Natural Baby


“Take Good Care of My Babies”

Tweenie’s Greenies:  Tuesday Edition

The greening continues over here.  Little by little we chip away at our once very toxic and wasteful home.  Granted, at times we swing back and forth like a pendulum.  Going from one green extreme at one moment to total wastefulness the other, all to satisfy our whims of convenience.  Overall, we aim for a healthy balance somewhere in the middle.

In looking through our bathroom routines, I have noticed several little items that could easily be “greened”.  It will also save us some more money which is great seeing as how back to school needs are looming.   For some reason, I have concentrated on greening my daily hygeine regimen and not my childrens.  Kind of backwards if you ask me.  Children’s skin is so unadulterated and sensitive.  You would think this would be my first bathroom priority instead of my leathery abused skin.

First place to start:  A thorough wipe does not have to include a whole roll of toilet paper or oodles of premade butt wipes.  Seriously, when did adults get so sissified?  There must be some kind of butt sensitivity evolving in humans.  Suddenly, no one can handle the discomfort of squeezably soft charmin or have forgotten basic wiping with TP 101.  I have never gotten TP burn for normal wiping or had uncontrollabe TP left overs on my underside before now.  These premoistened butt wipes made by Charmin or Scott or any other manufacturer may feel nice and help to avoid “lint build up”.  But couldn’t you just keep a spray bottle of mild natural soap diluted in water nearby to accomplish the same thing?  Try it and see.  Make up a spray bottle of diluted mild soap (just as you would for cleaning diaper butts), lightly spray it directly on your “privates”/bum.  Then wipe.  Or spray it on the TP, then wipe.  You pick.  I will humbly admit that I bought a couple packages of adult/child butt wipes since Anson was potty training but they have made little to no difference in the cleanliness department. Never again! You will be consuming less plastic from wrappers and packaging as well as using less overall petroleum products in your daily habits.  Another wiping suggestion: teach your kiddos to use less TP.  Seriously, you can spare a square.  Anson thinks that you need to use mountains of TP.  He would use half a roll if we let him, but we are saving money and trees by teaching him to only count out a certain number of squares per duty done.

Next, I looked into their bathing habits.  Hmmm…I have quite a few plastic bottles hanging out to possibly be used on the little ones.  There’s shampoos, body washes, lotions,  and powder.  First of all, the powder is not recommended by most pediatricians, even those with cornstarch (avoid talc at all costs due to contamination with asbestos concerns).  Powders can promote bacterial growth and can irritate the lungs when inhaled.  Give those little bums some air time to dry out instead. 

Take a look at that baby wash container.  Do we really need to soap up our babies in oodles of body wash that comes in fancy wasteful plastic packaging?  A mild bar soap and a soft washcloth does the job just as nicely.  “The Green Book” says that if you use bar soap on your baby that the plastic packaging saved would weigh more than two hundred thousand pounds-enough to make a baby bathtub that would cover more than 4 acres.  If you are saying to yourself, “But I recycle the plastic. It’s okay.”  Remember producing the plastic container uses a lot of energy and resources and plastic can only be “down-cycled”.  It will never be able to be recycled at the same quality it is for it’s original use.  Plus, plastic is expensive to recycle.

Baby lotion.  Honestly, I have had the same bottle for 2 years.  I could probably just get rid of it.  My kids have pretty balanced skin and don’t like lotion.  If they get a dry spot here or there, I could simply rub some good old natural aloe vera gel on it instead.  If your baby has really dry skin and lotion is a must have, buy it in a larger container.  It’s less wasteful to buy the lotion in larger quantities.  Try to purchase natural lotions in recycled containers free of parabens, petroleum products and artificial fragrances. 

Finally, in their actual bath, skip the bubble bath.  It’s fun, but the fragrances that often go along with it are often irritating to the little ones.  Plus, you will avoid another plastic bottle purchase.  Cha-ching!!  My other suggestion is to bath as many little ones in one bath as possible.  My kids are all small enough that they can bath together without being traumatized.  Only one tub of water is used for all 3.  We also only use one towel to dry off all 3.  It’s like an assembly line.  This saves me some laundry.  Goodness knows that I don’t need any more laundry!

Hmmm…I can’t think of anything more at the moment.  I will keep you posted if I think of any more “tips” to green the little ones in the bathroom.

 

Go to fullsize image  Have any of you seen the little video “The Story of Stuff”?    Go watch…Do it…Just do it…I know you want to… 

I watched this 20 minutes of fun filled information a while back and I have kept thinking about it.  It connects environmental issues with social issues.  It makes you think about the process of creating/using/disposing all of the stuff you use everyday.  Okay, it makes you feel like you are back in high school watching a video in environmental science class but if you are interested in the process of rethinking your consumer choices, you may want to take a look at this.  Plus, there’s nothing great on the magic box in your living room anyway.  If you are not up for watching the video take a gander at the facts taken from the video listed below.

