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An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies

An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies: February 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Food Label Pitfalls

Back in late 2010, Channel 7's Sunday Night brought to our attention the presence of GM Soy in Wyeth's S26 Soy Baby formula.  It was covered in most major media, but once revealed the story seemed to disappear.  The crux of the story was this:  According to testing by Greenpeace and Channel Seven, S26 was found to have traces of GM soy in it's formula.  Though Wyeth tested further batches which they claim had no detectable amounts (their statement), they pointed out that under Australian regulation, an amount of up to 1% GM was acceptable and did not have to be labelled, if the inclusion was 'unintentional'.  I have ploughed through the Food Standards website, looking at both the GM guidelines and the Infant Formula guidelines.  Wyeth of course are claiming it was unintentional but Greenpeace are alleging that this test has come up positive 10 times now, since 1998.  Looking through the Greenpeace articles, it's not just the 'it was an accident' clause that lets companies off the hook- animals fed with GM food may be making their way to our dinner plates, foods made on site (restaurants, fast food, bakeries) and food that is highly refined may all contained non-labelled GM ingredients.

The food labelling laws were review as recently as the end of January.  Despite over 90% of Australians wanting ALL GM foods listed, the review did not make any recommendations regarding this.  Considering some of the research, and the lack of long term study on the effects of GM foods, it seems ridiculous that we may be consuming or feeding our children GM product without even realising.  Greenpeace has published info stating that GM crops are potentially harmful both physiologically and to the environment.  At least one particular strain of GM corn has been banned in several European countries.  Most websites and articles are free to admit there is little 'proof' that GM food is good or bad for us, the problem is that we are just assuming it is safe- there has been no opportunity to examine it's long term effects, particularly on children who has consumed large quantities of the product.  Genetic modification has only really existed for about 15 years and has only become widespread more recently than that.  Will we find out too late the damage it is doing to our bodies, our eco-systems and our way of life?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Baby Steps

I was having a conversations with a customer today about BPA and where it's found.  We discussed a few other things worth avoiding in the home and as she walked away she chuckled, threw her hands up and said "It's all too hard... there's always something else to avoid, where do you start?"

That is such a valid point.

When we are told that nearly everything we use is bad for us or for the environment, how do you overhaul your entire lifestyle?  The answer is baby steps (though some people will go at it 100%- I commend those people but certainly couldn't do it myself!).  Here are a few tips on getting started in the sometimes daunting world of natural living...

1. Contact your council
Most councils have services that let you monitor your electricity or water use so you can easily see where you can cut back.  They also offer cheap call outs to change old shower heads and light bulbs to their greener counterparts.  This will save water, power and MONEY!

2. Walk, Run, Ride
Instead of using the car, walk to the shops.  Instead of using exercise machinery, go for a run.  Ride to work if you can.  The prams and bike attachments available now are amazing for those wanting something they can take out for a morning jog or bike ride.  You'll get fit, the sunshine will increase your happiness (and vitamin D levels), bub will get to see the great outdoors and you'll save on petrol and greenhouse emissions.  I'm lucky to be in moderate walking distance to a small shopping centre and the local library, not to mention a few parks.  I've had great fun exploring my local neighbourhood and discovering new shops and people.

3. Doing the Groceries
Not everyone can afford to dump all their old skin care and cleaning products and start from scratch, but every time you replace something, look for a greener option- a grey water safe detergent, a chemical free baby bath... all these little changes will add up in no time and often, the green option is no more expensive than what you were using.  You can also use vinegar and bi-carb to clean almost anything, and it's so cheap!  You can also make small changes to food- slowly changing to organic fruit, veg and meat or even growing your own!

4. In The Kitchen
When cooking, make as much as possible from scratch.  This will avoid unnecessary packaging and transport as well as a cocktail of chemical preservatives, colours, sodium, saturated/trans fats and flavour enhancers.  Using local, in season produce will ensure your fruit and veg is tasty and fresh and hasn't had to travel a million miles to get to your table.  I like to have a cook up every few weeks, making large batches of stuff to go in the freezer for nights when fast food is easier than cooking.  I can just chuck it in the oven knowing that even though I'm taking a short cut, I know exactly what is in the dish I'm serving up.

5. Be Conscious
As often as possible ask your self, is what I'm doing/using/buying good for my family?  Do I need it? Is there a cleaner/healthier option?  You may not be able to change it immediately but being aware of it is half the journey!

