Parenting, fear mongering and baby soap

Never in my life had I been so frightened of everything in the world than the day after I got a positive pregnancy test. Suddenly there was a list as long as both of my arms that were dangerous for me to eat, drink breathe and do. Once the kid was on the outside, it didn't get any better. Now I have to worry about everything she eats, drinks, breathes and does.

During pregnancy I thought I'd cloth diaper (yeah, right). Disposables are so bad for earth! I want my child to inherit a cleaner planet. ::insert crying Native American here::

Make my own baby food. I actually did this. Go me! But only after I bought 8 cases of manufactured baby food so that I could re-use the jars.

Exclusively breastfeed. ::slams fist on table:: Formula is bad! Never shall it pass her precious rose petal lips! No rocket fuel for my future breast-fed genius! Stupid formula fed babies bringing down IQs everywhere.

Then my boobs didn't work like they should and I got served a big ol' helping of humble pie. Well eff me running. Now what? I know! We'll make our own organic formula from some shit like beets, goats milk and magnolia petals! Yeah that's it!

Yeah. That idea went right in the trash with the used Pampers Extra Dry.

In a matter of days I went from helicoptering, organics slinging, earth saving activist parent to 'My goal for today is to keep her alive.' I don't let Izzy run around sticking forks in electrical sockets or encourage her to chain smoke Virginia Slims but its safe to say that my husband and I are pretty laid back parents. We give her healthy food, we limit processed foods, protect her as best we can from obvious harms, we do our fair share of research when it comes to products and their overall safety. 

But I have decided that there are some things in life that you just need to let go. Things like soap.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking if you have done your research and have decided to start your own farm, grow your own organics, milk your own cows and use boiled fat to make soap from whats left over from raising your own beef cattle. 

Or maybe you just have a super saver customer card to Whole Foods. Whatever, thats awesome. 

Or maybe your kid has an allergy or food aversion. By all means keep your kid away from my white bread and peanut butter sammich. We want everyone to be happy, healthy and safe. Here's a yeast free sammy with hand smashed grape jelly. Sugar free.

The people I am knocking are the band wagoners. The fear mongers. The people that read a single article with a single study and go running for their bomb shelter (which by the way is filled with organic jarred foods, cloth diapers, vinegar for cleaning and only wooden toys for the children to play with). But before they run for safety, first they take to blogs, Facebook and Twitter to condemn whomever is responsible for poisoning their babies.

This morning an article came out about Johnson & Johnson products containing potentially cancer causing chemicals. Wow. That really sucks. Izzy uses J&J. I use it too when we run out of adult soap. 

::runs frantically to the bathroom to scrub J&J residue off my girly bits in case I didn't rinse well enough in the shower this morning::

Here's the thing, I am all on board to give J&J a good handslapping and say clean up your act, this isn't cool. But as I watch all avenues of social media explode with panic I'm reminded of a report that cited baby formula has trace amounts of rocket fuel in it and the frenzy that ensued. People seem to be especially latching onto the word 'formaldehyde'. 

Wait...the stuff they put in Uncle Dick to keep him fresh for his funeral after he died from cardiac arrest? The stuff that makes the hoards of zombie want to nom on your sweet J&J slathered flesh?
Yeah, formaldehyde. The same stuff that is in:
  • Any furniture made from pressed board (like that Ikea desk you are working at right now or the cabinets you keep all of your precious organic foods in.)
  • Plywood - like the stuff your house is built with
  • Live in an older house? Better check your insulation!
  • cigarettes (don't get me started on those)
  • dyes (Oh hey! I love the new red highlights in your hair. So pretty! And that yellow shirt? So stylish!)
  • textiles (ever wonder why your new clothes, carpet and furniture smell so bad?)
  • plastics (Look out BPA, formaldehyde is gonna steal your thunder!)
  • paper products (I love picnics. Don't you? Could you please put more potato salad on my formalde-plate?)
  • fertilizer (Hey! The stuff our food grows in! Oh the irony. Well unless you do organics...but I'd put money down that y'all aren't safe either.)
  • cosmetics
  • oh and dead bodies
This list causes me to pause and think back to one key word in the article.

"potentially cancer causing chemicals"


Well I could potentially walk out to my car and get stabbed, robbed and left for dead. That would be the city's fault for not providing safer streets.

I could potentially choke on the stringy cheese of mozzarella stick. Damn you TGIFriday's! How dare you make your cheese so cheesy!

I could have an aneurism during my evening jog because I took birth control for a period of time three years ago. (I know that blood clot is just waiting to strike.) Hey makers of YAZ, thanks a lot. Assholes.

Or they could all be my fault because I didn't educate myself, heed warnings and generally engaged in walking around with my eye-blinders slammed shut.

My point is that first, read to god damn labels. If you want to be all hippy dippy and be organic supermom, cool. Your general rule of thumb should be: If I can't pronounce it or it reads like something that will melt my skin, I'm not going to use it.

Second, if you are going to not read labels, engage in zero research and generally walk around ignoring the ills of the world until one of your smarter mommy friends gets their organic bamboo panties in a twist, then please, shut up. 

Did you know that stress can potentially cause cancer?

There are dangerous chemicals all around us every day. If your baby has ever nommed on the side of the crib, sucked on a brand new, unwashed toy, or crawled around on new carpet then put their hands in their mouth, chances are your baby has eaten formaldehyde. And I'm not totally poo-pooing on the idea that J&J might make a child sick. But I'm guessing unless their health is already compromised or they are doing shots of it, then the chances of a kid getting sick from daily use of J&J are slim. Izzy has never so much as had contact dermatitis that could have definitively been proven to be caused by J&J products. But I know she got wicked diarrhea from some organic baby food that I made once. 

There's nothing wrong with being vigilant about making products safer for everyone - especially babies. But you can't vilify one company while conveniently pretending these same dangers don't come from other sources.  Educate yourself, get out there and make change if you really want it. And for god sake, don't let your primary source of information be some @ on Twitter or even me, a no name blogger.

Personally, I might stick with J&J and I might not. This isn't the water glass scene from Erin Brockovich. I still feel safe using J&J. What I purchase depends on whatever is on sale next week. Gotta save up for my cancer treatments. They don't take coupons for that shit.