When it comes to your baby, there are no questions about it - you want the very best. Whether its the careful consideration of which zero VOC paint to use in the nursery, the cooking and blending of your own organic baby food, or choosing the right natural rubber pacifier - all these choices matter. It can feel overwhelming at times, but if you remember to stick to some simple core values, and through process of elimination, the right products seem to almost choose you. Here are two major things to consider :
Is it necessary, do I need this? And, is it safe, are there any harmful chemicals added?
DO I NEED THIS ?
It is easy to get sucked into society's idea of what every new parent "needs" - rockers, noise toys, exersaucers.. the list is endless. It can be very expensive, and wasteful to give in to all these temptations. Quite honestly, young children will get just as much joy (maybe even more) from playing with kitchen utensils, and household items, than toys. They want to explore their world, and literally everything in their world is brand new. You may notice that they play with a toy for only seconds, and then, they are on to the next, never to play with that toy again. This is because they are absorbing information constantly, and learning from play - textures, noises, and reactions (including your own). After the age of 2, generally children are more interested in toys. If possible, look for second-hand and gently-used toys, toy shares, or toy swaps. They can be cleaned, and many of them can actually go in the dishwasher. In return, you can give back, or trade for other toys as they grow. Try not to grow attached to these material items, as they are easy come, easy go. By letting go of things, we invite room for new growth not only in your life, but your child's life as well. We can teach them the act of giving to those in need, and letting go of the things we no longer have use for.
IS THIS SAFE ?
It is a good idea to consider your child's safety when it comes to bringing household products into your home. Soaps, cleaners, and cosmetics can be potentially very dangerous for your child. Additives, synthetic fragrances and chemicals are added to nearly all products on the market, and can be detrimental to your whole family's overall health. Inhalation of conventional chemical cleaners can easily irritate the lungs, and cause long term damages. The absorption of synthetic fragrances through the skin can cause allergies and hormonal imbalances. Pay close attention to added perfumes and scents, if they are not from natural sources (such as natural essential oils), we recommend refraining from using these items in the house. Instead, look for unscented products, even if they are not organic, they have a less chance of causing irritations.
100% cotton is all your child should be wearing. Synthetic and man-made materials such as polyester, nylon and spandex, inhibit the skin from breathing freely. This can cause rashes, bumps, and overall irritated babies. Conventional cotton is heavily sprayed in the growing and production stages. Organic is always best when it comes to clothing and bedsheet options. Buying organic is the only way to guarentee that the garment has not gone through any chemical process of any type. If organic is out of your price range, look for second hand clothing options. It is said that it takes over 50 washes to get harmful chemicals out of coventional cotton clothing. Mind you that buying second hand means no guarentee that the previous owner was washing with non-scented, plant-based detergent.
Pre-packaged food is another one to look out for. Its very important to read the labels of any product before putting it in your shopping cart. If there are any added colours or flavours - stay away. These are not necessary. I am talking about bubble gum flavoured ice cream, rainbow coloured candies, even yogurts and juices - stay away. If anything, they are training your child to recognize those bright, synthetic colours as "food". They are not, and in truth, they are very harmful for ingestion. In small amounts they are considered "safe", but what happens when all of your food is treated with these chemicals, and they cause reactions within the body? It happens. Your body may attack these toxins, and in turn, develop allergies to certain synthetic colours. Its important to do research on what is safe, and what is not. I highly recommend eating as much natural, unprocessed food, as possible. Home made baby food is very easy to make, and your child will recognize and enjoy real food flavours.
Body care products are important for a baby's skin. Delicate and vulnerable, baby's skin can easily be irritated by a number of things - chemicals, foods, and moisture to name a few. Its a good idea to replenish natural skin oils after bathing and washing. By using products with natural plant-based oils, baby's skin will absorb vitamins and minerals necessary to support healthy cell growth. Look for products without any added fragrances, as these can easily irritate the skin. These include, but are not limited to - shampoos, soaps, bubble bath, sunscreen, lotions and creams. We recommend simple, natural, plant-based oils for infant massage, diaper rash, and overall body oil. As always, organic options for skincare are best.