoes in common sizes so that they can get the biggest return possible. In the past, this meant that people with larger feet were reduced to shopping at specialty stores for styles made from companies that only made big shoes and not other sizes. The selection was often limited, and the styles not as fashionable as the shoes on the high street. Luckily there are more options available today for people with big feet. Here is the definitive shopping guide for finding stylish shoes that fit your feet.

Styles
Today most major manufacturers create shoes in a range of sizes, from very tiny sizes up to the large sizes that fit big feet. One style that always comes in all sizes are trainers. There are a great range of different types of trainers you will be able to find in your size, from high-tech athletic trainers to the colourful, street trainers that look good with jeans. Dress shoes are a bit harder to find in big sizes, especially larger sized heels for women. When shopping around, remember to look for you size but also keep in mind the width of the shoe. Some companies create large sizes but don’t take into account the extra width of your foot, so you could end up with a shoe that pinches the sides of your feet.

Where to Shop
It used to be that people with large feet could only find good fitting shoes at “big and tall” stores. These shops are still around and are a good option for people who have feet that are both wide and long and therefore really hard to fit. However, you won’t find contemporary, fashionable shoes at these stores. To get shoes that are more on trend with the season, you could consider looking at department stores and asking about larger sizes. Most big stores will stock at least a few big sizes in each style to have on hand. The final and best option is to shop around online. You can go to online shops, auction sites and websites that offer overstocked shoes from various stores to find great deals on stylish shoes.

Buying Shoes
When you decide to shop online, make sure you have the right size. Different countries have different sizing charts, so it’s important to check that you are purchasing your shoes in the right country and corresponding size. Sizes also tend to vary slightly among different manufacturers. In order to get the exact right fit, it is a good idea to visit the manufacturer’s website to take a look at their specific sizing chart. Once you start looking around online, you’ll be amazed at just how large the selection of shoes is that will fit your feet.

The Benefits of Having a Shopping

Today, with economic challenges that do not seem to end, it is hard not be critical and careful with the purchases that we make, whether it is a bar of soap, a new pair of jeans, or a ticket for two to Hawaii. There is no room for an impulsive shopper here in the 21st century, unless you have a reservoir of cash for “emergencies”, when you have swiped your credit card a little too often. Thus, having a shopping guide is important to help you stay on track with what you should buy and what you should not.

The benefits of having a shopping guide can be broken down into three parts. First, it can help you feel like you are making a well-informed consumer decision. Unlike a product recommendation or a review, a shopping guide works like a map that helps you navigate your way in the complicated consumer’s world. If you need to look for a baking oven to replace your old one, a guide about the best baking ovens on the market can help you receive more value for your money. Also, by having a guide that you can refer to when buying clothes, you have a resource that can help you find establishments that offers their merchandise at great prices.

The second benefit of a shopping guide is that it lets you know where to go when looking for a certain item or to avail a particular service. For instance, if you have a shopping guide of the mall that you are visiting, you will know exactly where the home appliances are, or on what floor apparel for women is located. It saves you from possibly getting lost inside a mall, or looking for a particular store that does not exist in that particular outlet. Most guides are available at mall entrances, especially if it is new. It can also be downloaded and printed for free if the mall happens to have a website.

Third, a guide helps you get rid of distractions, allowing you to focus on the item that you want to buy. Most guides are not only packed with navigational details, but also product reviews and recommendations that can help you make informed decisions. It is for this reason that shopping guides are produced in thick brochures and pamphlets; they are packed with useful information for the stressed-out shopper.
Aside from a guide that you can bring with you, such as those printed in brochures and pamphlets, there are also many websites that can function as shopping guides for the dazed online shopper. Make sure that, when referring to online guides, the website that you are browsing through is an authority in the industry. Verify its list of contributors and writers to guarantee peace of mind.

Green Shopping Guide

When I was in my twenties and thirties, I was a school teacher. I lived and worked overseas. I had many great adventures, but looking back two decades later, I can see that what I most enjoyed about those years was the lifestyle I had as a young mom in my neighborhood in Adelaide, South Australia. We enjoyed the best of a modern Western life without some of the “excesses” of 21st century life in the United States-not too much driving, not too much “stuff”, not too much debt…You get the picture. I had a cute little car which was fuel efficient. I had a cute little house and lovely English style garden. I shopped in my neighborhood, because, believe it or not, there wasn’t a supermarket or mall within 5 miles of the neighborhood where I lived.

