Those of you who've been following this blog know that Jessica Alba was my maternity style muse when I was pregnant (she always looked so chic!), and she's one of the coolest mom crusaders out there educating people about all of the hidden toxins in baby and household products, so I was super-excited to get to chat with her in person after she received the Mount Sinai Champion for Children Award in Greenwich, Connecticut. And for the fashion junkie in me, her head-to-toe black ensemble did not disappoint!
Aside from her incredible style, I was struck by the fact that the actress, author, and momtrepreneur really knew her stuff when it came to all of the scientific mumbo jumbo surrounding the toxic threats to our babies' health and wellness. Don't feel bad if you haven't done your research yet. Jessica started looking for baby-safe products when she was pregnant—like you—after her mom told her to wash all of the adorable clothes she got from her baby shower in what was supposed to be the best detergent on the market for little ones. (Yes, pregnant ladies, you should throw everything into the washer while you're still pregnant, so it's clean and ready to go when your baby is born since you never know how early you might go into labor. My water broke 10 days before my due date.)
"When I opened the package, I started to sneeze," explains Jessica, mom to Honor, 4, and Haven, 1. "Then my hands started breaking out in welts. First I called my mom, then I turned to Google. People say it takes a village to raise a kid, the new village—the community—is the internet."
There, Jessica found out about all of the toxic chemicals—which may contribute to childhood conditions like asthma, allergies, ADHD, Autism, and even cancer—that go into everything that touches your baby from diapers and wipes to shampoos and lotions and household cleaning products. She was shocked (as was I!) to find out that even prenatal vitamins can contain artificial colors and flavors along with things like wheat, soy and gluten—which many people are allergic to.
That's when she reached out to now co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and environmental health expert, Christopher Gavigan, to help her launch The Honest Company, which sells an eco-friendly line of bath and body products, diapers, wipes, household cleaners, and soon prenatal and children's vitamins, and fluoride-free toothpaste. Basically, she went and created the baby-safe items she couldn't find in stores or online.
Jessica realized first hand that being pregnant is absolutely amazing, but it can also be "scary, exhausting and overwhelming" at times, thinking that this tiny person inside of you is completely dependent on you—and only you—to make decisions to keep him or her safe. One thing people don't tell you is that when you're pregnant, your motherly instincts kick in and you will do everything possible to make sure your little nugget is well taken care of.
Jessica's health rules for moms-in-training are simple: Know exactly what's going into and on your body. Don't assume everything that says it's eco friendly, or a specially-designed baby formula is safe. Read the labels, do your research, and remember you don't have to give up style for function (like her í¼ber-absorbent Alexander McQueen-inspired skull and crossbones diapers!).
If Jessica could go back and tell her first-time pregnant self anything it would be, "To take a deep breath, and say, 'You can do this.'" Moms-to-be need that encouragement sometimes because anyone who has ever been pregnant knows that "mom guilt" starts way before your baby is even born. Who knew?!
Tell us: Are you looking for eco-friendly products for yourself and baby? What are your favorites so far?
Image of Jessica Alba courtesy of Patty Adams Martinez