Bringing a new life into the world is a turning point in many parents’ green living journey. While it can be easy to be complacent about what goes into your own body as a healthy adult, especially after a lifetime of chemical exposure, once you are holding a pure, innocent child in your arms, suddenly it becomes very important to maintain that health and purity.
There are greener, healthier options for almost every category of baby care, from diapers to feeding to clothing and toys. For the first six months, not much is needed for a baby: a car seat is essential of course, along with diapers, clothes, and somewhere for the baby to sleep.
When possible, breastfeeding is the healthiest option for infant, mother and the earth. Parents who need to use bottles to feed pumped breast milk or formula should be aware of Bisphenol-A (BPA) content in plastic bottles - glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic are safe options. BPA is believed by some to be linked to the early onset of puberty as well as an increased risk of prostate and breast cancers.
Also of primary concern is diapering. Cloth diapers, cloth/disposable hybrid systems such as gDiapers, and chlorine-free disposables such as Earth’s Best, Seventh Generation and Moltex are all more environmentally friendly than mainstream, chlorine-bleached diapers. With improvements in materials and design over the past decade, these options are often just as effective and easy-to-use, if not more so, than mainstream disposable diapers.
Materials that are near baby on a daily basis should be organic whenever possible. This includes the surface on which the baby sleeps; conventional mattresses are coated with fire retardants, ingredients of which have been shown to cause damage to the developing brain. Other items to consider are baby clothes and baby carriers. If organic is cost-prohibitive, used items can be a good option to save money, as the chemicals that new conventional clothing is coated in have been washed away. There are many options for baby carriers on the market now and more organic options are appearing all the time.
As baby grows older, he will accumulate more toys and begin eating solid foods. Staying away from toys that contain phthalates or BPA is a healthy choice for baby’s developing brain, and choosing sustainably sourced toys or those that benefit a good cause are a healthy choice for the earth.
When your baby begins to eat solid foods, one simple option is to purchase organic produce such as yams, avocados and bananas and mash them with a fork for to eat. For parents on the run or wanting an even quicker option, choices exist for organic canned baby food, baby cereals and baby and toddler snacks.
The beginning of a life represents hope for both the human race and the earth. By reducing your baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals, you are giving your child a chance to maximize their potential in life.
Community Natural Foods is hosting Healthy Moms, Healthy Babes talks every Tuesday morning, starting April 12! Click here for more information.
L. Sara Bysterveld is a freelance for Community Natural Foods