Thursday, October 9, 2008

Going green(ish)

Trying to get a greener footprint... Pic from Treehugger

I never thought I'd be the type of person who'd care about where her products came from, how they were made or what ingredients they include. But all of sudden, I do. As bad as it sounds, it wasn't the environment that bought this on. The completely superficial side of my newfound green love was the fact that every item of clothing I'd lust over for my babies was organic. Pretty much every organic range I've seen has a subtle palette, the prettiest prints, cool slogans and exquisite style. Obsessed with Purebaby, I read up about them and actually let the environmental awareness side of it all sink into my brain instead of just bypassing as I usually do when I'm not 100% interested in something.

The main clincher, though, was Zak. From day one poor Zakky was slapped with the sensitive skin stamp and we spent a lot of time trialing product after product to find the right ones for him and his eczmea. And still he itches and scratches like a crazy dog when it flares up, which at the moment, is often. He's awaiting allergy tests, but until he gets this done (it can take months to get in), what to do? I'm desperate to know what's causing his itch: is it something he's eating? Something he's wearing? The weather? Something in the air? WHY are there so many damn allergies and conditions with the newer generations? Things just aren't the same, are they? We have BPA in our plastic bottles, formaldehyde in our clothes, pesticides and tar in our food...

If that's not enough to worry about, it now appears I have the peanut allergy to contend with too. This was one allergy I didn't get - I'd never heard of it up until a few years ago so didn't really believe it was as bad as it's turned out to be. But then Zak ate a peanut butter sandwich and broke out in hives. Antihistamines fixed him up, but another slip-up involving him touching a peanut butter sandwich resulted in the same. Again, fixed. Then a few weeks ago, I had to call an ambulance when an innocent-looking rash resulted in his eyes closing up, face swelling and throat closing. We were at a new-baby group at the clinic when I first noticed the rash. The mother of the little boy he was playing with swears he didn't have peanut butter that day. So what was it? Is his allergy to it so bad he can break out via secondary touch (which is terrifying as the reactions can get worse with each exposure, and seem to be in Zak's case even though the actual exposure is less) Or was it the new jumper he was wearing that I hadn't washed yet?

The latest incident has made me a bit more cautious. Until it's determined exactly what his allergies are, I'm all for trying to live a little greener in the hope that may prevent some reactions. So if it means being stricter on the foods I buy and prepare, the fabrics I buy and the products I use, then so be it. I'm certainly not going to change my entire way of living in one step - and I know I won't stop buying things I love just because it's not organic or environmentally aware, but I will think a little more with the day-to-day.

Happily, this is a relatively easy thing these days: we've come a long way from when you were deemed a hippy if you even said the word "environment" or knew what organic meant. There are plenty of greener options and they're almost surprisingly prettier, softer and sometimes cheaper than their more common cousins. I thought I'd share a few bits and pieces with you in coming posts, starting today with my current faves and latest purchases. Because it's really quite easy being green when there are baby and environmentally-safe products as great as these ones...

My fave label: Purebaby muslin wrap, $16.95, Purebaby

Layla practically lives in this label, but this suit I bought as a baby-shower gift for my friend Nadine, who is due in a few weeks. The perfect gender-neutral: greys and blues for boys, birdies and lemon for girls! Side Open Grow Suit, $29.95, Purebaby

Could these be any cuter? Gaia botties, $19.95, Organic Babe

My fave nappies and wipes, Nature Babycare. Yes, they nappies are disposable, but a much better kind made partly from maize. From supermarkets

No BPA, PVC or Phthalate, but heaps of style! Zak's flash new drink bottle. Boon fluid no-spill toddler cup, $14.95, from Minieco

I also bought this fitted sheet yesterday: even prettier than Dwell, but made with organic cotton. Q Collection Junior Fitted Cot Sheet in Galileo, $49.95, from Minieco


She She said...

If you suspect your child has a peanut allergy, please take him to an allergist for testing. Each successive reaction may be more serious than the one before it. My son's fist reaction was hives. The next was anaphylaxis. Please take this seriously.

Gab said...

I agree with SheShe - get to an allergist to confirm the allergy (or in the best case, dismiss it). If it is peanuts causing the reaction, your allergist will give you an epinephrine pen to keep with you at all times just in case you don't have time to wait for an ambulance. Scary, but better to be prepared. Good luck with it - I have a blog on PA at if you want another mom's perspective :)

belinda graham said...

Hi guys
thanks for your comments - def taking it seriously (in fact, I just re-read my tired post and will edit as i realise i sounded a bit attacking and i didn't meant to be). doctor is going to give us an epipen and he's going to have allergy testing, just annoying it takes so long to get in to see these people and what are you meant to do in the meantime?! grr. will check out blog, thanks!
Belinda x

Allison O'Neill said...

i think we consumers have been left very very very in the dark about chemicals etc on our clothing. its not something i considered until recently. WHO is going to tell it to us straight though!?

Anonymous said...

When I was 15, I broke out in a severe rash on my feet. My GP got me an appointment with a specialist that was 6 months (or so) away.

In the meantime, my rash got worse. (TMI warning, sorry...) It was so weepy on my feet that I had to soak my socked-feet in the bath when I got home from school, so that I could peel them off - scabs were welding the socks to my feet during the day.

I remember when mum took me back to my GP and he phoned the specialist. From the next room, I could hear him yelling (and he was such a kind man!) "If you don't see her by the end of next week, she won't have any skin for you to look at!"

I was given an appointment for the following day.

My point? Keep in touch with your GP. Let him/her know how serious this is getting, and see if he/she can pressure the specialist for an earlier appointment.

And, as a teacher, I urge you to inform people that you suspect a peanut allergy - daycare, playgroup, grandparents... everyone! A colleague of mine had a student die of anaphylaxis - the parents knew about the allergy, but didn't inform the school.

Very, very cute clothes :)

belinda graham said...

hi allison - i know, i doubt the clothing manufacturers will tell us the real deal. and i don't always beleive what i read on packaging labels either!
alivicwil - eek, how could they not inform the school? Yep, I tell anyone and everyone who looks after him even for a second. scary part is the secondary exposure - if he touches something that someone else touched with a little peanut butter on their hands. I know of one girl who nearly died from this and this terrifies - there is no real way to prevent that, is there? And thanks for the tip, will harass the doctor and see if he can pull some strings.

Down Comforter said...

check my organic comforters

Steph Bond said...

Hi Belinda,

I love the Nature Babycare nappies and wipes too. They have improved even in the last year with more stretchy tabs that don't dig into little legs.

I also really like Moltex which are partially biodegradable and Seventh Generation which aren't bio but are chlorine-free. In Sydney I used to get these at About Life in Rozelle.

I tried the Aussie brand Safeties but unfortunately didn't have much luck with them; not sure if it was the fit or the absorbent material but definitely couldn't get through the night with just one. Hoping they keep working on their product as it would be nice to get a local brand.

Steph @ Bondville

Anonymous said...


Aster & Oak said...

Do you still run this blog? Brilliant by the way