Baby Care

























 

Starting Out Right

From the time we start preparing a room for a new baby, we are making choices about the child's environment. Many people get ready for a new child by painting, papering, and carpeting a baby's room with conventional products. They don’t realize that by doing so they may be creating an environment high in toxic chemicals. Most of us take it for granted that babies should be soothed with petroleum jelly and mineral oil, washed and shampooed with chemical-based cleansers, fed from plastic bottles, swaddled in disposable diapers, surrounded by scented products and put to sleep in pajamas treated with fire-retardant chemicals. But although parents act out of love, they are often unaware that the choices they make may be harmful to their child. There are baby care products by the hundred. How can a parent identify healthy alternatives?

It is very important to try to limit a baby's exposure to harmful chemicals. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults. Their immune systems and central nervous system are immature and still developing, which means their bodies are generally less capable of eliminating toxins. As well, children have roughly double the skin surface of adults per unit of body weight, so a child can absorb proportionally more chemicals. Babies and children breathe more air per body weight than adults do, which increases their exposure by inhalation. Decreasing a child's exposure to chemicals from day one, and even in the womb, could mean a lower risk of allergies and chemical sensitivities, and lower risk of cancers and other illnesses.

Anti-bacterials
Bedding
Bottles/nipples
Breast feeding
Bubble bath
Clothing
Cradle cap
Cribs – see furniture
Decorating
Diapers/Diaper rash
Diaper wipes - see wipes
Disinfectants - see anti-bacterials
Furniture
Lotion
Nipples - see bottles
Oil
Powder
Shampoo
Soap
Soothers
Teething
Toys
Wipes

Foundations for Health
Everyone knows the most important thing you can give a baby is love. Three other important foundations for a healthy life are breastfeeding, good nutrition and a healthy environment

Breastfeeding
All experts agree: breast-fed is best fed! Breast milk provides important anti-bodies which bolster the immune system, at a stage when babies are not yet able to make their own. Breast milk is easier for babies to digest, so they get more nutrients from it than from cow’s milk or formula. Because it is easier to digest, breast fed babies are less likely to have colic, gas and excessive spitting up. While one in 10 babies are allergic to cow's milk, there is much lower risk of allergy with breast milk. However, a baby may be allergic to something in the mother's diet, which is in her breast milk. Breast milk is the healthiest early food for a baby, even though few food sources, including breast milk, are free of environmental contamination. Expectant mothers who know or suspect that they have a high chemical load in their bodies should discuss breast feeding with their doctor, since chemicals in a mother's body may be found in breast milk.

Tips

  • If you are pumping breast milk for later use, it should be stored in glass bottles, not in plastic. Glass is easy to clean, sterilize and heat in warm water. Plastic bags may leach chemicals like phthalates into milk, especially when heated.
  • Nipple cracking is a common problem for women who are breastfeeding. Lactation consultants do not recommend using lotion on cracked nipples. Instead, they recommend spreading breast milk on the nipple and areola, and letting the area air dry. This will help prevent cracking, and will help nipples heal if cracking does occur, as breast milk contains healing ingredients

If you feel you must use a lotion, some less toxic alternatives are:

  • Aloe vera gel – food grade (Lily of the Desert)
  • Vitamin E oil – food grade
  • Olive oil (organic is best)
  • Lanolin cream (organic only). Note: lanolin is derived from sheep and is a common allergen.

Baby Food
Feeding your baby organic food is a good investment in your child's health. Children eat more food relative to body mass than adults, and they eat foods higher in pesticide residues—such as juices, fresh fruits and vegetables. A recent University of Washington study found that pre-school children aged 2-4 years who ate organic fruits and vegetables had 6 times less pesticide residues in their bodies than children who ate conventional produce.
Baby food is easy to make, and may even save you money. All you need is a blender and some cooked vegetables, fruits and meats. A little goes a long way with baby and you know exactly what is in the food you prepare. Babies do not miss salt and sugar so there is no need to add these seasonings. Baby food can be prepared and frozen in small quantities. You can freeze individual portions in a muffin tin, pop them out and store in a bag until needed, or freeze in small glass bottles. Organic produce is now readily available at most Atlantic Superstores and Farmers' Markets. Free-range meats, from animals which have not been fed antibiotics or growth hormones, are available at Farmers' Markets, some health food stores, and directly from producers.
Whether you are buying baby food or making your own, make sure its stored in glass jars. Plastic can leach hazardous chemicals like phthalates into food.
Experts advise starting a baby on vegetables and then adding fruit to the diet. By adding sweeter foods like fruit later, it is less likely that a baby will reject vegetables in favour of the sweeter foods.

