Miss A Columnist

Dawnia Bell is a LEED accredited Sustainability Luxury Interiors Design Consultant. She has 10+ years of experience working in the world of commercial architecture & design for 10 years. Dawnia has advised the A&D Community in specifying sustainable interiors on more than 500 projects. A key player in the world of sustainable interiors, she has contributed to famous projects like the National’s Baseball Stadium, Gaylord Hotel, and even the White House Press Room floor.
A self proclaimed, Eco-TrendSpotter, Dawnia created DailyGreenDiva.com. DailyGreenDiva is a blogzine for readers who have an appreciation for current, cutting edge sustainable luxury interiors.
A new addition, discovered out of her passion to help new mommies and mom's to be, understand common dangers found in many homes. Dawnia is trying to make eco-baby planning as routine as using electrical socket protectors. She shares tips, information and customized plans to create safe, toxin free environments for newborns, and the entire household.

Additionally, Dawnia is a certified aromatherapist, and creates custom blends from organic essential oils that improve conditions from asthma, to headaches, to morning sickness. When she is not working she enjoys photography, fund-raising, and spending time with her pets Chaise, Bailey & Rocky.

7 Critical Eco-Baby Safe Tips for new or expecting mothers

Mothers exercise great care when it comes to creating safe environments for their families.
Every new mommy wants the best for her precious newborn, this goes without saying. Many new mothers however are shocked when I tell them about the potential dangers of disposable diapers, or how some baby mattresses release a noxious gas that surrounds their baby while sleeping.
During a workshop a woman with tears in her eyes asked me, “If this stuff is so bad for our babies, why is it still being sold in stores?” Good question.

I don’t understand why potentially harmful products are still available in grocery markets, and department stores all over the country. Whatever the reason, the health of mothers, and their newborns should be the first and foremost consideration.
Until babies can no longer be exposed to harmful chemicals via baby furniture, grooming products, food etc., I will continue to tell of the dangers toxins and the critical need for a toxic free, green pregnancy. It’s actually easy to do once you make up your mind to make your home safe for your family.
I want to share 7 things that will help you create an Eco-Baby Safe Home:

1. Cuddle up to cloth – Cloth diapers can be your best friend and can serve double duty as handy cloths for baby wipes too. I can hear the groaning at the thought of lost convenience by going the cloth route. Cloth diapers get a bad wrap as time consuming and more work. In reality it’s just the opposite. Here are a few great reasons to use cloth diapers. First, cloth diapers are a healthier option for your child’s skin over the bleached disposable diapers. Second, they are budget friendly. The cost of using cloth diapers and laundering them yourself is a huge savings of up to 60%. Diaper service costs about the same as disposables. Third, it’s a planet friendly option. Disposable diapers realistically never breakdown in the landfill, unless you find 550 years realistic. Just think about this; if you were to use disposable diapers and never throw any of them away you could fill up an entire house before your baby was potty trained. Consider the many splendored options of cloth diapers for a greener pregnancy and home.
2. Know the Toxic Toy Story – New moms, listen up, this is a really important tip. Know what your children’s toys are made of. Unless they are made from metal or wood, they most likely will be made from plastic. Plastics are loaded with plasticizers known as “phthalates”. Phthalates are used to make the flexible PVC items like teething rings, baby bottles, and baby toys and more. Several phthalates can be used in the making of PVC, however di-ethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP), di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and di-isononyl-phthalate (DINP) are the most frequently used. Phthalates can easily leach out of the plastic toys or teething ring and into a child’s mouth, on their skin and the atmosphere in general, contaminating the air breathed by all in the home. If you need information on where to shop for toxic free toys and other baby goods check out www.ecochildsplay.com
3. Re-Think Clean – Much like the toxins hidden in seemingly innocent toys, common household cleaning products and goods are full of deadly poisons, eye and lung irritants, and harsh air pollutants. Growing up most of us were surrounded by bleach, and other caustic household cleaners, that may seem safe but are not. Most cleaning products are not tested for safety and can wreak havoc causing your baby to have allergies, respiratory illness, difficulty breathing, cancer, and sadly, even death. Do the research or hire a consultant to help you eradicate all of the toxic cleaners from your home. Even your toothpaste, depending on the kind you use can be considered non human friendly. Making your own cleaning products is simple, fun and can be done with non-toxic common things you may already have around the house. If you choose to purchase eco-friendly cleaning products, look for brands that are plant based. Read online reviews about green cleaning products as they are not all created equal.

4. Camila – this will be your new best friend when teething occurs. Camila contains 3 homeopathic all natural components Phytolacca, Chamomilla and Rheum officinale. These 3 all natural herbs create natural, highly effective blend that relieves the pain, sore gums, and upset stomach associated with infant teething.
5. Mattress Matters – Chemical poisoning in babies is usually due to a mattress that contains brominated solvents, a flame retardant, also polyurethane foam, phthalates and many more chemicals that I care to list. Mothers reported that their babies could not sleep, was fussy and irritable from neurotoxic fumes off-gassing from the foam. The chemicals I mentioned are bad enough for one to decide that an all natural mattress is the better option. If you’re in the planning stages start looking into all eco-child friendly mattresses. Furniture in general, like changing tables and cribs, can be treated with formaldehyde – a no-no during pregnancy, and even more so when baby arrives. This is an important step you do not want to overlook. Non-toxic, eco-friendly furniture could save your babies life.
6. Food Matters – I’m not a nutritionist but I think it’s pretty clear that I think pesticides are bad. Organic pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great options and what I strongly suggest. When it comes to baby food I think making your own is smart way to go, not to mention making baby food sounds like a lot of fun. If you’re a busy mom with a busy lifestyle you can always buy organic natural food (in glass jars) for your baby.
7. You Matter – I am one who believes in greening the whole person. You can’t truly care for the planet without first caring for yourself. Being a green mom means pampering yourself during this magical time. Pace yourself and don’t get overwhelmed by all you have to do to prepare. Make checklists for each month. Make sure to get proper rest, stay hydrated, and if possible add a little exercise to your daily routine. Enjoy your beauty, take photographs and the most critical thing I can say is wholly embrace the miracle of childbearing and life.

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