5 Parenting Tips to Keep Harsh Chemicals Away from Little People

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There are a couple of really poignant moments I remember from those first few weeks of motherhood.

First one I was still in the hospital, it may have been the second night and I heard the rescue helicopter (we were right next to the main Children’s hospital). I was gripped by the realisation that somewhere a parent was getting some very distressing news and my whole mind and body zeroed in on my little bundle - I wanted to protect this little person from EVERYTHING. In the same moment I realised that in reality it would be impossible and I would have to make choices about where I put my effort to try and control their environment. It’s amazing how much can flick through your mind in an instant right?

The second one, I was standing in the baby aisle at the chemist in complete analysis paralysis - how could I choose between all these products?? They all said ‘natural’ but when I read the labels, the ingredient list was pretty much identical to their out and proud toxic counterparts! For a little while I was bewildered, then I got angry. I was revolted by what was being sold to me as ‘safe’ when it clearly wasn’t. I was pissed off that commercial companies clearly thought I was an idiot by assuming I would just accept their marketing, that I would accept their product because there was no alternative, that their pursuit of a profit at the expense of my baby’s health was ok!

F*ck you, I said and walked out.

And so began my departure from mainstream health and wellbeing. I studied up on whole foods and nutrition, and started experimenting in the kitchen. I avoided all commercial baby products, opting for either simplicity (water only baths) or 100% natural products like coconut oil and essential oils.

These babies of ours are the purest they will ever be when they are born but even then, thanks to our lifestyles they’ve already been exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals which have made their way across the placenta and into their tiny systems. Check out this research that found more that 200 chemicals in baby cord blood. And why should we care?

Because……

  • Sperm counts in men have decreased 50 per cent since 1940, and one in six couples has difficulty conceiving

  • Endocrine-disruptors affect multiple systems that contribute to early-onset puberty, endometriosis, PCOS, thyroid disregulation, testicular cancer and breast cancer

  • One in three women will experience a major anxiety episode in their lifetime

And all these issues are linked to the presence of synthetic products in the body.

It is a mission of mine to educate as many people as possible about the dangers of synthetic fragrances and empower you with easy to use, cheap options that are better for you, baby AND the planet.

Here are some super simple ways to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals for your special little people:

  • DIY Wipes: there are many recipes available on the inter webs for DIY Non-Toxic Wipes. Here’s my two cents (given that we use an absolute crap-load of them, even when we are waaaaayyyy past nappies). Baby skin is thin and sensitive, I personally wouldn’t be putting essential oils in wipes going on bottoms. Essential oils are never recommended to go on genitals, and babies are no different. But, if you’re making wipes for grubby hands and faces, different story! I would still stick to gentle and inexpensive oils such as Lavender, Cedarwood or Geranium. These oils add anti-microbial power, smell great and are soothing for skin. This is the easiest no-fuss recipe I have found for DIY Wipes, plus she’s Aussie (via NZ) and keeps it super simple.

  • DIY Insect Repellant: I love, love, love this recipe from Shannon at Purely Thriving! Living in South-East Queensland we have mozzies, midges, ants, spiders, bees EVERYWHERE and pretty much all year round (because you know, Winter is a figment of Disney’s imagination!). I have full confidence that I can apply this blend to my children and they will get nothing but goodness out of the application and in addition, they are protected from those pesky bites that just get scratched, and scratched, and scratched, and scratched………….until someone wakes up at 3am complaining of an itchy leg. I adapted the recipe and topped it up with Fractionated Coconut Oil instead of water, and put it in both a spray bottle and a 30ml roller ball bottle (similar size to a Rid roll-on) because that works well for application for my children. You do whatever works for you.

