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7 Ways To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution for Baby
*We've partnered with Dyson to help you create a cleaner, greener home for you and your new baby. Baby emerges from the safe, controlled environment of the womb into a world that, as far as parents are concerned, seems fraught with dangers at every turn. We try to feed them organic, wholesome meals, only use non-toxic skincare, and put them to sleep on Greenguard-certified mattresses. What we often overlook is the importance of making sure that the air they breathe is safe as well. Most of us are well aware of outdoor pollutants, such as fuel exhaust and smoke. But we are less vigilant about indoor pollutants, which are the result of accumulated fumes or chemicals in unventilated environments. “According to the EPA, exposure to indoor air pollutants such as radon, environmental tobacco smoke, lead and other contaminants result in a wide array of health issues, ranging from asthma to cancer," says neuroscientist Dr. Claudia Aguirre. “Indoor air quality affects our cardiovascular system, our vision, hearing, growth, and even our intelligence and learning." Adults, older children and even pets can benefit from an in-home detox, but your baby practically requires one. And detoxifying your home isn't as challenging as it sounds. Here are 7 simple ways to cut down on indoor air pollution: 1. Switch to natural cleaners. Many household cleaners can contain dozens or even hundreds of potentially harmful chemical cleansers. Some of the more common ones to watch out for are 2-butoxyethanol (a toxic solvent notorious for damaging red blood cells and irritating eyes), DEGBE (which irritates and inflames the lungs), formaldehyde and ethanolamine (which can trigger asthma attacks). So look at ingredient lists closely. Alternatively, you can create a whole range of gentle and effective DIY cleaners using simple ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, essential oils and castile soap. No chemical smell, natural disinfectants and generally much cheaper than store-bought cleaning agents anyway. 2. Buy a HEPA vacuum. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuums are designed to retain the tiniest possible allergens with maximum efficiency, helping to keep your home free of the things you can't even see. While air purifiers tend to “draw in" the particles that are already airborne, HEPA vacuums are handy for getting rid of dust and other particulates that may have settled on furniture, carpets and clothing. Also, allergens derived from house dust mites are known triggers for allergic disease. “Keeping the air clean may help prevent asthma attacks," Dr. Claudia says. “Pets often sniff around a lot, so keeping carpets and upholstery clean may help prevent them from developing allergies and keep their airways clean." 3. Advocate for your child. Ever heard of “thirdhand smoke," that unmistakable scent that tells you right away that someone is a smoker? Even if you don't smoke yourself, visitors to your home may be bringing more than their bad habits with them. That smell is the result of toxic gases and particles clinging to their hair and clothing. Don't allow people to smoke in your home or near the entrances and windows. If they're coming inside, ask them to remove their coat or jacket and wash their hands thoroughly. 4. Invest in an air purifier. Indoor pollutants are rampant and mostly invisible, like mold, mildew, cooking fumes, chemical cleaners and pet dander. There's a reason that air purifiers have hit the top of everyone's “nursery must-haves" list. Used in conjunction with other methods, air purifiers can significantly improve in-home air quality and can promote more restful, rejuvenating sleep for the entire family. 5. Bring plants into your home. Want a pretty and inexpensive way to improve the air quality in your home? Look no further than the nursery— the plant nursery, that is. Houseplants, and the microorganisms that live in them, can remove all kinds of chemicals, like trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia. Try mums, spider plants, aloe, ficus, bamboo or anything in the dracaena family. In addition to being pretty, these plants are also pretty tough, making it okay to skip a watering or two. 6. Opt for low-VOC paint. Nesting? A fresh coat of paint and newly finished floors will give your place that “new home smell," which comes from a phenomenon known as “off-gassing." Off-gassing is when chemicals, such as paint, polyurethane, and chemical flame retardants give off an odor long after they dry. The EPA says that paints with a high-VOC content can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. If you're pregnant, paint well before your due date and give the room time to air out completely. If baby's already here, splurge on the non-toxic, low-VOC variety for peace of mind. 7. Investigate what's really coming out of your humidifier. Many humidifiers can breed mold and bacteria within just minutes of you turning them on, and then circulate that mold and bacteria around the room. Be vigilant about cleaning your humidifier regularly, and invest in one that uses ultraviolet light technology to kill bacteria before it's misted out into your air.

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Dyson Pure Hot+Cold Link Air Purifier. Buy it here.

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Lifestyle photography by Annie Lin.

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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When we recognize kids' unwelcome behaviors as reactions to environmental conditions, developmental phases, or our own actions, it lets us respond proactively, and with much more compassion.

Here are 10 ways kids may seem like they're acting "naughty," but really aren't.

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