A Clean Environment
Provide your child with a less toxic environment. An environment which is smoke free, free of pesticides, and free of fabric softeners, air fresheners, commercial disinfectants and anti-bacterial cleaners will decrease your child's exposure to many chemicals which have been linked to human health problems. Choosing less toxic baby care products is another important part of providing a healthy environment.

General tip: Avoid spray products, especially around small children. Sprays create very fine airborne particles which can be more easily and deeply inhaled, thus increasing exposure. Squirt don't spray is a good rule of thumb.

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Less Toxic Baby Care Products

Anti-bacterials

Anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners are not necessary, and are not a healthy choice. Many advertisements play on parents’ fear of germs.
They imply that anti-bacterial, anti-microbial or disinfectant cleaners, sprays and even toys are important for a healthy environment for a child. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many people choose anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners because advertising implies that using them will help protect your family against colds and flus.
But colds and flus are viruses, and anti-bacterials have no effect on them at all.

Several reasons why experts recommend not using anti-bacterial products for home use are:

  • In addition to being unnecessary, they expose us to harmful chemicals. The two most commonly used anti-bacterial chemicals in soaps are triclosan and chloroxylenol (or PCMX). Triclosan is a suspected immunotoxin, and a suspected skin or sense organ toxicant. It is classified as a high volume chemical: over a million pounds are used annually in the US. Triclosan is a derivative of the herbicide 2,4-D. It creates dioxin, a carcinogen, as a by-product. A Swedish study found high levels of this bactericide in human breast milk. Chloroxylenol is also a suspected immunotoxin and skin or sense organ toxicant, as well as a gastrointestinal or liver toxicant.
  • Not all bacteria make people sick. Some are beneficial. Anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners kill both beneficial and harmful bacteria. By killing the beneficial ones, they actually leave us more vulnerable to the harmful ones we encounter. Children especially need exposure to some germs, to develop their immune systems.
  • Scientists are concerned that the widespread use of anti-bacterials contributes to the development of resistant bacteria, bacteria that will only be killed by different or stronger doses of chemicals. So when we need to kill harmful bacteria, like strep, staph and e-coli, it will be more difficult.
  • Anti-bacterial soaps may be more irritating and drying to skin.

The US Center for Disease Control says that anti-bacterial soaps are not necessary. They recommend that the simplest and most effective thing people can do to reduce the spread of infectious disease is to use effective handwashing, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. Proper handwashing means rubbing hands under running water for 15 seconds.
Cleaning products with added anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and disinfectant ingredients have similar risks to antibacterial soaps, and are equally unnecessary for normal home use.

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Beds, bedding, mattresses

Harmful ingredients: foams, fire retardant chemicals, dyes, formaldehyde finishes, plastic (polyester), cotton pesticides. Bedding washed with conventional detergents, especially scented ones, and fabric softeners means a child is constantly breathing and touching additional harmful chemicals.

The most common beddings are made of polyester/ cotton blends or all polyester. Synthetic fabrics emit low levels of chemicals throughout their life. Bedding of 100% cotton, hemp, linen or wool is least toxic. However, most conventional bedding, even of natural fibers, is subjected to several chemical treatments before reaching the consumer. Avoid bedding which is advertised as wrinkle resistant or no ironing required. Wrinkle-resistant fabrics are treated with chemicals containing formaldehyde which is a carcinogen and a sensitizer. This treatment is designed to last the life of the fabric and is impossible to wash out completely. Wool blankets may be treated with mothproofing chemicals which are also designed to last a lifetime.
Buying cotton flannel or unbleached cottons at a fabric store to make your own baby bedding is easy, and fabric yardage is usually untreated.

