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Go Green With Your Baby

Tips for raising a healthy, eco-friendly kid.

Everyone wants to give his or her baby the best possible start in life. To me, that means healthy, green living with minimal chemical exposure, fresh organic food and lots of love.

Babies use approximately 6,000 diapers before toilet training. That’s a lot of disposable diapers in the landfill where they take 200-500 years to decompose. Hence the debate over disposable vs. cloth, which takes water, energy and chemicals to wash. Cloth diapers (and now bamboo) have been shown to have a lower environmental impact. With today’s busy families, however, many prefer the convenience of disposables. If so, use chlorine free (from Seventh Generation or Earth’s Best) or hybrid diapers, which have removable inserts that can safely biodegrade when flushed. Using a combination of both cuts back a bit on the amount in the landfill.

Rightly so, there has been much concern lately over plastic baby bottles that leach dangerous levels of bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a synthetic chemical that that mimics natural hormones and is dangerous especially when heated. Glass or BPA-free baby bottles are a much safer alternative. (Avoid clear, hard plastic bottles marked with a 7 or “PC.”) For nipples, use clear silicone ones since latex rubber nipples can cause allergic reactions and might contain toxins linked to cancer.  As far as plastic bottle liners go, don’t use them. The soft plastic liners may leach toxic chemicals into formula and breast milk, especially when heated.

The American Dental Association recommends using filtered tap water free of fluoride when reconstituting formula. Heating your bottles in a pan of hot water is safer than microwaving, which can heat unevenly and cause toxic chemicals to leach from plastic bottles into formula. Visit www.ewg.org/babysafebottles for more detailed bottle and breast pump information and care.

Feeding your baby fresh organic food is easy to make yourself. After preparing, freeze in ice cube trays and use as needed. For those times when you need the convenience of prepared food, there are several varieties of organic and fresh frozen now on the market.

For baby skin care products, use organic, natural ingredients that are free of dyes and perfumes. Babies already smell good and certainly don’t need products with harmful synthetic chemicals. Babies spend a lot of time indoors; safe indoor air quality with good ventilation is crucial and non-toxic cleaning products are a must. Make sure you use green laundry detergents too and beware of outgassing from synthetic fabrics in carpeting, upholstery and clothes.

Go with organic cotton and wooden nursery toys, a throwback to the past and safer than plastic since babies put everything into their mouth. Cute organic cotton clothing and bedding can now be found more readily in most baby stores!

It’s wonderfully gratifying knowing you are doing the right thing by your baby.  Enjoy—it goes by too quickly!

For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Information compiled from:

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