Everyone knows - becoming a parent for the first time is completely
overwhelming. There is so much to learn and take in. Add to that the desire to keep your new baby
safe from harmful chemicals and radiation at every turn and a parent just might
lose their marbles entirely. Certainly, we cannot protect our children from
everything, but what we can do is start them off in the purest, most healthy
environment possible by making simple, eco-conscious choices from day one. The Greener
Baby Guide I put together below walks you through some of those choices:
Sheets and Linens: Go with organic
100% cotton crib sheets and/or family bed sheets because cotton crops use more
pesticides than any other crop grown in America today.
Clothing and Sleepwear: Make
sure all baby clothing is made from 100% cotton or 100% virgin wool – no polyester, modal or bamboo (which is
chemically treated when it is mashed into fabric – even if it came from “organic”
bamboo) and no fire retardant treated sleepwear, ever, as studies are continuously linking fire retardant chemicals in clothings, furniture and electronics to cancer and other health and development concerns.
Baby Shampoos, Washes and
Lotions: Avoid anything with FRAGRANCE or PERFUME listed as an ingredient,
as these will always contain phthalates, a known hormone disruptor associated
with cancer. NO FRAGRANCE is best, but some all-natural fragrances are okay.
This includes MANY popular baby washes, shampoos, soaps and lotions. Instead,
buy only all-natural baby care products (available online or at Whole Foods or other health stores)
Natural Fragrances: Try to
stick with natural citrus scents. Avoid the use of lavender and tea tree oil in
soaps, detergents, lotions or anything that comes in contact with baby’s skin
as these ingredients, while 100% natural, are hormone disruptors that have been
linked to health issues.
Cradle Cap: To treat cradle
cap (a totally normal baby scalp condition), massage a small amount of jojoba
oil on the affected areas. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then comb thru the
scalp with a baby comb. The flakes will lift right off. Follow with an
Laundry Detergents: Use
only all-natural, FRAGRANCE-FREE laundry detergents to wash baby’s clothes,
linens and diapers (if cloth diapering). Infant skin is super sensitive and
avoiding fragrances will almost guarantee you an eczema-free and
Bleach: Stop using bleach completely. If you have
something that needs to be bleached, soak in a powered hydrogen peroxide mixture
(like fragrance-free OxyClean) which work just as well as bleach – without the highly
toxic fumes and ingredients.
Sunscreen: avoid for the
first 6 months, then only use an all-natural, zinc based, non-nano particle, fragrance-free brand
such as BADGER (available online or at Whole Foods or other health stores)
Mattresses, Co-sleepers and Pack-n-Play
pads: If you splurge on one thing – let it be this: an organic crib
mattress (around $200) or family bed ($800 and up). Regular mattresses contain
countless chemicals and fire retardants and take a long time to off-gas. If
your baby will be sleeping at all in a co-sleeper or pack-n-play, then be sure
to replace the vinyl, off-gassing mattress those products come with a natural latex
Mattress Pads: To keep baby’s
crib or family bed dry (from pee, spit-up, etc.) invest in a wool mattress cover
or puddle pad. Wool is 100% natural and wicks away ALL wetness so it never
reaches the bed. (TIP: you can also just shrink an old woolen blanket for the
Sugar: The only sugar
babies should have during the first two years is whole fresh fruit. The longer
you can hold off on giving a child refined sugar, the more you’ll develop their
taste buds to desire and ENJOY real, unsweetened whole foods instead. Forgo the
tradition of giving a baby cake on their first birthday. Wait for the 2nd
birthday – and let them have at it then!
Juice: Avoid all juice for the first 2 years. The
body processes juice the same way it processes refined sugar. It is very
harmful for baby’s teeth (more so than sugar, actually) and will spoil baby’s
taste buds from desiring whole foods. Not to mention, several studies have recently found lead and
arsenic in children’s grape and apple juice.
Baby Teeth and Cavities: Crackers, dry fruit, raisons and night
nursing (or night bottle feeding) can all lead to cavities. It’s easy to
eliminate the food, but not so easy to eliminate the night feeding. Once a baby's teeth are coming in, just be
sure to them (front and back) with a wet wash cloth after each
night feeding or as soon as they wake up. It’s not the milk that causes
cavities, but rather the pooling of the milk behind the teeth as it mixes with
other food and bacteria in the mouth.
Soy, Corn and Sugar: These
ingredients, unless the label specifies as organic or GMO-free, are almost all grown
in genetically modified crops these days. This includes the soy in formula, the
soybean oil or corn (in baby food, bread, crackers, etc), and the sugar in all
sweetened foods and drinks (one exception to the latter is Pure Cane Sugar. If
the label just says “sugar” chances are it comes from genetically modified
sugar beet crops).
Baby Bottles: Plastic baby
bottles leach chemicals into warm milk. Use glass (when they are too young to
hold a bottle themselves) and stainless steel after 5 months.
Sippy Cups: Use ONLY
stainless steel with silicone straws (like the Funtainer by Thermos). Babies can drink from straws as early as 9 months of
age. Don’t use plastic OR aluminum sippies and nothing with an epoxy lining.
Pacifiers: Use only 100%
silicon or 100% latex – with NO plastic parts, including the handle (Soothie,
Nuk Soft OrthoStar, and Natursutten are all 100% plastic-free)
Diapers: Cloth is best for
baby, the planet, AND the pocket book. Disposables expose baby’s bottom to harmful
chemicals – do some research before deciding cloth is too much work. (It really
isn’t – and BONUS - kids potty train much earlier in cloth!)
