As new parents preparing for a new baby, we can easily become overwhelmed by all the decisions that need to be made. We want the best for our children. We want to provide an environment for them to grow strong and healthy. We want to nurture and disciple them in the ways of the Lord. These desires are the perspective from which we make our decisions. It’s how we prioritize the decisions needing to be made.
One of the best ways you can create a better environment for your new baby is to reduce his or her chemical exposure. So today we are going to cover four ways to reduce your baby’s chemical exposure. Then we are going to take a look at another aspect of your baby’s environment that is equally as important.
1. Consider Cloth Diapers
Consider this: in the United States alone, we throw away 20 Billion diapers each year. That is enough to wrap around the earth 90 times. And consider this: disposable diapers contain a plethora of chemicals that sit in constant contact to your baby’s skin essentially 24/7. These chemicals include bleach, dioxins, chlorine, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
I know, disposables are so easy. But did you know that cloth diapers today can be as easy as disposables? Cloth diapers today come in a variety of styles. Sure, the flat cloth diapers and covers that our mothers and grandmothers used are still available, but there are also pocket diapers, all-in-ones, and hybrids. These options can either be pre-stuffed (pockets) or are all one piece (all in ones), making diaper changes as quick as a disposable.
Before you write cloth diapers off as not for you, read this post: Dispelling the Myths: Why Cloth Diapering is Truly Easier Than it Seems. And remember, you don’t have to cloth diaper full time to reap the benefits. Even using cloth diapers one day per week reduces your baby’s exposure to the chemicals in disposables.
2. Skip the Skin Chemicals
Trisha touched on the importance of safe skin care for adults previously, this is just as important for your baby. Many commercial baby products have ingredients that are not good. Things like formaldehyde, sulfates, and others I can’t even pronounce.
You can reduce your baby’s exposure to these chemicals by searching for products that are more natural or even make your own baby wash and have full control over what goes in it. I used a bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap for ours and it made around a gallon, making it even cheaper than the cheapest commercial baby wash.
When searching for a laundry detergent for your baby’s clothes, go with one that is free of dyes and perfumes. These are unnecessary chemicals that your baby doesn’t need to be exposed to. Your baby will be in constant contact with their clothes and will breathe those “fragrances” all day, every day.
3. Food Matters
One of the best ways you can help your baby’s growth and development is by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding eliminates your baby’s exposure to the chemicals found in formula. Breastfeeding Place has a wealth of information to support mothers in this area.
While breastfeeding, just like pregnancy, mom’s diet plays a part in baby’s development. Most mothers realize this when something they’ve eaten has given their poor baby gas. You can help your baby even further by watching the chemicals that enter your body during these times. Eating organic fruits and veggies, drinking filtered water, and sourcing high quality proteins will take the health of you and your baby a long way.
4. Air Quality
Your baby is going to be spending a lot of time in your home. This is a good thing, however the air quality in our homes isn’t pure, even if we don’t smoke. First things first, if you do smoke, do whatever you can to stop that. There is no single factor that will impact your air quality more.
Beyond smoke, there are fun things like radon, carbon monoxide, and VOCs. Add your typical dust, dirt, and mold spores, and you can see why your baby’s lungs will appreciate you taking steps to improve the air quality in your home.
Easy steps you can take to improve the air quality in your home:
- Change the air filters in your home’s heating/air system regularly.
- Open the windows when you get a chance.
- Stop using chemical air fresheners!
- Add some plants to your home.
5. Beyond the Physical
Our physical environment is important, but it pales in comparison to our spiritual environment. Do what you can to grow in your relationship with the Lord so you will be better equipped to disciple your baby as he or she grows. Read your Bible, spend time in prayer, and incorporate worship into your daily life.
You can easily include baby now. Play worship music throughout your day. Pray over your baby and pray out loud when you pray for things not specifically for him or her.
Experts tout the benefits of reading to children as early as possible. You can start this habit by reading the Bible over your baby. Just pick your favorite book and start reading out loud. You are planting seeds in your baby’s spirit that God will nurture throughout your child’s life. As your baby grows, you can use songs to help your child memorize scripture.
Fill your home with a love for the Lord and do your best to reduce the chemical load your family is exposed to, and you will be on your way to a better environment for your new baby (and you).