Now I'm profiling J9Mommy, mother of two (Chad, 6, and Cali, 3) and pregnant with number three (baby Cruz). After her first two children encountered issues, ranging from an autism diagnosis to food allergies, she decided to make some lifestyle changes during this pregnancy. Here's what she had to say.
What Brought on the Changes
When I first had kids, I just bought what was cute. Later, my son was diagnosed with autism and also suffers from the typical food allergies and immune problems. My daughter was also showing signs and was eventually diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
This caused me to rethink our diet and the "toxins" we are exposed to daily. For example, my son used to play with a toy bucket when he was a baby that was later recalled for lead, and my daughter used bottles that were recalled for BPA. It makes you angry to think your children were exposed to these things.
What This Mom Is Trying
I figure it can't hurt to try a new route. Here are some changes we're making:
-- Avoiding foods with red dye 40, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, MSG, etc. I figure if I can't read the label, it can't be good for you. Also, along with avoiding the foods we need to for my son's allergies, we are dairy- and egg-free here.
-- I don't buy everything organic, but many of our products are organic because those tend to be the ones without the extra "junk" in them. I also try to make sure we buy as many natural foods as possible -- 100% juice, natural applesauce, and natural peanut butter to avoid all those nasty extras they add in. By eating better foods this time while pregnant, I know the baby is not being exposed to those extras -- red dye, corn syrup, etc.
-- Baby toys and gear -- I've been trying to stock up on European-made baby toys (wood toys like Haba), natural rubber pacifiers, organic bedding that is made here in the U.S., a vinyl-free (toxin-free) changing pad and mattress, organic clothing and blankets -- things like that.
--- If I use bottles for pumped milk, they will be Born Free glass bottles instead of plastic, so no worrying about leaching. For the rest of the family, we use Aluminum Sigg bottles instead of plastic water bottles on the go. They're reusable and, again, no leaching.
-- We are doing cloth diapers for the first time -- !!! I even bought ones with organic cotton on the inside, and they're made in the U.S. For covers, I'm using ones that are "toxin" free, and also made in the U.S. I'll be using diaper pail liners and bags from Bumkins.
-- Baby products -- I've switched my children to California Baby. Their products are more natural and I feel good about them. They're free of dyes and artificial fragrances. I've changed my shampoo and soap, too.
-- I make my own cleaners. I used to feel sick after bleaching the shower -- can't be good while pregnant. Now I make my own homemade version of Soft Scrub that works great and you don't feel terrible afterwards. I use tons of vinegar, Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, and baking soda.
Does Greener = More Expensive?
It's true that in some ways this lifestyle can be more expensive -- but with other things, like making your own cleaners, you'll discover how much money you actually save! I mean, $1.32 for vinegar and it goes a long way. Dr. Bronner's has an unlimited amount of uses, from washing your car and laundry to cleaning the floors. It's heavily concentrated so it does NOT run out as fast as conventional products filled with extras.
As for baby products, there is no price tag for me on those. That said, the way I've been able to afford what I want is by buying the minimum -- instead of buying a hundred baby toys right now, I picked out three high-quality ones.
For cloth diapers, I bought in bulk from one site and saved on shipping and, in the long run, I'll save money compared to buying disposables.
Tips for Wanna-Be Green Moms
I would tell everyone to take it one day at a time. Pick one area to make changes in (for example, cleaners), and then over time more changes will just become a natural progression.
You don't have to go green with everything at once. There are different levels people are comfortable with -- same goes for what products they're willing to give up. We aren't perfect by any means, but I know every little change will help my family's health in the long run.
I would also like to say that the green group I belong to here on CafeMom -- Green Organic Natural Simple Living -- has been more than supportive and, without the members, many of my changes would not have been possible.
Are you a green-living pregnant mama? What do you think are the most important changes you've made in your lifestyle, and what advice would you give to other moms?