I’m thrilled that this fall I will start teaching at the Maternity Institute. Here’s a little bit from their press release announcement:
“Alexandra will begin teaching IMI’s Greenproofer Certification™ course in the Fall of 2012. Through the IMI Greenproofer 10 week certification program with Alexandra, participants will gain comprehensive knowledge and practical experience to prepare pre-conceiving, expecting, and new parents for toxic free living while expanding their careers as maternity eco-consultants and greenbirth educators.”
Fun! I hope maybe you’ll join me?
More fun on the set of Mom Ed: Green Living. This time Kristen and I chatted about all things plastic. I really do try to avoid the stuff as much as possible.
Let me know what you think!
My name is Helene…I wanted to have your opinion on my little issue. I just had my 3rd baby, a little boy, Alexander. Like you, I believe in a sustainable and green way of life. I have been breastfeeding all my babies but this time I’m very tired and I feel my husband wants me to start the formula. I don’t know what to do because even the organic formulas are not a prefect solution. I have read that most of the toxic products come from the can that contains the milk.
Do you have an opinion on this matter ?
Have a nice day and thank you in advance for any piece of advice you can give me.
Sorry for the delay in responding. I know how hard these early weeks can be. I hope you’re managing to get some rest.
Since you–like me–are so devoted to breastfeeding, are there other things you can do to make you less tired? A lactation consultant can help you get your son on a schedule that might give you some time, and help you figure out when to pump so your concerned husband, babysitter, or even older children can help you feed the baby while you get some rest. Can you hire a babysitter to help out a few hours so you can have time to yourself and to rest? These are the things I would try before heading over to formula. At this point–last time I checked–even the staid old American Academy of Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding for a full year (and introducing solids at six months). Here’s a quote from a report they did in 2005: “Exclusive breastfeeding has been shown to provide improved protection against many diseases and to increase the likelihood of continued breastfeeding for at least the first year of life.”
If you are going to introduce formula, can you continue to breastfeed some? Organic formula is absolutely preferable to conventional–especially when it comes to genetically modified ingredients. I think choosing organic and reading ingredients is at least as important as the can linings, which can contain the hormone disrupting chemical BPA. One way to minimize the contents of the can’s lining getting into the formula is to use powdered over liquid. BPA can still be found in the linings of cans containing powdered formula, but the Environmental Working Group says powder is a better choice.
It’s important to consider the water you will mix with the formula. I prefer filtered for so many reasons, including that it helps minimize exposure to excess fluoride in the water, which can lead to dental fluorosis. The CDC says you can use bottled water for this purpose, but that involves a lot of wasteful plastic bottles, on top of the formula containers.
I hope this helps and that you find your groove and get some rest. I know it was a long time after my daughter was born that I finally got some! This too shall pass.
I’m behind in answering questions. So here are a few quickies, both mattress-related.
I discovered your website when searching for organic/natural mattresses. Like yourself, I practice green living, and I was appalled at all of the chemicals when my husband and I started searching for a mattress a few months ago. After purchasing and returning a temprapedic, we are still in the market for a mattress. To what extent have you researched mattresses and the wool, cotton, latex in them?
Have a wonderful new year!
Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great you’ll be replacing the foam. Did you happen to see this earlier post about mattresses on my site? I’ve been writing about mattresses on and off since 2005 when I first researched The Complete Organic Pregnancy. Wool, cotton, and natural latex can all be great alternatives. Hopefully you can find a store near you that stocks these mattresses so you can try them out for softness/hardness. Many stores do now have them.
Hope this helps. Happy sleeping.
I found your blog, when I was searching for the green furniture for my future baby, so I decided to email you. I’m looking for a organic and hypoallergenic mattress, but there are so many options on the market. Any suggestions?
See above — hope you saw the earlier post I wrote about mattresses. If you’re buying pretty much any organic mattress, you’re already setting your baby up for better breathing space in her room. That said, you’re right, there are tons on the market. If you have a store near you that stocks them, head on out and ask questions. Push on them, sit on them, see how you feel. Is it too soft? Soft isn’t said to be great for babies. Does it feel nice and hard? Find out what is being used as the flame retardant and what else is in there.
Though I have mentioned brand names in the past, and have linked to stores in some of the links on that last blog, I’m not overly fond of naming names. Manufacturing issues arise and materials can change. It’s always best to zero in on the materials you want (hypoallergenic and organic), then find a brand that sells mattresses made with those materials. From there you can call up manufacturers and ask further questions you might have. Some so called organic mattresses now have third party certification–an added layer of trust since the word organic is really only regulated when it comes to food.
It’s a good problem to have too many organic options to choose from. This wasn’t always the case. This way you’re guaranteed to find the right version for you.
It was so great to hear you speak and meet you Sunday. I really enjoyed your talk and I’m so glad I convinced my husband to come because he keeps talking about some of the things you said and “reminding” me! ; )
I find myself having more questions now than before though! Can I ask your opinion on what to do about water? We buy cases of Poland Spring bottles every month – but are thinking (with your help!) that we shouldn’t. I’ve heard that NYC water is one of the best in the country and you mention it too, but that it is a building/piping issue that needs to be examined before consuming large amounts of it. Our building…was built in the 80′s so it is not that old…do you think I need to get a testing kit? Filter for the sink? Shower? We are in a rental, so if it is something I can screw on myself that would be easiest rather than have a plumber come and install something. Would love to hear your thoughts whenever you have time.