If I was going to add a step six, it would be to buy cloth nappies... better for baby, better for your pocket (by a LONG shot) and so much better for the environment, even if you only grab a few and use them 'part time'.

For now, be proud of the changes you can make, talk to your family about how they can help and celebrate your new direction.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Apps for Healthy Kids

Check out this website full of computer based tools and games for kids, to promote healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move!campaign

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Immune Health

Summer is at it's tail end and even though the weather hasn't really started to change, there is already the usual change of season bugs doing the rounds.  I have friends and customers with chest infections and nasty colds, hitting grown ups, kids and babies alike.

Here are some tips on keeping your family as healthy as possible:

If you are tired, run down, exhausted or not sleeping it can play havoc with your immunity.  Get plenty of R&R (ok, easier said than done) and make sure the kids aren't run ragged with late nights and extra-curricular activities.  If you have a young bub who is still up at night a lot, try to nap during the day.  Put housework on the back burner, take time out to read or have a cup of tea (there are great immune boosting tea's like echinacea available at your health food store).

Ok, we all know to wash our hands before touching our face or someone else when we have a cold.  Don't go overboard though- overuse of hand sanitisers and antibacterial products can be detrimental to our health.  Use natural, non-aerosol cleaners and soaps that are as chemical free as possible.

A healthy diet leads to a healthy body.  Getting sufficient protein, zinc, vitamin A and C and ensuring you aren't lacking in essential nutrients is, of course, vital to ensuring a strong immune system.  Plenty of greens, citrus fruits and berries, meat or vegetarian protein, natural yoghurt (these contain good bacteria- more on this later) and hot spicy foods all help to boost our bodies natural defences.

For Babies and Children
If your little one is starting day care or seems to be coming down with a few bugs, there are things you can do.  Of course, breastfeeding will make sure your baby has the best start possible.  You can mix breastmilk with a probiotic powder like Inner Health for Kids or Kids Immune Booster to boost the immune system either to prevent or treat colds and viruses.  Probiotics are like little soldiers that live in the gut and fight off bad bacteria that causes anything from immune deficiency and cold or flu, to digestive disorders and fungal overgrowth.  I have my son on probiotics as he has just started day care (we started supplementing a few weeks before he started there).  It's as simple as mixing the powder into his expressed breast milk.  You can just give it in a bottle or for kids who don't take bottles, use an eye dropper or medicine syringe.  The guys who make Inner Health have a great hotline you can call (1800 777 648). They have Naturopaths on staff to answer questions- I've spoken to someone who worked in their call centre and they've heard some pretty amazing feedback.

There are homeopathic medicines like Brauer's Kids Cold and Flu, the All Natural Kids range or those specifically formulated for your child by a homeopath.  To treat illness, the Blackmores Celloids range can be used from birth but needs to be prescribed by a Naturopath, who can also recommend probiotics for kids under 3 months and specific herbal remedies.

For older kids, you could use the Fusion Cold Flu Cough or for longer term illness or general immune debility, Astra 8.  These formulas are based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  They are safe from 6 years of age and I have found them incredibly effective.  The tablets are made from a dehydrated liquid so they not only absorb very well, they can be easily dissolved in water (though they don't taste too great).  These two particular formulas are available in liquid form as well.  The philosophy behind TCM is very holistic, so the products made by Fusion always seem to work quickly and effectively but also have a long term effect on the body.  I have used many of their products and would recommend them to anybody.

You can also get Echinacea liquids for kids, or Olive Leaf Extract.  Both are great for increasing immunity and getting rid of bugs.

If a sick child also has loss of appetite, it's really not a problem for a day or two. If it's dragging on or you are worried about nutritional intake, you can add superfoods to their diet (spirulina, wheatgrass, proteins or vege powders).  There is a great products called Natural High Kids Smoovie, it contains a huge range of nutrients and tastes great (it's my favourite shake!)

