Safe + Simple Tips from a Minimalist Mama

Clare joined the Branch Basics team in 2014, not long before she gave birth to her daughter, Emmette. She shared her experience as a new mom and revealed how inexpensive and simple it is to incorporate her daughter’s minimalist routine while using the purest products available.

Branch Basics | Safe + Simple Tips from a Minimalist Mama

On Being a Minimalist Mama

From Clare:

I really never knew how much everything would change as soon I had a baby. All my priorities, my values – everything I do ends up having her well-being in mind. Being a new, first-time mom is really a total revamp of thinking. I’m constantly thinking about the ways that things going through my body are affecting her. Did I drink enough water, did I eat enough (and of the right thing for that matter)? Breastfeeding a little one made me seriously aware of what comes into my body because I know she’s going to be the direct recipient of it.

New moms are bombarded with information and products – everything seems urgent and must-have. We’re constantly worrying that we don’t have the right products to raise a healthy, happy, smart little one. But I’m convinced that a lot of that is a trap of materialism. I’ve made a point throughout my pregnancy and as a new mom to keep the product clutter to a minimum and really be a minimalist mama – that’s very important to me. It turns out it’s actually the easier and cheaper way to go! The purest, simplest solutions are things I found in the pantry or products my husband and I were already using for ourselves. It’s really refreshing to know that the cheapest, simplest solutions work so well and give me peace of mind. It’s great to be able to buy one soap Concentrate for cleaning bottles, laundry, stains, hands, and more. I’ve found that by streamlining our routines, there aren’t many day-to-day expenses besides her diapers.

Needless to say, now that I’m working for Branch Basics, one of the biggest things I think about daily are the chemicals around me and in my home that will be absorbed into my body and then passed to her, particularly through breastmilk. I think through everything: my body soap, my shampoo, my body moisturizers, and my face wash. It’s easy to overcomplicate your daily routine, for yourself or for your baby, but the easiest solutions are often the best.

There are a few things that I do differently now that I have a baby in the home, but I really only use two products on a daily basis to take care of most all of them: Branch Basics soap and coconut oil. Here are my top uses for these simple products and the ways I’ve incorporated them into my new baby routine:

  • Dry Skin (particularly in the winter)
  • On-the-go Hand Soap
  • Laundry & Stains
  • Cleaning bottles

Dry Skin

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I know what goes on my body is absorbed through my skin and goes into my breastmilk, so I switched even during pregnancy, from using multiple lotions and moisturizers to using coconut oil on my skin and then on Emmie’s. Emmie has experienced some bouts of eczema this past winter, which started to flare up after we stayed with friends who accidentally used scented dryer sheets on a load of her laundry. Rather than add in extra lotions, we just apply coconut oil to her skin, usually in the morning before getting her dressed, and again before bed or after a bath. 

My routine is usually to scoop out coconut oil and warm it by rubbing my hands together and rub it gently all over her body, let it absorb, then get her dressed.

One thing I’m always cautious of is to make sure she’s completely dry first – the moistness of coconut oil on her skin on top of wet skin, particularly in her armpits or upper thighs, could lead to skin irritation or yeast growth.

On-the-go

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Working full time,  building a house, and having little Emmie come into the picture has been an adjustment for sure. She is the BEST baby and I think it has been out of the necessity of being able to go with the flow.  We always keep a little bag stocked for Emmie, which allows us to be easily mobile. Emmie’s bag has fresh diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and one of the most important staples: a little 2 oz spray bottle of BB! I never go anywhere without it – it’s my hand wash, my emergency stain remover for all her little surprises, and pretty much go-to for all fixes baby-related.

Conventional stain removal sticks are full of harsh chemicals that I really wouldn’t want anywhere near Emmie. But I love that I can use the travel spray to wash my hands after I change her or before we eat. And I can spray it directly on her clothes to treat a stain even as she wears them!

Handwashing Bottles

I know that what I eat and the products I use on my skin go through my body and end up in Emmie’s breastmilk, so I’m extra careful about all these things. I’m especially cautious about the soaps and detergents I use on her clothes and her bottles as well. A lot of people still have the psychological attachment to synthetics “clean” smells – they want their dishes and laundry to smell a certain way. I’m totally the opposite – for Emmie’s bottles, I wash them with Branch Basics All-Purpose so they don’t have a smell and I know that she won’t be swallowing any residual chemicals when she’s drinking from them.

