Natural Baby Products - Green Living for Your Baby
Of all your eco-conscious decisions, none have a greater impact than how you choose to care for your baby. Beyond an infant's carbon footprint (which is huge), think about what greening your baby means for the rest of your child's life. There are few things more important to a child's most critical developmental stages than a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle. From day one, you can set a precedent for green living that will affect their health and behavior from childhood to adulthood.
- Nourish Naturally
- Dress and Wash Baby with Natural Products
- Diapers Can be Eco-Friendly
- How to Clean and Buy Natural Toys
- Eco-Friendly Baby Furnishings
- Don't Forget About Mom
- Online Eco-Friendly Stores
Though there are a number of quality, organic formulas for you to choose from these days, breastfeeding is always a far superior choice, especially when Mom is eating and living green too. Fortunately, breast pumps make it relatively practical as well, allowing you to provide for your baby's natural nutrition needs on a schedule that works for you. However, if you feel formula is the best option for your lifestyle, consider the following organic baby formula brands:
- Earth's Best
- Baby's Only
- Similac Organic
- Parent's Choice
Of all the choices for your baby, bottles should be at the top of your list, whether it's for pumped breast milk, organic baby formula, juice (not from concentrate) or water (purified). Bisphenol A (BPA) is the number one offender in conventional plastic baby bottles, an endocrine disruptor that can affect hormones and, in turn, your baby's development.
Green baby bottle options include:
- Glass, which WeeGo offers encased in a shock-absorbent silicone sleeve to help prevent breakage if dropped
- Food-safe polypropylene bottles
- BPA-free Tritan plastic
As for other needs associated with feeding your baby:
- Opt for reusable organic cotton breast pads instead of disposable
- Use olive oil instead of over-the-counter nipple creams (though there are organic options out there)
- When it comes time to feed your baby regular food, make your own organic meals or buy ready-made organic foods from organic baby food companies like Homemade Baby and Plum Organics, as well as the same brands listed above for organic baby formula
Synthetic fabrics contain nanoparticles small enough to be absorbed through your baby's skin. So when selecting baby clothes, follow the same green clothing guidelines that apply to you. Eco baby fashion is big business so you should have no trouble finding green styles and designs you like. Secondhand from family and friends is always a good green option, as is making baby's clothes under manufacturing conditions you know and control. Just remember, one of the best ways to green your baby's lifestyle is to keep consumption at a minimum. As with toys and other accessories, keep clothes to the bare necessities, keeping in mind that babies outgrow their outfits fast!
Protect Babysoft Skin With Non-Toxic Products
Many of the same toxic chemicals in beauty care for adults is in baby care products too - from soap and shampoo, to creams and lotions. As with food and clothes, for baby's skin care follow the same beauty product guidelines that apply to you. For instance, the best moisturizer for baby's skin is not some expensive baby cream, organic or not. In fact, good old fashioned olive oil works wonders. And if you are going to use baby wipes, opt for the natural, biodegradable variety free of propylene glycol, parabens and perfume. Return to Top
In the U.S., we use 49 million disposable diapers a day! And that's not the worst of it. Yep, here comes another exclamation point. These petroleum-based diapers take 200 to 500 years to decompose! What a shame that waste which is perfectly biodegradable and compostable is being preserved for centuries. Beyond what that means to the planet as a whole, it's disturbing on a personal level to think our diapers from our childhood are still out there, our waste preserved inside.
Do the next generation, and the one after that, and the one after that a favor - use cloth and/or compostable diapers instead. There are actually some hybrids made of cloth and removable biodegradable parts that you can flush down the toilet. Fortunately, cloth diaper options today aren't what you may remember from your own childhood. They've come a long way from the plain white squares with safety pins to the fun, fitted designs we have now, made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo, with convenient snaps and velcro.
If you are going to use:
- Cloth diapers, consider using an eco-friendly laundering service. Though using and washing cloth diapers at home creates half the carbon footprint of disposable diapers, that footprint is even further reduced if you send the diapers out to be laundered by a professional. If you do decide to wash your cloth diapers at home, be sure to use a biodegradable, non-toxic detergent. And, if you have the time and inclination, line-dry your diapers. (Of the most common household appliances, only the electric radiator and central A/C use more energy than the clothes dryer.)
- Compostable diapers, actually compost them! Many people assume that compostable products will break down just fine in the landfill. However, the composting process is dependent on just the right balance of air and moisture. Granted, they will certainly decompose faster than petroleum-based diapers, but packed down in an airtight landfill, that decomposition process will take far longer than simply disposing of them as intended - in the compost bin. Just be sure to have a separate bin for waste compost (baby and pet) and only use it on ornamental plants, not edible fruits and vegetables.
Though it starts with the best of intentions, saturating your home with antibacterial cleaners can actually do more harm than good. Studies show that children growing up in homes where antibacterials are overused tend to develop more allergies, asthma and eczema. Plus, exposure to some germs is a necessary part of the immune system-building process. Natural homemade solutions or non-toxic, biodegradable store-bought cleaners will do. When cleaning your baby's environment, simply follow the same cleaning product guidelines that apply to the rest of your home.
Lead may be banned in children's toys, but it still shows up, especially in cheap toys made in China where the majority of toys are manufactured. Other dangerous substances often found in children's toys include arsenic, cadmium and mercury. To be on the safe side, stay away from cheaply-made plastic toys and opt for organic cloth and sustainable wood toys instead. Of course, this is much easier said than done considering that it's hard to control what gifts your baby receives from family and friends. One thing you can do is set a precedent from the beginning, registering for your baby shower at online stores that carry only eco-friendly products.
Secondhand toys are certainly an option, but you will still have to weed out the plastics which probably won't leave much. Plus, babies put everything in their mouths so brand new toys are best. Opt for secondhand later down the road as your child matures. Return to Top
Furnish and Accessorize With Eco-Friendly Materials - MINIMALLY
Though there are countless furnishings and accessories you can buy for your baby, he or she only needs a few basics:
- Crib, either secondhand or made from sustainable materials
- Mattress, made from organic materials (avoid secondhand)
- Linens, made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo
- Highchair, either secondhand or made from sustainable materials
- Car seat, made from recycled materials (avoid secondhand)
- Stroller, made from recycled materials
- Diaper bag, made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo
- Baby sling, made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo
For anything else you may need or want for your baby, simply apply the same set of standards referenced in the list above, opting for secondhand, recycled and organic as often as possible. Return to Top
Green Mom's Lifestyle, Too
Though it seems babies are born with a clean slate, perfectly natural and new, a shocking study reveals they are born with hundreds of toxic chemicals in their bodies, passed from Mom to baby. In fact, a random sampling of blood taken from the umbilical cords of 10 newborns turned up traces of 232 toxic chemicals, including BPA, as well as chemicals used in flame retardants, fragrances and Teflon. In other words, the greener Mom is, the greener the baby. Before, during and after pregnancy, mothers-to-be should make every green choice possible - from organic food and beauty products, to natural sustainable clothing and furniture. Return to Top
Shop Eco-Friendly Online Stores
Though some retailers may carry eco-friendly options for your baby, you will always find the greatest selection online. When shopping around, the following online retailers are a great place to start:
- Eenee.com (compostable diapers)
- Stokke.com (strollers and highchairs)