For Mum and Dad
Even though parental health can tend to take a back seat when there is a baby in the house it's important not to neglect yourself.  Getting sick not only creates illness that can be passed on, it's very hard to take care of a small child when you are ill.  All of the recommendations above can be used for grown ups- I would particularly recommend the Fusion products and a course of Inner Health.  A Zinc supplement probably wouldn't go astray (you can have your Zinc levels tested at most health food stores) and vitamin C will boost your immunity and help symptomatic relief.  Try to get a low acid C with Bioflavonoids (these are naturally occurring compounds found with Vitamin C in nature- they have a similar effect on the body and help the C to do it's job more efficiently).  Echinacea tablets or liquid will help too- most of the research done using the correct dosage and concentration has shown good results.  Nearly all of these suggestions except the Chinese herbs can be used while pregnant, though check any supplements with a herbalist or naturopath first, just in case.  I found the Blackmores Celloids to be lifesavers while pregnant!

Above all, get plenty of rest, eat well and minimise stress where possible!

Monday, February 14, 2011

On The Menu...

With Heinz announcing today they are making the move towards BPA-free baby food, I thought it was the perfect time to cover baby nutrition.

When introducing solids for the first time, it's easy to go nuts over the huge range of pre-packaged foods available.  However according to Tizzy Hall, author of Save Our Sleep , babies fed purely on store bought baby foods will be more unsettled, possibly due to the lack of nutrients.  Where possible, make your own baby food out of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables.  Choosing organic means you are ensuring baby doesn't get a dose of pesticides or chemical based additives.  Organic food can be higher in nutrients too, as organic farmers must adhere to standards regarding crop rotation to prevent nutrient depletion in the soil.  Organic fruit and veg can be expensive- even if you don't use it for the rest of the family, I think it's worth the investment for your little one, as this is when they are going through an intense period of growth and development, physically, mentally and emotionally.

It's pretty easy to make baby food, and there are heaps of great books and recipes online but it's as simple as peeling, boiling and blending or mashing into a puree.  Don't add salt or sugar- babies don't need flavour enhancers and additives like salt can cause kidney damage (most breakfast cereals contain salt- don't feed these to kids under 2).  The Wholesome Baby Food website has step by step instructions on making and storing your own baby food- even your own rice cereal!

That's not to say you must never use packaged baby food.  There are some great ranges of wholesome, organic baby foods that are safely packaged- great for throwing in a bag and feeding when you are on the move.  I started my bundle of joy of Rafferty's Garden Rice Cereal.  Despite there being many organic rice cereals around, it's the only one I could find that contained wholegrain brown rice.  The Rafferty's range is available in Woolworths supermarkets- so easy to get!

I also just received some info on the Happy Baby range of foods- Amazing!  It is endorsed by Dr. Sears himself and has a range of not only organic, but nutrient enriched cereals and baby foods.  Happy Puffs are finger foods suitable from 6 months- they just melt on baby's tongue so there is no risk of chocking.

Some other organic baby food ranges include:

Bellamy's- available at Natures Child and in health food stores though you may have to get it ordered in (the QLD supplier is NRG).  They keep organic baby formula as well as a good range of organic food and yummy grain snacks for older kids.
Organics 4 Kids- these guys do a Gluten Free teething rusk for those wishing to avoid gluten. Available at some health food stores or online
Heinz - they only have a small range but it's a start
The Gluten Free Co - these guys make cereals and porridge lends with supergrains like Quinoa as well as a full range for grown ups.

You can find some great info on starting solids at the CYH website, Ask Dr Sears, or the Raising Children website.

The Skinny on Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

The most important thing I have to say is this: Love your body.  Embrace your curves.  Wear your stretch marks with pride for they say "I am a Mother".  Be proud of your new role and all it entails.  Even if you embark on a weight loss journey, let it be for your health, not your appearance.  Make a goal to be fit, healthy, active and energetic, not a number on the scales.  Do this and you will find happiness regardless of your weight.