Less Toxic Alternatives

Crib futons with unbleached cotton covers and no sizing or fire retardant can be ordered at The Futon Store in Halifax. They are available with 100% cotton stuffing or with cotton around a foam core.

  • BabyHemp - organic cotton bedding. P'lovers in Halifax. www.babyhemp.com 
  • Under the Nile - organic cotton bedding. P'lovers in Halifax. www.underthenile.com
  • Untreated 100% cotton, hemp or linen sheets. President's Choice "Maison" sheets (250 thread count) have no chemical treatment and are made with vegetable dye. Adult sizes can be cut down to make sheets or mattress covers for a crib.
    100% cotton blankets
  • Wool blankets without mothproofing are available from McCauslin's Mill, PEI, and Lismore Sheep Farm Store, River John, N.S. Lismore Sheep Farm Store also makes comforters out of cotton fabric with wool batting. Note: many people are allergic to wool, even wool without mothproofing chemicals.

Tips

You can order mattresses without flame retardants if you have a letter or prescription from your doctor.

To decrease exposure to dust and dust mites in a mattress, you can wrap the mattress in barrier cloth. Untreated 100% cotton barrier cloth is good, but avoid barrier cloth made from synthetic materials, like polypropylene or vinyl.

To decrease exposure to off-gassing from plastic, wrap a plastic mattress cover with several layers of washable cotton barrier cloth. Cotton sheets with high thread counts (250 or more) can function in the same way as barrier cloth.

If you need to completely avoid plastics, and still need protect a baby's mattress from urine, aluminum foil paper (available at hardware stores) is an alternative.

Home-made Alternatives
To remove some finishes, excess dyes or conventional detergents and fabric softeners, several times, or soak overnight a tub of water with ONE of the following:

1/2 to 1 cup vinegar.
1/2 – 1 cup pickling salt. Do not soak in an enameled tub, as salt will cause tub to rust over time.
1/4 – l cup baking soda. If using baking soda, rewash several times to remove residue

Note: Many chemical treatments are designed not to wash out. Scented detergents and fabric softeners never completely wash out, but the above washing methods will decrease chemical residues and smells. The chemicals in mothballs are almost impossible to remove and are highly toxic.

For information on cribs, see furniture.

On-line sources of organic cotton bedding and mattresses
Links to hundreds of sites selling organic cotton and hemp baby clothing, bedding and toys

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Bottles/Nipples

Harmful materials: latex rubber, plastic, nitrosamines

Nipples for bottles are usually made of latex rubber or silicone. Latex rubber nipples can release nitrosamines, potent carcinogens, when babies suckle the nipple. They also tend to break down faster than silicone nipples, which can cause cracks where bacteria can hide.

A common plastic used in baby bottles is polycarbonate. In separate studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Consumers Union and researchers at Nagasaki University in Japan found that baby bottles made of polycarbonate plastic release a hormone-disrupting chemical, bisphenol-A, into infant formula during sterilization and heating on the stove-top. The Japanese scientists also found that used bottles leached up to nearly twice as much as new bottles.

Other plastic bottles and plastic disposable bags for bottles may leach phthalates, another hormone disrupting chemical.

Some plastic bottles have coloured designs on the inside of the bottle which can come off during heating.

The best option is tempered glass bottles with silicone nipples. Both are widely available in pharmacies and department stores. Glass bottles are easily cleaned and sterilized, and can be handed down from baby to baby.

Best

Evenflo - glass bottles, silicone nipples
Gerber - silicone nipples
Playtex - silicone nipples

Of course, the absolute best packaging for milk is the human breast.

Pharmacies can easily order glass bottles if they do not have them in stock.
Nurtured Products for Parenting, Dartmouth, NS stocks glass baby bottles and stainless steel sippy cups, www.nurtured.ca

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Bubble Bath

Bubble baths are extremely irritating to skin and genital areas. Toys are a less toxic alternative for bath play. Or if you really must have bubbles, a small amount of less toxic dish detergent or shampoo can be used to make bubbles.

