If you’ve stumbled across this article, I’m guessing you’re trying to raise a green baby. That’s fantastic news! Today’s baby industry, where everything from diapers to bibs is disposable, promotes convenience and waste over sustainability. It can be hard to buck the trend and find a balance between practical parenting and the environment. But don’t worry, I’m here to help.
This is a guest post by Jo from the Mom at Odds.
First off, what does it even mean to go green? Most importantly it’s about reducing your impact on the environment.
Everyday things from cooking to showering to driving all use the earth’s resources in one way or another. We want to make smart choices to have the smallest environmental footprint possible.
Another aspect of the being green is about health and happiness, keeping things as natural as possible to reduce the toxins entering your body.
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Here are Steps You Can Take to Raise a Green Baby
When you raise a earth friendly baby, soon you’ll have an eco friendly child and ultimately an environmentally savvy adult! So let’s get to it –
#1 – Make Smart Diaper Choices
There has been quite the debate over the environmental impact of disposable vs. cloth diapers.
On one hand, cleaning cloth diapers uses detergent, water, and energy.
On the other hand, baby experts estimate that most babies use between 4 and 10 thousand disposable diapers before they are potty trained. Plus the disposable diapers your baby uses will not decompose in their lifetime.
When raising an eco-friendly baby, cloth diapers are strongly recommended. Use a natural laundry detergent and lay clean, wet diapers in the sun.
This will both allow the cloth diapers to dry and will naturally bleach out any stains without harsh chemicals. Plus it saves energy because you don’t have to run your dryer.
Believe me, these aren’t your grandmother’s cloth diapers. Gone are the days of rectangular cloths with safety pins. Say hello to adorable diaper prints that are pre-shaped with snap closures.
Using a cloth diapering laundering service has been shown to further lessen your environmental footprint. And if you borrow cloth diapers from a friend, buy them used online, or pass them along after you’re done with them – even better!
Another (albeit less eco-friendly) option for green babies are biodegradable diapers. They are made with plant-based plastics and are therefore compostable. There’s also the hybrid option where you use cloth diapers with biodegradable inserts.
No matter which option you choose, consider potty training early to reduce the number of diapers being used.
#2 – Wipe Options for a Green Baby
On a similar note to diapers, your journey in raising an eco-friendly baby should avoid using disposable baby wipes.
You don’t need anything fancy to make reusable baby wipes. You probably already have some old washcloths laying around. If you don’t, pick up a pack of soft, organic cotton ones from the store.
Keep a stack of clean washcloths and a bowl of water next to the changing area. When it comes time to wipe, dip a clean washcloth into the basin and wring it out to make it damp. Be sure to not dip a dirty cloth into the water to keep it clean.
Have a diaper pail nearby for the dirty, used cloths. When you’re getting close to using up your stack of cloths, throw them in the wash with your cloth diapers.
The good news is that a wet washcloth does a much better job of cleaning poop than those flimsy, weak disposable wipes!
If for whatever reason you’re unable or unwilling to use reusable baby wipes, Amazon has a great selection of biodegradable baby wipes to minimize waste. At the very least, you should try your best to reduce the number of baby wipes you are using.
#3 – Green Baby Bottles
Breastfeeding is by far the more eco-friendly option for feeding baby as it has virtually no environmental impact. However, there are times when mom is unable to breastfeed or bottle feeding is more convenient.
When raising an eco-friendly baby it’s important to use non toxic baby products, including bottles. Try to avoid plastic as much as possible. Even when plastic items are labeled “BPA free”, they still contain other chemicals that can be just as toxic.
Look into glass or stainless steel baby bottles. They don’t leach any chemicals or absorb germs the way plastic can.
By far the most popular and recommended glass baby bottles are the Philips Avent. The Philips Avent Glass Baby Bottles are premium quality, easy to clean, and one of the top sellers on Amazon.
If possible, borrow bottles from a friend for the most eco-friendly option!
For breastfeeding mothers, refrain from using disposable breast pads or soothies. Instead, opt for organic bamboo pads that can be washed and reused.
Before buying wasteful nipple creams and ointments, try supplies from your own pantry like coconut oil or olive oil.
#4 – Dressing a Green Baby
It’s almost impossible to walk through the kid section of Target without buying an adorable baby outfit. But there are so many reasons to resist that strong baby clothes urge.
Putting the high cost aside, buying new baby clothes in every size is very wasteful and doesn’t help in your mission for raising an eco-friendly baby.
The more sustainable option is to start by asking close friends and family if they have any hand-me-downs they are willing to let you borrow or part with. You can also hit up thrift stores or Facebook marketplace for gently used items.
My personal favorite method for buying gently used (and even some brand new!) baby clothes is through Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook groups. Newborn and infant clothes sell for ridiculously cheap prices and are extremely inexpensive to ship based on their small size. The selection is also very impressive and you’ll have your choice of style, brand, and condition.
Some have expressed concern about the eco-friendliness of shipping clothes. Most BST groups require shipment via USPS, which is one of the greenest shipping options. For starters, all of their packaging is recyclable and many women on BST groups reuse polymailer bags and boxes. USPS trucks also automatically deliver to every neighborhood 6 days a week, which means they’re not making a special trip (or increasing their carbon footprint) to deliver the onesies you ordered last week.
When buying new clothes for your green baby, think practical one-piece outfits made from organic hemp or cotton.
And when it’s time to get rid of your baby clothes, pass them along to another green baby via a friend, family member, Facebook Marketplace, or BST groups. Selling pre-owned outfits on BST groups can be the most lucrative way to make money from used baby clothes.
#5 – Be a Minimal Mama
Resist the urge to put every baby product you’ve ever seen or heard of on your registry.
Of course there are products available that can make your life easier, but there are also lots that are just a waste of money, space, and plastic.