Teething: Avoid all plastic
teethers. Buy wooden teething rings or dip a big corner of an organic wash
cloth in water, twist into a popsicle cone shape, and freeze. Babies love to
chew on these! Or, tie large pieces of frozen mango in a fine piece of mesh fabric
and allow baby to chew on it (as you hold the other end).
Newborn Hospital Procedures:
Baby’s should not be given chemicals on their first day of life unless it is an
emergency situation. If you know for a fact that you do not have gonorrhea or
syphilis (which women are tested for when pregnant anyhow), then you may choose
to say NO to having antibiotics applied to baby’s eyes immediately after being
born. You may also choose to forgo the Vitamin K shot given within minutes of
life to ensure proper blood clotting (unless baby suffered a traumatic, bruise-inducing
birth). It is true that newborn blood does not clot as well as an adults, but Vitamin
K can be given orally in its natural form a few days after birth (at your pediatrician's office). The vitamin shot
given at the hospital is actually a synthetic vitamin that contains chemical
preservatives and alcohol. Hepatitis B Vaccine is also given on day one in many
states. Unless you have the disease yourself or your baby will be with a drug-addicted caregiver, I would postpone this vaccine as well.
Immunization Schedule: Just
know you have a choice, and that nothing bad will happen to your baby if you
decide to WAIT and DELAY the vaccine schedule. Otherwise – your baby will receive
– starting at just 2 months – the exact same dosage for multiple vaccines that
a 200 pound man receives. Many researchers believe that is too much for a tiny baby’s
system to handle. Give the baby’s body time to develop before dosing it with
vaccines (which contain aluminum, formaldehyde, monkey brains and other interesting
ingredients. Read the published ingredients on the CDC website before making
Fevers: Infant fevers are
scary – especially before the age of 6 months. Past the age of 6 months they
are actually helpful in healing the body and in building the immune system.
Fevers are nature’s way of burning off a virus. Let it burn. In most cases, if you fight it with Infant Ibuprofen or other medications, the virus will live longer.
Toys: Avoid plastic for as
long as possible, especially when babies and toddlers are small and putting
everything in their mouths. Better to have a few quality wooden and natural rubber toys than a
house full of toxic, lead and/or phthalate leaching plastic toys
Bath Toys: Avoid plastic toys and foam letters and
numbers, which off gas harmful chemicals in the bath. Instead, go with cute washcloth
puppets and cloth washcloth dolls and animals.
Bathtub Safety: Do NOT use
an anti-slip vinyl bathmat in the tub. Vinyl off-gasses harmful chemicals its
entire life. Instead, use removable fun removable rubber bathtub grippers which come in
lots of fun kid designs and are super easy to clean. Likewise, do not use a
vinyl spout protector. Instead, simply place a plastic cup over the spout when
baby or child is bathing. Cute vinyl spout protectors off gas AND grow mold and
mildew in every adorable crevice.
Shower Curtains: Never use
a vinyl shower curtain in a bathroom where baby bathes, as the vinyl will
off-gas heavily with every shower or bath. Go with hemp, cotton, nylon or
Household Cleaners: Stop using ALL chemical household cleaners
(i.e, anything you would buy at the grocery store). There are natural
alternatives at any health food store that work just as well without poisoning
the air quality in your home and the oceans and rivers that our cleaners bleed
out to. Not to mention exposing baby to cancer-causing
chemicals. Homemade products can save you a bundle. Almost anything in the home
can be cleaned and disinfected if you own these 7 things: distilled vinegar,
baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, grain alcohol, tea tree oil, castile soap and
Smart Phones and Ipads: Do not give
these to babies to sooth them or set them near them when sleeping as they emit
constant radiation that is harmful to baby’s developing brain. In addition,
when speaking on a cell phone, always use a corded head piece to reduce close
radiation to the brain.
Cordless Phones: Cordless
phones actually emit more radiation than cell phones. The base acts like a cell
phone tower in your home – continuously communicating and sending radiation to
the hand units. Do not keep these anywhere near where baby sleeps. Better yet,
get a wired phone – and when you have to be cordless, use your cell instead with
a corded headset.
Wireless Routers: Keep them on
the other side of the house, away from where baby plays and sleeps. Shut off the
router EVERY night and when not using for long periods during the day (as wireless
routers emit constant radiation and radio signals).
Best Highchair: Stokke Wooden
Highchair, which is made of solid wood and amazing quality. The chair is fully
adjustable in height and will grow to become your child’s toddler chair and
later their desk chair. Will fit them until they are 10 plus years old. And
they look great too!
Cookware: To avoid exposure
to aluminum (all stainless steel cookware pieces have aluminum bottoms), invest
in a good iron set, such as Le Creuset. They are pricey, buy you can find deals
at department stores, they will last you 30 plus years, AND they have a
lifetime guarantee (so really – that is longer than 30 years). Avoid rice
cookers, as those are usually 100% aluminum.
Food Storage: Glass only –
no plastic. Buy in bulk sets from Costco or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Stainless
steel is also great for salads and non-citrus storage. (Citrus can cause the nickel
in the steel to leach into foods.)
Microwaves: Avoid if you
possibly can. NEVER heat plastic in a microwave, EVER, not even in a “microwave
safe” plastic container (as there is really no such thing – ALL plastic leaches into food when
heated). Microwaves produce more radiation in the home than any other device.
Plates, Cups and Utensils:
Use only ceramic, wood, glass or stainless steel. Babies can start holding a
small juice GLASS by 12 months with your supervised help. Plastic leaches – so do
not use plastic for any food or drink at home. Small pyrex bowls are perfect
for babies to feed themselves with. They rarely break when dropped, and when they
do, they break in large pieces, not tiny shards. Do not use plastic plates –
especially with warm food. Again, plastic + heat = chemicals in your food.