Whatever month you choose to transition your baby to their own sleeping space, placing a mobile above their crib or bassinet from the age of 2+ months can be a wonderful way to encourage the development of visual, motor, and cognitive skills.
When babies look at mobiles they develop what are called visual tracking skills (developed between 2-7 months of age) — visual tracking allows babies to follow moving objects with their eyes. Visual tracking is a very important skill as babies grow; it allows them to play, interact — and eventually, visual tracking is very important for school-aged skills.
Around 5-6 months, babies will begin coordinated reaching for objects — whether they are in tummy time or laying on their back in their crib, linking visual tracking skills with reaching helps to develop hand-eye coordination, another extremely important skill for littles to develop!
Now, if you’ve got a little one who is already sitting up in their crib or pulling to stand — you’ll want to make sure the mobile is hung from the ceiling high enough that is is out of reach. Clipping mobiles to the crib can be great in the first few months of life, but can be hazardous once the baby can reach to grab and pull on it.
I’ve also seen mamas who hang mobiles over the changing table, a great way to distract or play while completing diaper changes.
One more thing to keep in mind! Some babies may be soothed by mobiles while some may be excited by them! Some mobiles on the market these days light up, sing, spin — pay attention to how your baby interacts with the mobile. If it soothes them, the crib is a great location, if it stimulates them, maybe the changing table is a better choice! Each baby is different and you’re the expert on your little one.
These mobiles are custom-made mobiles from Atlas Rose, and they are handmade by yours truly! Check out the shop for other variations and to request your own custom mobile for your little one.
As an Occupational Therapy Assistant, my job is to make it possible for my patients to participate in their daily occupations. An occupation is anything that occupies your time. This can be anything from brushing your teeth, feeding your dog, or participating in a hobby like painting. In order to participate in occupations, we often need to use our hands to grip objects. Sometimes, my patients need a little help when it comes to grip because their ability to hold objects has been affected in one way or another.
Over the years, I have begrudgingly used traditional universal cuffs for years with clients. A universal cuff is an adaptive device that helps patients grip everyday objects when their grip has been affected. They allow patients to participate in everyday activities, which as an OT, is what I am all about.
I’ve been hesitant to recommend the traditional cuffs because they weren’t the best solution, yet there wasn’t really another option — they are made from rigid vinyl or leather with tough Velcro that can cause blisters and sores on some of my patient’s skin as they were adjusting to using the cuff. I used them with all ages and populations, including children whose skin really couldn’t handle the sharp, thick material, let alone the sharp Velcro.
I remember I had a patient once who needed to use a universal cuff to eat, brush his teeth, and use his cellphone — following a spinal cord injury, he needed the cuff because his arms and hands were affected. His universal cuffs would wear down or get too dirty to use any more, at least once a year. We would order him a new cuff and I remember when it came in the mail, we would have to bend it and work the leather like you would a baseball glove when it’s brand new. The material is hard and needs to be worn in so they are comfortable. The cuff was hard to clean after meals, and having one cuff for meals and for oral care and for everyday cell phone use, was just too much. He preferred to use one cuff for all activities but realized how unsanitary it was. Imagine wearing a glove to shop at Target then having to go home and use that same glove to eat, all without being able to wash it — no thank you!
I only wish that during my time with this patient that EazyHold’s universal cuffs were on the market. They just get it!
“We did have some knowledge of the assistive devices on the market and particularly how they’d not changed in 40 years. They were made of hard plastic, leather, elastic, and scratchy Velcro; all were neither sanitary nor adaptable. We knew that ours should be soft, comfortable, hygienic, and most importantly, super adaptable. We decided to use silicone which had just those qualities”
– EazyHold’s Founders
As an OT; here are all the reasons why I love EazyHold grips for my patients:
Not only do these grips make daily life more accessible for my patients who experience issues with grip strength, but they are easily ordered through so many amazing online vendors. I have ordered them from EazyHold’s website and from Amazon — each way is great. EazyHold offers free shipping on orders over $100 and with a Prime Membership, they ship free in 2-days. They are also an affordable price point which is important to me — when I recommend a product or an adaptive piece of equipment, it is refreshing to know I am recommending something that most of my families can afford — and if I need to donate one to a client, it’s very inexpensive for me to do.
EazyHoldsare silicone and easy to clean after meals or fun messy play activities for little ones.
EazyHolds are easy to switch between objects and come in so many sizes, they really can fit anything! I have provided them to patients to use for everything from cooking to playing with toys.
EazyHolds are soft silicone, so I worry much, much less about my patient’s skin developing sores or blisters like I do with traditional cuffs. Traditional cuffs are abrasive on little one’s skin, these grips were a game changer for my pediatric clients.