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Clothing

Harmful ingredients: fire retardant chemicals, dyes, formaldehyde finishes, plastic (polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex), cotton pesticides. Washing baby clothing with scented detergents and fabric softeners surrounds a child with additional harmful chemicals.

Untreated cotton or other natural fibre clothing is the least toxic choice. There are lots of sources for natural fiber clothing. It is not always easy to find out if a product has received a chemical finish in the production process. Organic fabrics and products marketed for the chemically sensitive are less likely to have chemical finishes, or to have chemical fabric softeners used during processing. Yard goods are less likely to have chemical treatments than manufactured clothing.

Regulations concerning fire retardant and children’s sleepwear have changed. It is no longer required that all sleepwear be treated with fire retardant. Clothes and bedding treated with fire retardant must be labeled. However, companies are not required to disclose what chemical is being used.
Cotton clothing can be used as sleepwear. If sleepwear is made of natural fibre fabrics, close fitting patterns which allow less oxygen flow are recommended for reduced flammability. For other flammability concerns, see http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hecs-sesc/cps/publications/sleepwear/preface.htm.

Of the synthetic fabrics, polyester and nylon off-gas the least. Most fleeces are made of polyester. Avoid those with chemical weather-resistant treatments.

Home-made Alternatives
To remove some finishes, excess dyes or conventional detergents and fabric softeners, wash several times, or soak overnight a tub of water with ONE of the following:
  • 1/2 to 1 cup vinegar.
  • 1/2 – 1 cup pickling salt. Do not soak in an enameled tub, as salt will cause tub to rust over time.
  • 1/4 – l cup baking soda. If using baking soda, rewash several times to remove residue

Note: Many chemical treatments are designed not to wash out. Scented detergents and fabric softeners never completely wash out, but the above washing methods will decrease chemical residues and smells. The chemicals in mothballs are almost impossible to remove and are highly toxic.

Links to hundreds of sites selling organic cotton and hemp baby clothing, bedding and toys.

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Cradle cap

Massage scalp area with pure olive oil, leave on for one hour, then comb with a fine toothed comb.

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Decorating

Many people prepare for a new child by painting, papering, and carpeting the baby's room with conventional products, never thinking that by doing so they may create an environment high in harmful chemicals.
It's now easy to find less toxic paints. Look for ones with low VOC's, or with the Ecologo or Envirodesic label. A good quality washable paint makes sense for a child's room.
New carpeting can contain toxic chemicals. Carpets carrying the industry's "green label" will contain fewer harmful ingredients. Carpets are traps for dust, dirt, bacteria, moulds, food scraps and urine. Although people tend to think a nice soft carpet will be best for a baby, an easily cleaned hard surface floor, with area rugs which can be washed in less toxic detergents makes a sensible choice for a baby's room.
These days, most wallpaper is made of vinyl, for easy cleaning. But vinyl off-gases plastic compounds. It also tends to trap moisture, which encourages hidden mould growth between the paper and wall, which can release mould spores into the air.
Metal blinds with baked on paint are a less toxic choice than blinds made of PVC plastic. Plastic blinds can give off chemicals, especially when exposed to the heat of the sun or radiators. If using fabric curtains, untreated natural fibers are the best option. When exposed to sunlight, all fabrics break down. When synthetic or treated fabrics break down, they release harmful particulates. Even when using safer products, a room which is being redecorated should be prepared several months in advance and aired out well, so that by the time the baby arrives the chemical load in the room is decreased.

Tips Dust and dust mites are common allergens. When decorating, consider limiting dust collectors, including plush toys and frills on bedskirts or curtains. Having a toy box with a lid that can close, and a bookshelf with doors can help keep dust from collecting. Washing curtains and dusting blinds will help keep down dust and dust mites.

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Diapers

Harmful ingredients: dye, fragrance, plastic, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, dipentene

Disposable diapers consist of a plastic exterior, an inner super-absorbent layer treated with chemicals, and a liner. One commonly used absorbent chemical, sodium polyacrylate, can trigger allergic reactions. Disposable diapers may also contain dyes and dioxin, a carcinogenic by-product of the chlorine bleaching process.

