“Greening” is the process of transforming a space or lifestyle into a more environmentally friendly version. The act of greening involves incorporating “green” products and processes into an environment.
Now why on earth would we bother, this sounds tedious?!
Reasons that may resonate with you could be:
- To preserve the earth for future generations
- Out of pure respect to Mother Earth and realising our responsibility as inhabitants
- Sustainability just makes sense
For the HEALTH of your growing baby in your belly, your children, yourself, your partner…
You see, these days we are exposed to environmental toxins on a daily basis that increase our toxic load and as a result our risks for chronic diseases. Many of these toxins are a by-product of an industrialized world. Some even go as far as saying that the daily toxic load we encounter in 1 month, is more than your great-grandparents encountered in their whole lifetimes..
If you’d like to explore these thoughts a bit further, take a look below:
The good news is that in your home, YOU are in control (unless you have toddlers/teenagers!), so making a few small changes can have a significant impact on your family’s daily toxic load intake.
In your home, YOU are in control.
Ideally, becoming mindful of environmental toxins you are exposed to and aiming to decrease your intake is important for everybody’s health. On the other hand, it is also never too late to start your Greener journey. Babies are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxins and that is exactly why expecting families can only benefit from a decrease in toxin exposure. And then once baby is born, continuing Green practices and being realistic yet not obsessive to the point where it stresses you out (yet another toxin!) will be beneficial for your whole family as well as Mother Earth.
So it’s really a win-win!
There are many ways to do this. You do not have to rebuild your home. Just make some easy changes, bit by bit and you’ll be amazed at where you’ll be a few months down the line. Each time you run out of something, simply replace this product with a Greener more natural/non-toxic option.
Before we shoot with the actual Greening Strategies, it’s important to understand how we absorb toxins:
- Put in your mouth (foods and drinks)
- Put on your skin (your largest organ and highly porous – absorbs what you put on it)
As simple as that.
Go Green with Cleaning Products
Gradually replace the cleaning products you use at home with more natural options. Luckily in Luxembourg, more natural versions are readily available in commercial stores and in particular, Naturata. The laundry detergent you use can be replaced with a 100% natural, economical and bio-degradable miracle of life – soap nuts! (Available at Naturata).
Another fun thing to do, is to make your own products. With basic ingredients like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils, you’ll be amazed at how far you can go.
For more inspiration check out:
Go Green with Personal Care and Baby Products
Now do exactly the same with your Personal Care Products. From deodorant to face wash to each and every product you use on your baby. You will be surprised at how many unpronounceable chemicals are contained in mass-marketed and well-cherised baby brands. Product ranges like Weleda, Aveda and others found at Naturata are a better bet. Coconut oil is also a staple here. Limit the use of wipes at home (replace with a washcloth and water) and when you do use wipes, go for the most natural versions as opposed to the most baby-friendly-marketed versions. Water wipes are great.
Go easy on the plastic
Plastic is nobody’s friend. Once in touch with food, toxins can leach into foods and drinks, even more so when put in the microwave. Plastic toys for babies and children are also something to consider avoiding. They all do eventually end up in their mouths and the phthalates making plastic soft and flexible is a major contributor to indoor air pollution as they are not chemically bound to products, which makes them easy to migrate and off-gas into the air we breathe. That “new car” or “new toy” smell is the smell of phthalates off-gasing… Furthermore, plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Animals can ingest it, with sometimes fatal consequences. And there is a toxic soup of plastic swirling around in the ocean. Most plastic is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, which release toxic emissions when extracted from the earth. So what to do? The next time you buy something, choose a non-plastic alternative. Material and wooden toys (from sustainable sources with non-toxic finishing), ceramic, stainless steel and glass sippy cups, bottles and eating utensils. Bio-degradable vegetable fibers are also now being used more and more.
Not taxing your digestive system with additional toxins ingested from foods will also go a long way. Yes, it is more expensive, but for a reason. Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later. Yes, not everything you encounter outside of your home will be organic. But opting for locally grown, organic food at home will be a game-changer for your whole family.
Indoor air pollution is a reality, especially now that we live in highly insulated homes. Open the windows, especially the sleeping environment at least 1 hour per day.
Invest in Indoor plants
Indoor plants can assist with filtering polluted air. “The air cleaning capability of plants maintained within a closed living environment goes far and beyond simple removal of carbon dioxide (which humans and animals exhale) and replacing it with clean oxygen. House plants also have the remarkable ability to remove toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, which can be a particular health hazard for those living or working in newly built residential homes, apartments, and commercial office space.”
Read more here:
Say no to Toxic Wall Paint
Wall paint is one of the leading causes of air pollution. Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. THe source of these toxins is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint. Thankfully, new environmental regulations and consumer demand, have led to the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes. Most paint manufacturers now produce one of more non-VOC variety of paint, durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.
Green baby’s Nursery
Baby’s Nursery deserve a whole blog post on its own. As explained above, VOC paints are not what we want in here. Opt for the most natural mattress you can find. This is more important than anything else. Select natural (organic if possible) fabrics for bedding.
Choose furniture made from natural materials and finishing. Blinds, shades, and curtains gather dust mites, so minimise these and wash frequently. In humid conditions, carpeting may harbor mold and mildew. Synthetic carpeting, backing and pads contain so many chemicals they are often referred to as a “toxic soup” that can cause headaches, fatigue and breathing difficulties.
While Electro Magnetic Field Radiation (“EMF”) is dangerous for adults, they can be life threatening for babies so it is a good idea to minimise electronics and especially wi-fi devices where baby will sleep and spend a lot of time.
- Babies skulls are thin. This allows for radiation to penetrate deep into the brain.
- Babies are growing fast. This means their cells are dividing really fast. Every time a cell divides, it makes a replica of itself. Stuff like radiation can cause the new cell to be mutated. Mutated cells are also known as cancer.
- EMF exposure weakens the immune system. Babies don’t yet have fully formed immune systems. This is why babies are so susceptible to colds and infections. Expose them to EMF’S, and they become even less able to fight off bacteria, viruses or fungi.
Banish Toxic Thoughts
We often don’t realise how our thoughts shape our world. In fact, everything starts with thoughts. So being more mindful of them will shape a better world, simply put. If this intrigues you, read the beautifully written little book by Sandra Ingerman, How to Heal Toxic Thoughts.
OK, so reading this may trigger some overwhelming feelings. Don’t sweat it. This is not an overnight process. Take it step-by-step. One small change at a time. Finished with a product? Simply substitute it with a more conscious choice next time. It ALL adds up.
Here is a guided relaxation to help you relax about it all. When you are in a relaxed frame of mind, you will be better equipped to think consciously going forward.
And each conscious decision you make, will not only benefit your own family but also Mother Earth, none of us can live without…
More about the Author
Mother of two, holistic maternity coach/educator, Marise Hyman provides worldwide coaching, healing and education in preparing for an empowered conception, pregnancy, birth, life and parenthood journey.
She is an IMPI Peri-natal Coach/Educator, IMPI Holistic Pregnancy & Child Sleep Practitioner, Happiest Baby on the Block Educator, “Becoming Us” Facilitator, Dancing for Birth™ Instructor, Birth Advocate, Holistic Childbirth Educator, Reiki Practitioner, Head-trash Clearance + Fearless Birthing Professional and “Birth into Being” Facilitator (level 1-3)
She is also the founder of the Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl, an edgy non-profit organisation raising awareness for green, natural & holistic parenting alternatives, birth rights and postnatal mood disorders by offering a variety of inspiring social and educational events in Luxembourg.