Thursday, September 19, 2013

Non Toxic Baby! Steps I've taken to create a safe environment

Since my last post I have had my first child!  That has brought a whole new lot of challenges in my goal of avoiding chemicals/plastics etc.  There is a lot already around the internet on this so I won't reinvent the wheel but these are some of the things we have done with our new baby:

Changing Station:  It took us a while to figure out what worked best for us but in the end we set up in the second bathroom on the counter.  We put a towel there and lay the baby on the counter and change him there. It's great as we can use fabric cloths or flannels and clean up all the messes with water and have eliminated the need mostly for wipes.  I love this setup.  However now our baby is nearly four months he is starting to get too big for this arrangement and he's wanting to roll over. I'll let you know what we come up with next as our solution to this once we have it!

While I'm talking about this I want to recommend some AMAZING organic cloth wipes from this company. I actually bought them from Earthfare for a lot cheaper than they sell them on their website. At Earthfare they are $12.99 at the moment but usually out of stock.  Popular I guess! They are super soft!!

Diapers/Nappies:  Well I had every good intention of cloth diapering from the start, however the reality of sleepless nights, meconium and constant dirty nappies forced me to put that on hold.  I tried him in cloth nappies a few weeks in and they looked so ridiculous on his tiny little body that I have held off so far.  What have I been using? I've actually been using Honest diapers and find them really good. Zulily often has them for a really good price and you can buy them on their website without doing the monthly thing.  I love the patterns on them also

I tried GDiapers but found that the velcro on the sides cut into my baby's tummy and left huge red welts so have discontinued using them. Also with GDiapers, I think it's a bit of a gimmick as in theory you just change the insert and put another in but my baby's explosions meant I had to clean the shell every time too meaning I may as well just use a disposable then I dont have to wash as well.

My mother-in-law bought some chlorine free, non toxic diapers from BJ's called 'Generation Earth'.  I tried them and found though they feel very thin, they hold a lot and are actually really good! The price on them is excellent - unbeatable really!

In all this, however, I will be going back to cloth diaper in the day times at home as they are the safest thing to use and also help with elimination communication - which I hope to do also.  Now we're not getting as many dirty nappies and things have settled down more I feel the timing is about right to go back to them.

I will continue to use nontoxic/chlorine free disposables for when we go out.  Also I use the Honest Wipes and keep a pack in the diaper bag - they are great and nothing harmful in them at all.

Car Seat:  I researched and researched this one - spending literally hours!  In the end though, there is no car seat 100% chemical free for children to date.  A brand called Orbit does have oeko tex certification on their fabrics but still have the flame retardants doused in their foam as every car seat has.  In the end I went with a Diono Radian RXT as it's a very strong safe baby carseat. It's convertible so can be used all the way through. Much of it is a steel frame design so minimal plastic.  I found a lady who makes new covers for it, I got organic fabric and organic batting and she made it up for $50!  She is based in Ozark, Missouri and at the time we lived in Branson so I just met up with her and saved on shipping fees which helped too! I recommend her! She did a great job.

To be honest, our newborn was so tiny in this big seat.  Our midwife saw it and went out and bought us a Graco infant seat.  I thought I didn't need one of them but now I wonder how we could have survived without it. It's so convenient to be able to put the baby in the seat while in the house then just click the whole thing into the car. It's convenient for shopping and restaurants, so yes, I am thankful for her purchasing that for us.  I did take out all the padding and made my own organic padding etc for it with the same fabric and batting used for the Radian. It's a basic job as I'm no seamstress but it has done the job.

Bassinet:  I was fortunate to find a baby bassinet for $50 handmade and just raw wood with no varnish or anything on it.  The craftsman selling it was embarrassed that it wasn't finished with paint but for me it was just what I was looking for!  I wasn't going to get a bassinet but with living in a tiny apartment and finding this, we got it.  I bought a Naturepedic bassinet mattress for it and then, to be safe, according to the research on Dr J Sprott on SIDS being linked to molds etc in mattresses I got a babesafe mattress cover.  Then as per instructions from Sprott I put an organic towel down and then an organic sheet over top and that was what our little one slept on.  I actually discovered King size organic pillowcases fit over that bassinet mattress so used them which saved me buying sheets for a bassinet which had a limited timeframe for use.

