The range of baby products has been greatly expanded, with nappies, wipes, baby cosmetics, toys and clothing that are increasingly sought-after, not forgetting an extensive food range with dishes worthy of great chefs to save parents’ time. Yet all these products are not the same and some even pose a risk to the health of the little ones. This is why in recent years many young parents have decided to return to older practices (cloth diapers, homemade dishes, wooden toys, homemade liniment…). Do we really have to go back to our grandmothers’ products or to homemade products to ensure good health for children?

Reading time: 8 minutes

 

Baby cosmetics a false good idea?
Prefer homemade meals for toddlers?
Baby clothes, diapers and endocrine disruptors: what should we think?
Baby rooms full of endocrine disruptors?
How can Meersens help you?

Baby cosmetics a false good idea?

Baby cosmetics” might make you laugh, but toilet milks, washing gels, shampoos, scented waters, cleansing wipes, moisturizers are all “cosmetic” substances that come into contact with your toddler. However, all these substances have very often disappointing compositions: cocktails of chemical substances, irritants, allergens or endocrine disruptors that can be bad for babies’ health. So how do you use products without sendocrine disruptors for babies? Products with a strong odour are already indicators of the presence of chemical or allergenic substances for babies.

What to buy? Your baby only needs a few essentials:

A cold soap (without essential oils) or soap-free washing gel (more suitable for a topic skin)

A liniment: cleanser for baby’s bottom composed only of olive oil and lime water that prevents diaper rashes when wearing diapers.

A moisturizing cream without perfume and especially without phenoxyethanol (endocrine disruptor).

Baby wipes whose composition contains irritants, toxic substances and sometimes even endocrine disruptors should be avoided on a daily basis for the well-being and health of babies. They can be replaced by a washcloth and warm water with mild soap.

Meersens health point:

Endocrine disruptors can alter the functioning of the hormonal system even at very low levels of exposure. They can be the cause of malformations, reduced fertility, early puberty, hormone-dependent cancers… Other chemical compounds not considered as endocrine disruptors can be just as harmful because Carcinogenic, irritating, allergenic or toxic… Infants are particularly sensitive to these types of chemicals because their systems are still immature and their skin is thinner and more permeable than that of an adult.

Prefer homemade meals for the health of babies?

Breastfeeding is the most recommended choice when choice is possible and homemade is still the healthiest choice when it comes to the diets of adults and children; but the issue is somewhat more complicated when it comes to dietary diversification. Infants have:

  • Specific needs different from adults and changing over the months
  • Need for a pesticide- and chemical – free diet

Homemade for infants is perfect as long as these 2 points are strictly respected. Preparing baby’s food requires using official recommendations according to baby’s age to provide the right amount of protein, milk, fat and dishes without salt, honey, mayonnaise, raw cheese or any other high-risk products.

In addition, preparing homemade baby food requires the use of pesticide-free vegetables (organic or baby label or zero pesticide residue) because the accepted residue limits for baby products are lower than those for adults and children. For example, jars or other industrial baby foods are subject to more stringent controls than “common” foods.

So if the 2 previous criteria are respected it is betterto favour home-madefood, otherwise industrial food specially designed for babies remains a good alternative.

Choosing the right industrial baby food:

We must avoid: 

Savoury dishes / jarsintroducing additives, flavours: vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, peanut… and mixes with sweet flavours (fruit) that direct babies’ taste preferences towards sweet products and mask the taste of vegetables and other flavours.

Baby cakes / biscuitsbecause they contain acrylamide which is an agent classified as probably carcinogenic to humans and has no nutritional value.

Rice based foods (rice cereals, pancakes…) should be avoided or varied with other starchy foods because rice is a cereal with a high arsenic content.

Fruit juices and sweet drinks

Bottle-type containers for purees and compotes (risk of overfeeding and infants do not learn to eat)

We must give priority to:

  • Foods containing few ingredients and avoiding sweet-salty mixtures
  • A variety of starchy foods, avoid using or offering only rice cereals.
  • Containers where food is visible and made of glass if they are to be heated.
  • Glass baby bottles because even if the bottles are free of bisphenol A, bisphenol substitutes reduce the production of testosterone and would have obesogenic effects.

Baby clothes, diapers and endocrine disruptors: what should we think?

The diapers were a big topic of debate. It has been detected in many brands of AMPA (potentially from glyphosate) as well as other chemicals and endocrine disruptors that can migrate in the urine and come into contact with baby’s skin. Following the report released in 2019 denouncing the presence of several chemical substances in diapers, diaper manufacturers are committed to eliminating allergenic substances and analyzing supply and manufacturing channels to eliminate sources of contamination. Some brands of diapers without endocrine disruptors are better according to the analyses of 60 million consumers or Quechoisir(but this ranking is not fixed in time because a change of suppliers may call into question the composition of the diapers).

Reusable diapers a good alternative?

This will depend on the diaper, you should favour pocket or all-in-one diapers that allow the absorbent to be separated from the baby’s bottom to avoid irritation. For a better absorption bamboo, hemp or microfiber are the best alternatives.

There are currently no studies to show that reusable diapers are better for babies’ health. This will mainly depend on the infants, indeed some disposable diapers can cause reactions due to certain chemical compounds allowing the transformation of urine into gel, but disposable diapers are less breathable and less absorbent which can cause irritation.

It should also be borne in mind that textiles in general and therefore baby clothes are not free of chemical substances and potentially endocrine disruptors. Flame retardants, antimicrobials [nano-silver, triclosan, triclocarban], formaldehyde, bisphenol A, compounds to promote water resistance (perfluorinated substances), phthalatesin prints are found on clothing. All of these substances are harmful to the healthof babies and some are endocrine disruptors.

There are alternatives to avoid this kind of compounds: the following labels:

Confidence in Textiles : guarantees the absence (or very low content) of many chemicals for textiles without risk to human health.

EU Ecolabel: Limitation of substances dangerous to the environment and to health

NaturTextil: certifies that at least 95% of the certified textile contains fibers from organic farming or in-conversion farming.

Der Blaue Engel: German label for ecological products with absence of toxic and dangerous substances.

Global Organic Textile Standard: guaranteeing the organic quality of textiles from the harvesting of raw materials, through socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing, to labelling to provide a reliable guarantee to the consumer.

Baby rooms full of endocrine disruptors?

We tend to forget this, but an infant’s room may not be as healthy as it seems, and it is a place where baby will spend a lot of time.

New furniture and paint are emitters of VOCs(Volatile Organic Compounds), so it is important to prepare the baby’s room at least 3months in advance so that the room can be ventilated and thus reduce the concentration of VOCs.

Don’t forget thatflame retardants, allergens, phthalates, bisphenol A, formaldehyde and heavy metals are included when you buy toys and soft toys.

To avoid these endocrine disrupters and chemicals:

  • Preference should be given to wooden toys made of raw wood or treated with water-based paints and without varnish.
  • Prefer certified organic cuddly toys
  • Air toys if they are not certified organic and wash them before use.
  • Prefer an organic mattress in natural latex or coconut fiber or organic cotton.

As far as baby-phones are concerned, they emit waves which, according to current knowledge, do not pose any proven health risks, but to prevent any problems it is better to place the baby-phone at least 1 m from the baby’s head and choose one that does not emit continuously but only during a sound to protect the baby’s health.

How can Meersens help you?

Analyze your environment and your food wherever you are!

With the Meersens application become an actor of your health: dive into the heart of the action by helping the community and improve your health thanks to the knowledge of your environment and access to personalized advice.

Make the invisible visible for a healthier life.

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