Before Breastfeeding Moms Lotion Up, They'll Want to Read This

They say you are what you eat, but you're also whatever you put on your body. Melinda Olson, founder, formulator, and CEO of Earth Mama Angel Baby knows all about this. After spending several years studying horticulture and tending to her garden, she began blending and mixing different ingredients to create the safest, healthiest, most luxurious body products for expecting and nursing moms. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Melinda shares some tips for how nursing moms can take control of the products their nursing kids ingest.

Getty | Cultura RM/Laura Doss

It's World Breastfeeding Month, a good time to remember that what goes in and on a pregnant woman's body goes in her baby. And once newborns arrive, nursing creams and baby products get in their little systems, too. So it's natural for nursing mamas to start being aware of labels and ingredients. But how do you decipher all that information? Here's a start.

If the label says "organic" I know it's safe, right?

Well, not exactly! Product labels aren't regulated, so anyone can claim anything! Many noncertified "organic" personal care products can contain everything from petroleum byproducts to endocrine disruptors and potentially cancer-causing synthetic ingredients that are toxic to organs, nerves, and immune systems. The only way to know for sure is to look for an organic certifier, a third party that verifies organic claims.

Isn't "natural" good enough?

Anyone can use the word "natural," so be especially wary of this one! There's no certifiable definition of "natural" and no way to tell. If the word "natural" accompanies a lot of unnatural sounding ingredients, go look them up!

Why buy organic?

Certified organic products have to go through a very demanding process to assure their safety and purity, from soil to seed to raw materials to finished product. And any nonorganic ingredients must be on an approved list. That means no prohibited substances, artificial fragrances, toxins, or other potentially harmful ingredients. Some companies elect to be certified so that consumers can be assured that they are getting what they think they are getting: safe, honestly organic products.

What about Non-GMO?

The Non-GMO Project's Product Verification Program is extra assurance for consumers that a product does not contain genetically modified organisms.

How can I be sure?

It's tough! If a product uses the word "organic" or "non-GMO" but there is no third party certification, you have no guarantee. So look for the certifier. The certifier administers, inspects, and assures that the claims on the label are compliant with the strict rules of organic or non-GMO. Many companies, like Earth Mama, think it's worth the very demanding process so that consumers can be assured that they are getting what they think they are getting.

It's too overwhelming! Isn't there an app for that?

You can always check your products or individual ingredients on the Skin Deep database to see if it's something you are comfortable using on your family.