Updated on October 6th, 2014
Thank you to Jessica Mcclennen for providing this post.
Bringing a new life into the world is an exciting and nerve-wracking time for the parents, especially if it’s their first child. Babies don’t come with a user manual and there isn’t a special how-to parenting guide. There are a number of sources new parents can go to for help and advice, be they friends or relatives, books, or the Internet. But in the end, there is no definitive step-by-step process to parenting and it’s ultimately up to the parents to figure out how they’re going to go about being parents.
With the amount of debate and controversy revolving around the environment and global warming today, it’s important that you consider the environmental impact you and your child can make. Deciding to raise your baby in an eco-friendly manner is an excellent way to reduce your family’s carbon footprint, raise an environmentally conscious child, and help you and your family lead cleaner, healthier lives.
The nutrition of your baby should be one of your primary concerns. Developing healthy eating habits early is critical for both you and your child. Though your child won’t take any conscious effort in this realm for a number of years, starting a healthy diet from the beginning will help the baby grow properly and without issue. However, before you start looking too far ahead, you need to decide whether your baby will be breast or bottle-fed in the beginning. Whatever you may have heard about breastfeeding, the fact is that it is the most natural and the greenest method of feeding a baby. According to WebMD, The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. You can choose formula if you really want, but you’ll want to check to make sure the formula you purchase comes with the USDA Organic Seal that certifies no pesticides were used in the growth of the ingredients.
Once your baby is past the breastfeeding phase, you need to start shopping for more organic foodstuffs that don’t have a lot of chemicals and pesticides involved in their production. According to WebMD, you can lower your child’s consumption of pesticides by 80 percent by avoiding 12 of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables. The organic versions of certain fruits and vegetables such as celery, peaches, strawberries, potatoes, and apples are excellent choices. Other produce items that are low in pesticides include sweet corn, mangos, kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, and honeydew.
After they’re born, babies still have a lot of developing to do and one of their many vulnerabilities is absorbing harmful chemicals through their tender skin. To avoid this sort of exposure, it’s highly recommended that you purchase organic clothing. According to What to Expect, cotton crops are some of the most heavily chemically treated and so buying just plain cotton clothing can be bad for your child’s health. When looking for clothing, materials to look for include linen, soy, bamboo, organic wool, and organic cotton.
There is a particular problem with purchasing 100 percent organic clothing, however, and that is the price. If you are concerned about breaking your baby budget, then you can compromise by only purchasing organic clothing for the articles that the baby will wear directly touching their skin. Items like jackets and other outerwear items can be non-organic. Visiting websites like The Honest Company Baby Store can help you find natural and organic items.
Protecting the tender skin of your baby doesn’t just mean buying chemical free clothing; it also means purchasing safe skin care and cleaning products. According to The Huffington Post, you should get in the habit of reading labels and avoiding any products that have dyes, phthalates, fragrances, and parabens in their ingredients. Anything non organic or natural can be harsh on the baby’s skin. When purchasing baby powders and creams, Mother Earth Living suggests alternatives like calamine lotion, lanolin, shea butter, and olive oil.
Protecting your baby and its skin also means changing the cleaning products you use around the house. Since human bodies can absorb up to 70 percent of what touches skin, harsh and toxic cleaning products can have a detrimental effect on your baby’s body.
Your baby is going to make plenty of huge messes, both in their diapers and in the rest of the house. You will have to decide on the type of diaper you are going to use. According to Tree Hugger, babies will on average use 6,000 diapers before they are potty trained and regular disposable diapers can take anywhere from 200 to 500 years to decompose. There are two main types of diaper you can look at if you’re working on staying environmentally friendly, cloth and biodegradable.
Biodegradable diapers are made using plant-based materials that can be composted using a number of different systems while cloth diapers are washable and reusable. When searching for a brand of either, make sure you do your research. Some materials you should look for in cloth diapers are hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton. If you choose the biodegradable route, make sure you read labels as some so-called “green” diaper brands might actually contain petroleum gels.