Guest Post by Caroline from Avidiva
When you become a mummy for the first time you are filled with love, delight, joy, amazement and that sense of a true connection, an ultimate bond and those primal like instincts kick in.
You are surviving through sleep deprivation, through worry, through sheer exhaustion, as your milk comes in, hubby returns to work and you are left with this tiny little human to look after, to protect and to nourish.
It’s often an overwhelming time, a time when you have so much responsibility and often, unknowingly, so little knowledge. Dr Google becomes your best friend and you wonder just how your mum did it!! We live in a world of options… so many choices, so many places giving advice, and so many decisions to be made! And now you’re not just making these decisions for little old you, you’re making them for your precious bundle too.
How do you decide which car seat to buy? Whether to co-sleep or not? If cloth nappies or disposables are the way forward? What to do when they just won’t settle?! If you’re feeding them enough?! Or too much…?!
We wanted to share a little bit about what we’ve learned along the way, with some reasoning for choosing natural alternatives. Sometimes it just feels good to be in the know, so you can be sure the decisions you’re making are the right ones.
The lowdown on plastics
Plastic seems like the perfect material for toys, dummies, plates, bottles… you name it! However, being man made, plastics contain a whole range of chemicals. Fortunately, you can determine which is the (main) chemical used by the resin labelling on the item. Here’s the main culprits to look out for… PVC, Phthalates, and BPA:
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).
Unfortunately, these can be pretty commonly found in plastic toys (labelled with PVC, V, or #3). PVC has been linked to asthma, allergies and reproductive problems. During the manufacture and recycling of PVC plastics, dioxin is created. They are highly toxic chemicals which can harm human neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal systems. They can be found in the environment, our food, and even in breastmilk.
Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible and are often found in products such as teethers, adhesives, perfumes, and even mossie repellents. Phthalates are linked to several health issues including cancer, endocrine disruption, development delays, and reproductive system damage.
BPA (Bisphenol A).
Even with much hype about BPA free products, this one is still around (as are other Bisphenols). If anything is labelled with #7, then BPA has been used to manufacture it. Most commonly used to create rigid, hard plastics be sure to check baby bottles, toys and pacifiers. As an endocrine disrupter, BPA mimics the body’s hormones and can cause harmful developmental effects in babies and children. It’s been linked to attention disorders, such as ADHD, cancer cell growth, obesity, nervous system problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and early onset puberty. It is persistent in the environment too.
Overall, not great for bub or our planet!! However, it’s not just plastics that may be harmful to our bubs, and toxic to our environment. A couple of other things to look out for include:
Be wary of the materials used in stuffing for soft toys! Some contain petroleum based polyfill, something you’ll want to steer clear of if bub is in close contact with the toy. Much better to have an organic cotton buddy to cuddle, or an eco-filled toy to teeth on.
Many thousands of toys made in China were recalled a few years back, for having high levels of lead in the paint. Lead poisoning can lead to kidney damage, growth and developmental delays. Best to look out for those toys labelled as using non-toxic paint.
So how do you avoid all these pretty nasty sounding nasties?!
- You can stay clear of PVC. Easily done by only buying those plastic toys labelled as PVC free, or checking that there is no #3 on the item.
- You can avoid BPA. Just steer clear of anything made from #7 plastic (especially if they are going anywhere near bub’s mouth!)
- Check plastics to be sure they are labelled as phthalate free.
- Look for the numbers 1, 2, or 4 on plastic toys. These numbers mean the plastic is made from polyethylene. This is a BPA, PVC and phthalate free plastic.
- Go recycled where you can. This helps to minimise landfill waste, reduces toxins in our environment and preserves our natural resources. Winner all round!
If you’d prefer to ditch the plastic (and the batteries!!) all together, there are a whole heap of other options that are not only safe, but bring a world of benefits to bub too!
Opt for wooden toys
The beautiful, natural texture of wood is perfect for sensory development. Babies learn by touch, smell and taste… all of which are completely safe when it comes to wooden toys. They stimulate the imagination, boost cognitive development, encourage children to be more physically active, and often require more interaction from the child. All together a much more satisfying toy!
They’re still tough and durable, as well as easy to clean, but also sustainable.
Bamboo is a super sustainable material, which doesn’t contribute to deforestation. The harvesting of bamboo creates very few emissions, making it kind on the environment too. Another safe, non-toxic choice for bub.
Choose organic cotton
Know that the material you clothe and wrap your baby in is pesticide free. Standard cotton production involves heavy spraying and toxic chemicals, not so great for our vulnerable newborns, especially those with any skin sensitivities. Same goes for those comforters and beloved rattles too, insecticide-free is the way forward when they are snuggled up to their besties so often.
There you have it… a whole world of choice! Choosing natural is beneficial to you, bub and the environment. Plus, it’s great to educate these littlies from an early age and get them in good habits! Happy, safe shopping mama! Enjoy this amazing and fulfilling, but most definitely crazy roller coaster style journey lovely, you got this!
Caroline from Avidiva has worked tirelessly to ensure that the baby products she stocks are as natural and safe as possible for you and your baby. You can check out her products here