Almost every new Mum I’ve known has tried to lose weight after giving birth.  It’s not always a vanity thing- often, it’s just the psychological shock of seeing your body shape change so completely.  Mums that have gained a considerable amount of weight during pregnancy or those that were overweight to begin with may choose to shed some kilos for health reasons.  Some Mums are fine with their new weight and shape but want to get back to the active lifestyles they led pre-pregnancy.  Either way, actually going about it can be daunting.  There are the ‘professional’ weight loss programs like those run in Pharmacies or available online that clearly tell you not to participate while breastfeeding.  Friends will tell you to be careful or dieting will diminish your milk supply.  Others might even suggest you give up breastfeeding for the sake of your figure; or not to bother trying to lose weight as breastfeeding will make it ‘drop off’.  If that were true I wouldn't be writing this article!
It is true that breastfeeding burns calories- in fact, you will use 1200-2100 Kj (300-500 Calories) a day if you are exclusively breastfeeding.  Your body knows this and may try to compensate by making you ravenously hungry!  The minimum recommended caloric intake is 1500-1800 calories per day according to La Leche League. 
The key is what you are eating- if you can fill yourself with healthy, satisfying foods that contain all the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy supply of breast milk, the hunger will subside and you should start to lose weight. Rather than exclude foods you love, fill yourself with foods that are good for you- ou will ahve no room left for empty calories!
I am not a dietician- these recommendations are what worked for me, and what I have learned through online research and in my years working in the natural health industry.  If you would like more info, or you are really struggling with eating or weight while breastfeeding, your maternity hospital can put you in touch with a dietician, or you can see a nutritionist. 
The key is to eat frequently, packing in as many vitamins and nutrients as you can.  Avoid empty calories- foods that have energy (Kj or calories) but no nutritional value.  Make sure each meal contains a balance of Protein, Good Carbs and Good Fats- all of which you need to keep yourself and your growing baby healthy.


There used to be a perception that protein was what you ate to look like a pro wrestler.  Thankfully, it’s now becoming common knowledge that it is a key ingredient in any weight loss program.  Protein is a building block for muscle tissue- it won’t make huge muscle but it will maintain what you have (having muscle mass raises your metabolism), help you to define areas like legs and arms, raise your immunity, suppress hunger, balance blood sugar, regulate brain chemicals (including those responsible for depression) and give you energy.  Protein requirements for a breastfeeding woman are XXXX.

Carbohydrates + Sugars:

A lot of people will use a low-carb diet for weight loss.  This is absolutely not suitable when breastfeeding- not only will it affect your breast milk supply, if you go into ketosis it can release amines into the breast milk.  You are also likely to feel tired and become constipated.  Carbohydrates (the good ones) will help to keep your blood sugar level, provide energy and brain food, keep your digestive system working and ensure organs like your kidneys can function effectively.  So, what’s a ‘good’ carb?  Well in short, it’s not white!  Brown bread, brown rice and brown pasta are all examples of good complex carbohydrates.  Complex Carbs are the ones that digest slowly and provide vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.  They have fibre, which acts as an insulin regulator, absorbs and removes fats from the body and slows the passage of the food, keeping you full for longer.  They are brown because the grains have the hull left on and they are not bleached or artificially whitened.  White bread, rice and pasta are made by removing the grain hulls (the part that contains the most nutrients and also fibre).  As a result you have a food that is high in fast absorbing sugars and low in everything else.
Added sugars in the diet are something to avoid where possible.  I’m not saying avoid all sugar- naturally occurring sugars from complex carbs, fruit and other whole foods are fine.  Don’t use processed foods or juices etc that have a lot of sugar added.  A couple of teaspoons in your cuppa is fine- preferably raw or palm sugar.  I don’t, however, advocate the use of artificial sweeteners either.  Some, like aspartame are not recommended during pregnancy.  Most of them have a dubious track record and some are banned in European countries.  If it’s bad enough to be banned, I don’t want it in my diet!  Stevia is a sweet herb- you can get Stevia extract in drops or tablets.  It’s very concentrated- use too much and it will taste quite bitter.  The tiny amount makes it great for tea and coffee but harder to use in cooking unless you dilute it first.  Xylitol is a sweetener made from vegetable pulp- and is my favourite natural sweetener.  It is extremely low in calories, is spoon-for-spoon as sweet as sugar (very easy to use in cooking, no conversions necessary) and has other health benefits to boot.  Xylitol is a natural antibacterial- According to the Hyperhealth database 2010, it kills the dental bacteria that causes decay as well as the H. Pylori bacteria that leads to stomach ulcers.  It increases bone strength and helps the absorption of calcium.  It’s becoming increasingly common in toothpaste, chewing gum and other dental products.  As a food, it’s a bit on the expensive side but is rapidly coming down in price.  Nirvana has released their flavoured Xylitol range- Cinnamon, Cocoa, Carob or Vanilla mixed with Xylitol and packaged in a handy shaker.  I’ve used the cinnamon (great over a cappuccino, or on toast or baked goodies) and the cocoa (makes a mean hot chocolate!).  If baking, you can also use apple or pear juice as a sugar alternative.  Agave nectar, molasses and palm sugar are all examples of sugar alternatives- they still contain some Kj’s but are packed full of nutrients.


