Monday, November 14, 2011

The Healthiest Baby (and planet) You Can Grow

The newest addition,
our littlest (organic)
pea in a pod.
October 31, 2011
Many of my friends are expecting now, just after my giving birth this past June.  I love babies and motherhood, it's no secret (since I have 3 boys now).  So I take shopping for baby items seriously - whether for myself or for my mom-to-be girlfriends.

Today's post is actually part of a gift I gave a girlfriend of mine just a few weeks ago. She is expecting her first in less than 6 weeks - so exciting! - and I noticed a few items on her baby registry that could be lurking with some toxic chemicals (aka something akin to Johnson and Johnson since they have come under fire for using toxic chemicals in their baby bath products).

We all know and have heard plenty, sometimes more than we want, about why going green is necessary. The risks of not (going green) include everything from cancer, ADHD, and hormonal imbalances in yourself or your baby, to global warming and ultimately - polluting the future planet our children will inherit.

Going green is not really an option anymore, it should be an urgent imperative for every family.  Like so many of my friends, myself included, going green means starting small and taking baby steps (no pun intended).

So, here is my letter to her, of course edited for your best interest and consumption.

My dear friend,

I hope you absorb all of this magical time you can. There is nothing as joyful as the first pregnancy. Nothing.

Here is some information to go along with your gift. When I was pregnant with Michael, I poured through the research on clean foods and baby products. I found more than I wanted to know - about petroleum based chemicals in baby wipes, and even shampoo and food! I also learned that children's vitamins had saccharin, artificial flavoring and other dangerous and unnecessary chemicals in them. Read more

The solution is clean food and green baby products - no funny stuff or chemicals in them. So I searched until I found vitamins, baby wipes, diapers, bottles, and baby feeding supplies that were made with respect for the planet and with care for the fragile nature of tiny developing humans. ;)

I wanted to share a bit of this info. with you - since things as benign as baby wipes can be toxic - once you read the label and realize what the company has put into them. So - here goes!

Save money and the planet at the same time.  These actions can include:
  • Stop buying paper products (except toilet paper of course).  Okay, so occasionally I buy tissues (aka Kleenex) when there are snotty noses in the house. But other than that, we buy nothing disposable - no paper towels, paper plates, throw away cups or cleaning products, etc. Things like that. Also, we cloth diaper. It's a controversial topic, but from everything I read (and I've been following the cloth/disposable controversy since 2005) - unless you have a water shortage, cloth is better.
  • Avoid GMO's and other harmful substances. Rodale press (green press) really is a fantastic hot spot for the latest information on all things organic and green parenting. Here is this morning's fantastic review on: 7 things to evict from your baby's diaper bag.
  • Do not buy, I repeat, do not buy anything with these Toxic Ten in them. It's not easy, but there's nothing more to it than reading labels. Carefully.  Currently, until laws change, label reading is the only defense (or offense) we as consumers have to protect our families from dangerous chemicals.  
Here are a few more links:
  • Hidden dangers in baby wipes, bottles, and more...How to choose healthiest versions for baby.
    I used cloth diapers(Fuzzi Bunz) and made my own (easy!) cloth wipes and solution.  But this article gives alternatives for moms who choose not to or cannot cloth diaper or make their own wipes.
  • Excellent resource for latest information in green (and safer) living:  You can sign up for their free newsletter, which outlines the latest research and findings for healthy living, food, environment, and fitness. Most important, they are usually the first (independent and not for profit agency at that) to report on dangerous chemicals found in baby toys, foods, etc. Their mantra is "Where Health meets Green."
  • The New Good Life:  A book about eco-friendly and safer (better) living for everyone on the planet. 

    Through searching on the web over the last 6 years, I have found a sustainable substitute for just about every baby product a parent will need during the first 5 years.  I have found many other resources on healthy versions of things pediatricians regularly recommend.

    For example, if you breast feed, your MD is likely to recommend Vitamin D drops. Well, I recently went to the drugstore to find the D drops that were recommended to me by a pediatrician. The drops that are front and center on drugstore shelves are full of preservatives and artificial flavorings. I could not imagine giving my baby such a toxic brew when he's fresh, new, and has a real start at a healthy life.   So - I did some homework and found a substitute Vitamin D for the preservative-riddled vitamin D on drugstore shelves. It is (simply) vitamin D3 and coconut oil (what a relief).  Of course, it is up to moms (and dads) to read labels and discern what is best for their child.  The other option for parents are to forgo the supplements, such as the Vitamin D drops. However this argument is a drop in the well of many controversies on raising baby.

    Anyhow - not to overwhelm you - but as you know, you are your biggest advocate for yours and your baby's best health. The western system of medicine can sometimes be guilty of practicing medicine based on patient (or practitioner) convenience rather than what is best or evidence based - and this short sighted model is typically and overwhelmingly not planet or people friendly (or sustainable in the long run).

    I do hope this helps and encourages you. It's truly my passion to help moms and babies have their best, most natural, most gentle start!

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