New moms now have a plethora of options for birthing their babies. It’s no doubt that most of us envision a completely lux, non-toxic, green environment that’s as beautiful as the bundle of joy that is soon to be in our arms. But for some, the best of the best is a bit out of reach. So, we have to DIY our birth experience to ensure that our birth story is not only peaceful but green too.
According to The Center for American Progress, “Many potentially toxic chemicals are used in large amounts not just for patient care, but to clean the hospital itself. These traditional cleaning products, floor strippers, and disinfectants often contain bio-accumulative toxins or PBTs that can contribute to environmental pollution during manufacturing and lead to poor indoor air quality when they’re used.
In fact, the Environmental Working Group’s study on umbilical cords found an average of 200 industrial chemicals pumping towards babies in utero.
So, how do we help combat this after the birth? It’s not as difficult as you think if you plan ahead. Sure, you have your nesting to do and your body isn’t keeping up with your to do list, but making your birth environment as green as possible will be well worth it in the end.
For starters, what’s done is done. Your room will have been cleaned for you, but you can ask the nursing staff to ensure that during your stay, no additional cleaning of the room will be done. And, if you can, open a window upon arrival and let your room off-gas.
What do we bring with us to ensure that it’s even greener? Your suitcase should be filled with the greenest of the green so we don’t have to use any additional hospital chemical products.
That hospital bed is surely to be draped in sheets and pillow cases washed in industrial washers soaking in harsh chemical based cleaners so it’s a better option to bring a couple of sheets with you as well as a few pillow cases. You can bring along organic sheets. And what about what goes on mama? Thanks to stylish, eco companies, she now has her pick of a gorgeous organic hospital gown, sized and ready for breast feeding.
And take a minute to think about your shower, personal hygiene and beauty supplies. You’re going to bring some with you anyway, why not make sure they are non-toxic and fragrance-free to guarantee that your breast milk is devoid of toxins.
Ok, now your beautiful, sweet baby has arrived and you need to make sure that this blessed angel is also covered…literally. One of the most important green choices you can make is to cloth diaper your baby. And, bring your diapers with you to the hospital. The hospital staff may balk, but you’re the mama!
What about those wet wipes for your first bit of meconium? You have a few options here. You can pick up a pack of chlorine free wipes or you can even make them yourself with paper towels, non-toxic baby shampoo, a little olive oil and a recipe found on the internet.
Speaking of non-toxic baby shampoo, bring that too! And make sure that you provide your nursing staff with your choice of baby wash and communicate your wishes. Don’t forget about the baby’s attire either. Organic hats and onsies are available nearly everywhere these days but you’re always sure to find some in cyberspace.
And, since I know how foggy pregnancy brain can be here’s a handy list of what to pack to make sure you don’t forget how to green your hospital stay.
- Organic clean sheets
- Organic clean pillow cases
- Organic hospital gown
- Non-toxic lotion for mom
- Non-toxic nipple cream
- Non-toxic shampoo for mom
- Non-toxic soap for mom
- Non-toxic conditioner for mom
- Pads or reusable pads
- Cloth diapers
- Non-toxic baby wipes
- Organic onsies
- Organic going home outfit
- Non-toxic baby shampoo
- Non-toxic lotion
- Organic hats/caps
- Organic baby socks
- Non-toxic hand sanitizer
- Organic swaddling blankets
- Organic nursing pillow (with cover)
Shannon Harlow has been a part of the baby planning world since 2009. And she was the first baby planner in the country with multiples. Shannon has been the go-to resource for other planners in the industry when it comes to preparing for more than one baby. It is her sincerest desire to create an environment in which the expectant mother can focus solely on her gestational needs for a healthier pregnancy and baby. Find her at Hello World Baby Planning.