What I loved most about how my money was spent in those days was that it mainly supported local people and products. My food came from small, family-owned fruit and veggie shops, butcher shops, and bakeries. All of my fruit and vegetables were grown locally and sold in the shops in my local “high street” or in the year-round farmers’ market. Many things I take for granted today like my washer and dryer, my living room furniture and my office equipment were far more expensive in Adelaide than they were in Seattle, for instance. But, we purchased from local merchants, bought quality to last and often recycled and shared. For months when my neighbor had a new baby, we shared the expense of a diaper service and we shared the use of my new washing machine. When another neighbor moved to a new job in another state, we bought their antique dining table and chairs to furnish our cottage’s kitchen dining area.

So, why am I telling you this story of a past life in another country?

Because–I think we have forgotten that we have the power to shape our lives with the choices we make and how we spend our money. I suppose we think we have to give up things we find “necessary” to save our environment, when really we might find that new choices result in pleasant gains.

At the heart of many of our environmental challenges today are the things we Americans buy and discard every day. Our economy is seemingly stronger the more we buy and the faster we replace things. Living a more environmentally aware lifestyle affects all aspects of our lives, but none more dramatically than our shopping habits.

There are many ways to turn your buying behavior into a force that supports environmentally friendly businesses and practices:

Choose the shop around the corner:

More and more, we’re hearing that carbon dioxide emissions from our cars are polluting the earth and contributing enormous quantities of greenhouse gases to the growing climate change problem. To reduce your carbon footprint, choose to shop close to home. Need some new candles? Check out the local artisan’s workshop. Looking for some fresh veggies? Look into your community’s farmers’ markets. You get the idea.

BYOB:

By that, we mean “bring your own bag” when you’re heading for the store. Whether you’re in the market for groceries or a new pair of pants, try to remember to take your reusable shopping bag with you. This cuts down on the annoying “paper or plastic?” questions and will mean fewer resource-intensive bags entering your community where they either need to be discarded in a landfill or burned in an incinerator.

Choose eco-friendly products:

Regardless of what you’re putting in your bag, whether it’s a new printer for your computer or some binders for your children’s new school year, there’s likely a more eco-friendly option available. Wondering what to look for? Here are few characteristics of earth-mindful options:

  • Look for second-hand or used items. These products require no new resources except the gas it takes you to get to the store. Furniture, clothing, kitchen items, and even electronics can often be purchased this way.
  • Search for items made with recycled materials. The most obvious option is recycled-content paper, but more and more there are products made of recycled products. Soda bottles can be made into fleece for clothing, tires can be turned into playground equipment, milk jugs can be turned into shingles for your roof, yogurt containers are made into toothbrushes and razors, and old barn wood can be transformed into one-of-a-kind tables and chairs.
  • Check out alternative materials. If you can’t find something that’s once-used like those that are second-hand or made of recycled materials, look for options made with eco-friendly materials. This can mean many things, but here are a few principles to keep in mind: Materials grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers mean less harm to water and soil, so go for organic fruits, vegetables, and cotton products. Any resource that’s renewable is more sustainable than non-renewable options. Metals, plastics, and other petroleum by-products are not ultimately renewable (not to mention they’re production is incredibly polluting). Bamboo, hemp, sea grass, and jute, to name a few, are incredibly fast growing plants that can be used to construct furniture and rugs, clothing and bedding, and much more. Opting for the item made with fewer chemicals is always a good choice, too. It means it’ll be less harmful for you and the earth. So if you’re debating between stain-resistant shirts and those without, go for the more natural, less-treated option. Look for low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products, natural cleaning products, and so on.

Choose “kid safe” and “pet safe” household products.

Opting for the item made with fewer harmful or potentially harmful ingredients is not only earth-friendly, but also “kid safe” and “pet safe”. Look for household products without the following common but harmful chemicals as ingredients: Naphthalene, kerosene, formaldehyde, phenol, cresol, lye, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, petroleum distillates, benzene, ammonia, paradichlorobenzene, sodium hydroxide, butyl cellosolve, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid.

Look for concentrated products:

Every bottle of laundry detergent and household cleaner that contains more water than active ingredients cost fuel and human labor to ship to a store near you. Purchase your household products as concentrates and add the water at home.