After about two and a half months our baby was too big for this bassinet anyway and was banging his arms constantly on the sides and getting his legs stuck through the bars etc.  Since we were in the process of moving interstate we decided to find a pack n play style travel cot to use in the meantime.  So back to the drawing board with research and boy, once again, I was researching for hours to try to get to the bottom of things.  Once again I came to the conclusion that there just aren't any completely safe travel cots, so I had to go with the best for us for this time.  I heard good things about the Baby Bjorn light however I dont like the shape of it and I dont like that it means your baby sleeps on the floor with dust and who knows what - especially when in hotels and travelling etc.  I'd prefer one with legs that had the baby off the floor.  I ended up going with the Nuna Sena travel cot and love it. I love the styling of it and the bassinet layer has been perfect. I've only just recently removed it as it's only for use till your child hits 15lbs.  It is really easy and quick to put up and take down too.  Nuna Sena isn't perfect in terms of toxicity. Their fabrics that touch the baby are all oeko tex certified though.  I aired the mattress out in the sun for a while before putting our baby on it.  Ideally I would like to get a babesafe cover for that too - although it is so thin it hardly feels like a mattress.

We are travelling again to visit my family in Australia soon so have put off getting his crib and will just use the travel cot for now until we settle down into our own place again next year.

Clothing/Miscellaneous:  In terms of clothing I was able to get quite a bit of well priced organic clothes from zulily and other such deal websites.  Though organic is my preference I have been given non organic items and purchased non organic items and always just wash them first in my soap nuts!

I absolutely love Aden and Anais' muslin swaddles and use them daily. (Prince George was wrapped in an A&A swaddle when he left the hospital) I tried Bambinoland - which are organic and they just aren't the same quality as the Aden and Anais and I found they looked worn after the first wash.  I also have some 'Luna Lullaby' swaddles and they are a lot finer which I use when it's hotter as the A&A ones are thicker.  Also I have some 'Basic Grey' which are really nice and holding up well too. All of these swaddles I have purchased through Babysteals as they have come up as a daily deal.

Bathtime: I have an organic hooded towel from Under The Nile which has been fantastic and also an organic one from Giggle.  Love the hooded towels to really wrap him up in.  We've been using 'California Baby' lavendar baby wash and also 'Mambino' baby wash and love both of them - both are 100% non toxic and safe!  The Mambino one is actually a foaming one and has a really yummy orange smell.  I always put a shake of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) into the bath before putting baby in to neutralise the chlorine (see previous post here) I use Aden and Anais baby cloths to wash his face etc.

We just bath him in the big bath and have done since his first bath.  He loves it and that's where we got his first smile!  I didn't want any of the plastic baths etc and this works out really well anyway.

So there's some of the things we've been doing so far!  It's a constant challenge though, for example our pediatrician recommended Vitamin D for him and the one she gave us was the Enfamil brand full of all sorts of stuff including sugars, caramel coloring etc.  I threw it out and ordered some Carlsons Infant Vitamin D drops as they only have Vit D3 and Coconut Oil in them.

So much more I could say but will stop for now. Any questions? Please ask and would love to hear your comments tho, so feel free!

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How To Protect Yourself From Chlorinated Swimming Pools?

Just to quickly follow on from the last post where I talked about how to neutralise chlorinated water in your home - I wanted to address this separately.  As a child I grew up near the beach so we were always there, but there were many occasions when we would swim in chlorinated pools - be it for school swimming lessons, the neighbours pool etc. With this information on how harmful chlorine is, it causes a conflict because swimming pools are so much fun especially for kids - I have so many memories of basically living in the pool as a child and I wouldn't want to take that away from my children.  So what to do?

Well the first and best option is always the beach, lakes, rivers etc.  The next best option is a salt water pool.  Finally with chlorinated pools the best option is outdoor pools rather than indoor as at least the harmful chlorine vapors are dissipated into the fresh air.

I came across a blog about this that I wanted to share with you as this lady shares some great info on how to protect yourself and children if you/they swim in a chlorinated pool.  She also utilises vitamin c putting it in a spray bottle as part of the protocol, great ideas... but I'll let you read it yourself

Four Cheap and Easy Ways to Protect Against Swimming Pool Chemicals

Hope that helps!