Essential Fatty Acids are just that- essential.  Everyone knows now that fish oil is good for us, but did you know that taking fish oil or an alternative source of omega 3 will helps your babies brain to develop?  Fish oil itself is extremely cheap and fairly safe, but the mass farming of fish to serve this billion dollar industry is taking it’s toll.  Plant based alternatives like Flaxseed (aka Linseed) are a more sustainable option- it tastes better too.  A good selection of whole grains, seeds and nuts will ensure you are getting a balance of EFA’s.  You can also throw in a few serves of fresh oily fish (like salmon or tuna) to increase your supply.

Power Foods:

Here are some great foods to include in your daily diet that are not only good for weight loss, but packed full of nutrients for you and baby.


A high protein grain that shot to popularity after an appearance on last year’s Biggest Loser.  You can buy the grain and boil it as a rice or polenta alternative, get flakes to be used as porridge.  It’s fairly bland like most grains so you can use it in sweet or savoury dishes.


A mix of ground Sunflower seeds, Almonds and Flaxseeds for protein, good fats and fibre.  Add to cereal, smoothies, salads or bread mix.

Rye bread:

A great low GI, nutrient packed bread that really fills you up.  Quite heavy- you may like to try a rye blend first.

Chia seeds:

This little seeds comes from South America and is full of Omega 3, calcium, potassium, fibre and protein.  Add to cereal, smoothies, salads, bread mix, or water- put a couple of teaspoons in a litre or water.  It swells up a bit but has no taste.  Drink through the day.

Any vegetable but especially those with colour (purple, red, yellow, orange, green) will help weight loss by providing low energy density food that is packed full of nutrients.  By feeding yourself all the vitamins, minerals and other necessary elements your body will not need to crave more food.  By filling yourself up with these amazing foods, you can focus on the things you are allowed to have, not the thing you are not.  

Herbal teas:

The many varieties of herbal teas have numerous health benefits that are varied and unique.  A great way to increase water intake.  Check with a herbalist or naturopath for some great suggestions or try fruit teas available at places like T2.

So, how do you put this all together?  Here’s an example of some really healthy meals:


Muesli made from rolled oats, barley and quinoa, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, pepitas, cinnamon powder (to balance blood sugar) and a scoop of plain protein powder.  One scoop of organic yoghurt, milk
1 High Fibre Weetbix, ¼ cup rolled oats, 2 tbsp LSA, milk, cinnamon powder
2 eggs, one grilled tomato, 2 slices wholegrain toast, ½ cup spinach
Smoothie made from 2 pieces fruit, milk, protein powder, cinnamon, LSA
You can use any kind of milk but if you are having dairy, try Goat’s milk for better digestion- I prefer soy but you can use rice, almond, quinoa (the best, but expensive!) or barley- preferably an organic variety and check to see that sugar is not one of the main ingredients!  Your health food store or natural grocers should be able to source these for you.


Salads are a great lunch option- you can use a mixed bag of greens, and any veg you like.  Use a V-slicer to julienne things like raw beetroot, pumpkin, carrots and cucumber.  Add a variety of textures as well to keep it interesting. 
Always try to include a protein ingredient- salmon, chicken, beef, egg, beans, lentils, cashews, tofu etc. 
Use flaxseed oil as a dressing with some apple cider vinegar or organic yoghurt. 
Sliced fruit like mango, apple or mandarin will give it a really different taste. 
Herbs and spices will also offer some interesting flavours.
Feta or Goats/sheep’s milk cheese will increase the protein and add calcium.
Add grains like quinoa or brown rice to make your salad more filling.
You can put it in some mountain bread to make a yummy wrap.
Eggs- as omelette, frittata, or scrambled gives you a filling lunch option.  Make sure you add salad and veg
You can always use breakfast or dinner suggestions at lunch too!


Try to keep dinner to something small and light, this is good for the digestion and assists weight loss.  There are so many great recipes out there for healthy, wholesome dinner suggestions, I’ve included links rather than suggestions!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blog of Interest

KORA Organics Blog | KORA Organics Blog by Miranda Kerr

KORA Organics is an organic skin care range made by the gorgeous Miranda Kerr. The blog on the website isn't just a 'buy me' spiel, it's a great read about all aspects of health and nutrition, and the greener side of life. Have a Look!

