Prepping for baby’s arrival:  A list of non-toxic living tips

9 simple tips to help you make a safe and welcoming environment free of nasties for your newborn

As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, you will probably want to start preparing for the day you get to bring your newborn home. You might buy a book about what to expect, or start a baby registry, gather ideas for nursery decor and  – undoubtedly – start shopping.

Throughout this entire process of preparing for your baby’s arrival, it is important to understand that what babies need most to flourish is your love and attention, but they can also benefit immensely from a healthy, non-toxic home. Newborns are tiny and still rapidly developing, which is why they are quite vulnerable to environmental toxins.  Where are these dangerous toxins lurking? Actually, they are all over your home and may even be found in many baby items.

Here is a handy new mother’s guide to non-toxic living: Prepping for Baby’s Arrival Edition

  • Invest in an organic crib mattress.  Babies sleep a lot, so it’s important to make their sleep environment as toxin-free as possible.  Conventional crib mattresses still often contain flame retardants and other chemicals that can harm your child.  Organic crib mattresses will assure you that your baby is not breathing in toxic chemicals while sleeping.
  • Avoid mattress protectors that contain vinyl. You should definitely protect your organic mattress, but not with a protector that contains vinyl.  The safest alternatives are wool or polyethylene protectors.
  • Wash everything before using – and make sure you are using a non-toxic laundry detergent. New clothing, linens and towels often contain certain chemicals, like formaldehyde resin, that give a wrinkle-free look and reduce the chance of mildew developing during shipping.  This chemical has been linked to skin allergies and even cancer.  Make sure to wash everything, and keep in mind that even detergent marketed towards babies can contain harmful chemicals like phosphates, parabens and fragrance. So make sure you purchase a non-toxic laundry detergent.
  • When you can, buy organic. Especially when purchasing items that your baby will use daily and have close contact with, like pajamas, onesies, swaddles, blankets, baby carriers and crib sheets.
  • Keep baby’s environment clean. Harmful chemicals that are given off from items in your home accumulate in the form of dust. Once baby arrives, it is so important to keep dust at a minimum.  Also, make sure that when cleaning your home, that you use the most natural cleaning products available. I like a 50/50 vinegar/water mixture for all-purpose cleaning before and once baby arrives. Don’t forget to open windows when you can to get the fresh air circulating through your home.
  • If you are using it on your newborn’s body, make sure it’s non-toxic. Body wash, diaper ointment, moisturizer, diaper wipes – one would assume that all of these products would  be safe and chemical free, however that is not the case. Look up all baby product on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to make sure they are safe for your baby. Choose products that are fragrance free (NOT the same thing as ‘unscented’), paraben, phthalate and SLS-free too.
  • Nursery decor can be quite toxic too. Paint should be VOC-free, wall decals vinyl-free, rugs without stain treatments nor adhesives, and, if possible, wooden furniture should be made of real wood and not wood composite since this will off-gas formaldehyde (at the very least, let it air out well before baby’s arrival).
  • Make sure baby isn’t placing chemicals in their mouth: For babies, both toys and bottles will probably end up in the same place:  inside their mouth.  Stay away from plastic which can potentially leach unsafe chemicals. Even if you plan on breastfeeding exclusively, it’s always a good idea to have baby bottles on hand. Opt for glass and silicone baby bottles and silicone, wood, natural rubber or organic cloths toys.
  • Research car seats before buying. Few things are as essential as a safe car seat. Unfortunately all car seats currently on the market in the US contain toxic flame retardants, although some are much worse than others. Keep car seats clean (flame retardant chemicals migrate into dust) and minimize the time your baby is sitting in their car seat until a flame retardant-free car seat is available (one is scheduled to launch in late spring of this 2017  which you can read more about here).

Shop the Prepping for Baby Guide

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