When you have a baby, you have a whole new world of buying decisions to make—clothes, food, sleeping items, utensils, car seats, toys—the list goes on. It’s tempting to go for the easiest and cheapest options, but what if you’re worried about what these (often plastic and non-recyclable) products are doing to the environment? Let’s look at some eco-friendly options.
Washable nappies are an eco-friendly essential. Cloth nappies can be washed and reused, and even biodegradable nappies are preferable to disposables.
Washable baby wipes are another obvious planet-saver—wet-wipes are made of a cotton-like fabric knitted together with non-biodegradable polyesters, and are an ecological nightmare. As many people don’t realise they are not meant to be flushed away, they accumulate in sewers and on riverbeds. Look instead for washable, organic or biodegradable types.
When you are furnishing the nursery, remember that in addition to creating a safe, healthy space, you can also look after the health of the planet by choosing sustainable furniture. Practically anything you need in the way of cots, high chairs and changing tables is available made from sustainably grown, responsibly harvested materials.
When you’re looking for mattresses and changing pads, avoid foams which contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and toluene.
Look for a nursing pillow stuffed with cotton rather than polyurethane foam and choose organic cotton or bamboo breast pads, which beat synthetics when you’re nursing. For baby clothing, soft organic cotton is the best choice and the most ecologically friendly, as it’s best for sensitive skin and is produced without the use of bleaching chemicals.
For skincare, choose baby-safe products that are free of parabens, dyes and other irritating and toxic ingredients. Many mothers recommend coconut oil rather than proprietary products as a solution to nappy rash problems.
Finally, to help you relax and get to sleep, look for ethically produced products manufactured without the use of petrochemicals or animal testing. Products such as heated wheat bags, herbal pillows, essential oils, organic fragrances and natural soaps will become part of your baby and mother care routine and will do the job without upsetting the ecological balance.
This feature was originally published in the summer edition of Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh, which you can also read here!