Do you care about the environment and want to be an eco-friendly mom? Would you like to learn more about environmentally-friendly baby products?
Eco-friendly living and eco-friendly parenting is not just a phase – it is a way of life. So, if you’re looking for green parenting tips, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, there’s a lot of scientific evidence and growing awareness of the harmful effects of chemicals on child brain development. Thanks to this increased awareness, there are a growing number of organic baby products in India.
Indian parents have started realizing just how important it is to avoid toxic products and use eco-friendly products, not just after childbirth, but also before and during pregnancy.
So it’s not enough to buy chemical-free, natural baby products to reduce your child’s exposure to harmful chemicals. You also need to reduce your own exposure to these chemicals and use eco-friendly products in your home and in your personal life.
As an eco-friendly mama, the biggest change you can make even before pregnancy is to only use natural, vegan cosmetics brands that don’t contain any harmful chemicals.
In addition, follow these eco-friendly, green beauty tips for a sustainable beauty routine. Another major change you must adopt is to switch to using only baby-safe, eco-friendly cleaning products in your home.
You can also boost your health and prepare your body to create new life by consuming nutrient-rich superfoods that are rich in anti-oxidants (with your doctor’s permission, of course) to ensure you don’t have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
In this ultimate guide to green parenting, you’ll get eco-friendly tips on to how to raise a baby with eco-friendly products and practices.
Breastfeeding Is Best For Baby And The Planet
As an eco-friendly mom, breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby, the environment, and yourself.
But, before we talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, you need to understand that for some moms it’s just not possible to breastfeed, so don’t judge other moms for not being able to do so.
Some babies are too weak, the mom may have complications after labour, or sometimes milk just doesn’t come in no matter what you do.
Indian doctors will usually recommend ayurvedic, natural remedies to increase milk production like StriVeda Satavari Lactation Supplement, but these must be given under medical supervision.
Here are some benefits of nursing your baby naturally, rather than using infant formula and a bottle:
Breastfed Babies Are Healthier
The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-known. Studies show that babies who are nursed tend to get fewer colds and viruses. Plus, this protection works long term in children.
For example, nursing your baby protects it from serious conditions like diabetes, celiac disease, and even Crohn’s disease. Studies have shown that breastfed babies have stronger bones too.
Breastfeeding Lowers The Risk Of SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a fatal syndrome that may be caused by the lack of serotonin in the brain of these infants.
Studies show that babies who get the benefit of breast milk are less likely to suffer from SIDS as the act of nursing tends to release more serotonin than bottle feeding.
Moms Who Breastfeed Heal Faster
Women who nurse their babies also tend to heal faster than women who don’t. Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to normal size faster. This is because when you nurse your baby, your body releases oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions.
Breastfeeding Builds Confidence in Mothers
When a mom is successful in nursing, she feels empowered. It’s a big deal to be able to give your baby your own milk to keep them alive and help them thrive.
Breastfeeding Lowers Your Risk of Cancer
Both moms and babies benefit from nursing in terms of cancer prevention. Nursed babies have a lowered risk of cancer overall, while moms end up having a lower incidence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Breast Milk Meets All Your Baby’s Needs Perfectly
Each baby needs something different and somehow your body adjusts and produces breast milk according to your baby’s needs. It’s thought that the hormones passed between mom and baby through the saliva and breast cause the change.
So, when your baby is sick, your milk changes, and when your baby needs to gain weight, your milk gets fattier. It’s a pretty amazing feat of Nature!
Breast Milk Inoculates Your Baby Against Illnesses
If you happen to be immune to illness because you had it in the past or were vaccinated, nursing your baby passes on some protection as you pass on your antibodies in your breast milk.
Another observed benefit is that when your baby is getting their vaccines, a breastfed baby seems to develop fewer side effects from them.
Breastfeeding Means No Period For Months (Yay!)
One more, fun benefit of breastfeeding that you may enjoy when nursing full-time is a break from your period. Usually, this lasts from six to eight months.
Don’t take this to mean that you can’t get pregnant, however, as you can still be fertile. Continue to use contraception and, if you need to change your birth control method, discuss it with your partner and your doctor.
As you can see, besides the fact that you don’t need to use bottles and infant formula, the production of which releases chemicals and can have a significant environmental impact, breastfeeding numerous benefits for both mommy and baby.
Keep in mind that not everyone can breastfeed if they develop issues that are beyond their control. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t nurse your baby.
Give breastfeeding a try for at least the first three months or so before you switch to bottle-feeding with eco-friendly baby feeding products.