The Dangers of Chlorinated Water in Your Home

I have been aware of the importance of filtering water in the home for a while I guess,  the whole shower filter thing has been on the wish list but not quite made it to the point where I purchase it just due to other priorities.  However an article caught my attention recently claiming that chlorine actually destroys gut bacteria/flora and that showering in hot water that is chlorinated almost makes it pointless filtering your drinking water as your body absorbs far more chlorine into your bloodstream through the shower anyway - which goes on to affect gut flora, which as we know equals compromising our entire immune system!

This is the article I read here

Being 9 months pregnant currently and planning on having a water birth AND with being aware of the importance of building the baby's immunity through my intake of probiotics etc this information came as a wake up call.  I've been reading so much about the importance of gut flora especially for newborns to establish a good strong immune system for them and protect them not just now but in the future too and have been really careful to include probiotics in my diet for this purpose, that the thought that I would be compromising this even in the birthing pool for our child was not what I wanted to hear.  So I took to the computer for a few solid hours of deep research. With limited funds right now, as much as I would love to buy a whole house filtration system and then have filters at every tap to be doubly sure, I knew it just wasn't going to be a possibility for us right now.  Also I realise that there are a lot of things to be filtered from our water, not just chlorine, there's fluoride, chloramines, hormones, radiation, pesticides and so on.  One day when I am able I will get to dealing with all that, but right now my focus is on chlorine and chloramines.

I am happy to say I stumbled upon a ton of research in lots of different places saying that good ole ascorbic acid (vitamin c) and also sodium ascorbate - both neutralise chlorine and chloramines out of water.  In fact city councils use and have used this method for years when treating water and returning it to the ocean,  pet stores use it for fish tanks as fish cannot survive is water treated in chlorine and it is just a well known fact in the whole pool world also.   The reason I am so happy about this information is that for now it gives me a cheap alternative to use just for now for peace of mind about the whole chlorine in the water issue particularly with a new baby

So, what do you do with it?  Whenever you have a bath just add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to your bath water and you're good to go!  Apparently 1 gram neutralises 100 grams of chlorinated water.   If you feel so inspired you could also add a pinch to your laundry - will probably help your clothes last longer without having the influence of chlorine in there too.  I will be adding some to the birthing pool - such an easy solution.

If you want to take it a step further to the shower, I found a company called Vitashower and they make a shower filter that filters the water through vitamin c and get this, it's only currently a little over $20 on Amazon! and apparently lasts for 6 months.  This is for me, a far cry cheaper than the ones I'd previously been looking at over $100.  I realise this only filters the chlorine and chloramines, however anything is better than nothing right now.  I have purchased this from Amazon and it is yet to arrive but I will update and let you know how we find it.  The majority of reviews on it on Amazon are very good so I'm looking forward to trying it out, plus the peace of mind side of it as well.

At the beginning of this note I mentioned Ascorbic Acid but also Sodium Ascorbate as another version.  Apparently Ascorbic Acid being an acid if used in great quantities can lower the natural PH of your skin - however it takes a LOT to do that.  Sodium Ascorbate in any quantity does not affect natural PH levels at all.  Both Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate are 100% healthy and safe as it's just vitamin C and is actually good for your body, so you'll get the added benefits of that as well.

One other thing to be aware of that was brought to my attention, however I haven't looked into it extensively - someone mentioned on a board somewhere about the necessity of finding GMO free ascorbic acid.  I asked at the local health store today and they didn't think that it was sourced from anything genetically modified to start with?  So I'm not sure on that one.  That's research for another day. For now I just found some ascorbic acid on amazon and will go with that.

One step at a time huh!  I'll keep you updated!

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Homemade toothpaste recipe

Where does the time go? I am currently in my eighth month of pregnancy with my first child, hence my lack of posts lately.  Also, to be honest in some ways I've hit a plateau in the changes I can make.  Living in an apartment is limiting as you can't change certain things - for example I hate the fact that we have vinyl floors in our bathrooms and kitchen area, knowing the toxins off-gassing constantly into our air.  I think sometimes for sanity you have to just choose not to think about certain things until you can do something about them.  Ideally I wouldn't have carpet either.  These are all things I think about though with the imminent arrival of our baby, but like everyone else, we just have to do the best with what we have.  Keep the house aired so we aren't breathing too much of it all in, keep the floors vacuumed regularly etc.

