Non-Toxic Baby Products, DIY Baby Powder Recipe, and Organic Clothing for Cheap (Receipt as Proof!)
How cool is it that you literally get to change the course of your baby's health over a lifetime, starting when their small? Did I mention these changes impact the trajectory of your grandbabies too!? Yes- your baby girls are born with all the eggs of your future grandgirls that they’re ever going to have. And those boys of yours? They’re constantly producing sperm once they hit adolescence, and a healthy body makes healthy sperm. Okay, okay, but how do you know that all the research and science is true? The truth is, we can’t. The truth is, we can’t. Due to all the variables (genes, environment, lifestyle, diet, etc.), we can't be 100% certain if we, or our children, will encounter chronic illness or disease from using plastic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
What I do know is that we can take responsibility of what the variables we can control by choosing to say "YES" to toxin-free products like bottles, clothes, toys, and more.
*I receive no endorsement or commission from any of the following companies. These are simply products I have used and love, and want to share with other mamas*
Silicone Food Ware:
I love this plate for so many reasons!
It is free of toxins: sans BPA, lead, phthalate. Food grade silicone.
It is durable stain resistant, toddler proof, shatter proof, and hasn't cracked after almost 1 year of using at nearly every meal (and multiple runs in the dishwasher).
It can not easily be pulled off the tray/table. It has incredible suction.
My 1.5 year old has probably only pulled this up a handful of times.
It's heat-resistant. Microwave (not my #1 preference, but just being real, we use it sometimes), oven and dishwasher safe.
Glass bottles are one way to better ensure that your baby won’t be ingesting toxins if bottle feeding, since bottles are usually warmed. Heat activates the plastic bottle’s contents, allowing them to be absorbed into the bottle’s contents. Yuck. I used these Avent ones, because they were basic and I liked the natural nipple. Because I was, and still am a working mother, we did bottles a few days a week when I was away. I didn’t want to buy a ton of one kind of bottle in case she wouldn’t take it. So just use your mama judgement when trying out different brands. The ones with the silicone slips are a wise choice too, since bottles tend to get dropped (or thrown). Some of these can be more pricey, but since plastic bottles wear down over time and require replacement, investing in quality ones that last is a win-win in my book.
Silicone Teether/Pacifier Clip
With all the adorable babies all over social media, you surely have seen these trendy pacifier clips. I like them for alternative reasons, although all the cute babies posing with them are an added bonus! Surprisingly, some of those nasty toxins are still in our baby’s toys and teethers.
I personally made my own using this DIY, but there are several available locally or online. When looking for teething/toy options, make sure it is food-grade silicone. I like this one on Etsy that is wooden + silicone. It's perfect for teething and giving baby different textures to explore.
When searching for teethers and toys for your little one, avoid harmful chemicals like PVCs (polyvinyl chloride), lead, BPA (bisphenol A), and phthalates. I mention lead because if it comes from another country, there is a good chance there is lead in it. You can read more about that here. Exposure to these toxins can cause a number of health issues for babies. According to this scholarly journal, these are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. If it doesn’t have a label that says “BPA free” or have a “PVC free”, just skip it. I always recommend doing a total investigation of the materials involved in any items that are going to enter your babe’s mouth. The good thing is, they are normally just as as happy chewing on spatula or simple wooden ring than having all the fancy teething toys with textures.
Organic Clothing & Secondhand Clothing
According to Why Opting for Organic Cotton Matters, “non-organic cotton receives 16 to 25 percent of all insecticides, 10 percent of all pesticides and nearly 7 percent of all herbicides used WORLDWIDE, many of which are among the most hazardous.” This is absolutely disturbing.
Before I get started, I should preface it with, I feel really strongly about this, and I understand if you don't. That is totally fine! That being said, please consider this article with an open mind, willing to learn. Please consider committing to incremental changes, like having a smaller baby wardrobe (check out this post about capsule wardrobes for baby/toddlers). These smaller wardrobes allow the pieces you have to be higher quality, free of toxic endocrine disruptors/carcinogens, good for our planet, and from companies that do not contribute to slavery. Please consider the effects that these chemicals have on our tiny baby's bodies, with their pure, permeable, sensitive skin and new body systems.
