Continuing an eco-friendly lifestyle while bringing up a young family can seem a daunting prospect, but with some careful planning and a healthy attitude towards our environment it is possible to practice sustainable parenting.
Take a Break and Step Outside
Fresh air and natural light will always be a good thing, giving a welcome boost to you and your baby’s health while lifting your spirits. Baby rearing can be demanding and the opportunity to step outdoors for a breath of fresh air will recharge the batteries and introduce your child to a change of scene, stimulating the senses and inspiring the imagination. Taking a break from the continuing distraction of flickering screens and notifications allows a chance to relax and breathe a little easier.
Sound mental health for parent and child is very important and exposure to the wider environment assists with infant development while building an appreciation for what we have around us. Whether it entails a trip to the park or a walk in the country a day outdoors is a wonderful opportunity to maintain the bond with your child away from the demands of a busy home.
Reusable Nappies and Wipes
Disposable nappies are a major waste management headache, routinely buried in landfill sites to linger for a long time to come, while wipes are continuing to cause problems with domestic sewerage systems. The human waste in the disposable nappies, as well as the contaminants contained in their absorbent layers, often seeps into ground water sources, polluting the water table and affecting our drinking water.
It is now possible to take advantage of a range of environmentally friendly disposable baby care products that are kind to your baby but will not adversely impact on the environment, while being easy to change, clean and dispose of. Washable, reusable cotton and bamboo nappies are quick and simple to use, making them every bit as convenient as disposables but without the waste.
Reusable nappies do not rely on plastic inserts or absorbent gels and are just as efficient using cotton or compostable paper liners. They are available with washable outer covers with eye catching designs, making changing time so much fun.
Disposable wipes are due to be phased out under Irish and European Law and will go a long way towards addressing a concerning problem. In the long-term, reusable nappies and wipes work out cheaper than disposables without any extra cost to our environment.
Reuse Unwanted Toys and Clothes
Growing infants and toddlers shoot up so fast that we discard clothes and toys at a fierce rate, and at great expense.
The days of large families are behind us when we survived on hand me downs and cast offs and the first up in the morning was generally considered the best dressed. Nowadays it is easy to form alliances with like-minded parents to exchange or pass on perfectly good baby clothes as well as outgrown prams, buggies and car seats. It goes without saying that toys and seats should be checked out to ensure they are still safe to use.
So many of our unwanted items are in excellent condition but they will always find a loving home. Even though we will always want the best for our kids we don’t always have to buy brand new.
Save Water at Bathtime
Enjoying the smell of a baby after bathing is one of life’s more gentler pleasures. Keeping your baby clean is very important but it may not be necessary to take a daily bath. Clean up when changing with reusable wipes and mop up a messy mealtime with a damp flannel, managing your water usage efficiently. There’s no need to fill the bath, a few centimetres of soapy water should be enough.
If you have more than one baby let them all bathe together, just sit back and watch the fun. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that a spot of muck won’t harm your child but may contribute to boosting their immune system.
Natural Baby Skincare Products
When choosing ecological products it is important to find something that respects the environment but doesn’t harm us as either. Young babies have much thinner, sensitive skin which needs to be treated gently, particularly at bath time.
Soaps and cleansers can be harsh and often wash away valuable natural oils while some fabrics can cause irritation and rashes. It is always advisable to use substances with the fewer ingredients – without fragrances or preservatives and alcohol free. Bathing with just water and a soft cloth or sponge is often enough.
Sustainable Baby Clothes
Choosing ethically sourced baby products manufactured from renewable materials to clothe your baby will ensure the environment they will inherit is suitably protected.
Organic cotton and bamboo fabrics are now generally available, often made to a high quality and designed to last. At the end of their usable life they can be upcycled or, in most cases, composted.
Make your own Baby Food
Avoid processed and packaged foods by making your own. As soon as your baby has moved onto solids prepare dishes in advance and save them in meal size portions. Soups, stews and vegetables, if not eaten raw, can be pureed then bottled or frozen for when you need them. Make tiny portions and freeze them in the ice-cube tray of your fridge. This handy idea will really pay-off when teething starts.
Sugar free fruit or vegetable smoothies are a great way to introduce your kids to healthy and delicious eating. Serve seasonal fruit and vegetables and enjoy the abundance and variety that nature has to offer.
There has never been a better time to practice green parenting. Making the right choices for you, your children and our fragile environment makes perfect sense, fostering a caring attitude and a profound sense of responsibility for your family and their future.