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Green Living with your Baby

Top Ten Tips for Going Green with Baby

Having a baby can be the defining moment of any person's life, but it is also something every environmentally conscious person needs to think about carefully. Babies use up resources, and will grow up to be adults in an already crowded world. Nonetheless, as a parent you can lessen you babies' environmental impact vastly with a little effort and some common sense. Here are some ways to go green with your baby and grow closer in the process.

1. Breastfeed

Many women have no wish to breastfeed, but think about this. What's better than a free food source that is nutritionally complete and helps you burn calories as well? Sounds like a great deal to me! Even with breastfeeding though there are ways to cut down waste. Try reusable bra pads and ditch the commercial nipple cream for some old fashioned olive oil. If you can't breastfeed buy an organic fair trade formula. At the very least, make sure you don't buy formula from companies who profit by marketing to third world countries.

2. Feed Your Baby Real Food

You can really go green with your baby and cut down on packaging waste by feeding him the very same foods you eat yourself. Around six months a baby is ready to try solid foods, so why can't he try yours? Packaged foods are great for convenience but feeding your baby the soft foods that you eat is safe and healthy and doesn't require multitudes of jars. Worried about a balanced diet? Talk to your doctor about your babies' nutritional requirements.

3. Use Cloth Diapers

An astounding 49 million disposable diapers are used every day in the United States. These diapers take 400 to 500 years to decompose, clogging up landfills and lasting far beyond our lifetimes. One of the most environmentally friendly steps you can take with your baby is to cloth diaper him or her. New cloth diapers are made in fun patterns with easy Velcro tabs, no more diaper pins! One study even found that a cloth diaper has only 53 percent of the environmental impact of a plastic diaper. If you can't stand the gooey mess in the pants, hire a commercial diaper laundering service to wash the dirty ones for you.

4. Go with Organic Clothing

Cotton is one of the most pesticide intensive crops on the planet. Do the earth a favor and buy organic cotton, which is what every stylish eco-friendly baby wears. Also look out for clothing with flame retardant chemicals, which have are quite toxic in large amounts. Why not try wool instead? It's a natural flame retardant and smolders rather than burning.

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

One of the biggest sins of some parents is buying everything for their baby new. Babies grow so quickly that they rapidly outpace most clothing and much of their furniture and toys. New items only create more waste for a landfill. Instead, ask friends with older children if they have any hand-me-downs to give you, and scour garage sales and second hand stores for used furniture, car seats, and toys. It'll save you money too!

6. Bathe Your Baby With Natural Products

A green baby is a chemical free baby. Because of a loophole in federal law, companies don't have to list the ingredients in fragrances, some of which are toxic. Stick to organic and fragrance-free products for your babies' baths, and don't over bathe him.

7. Clean the Air

Consider getting a HEPA filter for your babies' room. Did you know the indoors is twice as polluted as the outdoors? Also, when you redecorate the room use low-VOC paints and leave any new items outside for several days to fumigate the off gasses. This includes mattresses, which off gas some of the worst chemicals of all household items.

8. Ditch the Plastic Toys

Plastic toys are often cheaply made and easy to destroy, plus they rely on petrochemicals which are a finite, and toxic resource. Go back to the good old days and give your baby wood toys, which are less of a toxic risk when put in the mouth, and give him or her cotton stuffed toys rather than polyester. 

9. Rely on Natural Cleaners

Studies are starting to find that children in over-cleaned houses are actually the ones suffering more from allergies, asthma, and eczema. Instead of chemically bombing your house every time you clean rely on natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, which will bust any mess. Also use plant based detergents in the laundry to avoid chemical residue from lingering on your child's clothes.

10. Ditch the Disposables

The most eco-friendly baby is one who creates the least waste. Many companies make a killing off of the convenience of disposable items like diapers, changing table mats and bottle liners. Though it may take slightly more time to employ reusable items, it is well worth it in the end for the environment, and sometimes for your wallet as well.

 

Submitted by SuperGreenMe on Oct 31, 2008