Gillian Flower, ND
For many earth-aware parents, the birth of a child sparks the shift from green thinking to eco-action. Perhaps having a baby puts a face to the future generations affected by our environmental choices, or maybe concerns for our childrens health simply lead to a greener way of thinking.
For many earth-aware parents, the birth of a child sparks the shift from green thinking to eco-action. Perhaps having a baby puts a face to the future generations affected by our environmental choices, or maybe concerns for our children’s health simply lead to a greener way of thinking.
Fortunately, with increased awareness and demand for planet-friendly products for babies and toddlers, it’s easier than ever for parents to make green choices from the very start.
Healthy Home Hints
If you are redecorating in anticipation of the new arrival, look for latex-based paints that won’t waft volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the home environment. Lifemaster 2000 (icipaintstores.com), Sico (sico.ca), and Farrow and Ball (farrow-ball.com) all offer a full range of high-quality, low-VOC indoor paints. Go VOC-free underfoot as well, choosing sustainable, easy-care cork flooring (corkhouse.com), or richly textured bamboo (silkroadflooring.com) rather than carpeting. In addition to releasing fewer contaminants, these finishes are far more forgiving of spills than fabric floor coverings.
When it comes to naptime, look for robust, solid-wood crib frames that won’t emit formaldehyde, as adhesive-filled pressboard or particleboard do, and ensure that all finishes are nontoxic. An organic crib mattress (grassrootsstore.com) will cradle your little gem without the use of flame retardants and other chemical treatments, ensuring a peaceful sleep for both parent and newborn. Organic wool moisture pads are remarkably absorbent and use natural lanolin to protect the mattress from diaper leaks and spills.
Once the nursery is set up and baby is born, feeding will be the next thing on your mind. As even breastfeeding moms will use the occasional bottle, it is important to consider your options carefully. Warnings have emerged yet again over the possibility of bisphenol A (BPA) leaching out of baby bottles. While we may still be years away from a definitive scientific decision regarding the potential dangers of this compound, many parents are pre-emptively avoiding BPA and going for glass (evenflo.com) or unbreakable, BPA-free plastic (newbornfree.com).
As every parent knows, where there’s feeding, there’s diapering. Unless you are adopting the amazing but still alternative diaper-free approach (diaperfreebaby.org), any diapering system will have an impact on the environment. One billion trees are cut each year to make single-use diapers for the world’s babies, while four million disposables make their way to Canadian landfills every single day. Cloth diapers consume their share of energy during manufacture and laundering, but their overall impact can be significantly reduced by choosing to dry them on a line rather than by machine.
Swaddling your future green visionary in sustainable fibres such as organic cotton and hemp will cut the environmental cost of washables even further. Quick-growing bamboo is a recent addition to the baby scene, and yields a gorgeous, silky fabric that is naturally antibacterial, breathable, and slim-fitting. Pairing super-absorbent Bamboozle diapers (bummis.com) with a synthetic or wool diaper cover (aristocratsbabyproducts.com) will ensure proper fit and unparalleled comfort for your baby.
Look out for the gDiaper in years to come (gdiapers.com): this fully compostable and flushable diaper isn’t yet available in Canada, but promises to revolutionize the way we diaper our kids.
Concerned about what’s ending up in curious mouths at playtime? The Organic Foundlings line (huggaplanet.com) includes cuddly companions made from pesticide-free organic cotton, while Tofubear makes irresistible bunnies, bears, and goats from Soysilk (tofubear.com).
When teething time comes along, check out HABA’s wooden teething ring (parentingbynature.com), coated with nontoxic, water-based finishes, or a soft, organic cotton-filled cloth ring from Under the Nile (underthenile.com). For hours of power for your nursery toys, choose high-output, rechargeable batteries (gpbatteries.com) and help keep millions of batteries out of Canadian landfills.
The product choices that we make for our children directly affect the world that they will inhabit in the future. Turn your eco-musings into action, and start your child’s life out on a green foot!
Herbal Bath Infusion
Baby’s tender skin doesn’t need much more than plain water to stay clean and healthy. To make bath time an ultra-calming experience, make 2 cups (500 mL) of strong camomile tea, using 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of dried flowers. Strain out flowers and allow liquid to cool before adding to bath water. Camomile has long been used to help quiet fussy babies and relieve irritated skin.