When I left the hospital with my first baby just over five years ago, laden down with information booklets telling me how best to look after him, I remember feeling overwhelmed. I looked at my perfect new baby and all I wanted was to keep him safe. He seemed so tiny and vulnerable out in the real world. I’d spent nine months keeping him safe inside me and now that he was in my arms, I wanted to protect him even more.
When I look back from baby number three, I realise I was a little over the top. My new mum safety radar was set very high, but I don’t think you can ever blame someone for trying to do the best by their children.
I breastfed for as long as I felt I could manage, I was lucky, he was a good, quick feeder so made it easy for me. When it came to weaning him, I spent hours steaming organic fruits and vegetables, just trying to do the best I could for my beautiful son.
We are all exposed to hundreds of chemicals and potential toxins on a daily basis, from our shampoo to exhaust fumes. Over the years since becoming a mother, I have accepted that I cannot control everything my children are exposed to, but I try and limit exposure where I can.
I use toiletries that are as natural as possible which don’t contain SLS or parabans. SLS is a known irritant commonly found in shampoo and bath products while parabans are preservatives thought to mimic estrogen.
I make sure any food containers used by my children are BPA free. Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been commonly used until recently in baby bottles and children’s plastic plates and cups. Some research shows that BPA can leach out of food containers into food and may act as an endocrine disruptor.
When I had my son 5 years ago the only alternative I could find was glass, but now pretty much anything children are going to put into their mouths you can get BPA free, which is great.
I try to buy organic food where I can, if there is a huge price difference then I’ll probably choose the cheaper option, but just wash it really well.
As children are smaller than adults and eat and drink more than adults in proportion to their body weight, pesticides can be found at higher concentrations in their bodies, so it’s good to try to reduce this where possible.
Of course it would be much more harmful not to eat fruit and vegetables at all than to eat non organic food, but it makes sense to reduce exposure if you can. At the very least give your fruit and veg a good wash before it’s eaten.
When it comes to medicines, again I try very hard not to give anything to my children unless absolutely necessary. I usually try a more natural solution first, such as Stérimar® Baby nasal spray for blocked noses. For chesty coughs and colds we give the kids a hot steamy shower to try to clear their chests and then put books under their beds or cots to keep their heads raised and for sore throats a drink of warm water with some honey usually does the trick.
What do you think? Do you feel it is important to protect our children from these things or in small amounts are they ok? Do you spend more to buy products free of these chemicals? And which concern you the most?