Bringing Up Baby Green
By raising your child in an eco-friendly way, you not only ensure that your baby has limited exposure to harmful chemicals, but also that you help create a cleaner, healthier world for the next generation. Thankfully, raising a green baby has never been easier. Get started with our easy tips:
- Breastfeed: Mother's milk is the perfect food for baby, and has zero environmental impact. It's perfectly calibrated to your child's nutritional needs, and as an added bonus, those quiet moments you and your baby spend nursing will provide many opportunities for bonding, smiles and loving baby coos. (If your partner wants to get in on the adorable action, consider pumping for one or two feedings per day.)
- Cloth diapers: If you want to be green – and save a bundle! – consider cloth diapering. Experts estimate that cloth diapers have about half the ecological impact of disposables, and by using cloth, you won't expose your baby to any of the chemicals contained in throwaway diapers. If the thought of folding, pinning and washing is overwhelming, don't despair. Modern cloth diapers are nothing like what your grandmother used: think gorgeous prints and organic natural fibers, all wrapped into an ultra convenient package.
- Go minimal: One of the easiest ways to reduce your family's ecological footprint is to simply buy less. There are so many gadgets available for babies and parents, but a child really only needs food, a place to sleep, clothes to wear, and loving arms – the rest is just for fun. Before you create a baby registry or go on a shopping spree, read up on what's essential and talk to your friends about which baby products they found most useful. By choosing only what you'll use, you help save important resources and create less waste.
- Eat organic: If you're breastfeeding, a diet rich in organics will ensure that you pass as few toxins as possible along to your baby. As you transition to a diet of solid foods, organic produce will continue to provide your child with healthy, pesticide-free nutrition.
- Eco-friendly clothing: Choose natural fibers, which are more renewable and generally require less processing – and therefore fewer resources – to become the cute coordinates you love. If you want to be even greener, consider shopping consignment sales or thrift shops; baby clothes often receive so little use that you'll find new or almost-new clothes for a steal.
- Green products: There are plenty of eco-friendly products, from shampoo to diaper cream, available for baby care. In addition to being good for the environment, they contain fewer harsh chemicals and other by-products that can create rashes or other skin irritations, and often use natural oils (coconut, olive, or almond) to keep your baby's skin moisturized and sweetly scented.
- Eco-friendly toys: Instead of plastic, opt for toys made of wood, cornstarch, cotton, wool or other green materials. These products utilize renewable resources and few chemicals or toxins, so they're safer for baby to handle – especially when your child gets to the teething or chewing stage. When plastic products are unavoidable, make sure to always buy BPA free.
- Set the example: Mahatma Ghandi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world," and becoming a parent highlights this philosophy. The best way to teach your child is through example, so make sure you reuse products when possible, and recycle them when not. Take reusable bags to the market, and only buy what you need. You will be your child's idol, so give them something good to emulate.