Eco-Friendly Tips For Consuming Less: Needs Versus Wants
When you’re planning to welcome your little new arrival into the world, every parent wants to give their baby the best of everything and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of buying things you don’t need.
But back in the days before globalization, our Indian parents brought us up with very little, and most of the things they used back then were eco-friendly.
If you remember how you were brought up, you’ll realize that your baby actually needs very little and In fact, you can fulfil most, if not all, of your baby’s needs with very simple and affordable eco-friendly products.
Also, your child isn’t really going to remember anything about what they had or didn’t have as an infant. What they will remember is the time you spent with them. And that’s something money can’t buy.
So when you’re thinking about what you really need for your baby, ask yourself why you need it. Talk to parents with older kids and find out what they bought that they never used or that they know they could live without, and what they bought that they really could not do without.
There is no real reason to buy everything new for your child. Not only does buying new baby products contribute to pollution from manufacturing, but also to landfills when you have to discard them.
If you want to be an eco-friendly mom and save money to boot, you can buy a good number of your baby’s items second-hand from sites like OLX.
But it’s important to be smart about second-hand purchases or gifts. Not all of them may be eco-friendly or safe. Do your research so that you know when a used item is safe.
Eco-Friendly Tips For Buying Organic Baby Products
You can be very eco-friendly by buying used, organic cotton newborn clothes. That way you don’t contribute to the manufacturing process, because buying them used means that you’re using something that is already there.
You’re not encouraging more to be made by buying it used, and you’re keeping it from the landfill a little longer. But, if you really do need and want to buy something new, you can find affordable organic baby clothes if you know what to look for.
When you buy organic and renewable fibres such as organic cotton or bamboo baby clothes, you’re helping avoid environmental contaminants, because there are no pesticides going into the environment.
Chose natural baby clothes made from fabrics that use vegetable dyes instead of artificial dyes. Vegetable dyes are better for the environment and today they have some amazing colours, so you won’t even realize the difference.
One cotton T-shirt uses almost 750 gallons of water to produce. When you think of how much water that is and how freshwater is not an unlimited resource, it really should be illegal. Choose hemp or linen clothing instead to cut down on water usage.
Cutting with Less Waste
You can also buy clothing that takes into consideration how they cut the fabric, which can make a lot of difference in terms of how much waste goes on the cutting room floor – thus cutting down on how much water and other supplies have to be used to create the fabric.
Buying clothing locally is better than ordering online. Yes, buying eco-friendly baby products online is convenient but the packaging used to deliver it makes it harder to justify.
When you shop locally, you won’t need as much packaging. Of course, if the earth-friendly baby products you’re looking for are not available locally, it makes sense to browse online organic baby shops.
Look at buying clothing that uses fair trade practices. Besides the ethical reasons, there are ecological reasons, too.
A company that gets to say they’re fair trade is usually much more aware of how its actions affect the environment and the communities affected by its manufacturing process.
If you want to buy eco-friendly, sustainable fashion, look first for used clothing and check with the company about their policy on all the above ideas.
Ask how much water they use, ask what they do with the wastewater, find out what’s in their fabrics and how it’s better.
Just because a company says they’re eco-friendly doesn’t mean they are. Check before you buy and consider always buying locally when you can.
17 Essential Eco-Friendly, Organic Baby Items
Many Indian parents are now opting to buy the best organic baby products from organic baby clothes brands, and rightly so.
Here’s a list of eco-friendly, organic baby items that you can buy new or sourced second-hand from family and friends.
1. Eco-Friendly Baby Feeding Products
If breastfeeding is not working for you, get eco-friendly baby feeding products, such as stainless steel, eco-friendly baby bottles or glass feeding bottles.
As the bottles can be easily cleaned and sterilized, and have no harmful contaminants, you can buy them new or used. Always buy new silicone nipples though. Never use second-hand ones.
If you’re a working mom and need to use a breast pump, never buy a used one because they are very hard to clean and can transmit diseases through breast milk.
Another thing you should never try to save money on is the baby formula. Never accept an opened box from someone else. You don’t know how they stored it or if it’s contaminated.
2. Eco-Friendly Crib
Your baby needs a safe, eco-friendly crib. Even if, like most Indian parents, you plan to co-sleep with your baby in the same bed, you should have a separate crib to keep your baby safe during the day.
Many traditional Indian parents use hammocks (or jhulas) for their babies, and this eco-friendly baby furniture can work perfectly until your child is a few months old and tries to jump out of it.
