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A baby brings new responsibilities—and a whole new life. While it might seem overwhelming at first, with a few simple adjustments, you can watch over your little one and the environment at the same time—because what’s good for the Earth is also what’s best for your baby.
Eco Baby — Essential Tips for the Eco-Conscious New Mom
Here are the essentials you need to know.
As the nesting instinct kicks in, use these Eco-friendly options to create a nursery that benefits your baby and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites indoor air as one of the top five dangers to humans.
The major cause is fumes released by paints and finishes. To avoid this hazard, be sure to choose nontoxic products or those with low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) when selecting wall paint and finishes. Earth Paint are good places to start your search. Not only can you preserve the health of your family, but you will reduce landfill contaminants that leach into the soil.
Another consideration for the nursery is flooring. Hard surfaces such as tile, natural linoleum (hypoallergenic and biodegradable), bamboo, cork, and recycled glass tiles are traditionally better for the environment. If you want carpet, however, many manufacturers including Mohawk Flooring, have created products made from recyclables and environmentally friendly materials.
You can also try natural fibers with minimal chemical treatment and less toxic adhesives. Beware of carpet padding made from petroleum; instead choose padding made from recyclables or carpet requiring little or no backing.
They’re the one accessory babies cannot do without. Even as new parents are fed misinformation about the costs and benefits of cloth over disposable, disposable diapers are crowding the landfills at an estimated 10,000 tons per day.
Disposable diapers contain wood pulp and plastic and take an estimated 500 years to decompose! Despite a few extra loads of laundry per week, cloth diapers are the obvious Eco-friendly choice. If that wasn’t enough, cloth diapers are healthier for your baby because they don’t contain chemicals that create allergies and other medical problems.
Choose a planet-friendly style for your baby with organic clothing. First of all, your baby’s skin is very sensitive, not to mention thinner and more porous than an adult’s. Because their skin is more absorbent, babies are at risk from the chemicals used to manufacture regular baby clothes and the pesticides that are used to grow clothing fibers, such as cotton.
Organic clothing is free from toxins because cotton is farmed without pesticides. Also, organic farming methods create a sustainable environment through healthier soil and improved water quality, meaning the environment your baby plays in and inherits will be healthier, too.
Some Eco-friendly fabric options are:
- Organic cotton – much more breathable than its non-organic counterpart, so it reduces rashes
- Bamboo – hypoallergenic
- Soy – naturally soft and retains warmth well
- Hemp – very absorbent and durable
If you are looking for organic baby clothes that don’t break the bank, price compares among the many vendors at Amazon. And don’t forget the ultimate recyclable—hand-me-down clothes from another Eco-conscious mom. You can also recycle outgrown baby clothes by tapping into your creativity and sewing a keepsake quilt or pillows, or by using them as doll clothes.
With a new baby comes added laundry duty. You can easily reduce the impact your extra clothes washing has on the environment and the health of your new addition with just a few changes. Start with the detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets you use.
Most are loaded with chemicals that not only harm the environment but can also create health issues—such as allergies, liver damage, and even cancer—for your family. Avoid detergents with obvious warning labels, as this indicates a dangerous level of harsh chemicals.
Instead, look for products that use plant-based rather than petroleum-based ingredients. Seventh Generation products are a good place to start. Conserve energy by washing only full loads using warm or cold instead of hot water; this can cut your laundry energy use in half. If you can’t hang your clothes to dry outside, dry several loads of laundry one after the other, making use of an already heated dryer. Also, try using the air-dry feature on the dryer as an added energy-saver.
Nutritious Baby Food
While breastfeeding is best, if that is not an option, try powdered formula. Avoid canned formulas, as metal from the cans (or the plastic with which they are sometimes coated) has been known to leach chemicals into the liquid.
Once you switch to solids, it is best to make your own baby food from organic fruits and vegetables. Baby-food processors, such as the one put out by Beaba make steaming and pureeing baby food surprisingly easy.
In the grocery store, buy organic baby food whenever possible, since it contains no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or other toxins that can harm a baby. In the developmental years, children’s bodies are more sensitive to chemicals used in conventional farming methods. Studies have shown that these chemicals are linked to reproductive, immune and endocrine system problems, as well as cancer.
Non-BPA Baby Bottles
Read the labels on bottles and sippy cups because some manufacturers use bisphenol A (BPA). When plastics containing this dangerous chemical are heated, they can leach into your baby’s food and drink, potentially causing developmental problems. Plastic liners are known to have similar issues when heated, so avoid these as well. Also, choose silicone nipples, as the impurities in latex have been linked to allergies.
With these simple tips, requiring very little if any extra effort, your new baby can start off his or her life as an eco baby. Not only is living green healthier for your newborn, but it is also better for the world in which he or she will grow up.