The decision to have children is arguably the most life-changing decision you may ever make, not only to yourself but also to the planet. You only have to look at some of the statistics associated with having children and the overpopulation of the planet to also make it one of the most guilt inducing decisions you’ve made. Along with the baby comes a whole new category of things he/she will “need” —not only the obvious items like nappies, furniture and food, but also all the unforeseen ‘essential’ extras. This consumerism coupled with our busy, time-constrained lives means it is not always easy to take the green approach to babies. However it doesn’t need to be this way as in truth a baby has very minimal needs.
The key is firstly not to be gulled into an unnecessary buying frenzy by all the new ‘must-have’ baby products out there. There are some baby essentials that cannot be skimped on such as car seats and mattresses but just about anything else can be begged, borrowed, recycled, bought second-hand or even made at home.
Secondly, by understanding the environmental impact of the baby products on offer you can make an informed decision on what you want to buy. There may be some areas where your lifestyle and commitments will simply not allow you to ‘go green’ e.g. washable nappies just aren’t for you, but this can be balanced with the many other areas where environmental benefits can be made e.g. chemical free organic baby clothes, locally sourced organic food and other items.
Thirdly, understand the importance of organics. The organic market has grown beyond belief, none more so than in products and produce aimed at babies and children. Research has found that babies and children are much more susceptible to the absorption of chemicals found in the pesticides used in non-organic foods and non-organic clothing and toiletries. There is a growing concern that these chemicals are related to growing rates of cancer in the western world. More and more products now have an organic or ‘sustainable planet’ alternative. The trick is knowing where to find them or how to make them yourself.
Fourthly, there are many theories on how children develop and learn but it is clear that babies and children learn the most through imitation and in the early years it will be you they are imitating more than anyone else. What better way to teach them about the environment and how we need to protect and nurture it (in the same way we protect and nurture our children) then by watching you carrying out the compost, recycling, planting seeds, bike riding, making things etc. It could be argued that educating our children to ensure the sustainability of their planet is just as important as teaching then to read.
Finally remember above all to enjoy your baby! Yes, all of these things are important but so is the special bond between you and your child and particularly the stress-free quality time you spend with them. You could search high and low for seasonal organic sweet potatoes to puree, knit hand-made organic cotton booties and wash all your nappies and clothes by hand, when you could have spent the time singing songs, playing in the park, cloud spotting and star-gazing, all of which cost nothing, have no effect on the environment and are more likely to bring a smile to both your faces.
This Eco-Baby site will look at the following approaches to providing your green baby with everything they need whilst still looking out for the environment.
- Baby Essentials, what do you (or rather they) really need and how should I get this stuff?
- Eco-Babies Nappies, all the options made easy.
- Organic baby food, buy it or make it.
- Organic baby clothes & organic toiletries, what’s available and where from.
- Get Crafty, arts and crafts for you and your baby,
- Having fun with our children whilst saving the planet.
- Green Nursery, all the problems and solutions