Babies and allergiesMonday, September 2nd, 2013
It may seem that baby allergies don’t have much in common with cleaning, but when you finish reading this article, you will realize that you might actually want to change some of your habits, you may want to throw away some stuff from your bedroom, and you’ll realize it may be the right time to redecorate your kid’s room. Baby allergies are mostly caused by the same things that may also be dangerous for you, even though your body copes with it well. So far.
– It is clear to every mother that the fundamental nutrition of a newborn is a breast milk. It supplies the child with anti-bodies that its body can’t produce yet, and it’s the best digestible food because it contains human enzymes and fats. If the mother does not consume high dosage of chemicals, the breast milk is the healthiest food a child can ever get. By high dose of chemicals I mean special medical treatment like strong anti depressants, imuno-suppressors or antiretrovirals. And even in cases like this, some doctors still recommend breast feeding, because it’s healthier than any baby formula that’s on the market.
– Be aware that if you feed your child with processed food like vegetable mesh or fruit juice, it may contain pesticides and may be done with not very fresh pieces of vegetable and fruit. What happens at big food factories is that they add glucose-fructose syrup and citric acid to almost all foods, which gives the product better taste and preserves it. Glucose-fructose syrup increases the level of sugar blood which can lead to weight gaining, liver problems and diabetes. Citric acid can cause serious skin allergies. Chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides used in vegetable or fruit growth get absorbed by the food. Washing it before you process it does not help. High levels of pesticides and insecticides are lethal for most living creatures including humans. It must not show right away, but it is very toxic for your body. The same thing happens with meat. Animals stuffed with chemicals and antibiotics can not give good meat even though your being told it’s “safe”. Beware of buying processed food from non-EU countries, where the limits for chemicals are much higher than in the EU. What the countries do in order to sell their product in the EU is they use even more chemicals to lower the levels of pesticides, insecticides and antibiotics that are already in the food. Before the officials find out, you might have given your child a can of something really toxic. If you really want your child to eat healthy, the safest way is to buy fresh vegetable and fruits and blend it at home. I’m not suggesting you need to buy everything at farmer’s markets and all must carry the BIO sticker. If your ecological awareness is so high and you really care about the mother earth, go ahead and go BIO and ECO. For those who can’t afford it I just suggest one thing – buy fresh food made in England or any other EU state. One of the things EU is good for is controlling the quality of food sold in the Union.
– The last thing about food chapter is how you serve it to the child. Please know that the only safe nipples for baby bottles are the ones made of silicone. The only non-toxic bottles are made of tempered glass. Latex or rubber nipples may contain nitrosamines, bisphenol-A and phtalates, plastic bottles can be made of polycarbonate. All that can be carcinogenic or hormone disrupting.
– It is very important where your child sleeps as well as where it is during the day. Most of us know that fresh air is healthy for us. What is not so well known is that the air outside, especially in London, can be full of smog, which is not healthy for children, nor us adults. If you really care about what your child is breathing, you can get one of those water based air cleaners. It collects dust as well as allergens like pollen, dust mite and chemicals, and leaves air in your room very fresh and well smelling. If you don’t want to use another electric equipment in your house, just don’t forget to take your kids outside before you vacuum, and watch out for air pollution announcements.
– Two words. Air fresheners. Absolute majority of these products, no matter if they use CFC’s, DME’s, MEE’s, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons or mechanical pump, they are bad for you. There’s nothing natural about these products. It needs chemicals to be made, it contains chemicals that you breathe, and it pollutes environment around you. It causes asthma, and other allergies. We do have to make our homes smell nice, but there’s other ways to do it. Did you know it takes one match to get rid of the bad smell on the toilet? You don’t need to spray chemicals around and mix it with the bad smell. When you light a match, the particles of the smell get burnt with the oxygen that’s being used to light the match. I know it sounds weird, but it works. When you combine it with natural tea-candle vaporizers and you use natural oils or herbs, it will give your bathroom and your whole house a very subtle and natural scent. What also works a lot is incense sticks, but you may find it messy if you use a lot of it. I do understand that it’s much easier to just press a button or squeeze a pump, but at least don’t use the air fresheners when your baby is around. What I strongly suggest not to use is the automatic every-ten-minutes spray or the scent you put inside your electric plug. It may be one of the reasons your baby won’t stop crying.
– The furniture in your kid’s room may be full of chemicals too. Bear in mind that composite wood products use a lot of glue to stick together and the glue can vaporize slowly to the room for many years. The coating of the furniture may be made of toxic paint, too. If you use plastic furniture, find out how and where is it made, because some of the cheap “made in china” products, including toys, may contain phthalates which can be dangerous for the hormonal balance of children. Also mind the wallpapers, that are mostly made of vinyl these days, in order to be cleaned easily. When exposed to sun or next to radiator it may off-gas harmful particulates. When choosing carpets, look for the green label and eco sign, so you buy the less harmful ingredients. Bear in mind though, that carpets are traps for dust, dust mites, bacteria and mould. It is soft and keeps your house warm, but I’d think about putting it in your kid’s room. Wooden floor and washable rugs are much better choice.
– Bedding is an easy one. The more fire proof, wrinkle proof, moth proof, or the more white is your bedding, the more chemicals it contains and the more risk of allergies you put your child into. If you want to use the most natural fabrics, use cotton, hemp or linen. You will need to wash these delicately and then iron the sheets, but it is good for the baby, as ironing kills mites and bacteria. Just to remind you, ironing is one of our services too.
– Mattress is a tougher one, because most mattress contain flame retardants, but you have the possibility to wrap it around untreated 100% cotton barrier cloth. Your baby will not be in close contact with the mattress and the cloth will stop most of the baby’s urinal accidents too.
– It is important to know, that the washing powders and fabric softeners you use to wash your clothes is not good enough for your baby’s bedding and clothes. All the artificial softeners and the scents of your washing powders are potential allergens. There are special anti-allergenic washing liquids for babies. Look out for those. They have no scent, so it may not seem “clean” enough for you, but your baby will appreciate the natural smell of its parents more than “alpine freshness” or “summer meadow”.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make you hate chemicals and start living ECO and BIO. I do use chemicals myself, and I use chemicals to clean your house too. I just believe it is smart to think about what we really need to use, and what can be replaced with alternative products. And I did write all this for sake of your child, that does not deserve to develop allergies from the cradle. Also, your child will grow up into much more environmentally friendly society and you should understand what are the nowadays trends so you can understand your child better when it grows up.
There’s a lot more to write about regarding children and their clean environment, but I keep the second part for next month. In September’s article you will read about allergens in hygienic products, disinfectants, and diapers.
Until then – be a happy parent and let us do the cleaning for you.