Exposing Your Baby to Fewer Chemicals
When your baby is born, they are at their most sensitive to chemicals and other unnatural contaminants. This includes everything from medications to everyday bath products. The best course of action is to limit your baby’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals as much as possible. Less exposure will be better for your entire family. Do your research on reputable sites and then make a reasonable plan of what you can do to lessen chemical exposure for you, your baby and your family.
Here are a few areas to be mindful of to reduce the chemical stress on your baby:
Drugs during labor: There is research debating the pros and cons of medicating the birth process, but it is easy to read how the drugs given during labor affect your baby (as illustrated in this birth story sent in from Mary C.). Like many things in medicine, there is no definitive answer. New studies come out all the time that contradict the previous studies and make traditional research a moot point. Personally,with my years of experience working with mothers and newborns I believe less is best.
Most babies that were not exposed to drugs appear to be more eager to latch and nurse. In a lot of cases, babies that have received drugs (through the mother) during the birth process have a difficult time latching at the breast. They take more time and perseverance to nurse since they seem to be not as coordinated with latching. It’s nothing you cannot overcome, but it is an obstacle worth avoiding if you are able.
Scheduling Vaccinations: If you chose to vaccinate, figure out the vaccine schedule that works best for your baby . Dr. Sears’ vaccine book has lots of good information. It’s important to make sure your baby is healthy at the time of vaccines. Dr. Sears also writes about supplements you can give to boost your baby’s immune system before immunizations.
Bathing (or NOT Bathing) Baby: Using bath products with the least amount of chemicals, not what smells best. To check product safety go to Skin Deep. In actuality, not bathing your newborn baby is preferred. Not bathing is the natural first line of defense in keeping your baby healthy. Bathing also can be a big stressor for some babies, so it would be beneficial in many ways to wait a couple of days for your babies first bath.
As an adult our first line of defense against harmful chemicals is our skin. A baby’s skin is “immature” just like the rest of her systems at birth. Since their skin is not fully developed, chemicals are more readily absorbed. Our babies cannot filter out chemicals in the same way adults can, so we need to be extra careful with them when they are small. There are many studies on the effects of chemicals on children (Study from Chemical Substances – Canada and Study from GreenGuard).
What We Feed Our Babies: Breast is best. Occasionally studies come out that refute the importance of breastmilk, but each has been dis-proven quickly and effectively. Even with detectable levels of chemicals in breastmilk (from the mother’s diet) it is considered superior to formula.
When you choose to start feeding you baby foods, buy the organic choice. Organic is more expensive, so pick and chose what are the most important organic foods to buy.