Yes, you did it! You made it through those 9 months, a long labor and finally have your bundle of joy home. You even have the nursery all painted and ready, complete with a never-ending supply of diapers. Think you’ve got everything under control? Think again. Just like you are what you eat, you are what you breathe and your home’s and nursery air may be making your baby sick.
So, how is this happening? Indoor air is up to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air and sadly we spend 90% of our lives inside with that polluted air. Poor air quality is a very important issue for pregnant women and new mothers to know about since these two groups are more sensitive and susceptible to illnesses aggravated by toxins in the air. You can read all about these toxins called VOCs here.
If you are frequently exposed to poor air while pregnant, studies have shown that your baby is at a higher risk of being born prematurely or be stunted in growth. Newborns whose homes have toxic air are linked to having more allergies, higher rates of asthma, more skin illnesses like eczema and are more likely to have a lower IQ as an adult. Furthermore, if your home’s temperature and moisture isn’t regulated, your child is more likely to develop rashes, dry skin, coughs and other respiratory illnesses. Now, don’t go reaching for the plastic wrap and turning your nursery into a sterilized bubble room just yet. Most women who live in high polluted cities have perfectly healthy babies, but many also don’t. It’s important for you to know that your nursery’s air may be making your child sick and to learn how to combat this issue.
To start, the source of most of your nursery’s air pollution is probably coming from the furniture. Your brand new crib’s mattress can contain 100 different chemicals. The chair you breastfeed in is most likely emitting formaldehyde and other VOCs. Even that cute shade of pink or blue you painted the walls is always emitting chemicals. The scary thing is none of these products are violating any laws, but having them in the room your newborn will spend most of his early days in is a big problem. Here’s what we recommend to do to make sure your nursery’s air is as safe as possible for your baby.
- Buy “healthy” paint that is Green-Seal Qualified, which meets the highest indoor air standards and thus has the lowest amount of VOCs.
- The formaldehyde fumes coming from furniture drastically decreases after a 5 year bench mark, so try to buy as many things used as you can.
- If you do buy new furniture, avoid pressed wood since it contains the most toxins. We also highly suggest airing out your furniture for about a week before putting it in your nursery to let the high level of initial formaldehyde and toxins to disperse.
- Install AWAIR in your nursery to always be in the “know” about what your child is breathing. The best part is AWAIR will alert you via your smart phone when toxins are in the air and help you find the right solutions to keep your child healthy. This device is just as important and helpful as your baby monitor.
- Use organic bedding and sheets, which don’t contain formaldehyde and other chemicals.
- Use green cleaning products to cut down on the amount of VOCs being released into the air. Also, when cleaning, make sure to keep a window open to cycle out the fumes.
Read labels! Make sure the baby products you use aren’t riddled with chemicals that are not only troublesome to your child’s skin, but harmful to their lungs.
The important take away is that healthy air is very important for a healthy baby. Sadly, it’s a struggle for modern-day parents to create a safe haven for their baby when so many products contain harmful toxins. After leaving the hospital, it’s up to you to make sure your home is as healthy as possible for your little one. Breathe happy and healthy, mothers!