12 Things We Wish We Knew Before We Had Kids

While many of you know me as a CEO and entrepreneur, my most important job is being a mom. During preparations for our baby line launch, I asked the Beautycounter team to share stories of their early days as parents. Some of these stories made us laugh, and others reminded me of what I wish I’d known then. I hope some of these tips help to make the early days a bit better and safer, for you and your baby.
Beautycounter Founder & CEO

We wish we’d known…

…to skip the soap. In my post-birth new-mother haze, I didn’t think to ask the nurses to only wash my baby with warm water.

…how precious sleep is. Since I’ve had my children, I have hardly had one good night of sleep. As you know, being a mom can be exhausting, so take some time to steal a nap or indulge in a beauty treatment (even if that means simply using our Cleansing Balm as a face mask after you think you’ve finally gotten your baby down for a 20-minute nap).

…that natural doesn’t always mean safe. I was using a body wash on my children that I believed was natural and therefore safe, only to find out later that it may have contained toxic ingredients. Now I know that the source of an ingredient doesn’t necessarily determine its safety, and that a “natural” or “organic” label can sometimes be a meaningless claim.

…to avoid plastic bottles containing BPA and instead heat up babies’ milk or formula in glass bottles over the stove.

…how shockingly easy it is to make your own baby food. It takes me minutes. Just boil water with sweet potatoes, apples, or your favorite vegetable and throw it all in the blender.

…how long it can take to get an epidural once you ask for one. For those of you who may opt for drugs, remember to ask for your epidural as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable, as there can be a queue in the hospital for the anesthesiologists.

…the immeasurable happiness that having children would bring me. They’re truly one of life’s greatest joys.

…how important it is for parents to engage their partners from day one. Whether it’s asking them to change diapers or put the baby to sleep, involve them in the process and empower them to do it in their own way—not how you think they should. After all, you decided to have this baby together, so make sure you raise the child as a team—which will benefit you and your children as they grow.

…not to buy so many baby clothes. Babies grow quickly, and chances are you have a friend with plenty of hand-me-downs. Added bonus: You’ll help reduce your impact on the environment.

…not to wash baby clothes using harmful detergent—don’t believe 2 a.m. infomercials promising to instantly whiten those onesies. Some detergents contain optical brighteners, synthetic chemicals that are potentially toxic to humans and may cause developmental and reproductive effects. (For more information and to find safer alternatives, click HERE.)

…that mattresses—even crib mattresses—can contain hidden toxins, such as unnecessary flame retardant chemicals, PVC (vinyl) plastic, and allergens. Sound sleeper (fingers crossed!) or not, your baby will spend a lot of time on that mattress, so it’s important to make sure it’s free of toxic chemicals, which can be released and then inhaled or ingested. (For more information and to find safer alternatives, click HERE.)

…to avoid a variety of products, like household cleaners, detergents, and cosmetics, that contain undisclosed “fragrance.” This moniker can mask dozens or even hundreds of unlisted synthetic chemicals, some of which can be toxic. So when your baby finally starts crawling, start thinking about what those little hands are gripping. It’s not just hard corners you have to look out for.