So, Baby Girl Sweet Potato is almost 11 months old and as we close in on her first birthday I thought I would take a minute to talk about a few of the things that have helped us out in this first year of parenting. In many ways, we parent differently than the mainstream culture but the honest truth is that I strive to take care of our child’s health in the same way I strive to take care of my own. This has led me to seek out a lot of natural, gentle products as well as products that promote a healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Below, I have included my top ten favorite natural baby essentials.
- Water Wipes– These are the simplest, purest wipes that I have found on the market. We use cloth diapers most of the time, but I just couldn’t get behind using cloth wipes too. That being said, I wanted to find a disposable wipe that was free of chemicals, fragrances or cleaning agents that could be irritating to the skin. These wipes are soaked in water and grapefruit seed extract, that is it. Check it Out.
- Pura Bottles– Baby Girl Sweet Potato is breastfed and since I stay at home with her she only gets bottles occasionally when I need to go out, and now that she eats a lot of solid food she also drinks water from her bottle sometimes as well. That being said, it was still important to me to find a bottle that was free of BPAs, and wouldn’t leach any other bad things over time. I wanted to avoid plastic, ideally but glass didn’t seem like the best idea so I went with stainless steel. Pura has been tested by multiple sources and been found to be lead free and completely non toxic, these bottles are indestructible and the tops allow you to use any number of nipples based on your baby’s needs (We use Dr. Brown’s Wide Neck). You can even transition it to a sippy cup top when the time comes. Check it Out.
- Goddess Garden Baby Sunscreen– I talked about this a little over the summer, but like most moms I was nervous about avoiding sunburn on that precious baby skin this past summer. Goddess Garden has been my personal favorite brand of sunscreen for a few years now, because it is non-toxic and natural, but isn’t as thick and pastey as a lot of other brands. Thankfully, they have a baby sunscreen that worked wonderfully all summer including during our week-long trip to the beach. Check it Out.
- Amber Teething Necklace– You might have seen these somewhat strange little pieces of jewelry around or heard rumblings about them on parenting sites. The natural amber is supposed to secrete an anti-inflammatory compound into the skin when it is warmed by your baby’s body heat. This is supposed to help minimize the discomfort of teething. Baby Girl Sweet Potato started teething at 3 months old and has almost a complete set of teeth at this point. So, teething has been a major part of our first year. This necklace didn’t keep her from ever being miserable, I’m not sure how well it worked on pain, but I will say that it seemed to help with the drool. When she doesn’t wear it the drool situation is out of control. Check it Out.
- Gripe Water– Gas and upset tummies are a part of life sometimes even when you are a baby. Thankfully, we haven’t had too much trouble in this department but when we have this gripe water has been a life saver. Around the time that Baby Girl was 4 months old I accidentally got glutened at a restaurant and she got really sick after nursing. She was screaming and miserable so I went out and got a bottle of this and after one dose she was sound asleep. Check it Out.
- Little Remedies Dye Free Acetaminophen– Let me preface this by saying that I hate giving my baby medicine. If you can avoid it, I think that you should. However, given my gut issues I have been too hesitant to give her Motrin and if you read #4 you know that getting twelve teeth in twelve months is sometimes a painful process for everyone. The first time I went to the store to get some out of desperation I freaked out. Traditional infant Tylenol has high fructose corn syrup, red dye and so many other crappy things in it that it is hard for me to believe that it is a product actually made for babies. Thankfully, someone told me about Little Remedies. It is free of dye and fake sweeteners so at least that is one less thing to worry about when trying to decide whether medication is the best option. Check it Out.
- Eco Sprout Coconut Stick– This diaper cream is awesome. It is made from coconut oil, beeswax and vitamin e oil and it is in a super convenient stick that keeps your hands clean and is easy to travel with. It is also cloth diaper friendly. Check It Out.
- Ergo Baby Carrier– I am a big fan of baby wearing and the truth is that I actually own four carriers. However, the Ergo gets my vote as the best all around, use for anything, good for anyone carrier. It is the carrier my husband prefers, all of the grandparents have used it and it is easy and fast to put on. Having a baby carrier that you like using is a game changer. It helps to keep the baby calm and happy, gives you the use of both hands and is way more convenient than lugging around a giant stroller for a little baby. Check It Out.
- Amber Night Lights– Night time wakings are just part of life with a new baby, or a not-so-new baby for that matter. That being said, it is still important to practice good sleep hygiene and try to protect your circadian rhythm as much as possible. Rather than flipping on overhead lights, using my phone flash light or having to buy tons of lamps I got two of these amber night lights to put in the bedrooms and hallways so that we can see without being exposed to blue light in the middle of the night. Check It Out.
- Dock-a-tot: This one falls into the “promoting a healthy lifestyle for the whole family” category. When I was pregnant and looking at baby gear, I saw a dock-a-tot for the first time and thought “no way in hell am I going to spend that much money on a glorified dog bed for my baby, that’s ridiculous”. Fast forward through pregnancy to month 8 of Baby Girl Sweet Potato’s life and I haven’t slept more than two hours at a time in roughly 155 nights and I am losing it. I had started to have episodes of joint pain, I was in tears like 45% of the time, and nothing is working. I am not a personal fan of crying it out, but other than that we had tried basically everything imaginable. Then, I start asking about this dock-a-tot thing that all of these annoyingly well rested moms keep telling me about. Everyone’s story was similar, their baby slept fine as a newborn, did well being swaddled, loved being held and cuddled and then when they got too active to be swaddled and needed to transition to a new means of sleeping they simply stopped sleeping altogether, until they were put in the dock-a-tot. This thing is basically a U shaped, SIDS safe, breathable body pillow/nest for your baby. I was skeptical, but desperate so we gave it a try. It wasn’t a magical overnight fix, but it definitely helped. It made transitioning into the crib much easier and it helped her sleep stretches go from 2 hours max to 4 or sometimes 5 hours. It has also allowed her to sleep in the crib during naps which has given me some time to myself during the day that I didn’t previously have. This has helped tremendously and has made us a much happier healthier family, so I count it as worth it. Check it Out.
Bonus: The Vaccine Friendly Plan– This is a book that I highly recommend to anyone who is having a baby and trying to get more information about vaccines. It is written by an integrative pediatrician with decades of experience. It is a new book to the market so everything is up to date and it does a great job of laying out an evidenced based, practical approach to handling vaccines and child health and wellness. We have used it and followed the guidelines so far and had great results. Check it Out.
We’ve learned a lot this past year, but there is still a lot to learn. Especially, in this next year ahead. You see, Baby Girl Sweet Potato is getting a baby brother is March of 2018 (SURPRISE)! We’ve kept it under wraps up until this point because preparing to have two under two has been a lot to process but I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and things have been going very well. I look forward to talking more about the differences in this pregnancy in a future post, but for now let me know in the comments what your favorite natural baby and kid products are!