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10 ways to keep kids safe from pesticides

Getting rid of ants and other pests around the house is hard enough, but adding tiny humans to the mix makes it even harder. As mamas, we do our best to make sure these bug and pest-killing chemicals stay locked and out of reach of our little ones. Now there’s one more reason to be extra careful when trying to rid our kitchens of those pesky invaders.


A new study out this week finds that exposure to indoor pesticides may increase the risk of childhood cancers.

The researchers behind the study, which will be published in the October edition of Pediatrics, took a look at past studies and compiled the data, analyzing the correlation between exposure to pesticides and instances of childhood cancers.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that kids who had been exposed to indoor pesticides were 47 percent more likely to have leukemia and 43 percent more likely to have lymphoma. Both are among the most common types of childhood cancers, according to the CNN report on the study, but are also both rare.

One of the researchers, Chensheng Lu, who is an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told CNN that the new analysis “is confirming that pesticides may play a role, possibly a significant role, in the development of childhood leukemia and lymphoma.” But Lu did note that it’s still hard to say if exposure to indoor pesticides is a definite risk factor.

While whether or not indoor pesticides are a definite risk factor for childhood cancers is being determined, there’s plenty moms can do now to limit our kid’s exposure to these potentially harmful products.

  1. Limit access. In addition to keeping unused pesticides out of reach of small hands and in locked cabinets, try limiting access to the area the pesticides are being used. In our house, that means putting up gates to prevent tiny humans (and furry friends) from entering our kitchen. These include “professional pest control services, indoor flea foggers, flea and tick pet collars, and various roach and ant sprays,” according to The New York Times.
  2. Try natural or homemade solutions first. There are quite a few ways to get rid of ants without pesticides. These methods include outsmarting pests by removing sources of food or comfort from them, or utilizing soaps or even fans to encourage them to move on out.
  3. Be strategic. When you first notice ants or other pests, try to figure out how they’re getting into the house. That will help you identify the best places to put any traps. Some solutions allow you to put the bait right into the crack or crevice that the pests are using as their door to your house, which can help limit exposure.
  4. Read labels and directions. Before buying anything to get rid of pests, be sure to check out how it’s supposed to be used. The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends avoiding bug bombs or broad spraying pesticides.
  5. Talk to your pediatrician. Got lice? Talk to your child’s doctor about options to get rid of lice without a pesticide. Specifically, AAP says you should avoid using lindane. Also, if you’re wary of insect repellant, talk to your pediatrician about options, and be sure to avoid spraying repellant on any cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  6. Change your clothes. If you work with pesticides, either in the garden or at work, to avoid bringing your work inside your home, so to speak, change your clothes before you get home if possible. Also, consider keeping your shoes outside the house.
  7. Check your work. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests getting down to your child’s level, even crawling around on your hands and knees, to see make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  8. Don’t switch containers. Be sure to keep pesticides in the child-resistant packaging you purchased them in. This prevents any confusion down the road, ensuring that the chemicals can’t be mistaken for food or juice.
  9. Always close the container. Sometimes things happen – someone calls, the doorbell rings, naps end early – before walking away, always be sure to correctly seal the pesticide package, and be sure to put it somewhere out of reach of small hands.
  10. Have poison control’s number handy and know the signs of exposure. Symptoms of pesticide exposure or poisoning may look like the flu, according to the EPA. Those symptoms include headaches, dizziness, muscle twitching, weakness and tingling. If you notice any symptoms after your child has come into contact with a pesticide, or you catch your child in the act, contact poison control: 1-888-222-1222

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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