Give Your Baby the Safest Start: Reduce Your Family’s Chemical Load – Part 2

The cost of the product does not necessarily mean it is any safer, they often contain preservatives, parabens, phthalates, heavy metals (i.e. lead), antibacterial agents (i.e triclosan), petrochemicals and surfactants (i.e. Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS)). These chemicals are known to be hormone disruptors, skin irritants, neurotoxins and carcinogens.

So what can we do? There are no rules around the use of the words organic, natural, non-toxic so, it’s important to always read the ingredients list. Whilst many of our NZ products aren’t listed in EWG’s Skin Deep database (ewg.org/skindeep), you can search up the individual ingredients to assess the product’s overall safety. Always ask questions if you are not sure about a product and if they can’t give you evidence of its safety then let your wallet do the talking. Thankfully due to modern technology you are not limited to what is on the shelf in the supermarket of the pharmacy.

When it comes to baby personal care products we encourage purified WATER ONLY for the first months of life. Their skin is thinner than paper, has no barrier function for at least 4-6 weeks and even then is still developing until the age of 2 years. The soaps, cleansers, wet wipes, lotions and fragrance are not necessary and simply overload your baby’s rapidly developing body with chemicals.

There are two exceptions to this rule, a 100% organic cold pressed oil for baby massage, as the benefits are extensive, and the use of a 100% organic barrier balm if baby gets skin irritation in their nappy area.

Always wash new clothes and bedding, where possible choose natural fibers

New clothing items are often treated with formaldehyde or other hazardous chemicals. This is done to prevent mould and mildew during shipping and storage. Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen and can trigger an allergic reaction, making eyes water, blocking the sinuses and irritating the skin.

The fabric may also contain residual pesticides, dyes and bleaches that can cause irritation and have been linked to health concerns. Choose natural fibres, organic where possible garments. Always wash new clothing and bedding and dry in full sunlight before use.

Flame retardants in clothes and household products are also of concern. They are used in synthetic fibres and foams to reduce fire risk, the most prevalent type are PBDE’s which are known to cause tumours in animal studies. This is another reason to buy natural fibres wherever possible and also to ask about flame retardants before purchasing that mattress, couch, carpet or rug.

We recommend choosing a laundry detergent that is natural and gentle on skin. Check that your washing machine adequately rinses your cleaning agents out, it may be worth adding an extra rinse cycle especially for your babies clothes and bedding.

In the next article, Part 3 we will talk more about these tips:

  • Use natural and safe cleaning products
  • Take your shoes off at the door
  • Outdoors use organic sprays and natural alternatives
  • Gas off
  • Say no thanks to plastics that leach and non-stick items

Do you think about the chemicals, products and ingredients that you put on your baby’s skin?  Thinkwise are passionate about helping you find the safest baby skincare solutions available. They provide helpful information to parents and carers who are conscious about the chemicals they put on their baby’s skin and use in their environment. They specialise in selling dry baby wipes and change mats as used in Birthcare & Hospitals nationwide, and also stock their own organic baby skincare range.

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