Bringing a baby into your life is a recipe for both joy and chaos. That said, folding parenthood into your eco-friendly lifestyle can be a bit of a challenge. Consider the following tips to help you care for your baby in a healthy and environmentally sustainable way.
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One of the healthiest and most eco-friendly ways to meet your child’s nutritional needs is to breastfeed. However, since not all parents are able to breastfeed — and bottles and bowls are likely to be needed anyway — it’s important to do your research and find the best possible products available.
There are a number of glass and stainless steel baby bottles on the market from well-known companies like Avent to up-and-comers like Pura. The Pura stainless steel bottle is my personal favorite as it contains no plastic and can adapt to grow with your baby. It’s a fantastic way to avoid waste!
A recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to avoid microwaving and running plastics through the dishwasher. Their studies have found that heating plastics can cause them to leech bisphenols (BPA) and phthalates into food. With microwaves and dishwashers being a staple of most homes (not to mention very helpful for busy parents), the best way to keep your little ones safe is to use dishes and utensils made out of bamboo, stainless steel, glass, and silicone. Many of these dishes and utensils can be used for years to come!
As for eco-friendly foods, the easiest way to go about things is to simply puree the foods that you usually eat (make sure they’re safe for baby first) and store them in glass or stainless steel containers. Not only will this save money and prevent plastic waste, it will also prime your baby’s taste buds to like the food your family regularly eats! If you do use formula, be sure to recycle the cans (if possible) or upcycle them into something fun!
Cloth versus disposable diapers: The debate continues. Thanks to conflicting reports from disposable diaper manufacturers and the cloth diaper industry — both claiming their products are better for baby and the environment — parents are hit with inconsistent and often biased information.
Many believe, when it comes to the environmental impact, that cloth diapers are the best option. But laundering cloth diapers uses lots of water. And if the diapers are made from non-organic cotton, the crops were likely grown using lots of dangerous pesticides.
On the other hand, disposable diapers add to our overflowing landfills, and commonly contain plastics, dyes, perfumes, and other components that might worry an environmentally concerned parent. If you’re committed to disposable, look for manufacturers that strive for environmental responsibility, like Eco by Naty. Another option, consider using a combination of organic and natural fiber cloth diapers with disposable liners, like the ones available through gDiapers.
No matter which you choose, cloth and disposable diapers use valuable resources and create waste. You need to make the choice that best fits your lifestyle.
Yes, even baby apparel can be green! When shopping for clothes for your little one, look for companies who use eco-friendly dyes and make clothes out of Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified organic cotton, wool, or hemp.
Furthermore, do your research to make sure the clothing is ethically made by workers being paid living wages. It’s important that even when shopping for our babies, we hold companies to the highest environmental and social standards.
When washing your little buttercup, it’s really not necessary to fill an entire tub — it only serves to waste water. Instead, invest in a baby tub that is free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, formaldehyde, and heavy metals. For body washes, look for products that are unscented and castile, calendula, or aloe based.
Support Green Products
Not only are there a whole slew of unexpected changes that come with having a baby but also numerous things you have to buy just to get through each day unscathed. Fortunately, there are multiple companies dedicated to supporting parents as they take a more eco-friendly and sustainable approach to raise your children. As long as you do your research before making purchases, you’ll do just fine!
Feature image by Spencer Selover from Pexels