Many people are becoming more aware of the benefits of recycling, reducing and reusing these days. With so much waste piling up, we have the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and pass along the wisdom to our children.
When eco-conscious living involves a new baby in the family, there are things you can do to improve baby's surroundings and to help them grow up in a green environment. Here are some tips to get you started.
Of course you'll want baby's room to be free of chemicals and toxins. There are ways you can ensure a healthier place for the baby to rest their head. Choose paint that is non-toxic and eco-friendly. There are many brands on the market today that offer this option. You can even buy paint now that helps eliminate odors in the room.
Image by Kevin Shorter of Flickr
Choose an eco-friendly crib made of natural wood and enviro-safe finishes. Most cribs are made of pressed fiberboard and are not finished with natural stains or varnishes. Make sure you ask before you buy. Choose flooring that makes sense for when baby starts to crawl. There are plenty of choices from eco-friendly carpets to cork and other natural materials. Choose wisely now and you won't have to worry when baby starts playing on the floor. All natural cotton sheets and bedding are smart ways to go.
Landfills are overflowing with the garbage we all produce. If you want to cut down on your household's contribution to the pile, be prepared to use cotton cloth diapers. They are a little more work, but well worth the effort. Instead of tossing piles of plastic and toxins from disposable diapers into the trash, you'll feel good knowing that you will be reusing instead of repurchasing. Today's cloth diapers come in unbleached cotton, so baby will have natural fibers next to his/her skin.
Photo courtesy of Simplyla on Flickr
Option two? How about organic clothing for a baby? There are plenty of choices out there for organic baby gifts. Organic cotton is great for sensitive skin or people with skin allergies. It also is made to last up to 100 or more washes before it starts to break down, versus conventional cotton which is made to last about 10-20 washes.
Start spreading the word early that you're planning an all natural nursery for baby. Friends and family will know that you've got organic on your mind when it comes to furnishings and toys. Enlist the help of a close friend or relative to also get the word out about sources of natural and organic baby blankets.
Many companies sell toys that are reminiscent of yesteryear in their use of all natural fibers and materials. Opt for toys that do not contain plastics or paints. If you stick to companies that produce only green and environmentally friendly toys and furnishings, you'll have one less thing to worry about. The selection these days is enormous and the toys are fun for all ages.
Stock up on non-toxic, chemical free cleaning products to use in baby's room and any areas baby will frequent. There are many companies producing all natural cleaning products (such as Simple Green, Method, Seventh Generation and so many more.) So there is a bounty to choose from.
Image courtesy of Go_Greener_Oz on Flickr
Why spray chemicals when there are better and more-natural alternatives? Plus, there's no reason to stop with just the baby room, your whole home could benefit from a good green clean.
Older generations may have been on to something when they used glass baby bottles. If you're concerned about toxins in plastic baby bottles, use only glass. You'll feel safer and they clean up very easily. And with today's version of glass, you don't have to worry about breakage. They can stand up to a drop or two without shattering. Organic foods are perfect for the growing tummies.
Once baby starts eating foods, you can easily make your own. Purchase an inexpensive food mill or processor and you can grind up organic vegetables and meats. Store them in glass jars in the fridge or freeze them in ice cube trays. When it's time to feed baby, defrost a few of the cubed foods and you're ready to go. This is particularly helpful when there's a bumper crop of carrots or berries. You can store your bounty in the freezer for the winter.
There's no shame in asking for hand-me-downs. Let others with children know that you're perfectly happy borrowing or accepting their gently used clothes, strollers and highchairs.
Most moms are happy to hand off items that their children will no longer be using. You can not only save money, but you'll be reusing items that otherwise would have gone to waste.
Shop consignment and second-hand stores for clothes and equipment too. Since babies grow so fast, you'll be thankful you didn't spend a bundle on outfits they'll wear just once or twice. And when you're done, you can continue the cycle and donate them to someone else who could use a break.
Image courtesy of Eastlaketimes on Flickr