When bed bugs and nightmares aren't the biggest concerns

Reading this book recently, I was kind of surprised to find information about dangerous chemicals being used in mattresses- including crib mattresses. Some of these include polyvinyl chloride, phthalates, and chemical flame retardants. It is even suspected there is a link between these poisonous substances and SIDS. Considering how much time a baby is likely to spend in his or her crib, and how much more susceptible their tiny bodies are to toxins, I find myself once again really upset by the lack of regulation of dangerous chemicals in consumer products in the U.S.- especially those marketed for babies and children.
Thankfully, a few companies are offering organic mattresses- my favorite so far is Naturepedic. We’re planning to buy one for our little guy’s crib.
Here are a few articles about the dangers of chemicals in crib mattresses:




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Green is simple- my frustrations

It really irks me that going green has become another marketing gimmick in many ways. I myself am often guilty of feeling like all my efforts towards eco-friendliness must be product-oriented. It is definitely a huge step to replace purchases of toxic and harmful items with green choices, but buying things is not the only way to be earth friendly- in fact at times all the “green choices” can be just as wasteful. It seems in our culture we do not really know how do something unless it somehow requires spending more money. Because of this, I think, a misconception has formed that it is expensive to go green, and therefore people who cannot afford organic produce and a solar energy system do not even bother.
But the people who are truly living earth-friendly “dark-green” lives- the ones creating the least amount of waste on a daily basis- often find they are also spending less. Growing your own vegetables or buying from a local farmer, using and reusing cloths instead of paper towels, making and reusing items rather than buying new as often as possible, and limiting or discontinuing use of disposables such as paper and Styrofoam plates, cups and napkins can all make a really significant difference. There is an email newsletter I receive on a regular basis that highlights greener options for various aspects of life, but it is almost always about something else to buy- from organic cotton clothing to greener dog bones to shampoo. In these economically trying times, I want to look for ways to be earth-friendly and also spend less money. It isn’t always easy to ignore the consumerism that has been ingrained in me by my culture, but I would like to begin to make my household one that wastes less and is resourceful and simpler. Out with the constant onslaught of stuff, and in with a completely new mindset concerning what it means to be green and to live within (or even below) our means. Simplicity may be pretty un-American, but it is necessary for the sake of our planet and our finances.

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26 weeks

So this is the last week of my 2nd trimester. I can’t believe how fast it seems to be going by. I’ve had several people comment recently that my belly has grown a lot on the last couple of weeks, and I guess it kind of feels bigger, if that is possible.
I have still sort of been rounding out the registry lists, and sometime soon Manny and I are going to go to Babies “r” Us and add things in the store. I try to go by lists of recommendations and what other people tell me, but the fact is it is hard to know exactly what we will want and need when he is actually here. Looking at all the stuff can be fun, but I think there is a lot of commercial hype about baby stuff and they market to neurotic new parents- really babies’ needs are pretty simple and I’m not too worried about not having everything.
I have been doing lots of reading and research on cloth diapers and I’m really convinced that I can handle it and that it is better than disposables in many ways. People tend to look at me like I’m crazy if I tell them that’s what we’re planning to do, but I think they are mostly unaware of the new cloth diapers that make it really easy and basically as clean as disposables. This blog by a mom I found online explains why they are so great, and she wrote this one about the process she uses with them and which kinds she likes, which I found super helpful. We’re going to start out by renting a newborn size package from sunshinediapers.com, so all we will really need to by right away is covers for those. When he is big enough (about 10lbs) I want to try the all-in-one kind, which are really easy because they go on just like a disposable and expand to fit from 10lbs to potty training.
Anyway… it is time to get ready for a nice long 10 hour workday now. Possibly another 26 week picture coming later- one that includes my face :)

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Toward a Better Pregnancy

I will start this blog with some of the ways I have attempted to have a more natural and balanced pregnancy over the last several months.
One of the first books I purchased back in June when I found I was going to be a mother was The Complete Organic Pregnancy. I knew that I wanted to give my baby the best start possible in life, and that I could start by making sure my own lifestyle was safe and natural. While we couldn’t afford to replace everything toxic in our home right away, once I learned about the dangers of PVC and other common substances (especially plastics!), I started to phase them out as much as possible. I did replace my PVC yoga mat with this mat, since I was doing yoga several times a week, stopped using water bottles containing BPA, and avoided putting any type of plastic in the microwave.
For the last several years, I have been sort of an “on-and-off” vegetarian- sometimes not eating any meat for over a year, and never eating it on a very regular basis. I feel better when my diet is plant-based, but moreover, it can have a huge impact on the earth in general. I wanted to maintain a vegetarian diet throughout my pregnancy, but found that I was struggling to get even close to the recommended amount of protein, so I have begun eating small amounts of hormone-free chicken on occasion. As much as our budget will allow, I eat organic foods, and try to include a lot of fresh produce. Eating well is probably the most important step a woman can take to ensure a healthy baby.
Another big area I have gone earth-friendly in is personal care products. I have been using at least some natural products for years, but since I’ve been pregnant I have pretty much cut out all “drugstore” type items. There are countless harmful or potentially harmful chemicals in everything from skin care to shampoo, lotion to hand soap. Many of these ingredients have not been properly tested to ensure that they are safe for human use, and yet there they are on the shelves in the stores we shop in. Some excellent all-natural brands I’ve found are Avalon, Burt’s Bees, Weleda, Nature’s Gate, Tom’s of Maine and Desert Essence. If you’re lucky enough to have a Whole Foods or other well-stocked natural foods store nearby, they carry many wonderful products that work beautifully. I love Burt’s Bee’s Mama Bee Belly Butter and Leg and Foot Cream. My skin care is currently from Weleda, and my toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine. I’m always looking for new products to try, so I’ll attempt to review what I use on this blog in the future.
I could keep going on and on, but for now I’ll end with a word on cleaning products. Many people do not realize how very important this issue is. Traditional cleaners may seem to make things clean, but what we don’t see are the dangerous toxins they leave behind in our homes. They are not safe for the person cleaning, or those who will come in cantact with the “cleaned” surfaces. Marketing from large companies has fostered the mindset that you need all these chemicals to kill germs and make everything sanitary, but these products are doing much more harn than good. Thanks to green being so popular, there are now tons of alternative options from brands such as Seventh Generation, and they really do work! I have used many different natural cleaners, but have recently started with Shaklee products sold by a friend of mine who is a stay at home mom. Shaklee has been around for a lot longer than I have, and their products are absultely wonderful and completely safe and eco-friendly. I use them for all my cleaning, including laundry and dishes, and I’m anything but disappointed. They are also extremely cost-effective.
Well, this became a post about green living, not just pregnancy, but I guess the point is that just about anything eco-friendly and natural is better when you’re pregnant. The less exposure you have to toxins, the less your baby is being exposed to them.
A few more quick natural pregnancy tips: yoga is amazing and I believe it has really made a difference in how I’ve felt physically and mentally; herbal pregnancy teas are nice alternatives to coffee and can have tremendous benefits; relaxation is so very important- take time for yourself no matter what because your mental state effects your baby, and it is so important to take the time to enjoy pregnancy.

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I like…

This Organic cotton bedding set from Cotton Monkey :)

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