Motherhood Mondays: Natural Baby Products

Like most parents, we’re trying to raise our child in a natural way (even in New York City), and we’re still figuring out what that means. We give Toby lots of outdoor time, even on cold days. Strawberries. Jokes. Songs. Running around. His beloved wooden bus.

As a new mom, I also read somewhere that it’s great for kids to spend time gloriously naked:) So I’ll strip him down around bedtime, and he runs around and does his thing. The sofa may or may not have been peed on.

But when it comes to products, we’ve found it confusing to figure out which brands are best. One popular diaper brand apparently dyes their diapers brown to make them seem more natural. Doesn’t that seem strange and misleading?

So, when The Honest Company reached out to me, I was THRILLED to discover them. They create all natural products—for children, adults and household cleaning. We immediately got their hand soap, dish soap, bug spray, sunscreen, wipes…and how cute are their patterned diapers?!! Now we’re hooked, and I love their mission to provide affordable, beautiful and unquestionably safe products for families. And it’s reassuring that their website says, “Go ahead, ask us anything. We’ll tell all.”

“Parents get a lot of advice about what to feed their children and how to baby-proof their home,” says their co-founder Christopher Gavigan, “but many are still completely unaware of the toxic risks posed by everyday basics, like diapers, home cleaners, body washes and laundry soaps.”

So I’d love to recommend The Honest Company, and also they’re offering free shipping to new customers for the next two weeks with the code “JoFreeShip”—thank you so much, Honest!

What natural products do you like? What does it mean to you to raise your child in a natural way? I’d love to hear any tips and thoughts. xoxo

(Photos by Sarina Cass for Cup of Jo. Thanks, Sarina! This post is sponsored by The Honest Company, whose mission I adore. Thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that make Cup of Jo possible.)

  1. These sites are simply superb

  2. This is a great post, Jo! I have been transitioning all of my products – from window cleaner to makeup – to green/non-toxic alternatives and I was thrilled to discover that the Honest Co. is offering easy to find/order fabulous non-toxic options for everyone ;) It can be hard to find good/effective options sometimes, and I find myself scrutinizing labels for a long time (even at the natural foods store!) to make sure I’m not buying anything that could potentially harm my family (adding baby #1 this fall yay!), my pets or the environment.

    Check out my site for more all-natural, non-toxic picks:

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  5. Absolutely natural baby products are very effective. These natural baby products helps to keep our baby skin healthy. Anyone can buy baby products online and make your baby smile.

  6. Hi, I love the images on your blog. I came across it while trying to research the Honest Company and their products.
    During my search I found some unnerving reports. :( As you seem to want the best for your kids and readers, I felt compelled to share.
    Here is a link to a medical comparison of natural diapers. Honest Company seems to test positive for petrochemicals and it appears to use misleading advertising.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. As a new mommy I try hard to ensure that I use natural baby products all the time. I go to Sweet Bottoms for good advice and products. They always respond with any questions I might have about their products.

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  15. I know you’re a smart lady, but you have to be careful w. natural products. Natural doesn’t always mean good/safe. Often natural products lack proper preservative systems, and can make people very sick because of all the nasty bacteria and microbes growing in the product. Sometimes natural products are labeled in a misleading way so you think that certain ingredients are omitted – I read an article on this quite recently. Just be informed and be cautious. I think that doing things like COOKING for your family (vs. all the processed crap like Kraft Dinner and Kool-Aid) goes a long way towards having healthy, happy kids.

