Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And now to make some changes...

So I am feeling it's necessary to start making some educated decisions.  I'll admit I didn't do all the research I could have done before Gunnar was born. I'm not sure why I'm so unprepared...I certainly had enough time to do the reading during the 9 months of pregnancy, but I guess maybe I just didn't have the right resources handed to me.

After finishing the "It's easy Being Green" chapter last night in my go-to-baby book "SuperBaby: 12 ways to give your child a head start in the first 3 years" I'm beginning to feel quite naive when it comes to toxic chemicals in baby products and household items. I'd always heard about lead poisoning recalls in babies toys but I had no idea it was lethal to infants and that the same lead that gets toys recalled is found in your car and house keys (yikes! I never thought there was anything wrong with giving baby the real thing to play with, but now I know better). 

I'm not a huge germaphobe but I do like a good antibacterial scrub down whenever I feel like I've touched something dirty. So I do have a GIANT bottle of antibacterial sanitizer on Gunnar's changing table. What I didn't know was that tests have shown that triclosan, one of the key chemicals in antibacterial products, causes bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. Triclosan is also a hormone disrupter that has been linked to weakened immune systems, decreased fertility, birth defects and cancer (I know I know, everything causes cancer...but hormones?) And this is found in all antibacterial soaps too, not just sanitizers.

I have to give my mother some credit for knowing more than me about flame retardants in mattresses and purchasing an organic and retardant-free mattress cover for Gunnar's crib (Thanks mom!). Flame retardants or Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are another hormone disrupter that have been linked to impaired memory, abnormalities of coordination, hyperactivity and infertility.  I didn't realize that most baby sleepwear contains this same harmful chemical.  How do you know if they have this chemical? Check the labels. If they are treated with flame retardants it might say: "Chemically treated", "Flame resistant", "Made with Flame Retardant Polyester" or "contains flame retardant".  I checked Gunnar's new sleepsack 'Halo-Back to Sleep' brand...and sure enough it read: "Made with Flame Retardant Polyester".

I don't want to be one of those scared straight mom's. But I also don't want to be ignorant. I feel a little cheated. Why doesn't the government regulate these things like they do in Scandinavia and Germany? Yes, it's good to prevent fire from catching on my kids pj's, but is it necessary to alter my kids hormones in the process? No! Why not educate mothers that putting your child in tight fitting pajamas will do the trick without harming them with chemicals?
I know that the chances of my child developing some hormonal abnormality from occassionally sleeping in a sleepsack (that isn't touching his skin, with the exception of his feet) is probably slim. But the fact that it could happen makes me upset that I purchased this sleepsack unaware that I was taking that risk.
So what should I do? I probably should find a certified organic cotton sleepsack to replace those with the flame retardant.  But they can be pricey...and I like to have more than one. I found a few on amazon, like this one: Search Amazon.com for organic sleep sack
But I think for now I won't be able to afford more than one.

I also should probably order one of these hand sanitizers without triclosan as Jenn Berman recommends in her book:

Burt's Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer Pump Spray

EO Hand Sanitizer, Organic Lavender, 8 fl oz (240 ml)

I also am more and more convinced that I MUST hop on the eco-friendly diaper band wagon.  I hate to think that the diapers I'm using are most likely headed for a landfill where they will take somewhere between 250-500 years to decompose. That's just not an easy thought to live with, for me at least.  And then there is the aspect of the VOCs emitted by regular disposable diapers...I just don't know if I want my baby exposed to these chemicals, let alone wearing them.

So what happens to the sleep sacks I no longer want? The antibacterial soaps and sanitizers I've stocked up on? The 150+ diapers left in the Super box of Huggies that I opened this week? It seems so wasteful to just throw them out...donate them? Maybe. But, aren't I then just exposing someone else's child to these same chemicals? And then there's the $$ that I'm throwing away by not using these items. It all sort of creates a little knot in my tummy thinking about it all. Or should I just use them until they're all gone and THEN decide to make my changes? I don't know. What do you think? What would you do?

