In light of the recent findings on heavy metals in baby foods, I thought it might be helpful to arm green mamas with some information. In this guide, I will touch on the various areas of their babies’ lives that moms need to be aware of when protecting them from toxin exposure.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, you need to remain especially aware of your own toxin exposure on a daily basis. Here are some things to think about.
- Are you eating primarily organic foods, especially when it comes to the dirty dozen, meat and dairy? Are you eating a lot of canned foods?
- Do you regularly use personal products that contain parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances? If you’re unsure about a certain product, run it through EWG’s Skindeep Database.
- Think about your home environment. Are you living in an older home, or one that has had recent remodeling done? There could be VOCS that need filtered out.
- If you are working outside the home, think about your working environment, too. Are there any chemical exposures you need to consider? For example, are you a cashier, handling sales receipts regularly?
The breast pump category is tough when it comes to avoiding toxins. There simply isn’t a way to accomplish this without involving plastic. That said, you can reduce toxin exposure by immediately storing the milk in stainless steel or glass containers.
Breast feeding pillow covers, nursing pads and burp pads can be found in organic cottons, so opt for those. Nipple cream can be homemade and completely safe for baby. Or pick up one of the many natural brands, such as Earth Mama.
When formula feeding is necessary, there are some organic versions on the market. Be certain to buy one of those since conventional formula often contains gmos and other toxin sources.
When the time is right, I highly recommend mixing up your own baby foods using organic produce such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears or squash. That way you are 100 percent aware of what goes in the jar.
Here is a great article on using your instantpot to prepare homemade baby food.
Your instantpot is an excellent place for making baby food because it is high quality stainless steel. If you are using a grinder or other baby food maker for your food, make sure that the hot food is not touching plastic.
Baby led weaning is another great option for families that are already eating organic. And, if you do decide to go with store bought baby foods in jars or pouches, make sure you only buy organic.
When feeding babies, it is critical that all bottles, bowls, plates, cups, and utensils that touch baby’s food and/or mouth are not plastic. Plastic contains synthetic chemicals that can interfere with your baby’s hormones. Yes, even those plastics that are labeled bpa free.
There are tons of stainless steel and glass options nowadays. Definitely use them.
Safe bibs should consist of organic cotton cloth or silicone.
While silicone is believed by most to be safe, rubber pacifiers are another alternative that is thought to be the safest option out there.
Obviously, cloth is the best option, especially for environmentalists and mamas on a tight budget. You can buy organic cloth diapers and skip the pesticide exposure to your baby’s genitalia. Also make certain the laundry soap you are using is chemical free and safe to use as well.
If you don’t feel like taking on cloth, there are many brands of organic disposable diapers you can use instead.
The wipes you use on your baby can also be either homemade or disposable. Again, just make sure you have chosen an organic brand if disposable is your go to method.
Baby skin is delicate, so products selected should be as gentle and natural as possible. Read ingredients lists carefully when purchasing shampoo, soap, bubble bath, lotion, rash cream, powder, oil, etc.
Skip the classics like Johnson & Johnson and try one of these.
Or take a shot at making your own, using one of the recipes on this site.
When it comes to selecting healthy clothing for your baby to wear, organic cotton, hemp or wool are the preferred materials. Avoid synthetic materials such as polyester because they contain chemicals that can be both inhaled and absorbed through the skin.
If you are on a tight budget, shop kids consignment sales and secondhand stores. Clothing there has had time to off gas. It’s also better for the environment!
As with clothing items, the chemicals in fabric pieces like bedding and towels can also be absorbed and inhaled by your little baby. So, again, it is important to either choose organic or secondhand.
Baby carriers are yet another fabric that babies are often exposed to. This is an awesome guide to the best of the organic baby carriers on the market for every age group.
Cosleepers, Bassinets, Cribs & Pack n Plays
The main concern here is what materials the baby is sleeping on, as well as what they’ve been treated with. Because babies are sleeping much of the time, I consider the mattress safety to be of utmost importance.
Mattress shopping tends to be confusing and expensive. The certifications that mean the most are GOTS, GOLS and Greenguard. These certifications weed out all the mattresses that contain flame retardants and other chemicals that are harmful to your baby’s development.
