I recently had a play date with a sweet friend who has a little girl Logan’s age and a pretty brand new baby daughter. We met in an infant Mommy-and-me class when our now-toddlers were just little baby blobs who caused the two of us – and our entire group of new moms – much anxiety. We look back and laugh now on how we spent two-and-a-half hours every week grappling for answers to what now seem like completely silly questions.
Will they sustain brain damage if I let them cry it out?
What if she will only sleep on her tummy?
When can he have strawberries?
When should you introduce a sippy cup?
Will my baby not sleep in a crib if I hold him when he naps?
And then, the questions you don’t ask aloud.
Why is her kid walking/talking before mine?
Are you seriously trying to potty train your kid at four months?
Is it abnormal that I have ZERO interest in reading books about sleep/feeding/attachment parenting/etc./etc./ in my “free” time?
Obviously, with your second child (and I imagine any thereafter), you shift out of constant life-or-death mode, knowing that your first has survived and thrived thus far (strawberries and all) and walked and talked within normal timeframes, which allows for that once-anxious energy to surely be utilized in a more constructive manner.
To that point, my friend mentioned that with baby #2, she was trying to be much more conscious of creating a safe, healthy environment for her daughter, particularly in regard to both baby and household products. We arrived at the topic because she mentioned that this time around, she was trying The Honest Company, Jessica Alba’s subscription-based service for non-toxic baby and home products. She admitted that with her older daughter, she’d always used Costco diapers and wipes, assuming that the moms who used cloth/health-food-store diapers were doing so purely for environmental reasons, unaware of the potentially harmful chemical dyes and perfumes present on the more mainstream baby items.
Ok, so, this isn’t a preaching post. To say that my kids or I live a completely green or non-toxic lifestyle is completely incorrect. In fact, I have perfume-y Pampers in my closet and on Cameron as we speak. Yes, my kids primarily wear Seventh Generation diapers, but if there’s a can’t-be-beat sale somewhere or the boys need a little more absorbency for overnight or long trips, I have no qualms about putting them in Pampers.
Much to my Prius-driving, pay-full-price-for-everything-as-long-as-it’s-at-the-health-food-store husband’s chagrin, I’m really an everything-in-moderation-type gal.
I primarily buy organic or sustainably-farmed produce, meats and dairy products. I also ate In-n-Out every Monday for a few weeks when I was preggers.
I use natural lotions, shave gel, body wash and sunscreen. My makeup drawer is also full of Chanel, Dior, MAC, Benefit and other brands that are made up of a multitude of chemicals I surely can’t pronounce. I’d probably spray Windex on my face if it promised a perfect complexion.
I keep my house and clothes clean with natural products from Seventh Generation and Method. I also broke down and bought good ol’ Soft Scrub the other day because it’s the only thing that will get my porcelain sink from dinge to dynamite.
I cherish baby gifts like super-soft bamboo blankets and organic cotton onesies. My kids also live in Gap, Quiksilver and Gymboree and sleep in made-in-China Carter’s jammies.
Call me ignorant, call me shallow, call me part of the problem. All in all, I’m doing the best I can. Less than some. More than most.
That said, I’m thankful that I come from a family that’s always embraced a conscious, healthy lifestyle and I live in an area that supports businesses that offer consumers healthy choices – be it food or family products. It makes making responsible purchases that much easier.
For those who are less exposed to healthier alternatives, I think there’s a common misconception that these products are completely unaffordable. Clothes? Yep. I don’t care if it’s made of gold spun by Rumpelstiltskin, there’s no way I’m paying $45 for a onesie. And of course you’ll find more coupons for mainstream products like Pampers, Johnson & Johnson and Clorox, but that’s not to say there aren’t deals to be had amongst the natural set.
We buy a lot of stuff through Diapers.com, Vitacost.com and have found some amazing savings on diapers through Amazon’s warehouse site. Even Target is carrying brands like Seventh Generation, Method, Alba and Burt’s Bees now, all at affordable prices. You may be spending a few bucks more here and there, but you could probably easily make that up by simply cutting out a few lattes or glasses of wine a week.
Ok, let’s not get crazy. Eating out? Cheaper…toilet paper? Yeah, you could make up for it there, too.
Anyway, I applaud my girlfriend for making strides to create a healthier environment for her growing family. It doesn’t have to be lifestyle overhaul. Even small things might end up making a big difference for your family’s future.
Here are some healthier products our family can’t live without:
Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottles
I think we have about nine of these guys floating around our house, from insulated ones for coffee to everyday water bottles to sippy spout ones for Logan. These reusable containers keep us from ever buying plastic water bottles or worrying about BPA. I never leave home without. www.kleenkanteen.com
Seventh Generation Diapers
Sure, they’re brown-ish and don’t have commercialized characters, but they’re the only diaper on the market that isn’t chemically whitened. Plus, they fit and work well. www.seventhgeneration.com
Elemental Herbs Sunstick
With all the scary stuff coming out about chemical sunscreens these days, it makes you wonder sometimes if a burn is actually your better option. I love this local company’s zinc-based, chemical free sunstick. It goes on clear, is safe for kids and is packed with skin-nourishing organic oils. www.elementalherbs.com
Method Cleaning Products
I’m a sucker for these non-toxic cleaning products cute-ed up in chic packaging. From hand soap to wood polish to bathroom cleaner, I’ve bought it. They work and smell amazing. www.methodhome.com
Annie’s Homegrown Products
You don’t have to have Yellow #5 in your kids’ mac ‘n’ cheese to make it taste good. Or hydrogenated soybean oil in their crackers. While these of course aren’t meal staples in our household, it’s great to have snacks available that are made from quality ingredients. We like the whole wheat varieties for some added nutritional value. www.annies.com
What are some green/sustainable/natural products that have changed your life?