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4 Ways to Raise a Natural Baby

skin: the outside scoop
Be careful about products you slather on your skin when you're pregnant or nursing, says Dr. Greene -- and of course, watch what you put on baby's delicate skin as well. "Many moisturizers and sunscreens contain chemical preservatives called parabens," says Dr. Greene. "Studies have shown they are absorbed through the skin and have been found in breast cancer tissue." Although it hasn't been proven that parabens directly cause cancer, it's best to err on the side of caution when pregnant or nursing, he adds; chemical additives can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. "Avoid sunscreen where a chemical is the main ingredient," cautions Dr. Greene. "Instead, look for ones that rely on minerals such as zinc and titanium." Likewise, avoid moisturizers that list "fragrance" on the label. That's a catchall word that can mask a variety of additives. "The word 'fragrance' can mean just about anything; manufacturers don't have to disclose ingredients listed that way," says Dr. Greene. "It's fine to buy a scented moisturizer, but choose one made from essential oils, which are natural."
germs: they aren't so bad
Good news: In the "what not to worry about" category are -- drum roll, please -- germs. "Most new parents honestly worry too much about germs," says Dr. Sears. "In general, they are harmless." At home, he adds, there's no need to run after baby sterilizing everything he wants to touch. Of course, be careful anytime you're around sick children such as at the doctor's office or child-care center; then, it's probably worth cleaning items that may end up in your baby's mouth. Again, stick to the methods listed above, and remember, old-fashioned hand washing is still the best -- and most natural -- defense for you and your baby.