I wanted to share a recipe for toothpaste - I might add, this is not my own recipe, I have tweaked it yes but I found it online somewhere but apologize that I'm not exactly sure now where I got it from.  My husband and I have used this for the last 8 or so months and found it great, I'm on our second batch of it now.  My husband always comments how clean his mouth and teeth feel after using it.  Anyway it's very simple to make you just mix it all together and I keep it in a glass jar with a lid in the bathroom with a teaspoon to scoop some out each time.  Its not as convenient as a tube - though I have heard you can buy tubes you could put it in (though I think the tubes are plastic so avoiding that obviously) but it works ok!

Here's what I do:

3 Tablespoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon fine table salt  (not sea salt for this)
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 drop DoTERRA peppermint oil
2 drops DoTERRA lemon oil
2 drops DoTERRA clove oil
2 drops DoTERRA on guard (in flu season as this is amazing protection against sickness!)

Mix together and it makes quite a thick paste.  That's it! You have toothpaste.

I personally love my DoTERRA oils. They are the purest you can get and work well in this toothpaste. Reasons I like this particular combination:
*  Baking Soda is known for cleaning and whitening capabilities
*  Salt is great for healing, for gums etc (like giving a salt water gargle etc)
*  Coconut Oil is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, helps to brighten teeth, heal gums and much more
* Peppermint Oil has a refreshing flavor, maintains good oral hygiene overall, helping bad breath.
* Lemon oil is natural astringent, works well with baking soda too.
* Clove Oil is traditionally great for the gums, teeth - alleviating toothache etc.
* On Guard is my 'go-to' for the flu season - amazing blend of oils that really protects and kills the flu virus more effectively than the Flu Shot.  (This oil saved me this last winter when I was working with people that had heavy flu's and colds and it didn't come near me!)

You can obviously change the flavors around if you have preferences for certain essential oils etc but this is the recipe I use anyway and have found really good.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils I have a page on facebook where I post interesting info and testimonials about my experience or friends experience's with DoTERRA.  Feel free to join the group here.   You can buy DoTERRA oils here but I recommend joining as you pay a lot less when you sign up and signing up means no obligations to buy at all. Feel free to ask me if you want further info.

On another note - I'll also mention as I was asked in the previous post and thought others of you may be also interested.  I have found some bamboo recyclable toothbrushes we have been using. They work pretty well and are one answer to having plastic ones.  The brand is called 'Smile Squared' and Amazon and local health stores usually have them.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Update and new natural deodorant alternative

Sorry it's been a while since my last post!  Here's what I'm doing now!

Deodorant - this issue has been solved once and for all with no turning back!  I used the apple cider vinegar, as mentioned in the previous post, for a while but got really sick of the smell and found after a while that it wasn't really working.  I'd heard baking soda works so I tried that by mixing some into a paste in my hands and wiping it under my arms - works fantastically!  I've been doing this daily now for five months and it's still 100% effective!  Lasts all day and that includes through work or busy activity! So this has to be my number one recommendation for 100% safe and effective deodorant now.   I usually let it dry for a bit before putting clothes on but it's just so convenient and not to mention cheap!

On another note - laundry soap:  I have to say, after two years of using soap nuts only for my laundry, this is going to be something I continue using forevermore I think as long as they are available.  It is SO cost effective. In fact I can't imagine any other laundry soap whether home made  or not could ever come cheaper and more economical than these soap nuts.  I have had a box of soap nuts for over a year now - it's lasted us that long!  Yes we're only a family of two right now but we do at least one wash most days, they really stretch far.  I use them for most of my washes with cold water too and they are great.  I use them with hot water for towels and sheets.  Can't recommend them highly enough!

I'm still continuing with all else previously mentioned in this blog,  all going well!

Would love to hear from you if you have any ways you're going chemical free that I may have not mentioned as yet!

Thanks for reading!