  16. I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to new parents, and yesterday a dad of a 6 week old baby boy went on for 20″ talking about chemicals in baby wipes. He said he uses paper towels and just wets them to wash his son’s bum. I thought that was a great alternative, and I equally thought it was awesome that I had a dad who was clearly so involved (in diapering and everything else!!) and so passionate/opinionated. For me personally, I think raising a child naturally isn’t just defined by the products you use but the food you give your children…and what you yourself are eating as you get ready to be pregnant. It’s interesting. I think modern parents are becoming so aware, and they are making such conscious choices in how we eat and plan to be a parent because it all ties together… and then how we ultimately raise our children. It’s great to see new services and products like Honest Company and new outlets like yours (and mine I hope) that can provide a fresh take on parenthood. I look forward to continuing to read your Motherhood Mondays :)

  17. I personally want to keep as many harsh chemicals away from my child as possible. No you can’t control every little thing they come in contact with, but you can control whether pthalates, parabens or formaldehyde is in products they are using on a weekly or daily basis, such as diapers, shampoos and lotions. There are plenty of studies that do link these very chemicals to cancers and nervous system issues, ADHD is minor compared to these awfull realities that many parents have to face. I don’t see it as a scare tactic; it is what they have found out there, things that are hidden in everyday products, that have been found to be a possible danger, of which many parents have no idea about, and they offer products without them. And sure, we may have used these growing up ourselves, and we may be “fine” but what about my cousin’s cancer, or my neighbor’s “unexplainable” chronic respiratory problems, or all the children and even adults in the world who are sick from causes unknown? Could these everyday products have been a causing factor? Perhaps, and I’m going to do what I can for my daughter, especially if that means paying only an extra 5-10 cents more per diaper (plus, I get free wipes!). But that’s my choice, and we all have the ability to do the research and make our own choice. Everyone does what they think is best for their family, and Jessica Alba, founder of this company, had to make what she thought was best for her daughters, because it could not be found on the market, and now she is just trying to offer her ‘ideal’ to other families out there.

  18. we use only WELEDA products for our little boy. And honestly we only use the baby rash cream.
    We bath him in pure water and no lotion.
    If he needs a soap we use a hand bar soap – also totally naturally. our soap bar has got 9 ingredients and I know everyone. You can look at your shampoo and count and think if you know all the ingredients…

    The less the better.

    We try to avoid PLASTIC as good as possible. So that means only soap bars as every shampoo, etc is packed in plastic.

    everybody want to be green and organic and good but buys plastic, drives a car, etc etc
    so I think if we really want to live healthy there must be a lot of new thinking about the “good” way.

  19. I am a fan of this blog, but am disappointed by this post. I am a college Biology professor, and as several others have pointed out, while there may be a “growing consensus that some chemicals used in these products are linked to chronic diseases like asthma, ADHD and even cancer” among some segments of the general public, there is certainly no scientific consensus of the sort, and no substantial scientific evidence to support this idea. The above statement is actually very cleverly worded, because it would be illegal for the company to claim outright that competing products are linked to these diseases, but it’s fine to say that people THINK they are linked to the diseases! I find it really appalling that companies like these prey on the fears of parents, skirt consumer protection laws with misleading statements, and then on top of that they have the nerve to call themselves The Honest Company!

  20. thanks for sharing honest company, i’ll definitely look into it. i like to be as natural as possible with his diet, what products we use on him and what products i use in the home. it’s a balance between being thoughtful and aware and not becoming neurotic. i mean, the other day he licked our doorstop. our house is 100 years old. GROSS! i can’t always control what he homes into contact with, so when i can i like to make sure those things are as green and safe as possible!

  21. Uggh…. I want your Antrhopoligie dress! I hope they still have it in the stores. I will get it tonight!

  22. I started using vinegar to clean most things around the house after we had our daughter. She was curious about everything, and I found this option helped me actually be able to clean, even if her little hands reached out for the bottle.

    The thing I would like to know…where did you get your dress?

  23. We love Weleda Diaper creme it was the only that worked. California Baby makes great shampoo and conditioners. Love their shampoo for after swimming. Episencial makes great suncreen and I love there lotion for my self.

  24. RR says...

    “Yet, there’s growing consensus that some chemicals used in these products are linked to chronic diseases like asthma, ADHD and even cancer.”

    Scientific primary literature citations, please. I’d like to know the source. Let’s see if “ask us any question” was truly honest.

  25. I love The Honest Company and what they stand for but unfortunately they don’t ship to the UK. I know a whole bunch of Brits who would buy their products in a flash if they did.