The most eco-friendly furniture is the kind that you can adapt to your child’s age and activities, like the BabyTeddy Crib.
This is not only an eco-friendly baby crib but will save you money on furniture in the long run, as it doesn’t have to be discarded or given away.
3. Organic Baby Mattress
Whether you buy a new crib or are given a used, hand-me-down crib, it’s always best to buy a new mattress as baby crib mattresses tend to get dirty.
While most can be cleaned somewhat, it’s very hard to clean a crib mattress of things as baby poop, vomit, and whatever else gets soaked up in it. For your baby’s safety, it’s better to use a brand new one.
You can either go with the 6-piece bedding set, crib mattress and a designer mosquito net that comes with the BabyTeddy Crib or you can get an organic cotton baby bedding set.
4. Organic Cotton Sheets
Your baby needs at least two sets of organic cotton baby sheets for their mattress. That way one can be washed while the other is being used. You can buy these organic baby supplies from online stores.
5. Organic Baby Wrap
These multipurpose organic newborn baby clothes are great for swaddling your baby. You will need about seven of these so that you can have some in the wash and some clean.
You can use this organic babywear for swaddling, burping, and keeping the baby warm. The organic cotton soft muslin swaddle wrap can be used for warm days and the organic knitted swaddle wrap for cold days.
6. Organic Newborn Baby Clothes
In India, our natural thriftiness causes us to pass on our baby’s clothes to friends or family members. Many of us have happily worn hand-me-downs from cousins.
This is a very good way of sourcing newborn clothes because it saves money and buying fewer clothes is good for the planet too.
There is never any reason to buy brand-new clothing for a baby if you can find it used. They grow so fast and use the clothing for such a short period of time.
Today, you can find used clothing that has been well cared for at garage sales, second-hand stores, and through online community sales groups on Facebook.
If you’re buying new clothes for your precious one, it’s best to buy only organic, eco-friendly baby clothes, as newborns have sensitive, delicate skin that easily absorbs chemicals.
Baby clothes come in direct contact with their skin, so soft, organic, cotton baby clothes that are safe and free of harmful chemicals are a good choice.
In India, we traditionally use soft, cotton baby clothes like the jabla with nappies and caps because they are easy to wash and best suited for our warm weather.
You can get these newborn baby clothes as organic baby vests and couple them with organic cotton mittens and booties to keep your baby’s hands and feet warm.
For cold weather or night time, you can get an organic cotton romper or an organic baby onesie, organic baby pyjamas, organic cotton baby socks and organic baby blankets.
Look out for an organic baby clothes sale online to stock up on organic toddler clothes or organic kids clothes for older kids in advance, as your little one will grow fast.
It’s a good idea to buy at least seven days’ organic newborn clothes based on the time of year your infant needs them.
7. Baby Shoes
Never make your child wear used shoes that were worn by someone else. Old shoes can transmit fungal infections so you’re better off buying your child brand new shoes, and you can do so inexpensively.
Shoes for infants that have no foot problems should be flexible and soft so that they can use their feet in a natural way, which means you don’t need expensive ones anyway.
But because kids outgrow their shoes so quickly and old, discarded shoes create so much waste and pollution, a number of companies, such as GroFive, Shoe That Grows, and Expandals have started creating expanding sandals that grow with the child.
Hopefully, Indian shoe brands will follow their lead and do the same so we can save money and create less waste.
8. Organic Cloth Diapers Or Disposable?
As an eco-friendly mom, you might be aware of the harmful environmental impact of disposable diapers. But, the truth is that both cloth and disposable diapers consume resources.
Cloth diapers use a lot of water and disposable diapers have an environmental cost during the manufacturing process and, depending on the type you buy, they may last hundreds of years in landfills.
Sometimes children are allergic to disposable diapers, so the most important thing you can do is to potty-train your child so you can stop using diapers as soon as possible.
Use eco-friendly disposable diapers if you’re going to go back to work in a short time. You can get biodegradable bamboo disposable diapers and biodegradable bamboo nappy diaper liners online.
If you’re going to stay at home with your child the first year, then you may have more flexibility to use washable organic nappies or organic cotton cloth diapers. You can also buy reusable hemp and organic cotton diaper inserts that keep the diapers from leaking.
If you’re going to use cloth diapers for your child, the best thing to do is buy or make a set that is brand new for your baby. Even though technically, you can wash them, used cloth diapers may not be absorbent enough if the prior owners did not take care of them properly.