Look for water- and energy-saving devices:

Choosing products that reduce your consumption of water and energy will not only save you money, they reduce your overall earthly-impact. So go for bathroom and kitchen fixtures and appliances that conserve, opt for electronics that run more efficiently, and upgrade things like light bulbs and faucet aerators to keep your home running on less. A good bet for many of these products are ENERGY STAR rated options since they save significant quantities of both of these resources.

Reduce overall consumption:

Perhaps the most important change you can make in your shopping habits is to buy less. When you’re in the store trying to decide between two great books, or contemplating whether you want green or white sheets, evaluate whether you really need the item in question. Are there ways you can reuse something at home for that purpose? Perhaps you can share a lawnmower with your neighbor, or take books out of the library instead of buying new. There are lots of ways to enjoy the better things in life without taking something new home.

Shopping Guide

Have you noticed the size of green peppers these days? As a matter of fact, when you walk through the produce aisle you may be impressed with how the fruits and vegetables appear shiny, colorful and larger than life. But did you know that unless you specifically purchase food labeled organic most of the food in the produce aisle (and other aisles as well) has been genetically modified?

Also called recombinant DNA technology, this practice changes the core genetic make-up of the organism. This genetic manipulation gives scientists the ability to create any trait they desire — natural of unnatural. Food marketers have decided tomatoes should be sweeter, peppers larger, and fruit blemish-free. And scientists have met their specifications. If it’s not perfect, food marketers assume, or more precisely, dictate, that we don’t (or shouldn’t) want it. But GM food is far from perfect.

Simply put, GM foods are foods that are grown from seeds whose DNA is genetically altered. An example of gene alteration is the insertion of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) into the seed.

These Biopesticides are touted as being less harmful than chemical pesticides because they are biologically based (being viruses, bacteria, pheromones, natural plant compounds, etc.) in contrast to synthetic chemicals But a pesticide in which the active ingredient is a virus, fungus or bacterium, or a natural product derived from a plant source may well be far from benign – despite its ‘natural’ origins.

Why? In short, the danger lies not in the origins of these pesticides, but from the ramifications of their use. Bts result in increased herbicide usage and resultant herbicide resistance; “super weeds;” traces left behind on and in food crops; genetic contamination of non-GM crops which hurt organic and conventional farmers; and damage to surrounding wildlife.

In addition, Bts combine with our own gut bacteria gene; ingesting food treated with Bts gives birth to a dangerous pesticide in the human body.

What is the role of agribusiness in all of this – certainly not an altruist one? The giant corporation Monsanto is at the forefront of the problem. Monsanto is the largest producer of hybrid or GM seeds. Monsanto is now patenting seeds which restrict the farmer from the use of any seed other than theirs. Farmers have actually been sued by Monsanto for doing otherwise.

GM technology crept its way through the door many years ago when the government mandated the FDA to promote biotechnology. The man that was appointed to lead the charge was actually a former Monsanto attorney!

Unfortunately, there was very little, if any, testing for the safety of GM foods. The FDA claimed it was not aware of any information showing that GM crops were different from non-GM crops and therefore didn’t require testing. Because of an eventual lawsuit, 44,000 internal FDA documents that were made public proved that this was an outright lie.

There was an overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists that the GM foods were indeed different and could give rise to hard to detect allergens, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. Could that explain the sudden rise in food allergies, food sensitivities and digestive problems?

GM food is not just in the produce aisle either. 75% of all processed food contains GM ingredients. Corn and soy are the largest GM crops, and corn and soy is in just about everything. (As always, read the ingredients — you’ll see for yourself.)

The list of GM products is long and getting longer. The USDA decided that GM foods do not need to be labeled for the US consumer (you and me). However, most other countries will not import food from the US unless it is clearly labeled GM or not.

If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know by now just how far the foods in our grocery aisles have diverged from the essential qualities we should have a right to expect — real, natural, healthy, and nutritious.

A Non-GMO Shopping Guide:

Pay attention to those hard to read little stickers on fruits and vegetables. They contain a series of digits that are your key to identifying whether produce is conventionally grown or organic, and, furthermore, if it’s genetically modified (GM).

Translation:

• A four-digit number indicates conventionally grown.
• A five-digit number beginning with 9 — it’s organic.
• A five-digit number beginning with 8 — its GM.

Nearly all of the following foods are GM so do your best to avoid them:

• Soy
• Corn
• Cottonseed
• Canola
• Processed food, period.

Creating a healthy diet is your responsibility — unless the USDA makes some changes, foods will not be clearly labeled as GM anytime soon.