I am the mother of an incredible little girl, Eva. She is 17 months old and I love her to pieces. I am pretty sure most of the moms or parents out there do as well. We all want what is best for our bundles of joy. We want them to be happy, healthy and safe. We want them to grow up and be awesome! But I’m not so sure that our society wants the same..
Before I start making this sound like I’m about to reveal a conspiracy against humanity(because I’m not, haha!), I will tell you what every single new parent should be told. They should be told by their baby’s pediatrician, by their parents, by their friends, by the companies making “baby care products”, by mass media: YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN BABY. Most of you will probably think that what I just said is so obvious, but let me explain what I mean.
Before I had my baby, I was a normal person that just went to do her groceries and chose the things she bought based on her mood, cravings, needs. I did not read labels, I did not spend hours in a row googling ingredients or reading studies and articles. Well, once I had my daughter, everything changed. It started with something small, like dry skin, while she was a newborn, which later turned into eczema.
I then realized the laundry detergent we had been using (Dreft) actually had a fake “baby label”. It said it was for babies, it had a baby picture on the package and it even said it was pediatrician recommended! Once I started the research, I found these ingredients : Fragrance, propylene glycol, ethanolamine, ethanol, sodium hydroxide, diethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol 4000 (which Skin Deep scores as 5-8), and about a dozen other ingredients make up the “gentle” clean of Dreft. EWG score: D-F, depending on formula.
Laundry detergent was the first in line. After this, it all became like a snowball that kept rolling and rolling. Diapers with bleach in them, baby wipes with more than 5 chemicals as ingredients, formula containing ingredients that can produce brain damage, body wash with more chemicals and fragrances than you could count, body lotions with artificial colorants and half a page of chemical ingredients, you name it! Since when are these things good for babies? Actually, since when should anyone be allowed to say these things are good for babies?!?!
As a new parent, that didn’t have much contact with babies before I had my own, all these things hit me right in my face and left a bitter taste in my mouth. I know I am not the only new parent out there who thought someone was responsible enough not to allow companies put life-threatening chemicals in products that go on babies, and I also know that not all parents get to stumble upon all the information I did. Something should obviously be done on a higher, bureaucratic level, but a small angry blogger like me can’t do it. What I can do though is inform as many people as I can about how they should keep an eye for their baby’s health.
- Read the labels. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. I became a label freak ever since I had my daughter, and not just when it comes to products that I buy for her, but for the rest of the family as well. If you don’t have this habit, you will be amazed by how much cr*p goes into food, care products, even the ones that are labeled for babies.
- Do your research. If you read a label and it seems like you are reading Chinese, it’s probably not a good sign, but just to make sure, put your google to good use and search the ingredients. There is so much information out there from official sites that will clear out any doubt you might have about an ingredient.
- Be wise about your budget. A lot of people think that making natural, healthy choice will be more expensive for them. Well, that is not always true. One or two dollars won’t be much in savings if your baby gets sick. These are only a few of the examples that convinced me to go all natural with the products we use for our baby:
- coconut oil instead of body lotion (23$ for 84 oz at Costco) – it will last you forever
- shea butter instead of body lotion ( 6$ for 8 oz on Ebay) – it will last you forever
- wholefoods natural baby detergent (around 13$ for 100 oz)
- castile soap for baby detergent/hand soap/ dish soap/all purpose cleaner (9$ for 32 oz in Costco)
- Don’t always take your baby’s pediatrician for granted. Yes, doctors are super useful and awesome and they know their things, but as a parent, you have the responsibility of doing your research and most of all asking questions. I’m not saying go all crazy on your baby’s doctor and start fighting with them because you think you are right. I’m saying, if you don’t agree with something, go home, read, research and go back and as figure out what is the best solution, together with the doctor. A researched opinion is always better than accepting something because you don’t know any better.
- Always be skeptical- I know this sounds like a horrible attitude to have all the time, but we have to be realistic and see what is in our face: most companies are making products with mainly one purpose: money. They will not bother telling you there is a better choice out there than their product, because they want you to buy it! Be smart and think ahead of them, do your homework and know what you put in your shopping cart.
I compiled a list where parents can find good resources when looking for natural products for their babies:
Now that I got all that off my chest, what are your opinions on the subject? What kind of products do you use for your baby? Have you ever been tricked into buying something you though was good for your baby?