I’m a mother of two boys, one 8 and one 16 months. I do the best I can. I try to feed my boys a healthy and well balanced diet. I conscientiously serve meals to provide the best nutrition, with a picky eater, that has been very challenging! My journey has been a slow one. It began a few years ago when I noticed my younger sister using Aveeno for her daughter’s bath. We had a quick conversation about our childrens’ eczema and she recommended that try it. I was using Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe since I brought my son home from the hospital 5 years earlier. I bought Aveeno and also switched our laundry detergent to All Free and Clear from Tide. Up to this point, my son always seemed to be sick. He was always coughing, he had eczema in the crook of both arms that he would itch till bleeding, I believed he had exercise-induced or some preliminary form of asthma. He had pneumonia twice, strep, countless respiratory viruses, and was on numerous antibiotics through all of this. I was shocked that a baby could get so sick, but was told that babies just get sick all the time.
The day I made those minor changes was the last day I can remember seeing the eczema, it cleared up right away. The colds lessened in frequency and intensity. I didn’t hear my child coughing as much as I used to. I realized that by changing two things in my house, I had made a major impact on my child’s health. As relieved as I was, I was also devastated. How could I have done such a thing to my child, and why more importantly, did I not know about it?
So here I am on this journey, learning something new every single day. It was very slow in the beginning. I thought it was more of a lifestyle choice, not a necessity. While I’ve been learning about the chemicals in our household products, I stumbled across something even bigger that is in a majority of the food we eat, Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs.
“GMOs are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe.”
I didn’t know anything about this, never heard of it at all, but for the last 16 years, I’ve been eating GMO foods. I then watched videos
and even went to a seminar,
and I’ve realized today that I have not only been hurting myself by eating this food, but I’ve passed it onto my boys as well. My 16 month old son has just eaten GMO formula for 12 months straight, it being his only food source in the first 6 months of his life. I didn’t buy the store brand, I paid for the most expensive brand, thinking I was doing the best I could, even if it meant stressing about bills. Here I am believing in it, not knowing for a second that this could hurt my child. Upon finding out about what was really in his formula, I was shocked and furious. Moms should know and have every right to know what is in the formula they feed their babies.
Millions of dollars have been spent to stop that legislation proposed in California that would make it mandatory to label GMO foods. http://www.carighttoknow.org/
We need to stop assuming that when something is approved by the FDA or regulated by the EPA, that it is safe. I’ve learned along the way that it is up to me to figure out what I’m bringing home from the store. We need to find out where we can make healthier purchases for our babies and it has to be within our means. Those options are out there.
And we have to start talking to each other about this, at the playground and in our social groups. We need to understand why it’s so important. Think of the drastic increase in all the diseases and chronic illnesses over the last few decades… it’s got to make you wonder. Could it be what we eat, the products we use on our bodies, the cleaning supplies we use to keep our homes germ free?
Do this for your family, your brothers and sisters and their families, your mom and your dad. When people say we ate all this and we’re fine, remind them that this is new, only 16 years ago the first seed was introduced into our food supply. Read what you can, and make up your own mind. There are tons of sources online, from the nytimes.com to the non-profits trying desperately to get this message out. Once you start reading the articles, blogs, and watching the videos, you will have a better understanding and be able to make much better choices for your children.
Download the TrueFood app to find out where you can buy non GMO foods.
I also have the GoodGuide app for home and beauty products.
Moms should know that milk is not purely milk anymore, that soy is not simply soy, and that sugar is being replaced with corn and soy derived sweeteners, none of which have ever been tested or regulated. And yet these GMOs are trusted enough to put in our bodies without understanding the long term affects. Find out for yourself, make informed choices, and most importantly have fun in the journey.
I’m trying to eliminate all the chemicals and nasties out of my home. The thought of switching out all my products and food is daunting, considering how much STUFF I have and use on a daily basis. I created a simple checklist in a notebook so that I could see it all on paper. It was much easier to see everything I use rather than try to think about it. I didn’t want to miss anything or to continue feeling overwhelmed about all of the stuff I need to replace. I’ve been making small changes here and there and wanted to get a good look at my progress so far and see what else needed replacing. After doing this checklist, I realized that I don’t use as much stuff as I thought I did, and that I was well on my way to reaching my goal.
Then I created a “fancy excel” checklist to keep around to check off items as I go… see what I have replaced so far and what I still need to do my research on. This checklist below is an example of our personal bath products. I’ll also create one for kitchen and cleaning products. Food might be more difficult because we all eat so many different things, but a checklist with the basics will be a great way to start.
You can make small changes, one thing at a time, and know you’re headed in the right direction. I’ve found myself picking things I’ve never considered before and enjoying this new adventure. I almost feel like I’m in a different country trying to navigate the foreign products. It has been fun and I know in the meantime, that I’m doing a great thing for my family!
Next up… diapers and wipes. I just received my trial package of diapers and wipes from the Honest Company. I am very excited to see how they hold up on my 17 month old! Another great resource is foodbabe.com, she has a list of natural products that I’m really excited to try.
When my second son was born, he had a bad case of cradle cap or what seems to always come out “cradle crap”. It’s dry scales of skin on a baby’s forehead and scalp area. It didn’t seem to bother him at all, but I thought well, I must do something about it! So a great friend of mine offered her cradle cap care that she was given for her first child. She said that it was calendula oil and that was supposed to help with cradle cap. I tried it for many days, but the cradle crap was still there, no change whatsoever.
During this time, I was researching a better wipe for my baby as well. I’ve become more aware of nasty chemicals in our everyday products and I was using websites to help me find the brands that weren’t big offenders. During this search for a nice wipe, I found that my cradle cap care was an offender! I was so shocked to find all these horrible chemicals in what was supposed to be an all natural treatment. I was surprised to learn about the fragrance, the silica, the parabens, etc… I was putting all these chemicals on my newborn baby, only a few weeks old! (Check out the ingredients for this product here: http://www.goodguide.com/products/333020-gentle-naturals-cradle-cap) I did some researching online and found that olive oil could work as a treatment.
Each night, right before bath time, I rubbed some olive oil on my little one’s head, and no, I did not put him in a pot with carrots and celery… I let it sit on his head about five minutes, long enough to make lots of silly jokes with my family. Then up we went to the bath, using a baby comb, I combed the cradle cap right off his head, gave a rinse and within a week or two it was almost completely gone! And his head was not itchy or dry. It was shocking to me that something as simple as olive oil would finally treat the cradle crap!
My lesson in all this, don’t assume because it’s sold in the baby section that it’s okay to put on your newborn’s skin. Do some research, check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep or http://www.goodguide.com. Look closely at the ingredients, don’t trust the “All Natural” labeling, be your own advocate for you and your family’s well-being. And don’t look past using what you have in your own kitchen pantry!