I hope all you breast feeding mothers are as shocked as I was about the fact that the food with the highest contaminant level is a mother’s breast milk.  Of course, that’s going to vary from mother to mother depending on what they eat and where they live.  It just goes to show that everything is connected within the environment.  You contaminate the grass(grain) and water with fertilizer and other chemicals recklessly tossed onto earth’s surface.  The cow eats and drinks both of these now chemically laced items and also succombs to chemical “supplements” to make them super producers.  Every chemical ingested courses through their bodies.  Some of them are expelled.  Others are stored within fat or muscle cells.

The cow is butchered for food or milked for dairy products.  We process these food items with more chemicals to maintain freshness and add flavor to the food that has been already modified by synthetic materials twice over.  Meat and dairy are stored and prepared for ingestion by humans in plastic containers which will not only further contaminate the food but also sit in the growing number of landfills around the world for hundreds of years (unless recycled). 

Finally, the food is sitting warm on the table.  The mother eats her “health” piece of food.  The chemicals from the grass, the water, the cow, the processing, and the storage container have now entered into her body and are distributed throughout along with the other environmental toxins she meets on a daily basis.  The baby nurses at this mother’s breast and peacefully consumes every chemical that met the grass, that met the water, that entered the cow, that prepared the meat, and mingled with others in the human body.  It’s the process of accumulation through the food chain.  Fascinating, yet totally disturbing.

Please, make a major change for you and your family.  Eliminate one source of toxin that is entering your body.  For example: High Fructose Corn Syroup.  Once you have settled into that routine, tackle another.  Over time, you will have made some drastic reductions in your chemical consumption and llikely a reduction in chronic/fatal disease.

The Story of Stuff: A Brief List

  • 2000 trees a minute are cut down in the Amazon alone. That is 7 football fields a minute!
  • 80% of the world’s forests are gone.
  • The US has less than 4% of its forests left.
  • 40% of our waterways are undrinkable.
  • The US has 5% of the world’s population and 30% of the waste.
  • 75% of global fisheries have been fished beyond capacity.
  • 100,000 synthetic chemicals are used in production today.
  • Bromated Flame Retardants (BFR) neurotoxins (toxins to brain) are in computers, mattresses, pillows
  • Food with highest level of contaminants is mother’s milk.
  • 200,000 people a day are moving to cities from environments that no longer support them.
  • US industry *admits* to 4 billion pounds of toxic pollution released per year (likely far more).
  • Average person consumes twice as much as 50 years ago.
  • We see more ads in one year than people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime. 3,000 ads a day!
  • People in US spend three to four times as much time shopping as Europeans do.
  • Average house size has doubled in the US since the 1970’s.
  • Average American creates 4.5 lbs. garbage a day — an amount doubled from 30 years ago.
  • For every one garbage can you put out at the curb, 70 cans were filled by all the processes
    needed in order to make it.
  • 99% of all those things we buy are not in use after 6 months.
  • “Take Good Care of My Baby”

    Tweenie’s Greenies: Tuesday Edition

    Baby Smile

    A while back (okay maybe just a week ago), I was writing some posts about taking care of your baby “green-style”.  I loved making these changes in my home because I know how sensitive babies and children can be to different chemicals in their environment.  In my search for alternatives to the chemically friendly store brands, I found a few green items that will aid in skin care for babies and tots.  The best part, they are SOOO cheap and many of the ingredients are things that you would already have in your home.  Try them, love them, be them.

    Cradle Cap Remedy:  When your baby as what looks like crusty old earwax stuck all over their head and in their eyebrows, try this idea.  Rub olive, almond or jojoba oil into the scalp/hair line.  Let it marinade. Use a soft brush or a wash cloth to remove the dead skin.  Warning: You may be tempted to pick or scratch at the dead skin because you are a “picker”, try to avoid further irritation to your babies skin and stop immediately.  Also, these oils may cause a severe negative reaction in household pets.  Upon coming into contact or in proximity to these oils, your pet may begin drooling on and licking your babies head and eyes.  Avoid this pet/child interaction by placing pets in a well ventilated area during use, such as the outside or cover the babies head with a protective barrier like a soft cotton hat.  

    Eczema:  Apply natural aloe vera lotion on affected spot several times a day.  Again, avoid picking at it with your fingernail.  You know you want to pick it (or is that just me?).