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I use the All-Purpose spray to wash Emmie’s bottles. I spray a few times into the bottle and then scrub with a bottle brush (check out the full tutorial for spraying bottles and dishes for more info). I rinse them well and then turn upside down to dry on a bottle drying rack. I prefer to use glass bottles for her, so I invested in Dr. Brown’s glass bottles, which I love.

Laundry & Stains

Branch Basics soap is literally the ONLY thing that I would dare to use on our stains – it simply works better than anything else I have ever tried (no exaggeration). It got out those stubborn colostrum milk stains when Emmie was just starting to breastfeed (for new moms out there this next one you will understand). When Emmie was in her first week of life, she had to pass meconium (that horrible black, tar-like stool). It is literally black and one of the most hard to get out stains you have ever encountered. Branch Basics Concentrate got it out in one soak!  It also worked perfectly on blood stains from her little umbilical cord on her newborn nighties…any stains were solved in seconds. To not have to worry about some harsh chemical getting close to Emmie’s skin gives me so much peace of mind.

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To treat Emmie’s stains, I spray All-Purpose directly on them and agitate the stain. Then I fill up a tub or bowl with water and add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of Concentrate and soak until the stain disappears. Breastfeeding stains are often a yellowish color and can seem frustrating to keep finding on her clothes, but Branch Basics works. For particularly stubborn stains, I sprinkle some Pure Oxygen Boost and rub that in with that fabric while it soaks. Laundry is super simple too. For anything I don’t hand wash, I throw in the washing machine with about 1 teaspoon of Branch Basics Concentrate, which is the only detergent I use for all my laundry.

What are your tips for keeping things simple as a new mom?

  • To get started with the Branch Basics and to learn more about all natural, human safe cleaning products, start here.
  • For more healthy living and nontoxic cleaning tips, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, “Like” our Pinterest page, and follow us on Twitter!

 


Further Reading:

We recommend you avoid conventional laundry detergents, particularly around a new baby: “Do You Know What’s In Your Laundry Detergent?” Here’s how to use Branch Basics for Laundry (instead of conventional detergents) and how to ditch your dryer sheets.

Branch Basics: How to Detox with Coconut Oil Pulling Using the Dr. Karach MethodHere is another great for coconut oil – for adults: “Coconut Oil-Pulling With the Dr. Karach Oil-Pulling Method.”

Break the fragrance habit, particularly around your baby! Try these Nontoxic DIY Air Fresheners instead of the synthetic variety to remove odors.

Cleaning up for baby? HEPA filters are indoor air pollution’s worst nightmare. Here’s How to Choose One for Your Home. Want another trick for improving indoor air quality? Find out why we’re loving Himalayan Pink Salt Lamps – the perfect addition to a new baby nursery!

Going on a family trip? Check out our Healthy Travel Guide for our favorite travel snacks and tips for preventing sunburn, jetlag, and more!

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24 Comments

  1. Surprising to hear how many ways Branch Basics can be used to simplify your routine! Love it 🙂 We just added a new baby to our team, too, and it’s interesting to see how many products people want you to have, vs. what you really need 🙂

  2. I love Emmie’s story! What a precious baby. She is lucky to have a mom like you who cares for her so deeply. I feel so sorry for all the millions of little babies around the world who are being doused in toxic chemicals each day by unknowing parents.

    I have a question: what is the brand of that bottle drying rack? It’s really cute.

    1. Hi Tarah,

      Thank you for the kind comments! The bottle drying rack is called the “Boon Grass Countertop Bottle Drying Rack” I got mine on Amazon 😉

  3. I have the same drying rack and love it. I just ordered my first package of branch basics so I haven’t tried it yet but am excited and hopeful. I haven’t been satisfied with any of the other natural products I’ve used and keep changing brands to find one that is effective and most natural. I hope this one will be it!!!! My 13 month old is constantly getting food stains on her clothes and the other products I’ve used haven’t been successful at getting out the stains so I am frustrated about that. I want to be able to pass her clothes down but with all the stains, I don’t really want to. I am hoping that the least this product will do, is get those stubborn stains out and prevent any more from happening. I will be happy if that is the least it can do because it will be a first 🙂

  4. Do you ever use BB as a wipe solution? If you do do you have to rinse it off with water? If not what type of babywipes do you use?