I have to say I was stunned to hear about the controversy generated by 'that' picture (for those who missed it, it was a discreet pic of Miranda in bed breastfeeding baby Flynn, taken by Orlando at their home). For a country that has just passed laws guarding the rights of breastfeeding mums, and considering this picture didn't actually show anything 'rude', I couldn't believe it ever rated a comment other than how beautiful, happy and relaxed she looks.

I did a quick Google search and the only article I came across that really mention the nasty or insensitive comments made was the UK Mirror website. Perhaps the 'scandal' was just a bit inflated so the media could all denounce it and advertise how pro-breastfeeding they are... either way I'm glad this photo made the headlines it did, it's a great advertisement for breastfeeding!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lotions and Potions

When looking at skin products for your baby (we'll look at ones for mum later!) it's easy to be overwhelmed by the selection available.  With all the great products out there, it's really sad to see many skin care ranges marketed at babies containing known allergens like Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulphate (SLS). The linked government report shows SLS can cause skin irritation and gastric (stomach) irritation if swallowed.  Some anti-chemical resources say this ingredient may cause cancer but this report states that has not been adequately studied either way.

Johnson's is a prime example of a company that has made a name for manufacturing baby care products, many of which contain SLS.  With 'over 100 years of experience', surely by now they'd be looking at their product formulations and saying to themselves, we can do better.  They have now bought out Johnson's Naturals, a range that has mostly natural ingredients.  The moisturising cream in that range actually looks pretty good based on ingredient listings.    However, some synthetic preservatives are used in tiny amounts and the wash still contains sulphates- something I would try to avoid.

As a rule of thumb, the fewer ingredients the better it is- even better if you can pronounce those ingredients!  Unfortunately the regulations on product labelling often let companies get away with listing only 'active' ingredients, which may only make up 1-3% of the total product.  This meanas you do not know what is in the other 99%.  One company that is really pushing for transparency in labelling is MooGoo.  Check out their website for some great info on the chemicals often used in skin care and cosmetics, and for some great products- I have been using their MooGoo range (very gentle, no tears formulations suitable for use on newborns up) on myself and my kids with great results.

Evohe is an organic skin care range more geared to adults, but their range is so multi-purpose, there are a few I love to use on bub.  Number one would be the Repair Intensive- you really can use it on anything but it's skin healing and anti-fungal properties make it THE best nappy rash cream I have ever seen.  The Body Mist is great for spraying on bums as a cleanser or all over as a light moisturiser.  The Omega Body is thick and nourishing for very dry skin (and makes a wonderful hair treatment for mum!)

The A'Kin Purebaby range is one I've had some great feedback on.  Unfortunately, the website only lists active ingredients, you'll have to read product labelling for the full list.  They are, however, free of the common skin-irritating nasties.  They make a barrier cream called Bottom Balm which is great to seal away moisture from the skin.

Always be careful applying a barrier cream though- you can actually trap moisture and bacteria under the cream and cause infections.  This can be quite common when using lanolin based nipple creams.  Only apply if you really need it and use sparingly.  Where possible allow the affected skin to air dry and breath.

Watch out for ranges that claim to be 'natural' or 'organic' when the ingredient panel looks like something you'd spray your garden with.  Some companies will throw in a few essential oils amongst the skin irritants and try to pass themselves of as a natural range, so it always pays to check.  One example was Natural Instinct- they were made to relabel all their products after the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) ruled their labels were misleading in that they were using the lesser known names for chemicals like SLS instead of the industry accepted ones.  This meant people with known allergies were buying the products after checking ingredient listing and being caught out.    The company has now reformulated all their products and I believe has changed hands.  The new products actually look pretty good- I haven't had the chance to try them yet though.

Sometimes, the simple solution is often the best.  For dry skin or cradle cap, just use some organic Apricot Kernel Oil or Coconut Oil and massage into skin all over baby- and yourself if you like!  You can usually get these at the supermarket or health food store.  Using organic oils means they are free of any pesticide residue.

Newborn babies only need to be bathed every few days and if bathing daily as part of a bed time routine, you can just use plain water.

Instead of chemical laden wipes, use a tissue in a little water.  Change nappies frequently to keep the skin dry and allow nappy-free time to air the skin and prevent nappy rash.  Just make sure nappy-free time doesn't occur when on Grandma's favourite oriental rug- or when you are lifting your baby boy up and he's pointed straight at your face!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Upcoming Topics

If you've tried the following products I'd love some feedback for future posts!

