Creating a Safe, Eco-Friendly Life for a New Baby

Creating a Safe, Eco-Friendly Life for a New Baby

Bringing a baby into the world often sparks a fundamental lifestyle reset for caring and conscientious parents. In an effort to create the safest, most nurturing environment for the new arrival, we start paying attention to everything in our home environment, from the food we eat, to the body care products we use, to the household products we clean with.

Here’s a short list of tips to detox your life and create a healthy, safe environment for your baby pre- and post-arrival:

Clean up your cleaning routine. 

Babies and the whole family need clean air and clean surroundings in the home if they’re going to thrive. One way to help ensure this is to switch to natural products for cleaning, laundry and dishwashing — or make your own homemade cleaning products. Try a few of our favorite brands: Dr. Bronner’s, Full Circle, Grab Green, Biokleen and Dapple.

Eat organic. 

Pregnancy is an important time to think carefully about your nutrition and the quality of every bite you take. You don’t have to make all the changes alone — consider switching your whole growing family’s diet to organic food, which will go a long way toward keeping pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and genetically modified foodstuffs out of your food supply. It’s not always possible to eat a 100% organic diet, so in such cases, concentrate on whole, unprocessed and locally grown foods and produce. Consult the Environmental Working Group’s periodic posting of the cleanest and dirtiest produce (in terms of pesticide residue), and make certain that you thoroughly wash fresh produce with a fruit and veggie wash like Citrus Magic Veggie Wash.

Drink clean water. 

Clean water is also a must for good health — but expensive water in disposable plastic bottles isn’t. At the minimum, invest in a snap-on-your-tap filter, a water bottle like Bobble, a pitcher water filter that contains cartridges of activated charcoal granules, or the more efficient solid block carbon filter, which adsorb chemicals and filter most organic materials but leave the trace minerals that are beneficial to health and improve taste. (If you use reverse osmosis or distilled water, add trace minerals back in before drinking.) We also carry glass (Green Sprouts) and stainless steel bottles (Pura Stainless) for infants, toddlers and children. While it doesn't make water purer, it offers a BPA-free, eco-friendly way to serve liquids.

Use safe body care products. 

The tiny bodies of infants can be very sensitive to the products used on their skin and hair. Smart baby body care calls for natural products. But what constitutes a safe natural product? It’s hard to say as there is no regulated use of the word “natural” in the cosmetics industry. In the absence of that assurance, look for gentle soap, shampoo and lotion formulas that are formulated for babies and feature just a few natural ingredients for cleansing and moisturizing. Some examples are Jack ‘n Jill, Babo Botanicals, Weleda and Dr. Bronner’s Baby. Avoid products that contain synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives — what does an infant (or anyone in the family) need with these ingredients? The Co-op Market offers safer personal care products for you and your little one.

Breathe freely. Air quality can be improved with an air filter, and just like in water filters, air filters that include activated charcoal can not only remove odor but toxic gases as well. If you want to scent the home, avoid aerosols and sprays, candles or plug-ins that feature any kind of synthetic fragrance. Consider natural diffusion of gentle essential oils such as Aura Cacia Lavender. For a peaceful ambiance, you can also try a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp.

Plants can improve the air you and your baby breathe as well. Common and easily grown houseplants such as palms, ficus, ferns and peace lilies will naturally remove indoor volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide while generating pure oxygen.

The impending arrival of a baby is a catalyst for healthy changes for the entire household. All of us are vulnerable to the specious elements of modern living, but if we want to change the situation, our actions must begin at home with what we put in, on and around our families.

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