If you have ever wondered if it would be important to use organic products for your baby or if you can raise a 'green' baby then our article is a great place to answer those questions.
Firstly, here's something for you to think about for a moment. Over ten years ago, a study conducted in the US showed cord blood from babies contained over 200 chemicals that are found in the home. These chemicals have been linked to birth defects, cancer and central nervous system disorders. Even before your baby is born, she or he is exposed to and can be affected by the toxins that are a part of our everyday life.
The first few years are critical to a babies development, which is why so much focus is place on the early years development of children. If you want to remove the dangers that are associated with the chemicals that are found in some household products and give your baby the best chance of healthy life and environment, then raising a green baby is the way to go. That doesn't mean feeding your child sweetcorn until they turn into the jolly green giant, but instead being sensible with the choices that you make, here are five ways that you can start to raise a green baby.
Don’t Slather On Chemicals
There is a huge range of baby products that are on the market from diaper creams to baby oil and “gentle” baby shampoos. Sadly, there are also a number of toxic chemicals lurking in these products which your baby can easily absorb into their skin. Parabens are found in a variety of cosmetics because they help to increase the shelf life of the product. Studies show that Parabens have been found in the breast cancer cells of women, and it is also thought that male babies which are exposed in utero could have lower sperm counts. That’s not all. Many baby products have added artificial fragrances that have been linked to asthma, allergies and other long term health risks. Then there’s the carcinogenic Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) found in most foaming or sudsy conventional products. Don’t panic however! More and more truly natural and organic babycare products are available.
The best advice to start with is to always read the fine print on all products which touch your baby’s skin. If you don't know the names of ingredients that are used then google can be your friend, educate yourself about what goes into the products you use. You can also check the EWG cosmetic database for more detailed information. To start, check out brands like Kokoso and Little Herbs and our range of natural soaps.
Consider Organic Diapers
Fact: The average baby uses over 5000 diapers before they start potty training. This mean that every day over 9 million disposable diapers end up in landfills in the UK. In the US, that number is a whopping 50 million. More shocking still, a disposable diaper takes hundreds of years to decompose. Your choice of diaper has significant consequences for the environment. But do conventional disposable diapers also pose a risk to your baby’s health? There are not many studies on the effects of disposable diapers. However, Sodium Polyacrylate, the gel responsible for absorbing moisture in diapers was removed from tampons several years ago for causing toxic shock syndrome. In addition, Dioxin, a byproduct of Chlorine used in the diaper bleaching process, has been linked to hormonal imbalances and a range of developmental problems. Luckily, there are a few eco friendly diaper options available. You can find pre-folded, fitted, pocket, all-in-one and hybrid cloth diapers. You can also try biodegradable disposable diaper brands like gdiapers. Experiment with the combinations which work for you and your baby.
Build a Healthy Nursery
Here are a few things to keep in mind when fitting out your little one’s room. Most products that make up the nursery from the carpets to the paint on the walls emit chemicals or VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) in the air that you breathe. Studies have shown that VOCs can cause ear, nose and throat irritation, nausea and cancer in animals. Skip the harmful chemicals in the fibres, flame retardants and glues in the carpet. Instead, opt for a hardwood floors and organic rugs. For the walls, find paints with low or no VOCs. There are several now available in stores and online. If you are buying new furniture for the nursery, try to find pieces made of untreated, natural woods. Babies will (hopefully) spend over 10 hours a day sleeping so you want them to have a firm, natural mattress. Conventional mattresses are filled with polyurethane foam, conventional bedding is treated with formaldehyde and fire retardants, all of which are toxic chemicals which are linked to problems with brain and central nervous system development. Natural mattresses and bedding are typically made from untreated, organic cotton. Choose an organic mattress, sheets and bedding to ensure your baby is sleeping in a healthy environment.
Eliminate most conventional cleaning products from your home. Products with warning labels including “Poison”, “Danger” and “Caution” are not good for you or your baby, studies have shown that the use of many conventional household cleaning products is associated with asthma in children. Some of the most common skin and respiratory irritants are ammonia, which is found in most bathroom and kitchen cleaners, and chlorine which is found in bleach and bleaching products and is often involved in poisoning. You can read our article on the banning of anti-bacterial products to find out more about this issue.
Synthetic fragrances have also been known to trigger asthma and allergic reactions, luckily it is easy to replace your toxic products with safer, natural formulas. There are several alternatives available in supermarkets, make sure that you check the labels for ingredients and look for specific ingredient information like “no solvents” and “no phosphates”. Another fantastic alternative is to make your own products. You can recreate many cleaning products with combinations of three key ingredients: baking soda, vinegar and soap. Baking soda is excellent for scrubbing and absorbs odours. Vinegar is great for cleaning sinks and surfaces because it dissolves build up and kills bacteria. Add some additional ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and essential oils for fragrance and you can revamp your entire cleaning cabinet and save money.
For more information on how to get your DIY green beauty workshop up and running visit our Ultimate Guide To Green Beauty.
Choose Safer Toys
Cheap, soft plastic toys made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic contain phthalates. When your baby sucks or bites into their toy, they can ingest this hormone disrupting chemical. Studies have also shown that PVC releases vapours that can be inhaled, luckily, most manufacturers are removing this toxin from their products but always be sure to check your labels. Plastic toys will also make their way into the landfill, swap colourful plastic toys for plush toys with natural fibres. Let your baby snuggle up with organic toys made from organic wool and cotton. Wooden blocks and rattles finished with water based, child friendly paints are also a great option, these toys last for years and can be shared from one generation to the next, check out sites like Babipur and Conscious Craft and Oompa for a range of ideas.
At the start of any journey the end can feel a long distance away and the steps involved overwhelming and you may feel overwhelmed with the number of changes that are needed to create a greener, healthier environment for you and your family.
BUT don’t worry, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and you can start by changing your baby shampoo one week and slowly build up your changes and your supplies over time. Any changes, even small ones, that you make will help.
We hope that you found this article informative, if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box below and if you want to share this advice with any of your friends the share buttons for social media are also below.