Those of you who have read my blog for a while will know that I am passionate about living simply, with less and trying to reduce the amount of un-natural chemical based products in our home.
Over the last week I have been unpacking lots of stored baby stuff in preparation for our imminent arrival and was so glad to find that we are pretty much sorted when it comes to baby items this time around. Although we tried to keep our purchases for Ivy to a minimum it is inevitable that you have to buy a lot for a first child; everything about your life is going to change! It feels wonderfully freeing to be able to bring our baby home to a place that is already set up for children and that we're not going to be surrounded by lots of new 'stuff'.
Disposable items and toiletries are the only things we need for this baby. Before I had Ivy I dutifully listened to all the adverts and filled my basket with an array of nappy creams, breast feeding creams, stretch-mark creams, baby oils and so on, but now I wish that I could tell every new or soon-to-be parent (and go back and tell myself!) that most of the baby products advertised are NOT NECESSARY and that natural, household products can often be much cheaper and healthier for our children. This time I'll be using these alternatives instead:
I recently blogged about my discovery of coconut oil. I love it. It's so versatile and can be used to replace many chemical based products around our home. I can't possibly list all the uses for coconut oil in this post (you'll find hundreds online) but we mainly use it as a moisturiser (it can be used to prevent stretch-marks), in lip balm, instead of nappy rash cream and on sore dry skin. I love the idea that you can just as easily cook with coconut oil as use it on your body and that gives me confidence using it on my child's delicate skin.
This is much the same as coconut oil, but I remember in the early days we used olive oil on Ivy's peeling newborn skin (it tends of happen in the week after birth). I have read a lot about the un-natural (potentially cancer causing) chemicals found in conventional baby-oils and simply smoothing on some olive oil with cotton wool seemed to work effectively for us.
Reusable baby wipes
I have written before of my concern over chemical laden baby wipes which can irritate a baby's delicate newborn skin. It is so easy to make your own re-useable baby wipes out of a sheet of fleece (or you can buy them online for a few pounds like I did) which can then either be run under the tap when needed or prepared in advance by soaking the fleece in a solution of chamomile tea and honey and kept in an air-tight container for a few days.
If, like me, you find the convenience of packaged wipes too good to let go completely I cannot recommend chemical-free alternatives (such as WaterWipes) highly enough.
Please do share your own experiences of natural or alternative baby products.