By Karina Brennan
Nobody would argue that babies bring with them an infinite amount of love, cuteness, smiles and cuddles. Talk to any new parent about their new bundle of joy and a smile will inevitably appear as they proudly discuss their first smile, or how even at 2 weeks old, “She knows me.”
Pregnancy is a busy, exciting time for prospective parents. There’s a lot to worry about, but also much to look forward to. It’s a time of positive change, and a time at which families often tend to look more closely at all aspects of their lives – be it diet, finances, household or stress.
It’s also a time when everyone will try to give you some advice. Everywhere you look, healthcare professionals, family, friends and ‘expert’ authors will have something to say.
During pregnancy, many women tend to look more closely at the ingredients put into their food, and find themselves considering the impact these foods may have on their bodies and their impending arrival. We look for organic foods and tend to eat more healthily – because we’re eating for two.
General guidelines would be to eat as many greens as possible, take your prenatal vitamins, increase your essential fats, increase the iron intake in your diet, cut back on the baddies and keep active. After all, there’s no better incentive or motivation to eat healthily than a healthy baby at the end of nine months.
It’s all stuff that we know already, but somehow pregnancy is the time when we take it very seriously, because with pregnancy comes the added responsibility of shaping the life of another.
We also begin to look at the things our baby will come into contact with after it enters the world. We look at where the dog sleeps, what dangers lurk around the house, we look for natural fibres for their clothing and bedding, and we stock up on the most gentle products we can find for our babies’ delicate, gentle skin.
Truthfully, very few of us will ask exactly what ingredients make up our shower gels, body lotions or make-ups. When you realise, however, that 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, you will find yourself looking more closely at what comes into contact with your skin and that of your new bundle of joy.
In response to this, a huge range of chemical-free, natural and organic products is becoming more widely available. While this market has been growing steadily for a few years, it is now becoming more environmentally aware and slightly more mainstream. Natural brands such as Dr. Hauschka and Burt’s Bees are becoming household names, while the newer brands are also finding a market.
And because a baby’s skin is so soft and sensitive, you can now get a whole range of natural, organic products for babies at your local health store. From real cloth nappies and bath products to baby wipes and natural diaper creams, you’ll find everything you need for your bump, baby and beyond.
For mums-to-be, you’ll find a wide selection of prenatal vitamin supplements, along with a selection of iron products and essential fatty acids, all of which are highly recommended to take during pregnancy.
The skincare ranges available are also particularly suitable during pregnancy due to the low chemical content and the sensitive nature of this time in your life. For your hospital stay you’ll find organic maternity and nursing pads, the widely respected homeopathic remedy arnica and witch hazel.
When it comes to nappies, there are quite a few options which are more environmentally friendly and gentler on the skin. Also, enjoying a resurgence at the moment are cloth nappies, which are now becoming more mainstream. And with nappies being such a large expense for parents, cloth nappies are a cheaper, more cost effective option for many families.
They could save you up to [EURO SIGN]€1000 for the first baby, and even more if you keep them and use them for subsequent children. The added bonus is that you’d be doing your bit for the environment. The latest UK Environment agency reports are claiming that reusable nappies are 40% better for the environment.
Here in Ireland, people often see it as being backward instead of forward. In the UK, 35% of parents use or have used reusable nappies for their baby. In Ireland, estimates range from 1%-5% of parents trying reusables for their child.
It should be said that cloth nappies are not what they used to be. Gone are the large safety pins and terry towels. They are now stylish, fashionable and easy to use. They are also the most bum-friendly option with soft breathable materials and no plastics, chemicals or gels. And because the cotton is naturally breathable, it allows the baby to regulate their body temperature more effectively, lessening the likelihood of nappy rash and other irritations.
For more information on cloth nappies or any other natural baby products, go to Evergreen Healthfoods in Galway or shop online at www.evergreen.ie