A study conducted by Anderson Laboratories in 1999 and published in the Archives of Environmental Health found that disposable diapers release volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), including toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and dipentene. All of these VOCs have been shown to have toxic health effects, such as cancer and brain damage, with long-term or high level exposure.
The researchers also discovered that mice exposed to the chemicals released by disposable diapers were more likely to experience irritated airways than mice exposed to emissions from cloth diapers. These effects were increased during repeat exposures. The authors suggested that disposable diapers may cause "asthma-like" reactions and urged more study into a possible link between diaper emissions and asthma.

Best

Absolutely Diapers - cotton diapers and accessories, Canadian mail order, http://www.hipbaby.com
Ecobaby Organics – organic cotton diapers. US mail order, www.ecobaby.com
Fall River Laundry, Fall River, Nova Scotia provides cotton diapers in a range of baby and senior sizes.
My L’il Miracle – cotton diapers, diaper covers, accessories, Canadian mail order www.mylilmiracle.com
Nurtured Products for Parenting, cotton diapers and accessories, Dartmouth, NS, Canadian mail order, www.nurtured.ca
Parenting by Nature, Canadian mail order, cotton diapers and accessories, www.parentingbynature.com
P’lovers Environmental Store, Halifax, NS, several brands of cotton diapers
Royal Diaperer and Baby Accessories - cloth diapers and diaper covers. Bedford, N.S., http://www.royaldiaperer.com

Good

Seventh Generation - Chlorine-free Diapers (disposable unbleached diapers)

Home-made Alternatives
Purchase cotton flannel by the metre and make old-fashioned diapers by cutting into squares and hemming the edges. Old flannel sheets can also make good diapers. Patterns for diapers can be found at www.borntolove.com.

TipsDiaper rashes seem to be part of babyhood. Leaving the bum uncovered some of the time can help prevent diaper rashes. Some methods that have been proven useful in dealing with baby bum rashes are:

  • Air dry the bum
  • Powder the bum with cornstarch, arrowroot or rice flour
  • Apply vegetable oil (organic is best) or shortening
  • In cases of persistent or severe rashes, consult a doctor. In some cases, rashes can be symptoms of hidden food allergies, hidden reactions to contact with chemicals such as antimicrobials in diapers or scents in lotions or detergents, or other chemical sensitivities.
  • In some cases, yeast infections in breast fed babies can be related to the mother restarting oral birth control pills.

Diaper services - Fall River Laundry serves most of HRM and parts of Hants County.

For more information on cloth diapers click here.

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Diaper wipes – see wipes

Disinfectants - see anti-bacterials

Furniture

Harmful ingredients: composite wood products, formaldehyde, glue, paint, plastic

Choose solid wood furniture with a non-toxic finish. New dressers and cribs may be made of particleboard, chipboard or pressboard, which are notorious sources of formaldehyde and other chemicals. These compressed wood products are made with small bits of wood mixed with glue and compressed into sheets or boards. The glue can off-gas for years.

Metal furniture is an excellent less toxic option. Used furniture is also a good choice because it will have less off-gassing, but be sure paint or varnish is non-toxic and not peeling or chipping. Older painted furniture (before 1960) probably has lead paint, which should not be anywhere that babies can chew it. Make sure cribs meet up to date safety standards.

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Lotion/diaper ointment

Harmful ingredients: PEG, TEA, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, parabens, lanolin (unless organic), 1,4-dioxane, fragrance, coal tar colours, ammonia, propylene glycol, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate.

Lotions are basically a mixture of water and oil, with an emulsifier added to keep the product from separating. PEG is the most common emulsifier in hand lotions. It can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen. TEA is also used and has been found to be a frequent sensitizer, and cause of contact dermatitis. TEA, DMDM hydantoin and quaternium-15 can release carcinogenic formaldehyde. Parabens, which are estrogen mimics, are commonly used as preservatives. Lanolin is often found in lotions. An animal product it can be contaminated with pesticides and it is a common allergen.

