Congratulations! Whether you're a new parent or a soon-to-be parent, your baby’s well-being is obviously your biggest concern. There are so many things to prepare and consider now that you're responsible for another life.
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Your child can have an organic lifestyle, but it’s going to take some work. There is a lot of research involved in choosing items such as furniture, toys, and clothing for your baby, but armed with a concise “to-do” list, you can do it!
Bedtime Without The Bedbugs
First, let’s focus on where your baby is going to sleep since sleeping is something little ones do a lot. Like your own bed, a baby’s crib should be a serene, comforting place where your baby can relax and enjoy blissful sleep. Sleep is important to your baby’s health, so having the best bedroom furniture and bedding is incredibly important.
Conventional bedding is made out of polyurethane foam, metal coils, polyester, filling, and then padded tops and fabric. While it can be cheaper, polyurethane foam and polyester are made out of petroleum products and can emit toxic fumes. They’ve also been known to cause serious allergies. Some mattresses also have other chemicals that can be carcinogenic and irritating to the tender eyes and skin of a new baby.
It’s important to look for mattresses and bedding materials that use natural and organic materials such as natural foam rubber, organic cotton, wool, and silk. If you cannot afford a natural baby mattress, you can also look at layering a conventional mattress with natural materials so that the baby is separated from the mattress itself. Some such natural materials can be natural rubber moisture barrier, organic cotton or wool mattress pad, or organic cotton sheets.
Choosing The Right Paint
Another thing to consider is the paint used in your baby’s nursery, furniture and toys. Despite highly toxic lead paint being banned in the United States in 1978, products with unsafe lead levels are still abundant. One of the biggest sources is in commercial imports, as seen in the recent toy recalls from China, which can contain lead as well as other volatile organic compounds (VOC).
These VOCs can cause headaches, dizziness, loss of muscle control, and more. Escaping these compounds are one of the reasons that it feels so good (and is so important) to go outside and get some fresh air! Luckily, with the recent popularity of the green movement, new paints are coming on the market all the time that are nontoxic and zero-VOC, using old methods like tree and plant oils/residents, herbal extracts, beeswax and other materials to create high-quality paints.
While buying baby toys and clothing is one of the most enjoyable and fun things to do when shopping for your new family member, you’ve got to be on your toes. There are so many options on the market nowadays from organic cotton to bamboo (which is naturally anti-bacterial).
Keeping Your Children Healthy
When your little one hits 6-months-old, it’ll be time to start considering organic baby food options. There are a few major brands on the market but making your own baby food can be a satisfying experience. When you make your own baby food, you know exactly what your baby is consuming and how it was prepared. I personally make my own baby food with organic fruits and veggies purchased when in season at the local farmers market. If you are going to be preparing your own purees, you’ll need a food processor or baby food mill.
Alternative Methods And More Tips
There are a few other things that can help you start your baby’s life in a more natural way that aren’t necessarily organic, such as breastfeeding and “babywearing”. Breastfeeding can be a very polarizing issue. However, that being said, if you are looking to provide your baby with a natural and organically based lifestyle, breastfeeding your child would be ideal. Not only is the best for your baby health wise, but also is the best choice for your budget and the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months and then continuing to breastfeed to at least 2 years of age with feeding solids.
Babywearing is fun way of transporting your little one that allows you to get things done around the house and promotes better bonding. It is extremely popular among organic-minded parents (also known as “crunchy parents”). There are many baby carriers on the market, including ones made from organic materials such as the organic “Ergos”, which are my personal favorites. For newborns, the “Moby Wrap” is ideal and is available in organic cotton as well.
There are so many different things to consider when you are starting to expand your organic family. I know this article only begins to touch on a few of the key points, but I hope it will give you a great starting point. Having a child is the greatest gift of all. Good luck!