Are you planning for a first baby in 2015 or beyond? Congratulations! As you might have anticipated, your world will be turning into a wonderfully different, more brightly colored version of what you’ve experienced so far. Here are a few ideas for preparing for a baby to rock your world: Managing Your Fertility: As you might have already heard, fertility and healthy pregnancies begin long before conception with mindful health of both the mother and father. Do your homework and ask your physician about the risks of infertility treatments, as the Breast Cancer Fund has noted there is limited information on potential links between those treatments and breast cancer risks for a woman later on. As for limiting exposure to substances linked to infertility, you might want to start by limiting exposure to Bisphenol A or BPA, as studies have shown serious health concerns. Ways to limit BPA exposure are eating fresh or frozen foods while avoiding food cans (often lined with BPA), using stainless steel or glass drink containers instead of plastic water bottles, and limiting handling of thermal receipt paper. You may want to limit exposure to formaldehyde releasing personal care products like some found in hair salons that could be linked to infertility. Simplifying your exposure to personal care products and toxic chemicals in general could possibly help and certainly won’t hurt. Getting Your House in Order: Simple is good when it comes to getting a home ready for Baby. If any home renovation projects are happening, make sure the latest safety measures are taken. Lead paint removal must be done with the utmost care in order to not create additional health hazards. If you choose new paint, use the lowest VOC (volatile organic compound) rating you can find. Or you might opt to not paint at all during this time. If you choose new furniture for the living room or the baby’s room, you can ask the manufacturer if they’re following the updated California rule and not adding toxic flame retardants. Crib mattresses are now available that do not contain flame retardant chemicals and instead meet flammability standards with the natural materials used to make them. Aside from the concerns about mattresses and other foam cushioned products, some secondhand baby gear may be a helpful thing to stock up on. Cleaning without Toxic Chemicals: If you haven’t already made the switch, now’s the time to stock up on non-toxic cleaning supplies for every room in the house. With rare exceptions, soap and water or vinegar and even baking soda can get your house clean from top to bottom. There are ways to safely incorporate essential oils or even find ready made cleaners that meet a new standard for environmental health. Of course, household pesticides create health risks that include potential links to neurotoxicity, birth defects and cancer, so avoid them whenever possible. Bleach use has been linked to asthma. Air fresheners and neutralizers contain questionable ingredients as well, so getting a deep down clean is a better alternative for keeping indoor air safe for baby. Your Birth, Your Way: Consult your medical professionals and explore all of your options about childbirth and delivery in your area. Most hospitals will allow the assistance of a trained doula to be by your side or even for natural childbirth in the hospital setting. Other parents are deciding an alternative locations for childbirth. No matter which facility you choose, you have the right to create a birth plan and collaborate with the trusted professionals you choose to assist you. Supporting Breastfeeding: Ask if the childbirth facility you’ll be using has a certified lactation consultant on staff. Or even seek one out ahead of time for a class. Ask other mothers near you for their advice, and establish before the birth if you’ll be exclusively breastfeeding. If you are medically unable to breastfeed, seek out non-GMO formula sources (rare but existent) or milk banks to decide the best choice for your family. If you’ll be immediately returning full-time to work, create a plan ahead of time that works best for you and your baby as you strive to continue breastfeeding. Asking for Help: New parents can be typically sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your medical professionals can recommend at-home services, your local church or community group can offer support, and even the local library or community center may host gatherings for new parents. Online support groups are common, but in-person support from other parents can be invaluable. This post is not intended to provide any professional advice, medical or otherwise. Seek professional care for your specific situation.
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