Nice meeting you, too. Thanks for the email and important question. I’m so glad you’re ready to give up the bottled water! Here in New York City, we can call 311 and the city will send you a free test kit for your water. Even if you didn’t live in NYC, it’s never a bad idea to get your water tested, even in a new-ish building. Remember that water flows through many pipes to get from the source to you–including ones outside your building. Probably all you will need is an activated carbon filter–these can be installed directly to your tap and/or come in pitcher form.
A shower head filter is lovely, too, and very screw-on-yourself-able. Hot water releases all of the impurities that might be found in your water into the air in vapor form, so it goes directly into your lungs as you shower.
Here’s some information on municipal drinking water from The Conscious Kitchen that I think will be helpful. I have separate information in the book on well water, choosing filters, and why, precisely, I dislike bottled water so much. There’s a lot more in there your husband can remind you about, too!
Municipal water, unlike bottled water, is tested and regulated. The results are public information. If you’re curious about what yours might contain, as you should be, ask your water utility company for a copy of the annual water quality report. Even if your municipal water is good, you still might want to test what flows out of our tap if you live in an older building or house. This will show you what might be coming out of your pipes–like lead–into your water. Plumbing installed before 130 tends to contain lead pipes, and lead solder is still used on newer copper pipes. Old pipes don’t automatically equal contaminated water; years of mineral deposits from water can coat the walls of lead pipes, creating a barrier of sorts…..After testing, all most tap water needs–unless there is an issue–is an activated carbon filter, such as Brita. The websites for various filters will say what substances they reduce. These usually include chlorine, lead, copper, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and benzene, as well as some parasites like giardia, plus odors and “bad” flavor. Even though everything tested within allowable levels in my water at home, I personally still use a filter to further reduce whatever levels I have of the above, and to protect myself against what might arise in the reservoir or corrode in my pipes over time. There are many bogus filtering products on the market, so buy only certified filters.”
I drink filtered NYC tap all day long — in glass at home, and in my stainless steel water bottle on the go. Why pay for what’s free and good? Plus, drinking tap means no extra plastic bottles, no recycling, and you’re no longer involved with having something you already have flowing from your taps bottled, transported, and delivered to you every month. It’s good common sense!
My superintendent is coming by today to set up the crib for baby #2. Last time around, I recall that you warned me not to put the kid in a (standard commercial) crib without applying some kind of sealant to keep it from . . . off-gassing, was it?
If so could I trouble you to remind me what that product was?…Thanks so much….
Thanks for the great question; lots of expecting parents have had similar inquiries. I answer this in The Complete Organic Pregnancy–and again in Planet Home!–and have excerpted a few paragraphs from the former below. Congrats on #2 and good luck!
When setting up a nursery, keep in mind that items you might want from small organic stores will take longer than you think to be shipped. Allow plenty of time, or you’ll be running through Buy Buy Baby in labor with a plastic changing table in your shopping cart. All the furniture in your nursery, and ideally the entire house, should be made of solid hardwood with a nontoxic finish. Avoid particleboard and plywood, which are held together with toxic formaldehyde-based glues, as well as plastic. We realize that plywood is ubiquitous. If you have something that’s made of plywood, you can seal it with Safecoat Safe Seal, a water-based low-gloss sealer for highly porous surfaces. Or speak to a Safecoat salesman about the best product for wood you want to seal.
Our basic advice is that you really won’t need half the stuff everyone insists you and your new pumpkin-sized roommate will need. We prefer to spend more money on fewer items. If you’re having trouble finding certified or recycled wood furniture for your baby, try to buy secondhand, or inherit hand-me-downs. Americans use about 27 percent of the wood commercially harvested worldwide. Much of it is harvested in an unsustainable (not naturally regenerating) manner, making the burden on forest ecosystems that much greater.
Just recently finished [The Complete Organic Pregnancy]. My husband and I have been recently trying for a baby and prior to that I probably devoured a dozen books on pre-pregnancy and I have to say your book is the most substantial and downright fantastic out of all of them! What I appreciated most from your book was how easily your research and tips could translate into everyday life and also how to truly make both your body and the environment both inside and outside the most optimal possible.
In saying that, I am left with a few questions:
1. Juices: I now know to avoid them, but what about smoothies, ingredients consist of whole fresh organic fruits, organic milk and ice??
That’s it, thank you so very much! Your book is the best gift I could have asked for and consult it regularly!!
You’re so welcome! Thanks for writing in.
Many thanks to Bob Vila for mentioning The Complete Organic Pregnancy in an article about a green nursery challenge! See the excerpt below, and/or check out the whole article here.
“As for the paint, I read ‘if you can smell it, it’s probably bad for you’ in “The Complete Organic Pregnancy.” The authors advise latex rather than alkyd- or oil-based paints, and suggest looking for paints labeled zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), no-VOC, or VOC-free, as they are “almost completely free of carcinogens.”