I was at a birthday party this weekend for the 2 year old son of an old friend. We ran after our babies in a local playground (as I write this I realize my daughter, Aili, now 16 months, is technically no longer a baby) and, as is always the case at these sort of gatherings, talked about parenting whenever we were standing next to another adult for more than 30 seconds.
As co-author of The Complete Organic Pregnancy, I tend to get asked a lot of questions about green/safe items to have around a growing baby, both in the womb and out. At this party, I was asked about G Diapers (I havent tried them personally but was happy to discuss what is considered to be their pros -- the flushable inserts dont wind up in landfills -- and cons -- they contain an absorbent chemical gel) and about how long I will continue to breastfeed (toddler Aili shows no sign of wanting to wean). The day before this party, at my high school reunion, a former classmate who is due to deliver her first baby in about four weeks, asked me what cleaning products would be safe to use in her home once her infant arrives. I babbled on and on.
What struck me about these questions has actually been (happily) striking me for a while now: everyone around me seems to be interested in organic/green living. Even the unlikeliest types. And I couldnt be more thrilled.
Back when my friend and writing partner, Deirdre Dolan, and I were researching The Complete Organic Pregnancy, people often asked us what an organic pregnancy means besides eating organic food. We would explain how it was basically about taking the principles of organic food and applying them to every other aspect of your life within reason. Its about making pesticide/ chemical/ toxin-free choices, about minimizing exposure to potential harm in an increasingly toxic world. We used to have to draw the parallels out between (say) organic bananas and green cleaning products, shampoos, nail polishes, plastic water bottles and the like.
Nowadays, Im more likely to be asked about specific things -- which baby bottles are the safest? what natural deodorants actually work? -- than to explain what an organic pregnancy means. Which indicates to me that parents already get the overall concept, and are trying to figure out how to make it work for their lives. This is great progress. Deirdre and I write over and over again in our book that 10 percent organic is better than no percent organic. We also say that once you start on the learning curve of becoming green, its addictive. These small steps towards being more green -- diapers, kitchen cleaners, and even nursery paint, or plastic car seats that offgas the least amount of chemicals -- will most likely result in greener and greener households as the months and years go on. This excites me to no end.
The learning curve continues in my household, too. My current research is usually based on questions from friends, family or readers, or on whatever Aili has gotten into lately. My basic motto continues to be to try to minimize harm in an increasingly toxic world. This means harm to Aili but also to the earth she has inherited. It made sense to do when I was pregnant, and continues to make sense today as she grows, eats, breathes, acquires language, and, most recently, skins her knees at the water park. Summer has descended on New York City with a humid bang so Im busily researching the least toxic wound care to carry in her baby bag for those boo boos, and trying to figure out if clothing and bathing suits made from fabric that contains UV protection is more or less harmful than the least chemical sunscreens. Ill let you know what Ive come up with.
What are you wondering about these days? Wed love to answer your questions if we have the answers, or research them if we dont. No concern or question is too small.
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