Although we no longer have to worry about lead exposure and poisoning from pencils, there are still measures that have to be taken to decrease your child’s exposure to toxins and other harmful substances.
Hot tap water, for instance, tends to loosen all the grime in the faucet and carry them into your cup. Yet many people either fill their baby’s bottles with hot tap water or microwave cold tap water.
The latter increases your infant’s radiation exposure among other things. To be safe of both, fill your baby’s bottle with cold or room temperature water that has been boiled over the stove in a saucepan or kettle.
It is best to avoid using nonstick saucepans if you can as nonstick cookware contains chemicals that release toxins when used.
If you are expecting a child and your maternal instincts have already kicked in, don’t deny yourself the urge to nest ahead of the baby’s expected arrival. It would actually be beneficial to set the nursery up a few months early. Especially if you plan to fill the room with newly made furnishings, paint, or flooring.
The reason for this being when you first buy these items and they give off that distinctive ‘new’ smell, they are releasing volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). This process is called off gassing. These chemicals include formaldehyde and exposure to them should be limited if not altogether avoided. Should you want to purchase these items it is best to allow them time to release the toxins before your infant has first-hand exposure to them.
You should limit your own exposure as well. Letting new furniture sit in the garage or basement wouldn’t be a bad idea. Wood items especially need time to off-gas, as they can take several months to do so. Buying second hand wood furnishing can ensure the item has finished its off-gassing. If adding new floor, buy floor with water based finishes.
During pregnancy be careful of harmful additives in your diet. If you are worried about consuming genetically altered foods, it may be safest to avoid milk, soybeans, and corn as well as certain wheat and meat products.
Because nearly all formulas are either soy or milk based, look for baby formula made from organic, untreated soybeans or milk; although breast-feeding is still the best choice for newborns. If you can breastfeed, it ensures proper balance of nutrition and can provide infants with protection from certain infections. Though not everyone is able to do so, so don’t beat yourself up about it if you can’t.
For blankets, clothes, and soft toys, go for organic natural fabrics. These include organic cotton, hemp and even bamboo. If you buy wooden toys, try to purchase ones coated with non-toxic paint.
If you can manage even a few of things, give yourself a generous pat on the back and enjoy raising your child in a safe and healthy environment.
Green Living, by Yvonne Jeffery, Liz Barclay, Michael Grosvenor, and Elizabeth B. Goldsmith
Infant Feeding and Nutrition FAQs
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