    Baby Acne:  Apply breastmilk to the acne.  I have found in the past that accidental face squirtings with breast milk seem to have prevented this acne.  If you are a “super milk producer”, this is a good way to use some of that excess breast milk while nursing.  The antibacterial properties of breastmilk allow for this great remedy.

    Diaper Rash:  If your children are anything like mine, you know when they are teething by their butts.  Everytime one of my children was cutting teeth, they would develop a horrible diaper rash.  Desitin doesn’t have any effect on these babies and often if left unchecked, their poor bottoms would develop a few blisters.  Ouch!  Poor things! I always dread changing them when this happens.  Since the diaper rash that develops while teething is largely due to a high acid content in their poopies, this homemade remedy should help by neutralizing the irritating acid.  Mix Aquaphor moisturizer with 3 ounces of Maalox.  To do so, melt Aquaphor in the microwave or a double boiler.  When the Aquaphor is liquid, pour in Maalox.  Transfer the mixture into a heat safe jar.  Shake for 10 minutes.  Use when cool. 

    One more thing, if you need to use baby powder to help reduce moisture on babies skin, do NOT use a talc based powder.  Talc is very similar to Asbestos and may cause cancer.  Use a powder made with cornstarch or slipper elm bark instead.

    Let’s keep those babies skin soft and healthy!  Don’t worry, your baby won’t turn green by going green and you may have more green in your pocket. (oooh, I couldn’t resist all those green references this time.)

     

    Tweenie’s Greenies

    Week 4:  Take Good Care of My Baby

    You need a quick bottle for your hungry and whiney baby.  You hurry into the kitchen or reach into your diaper bag, grab a quick can of ready to use formula.  Pop it open.  Fill the bottle.  Put the bottle into your little ones mouth and successfully expose them to harmful cancer causing chemicals. 

    Go to fullsize image

    That’s right, another doom and gloom cancer causing chemical story from good old Look, Mom, Look!  I’m sorry, that’s all I got right now for this Baby edition.  In trying to green my baby without them actually turning green, I have just come across countless items/ingredients that are suspected carcinogens.  I do often question just how reactionary I should be to these frightening reports, but I will do whatever I can to limit my child’s exposure to potential toxins.  It’s the nurturer in me.  I don’t want my children to be unnecessarily ill and therefore, I am spurred on to a hypervigilant state.  Although, this does little good for my anxiety issues.  Next thing you know, my family will be living a “green lifestyle” here and I will be sitting pumped full of anti-anxiety meds at a “special home” just for me.

    Anyway, back to this story….Did you know that there is a potential cancer causing chemical in cans of ready-made or concentrated formula.  Well, guess what??  There is.  Yippee Skippee.  From what I understand it is not in the powdered cans of formula, only the liquid varieties.  A plastic chemical called BPA is used in the formula can linings and it leaches into the formula.  This chemical has been known to cause nasty reproductive problems.  And how about some little behavioral or neurological issues to go along with that? 

    Even if the scientific community is still questioning this, at least we can simply avoid giving our babies ready-serve formula from a can.  Just another argument of why boobs are best for babies.  Which is just perfect since I can’t get Gret to take a bottle for the life of me anyway 🙂

    Here’s the link to this story:  http://www.ewg.org/node/22416

    Tweenie’s Greenies

    Week 4:  Take Good Care of My Baby

    My little ones are my biggest pride and joy.  They are also my biggest dirt balls around the home.  Although I don’t bathe them everyday (I probably should), I still am obsessed with maintaining their baby soft skin.  I love to lather them up in the tub with bubbles and sweet smelling shampoos.  Afterwards, I slab on the baby lotion and “Whala!” they are freshly fragrant and cuddly once again.  I love to smell the tops of their heads as I read to them after taking bathtime.  It’s one of my favorite things of all times.  Clean smelling kids!  It’s such a treat! (Usually the boys smell like sweaty kids with a touch of sticky jam or syrup and Gret will smell like rice cereal laced with spit up.)

    What I tend to forget about when bathing my children, is what exactly is making them smell so fresh and delicious.  There are many products that contain ingredients that may be toxic over the long term, especially when you have new baby skin soaking in it several times out of the week.  The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics estimates that on average people use about 9 different personal care products a day, introducing 126 different chemicals onto their body.  That is for an adult but a child’s skin is thinner and much more sensitive than a grown-ups.  This makes their growing bodies more susceptable to toxins that may not be as harmful to adults.

    Baby bath/wash products may contain a known carcinogen called 1,4-Dioxane.  It is actually a by-product of the foaming agents that is in the baby wash.  In large doses, dioxane is known to cause cancer, in particular skin tumors.  Thankfully, any washes we would use have low doses.  However, it is unknown as to what these low doses will do over time especially when it’s a babies sensitive skin that is soaking in warm water (which may increase exposure).  There also other known cancer causing agents lurking in bath and body products that have similar concerns.  These are formaldehyde and phthalates.  I will skip the science talk for these as it is the same as dioxane.