Before you ask “Hey crazy lady! Are you saying everything you own for your baby is organic? How do you expect me to afford that?” I will honestly answer some of your questions. Do we have clothes from Old Navy, Target, etc? Yep. Do we get most of our clothes second hand, meaning they have been worn and washed, ridding at least some of the chemicals that went into them? Yes, absolutely! Did it take some convincing and sharing of this information to get hubs on board with this? Yep, sure did. No, we can’t afford for ALL of our clothes to be toxic free/organic/sans chemicals. But we choose to invest in SOME quality, organic clothing like PACT.
Pact is fair-trade certified and GOTS certified. Two important labels that means it is good for both people and the planet. That is something I want to get behind. PACT offers sizes NB-5t, plus women's and men's clothes. They are always offering discounts, sale items and promos. I seriously got these thick, cotton tights for less than $3 last June from their website during a sale. Here is my receipt as proof too, for how affordable some quality pieces can be!
I feel so strongly about this because to those who say “What's the point in having a few organic onesies? Is it really going to make a difference?” I say YES! A thousand times yes, mama.
You are your child’s biggest advocate.
You are your child’s primary caregiver.
You get to choose to expose them to less chemicals, even if it's only a few items at a time.
You get to say, “NOPE, sorry, I am not going to support the monsanto-laced cotton industry, that seeps into our water system and enables slavery. It matters!
Rant over. Back to babies...
In this article, it mentions big companies like H&M, etc who offer organic clothing were recently found “caught in a scandal when testing revealed 30 percent of its 'organic cotton' contained genetically modified material. All of the questionable cotton came from India, one of the world's largest producers of organic cotton, which suggests the fraudulent labeling was probably occurring at other retailers as well.” And darn it, their clothes are so cute. But so are those ones at second hand stores that are at least washed 3 dozen times and hold less chemicals.
Things to Avoid-Big Companies like Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder
Baby powder containing talc (as Johnson and Johnson has) poses two risks: topical application and inhaled. Why do major companies still insist on using talc in their baby products? I have never once seen a label on a baby powder (please holla at me if you have, I am dying to see one!) that says: “Made with asbestos-free and pure talc.” Talc is a natural occurring mineral found all over the world, and is in many beauty and hygiene products. Talc itself wouldn't be bad, but it is often found near asbestos, meaning it becomes contaminated. Asbestos especially poses the risk of cancer when inhaled into the lungs, which makes it an obviously big no-no for babies.
In the hospital setting where I work, we don’t use these in the Pediatric ICU. Mostly because of the inhaled risk, as it can be a lung irritant. It can cause lung irritation and on top of the unknown risks for cancer when applied to the genitalia.
On topical application:
According to cancer.org’s article: “Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary...some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk. A second found a modest increase in risk of one type of ovarian cancer.”
The American Cancer Society states, “It is not clear if consumer products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk. Studies of personal use of talcum powder have had mixed results, although there is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk.”
BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS GUYS! There are good baby products in store from brands like Burt’s Bees and Honest Co. I know what you’re thinking. And, real talk, I can’t afford (or choose not to) to pay $11 for 4 oz of Honest Co baby powder. So, I make my own. And for all my fellow mamas and mamas-to-be, I make them a batch for their baby shower. It is seriously so easy, 2-3 ingredients and takes 5 minutes to whip up. Check out the recipe I use below! I store it in a powder sugar shaker like this one, inspired by Wellness Mama.
Homemade Baby Powder Recipe
1 cup arrowroot powder
2 tsp calendula flowers (chamomile works well, too) crushed into a powder using a food processor or blender. I use this one, because I can use it forever for things like making diaper cream. Plus, I can make tea with it.
Optional: a few drops of chamomile or lavender essential oil
Combine arrowroot powder and choice of dried flowers in food processor/blender. Pulse or blend for a minute or so, until the dried flowers are noticeably powdered. Drop in the essential oil if using and do a final blend for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Store in a sugar shaker, spice shaker, or glass jar. I have even used an empty and cleaned baby powder container so I can take in my diaper bag without spilling.