    Fingers crossed they branch out soon.

  26. i can’t believe how big toby is getting!

  27. I think it’s great that you are trying to raise your family in a natural way. I love reading other mom’s perspectives on how they operate in their day to day lives. I appreciate that every family runs differently and if there were one “correct” way to be raising our kids we would ALL be doing it.
    They idea behind the Honest Co. is a great one. But I find HIGHLY irresponsible to claim. . .

    “Yet, there’s growing consensus that some chemicals used in these products are linked to chronic diseases like asthma, ADHD and even cancer.”

    Without backing it up with some sort of disclaimer-study-SOMETHING.

    This is the sort of statement that could drive a parent mad. “I used huggies and huggies uses blank and now my kid has ADHD.” Can you even imagine?

  28. I make almost all my own bath/beauty/cleaning products. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t and it’s a lot cheaper than “ready-made” offerings. It’s amazing how much plain ol’ vinegar, baking soda, salt, and lemon can clean just about everything!

    We also live on a farm with a well (for water), so we are extra-cautious about what we introduce to our water system, as everything comes right back into the home.

  29. Nice pics!Such a beautiful child!

  30. add me to the long list of folks who want to know where you got your dress! :)

  31. In New Zealand there is this wonderful book called ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ – I LOVE it. It is filled with wonderful DIY ways of how to raise a ‘natural’ baby. Not only do I know my bebe isn’t being exposed to nasty chemicals, but we save so much money.

  32. We too try to go as natural as much as possible esp when Max (and soon Sadie) are wee little. Natural products that go near / on their skin are a must.

    I don’t know that I have any fav brands – we do use Seventh Generation, Method cleaning products, etc. I’ve used California Baby and other products. I usually look on for what looks like the best product and is most affordable!


  33. I use essential oils for everything – cleaning, in a diffuser, bathtub. Something refreshing about them. Love your blog :)

  34. Thank you so much for posting about this subject. I’m very into the natural way, and wanted to know more brands that good moms would recommend. Btw, Toby looks amazingly handsome and so tall! Wow, time goes by so fast…right? I can’t believe these teeny tiny ones are little gentlemen already…

  35. Jo, you should look into gDiapers for Toby and when you have your next baby. My son is 20 months old and we have been using them his entire life. They are a hybrid diaper so you can either use cloth or a 100% biodegradable FLUSHABLE insert (which is what we use). They are awesome, the company is awesome, the products are produced responsibly and the diapers are beyond adorable.

  36. For me, giving my kid a “natural” childhood is less about avoiding synthetic chemicals (I wonder if we miss the point by immediately assuming that everything synthetic is necessarily bad), and more about avoiding advertisements, TV, and consumerism. When my husband and I talk about our favorite childhood memories, it always ends up being about swimming in lakes, chasing fireflies, putting pennies on the railroad tracks, family dinners, etc. etc. — it’s rarely about the material things we had. My husband grew up quite poor and he has no regrets about having had a fraction of the toys that kids these days have. In light of that, we’re hoping to make our son’s childhood about *experiences*, not *stuff*.

  37. I have four children and I have to say that being natural isn’t high on my list of priorities. I keep them housed, clothed, fed and happy. They are very loved. I don’t think their lives would be drastically different if I shopped at Whole Foods instead of Vons or clothed them in head to toe organic cotton instead of Crewcuts and the Gap. I don’t think a single bath or beauty product in my house in organic unless it is just a coincidence. I do the dishes with Cascade and wipe down the counters with Lysol wipes. I send out the laundry and dry cleaning to a *gasp* non-green dry cleaner. Somehow my children are all still conscious. We all have to choose what we care about but I honestly think worrying about what is in your baby’s diapers is ludicrous. To me, raising a child in a natural way is impossible. Provide for them and love them to the moon and back. That will have a much more positive effect on their lives than organic sunscreen will.

