After my first year being a parent I have realized something. It isn’t easy being green when it involves children. If you have a child and you have tried to be green in the raising of that child, you know what I mean.
When I was pregnant I tried to eat more organic food and to use only organic and natural products. I vowed to only feed my baby organic foods and use natural products for him as well. And I think I haven’t done too badly so far. Here is the run-down on the basics for your green baby.
1. Diapers. Do you use disposable or cloth? Cloth diapers sure aren’t what they used to be. They are amazingly cute and you can get a certain size or ones that adjust/grow with your baby. I love these diapers and in the long run they save a TON of money. Check out these two places: www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com and www.cutiepoopsandbottoms.com Did you know that disposable diapers contain many potentially harmful chemicals like Dioxins, chemicals that can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome, and TBT among others? The environmental effects are large as well. They are the third largest single consumer item in landfills representing 50% of a household’s waste with just 1 child in diapers. Imagine this with 2 children in diapers.
2. Breast milk. The advantages of breast milk are widely known and many hospitals are promoting it more these days. It is healthier for your baby and burns a lot of calories for mom to help lose the baby weight gain too. It is also FREE! Can’t beat that with the cost of formula these days.
3. Baby food. When your baby is ready for solid food, you can make your own. Yep, making food is as easy as buying the organic fruits and veggies and using a blender. True, it takes a little time but you end up saving a lot of money. For example, a 4oz. jar of baby food costs anywhere from $0.49 to $0.99. One organic sweet potato generally costs $0.50. You can make roughly 8-10 ounces of food with that one potato. This book was great for me, and you can always find books like this at Goodwill, your local Library, and often times at baby re-sale shops.
4. Clothing. This one I have a really hard time with. It seems that if you want organic cotton clothing, bedding, etc, you have to purchase online. I don’t have any stores in my area that offer organic cotton baby items. If they major retailers have anything, it may be one thing here and one thing there. I usually try to shop locally and try to avoid buying online because of the environmental impacts of shipping goods and sending my money out of the community. So, if anyone wants to open up an organic baby store in Bloomington- Normal, there should be a good market available. Anyway, there is a lot of research coming out about the use of flame retardants in baby items. Their clothing, pajamas, bedding, and pretty much everything is loaded with the stuff. Some recent research I read links the chemicals with SIDS. New Zealand has seen NO SIDS deaths since 2006 after not using the chemical and implementing a mattress wrapping program. I ultimately ended up buying an organic crib mattress after reading this. You can Google this topic and find all the research and articles. They have even made it into Wikipedia (under the Toxic Gasses section of the SIDS and flame retardants search).
5. Toys. Toys are a difficult one for sure. You can’t prevent people from buying your child toys. Many are plastic and you may not want your child playing with and chewing on them. It can be unnerving when you hear about recalls and discovery of lead and cadmium in infant toys. There are plenty of options for toys now though. Most communities have stores that sell safe and educational toys.So, these are the basics as I see them. I can’t claim to be 100% organic and green with my son but I try the best I can. The way I see it is if I can do a little it is better than not at all. Right? Or at least it gives me a bit of peace of mind which counts for something too. What about you? Anyone else struggle with this or have any good tips to share?