They come in fun colors! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a situation where we had to figure out whose flesh tone cuff was whose before mealtime. These are bright and easily identifiable!
If you have not yet read the My Beef With Chemicals Blog – start there first. It will guide you through my research on chemical product safety, safe products and give you an idea on why all of this is so important.
One more thing — I am doing a weekly giveaway (January 6th-March 28th) where you can win many of these products! Sign-up here for the giveaway and message me with questions!
After finding all of the research (and then processing it all) I began my journey to start making a safer switch to chemically safe products. BUT, I didn’t do it all at once because I could not afford it. Quality products come at a little bit of a higher cost. I would have liked to throw everything I was using out and replace it with safe products, but this had the potential to cost me hundreds of dollars. So, I decided to make a gradual switch by using products until they were empty, then when I bought new, I bought safer.
THEN, last year — I was forced to go all in. Last year I discovered I have autoimmune issues and I struggled for months to get them under control. During this time, any products that remained in my home with harmful chemicals were out — some of them literally went down the drain.
Making the 100% safe switch proved difficult — navigating the world of chemicals in our country is hard! Information is hidden, and labels do not list everything because companies are legally not required to do so.
So — I had to do my own research on every single product every time I bought something. Not to mention I had to try the product to see if I liked it and it worked! I cannot tell you how many “chemical free/organic” deodorants, toothpaste, shampoos, candles, (ETC. ETC. ETC.) my family and I have tried and how many I have thrown out because they just didn’t work, or the smelled horrible.
Since getting my autoimmune issues under control, I have become so passionate and inspired to help others reduce the chances of having these symptoms and issues. As an Occupational Therapist, I have seen the impact skin absorption of harmful chemicals and environmental toxins can have on kids’ and adults’ physical/mental health and behavior – and I am passionate to educate others about it. I have seen children’s neurological systems and behavior completely shift just from shifting which products they are using and their environments. As a friend, I have seen those close to me make changes to clean products, and the swap has changed their lives drastically — even getting rid of their eczema and balancing their hormones.
And all of this is not without hope, it only takes a few days for your body to process these chemicals out of your system! — great news!
Please let me know if you have questions or I can help. There are many efforts (some of which I have joined) to get safer product protection bills passed, but until then it’s up to us to keep ourselves safe.
Here are some of the brands/products I have found to be “clean/safe” and actually work. I am not sponsored by any means by any of these companies — I just want to share with you what works.
Full disclosure, because I believe being clear is being kind: I am a member of Young Living (which means you can order through me without signing up! score) and I am a “consultant” for Beautycounter because I love their company. They advocate in Congress for better chemical safety laws, and their products are 100% clean, and EWG certified — AND I get a huge product discount for signing up.
I’m not here to sell you anything, and if you ask me questions, I will not try to get you to sign-up for anything. I do not like being “sold to” and that is not what I’m here to do. I am here to share. Outside of YL and BC — I have no ties to these companies other than just being a big fan.
Detoxing my nail care products was one of the easier switches because it’s about the same price. I love everything Zoya, but the Karma Organics brand has my heart. Their Lavender Soybean Oil Polish Remover is fantastic — it’s moisturizing for cuticles instead of dehydrating, and the bottle I have now has lasted me 4 YEARS!
I used to use whatever I got from Ulta/Sephora. I used all the brands; Tart, TooFaced, Urban Decay, etc. But with all of toxins I had to quit. Beautycounter is one of the brands I trust now for make-up, beauty, and things like lotion. They are EWG Verified and they have the highest quality standards in the industry. I don’t have to research every product I buy from Beautycounter because I trust them as a company! They are B Corp certified, and they lobby in Congress for industry-wide changes. win win win.
I’ve also used and liked Juice Beauty and Honesty Beauty! You will need to research each individual product because not all are clean. I really like both of their foundations, though!
There are so many toxins in toothpaste — and we put it right in our mouths at least twice a day. Natures Gate is the best toothpaste we’ve found so far and we have tried many! Some were real grainy or they weren’t “minty enough” according to the husband (he’s my biggest quality control guy). So far this one is the best!
And while we’re on the topic of oral care… I started a search for BPA free toothbrushes and it ended with my finding these bamboo ones on amazon. To be completely honest, my husband hates these and it took me a week or so to get used to them. BUT! — once I did I love them now. They come in cute packs of 4 and I never feel bad about throwing out a toothbrush now because they are 100% biodegradable! yesss.
This, to me, is one of the most important and what I am relentless on with my family. You’ve gotta change the deodorant, at least! You put deodorant right over your lymph nodes every day! This one is important!
