I started Plastic Free Baby when I was pregnant with my son, now 3 years old. I discovered when I was struggling to conceive Finn that plastics can have a negative impact on human fertility, on pregnant mums, and on developing babies and children. Indeed, research is increasingly telling us that some toxins leached from certain plastics are bad for humans and are equally bad for our environment (and we, of course, can’t separate the two).
The really worrying thing is that the negative effects of plastics on human beings is not fully known yet, and every few weeks we hear of some more shocking news about the human health effects of plastics.
We recently read a scientific study which discovered microplastic particles in the placentas of unborn babies. A new and shocking discovery, which the researchers said was “a matter of great concern”.
“...The scientists said they could carry chemicals that could cause long-term damage or upset the foetus’s developing immune system. The particles are likely to have been consumed or breathed in by the mothers… Elizabeth Salter Green, at the chemicals charity Chem Trust, said: “Babies are being born pre-polluted. The study was very small but nevertheless flags a very worrying concern. ”
Plastics are known endocrine interrupters (i.e the glands that make hormones) and this could potentially have long-term effects on development and health, and could have restrictions on normal foetal growth for instance.
So, when reading these kinds of increasingly worrying scientific discoveries, I wanted to help other parents and mums to find easy ways to cut out plastic from their everyday lives. It is something that I find hard, but I try to make small steps everyday.
When thinking about cutting out plastic, it often becomes overwhelming since plastic is all around us. However, with a little bit of effort cutting out or limiting the usage of plastic in your life has never been easier.
Here are my top 7 baby product swaps to help you cut plastic out of your life quickly and easily:
You can search for each of these products (except the jam jars!) in the Plastic Free Baby shop.
- PLASTIC FREE BABY SKIN BALM
This soothing balm is so versatile! It can be used for your bump during pregnancy for skin protection and relief. It can also be used for skin irrational like psoriasis, dermatitis or eczema for you and your baby suitable from 3 months old. Unlike plastic, this 100% plastic free container does not have pores or cracks which can harbour all kinds of bacteria. This means that by opting to use plastic free products, you are not exposing yourself and your baby to any harmful toxins.
2. PLASTIC FREE NAPPY RASH CREAM
With healing Calendula infused organic Sunflower, Safflower and Coconut oils, this balm is the one thing that you need to protect your baby’s skin. It is so easy to apply and is gentle and effective at keeping any rashes or itches at bay. With natural and organic ingredients, your baby’s skin will be left smooth and protected. As for the plastic free packaging, the tin is 100% recyclable and reusable! It is also long lasting, durable and especially better for the environment. I spent such a long time finding a plastic-free alternative to an otherwise really great nappy rash cream and I am so delighted that this Solid Bar Company rash cream is not only plastic free but it does also do such a fantastic job at healing nappy rash; as good as it’s nearest ‘natural’ competitor I’d say.
3. PLASTIC FREE REUSABLE CLOTH
Did you know that the commonly used baby wipes contain a lot of plastic? Making the switch from the regular plastic baby wipes to plastic free reusable wipes can be so easy and so much better for your baby! It will mean that your baby doesn’t have to come into contact with microplastics at every bum change and face wipe, and will mean that far less plastic reaches our natural environment where it cannot naturally biodegrade. All you need to do with reusable wipes is to run them under water then give them a squeeze and you’re done. This cloth can be laundered with normal load on cool and hung to dry.
4. PLASTIC FREE BABY SOAP
This is a gentle plastic free soap that is perfect for mum, baby and all the family. It is soothing and infused with chamomile flowers and oatmeal to help with moisturising and protecting sensitive skin. This soap is completely plastic free meaning that unlike plastic products, no toxins can leach out and harm your body. It’s totally waste-free too - I put the cardboard sleeve onto my compost heap, so that it can help me to grow veggies in the summer.
5. PLASTIC FREE BREAST MILK STORAGE
Store your breast milk in jars in the freezer! Why bother buying breast milk storage bags when you can collect jam jars or buy mason jars for long term usage? While breast milk storage bags are considered a one-time use, mason jars (or jam jars!) can last for a long time, can be reused, and can be thoroughly sterilised for other purposes, which can save you money and help the environment too. Storing your precious breast milk in the freezer in glass means that nasty microplastics won’t leach into the milk that you give to your baby, and is really easy to do. Wash and sterilise your jars in the normal way (I do a double whammy of boiling in water then going in a hot oven for a short time), then when the jars are cooled, transfer the pumped breast milk into the jar, making sure that the jar is no more than around ⅓ full, then pop it in the freezer with the jar lid off, and pop it on when the jar contents has frozen a couple of hours later.
6. PLASTIC FREE BABY CREAM / PLASTIC FREE BABY BUTTER
Nothing better than replacing normal baby cream in plastic bottles with baby butter! Baby butter moisturizes gently and keeps your baby’s skin smooth. It will help to provide any skin irritations & inflammations that maybe your baby suffers from. Do not hesitate to replace your plastic bottle with a plastic free baby body butter! It's worth it! You can use the baby butter tin again too, to be truly zero waste - I use mine to keep my sewing bits and bobs in. Alternatively, they are 100% recyclable and therefore eco-friendly.
7. PLASTIC FREE BABY BOWL
Here’s a perfect plastic-free swap. If you are looking for an appealing, stylish, sturdy and homemade bowl? You should choose a ceramic bowl! They are glazed and easy to clean, are dish-washer safe and are absolutely beautiful.
The main thing with this swap, is that you are swapping out the potential for BPA or similar chemicals leaching into your baby’s food. Research has shown that BPA (bisphenol A) can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Avoid this risk by serving always food in a plastic-free alternative such as this lovely little plastic-free weaning bowl.
I hope that you have found my 7 swaps useful - I will be adding more later in the year, so do check back!
What are your favourite plastic free swaps for babies, children and the whole family?
Have a great week,
from Laura, Founder of Plastic Free Baby