Bringing Up Baby Better: A Review of Healthy Parenting Guides
Given all the attention the environment is getting these days, it’s no surprise to see the trend filtering down to parenting books. Our only question is what took everybody so long? Here’s a run down our favorite new titles and some older entries in the category that deserve a mention, too:
Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, by Christopher Gavigan comes from our friends at the organization of the same name. Here’s a good look at how everyday products expose our kids to chemicals linked to childhood cancer, asthma and allergies, birth defects, ADD & ADHD, developmental disorders, learning disabilities, and autism. Fortunately the solutions can be simple and this book shows us how to do what needs to be done with a minimum of time and money.
Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care, by Alan Greene is a comprehensive look at all the ways we can contribute to a healthier home and upbringing where our kids are concerned. From pregnancy and delivery to the nursery and beyond, this book looks at healthy home issues of immediate concern, as well as longer-term trouble spots, and takes a welcome holistic approach to its many subjects.
Green Babies, Sage Moms: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Organic Baby, by Lynda Fassa is more tightly focused on creating an organic existence for younger kids. Three sections cover pregnancy, life with a newborn, and toddler years. Within these stages, readers will find lots of advice about organic choices and solutions as well as information about non-toxic living in general. Coverage here isn’t deep, but it is wide, which lets new parents (who have enough to worry about!) cover the bases without being overwhelmed.
The Complete Organic Pregnancy, by Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu is more tightly focused still on the pregnancy stage. It looks at the common household hazards that present a potential threat to developmental progress in utero and offers a deep well of preventative suggestions, alternative solutions, shopping tips, and more to keep them at bay. These subjects are also supplemented by organic recipes and parenting essays from notable parents, including Barbara Kingsolver and our own Gregor Barnum.
Organic Baby: Simple Steps for Healthy Living, by Kimberly Rider could be considered a sequel of sorts to The Complete Organic Pregnancy. Here’s what comes after the arrival of your newest family member, from outfitting the nursery and choosing the best baby supplies, to care and feeding. We like the book’s spiral-bound design which lets its pages lie flat for easy reference and its unique last chapter about how to take your baby out into the world without leaving your healthy living principles behind.
The Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook, by Lizzie Vann and Daphne Razazan discusses one of the most important aspects of raising a healthy baby: what to do at dinner time. Here are dozens of natural whole food recipes for culinary success that even picky eaters will love. Divided by age group, each section offers a series of recipes that address food-related developmental issues like introducing new flavors and textures while matching changing nutritional needs with deliciously healthy eating.
The Toxic Sandbox: The Truth About Environmental Toxins and Our Children's Health, by Libby McDonald is a primer on a handful of the largest current toxicological threats to children’s health: lead, mercury, plastics, PCBs, flame retardants, air pollution, and pesticides. Included are the why-it-matters details for each issue, where these threats can be found and what parents can do about them. Of particularly useful note are the sections on ten key steps every parent should take and questions to ask your pediatrician and dentist.