Diapers, bottles, and wipes…they are all disposable products you will come in contact with during the first weeks of your baby’s life. As someone who is considering a green lifestyle, don’t overlook the simple ways that you can make a sizable difference in the environment through your baby. Here are some interesting facts to consider.
• Over an infant’s lifetime, you can expect your child to go through 5,000 diaper changes. (Though some sources believe this number is closer to 11,000.)
• 21 billion diapers are disposed of in landfills each year in the United States
This is all a drastic situation for any environmentally friendly individual. There are ways to improve the things you dispose of. The feel of wet diapers leaking through clothing scares off many from avoiding the disposable diaper. Today’s products are nowhere near as primitive as others are, though.
Here are some ways that you can go green with baby without jeopardizing your sanity, time or budget and still giving back to the environment in the process.
Diapers: Green Options
Disposable diapers take someplace along the lines of 200 to 500 years to decompose. In some studies, washing diapers at home has offered a 53 percent decline in the ecological footprint over the disposable option. Further, if you choose to use a laundering service, you can see an even larger cut in this footprint.
Today’s non-disposable diapers come in two main forms: cloth and biodegradable diapers. Cloth diapers are reusable but they are not the same old thing (thin cloth and bulk pins) as they used to be. Today’s cloth diapers are made from eco friendly products including organic cotton and hemp. They also come with snap closures and Velcro. These diapers are highly effective and some use a flush-able (biodegradable) liner. To simplify the process, use a laundering service.
The other option is to use a biodegradable diaper. These are disposable, but unlike other types, they are from plant-based plastics. You will see this labeled as bio-plastics. While these diapers are biodegradable, they only are so in the proper conditions. Composting is the best way to use these diapers through either a earthworm system or any other highly active composting area. They do not break down well in a landfill, so they do take a bit more of your time to manage.
As a new mother you have likely been told the benefits of breastfeeding and it continue to stand out as the way to go. The fact is, breastfeeding is better for your baby than bottles and it does nothing to the environment. Nevertheless, even as you breastfeed you may be tempted to use any number of products to aid the process. When you need breast pads, for example, look for reusable products over those you would toss away. You can even find organic products to aid in soothing sore nipples such as olive oil creams.
On the other hand, breastfeeding is not an option for everyone. For those who are planning to use a bottle to feed baby, use reusable bottles rather than plastic inserts that are tossed out. You should also consider finding baby formula that is organic and that is has low impact environmental packaging. More companies are looking for ways to change this to promote a greener option.
Other Ways To Cut
Look around your home. As you plan for baby’s arrival realize there are many ways you can go green for your child. Here are some ideas.
• When it comes time to feed them solid foods, be sure they are eating all natural, organic foods. Make your own! Nearly all products you eat can be given to baby in a mush form, after proper cooking (talk to your doctor about specific restrictions)
• Choose clothing for baby that is organic such as organic cottons and wools.
• Recycle clothing.
• Use environmentally friendly washing products and laundry soaps.
• Choose toys that are organically made, such as organic cottons or even better made from recycled products
There are many ways to help your baby live a green lifestyle. As you consider your options realize that you also have the ability to choose a lifestyle that is for yourself green living. By creating that for yourself, you automatically allow your child to share in it.
Want to learn more about going green? Check out this online course from Newborn Care Solutions – Green is the New Black! (NCS affiliate link)
TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more. We serve St. Louis, Atlanta and Florida. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-725-5660
What an interesting topic for St. Louis families and nannies! We are all focused on being environmentally friendly, what better way than to start in your baby’s nursery? Thanks to the International Nanny Association for such an interesting article.
Enjoy reading, Jessica
TLC for Kids
Five Steps to a Greener Nursery
By Cortney Gibson, Soon-to-be Certified Greenproofer
As newborn care specialists, we know that our clients look to usfor advice on everything from what they should buy for the nursery to which parenting books they should read. They rely on us to be informed, knowledgeable, and current on safe newborn care practices. I’m sure you’ve answered hundreds of questions about nursery necessities and preparing for Baby, but have you ever researched how to make your clients’ nursery healthier and safer?
Now, more than ever, it’s critical to know what makes for a green nursery and how to help your clients achieve it. There are five easy steps to assembling a non-toxic nursery. Here a few simple suggestions to get you started.
1. Air, water, and food. We can’t live without them, so be sure they are as clean as possible. Air purifiers, open windows, ceiling fans, and houseplants can help keep the air cleaner. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems or even a Zero Water filter pitcher can make for cleaner water. As for food, help your clients learn about the benefits of eating organic, whole foods. Visit www.EWG.org/foodnews/ to learn more about which fruits and vegetables should be purchased organic and which ones can be conventional.
2. Walls, floors, and windows…oh my. If your clients are considering replacing the carpet in the nursery, encourage them to seek a resource for non-toxic flooring. Traditional carpeting is often referred to as “toxic soup” because of the overwhelming number of toxic chemicals found in it. Opt for wool carpet or rugs that haven’t been treated with chemicals. Alternatively, hardwood floors with a no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) finish are a great choice. For the walls and any painted furniture, encourage your clients to buy low or no-VOC paint, allow for plenty of ventilation during the painting process and do the job well in advance of Junior’s arrival. For windows, steer clear of heavy fabric curtains, which can harbor dust mites and other allergens. Instead, new parents might consider wooden plantation shutters or a simple fabric blackout roller shade, which can easily be vacuumed and kept clean.
3. Eco-friendly bedtime for Baby. Generally speaking, babies spend more time in their cribs than anyplace else in the home. This is why the crib and mattress are probably the most important purchase parents can make. To help them make the best choice for their family, suggest that they look for a hardwood crib with a non-toxic finish. Finding a green mattress is a bit trickier. By law, mattresses have to be flame retardant, which means traditional mattresses are dipped in incredibly toxic chemicals. Parents can look for a wool mattress surrounded by organic cotton. Alternatively, an impermeable cover can be purchased that will keep the traditional mattress from off gassing toxic fumes.
4. Everything that touches Baby’s skin should be organic. These days, it’s much easier to find organic cotton and bamboo clothing and linens than even a few years ago. Whenever possible, clothing, sheets, blankets, towels, washcloths, and bibs should be organic cotton or bamboo. To keep everything clean and soft, teach your clients about laundering with dye free and fragrance free detergent and to try using distilled white vinegar in place of softener. For bath time, non-toxic soaps and lotions are a must. Don’t be fooled by a “natural” looking bottle of baby soap. Read the label and then check www.CosmeticsDatabase.com for more information on your favorite products.
5. All that glitters is probably toxic. Finding green toys for babies is no easy task, but it is possible. By now you’ve probably figured out that most toys sold in the USA are made in China, contain tons of petroleum products, and are generally bad for people and the planet. Help your clients find safe toys by looking for wooden or organic cotton toys from reputable companies. Try www.RosieHippo.com and www.BranchHome.com.
As professionals, I believe it’s our responsibility to give our clients the most current information on health and safety, so that they can fully research for themselves and make informed decisions about caring for their newborns. Just as we teach parents to put babies safely to sleep on their backs, we should also teach them about the hidden toxins lurking in their nurseries and help them choose healthier products for their homes. The planet will thank you and your clients will think of you as their own personal superhero. What are you going to do to be a little greener today?
To learn more about becoming a Greenproofer, visit www.BabyPlannerInstitute.com.