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.
On Being a Minimalist Mama
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
- 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!
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.
Here is another great for coconut oil – for adults: “Coconut Oil-Pulling With the Dr. Karach Oil-Pulling Method.”
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