By Anna Schwengle
Want to raise a green baby?
It’s easier than you might think.
These days, babies seem to come with a lot of stuff. Even before they are born, parents-to-be are bombarded with ads and catalogues, all spurring a buying frenzy on a large range of items that are considered ‘essential’ for baby’s wellbeing.
There’s something to be said, however, for going back to basics. A simpler, more environmentally friendly attitude towards child rearing can make everyone’s lives a little calmer and less filled with ‘stuff’. A wet wipe warmer and a diaper disposal contraption are conveniences, not necessities, eventually filling garbage dumps and landfills for centuries to come.
While some people are ever concerned that being environmentally friendly is more work and less expedient, there are plenty of ways you can raise a green baby without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Feeding a green baby
Whether breast or bottle feeding, your baby is happiest and healthiest when getting fed. While breastfeeding has no impact to the environment, for obvious reasons, bottle feeding needs a little more forethought in order to be green.
Go for glass bottles instead of plastic, they’re better for baby, and the environment.
Avoid bottles with disposable inserts. If you have enough bottles, keeping on top of washing them isn’t a big a deal.
Use washable nipple pads, instead of disposable. There are great ones made from organic cotton that work beautifully.
As you switch to solids, you can avoid pre-prepared and packaged foods easily with a little forethought and preparation. Fresh veggies and fruits that have been pureed are perfect for little ones and the bulk store is a great place to stock up on dry cereals and baby pasta.
Sleep setup for a green baby
Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs. Investing in a crib that converts into a toddler bed down the road is much more friendly because it reduces waste. Consider also furniture that is made from sustainable materials and limited chemicals.
The nursery, in general, will benefit from being kept allergen free. Limit the number of stuffed animals and toys to a select few. Indoor air quality is important, so investing in air purifiers is a great way to keep dust and other allergens down.
Clothing a green baby
Organic clothing is another great way to minimize baby’s exposure to harsh chemicals. Non-organic fibers contain petrochemicals, PVC and other compounds that have been linked to health issues. Organic clothes provide a double bonus for the environment too because their manufacturing processes are sustainable. Almost 20 per cent of all water pollution occurs in the manufacturing of non-organic clothes.
When it comes to the fabrics that are closest to baby, forget the packaged wet wipes and get a batch of washable organic cloths. They’re all you’ll need, along with a wet bag for when you’re on the road, to keep baby clean. As for diapering, consider this: the average baby will use up to 6,500 diapers before they start potty training. It takes up to 500 years for disposables to decompose. If you’re not keen on washing them yourself, there are plenty of services that will pick up the soiled ones and leave you with a fresh pile of clean diapers.
Other considerations for a green baby
From toys to laundry detergent, you can always make a choice that is more environmentally friendly and those ones, not coincidentally, are usually better for baby’s health and wellbeing. Rather than a chemical and scent infused soap, opt for a gentle and natural detergent that still gets the job done without risking skin allergies or other reactions.
Whatever choices you make for baby, and for you, an environmentally friendly one is always available and more accessible than you might think.
Anna Schwengle is the founder of Finn + Emma