Toxic, baby

Babies are synonymous with purity. So when parents are inundated with the long list of chemical-laden ingredients in typical baby products, they worry. We asked local moms to weigh in on the diaper, bottle and baby food debate to see what alternatives they pursued as new parents.

Organic cloth diapers v. disposable diapers

A recent trend among health and environmentally-conscious parents is to move away from disposable diapers toward a new take on the old-fashioned cloth diaper. Brands such as Best Bottom and bumGenius are rising in popularity thanks to their reusable shell designed to adjust in fit as an infant grows and absorbent, washable liners made with organic, dye-free material.

Amanda Emch, co-owner of Sweet Cheeks, a local boutique that focuses on natural baby products, started her business in part to help raise awareness among parents of the need to consider alternatives to potentially harmful baby products. “A lot of times with my first child, I was just ignorant,” says Emch, a Lambertville,  mother of four. “I had no idea there were chemicals in diapers.”

Where to get it:
Sweet Cheeks, 5577 Monroe St.,
Suite C2, Sylvania, 419-517-0506,;

Lullaby Lane, 3100 Main St.,
Suite 735 in The Shops at Fallen Timbers
(Lullaby Lane recently began offering a cloth
diapering clinic. For more info, call 419-878-0127
or visit

Squishy Tushy, 103 S. Lane St., Blissfield,
(Instruction available by appointment.)



Homemade/ organic baby food v. processed baby food

Amy Shiffert, first-time mom to 13-month-old Betsy, said hormone-altered food became an area of concern for her once she became pregnant — first while she was breastfeeding and now that Betsy is eating solid food. She does her best to stay away from items that potentially came into contact with pesticides, chemical fertilizers or antibiotics.
“I never let my baby eat store-bought baby food,” Shiffert said. “I make all of my own because it’s cheaper and it’s healthier and I know where it comes from.”
Moms who prefer to purchase rather than make baby food have options — the brand Ella’s Kitchen lists strictly organically-sourced ingredients in all of its products, from single-fruit infant food to chewy cookies. The website also details packaging that contains BPA-free aluminum pouches with BPA-free plastic covering the aluminum. Be careful of organic food packaged in potentially harmful products, such as organic food without a BPA-free distinction on the lid or container.

Where to get it:
Ella’s Kitchen pouches
Available at Phoenix Earth Food Co-op
1447 W. Sylvania Ave., 419-476-3211,
or online at

Lullaby Lane’s LullabyU offers baby food
cooking classes Lullaby Lane, 3100 Main
St. in The Shops at Fallen Timbers,

Glass bottles v. plastic bottles

As national and consumer groups continue to fight against using bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging and the Food and Drug Administration continues to research the chemical, local parents are taking the initiative to find alternative products in order to protect their children. Plastics laced with the hormone imitating BPA moved to the forefront of advocacy conversations earlier this century, and in July 2012 the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of the chemical in future production of baby bottles and sippy cups. Other plastic food packaging, however, may still contain traces of the BPA compound.
Crystal Howell, a Sylvania mother of two, said she didn’t want to take any chances of BPA leaking into her sons’ formula and used glass bottles in lieu of plastic. “Glass baby bottles don’t let anything leak into the formula or milk when they are warmed, unlike plastic bottles,” says Howell. Though newly manufactured plastic bottles are required to be BPA-free, glass bottles are still an option.

Where to get it:
Life Factory glass bottles with silicone sleeve, prices vary



Organic and natural cloth clothing  v. chemically treated clothing

Choosing to purchase clothes and blankets made with natural fibers can help keep irritating chemicals from coming in contact with your baby’s sensitive skin and causing chemical burns or allergic reactions. A current concern is purchasing pajamas and other clothing made without flame retardant chemicals.

“You also can wash your clothing with half a cup of vinegar in your laundry and it will take that chemical that makes it flame retardant out of the clothing,” Emch said.

Products made from bamboo muslin, such as those from manufacturer Aden + Anis, have the same properties as organically sourced fibers and feel similar to silk.

“Anything made with bamboo you don’t have to buy organic because it’s not treated with chemicals,” Emch said. “It grows so fast they don’t need to use chemicals, so any time you buy bamboo it’s basically organic.”

Under the Nile is another manufacturer of organic baby clothes and bedding that uses 100 percent Egyptian cotton that is free of pesticides and other chemicals. They also stress environmental responsibility in their manufacturing.

Where to get it:
Aden + Anis Bamboo Swaddles  // $19.95-$40
Sweet Cheeks, 5577 Monroe St., Sylvania,
learn more at

Under the Nile organic Egyptian
cotton infant clothing  // $14-$32
Lullaby Lane, 3100 Main St. in
The Shops at Fallen Timbers,
Learn more at

As with any decision regarding your child, make sure to contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Toledo resident Maggie George, mom to 8-month-old Olivia, reminds expectant mothers not to discredit their own feelings and opinions.

“People, especially other moms, will always offer unsolicited advice,” George said. “Don’t follow someone’s advice, no matter how well-intended, at the expense of following your intuition regarding the needs of your baby. God chose you to be his or her mom and you’re the best mom for the job.”