    1. Hi Mariam,
      We have many customers who experiment with baby wipes. You don’t need to rinse after using them! Here’s a great tutorial from a blogger who explained how she does them: http://www.weedemandreap.com/homemade-baby-wipes-recipe-natural/ Note: these were made with our old packaging, so you actually only need half the amount of Branch Basis Concentrate. So in this recipe, you could use only 1/8 cup to to 2 cups of water!

  5. How do you use 2oz spray bottle on the go for washing hands? Do you use with water to rinse or do you simply spray and run without rinsing? I’m so confused…

      1. Thanks for the response! I just placed my first order. Any tips on dispensing for dishes (by hand and dish washer)and laudry? Don’t want to waste the precious concentrate. Obviously a spray bottle works great for other jobs, but not sure how most people use BB for these jobs.

      2. Great! Thanks for your order. We recently wrote a blog post about doing dishes with Branch Basics here: http://branchbasics.com/blog/2015/01/currently-loving-full-circle-brushes/ Some of us use brushes, some use sponges, and sometimes we just use our hands (no gloves required!). You can either use the spray bottle (All-Purpose works for most messes, but Bathroom works for tougher grease and grime) or the foaming pump, depending on your preference. For dishes, you will notice that the soap does not suds up the same way you may be used to with synthetic foaming agents, but it gets the job done very well! For laundry, there are instructions on the bottle – basically a teaspoon per load (mix in 2 cups of water first if you are using an HE machine). Let us know if you have questions once you receive your order!

  6. I heard about Branch Basics some time ago and ordered a gallon of concentrate immediately, but I’m sad to say I put it in a cupboard and sort of forgot about it…now that I have two small children, I am learning more and more about harmful chemicals and how they affect our systems in ways I never imagined! I dug out my Branch Basics concentrate recently and have been using it all over my house – with great results! I’ve been reading the blog and am so excited to discover all sorts of new ways to use BB in our home and on the go – this particular blog post was full of information! Please keep up the great work with the blog, and thank you for such a wonderful product.

    1. Hi Stella,

      Thanks for your comment. We’re so glad to hear that dusted off your bottle of BB now that you have kiddos in the house! Don’t be afraid to share more info on how you’re using it – we love hearing from customers on the front lines. Happy cleaning!

  7. What is the ratio for using as a bath soap for kids? 1 and 4 years old. Can it be body soap and shampoo in one? Thanks!

  8. Love all these simple ways to keep baby clean without chemicals. Just wanted to note that even branch basics can sting the eyes (since it doesn’t have those terrible chemicals that tear free stuff has!). I use it on my kids and my baby – but try my best to keep it out of the eye area because it can irritate or sting. Branch basics is wonderful and gentle but because it is soap it can bother eyes. Anyways, just wanted to share. Thank you for your post! And yay for coconut oil too!

  9. Hi Clare, I have to say what a great post this is! This is my first pregnancy and I’ve been trying to do everything as naturally and simply as possible and am gearing up for doing the same with my daughter. You’ve answered a lot of questions I already had, but one thing I wasn’t sure of what if you use the BB concentrate on your cloth diapers? Have the enzymes seemed to cause any issues with the waterproofing on your covers? I’ve started to invest in our cloth diaper stash and want to make sure we aren’t going to be slowly damaging them by using BB. Thanks!

    1. Hi Brittney! Congrats on your pregnancy! We have not received any negative feedback from those using Branch Basics on their cloth diapers, and in fact, we hear from users who love it for this. We have no reason to believe that our soap would harm cloth diapers, but you definitely need to feel good about it for yourself. If you want to give it a try, here is some advice from a friend of the founders:

      “When I normally wash them, I do a cold pre-soak in the washer with Branch Basics and sometimes baking soda. After soaking, I run them through a cold rinse cycle, and then wash them on hot with more Branch Basics and sometimes baking soda. Drying them outside in the sun REALLY helps remove stains and funky odors, so I try to do that when it’s sunny and I have the time.”

      I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to our customer service team: [email protected]

  10. I hope you don’t vaccinate mama! I can see you’re trying super hard to keep your sweet baby free of toxins but vaccines are so toxic and full of things like polysorbate-80, formaldehyde, aluminium, aborted baby cells, animal DNA, etc and have never been tested for safety, efficacy or carcinogenic/mutagenic properties (the inserts admit that and are easily found on the CDC website)

    There’s also a great website called “learn the risk” where you can learn more ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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