  38. timing is everything isn’t it?! such a great post. i plugged myself into an electrical socket on sunday and decided to go preservative, artificial color and flavor free for my kids. and cut way back on the sugar iv’s. my little girl has a bad case of the ants in the pants:) cleared out my pantry and fridge like a nut job. i’m gonna give this a try before setting up a dr’s appt for the whole adhd diagnostic ride. my daughter is in 1st grade, my son in 2nd and i have a little 3 yr old too. i went to the mattresses baby. i decided to write about it too. thanks for the inspo jo:)

  39. I try to purchase all natural products that also makes economic sense and that really work! not all eco and natural products deliver the performance they promise. i gave up on eco or natural diapers. at the end it didn’t make sense to spend almost double on diapers that didn’t perform. i now get my diapers from target. i get my wipes from costco. they make the best and it’s biodegradable and economical. i also use costco’s natural detergent. i used to be a loyal tide fan and i still believe their product works the best but i didn’t want harsh chemicals on my baby or in the environment. And yes, to vinegar, baking soda and just staying out of the sun!

  40. Such great pictures! Toby matches your nautical bathroom!

    As a mom of three boys 5 and under, I try my best to do this natural parenting thing. This includes limiting screen time majorly (30 minutes tops per day), lots of outdoor play, lots of unstructured play time, and very few plastic toys (you know, the ones that light up and play music, etc.). In fact, we are trying to simplify as I write this. We also absolutely never use instant hand sanitizer :)

    Whatever you are doing, it seems to be working. That little boy looks very happy and loved!

  41. We use Honest Company, we picked all the boy styles the first time, but our favorite is the skull and crossbones, so now that is all we select.

  42. He’s so cute! Going to check them out. I have a baby shower coming up =)

  43. Toothpaste. Avoid glycerin, flouride and other yuckies…some cleaning products but honestly most natural just dont clean as well. Trilighthealth has great products for health support. We love their lympha rub and bactamune. Use grapeseed oil for lotion and coconut oil for diaper rash (now more hard for little boy to wipe well rash). Use essential oils and GSE in his baths. Id say I limit sugar but….i dont. We dont drink soda or juice much. I make some felted items and he has some wooden toys ut honestly they are not as fascinating as the moving, walking, talking toys. We have had a balance bike for over a year and go put walking biking everyday. And we talk about the environment and how to treat the earth as well as just noticing it together.

  44. Hi there! I love the idea of raising my children in a natural and green way like you mention – being outside, playing with pots and pans rather than plastic toys, and eating fresh food. However, when it comes to all-natural essentials such as diapers and sun screen, I can’t seem to find products that fit within my family’s tight budget. I’d love to see a post about truly affordable all-natural/chemical-free alternatives.

  45. I am curious about where your dress is from too, it’s so cute!

  46. That last photo is awesome!! Love those chubby thighs on tippy toes.

  47. For cleaning products, white distilled vinegar diluted with some water is a great all purpose cleaner. I took a microbiology class and we tested the long term efficacy of cleaning products (like Mr. Clean, Lysol, and even the “natural” Clorox and Windex). I suggested we also test vinegar diluted in water and it turns out that vinegar is the most effective over time than any of the others. Vinegar has the largest “killing zone” compared to all the others. So, good old fashioned white distilled vinegar diluted with water is the way to go, for me!

  48. . says...

    I’m obsessed with California Baby’s products. I’ve never used anything better–and I’ve tried A LOT of products.

  49. joanna, your little guy is just adorable and he looks just like you. he’s got such beautiful eyes.


  50. That is the second time I’ve seen you wear that super cute dress. I’m dying to know where it’s from?!

  51. I honestly don’t even know how you stand…. Toby literally gets cuter by the day!

    Kudos to your blog, your family and the love that exudes from each and every post you write!

  52. tippy toes on the stool… i die. :)

  53. toby suddenly looks SO grown up :) cute! i’m a single childless young lady but i think it’s great that you’re sharing this option with your parent-readers!

