This is a long overdo post I know. But bear with me, we are going through another round of sleepless nights with my little one. So, things that used to take one or two days (read: blog posts) now take weeks! However, the second part of my Baby safe environment posts is finally here.
If you missed the first Five Steps to a Safe and Natural Baby Environment you can read it here.
I hope this will help you decide on what’s best for your little ones too!
1. Natural pain management
I am starting this post with something that has become top on my stress list. I mean what mum sees her kid in pain and doesn’t stress over it?
We have decided not to give our daughter drugs lightly and only opt for them as a last resolve. Thankfully Natalia hasn’t suffered anything painful other than teething. But man oh man do these teeth hurt! I think this image from Babyology best describes how painful teething is…for adults and what all parents have to go through with their teething kids.
So how can we help them? Apart from the wooden teethers I talked about in part I, I have made Natalia some crocheted ones too. I have actually posted the free pattern for those on our online magazine and it’s going to be live in a few days. When it’s time I will update this post with a link to the pattern.
The yarn I used to make them is the same I use for the amigurumis I used to make her when she was an infant. It has an Ecotext certification and the dyes are all natural. I consider them safe for her but please do your research too.
I wet the teethers and put them in a clean plate and in the freeze. I then give them to her to chew on. They seemed to work fine when she was younger and the teeth that gave her trouble were in front. Now that she’s two years old and teething involves the back teeth (those referred to as f*ck my life and just kill me on the chart), the yarn teethers don’t seem to help. Her fingers seem to find their way into her mouth (to the despair of my somewhat germophobe husband).
This last week she wears an amber necklace from Amber Essentials. I first heard about them through a parents group on attachment parenting. There were moms there that have used them with great results and raved about them. Naturally, I did a little research to see what’s what for myself.
Amber and especially the Baltic amber contains succinic acid which is considered to be an analgesic. Miniature amounts of succinic acid is thought to be absorbed through the skin in response to the heat of the kid’s body and alleviate the teething pain. I did read a lot about concerns on the necklace being a chocking hazard.
I didn’t have to worry about it though because when I showed it to Natalia and asked her if she likes it and if she wants to wear it (like any good ap parent should do, lol) she immediately said she wants to wear it as a bracelet. And so she did and has been wearing it ever since. Did it work on the teething pain? Well, I am not 100% sure but we did get some better sleep at night so I think it probably did to an extent.
2. Non plastic utensils
When Natalia turned one year old Nick taught her how to drink her water out of a glass. At first it was a glass made out of stainless steel. Then it was a glass made out of glass. Not a plastic one and not a sippy cup either. She hasn’t used any of them!
We got some from IKEA that are made of safety glass (meaning that they will probably not break if they are dropped). Natalia holds the glass and when she is done she gives it back to us. Off course she’s a toddler and some times she turns the glass to see what happens, lol!
We haven’t used any type of plastic for her eating utensils either. She learned to eat out of stainless steel spoons and use a stainless steel fork. She even has one that Nick got her from Finland with a reindeer on it which she loves! And there is not a chance that I will use a plastic plate or bowl to put her hot food in. That’s a huge no for us!
I get asked all the time by friends and family about not using plastics: “Don’t you think you are over-reacting? After all silicone and PP plastics are considered safe right?”
Yes they are and I personally thing as a chemist that PP is really safe (I am not at all convinced on silicone though). But I do have an alternative and I prefer to use it.
“But what about the safety of a glass made out of glass for a young kid? Aren’t you afraid of her getting hurt in case the glass breaks?”, the questioning goes on.
Well I could turn the question towards you and ask you: “Aren’t you afraid of the harm these chemicals could do to your kid?”, but I am not! Instead I am going to tell you that I am afraid of anything hurting my kid. That’s why I don’t let her unattended when she’s using the glass or a plate. Do you let your kids unattended when they eat? I don’t think so.
Natalia knows how to drink out of glass bottle we keep in her bag. She never uses it alone. If the glass breaks one of us will be near to help keep her safe. However accidents can happen and if you think you don’t want to risk it, then use a non breakable plate or glass like one made of stainless steel or even a bamboo one. Amazon has some good ones but, again, please do your research!
3. Personal hygiene products
When I gave birth to Natalia I was given a bunch of baby gels and soaps and shampoos to try out. Some of them I did try. Some others were donated to people in need. For about a semester I bathed her with a gentle baby soap that had half the chemicals most of the baby products had. But that wasn’t enough for us at the long run. We decided we needed something purer and safer. So we went back to our grandmas recipe and started using olive oil soap.
The benefits of olive oil for the skin are well documented and after using it for 1.5 years without any kind of trouble I am super glad to say we did the right thing!
After a lot of research we decided to use the Bioselect bar soap with karite butter and kalendoula oil. We use this soap in her whole body and hair. It doesn’t create a lot of foam which is a definite must if your kid doesn’t like water on her/his hair like Natalia. So the sooner we finish rinsing her hair the happier she is.
4. Wooden toys
I know I’ve mentioned it on my part I too but as you know the toys a kid has multiply with the years (or even months). As they grow older there is a tendency to use more plastic ones but I am still resisting their use.
I was really happy to get this fun and colorful mobile from Serrokids on etsy to help her learn the color names. These are gorgeous and they will decorate her room for many years to come. Wood is a material I love and hopefully Natalia will treasure them when she becomes older.
It’s important to note that when you are looking for kids toys not all wooden ones are safe and not all plastic ones are not just because of their material. You need to look for brands that are ethically responsible and use clearly stated materials on their site and labels.
5. Cleaning agents
These are one of the most common sources of introducing harmful chemicals into your household. Everyone loves a clean house. And trust me, every mom wants a clean floor when she has a baby or a toddler. There are things to do to avoid using harmful chemicals in your house.
Take your shoes off
It’s a non brainer right? As soon as you get into the house, take your shoes off and you will have effectively stopped the introduction of filth and harmful microorganisms tremendously!
Vinegar is your friend
Ditch your all purpose floor agent and use vinegar instead. It will kill the majority of the bad things that lurk in your floor and in combination with #1 you and your family will be safe! If you don’t enjoy the smell add some glove heads and orange peels along with vinegar in a bottle and use that. It smells awesome!
Use natural products without well known irritants and harmful agents
In my research to find some products that I can use and still make sure that I am not adding to the chemical load of my house I came upon the Ecos® products. We use the hand soap which has literally 0 synthetic chemicals, their dish soap which is excellent too and we also use the laundry detergent.
For everything else I use vinegar. I know that in order to clean those white salt residue in the shower’s glass door with vinegar will take some elbow but I prefer that to using the very popular alternatives that make my nose and eyes burn. The one thing I have yet to replace is using chlorine for the toilet bowl. But I am working on that too, so stay tuned!
Use your plants
I’ve written in the past about how some indoor plants can help clean the air of a house. We put the plants out of Natalia’s reach because they are toxic if swallowed so be warned.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this series of posts. Part three will include all the organic products we have implemented in our diet, so stay tuned for that!
Lots of love