So, with true 21st century consciousness and responsibility in mind, here are five top tips from the experts on how you can care for your baby and do your bit for Mother Nature at the same time:
- Used Baby Clothes
Used doesn’t have to mean worn, dirty and old – it’s just anything that isn’t brand-new. Quite simply the most eco-friendly baby clothes you can possibly lay your hands on are those that come in the form of hand-me-downs or second-hand purchases from consignment stores, charity shops or online auction or buy/sell sites, such as Craig’s List or Kijiji. More often than not it is perfectly possible to find good-as-new clothing items and accessories that would otherwise have been destined for an early retirement to the garbage – millions are thrown away needless every day and wreak havoc on the environment. If new clothes are required, opting for certified organic baby clothes can make a difference.
- Lotions and Powders
You might think you’ll need a veritable armada of lotions and potions to keep your little darling’s silky skin smooth and healthy, but you certainly do not. In fact, you might want to opt for cleaning your baby with only warm water for the first months or year. Another option, if your baby’s skin feels dry, which can happen during the winter, is to opt for something completely pure, such as coconut oil, which is an excellent moisturizer than can be rubbed into your baby’s skin or added to the bath water. You’ll want to be sure to only use those that aren’t loaded-up with artificial colours, perfumes and additives. There are more 100% organic and certified natural baby products on the market today than ever before – all created with the safety and health of both your baby and the environment in mind. If you’re looking for an excellent guide to help you navigate your way through the many choices available, the Environmental Working Group is an excellent resource.
- Toys and Gear
Thought should be given to the sheer volume of toys any baby is given, and it’s been shown that too many toys can actually be overwhelming for a child. Also, the more wastage and breakage, the harsher the effect on the environment, so choosing high-quality toys can help lessen your carbon footprint. And of course, it always pays to go for toys made with recycled or natural materials, those that are guaranteed 100% non-toxic and ideally those that can be recycled once again when finished, or passed on to other children. Another way to reduce your impact is to opt only for the baby gear that you’ll actually use. It’s easy to buy too much when baby arrives, but a great suggestion to follow is to only buy or register for the minimum prior to your baby’s arrival, and add more as you see the need. Truthfully, you’d probably be just fine starting with a stash of diapers, a crib or co-sleeper, a carseat if you drive, some baby clothing, and a sling or baby carrier. The rest will come. Trust us.
- Green Nappies
There is no denying that disposable nappies are easier to use and dispose of than their reusable cloth cousins, but they’re are also much worse for the environment. As such, it can make an enormous difference to use cloth diapers that can be washed and reused, rather than throwing away hundreds of potentially toxic disposables month after month. There’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to use all of one or the other, either, of course. Even using cloth diapers part-time can make a difference. With so many adorable choices to choose from, we think it’s hard to resist covering your baby’s bum in cloth at least some of the time.
- Laundry Habits
Last but not least, give careful thought not only to the type of laundry products you’re using, but also how often you’re doing said laundry. Are you ensuring you have a full load each time, or switching the machine on just for the odd towel here and there? Long story short – the fewer washes the better, so consider stockpiling dirties and washing only when necessary.
The Eco-Friendly Family: Green living for the modern family.
Green Child Magazine: Raising you child the way nature intended.
Eco Incognito: Blogging to motivate readers to make manageable, positive changes in consumption.
Guest Post by Alice Freeman
Alice Freeman works as a part-time kindergarten teacher and is an ardent activist for eco-living. Her husband is a paediatric nurse and the two regularly contribute to dozens of well-respected parenting blogs from all over the world.
Are there any resources you’d like us to add? Please comment to let us know and we’d be happy to include them!