  54. As always, I love this post, and your blog. However, I feel compelled to point out that there is a critical lack of empirical evidence supporting The Honest Company’s claim that chemicals contribute to ADHD. Although its exact etiology is unknown, research overwhelmingly indicates that ADHD is likely caused by genetic impairments in the prefrontal and frontal lobes of the brain, which result in things like delayed or impaired response inhibition and self-control. Likewise, among all the interventions that have been demonstrated to treat ADHD, buying natural/organic products for use in our homes and with our children simply does not have the evidence to back it up. Of course, there are plenty of other strong reasons to choose to buy natural products, but it’s important that caregivers make efforts to distinguish between fact and marketing (mis)information when making these choices. Anyway, keep up the great work, Joanna!

  55. here’s a note from the honest company:

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for your interest in The Honest Company. We’re so sorry to hear that you’re having difficulty using the free ship coupon for first-time customers and apologize for the inconvenience. We tested the JoFreeShip code on our end and it appears to be working, so hopefully the problem you encountered is fixed. We’re also happy to help you over the phone and can be reached at 1.888.862.8818. Let us know what we can do to help!

    The Honest Company

  56. wendy, olive oil is such a great idea!! i’ve heard people use it for baby massages, too, which is so cute:)

  57. fleur, thank you!!! and thanks to all the readers who left tips; so helpful to hear what real parents use and trust.

  58. Not to be insensitive to the topic on hand, but where did you get your dress? It looks great!

  59. I love Honest! Been a fan from the beginning and all of their products are amazing. I especially love the cute designs for the diapers. Such a great option.

  60. I use California Baby products on my little guy! (and he really is a California baby, too) They are safe, and have the lowest toxins of any baby product on the market. I use the sunscreen on ma-self, too!

  61. i’ve wondered about all the hype surrounding the honest company. and…how just how affordable are these designer diapers?! glad to know you approve. thanks for the tips.

  62. Um. Just a note, since the way the website has framed this sentence, it is not clear. ADHD is a developmental disorder, not a “chronic disease.” (To insinuate that it is is kind of offensive.)ADHD can be passed from parent to child (in which case, cloth diapers and burt’s bees aren’t going to do a thing to stop genetics). I know it’s not your language, Jo – that’s from the company’s website – and I’m not against their mission. But let’s just put the breaks on the misinformation.

  63. My sister used olive oil instead of lotion or diaper creams and it was awesome.

  64. I love The Honest Company. We buy both the diapers and essentials bundles and have tried and love pretty much everything. It’s so nice to see the huge list of things they DO NOT put in their products. It’s also scary to think of all the things other “all natural” companies do use.

  65. Okay, weird. I’m entering the code and it’s telling me I can’t do it because it’s for first time buyers only. I swear, to my knowledge I’ve never ordered anything from there and it said it before I even entered any information! Super weird.

  66. We have worked super hard to raise our 2 yr old “natural”. We were much stricter about it in his first year (so tiny and vulnerable). Made all of his food from scratch, all organic ingredients and used cloth diapers. Now that he’s older, we’re a little more flexible about what he eats and have switched to non-chlorine disposables. I think it’s most important that they eat a healthy, varied diet with as many organics as possible. We’re lucky to live in Seattle and can get local organic milk a mere block from our house. Also, outside time everyday. Thanks for the info on the Honest, co. Can’t wait to check them out.

  67. I’m not due until Nov. 1 but my sister used olive oil exclusively instead of any diaper creams for rashes.

  68. Those photos are beautiful! I adore the one of Toby with the bubble wand.

  69. I use some brands I trust (Weleda diaper cream and tooth gel), but also single ingredient products like sweet almond oil as moisturizer, and coconut oil to tame my little guy’s hair. Otherwise I opt for scent-free, such as California baby shower and hair shampoo. And yes, outdoors every day…there is no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing :-)

  70. My wife and I have been tirelessly dedicated to raising our daughter has naturally as possible but can find it so difficult some times. We are always reading labels and that can be so disheartening. Thank you for presenting another ally in our effort.

