By Tom Havran
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.
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 percent 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 natural commercial wash. Or make your own natural wash with this recipe:
Fruit and Vegetable Wash
- 32 ounces distilled or reverse osmosis water
- 1 tablespoon unscented natural liquid soap
- 1 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil
- Thoroughly mix sweet orange essential oil and liquid soap.
- Stir oil and soap mix into water, mixing well with spoon. Do not shake.
- Place complete mixture in a 32-oz spray bottle.
- To use: Lightly shake the bottle before spraying on fruits and vegetables. Work the spray over the surface for a few minutes with hands and fingers, rinse well under water, and dry.
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 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.)
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. Avoid products that contain synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives — what does an infant (or anyone in the family) need with these ingredients? Follow the Environmental Working Group’s tips for shopping for safer personal care products. They also have a handy app for your mobile device.
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 lavender.
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.
What changes did your family make before bringing a new baby into your home?
About the author: Tom is communicator of natural living for Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia brands. In other words, he’s a very imaginative copywriter. A local boy, raised on a farm just down the road from the company’s headquarters in Norway, Tom enjoys drawing, plant hoarding, cooking and living the simple life in the beautiful state of Iowa.