Best

Anointment - Diaper Ointment. P'lovers in Halifax. Nova Scotia company.
Aubrey Organics - Natural Baby and Kids Body Lotion
Autumn Harp - non-petroleum jelly
Avalon - Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly
Burt’s Bees - Baby Bee Diaper Ointment
Druide Bum Protecting Balm
Druide Protective Oil (spray, not greasy)
Druide Soothing xxx and Face Lotion
Kiss My Face – non-petroleum jelly
Moonsnail Soapworks - Moonbaby Bum Cream. P’Lovers in Halifax. PEI mail order. www.moonsnailsoapworks.com
Substance - Nappy Rash Ointment. P’Lovers in Halifax.
Weleda - Calendula Baby Lotion
Any lotion from the 'Best' category of the Personal Care Products - Lotion, Cream, Moisturizer

Good

Weleda - Calendula Baby Cream (contains lanolin)
Weleda - Diaper Care (contains lanolin)

Simply Unscented

Aveeno - Diaper Rash Cream; Daily Baby Lotion
Eucerine-Glycerin Water or Cream
Penaten - diaper cream
Vaseline - White Petroleum Jelly, look for the unscented product
Zincofax - look for the fragrance-free product

Tips You can reduce the need for lotions and oils if you don’t remove the natural oils on a baby’s skin by bathing more than necessary or using harsh soaps.

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Oil

Harmful ingredients: mineral oil, fragrance

There is no need to use petroleum products like mineral oil on a baby's skin. There are less toxic products available, and home-made alternatives are safe and inexpensive.

Best

Anointment - Baby Oil. P'lovers in Halifax. N.S. company.
Moonsnail Soapworks - Moonbaby Heating Oil. P’Lovers in Halifax. www.moonsnailsoapworks.com
Substance - Herbal Hug Baby Oil. P'lovers in Halifax
Weleda - Calendula Baby Oil

Good

Little Forest - Baby Oil

Home-made Alternatives
Use a mild oil or combination of oils like safflower, grapeseed, coconut, wheat germ, sesame, apricot kernel, almond, jojoba or vitamin E. Organic is best.

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Powder

Harmful ingredients: talc, perfume, dye

Use any powder with caution. It can become airborne and irritate the respiratory system. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral which is carcinogenic when inhaled. Talcum powder is reported to cause coughing, vomiting, and even pneumonia. Many pediatricians now tell parents to avoid using talc on babies as it can cause respiratory distress, sometimes resulting in death.

Best

Anointment - P'lovers in Halifax.
Little Forest - Baby Powder

Home-made Alternatives
Use rice starch, cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

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Shampoo

Shampoos cause the most number of adverse reactions of all hair care products. They frequently contain harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and numerous irritating and carcinogenic compounds. Some of the most common are sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate, an irritant which can form carcinogenic nitrosamines, DEA, TEA, and MEA which are hormone disruptors and can release carcinogenic nitrosamines, quaternium-15, DMDM hydratoin which can release carcinogenic nitrosamines, polyethylene glycol, an irritant, coal tar, a carcinogen, propylene glycol, a neurotoxin which can cause dermatitis, liver and kidney damage, and EDTA, an irritant.
“Tear free” shampoos are made with a pH (acidity level) the same as a baby’s tears, which is why they don’t sting. But a neutral pH is less irritating to the scalp and skin. The best option is to use a less toxic shampoo with a neutral pH, and make sure to keep it out of eyes.

Best

Aubrey Organics - Natural Baby and Kids Shampoo
Druide Silky Shampoo

Any shampoo in the 'Best' category of the Personal Care Products - Shampoo section will be mild enough for baby.

Good

Tom's - Honeysuckle Baby Shampoo

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Soap

Harmful ingredients: fragrance, dye, mineral oil, antibacterial chemicals, ammonia, formaldehyde, glycols, phenol, BHA/BHT

Natural soap is easy to make and today there is a tremendous variety of good soap available, much of it produced locally by small crafters. Natural soap is made from either animal or vegetable fat, and an alkali such as lye. Most conventional soaps contain perfumes, dyes, mineral oil and other petroleum-based chemicals that can clog pores, irritate, and dry skin. Bubble baths contain irritants which should not be used on babies.