    So what do you do??  First of all just read the labels before purchasing (57% of baby products contain dioxane) here’s the list of the naughty ingredients that you don’t want:

    Anything that has these terms in whole or in part of the name:  “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-” (such as sodium laureth sulfate), “oxynol” “ceteareth,” or “oleth.”

    OR go to this site to easily look up a baby product to see if it has any ingredient that causes concern.  It has an AWESOME breakdown of ingredients/what they do and then you can look up alternatives to go “greener” and less toxic.

    Baby Products

    All of my products pictured had moderate hazards (including 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde).

    If you want to go all out green, make your own!!  Here’s one recipe for homemade bubble bath:

    1 quart water, 1 bar castille soap (4 oz), 1/2 cup glycerin, 5-10 drops an essential oil for fragrance.

    Mix glycerine and water.  Dissolve soap (heating the water/glycerin mixture or shaving the soap will help dissolve it).  Then add the oil.  Shake well when mixing and again just before use.  Note: castille soap is very mild and made from olive oil.  Glycerine is a natural, non-oily moisturizer. 

    For more info on baby product safety and info on 1, 4-Dioxane check out the following sites:

    The EcologistCampaign for Safe Cosmetics, Guide to Less Toxic Products

    Other Blogs Addressing the topic:

    Mom 4 Life

    Remember, your skin is your largest organ and your bodies first defense.  Take care of it and take good care of your baby!

    Tweenie’s Greenies

    Week 4:  Take Good Care of My Baby

    I am on to a new frontier in turning green!  My babies.  Well, a couple of them are full fledged toddlers now but I have one lovable little babe that is still smack in the middle of infantdom.  I am excited to dive into the topic of “green” baby care!  I know that this is a very applicable topic to most of my readers, and for those that don’t have “babies” anymore, you can always appear to be all knowing and pass on the information to those that need it.

    Again, I am trying to find cheap and healthy ways to green the care of my baby.  Whether it’s wipes, diapers, ointments, soaps or whatever else babies need, I hope to become greener for the same cost as conventional or cheaper.  We’ll see how this goes. 

    My first idea was born from a great friend of mine, Big Binder.  She is the queen of great inexpensive ideas for the kids (Don’t worry, Good Idea Momma, I have you on a different topic. So watch out!).  I thought this was a great thing that she did with her first born.  She made her own wipes!  Some may find it may be hard to break away from the standard wipes you buy at the store, but I think it might be doable and I am going to try it.  It also is in my scientific nature to experiment with mixing things together, so I am excited!!  Our big box of Costco wipes is almost gone and I am going to whip up some “green” wipes. 

    A babies skin is very sensitive and can be easily irritated.  Therefore, it becomes important to know just what is going on it, especially if they have a skin allergy.  The main issues in baby wipes are that they contain things like fragrance, alcohol, and other chemicals that irritate their little bums.  Making your own wipes is supposed to be easy, very cheap, and also lets you control the ingredients.  I like the control part because when you have 3 toddlers you lose control of most areas in your life. 🙂

    Most homemade wipes have the same basic ingredients.  You will need cloth squares (for washable, reusable wipes) or thicker paper towel (for disposable) and a container (perhaps your old store bought wipes container).  The liquid mixture usually takes an oil (to keep the skin soft and to help “glide” over the skin), a soap (to help with the cleansing), an essential oil (for scent and antibacterial purposes), and water (for cleansing and diluting).    Sounds easy, right??  We’ll see! 

    There are many different recipes online that you can try, they just vary the amounts of ingredients.  The only downfall that I can see to making these is the warnings of only making a “small amount” at a time because they lack preservatives.  I am happy that there are no chemical preservatives, but not happy that the wipes can get musty and grow mildew if they are not used quickly enough.

    Because there are so many recipes, I have listed the links to some below.  You can choose which one you want to try based on your needs.  I will experiment with this myself and let you know how it goes!  Happy wiping!

    If you want to go “lightly” green with your baby wipes, try Seventh Generation’s or another natural store brand choice.  Be sure to read labels to know what you are getting.  Aim for fragrance free, unbleached, and alcohol free.

    Links for wipe recipes:  http://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/5-diap/43-diaper-rash.htm http://www.naturalbabyworld.com/natural-baby-wipe.html, http://babyparenting.about.com/cs/diapering/ht/wipes.htm, http://www.babiesonline.com/articles/baby/homemadebabywipes.asp, http://www.recipezaar.com/41326