My husband and I have tried AT LEAST 17 different kinds of deodorant. It’s been an exhaustive search. He rashes really easily with certain ingredients, and well, he’s a man — it’s gotta work — the hippie make-your-own stuff doesn’t work on him. I, myself, can pretty much get away with any brand, but I wanted to find a brand that we both liked and could use — making shopping easier.
The brand we ended up loving after what felt like a year of searching is Schmidt’s Deodorant. The Rose Vanilla scent is my favorite and the Ylang-ylang sent is B’s favorite. He liked the Charcoal scent the best but its black and stained clothes, so, bye.
People use wipes mostly for faces and bottoms — at least thats how I use them… Anyways I used to use Ponds make up remover wipes and Charmin for the restroom. But there are SO MANY chemicals in these. I am appalled they allow them for use on children but that sums up why we’re here.
Young Living Seedlings Wipes are by far my favorite general wipe (can be used for face or bottom) and there is a whole seedlings line for babes (linked below). But as far as makeup removing wipes go, HANDS DOWN — Beautycounter Make-up Removing Wipes are theee best — they are completely biodegradable! (my favorite phrase) — and they work well and smell amazing. Pampers Pure does a great job too! I was skeptical at first because I’m neurotic about all of this but I did the research and it’s a clean product!
Little Ones Need Safer (too)
I love all of these products not because I use them on my own family — don’t have any littles in my house just yet! — but I love them because I love these companies and my mama friends say they’re great products! Pampers also just came out with a Pampers Pure line, and after doing some checking on the ingredients, they’re clean! Very exciting to see a larger company begin to offer clean products. The companies and products I love; Young Living Seedlings line, Beautycounter Family (for infants + big kids too), Pampers Pure, and Honest Baby.
Be careful with Honest Baby though! — unfortunately, only some of their products are clean. Products like laundry detergent and some lotions are not, which is a bummer. I love the Honest Company because they are in all of the stores and they’re very accessible — you just have to do your own research with their products. Which is exhausting, but also the #1 reason why I’m so into companies that are 100% clean. (i.e. Young Living and BC)
When it comes to candles — if you don’t want to make your own at home — just don’t burn them. They are one of the worst culprits of chemical exposure inside our homes. I will use unscented soy candles when I can find them when I’m craving a hygee evening watching movies with B. Outside of that I diffuse everything. I have multiple in my house and usually, they’re all on. I’ve been through the gamut of diffusers on Amazon, this one is my favorite. But the Young Living diffusers are by far the best quality. A lot of the Amazon ones will break within a year of me buying them. Maybe it’s overuse? No idea. I love the Aria Diffuser because it has a remote and it’s pretty — I’ve had a lot of unsightly diffusers I try to hide and it’s more fun to have it out and about.
I was a Lysol ADDICT. I loved it. Everything got Lysol’ed before I found out how toxic it is. The first thing I tried from Young Living was The Thieves line and it’s SO good. The smell is phenomenal, and it works better than Lysol in experiments (see below for an experiment my friend did — fair warning, it is disgusting). The concentrate isn’t cheap, but it makes 20+ bottles of cleaner and then you use it to make things like stain sprays etc. I bought the bottle I have now 2 years ago and it’s still kickin’. Thieves has a laundry detergent that people love, but I haven’t tried it yet! The one we love and use is this one from Amazon — and it’s made in Ohio (our home state) which makes us happy.
The following is a list of toys I typically send to parents and fellow therapists around the holidays. There are all great ideas to get some movement and sensory play in while the weather may be keeping kids inside. These ideas are great for holiday shopping but can really be used year round!
Parents typically like to pass this list along to grandparents, or anyone asking for ideas on what to get their little one. Most are sold on amazon, but a simple Google search of the toy name may provide additional purchasing options. Please feel free to reach out with any questions at OT.LeahForeman@gmail.com.
Great for sensory breaks, joint compression, and a make shift swing for small spaces if hanging a swing from your ceiling at home isn’t an option! If you want the swing feature get one with handles — I found this one on Amazon.
These are wonderful fidgets, car time activities, and amazing for finding calm. I also love that these address fine motor skills, finger isolation and strengthening, enhancing tactile awareness, and so many cognitive skills! Great buy.
For oral sensory seekers (chewing or mouthing everything!) and low oral motor tone/strength or kiddos working on feeding. *these are typically used under the treatment plan of a feeding therapist (Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist). It is best to at lest collaborate with a therapist on effect and safe use of this product*
For bouncing and providing deep pressure during sensory breaks or within an OT prescribed sensory diet. There are many options on Amazon but make sure to buy child size, not adult. Most come with hand-pump.