BPA free baby bottles
MCN's (Modern Cloth Nappies) or biodegradable nappies and related paraphernalia 
Natural wipes and bum creams.

You can leave comments here or email me.

Thanks in advance!

Why Natural?

In a world riddled with consumerism and convenience items, the niche for naturally made, chemical free products- from food to bedding, nappies and clothing- is growing rapidly.  News stories and research papers that inform us of the toxic effect of pesticides on food, the dangers of chemical leaching plastic, the environmental impact of too much waste is opening our eyes to new solutions and modern takes on old products.

Take nappies for example.  Not only do disposable nappies cause a considerably large amount of non-biodegradable rubbish, the chemicals inside (the ones that keep baby 'nice and dry' and supposedly help prevent nappy rash) are actually causing skin irritation.  rather than just revert to the old terry squares though, mums now have access to a huge range of reusable nappies that fit like a disposable, come with flushable organic liners for easy cleaning and look like something made by a leading fashion designer.  Brands include Peapods , Cushie Tushies, Nurture Nappies and Itti Bitti. Or, when you want to use and lose, companies like Little Takas are now producing biodegradable disposables made from renewable materials.

The BPA debate has also found it's way to Australia.  For those not in the know, BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical present in many plastics- including some baby bottles- that can leach into food or liquid.  Though the BPA organisations and many plastics manufacturers tout it's safety, some countries are now banning it's use due to concerns over safety.  Though Australia has not made that step, they are more and more BPA-free products available including bottles, bowls, containers and drink bottles.  I'll go into this a lot more in another post, once I've manged to collate some info on safety/dangers of BPA.  

Of course, food is a big area of interest when talking about natural and organic vs. commercially produced.  Whether it's packaged baby food or fresh fruit and veg, what we put into our mouths (and the mouths of our babies and children) is one area many parents don't want to compromise on.  This issue will be a big one- there are many references I'll need to dig up before going into it, but the short story is, we are what we eat and if we feed our kids a plethora of pesticides, food colouring, preservatives and packaged foods, we are drastically increasing their risk of behavioural and learning disorders, low immune systems and skin conditions.  Again, there are many companies- many of them small local businesses- catering to the desire for fresh, natural, healthy foods from convenience items to organic fruit, veg and meat.  

If this hasn't convinced you that a greener lifestyle is worth the effort and cost, don't worry.  I'm not here to preach or criticize- in fact, I'm just learning about a lot of these issues myself and on a limited budget, sometimes price will win out over preference.  I'm just trying to make as many small changes as I can in the hope that it will make a BIG difference in the long run.

I hope you enjoy my blog and get some useful advice!  Amy

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hello and Welcome!

Ok, so if you've read the blurb on the right hand side, you know what this page is about.  I thought I'd start by giving you a quick introduction.

My name is Amy, I'm 28 and I have a great hubby and two adorable kids.  I started my career working in various pharmacies in Townsville, then after I moved to Brisbane.  I sort of fell into the Natural Health department by accident but I grew quite passionate about it and it became my forte.  Though I am not a naturopath I would like to one day be one (money and time permitting!) and I have worked with some excellent practitioners in the field.  After 9 years (wow, that makes me feel old) I made the jump into a Health Food Store.  I am so unbelievably glad I did.  It's amazing to work in such an energising industry, where the focus is on health rather than illness and my customers come to me because they really, truly want to looka after themselves and their families. 

It was working here that I fell pregnant and a whole new world started to show itself.  It's one thing to 'go green' and avoid chemials and toxins yourself, or for a very nearly grown up family... quite another when you throw pregnancy and babies into the mix!

I plan to cover every conceivable topic- pregnancy supplements, breastfeeding aids, the BPA debacle (some great product recommendations there!), kids health, toys and lifestyle as well as general health and fitness advice for the whole family.  I'll be shining a spotlight on books, websites, vitamins and herbs, baby/household/beauty products, shops (online and bricks and mortar) an anything else I come across.  I welcome all feedback and suggestions and if you have a questions I will do my best to answer it.

I hope by creating this blog and sharing the many things I have learned (and believe me, I'm still learning a LOT!) I will help maybe just one or two people make a change for the better- for the environment, themselves and their families.