One of the greatest joys in life for people is bringing home a newborn baby. Though there are challenges associated with pregnancy, delivery, the new chores, and life pattern in general, most people know that all that is worth it to experience the joys of being a parent.
Bringing home and beginning to care for our newborn should be a very instinctive process. However, today with the numerous products available to us, it hasn’t made the lives of parents easy to know what to choose that is truly the best when it comes to their baby.
When it comes to feeding the baby, this is the easy part. Mother’s breast milk is by far the best food for the baby. There is just no substitute and formula is basically starting your baby off on processed food from the start of their life. Naturally, there are some women who cannot breast feed their baby for various reasons, but depending on the cause, there are many natural ways to stimulate milk production and help with making this work. Another option is a wonderful network called Human Milk 4 Human Babies. And of course our babies should be breast fed for as long as possible.
The other major part of caring for baby is knowing what personal care products will be used on it. This is what we will cover in this article to provide moms with a quick guide to the most natural and healthiest way possible to take care of baby’s personal care needs.
I also want to share some wonderful news and congratulate one of our readers, Mehreen who inspired this article as she has recently became a new mom. Thank you Mehreen for setting a great example and being an inspirational role model for other moms by taking accountability and conscious care as to what you put on your baby.
The Best Option is the Most Minimal One
When it comes to baby’s skin, we have to understand that it is perfect, delicate and fragile all at the same time. For decades baby’s skin was treated with minimal, natural products and in today’s modern society we are inundated by all the personal care products available for babies. This of course makes us think that this is the “normal” way of caring for our baby and the proper way to go. However, quite the opposite is true.
One of the worst things you can do for your baby’s skin is to treat it like an adult’s. Babies do not need 101 different body products or scented products. Of course neither do we, but many in our society seem to insist on slathering and spraying themselves with every chemical possible. So if you are using shampoo, conditioner, soaps, body washes and moisturizers, just to name a few, do not carry this over to your baby. We, but especially babies do not need this stuff. In fact, it begins to harm their skin from the first day, making it more prone to chronic dryness, allergies and other problems as they age, not to mention begins a toxic chemical load to start building up in their bodies.
Hence the first best practice is to minimize—make that drastically reduce—the amount of products you use on your baby and the frequency of use.
The Big No-No’s When It Comes To Baby Care
Sometimes in order to find the right thing or the best thing, it is easiest to start by eliminating the obvious choices which are not even plausible considerations.
When it comes to baby products, one of the most deceptive marketing tools is most of the common baby product personal care. I will tell you, when I first was looking at switching over from traditional commercial shampoo, soap and lotion, I went straight to the baby section thinking that surely it would have natural options for me. I was both greatly disappointed and saddened that this was not the case. The products I found there, like the common Johnson & Johnson lines are ones I would not put on my own skin, much less a baby’s!
So some people may wonder why even have baby lines if they are full of chemicals too. That is a very good point. The sad part is that on some fronts they have less chemicals than the really toxic adult lines, but of course are nowhere near where they should be for baby’s skin. In fact, some adult geared products today are way more natural and delicate than the typical Johnson & Johnson baby lines. Oh and as for Johnson’s natural line. Oh boy… this one has got to make you think that if they needed to bring out a natural line, what kind of ingredients made up their regular baby line. Sadly, when I looked at those ingredients recently, they are still in no way close to being natural or healthy. The same goes for the other typical lines like Aveeno, Dove and Live Clean, which aren’t any better. Also be sure to avoid any and all petroleum based products like mineral oil and Vaseline/petroleum jelly.
The second best practice is to avoid ALL commercial baby products commonly found in stores.
Simplest Baby Care Routine
While I am a huge proponent of the minimal approach to personal and baby care, I was deeply inspired and moved even further in the direction of simple and natural by Nadine Artemis, herbal expert, aromachologist and founder of Living Libations. As part of the interview, Nadine shares how she does not use shampoo on her son’s hair, who is now 3 years old. She has an amazing, super simple and natural approach to personal care both for babies and adults.
So although it may seem too simple, water is the best thing to wash our babies with. Yes, that is correct, just plain, natural water. Think about it, babies do not work outdoors, they do not sweat and the last thing they need are soaps and shampoos stripping their natural and protective oils away. Of course having said that, there is a little catch. The water in most of our homes is treated with chlorine, fluoride and other toxic substances. Our skin absorbs some of these and we also breathe in the vaporized form of some of these chemicals, especially during hot, pro-longed baths or showers. Thus if you live in an urban area and depend on city tap water, this may be a really good time to invest in a quality whole-home water filter. It will provide your whole family with the healthiest water to both wash in and drink, adding to your health and minimizing wasting your money on bottled water and useless, chemical personal care products.
For moisturizing purposes both olive oil and coconut oil are good options. In fact coconut oil, may be the best choice due to its quick absorbing ability, pleasant aroma and health properties. Just be sure to pick the healthiest coconut oil. Both are easily found, just as you would imagine in a local grocery store and excellent at nourishing the skin 100% naturally. They are super healthy to ingest internally and super healthy to apply externally.
Natural Baby Care Product Lines
Of course as more and more people are cluing into how damaging the commercial baby care products are, lots of natural lines have popped up. However, don’t be quick to transfer over to those just yet. We know today that there is a lot of “green-washing” or misleading ideas about the terms “natural” and “organic”. Therefore, when you find a product you think may be a suitable choice, it is a must to not only read all the ingredients, but get to know a little as to what they are. It may be time consuming but this is your baby we are talking about, and I am sure I don’t have to convince you that giving them the best care possible is your goal.
Start by visiting the Cosmetic Database where you can put in the name of your product and see its health concern rating, or if you don’t find your product, put in the ingredients of the product one by one and see the health concerns associated with them. You can also refer to this article I wrote identifying the 10 chemical, personal care ingredients to avoid.
Don’t waste your time or money on the Burt’s Bees baby line, and read very carefully through all other so-called “natural” lines like Aubrey, Erbaviva or Weleda baby products as they tend to hide some not-so-optimal ingredients.
Here are 3 possible “natural” companies which are generally rated very well and have baby care options if you feel you want to go past the simple tips mentioned above:
In terms of companies, Badger is one of the most reputable. They are excellent for many items, but especially for natural, chemical free sunscreen. Their downside is not a huge selection of baby products, but what they do have is seriously natural and our goal is to simply and minimize anyway. Here is their website to learn about the company and their products further: http://www.badgerbalm.com/
2. Green Beaver
If you live in Canada, especially Ontario, Green Beaver products are widely available and make a nice local option. They come from a small company in Ontario that wanted to make natural products, inspired by the birth of their baby. They have a wide selection of items available, however, no official baby line. They have a junior line, gluten-free line and the regular lines. Based on the promise to high natural quality and organics, one would assume that any of their products could be used on baby. However, this would not be my first choice to use on baby – it makes a good whole family natural line for those transitioning from synthetic, commercial products, but there is definitely room for improvement even with this line. More information can be obtained from their site: http://www.greenbeaver.com/
3. California Baby
This company got my attention as it seems to have it all. They have a wide baby-specific line, 2-in-1 products which simplify and minimize baby care, they are rated excellent on Cosmetic Database and seem to be extra conscious of all the harmful ingredients. Here is their website for more information: http://www.californiababy.com/
Our bodies have a natural innate healing ability and our skin wasn’t made to be defective. We ruin it and our health more than anything because of all the products we use today. Thus, start your baby off in the healthiest way possible. Keeping it simple and minimal is key. In the end the less products you put on your baby, the better.