Babies’ skin contains natural oils. Washing too frequently can remove these oils, causing skin to be dry and irritated. Some dermatologists suggest bathing a baby only once or twice a week, and cleaning dirty body parts like bums, faces and hands as needed. Use plain warm water and a mild soap when needed.

Anti-bacterial soaps are not necessary for home use. Children do not have to be protected from all bacteria, in fact, some bacterial are beneficial. Scientists are concerned that antibacterial soaps kill beneficial bacteria and also contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Not all bacteria will be killed by an anti-bacterial soap. The surviving bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and go on to produce a new generation of resistant bacteria. This means that when its really important, disease creating bacteria will be harder to kill. Antibacterial soaps can also be more drying and irritating.
Triclosan, one of the most popular antibacterial agents, is a derivative of the herbicide 2.4-D. It can create dioxin, a carcinogen, as a by-product. A Swedish study found high levels of this bactericide in human breast milk.

Best

Aubrey Organics - Natural Baby and Kids Bath Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Aloe Vera Baby Mild
Druide Organic Soap – Hibiscus Shea Butter, Camomile Calendula, Mango Camomile
Druide Silky Cleansing Gel
Druide Calming Bath Potion
Moonsnail Soapworks - Moonbaby Healing Soap. P’Lovers in Halifax. www.moonsnailsoapworks.com
Substance - Baby Body Foam. P’Lovers in Halifax
Weleda - Calendula Baby Soap

Simply Unscented

Aveeno- Creamy Baby Cleanser
Baby's Own

Special baby soaps are not necessary. Most soaps from the 'Best' category of Personal Care Products – Soap will be mild enough for baby.

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Soothers

Soothers are usually made of latex rubber or silicone. Latex rubber soothers can release nitrosamines, potent carcinogens, when babies suck on them. They also tend to break down faster than silicone soothers, which can cause cracks where bacteria can hide. If you are going to use a soother, choose one made from silicone.

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Teething

Rub gums with ice cubes, or freeze a moistened cotton face cloth for baby to chew on.

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Toys

Harmful ingredients: Dyes, plastics, glues. Stuffed toys can provide a haven for dust and dust mites.
Babies put everything into their mouths so be sure you provide less-toxic toys. Some plastic toys can leach hormone disrupting chemicals. Quality wood and cloth toys will not use toxic paints, glues, dyes or fabrics.

Internet or mail order sources of less toxic toys:
Ecobaby Organics - Canadian mail order. www.ecobaby.com
Nurtured Products for Parenting, Dartmouth, NS showroom, Canadian mail order. www.nurtured.ca
naturalplay.com - U.S. mailorder. www.naturalplay.com
Parenting by Nature, Canadian mail order, http://www.parentingbynature.com
The Playstore - U.S. mailorder. www.playstoretoys.com

TipsTo keep dust levels in stuffed toys down, toys can be put in a freezer for 24 hours, or put in a dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. If putting toys in a dryer, cover eyes with tape to prevent them losing their shine.

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Wipes

Harmful ingredients: alcohol, perfume, chlorine, dioxin

Best

At home, simply use a cotton wash cloth and soap. For short trips away from home, put cotton wash cloths moistened with water and a less toxic liquid soap in a jar or plastic bag. Bring another container to store soiled cloths.

Keep a spray bottle of soapy water near your change table. Spray the dirty area and wipe with a cloth (washable) or tissue.

Good

Seventh Generation - Baby Wipes (non-chlorine bleached, unscented, alcohol-free)

Simply Unscented

Huggies - Natural Care Baby Wipes, Supreme Care Baby Wipes. Look for the unscented ones.
Life - Ultra Soft Cloths, unscented
Pampers - Natural Aloe Touch Wipes, unscented
Teddy’s- Unscented Baby Wipes (alcohol free)

Home-made Alternatives
Take a container with a tight fitting lid and fill it with cotton pads (the kind for removing make-up) or squares of old flannel or old diapers. Add a few squirts of vegetable oil and fill the container with warm water. Keep container closed until needed. Soiled cloth wipes can be washed with diapers.

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