How to Have a Healthy Baby – Caring for Your Precious Cargo
The most important thing you can do for your unborn child is pay attention to what you are putting into your own body. Your baby is going to receive what you eat, drink, breathe, and put on your skin. By taking great care of yourself, you are helping your baby be as HEALTHY as she can be, in the womb, and also after she is born!
A big part of taking great care of yourself is eating as clean as possible.
Incorporating as many ORGANIC vegetables as you can into your diet is the best way to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients you and your baby need. If you cannot afford to buy only organic produce, check the list here to see which ones have the highest chemical contamination and which ones are okay to buy non-organic. Eating whole foods that you make yourself is the best for you and your baby. The key is to avoid processed foods. Anything that comes in a box is likely to have low nutritional value and high chemical content. Not only is this type of food not fueling your body, it is also potentially poisoning you and your baby. It is especially important to avoid sodas, sports drinks, packaged lemonade, drink powders, and ANYTHING that says diet. These beverages contain artificial colors, refined and highly processed sugars, as well as additives which are likely chemicals that can be HARMFUL to you and your baby. Diet drinks contain artificial sweeteners that are now being linked to health problems in children after birth. You can read more about that here in the most IMPORTANT book for parents. The best thing you can drink for you and your baby is filtered water, ideally from a filter you have at home, not bottled water from the store.
Limit the amount of toxins you are putting into your body.
Plastic is a big source of the harmful chemicals we are exposed to. Use a glass or stainless steel water bottle and store your food in glass containers. NEVER put plastic food containers in the microwave and do not use plastic wrap on your food. While microwaves are convenient, they are counter productive to your health. When you heat food in the microwave, you are essentially killing all of the valuable nutrients that were in the food. In order to maintain your health and support the needs of your developing baby, you need all of the vital nutrients you can get!
It is also important to pay attention to the ingredients in your bath and beauty products because they are another potential source of chemicals. It is best to buy natural beauty products and limit the amount of things you are putting on your skin. Organic coconut oil is a great NATURAL way to hydrate your skin and can be used as the base for a salt or sugar scrub, a pre-shampoo hair softening mask, or even a natural toothpaste and teeth whitener. Chemical antiperspirants and deodorants can be especially DANGEROUS to your health because they introduce chemicals directly to an area of your body that is meant to excrete toxins via sweat. When you prohibit sweating you are trapping chemicals in your body. A very large percentage of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. When you apply chemical antiperspirant and deodorant to your underarms, you are adding chemicals to your body and preventing your body from expelling toxins. I have tried almost every natural deodorant on the market and this is by far my favorite.
The air in your home can easily become toxic to you and your baby. It is best to eliminate hairspray, perfume, and nail polish from your beauty routine, especially while you are pregnant and breastfeeding, but ideally for good. There are companies that make nail polish with less chemicals, hair care products without chemicals or chemical fragrance, and natural perfumes that contain plant extracts and essential oils which are a much safer option.
Be mindful of the ingredients in your household items.
Another very common source of TOXIC chemicals in your home is the products used for everyday cleaning. Conventional cleaning products are LOADED with chemicals that are getting into your body through the air you breathe and by coming in contact with your skin. Switching to chemical-free laundry products, bathroom cleaners, dish soaps, sanitizing sprays, mopping solutions and air freshener/deodorizers is the best way to PROTECT your baby. Making your own cleaning products with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils is extremely easy and much less expensive. Hydrogen peroxide is another great way to clean and sanitize your kitchen and bathroom without using chlorine bleach. You can attach a sprayer right to the bottle and watch it foam up on the shower wall or in the kitchen sink! Although it is natural, h2o2 is still a chemical, so it is important to be careful not to spray a lot in a confined space, and if you are letting it soak, it is best to leave the room while you wait. And for all of those soiled baby clothes and blankets, this chlorine bleach alternative works really well as a pre-wash soak.
Baby steps are progress.
The goal is to limit the amount of toxins getting into your body. The less chemicals you have in your body, the healthier you and your baby will be. Stress is not good for you or your baby, so if you feel overwhelmed by making these lifestyle changes, break them down into smaller goals. Start with your diet and plan to replace all of the plastic in your home within a few weeks or a month, whatever is doable for you. It can be difficult to change your beauty routine or give up your tried and true beauty products. Try replacing items that are a little more general, like body wash, body lotion, toothpaste and shampoo first, then switch the more specific things, like facial cleanser, facial moisturizer, foundation (if you use it), mascara and lipstick. Origins is my favorite natural makeup and skincare line and their hair products are also awesome and smell amazing! Switching your cleaning products will probably be the easiest transition. The next time you are shopping, select one of the many chemical-free options that are available. If your local store does not offer chemical-free options or you want a larger selection, there are many products available online.