If you don’t have your own washer and dryer, using cloth diapers can be too much trouble. On the other hand, cloth diapers can cost less. Make sure you have enough of these are they get used up pretty quickly. Think 12 to 20 diapers a day depending on the baby.
9. Organic, Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes
Most of the baby wipes available in the market have some amount of plastic, with the result that they clog drains and sewer systems.
If you want to use baby wipes for their sheer convenience, use organic bamboo-based baby wipes. They are free of harmful chemicals and biodegradable.
10. Organic Baby Toiletries
Your baby’s skin is sensitive and delicate and easily absorbs anything you apply on it, so you need to make sure you only use organic baby care products made from natural ingredients.
When you choose from the best organic baby skincare products, such as a natural baby lotion, and organic baby bath products, you can be sure they are completely free from toxins like SLS, SLES, silicones, paraben, synthetic perfumes and colours.
We recommend the best organic baby care products from Mamaearth, which are high-quality and free of harmful chemicals. They also have a 100% Natural Kids Toothpaste that is fluoride-free, SLS-free and safe if swallowed.
11. Organic Playpen
A child can use a playpen only the first year to 18 months before they can easily figure out how to get out and potentially get hurt.
That means there will be a lot of pre-owned playpens available for sale. So, you can either buy a normal playpen second-hand or buy an organic playpen online, depending on your preference.
12. Second-Hand Stroller
Many parents buy strollers thinking they can use them forever, but end up selling them after a couple of years. You do need a stroller, though, even if it’s not exactly an environmentally-friendly baby product.
The most eco-friendly choice would be to source a used stroller that is in excellent condition. If that is not available, you can buy a good baby stroller online and then sell it on OLX once you’re done with it.
You should buy a stroller that is good for an infant and, when your child is a toddler, you’ll want a simpler umbrella stroller. This means that many parents are selling perfectly good infant-compatible used strollers for a bargain.
13. Baby Bathtub
In India, we don’t use bathtubs as a tradition. Instead, we place our infants on our outstretched legs and pour water over them. In my opinion, this is really the best way to do it, as it doesn’t require any paraphernalia and is quick and easy.
But if you want to use a bathtub, you should buy a used or inexpensive one as you won’t be using it for more than a couple of years, if that. Don’t waste too much money on this.
Avoid buying bath toys, especially plastic ones as that will create more plastic waste when you have to get rid of them. The ones with squeakers and little holes are unsafe because harmful bacteria can grow in the water that gets in.
14. Baby Bouncer
Depending on your requirements, you may want to buy a baby bouncer. This is a chair that rocks or vibrates or otherwise simulates the feeling of being in the womb.
Again, think of how long you will be using it before you decide to spend money on it. You can get a used baby bouncer, as long as it’s in good condition.
If you decide to buy a baby bouncer, get one that can grow with your baby from infant to toddler years so you can use it longer. After you’re done with it, sell it or donate it to someone in need instead of throwing it away.
15. Baby Gates
As part of baby-proofing your home, you may need baby gates to block off areas and keep a crawling baby or toddler safe and out of danger. If you can buy used baby gates that are in good condition, go for it but make sure that nothing is broken.
Otherwise, it’s wise to invest in a good-quality, durable baby gate that will last for years and can be passed on to someone else who needs it. The more people that can reuse a product, the less environmental harm it can cause.
It’s a good idea to get the entire house baby-proofed before your baby starts crawling. If you have stairs, install a baby gate at the top of the stairs and fix child-proof latches on your toilet, cabinets, and drawers.
16. High Chair
Many toddlers enjoy sitting in high chairs until they’re able to sit in a booster seat. But parents tend to get rid of the high chair as soon as they can because they take up extra space.
It makes perfect sense to buy a used high chair that’s in excellent condition as long as the safety belt works properly.
Don’t feel pressured to buy new baby furniture, because you’ll use them for such a short time that there’s no point paying full price or contributing to environmental pollution.
If you decide to buy a new one, you can choose the R for Rabbit Cherry Berry Grand, a long-lasting and durable high-chair that can be converted to a booster seat and then to a study table and chair for an older child.
17. Travel & Sports Gear
When you leave the house with your baby, you should carry a large backpack or diaper bag to transport everything you need for the road. You’ll also need a stroller and a car seat.
While it’s alright to buy the bag and stroller second-hand, you should never buy a used car seat because you never know if the person who owned it had an accident and damaged it.
A damaged car seat could put your child’s life in danger. Check out online sales to buy a car seat inexpensively.