  71. This company sounds great!

    For me, raising children in a natural way is about enjoying the simpler things – we try to have our two boys out in the fresh air as much as possible, eat the freshest food we can etc.

  72. I relly like the Honest company’s diapers…i started ordering them once they allowed ordering a single pack at a time.

    I really like their baby body wash too..really nice subtle scent.

    Not sure how completely natural burt’s bees is but i really like their baby body lotion..smells yummy!

  73. I found that most of what people said I needed, I did not. We used a great diaper cream (Country Comfort Baby Cream) and I didn’t bathe every day. We did lots of hand and feet washing in the sink and used cetaphil when necessary. That was it.

    Oh, and olive oil on the cradle cap.

  74. We use cloth diapers during the day but have found them not nearly absorbent enough for nighttime. We started using bambo nature diapers a couple months ago and couldn’t be happier. They are around 80% biodegradable and have many stamps of approval from Denmark. They feel amazing to the touch and are perfect at keeping our little one dry. I HIGHLY recommend trying them.

  75. Jessica Alba is involved in the company, too, right? I adore her!

  76. I love the Honest Co. Have been using their diaps and home essentials for the last 5 months, and couldn’t be more thrilled with their product and service. It’s like Christmas morning each time one of their boxes arrives!

  77. It’s hard for me to distinguish between truth & trend when it comes to “natural” products, but for me a big part of raising my son naturally means giving him more me time than screen time. (He’s only 10 months old, so he doesn’t even know about “screens” really). I want to start now, so that it doesn’t turn into a huge battle when he’s older.

  78. I just ordered a few things but the promo code isn’t working. Just thought you should know.

  79. Toby is so big! And he looks like an exact cross between you and Alex :)

  80. This is random, but I just got the biggest smile when I saw these pictures…I’m wearing the exact same dress as you right now! Hearts to Anthro, and good taste. =)

    Shannon <><

  81. Where is your dress from? I love it!

  82. A friend of mine told me about Honest Diapers a few months ago. We use cloth diapers and disposables at night, and now that you can finally order individual packs of Honest diapers (rather than being forced to receive a new pack every month, as we wouldn’t use an entire pack a month) I was thinking of giving them a try. :)

    As for raising kids in a natural way – to me, raising my daughter in a natural way has nothing to do with the products we choose for her. I want to raise her to be a strong, free-thinking individual, inquisitive and curious and loving and kind. I think passing those qualities on to her is the most natural thing I can do for her.

  83. Hi! Would also love to use the coupon code to order some home products, but is giving me the same message as Allie (above).
    Please let us know when fixed! :)

  84. Toby is getting so big!!

  85. Hey just a heads up that the free shipping code isn’t working. It popped up a warning saying I couldn’t use it as it’s for first time customers only, though I’ve never ordered from Honest Co before. I’d love to try them out, so if you could post an update when it’s fixed that would be great. Thanks so much!!

  86. Hi! I don’t normally post on blogs, but I read your blog everyday and love your Motherhood Mondays : )

    I use the brand of diapers you (sort of) mentioned having been dyed brown. I had never heard of that!
    I found this explanation:

    It seems like a pretty logical reason to me, and considering that the Honest company has prints on their diapers, there is obviously some SAFE dye being used there too. You are so right to say that it is confusing to try to navigate through all the so called “natural” products.

    I have used Honest’s products and I love them! Thanks for the free shipping coupon.

  87. We use cloth diapers during the day and Whole Foods-brand chlorine-free diapers at night and when we’re traveling (they hold more, and they are easier to deal with in terms of the mess on the road).

  88. ahh he is so very handsome! and his legs look so long and lean :)

  89. The photo of Toby in the middle of green grass is wonderful! I wish the products would be available outside of US.

  90. hi!

    i totally enjoy your blog and your motherhood monday posts . . .

    i wonder if you ever considered (or did, and i missed it) including something about infertility and trying to conceive? lots of us struggle with this, and it’s super challenging, isolating, and sometimes hidden.


  91. This is a great option! Toby is growing so fast! :) What a handsome little gentleman! :) xoxo