I do know that I want to make an educated choice when it comes to Gunnar's diapers. This is why I'm planning on doing a Diaper study.  I want to choose what is best for G and what's best for our family. So I'm planning on trying 4 kinds of natural disposables:
*7th Generation
*TenderCare Diapers
*Nature Baby Care
and I'd like to test drive one type of Disposable liner system.  Cloth Diaper mommies...this is where I need your help...Which should I try? gDiapers or Kushies?

I will post more on this later...but I intend to give each kind a trial run and keep track of the number of blow outs, pee throughs and the presence of diaper rash with each brand. I'm also going to make note of softness, price, fit, etc.  And I'll post my findings here.

And now to completely change the subject...
I am so excited that I will be enjoying warm weather in just a few weeks. Due to a sudden price drop in flights to Florida...I booked a trip for me and Gunnar and Auntie Kerry, just 2 weeks away!! John will be headed to Arkansas (blech) for work so we were going to be alone anyway.  So instead we're going to soak up the sun in Sarasota and even head to Disney for a day!!! Hoooray!!!!


  1. So...I've used both Kushies and gDiapers and they aren't the same thing at all. Kushies are just a liner (like a drier sheet), that you put on top of your cloth diaper to remove the soil and flush down the toilet. The Kushies are really NOT soft, I never bought them again. We used Bummis liners for this purpose.

    gDiapers are more like disposables, where you the absorbent material is removed from the diaper and can be flushed, trashed or composted. We use cloth, and gDiapers were our travel diapers. I had too many blowouts traveling with disposables.

    If you go the gDiaper route, watch the videos and read the material, and you probably won't have any blow-outs, we never did. But if you don't put it on right, you will have leaks (happened to a friend). And they have a tendency to feel damp on the outside after the baby has peed, if they peed a lot of haven't been changed in a while. It's because of it's breathability.

    Good luck in your decision making! :-)

  2. I think your concerns are all valid! I so want to prevent any unnecessary exposures for my own kids.

    Only non alcohol based hand sanitizer have triclosan in them. These are not common brands. If your brand is alcohol based (and it most likely is - like Purell or any on of the generic brands) it does not have triclosan in it. You do not have to get an organic product in fact little is known about the organic hand sanitizer.

    Having taught "Hand Hygiene" I know the Center for Disease Control and Prevention promotes the use of Alcohol based hand sanitizer (like purell). Hand sanitizer that has alcohol as the active ingredient does NOT create drug resistant super bacteria - that is a myth. In fact alcohol physically destroys germs including multi-drug resistant pathogens. Alcohol based hand sanitizer (the majority of what is sold) are more effective at killing bacteria then soup and water - they are safe and have shown to greatly reduce the transmission of a number of diseases!

    Doesn't it seem we are flooded with contradicting information all of the time? How do we know who to believe? I am not familiar with the book but I feel a number of books I read after my first kiddo scared the heck out of me about so many things. It is like someone said one day - "I know a really vulnerable population - NEW PARENTS - let's target them!" Why would this author pick on hand sanitizer? The truth is she is not writing anything inaccurate but it is highly unlikely your hand sanitizer has triclosan in it. Why does she want to scare you and me about it?

    I am not sure if the Great Professor Fowler is weighing in on these blogs but I would be curious to know her take.

  3. I don't know how to select a profile so I went the anonymous route - love AJ!

  4. We cloth diaper full time. I've never tried gdiapers but I love our bumgenius and smartipants pocket diapers! There is a learning curve to cloth but after a week of them, I was in love! Jillian's drawers offers a $10 trial so you can try a bunch.

  5. I am so glad that SuperBaby made such an impression on you and that you are making changes for your family. Gunnar is ADORABLE! He is lucky to have a mom like you. Remember, small steps create big changes. If it makes you feel any better, I didn't know a lot of this stuff until I did the research to write the book. I made many of the same changes when my kids were even older than Gunnar.
    Thanks for mentioning my book!