Similarly, for older kids, you must never buy a used bicycle helmet. Always buy a new one because helmets go through a lot of damage, wear and tear. Your child’s safety is always more important, so buy all protective equipment brand new.
As you can see, raising baby green doesn’t need as much stuff as you think. The important thing is to understand which items can be reused and which can’t and know the current guidelines for baby-safe products before buying anything used.
9 Tips To Find Eco-Friendly Kids Toys
As we learn more about how our lifestyle affects the environment and the health of our children, it becomes apparent that there are better ways to do things. That includes buying non-toxic, eco-friendly baby toys.
We can buy eco-friendly toys that don’t harm the environment or at least cut down on the harm, and that are wonderful options for the kids too.
Here are some tips to follow when you’re trying to find non-toxic, eco-friendly kids toys:
1. Choose PVC-Free Toys
A lot of plastic toys are not good for your kids or the environment, so you can safely go by the rule that if it’s made from plastic it is not safe.
Avoid PVC products, especially those with bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics, as they can cause cancer.
But even regular plastic exposes kids to phthalates which are endocrine-disruptors and near impossible to recycle. Instead, look for non-toxic baby toys that don’t contain such harmful chemicals.
2. Avoid Toys with Lead
Lead poisoning can cause serious learning problems in kids. Many manufacturers in China have been found to use products that have lead in them – including children’s toys.
It’s best to avoid cheap Chinese toys with lead in it because kids put everything in their mouths and end up ingesting lead paints. Only choose natural baby toys painted with safe colours that are safe for them to put in their mouth.
3. Avoid Toys With VOCs
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in paint and colours used for kids’ toys. They can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system.
4. Choose Wooden Baby Toys
The safest materials for eco-friendly baby toys are wood or organic cotton. Avoiding harmful chemicals means choosing safe, natural, non-toxic toys painted with vegetable dye colours such as wooden baby blocks.
You can still find good old-fashioned wooden toys that are well finished, don’t cause splinters, and don’t have a lot of paint on them. Train sets, blocks, and more can be found in all-natural wood toys.
Here are some eco-friendly toys made of wood that your kids will love:
- Khadi Eco Basket Channapatna Wooden Snake Cube Toy
- Cerasus Wooden Eco-Friendly Non-Toxic Rattles
- Kalaplanet Wood Eco-Friendly Toy Kitchen Set
- Educational Game Blocks Eco-Friendly Wooden Block Toy
- Shumee Kids Wooden Forest Friends Stamps
5. Only Buy Organic Plush Toys
For smaller children who tend to put everything in their mouths, you may want to buy organic baby toys and organic plush toys made from low-water organic cotton or hemp fabrics.
Avoid any toy (or clothing item) made with fire retardants, which are very dangerous and can cause cancer. Organic toys for toddlers will keep your child happy and safe.
6. Avoid Toys with Batteries
Most small children don’t need toys that have batteries. You want to encourage their imaginations and help them learn about the world without screens and batteries.
But, the real issue here is that batteries contain toxic materials like mercury, lead, and lithium in them and they’re not only a hazard to your kids but also to the environment.
In addition, they can be deadly if swallowed and small children have died after swallowing small, round button batteries commonly found in toys, remote controls and car fobs. Go low-tech to be safe, especially when it concerns your child’s health.
7. Buy Used Toys If They’re Safe
One way to avoid adding to landfills is to buy used toys. While most toys you buy for your child can be pre-owned, it’s important to pay attention to safety. Many older toys just aren’t safe.
If your granny wants to give you a bunch of old toys, it’s best to not use them. What was considered safe 20 years ago has proven to be pretty unsafe today.
You do need to make sure you research the type of toy you’re buying, when it was made, where it was made and so forth so that you don’t buy toys with VOCs, lead, and other harmful chemicals.
8. Buy Local
Sourcing locally makes a huge difference to your environmental impact as toys cost a lot to make and ship.
You can avoid that by buying from local toy makers, such as artisans who make hand-crafted wooden toys. You can customize them the way you want, the craftspeople can make them, and then you can pick them up locally.
When you’re buying toys for your baby, especially if you buy used, plastic, or painted toys, do a little extra research to ensure that they don’t contain PVC, lead, or VOCs.
Choose all-natural baby products as far as possible. Not only are those baby products better for the environment, but they’re also better for your children too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our ultimate guide to green parenting. If you have any eco-friendly parenting tips of your own, do share them in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is presented for the purpose of educating people. Nothing contained on this web site should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.
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