The Top 10 Most Important Things for Healthy Babies

My friend Danielle is just about to have her second child. The other day she asked me for my advice on what baby products to use, and not to use, because it seems like every year something changes and there are new recommendations. Since my youngest will turn 3 this summer, it’s all still fresh in my mind. So, Danielle and other new or about-to-be-new parents out there, here is what I recommend:

1. Glass Bottles.Sorry, I know they seem dangerous, but even BPA-free bottles (plastic without bisphenol A—a toxin) shouldn’t be heated in the microwave or have hot stuff poured into them. Even before I knew about BPA, the only glass bottles I could find were on…and now you can get them at my country store. In all the time we used them, we only ever broke one bottle, and that was outside when it fell onto cement. They are tough little things and a lot less dangerous than the chemicals in plastic.

2. Stainless steel sippy cups. I confess, we still have some plastic ones around. But I checked the numbers: 1, 2, 4 and 5 are currently deemed safe; 3, 6 and 7 are unsafe. Most major brands are made of the safe stuff, but they’re still plastic. Believe me, kids will get plenty of other doses of plastic in their lives from toys you can’t keep out of their mouths. This is at least one source you can avoid.

3. Organic crib mattress (and sheets).Nothing is more important to a family than the baby getting good sleep. Sure, organic bedding may be more expensive, but wouldn’t you pay anything in the middle of the night to have your baby be thrilled to get back in bed? I am not promising great sleep for babies every time, but they spend so much time in their beds—with their cute little faces smooshed right up to the bedding—that this is an important choice.

4. Seventh Generation disposable diapers. My thinking on cloth diapers: Get real. I am not washing diapers, and I am not feeling guilty about disposing of them—especially these. They are unbleached (it takes a while to get used to the non-white color), and made by a company that truly cares about the environment. Plus, they work better than Pampers (I’ve had to buy them when on vacation, and believe me, there’s a difference), and better than other ecovarieties I have tried. In fact, my daughter likes them so much she is refusing to potty train…ideas anyone?

5. Unscented wipes.Seriously, there are so many foul chemicals in fragrances, that you should avoid them at all costs. Some of the mainstream brands require you to buy giant plastic containers every time you buy wipes. I just buy them by the case on Amazon (or, now, from my store) in bags so there’s a minimum of wasteful packaging. Sure, dirty diapers stink, and it’s tempting to fight back with a powerful counter-odor. But the best scent is your own clean and healthy little one.

6. Organic formula.
I breastfed all my babies for at least the first 6 months, and for this last one, up until 10 months. But eventually, it’s time to switch. For my first two kids, organic formula wasn’t available. I gave my middle one soy formula as a substitute, but then read there are phytoestrogens in soy that make it not so good for babies. Fortunately, organic formula is now available. It’s the only way to make sure your babies are not getting toxic chemicals, GMOs and an overdose of antibiotics in their food.

7. Organic baby food (yes, in glass bottles).
Skip the Gerber in plastic. Go for Earth’s Best or other brands sold in glass bottles. Plus, you can reuse the bottles for storing or freezing stuff.

8. Nontoxic bath products and shampoos.Harsh, mainstream bath products for babies can CAUSE allergies. I have seen it. I like milder brands like California Baby, Weleda, and Kiss My Face.

9. Organic cotton clothing.
I’ve gotten spoiled over the years. I can now completely FEEL the difference between nonorganic and organic cotton. For some reason, organic cotton is much softer and smoother and smells much better (especially when new). There are tons of great companies that make sweet and delicious baby clothes made from organic cotton. Support their great work!

10. Love. Love. Love.
This is what all babies and children need most of all. Good love covers a multitude of sins and is truly the one thing they can’t live without. If there’s only one thing you remember it’s that. Plus, it’s free.

Have I forgotten anything? Let me know.



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7 Responses to The Top 10 Most Important Things for Healthy Babies

  1. Daniele Campbell April 1, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Yea! Thanks Maria! This is exactly what I needed to know 🙂

  2. Mary April 1, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I have a couple of friends who I’ll be needing to buy baby shower gifts for in the coming months. Thanks so much for many great ideas!

  3. Vince April 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    Hey Maria, this is a really great top ten list. You can post this to our site and then link back to your site. We are looking for top ten lists and our users can track back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  4. Tony April 1, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    Great advice Maria! Any tips for a good product to reduce swelling after a baby has poked someone in the eye with a wooden lizard?

  5. Vince April 2, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    Thanks for posting your list, it’s great! If you come up with any more please remember us. Maybe our site can give you inspiration for other lists, everyone loves top ten lists!

  6. Sara April 2, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    I’m really sorry to see that you have glass bottles at the top and have totally skipped over NURSING! Mother’s milk through breastfeeding is the most natural and best source of a baby’s nutrition. Of course, it’s hard to make money from it. Some of the other items are thoughtful and nice, but I think LOVE should be moved up a few notches. Putting it at #10 doesn’t quite cut it.

  7. maria April 2, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Hi Everybody!

    First of all, Love IS NUMBER ONE! (however, I put it last for effect)
    Second, I just assumed nursing…it is the best. Danielle had asked me about more of the stuff you need to buy — so I was responding to her. Danielle and I are both working moms, so even pumped breast milk needs to go somewhere.
    Third, Tony, how many times do I have to tell you not to get too close to the baby!?!? However, the boo boo kitty is in the freezer. That works for swelling.

    Thanks so much for all your great comments!

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