  • Fennel, Digestzen, Peppermint for upset tummies: “Mummy, my tummy’s sore” EVERY morning! Does anyone else have that? In general, children are more prone to tummy aches and issues as their little digestive systems get used to new foods, build tolerance to irritants and their immune system (housed in the gut) cranks into gear every 30 seconds to fight off the next virus. There are innumerable reasons that a child may have a tummy ache / pain / funny feeling, and of course it is important to seek medical attention for ongoing or significant discomfort. However, for everyday issues such as wind, bloating, digestive upset, response to virus or even nausea due to fears and anxiety, then essential oils provide completely natural and effective support. For wind and bloating try Fennel for young babies, or Digestzen for older children (diluted in carrier oil). For digestive issues due to irritants / intolerances use Digestzen (diluted in carrier oil) and for nausea use Peppermint inhaled straight from the bottle.A

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  • First Aid: adventure is such an important part of childhood for so many reasons. Exploration builds resilience, problem solving, confidence and physical capability, not to mention the fact that it’s fun and they get an enormous amount of joy out of discovery! The joy can evaporate before your eyes with cuts and scrapes though, so i always have essential oils for first aid when out with my children. And they’re pretty simple - Tea Tree, Lavender, Frankincense. Just three oils can save you a whole lot of heart ache. For cuts and scrapes, wash off any debris with a little water (usually a bottle of water or a bubbler nearby), dab dry around the wound then apply around the wound, never over broken skin. Tea Tree’s anti-microbial properties reduce the chance of infection from microbes in the ground / gravel / bark / play equipment / concrete. Lavender is analgesic so relieves pain and heals skin. Frankincense is anti-inflammatory so reduces redness and swelling. Combine these three oils in equal proportions in a 10ml roller and top with carrier oil to make your own on the go ‘Owie Blend’. Joy restored!

  • Immune Support: children are petri dishes. They are! It’s part of the gig, and that’s ok. Exposure to viruses, bacteria and microbes supports the development of a healthy immune system. But, sometimes the load is too much and when they come into contact with a bug that is bigger and better on the day, they succumb to the latest cold, virus, tummy bug that is going around. We’ve all been there and we all went through it as children. Essential oils can help provide incredible support to the human immune system via important biochemical pathways. There is much evidence that exists to confirm the therapeutic effects of essential oils on the immune system such as the On Guard Protective Blend. Oils such as Lavender and Frankincense are wonderful supports to bring the immune system back into balance, as well as blends such as On Guard and Easy Air which contain oils specifically formulated to provide protective effects and support clear, easy breathing when noses are stuffy and congested. These oils can be diffused or applied topically, diluted with carrier oil.DIY Hand Sanitiser: prevention is ALWAYS better than cure, and hand washing remains the very best preventative mechanism we have. BUT children don’t always do an amazing job of hand washing, or even if they do, within 10 seconds they’ve touched every other surface or child near them and those dirty little fingers end up in their mouths again! Hand sanitiser has become incredibly popular in the fight against spreading germs but unfortunately, most hand sanitiser is loaded with particularly nasty chemicals such as Triclosan (known……..and banned in the US in 2016, still good here in Australia though!). So every time that anti-bacterial hand gel is applied, we are ingesting thousands of toxic chemicals through our skin and into our blood stream. One alternative is to make a simple spray on hand sanitiser with essential oils and water. Take a 30ml spritz bottle, add 10 drops of On Guard Protective Blend and top up with water. Shake well and spray over hands. Done. DONE. And I am completely comfortable licking my child’s hands after they have been sprayed and air-dried with On Guard Hand Sanitiser. Essential oils react with bacteria, viruses and microbes on contact. What’s important is that they enter those little bugs at the cellular level, neutralising threats immediately. Synthetic molecules don’t get in at the cellular level because they’re too big and made of the wrong stuff. Biochemically, humans and pure essential oils work together, it’s pretty simple, nature = nature.

These babies are my world. Every day I do my very best, to do my best - and that means making decisions that support me and them now, and into the future. Reducing toxic load is a critically important factor in supporting long term health outcomes - remove the crap so the body can do what it needs to do, instead of working so hard to fight foreign and harmful chemicals.