Here is a great guide to toxin free mattresses.
And here is a guide to finding nontoxic cribs and other baby furniture.
The most important thing to consider when shopping for a non toxic high chair are the materials that make up the surface he or she will be eating from. Sure, you can say a bowl or plate will be involved, but I guarantee this won’t always be the case. I would look for a stainless steel tray.
Carseats are tough, and up until recently you couldn’t really find a brand that didn’t coat their seat in flame retardants. Times are changing though, and there are a few brands now offering not only flame retardant free seats, but also non synthetic wool lining. Though expensive, moms can now feel secure in both the physical safety and the chemical safety of their little one’s seat.
I can’t help but refer to this amazing guide to non toxic carseats put together by The Gentle Nursery.
Fortunately, strollers don’t have the same strict flame retardant policies as carseats, so this category is not nearly as tough to remain low toxin in. There will be some chemical off gasing with most brand new strollers as they come out of the box.
I was lucky enough to find my double BOB jogging stroller for thirty bucks at a thrift store. I would recommend giving secondhand a shot. And no matter which way you go, I would try to refrain from placing the baby’s snacks directly on any feeding tray.
Bouncy chairs & Swings
When it comes to bouncy chairs and baby swings, there are a few European brands that have organic fabrics. They are pricey though, so if your budget is limited at all, just find a kids consignment sale. Secondhand products always have less chemicals AND they help save the environment for our little ones’ futures!
I never really needed a changing table, but if you feel it’s necessary the changing pad is the most important part. It is the only part that actually touches the baby’s skin, so just make sure it’s organic. Also, the furniture portion of the table should be real wood with no harsh chemical glaze or stain, since plywood off gases.
Baby bathtubs are another tough one when it comes to avoiding toxins since all of them seem to be made of some form of plastic. Honestly, I would try to just get in your full sized bathtub with your baby. It will provide some nice bonding time. If you do prefer to bath them in one of the traditional plastic baby baths, I would say just keep the water temperature lukewarm and that should limit chemical leaching.
Baby monitors & bluetooth products
For items like these, you should consider the EMF output that the products may be radiating. Perhaps this is something you can do without.
The primary issue with babies and toys in regards to toxins is their tendency to mouth everything. For that reason, it is crucial that your baby’s toys be made out of one of either high quality wood or organic cotton. Following are some trustworthy toy brands.
- Plan toys
- Camden Rose
Instead of one of those toxic foam play mats, I would recommend just purchasing an organic rug or blanket.
Sensory & Art
Sensory play and art aren’t as commonly participated in by babies. But when you do want to get your baby involved, make sure the ingredients are non toxic. Here is a post I put together all about this topic.
Most conventional household cleaning products are loaded with a cocktail of chemicals that can interfere with your baby’s development. Here’s how to handle all of your cleaning needs with products you likely already have, that are safe enough to eat!
There are a lot of pollutants that exist in our environments that can affect babies’ natural development. Our indoor air and housing materials are two big ones.
Indoor air is so much more polluted than outdoor air, typically. You can reduce the toxins in your home’s air by using only products that are low in toxins and investing in a high quality air purifier. Recommended brands are IQ Air, Austin Air, and Air Doctor.
With a baby crawling around, having non toxic flooring becomes critically important. Unless you can afford wool or another natural material, carpeting tends to be a toxic nightmare. It’s typically composed of synthetic materials coated in stain & water proofing chemicals, with the ability to absorb all the crap that touches it. Also pay attention to the material in the padding. Hardwood flooring or natural stone tiles with a nontoxic glaze such as hemp oil, are good alternatives.
If you are planning to do any painting, I highly recommend that you use either a No Voc or a Low VOC Paint. This especially holds true in the baby’s room, or any other room they will be sleeping in. Many lines now carry this safer version of paint. We used Ecos Paint for my daughter’s room and loved it.
When babies are suffering from minor medical ailments, there are loads of over the counter products for moms to choose from. But many of them have ingredients that may also be harmful in some way. Whether your little one is teething, congested or dealing with gas pain; here are some of the more natural lines I trust.
Or try some of these natural home remedies.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, so consult your pediatrician when necessary.