Products like wipe warmers, baby food makers, pacifier wipes, etc are a few baby items many moms deem unnecessary.
Try to think of products that will serve two (or even three!) purposes. Many parents get away with a bouncy seat OR a swing OR a mamaroo – you definitely don’t need all 3!
When purchasing baby products or furniture, always look at friends/family, thrift stores, and Facebook marketplace first. Reusing items is one of the greenest philosophies you can adopt when raising an eco-friendly baby.
Additionally, before purchasing an item I highly recommend taking it for a test drive to make sure you absolutely need it. If possible, borrow the baby item from family or friends. Another great option is to rent it for a few days from a site like BabyQuip.
The two exceptions to using pre-owned baby products for your green baby are the mattress and car seat. Those two items should be purchased new from a safety perspective.
Finding earth friendly baby products in mattresses is easy. Car seats, however, can be tricky. Luckily in the world of car seats there are two non toxic baby products that are highly recommended by the famous group ‘Car Seats for the Littles’.
When you’re looking for non toxic baby products you want to look for options that minimize (or even eliminate) the use of flame retardant chemicals. Babies spend countless hours in their car seats and you don’t want them breathing in those potentially harmful chemicals.
When shopping for infant car seats, check out the Nuna Pipa LITE Infant Car Seat that is made without any flame-retardant chemicals (and yet still meets the US government’s flammability standards). Another huge plus is that it’s one of the lightest car seats on the market today.
A good convertible car seat option would be either Clek’s Foonf or Fllo in Mammoth Merino Wool. Clek is a Canadian company and they were the first to introduce car seats without flame retardant chemicals. The Mammoth fabric is made with merino wool and are naturally flame resistant. Both of these Clek options allow for extended rear facing up to 50 lbs or 43”.
#6 – Earth Friendly Baby Food
Once baby reaches six months of age, it’s time for “real” food. Of course buying jars and packages of baby food can be convenient, but all that food and plastic waste is terrible for the environment.
Introducing actual, fresh food (as opposed to pureed baby food in a jar) is so much more eco-friendly. If you’re feeding baby bananas for breakfast, simply slice off the end of the banana for baby, mash it, and feed it on a spoon. Then you can eat the rest of the banana yourself and there’s zero waste!
You don’t need any fancy equipment to make your own baby food.
Steam some carrots or sweet potato and simply mash them with a fork before giving them to your green baby. Larger quantities can be pureed using your everyday food processor or hand blender.
Look into baby led weaning methods to cut back on food waste. This is a handy guide that lists pros and cons to see if baby led weaning is right for your family.
#7 – Non Toxic Baby Bath Products
Less is more when it comes to baby skin care.
You don’t want to use excess soaps and products on your delicate baby. Bathing too often and cleaning with harsh chemicals can dry out baby’s skin.
When bathing is indicated, look for natural, organic, fragrance-free, and non toxic baby bath products. One of my personal favorites is Nurture My Body’s All-Natural Baby Bar Soap.
All Nurture My Body products are plant-based and their company’s focus is “safe for you and the environment”. Their Baby Bar Soap has no artificial fragrances, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens.
Most importantly for raising a green baby, bar soaps like this contain no plastic in their packaging. This is very important as plastic waste is becoming a huge problem across the world and less and less is able to be recycled these days.
Another important area to discuss when examining non toxic baby bath products is lotions. Luckily you don’t need to purchase any additional products as you as you can just stick with your natural, organic coconut oil in your pantry.
#8 – Eco Friendly Baby Toys
When shopping for toys for your green baby, think back to the old rule: reduce, reuse, recycle.
Reduce – Try to develop a minimalistic approach for baby toys. Have only a few options available at a time, others should be packed away and rotated every few weeks to recapture baby’s interest. Babies also enjoy to play with “real” items you already have in your house – stacking boxes, Tupperware lids, measuring spoons, etc.
Reuse – Turn to friends, family, and Facebook marketplace for gently-used baby toys to avoid waste.
Recycle – After you are done with toys remember to pass them along to other children in need. This is a great message to instill early on when raising a green baby, the importance of donating and letting items find a new life in a new home.
I like to attend free toys swaps once, or twice a year, where I bring old toys we are no longer playing with and exchange them. It’s a win-win, I declutter my house and the kids get new toys!
When shopping new, look for eco friendly baby toys. Avoid most plastic options and search for “old-fashioned” wooden toys, or animals made from organic cotton.
One brand of eco friendly baby toys my family is obsessed with is “Green Toys”. This California-based company makes all of their toys out of 100% recycled products (mostly milk jugs!). Even their boxes are printed with soy ink and they biodegrade 4x faster than petroleum based inks.
We love all their toys, but in particular the cupcake set and the tugboat. In fact we’ve been using the tugboat regularly to wash my kids’ hair and it looks brand new after almost 5 years of constant use!,
Wrapping Up – How to Raise a Green Baby
I applaud you for taking the time to read this article and on your journey in trying to raise a green baby in today’s world.
Now more than ever it is critical that each and every family do their part to protect our earth for future generations. You don’t have to follow all of the items on this list – just making a few changes, no matter how small they seem, will have a large impact.
With the right upbringing, your green baby will grow into an eco friendly child, teenager, and finally an environmentally conscious adult. I’ve been blessed watching my child grow up and develop a deep respect for our world.
In fact, I’m going to close with something my 4 year-old says all the time, “it’s important to take care of our earth, because we only get one of them.”
This post was written by Jo, one half of the team behind The Moms at Odds. She stands behind their mission that there are multiple right ways to parent and those differences should be celebrated, not shamed. Jo is a full-time mom (two young kids 19 months apart!), small business owner, and wife. In her limited spare time you’ll either find her blogging or binging on Netflix.
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