We live in a world that is bombarded by information. Weeding through all of the information to find what is best for you may seem daunting, but let me tell you what has worked for my growing family. It did not mean changing everything at once, nor did it mean throwing out everything I had and buying new, expensive natural products. I started at my doctor’s office. My doctor was my greatest resource during my pregnancy; every option from cloth diapers to my baby’s cord blood was covered and allowed me to decide what’s best for my family.
Natural living does not need to be expensive. Organic produce and other natural products are more widely available today. The prices are coming down and good sales are more frequent now than ever before, as demand rises. There are many co-ops for natural products including food, clothing and other baby essentials. Homemade cleaning solutions are almost always less expensive than their commercial counterparts.
Transitioning to a Better Diet
I began by incorporating more natural foods into my diet. By natural foods I mean fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and natural sugars. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of nutrients than their canned, processed counter parts. They also help to alleviate some of the common side effects of pregnancy, such as constipation. As finances allowed, I purchased organic produce, local cheese, honey and free-range eggs. Carrying a copy of the clean 15 and the dirty dozen will help you organize your produce list to avoid the most contaminants. These contaminants are harmful enough to our bodies, let alone our growing babies.
Buying fresh produce and organic products is good, but you have to use them too! I rearranged my pantry to reflect how I wanted to eat by placing processed foods on the lowest shelf and natural ingredients at eye level. Tight grocery budgets may make you cringe at the thought of wasting food, so don’t. Use your processed foods up a bit at a time, donate them to a food pantry or use them to serve an ailing friend or neighbor. Creating a meal plan based around the family’s schedule helped me incorporate natural foods into our diet while cutting out the stress of what’s for dinner after a full day of activities.
Preparing a Clean Environment for Baby
Your surrounding environment plays a huge role in how you feel and your overall health. There are many factors to consider when evaluating your surrounding environment. What you wear, personal hygiene products, cleaners, even scented candles in your home could affect your health. Fortunately there are many safe, natural alternatives to all of the above.
Organic clothing is widely available now. I choose organic clothing for those pieces worn closest to the skin. Bedding and blankets are also a wise purchase for those looking to reduce their exposure to the chemicals found in clothing. How we clean our clothes matters, too. Sure commercial detergents smell good, but all we really smell are the chemicals that we are then putting next to our skin. Finding an alternative to laundry detergent was high on my priority list.
Many manufacturers are offering natural versions of their most popular products, like household cleaners and beauty products. Oftentimes a homemade solution is just as effective and 100 percent natural. From all-purpose cleaners, to facial cleansers and deodorants, recipes abound for those interested in all-natural household products made at home from common ingredients. Sometimes it is a single ingredient, such as vinegar, that can replace several commercially prepared cleaners. I have found vinegar to be just as effective as my previously purchased cleaners and less expensive too.
With these easy adjustments to your lifestyle, you will be doing your baby and yourself a huge favor by feeling better and growing your baby in a great environment. Even after my pregnancy, my husband and I kept our new natural habits up to raise our daughter in the best environment possible.
Photo credit: Ossi Petruska