If you enjoy living an eco-friendly lifestyle, there’s no reason to stop once you have a baby. The concerns that you have for the planet and your wellness are just as important when you become a parent. As a new mom or dad, you’ll learn ways to adapt your environmentally friendly routine to fit your family. You’ll also add a focus on what is known as green parenting.
This guide for new moms and dads will tell you how to get started as a green parent. You’ll learn everything you need to know about being eco-friendly on a budget, as well as how to be environmentally-conscious with a busy schedule and little sleep. Over time, you’ll discover how fun and impactful it can be to raise a baby who cares for Mother Earth. You’ll also feel good about how your family is contributing to the health of your home and community.
What Is Green Parenting?
Green parenting is all about making the most healthy and environmentally friendly choices for your baby, your family, and yourself. When you choose to go green, you will probably use products that are made with organic materials. In addition to shopping for organic items, there are many other ways that you can care for your baby and protect the planet.
In the weeks before baby arrives, complete a few eco-friendly activities. You’ll be glad you started your green parenting foundation and took a few items off your to-do list. After your child is born, you’re sure to get a crash course in environmentally conscious clothing and diapering. After all, parenting is an on-the-job learning experience!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new eco-conscious products and approaches, especially in the first few months. A flexible outlook will help you find simple ways to stay green, all while protecting your wallet and budget. It’ll also help you stress less and develop more compassion for yourself, which is essential for any new mom or dad.
How to Go Green Before Baby Arrives
Life gets absurdly busy after your baby is born. You’ll have to decide which tasks are essential to your lifestyle and what can wait until your child gets bigger. Thankfully, you can kickstart your approach to green living (and satisfy your nesting instincts!) in the weeks and months before their arrival.
According to Parents Magazine, breastfeeding is a green practice. The eco-friendly benefits of nursing your baby include accumulating less trash and helping reduce your contribution to global warming. If you have any questions about breastfeeding and whether it’s right for your family, talk to your OB-GYN or midwife. They can explain the practice as it pertains to your unique situation.
If you have a recycling program in your community, join it before baby’s arrival. You may also decide to purchase a few reusable shopping bags, which will come in handy when buying baby supplies or groceries. Experienced eco-friendly moms will also tell you that they make a great bag for carrying toys.
When planning your baby shower, try to use as many recyclable materials as possible. For instance, many of today’s shower invitations are made with recycled paper. Repurposed cups, plates, and decorations are also widely available in online shops and in party stores.
Creating an Environmentally Friendly Baby Registry
Be sure to “think green” as you create your baby registry. It’s easy to search online for companies and brands that make organic products. You’ll be able to find everything from baby clothes made with organic cotton to blankets, accessories, and toys on the Internet and in your favorite stores. You can also create registries at department stores, baby shops, and online marketplaces, so it’s easier to get all of the organic products that you desire.
When creating your organic registry, add the exact item and quantity you want. That way, your family and friends can buy the product directly from your registry page. If you have loved ones who are new to shopping organic, it’ll make the process much easier.
Choosing Eco-Friendly Baby Clothing
Now that consumers like to shop in an environmentally-conscious way, almost every type of baby product is available in an organic form. One of the most popular ways for parents to go green is to purchase baby clothes made with organic cotton. Moms and dads like them because they’re naturally hypoallergenic—and cotton is easy to wash. Additional advantages of organic cotton are that it is incredibly soft, durable, and less harmful to the planet than other materials.
When growing organic cotton, farmers raise their crops without any chemicals or pesticides. As a result, they prevent harmful substances from entering your local waterways. Animals and natural resources, such as plants and trees, are better protected for generations to come, all while your child feels cozy and comfortable throughout every season. They also never use genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a practice that reduces the use of herbicides and prevents the alteration of natural ecosystems.
If you’re interested in reaping these environmentally conscious and baby-friendly benefits, nearly every type of infant clothing is made with organic cotton. You’ll find bodysuits in every size and color, as well as a variety of pants, tees, and socks. Hats, long sleeves, and sweaters made with organic cotton are sure to keep baby warm in the winter. Short sleeve suits, shorts, and tanks are breathable enough to keep them cool in the summer. Organic cotton material is also excellent at wicking moisture, which helps to prevent chilling and temperature changes that come from the weather, body fluids, or sweat.
Using Cloth Diapers
In the first year of baby’s life, you might be surprised at just how much trash you have. Besides disposable wipes and feeding supplies, diapers are one of the biggest reasons for a full garbage can. During the newborn stage, which spans the first three months of baby’s life, they may soil up to 10 diapers per day. Using cloth diapers instead of disposables results in much less trash at the landfill. As an added bonus for any parent, it also means less stink in the trash can or diaper pail.
While cotton diapers are environmentally friendly, you may be wondering if they’re more work than the disposable kind. Green parents will tell you that you will have to wash them frequently, but there are a few ways you can make the practice as easy as using throwaway diapers. First, consider using prefold diapers, which already have built-in folds and creases just like standard diapers. You won’t have to learn any folding techniques, and your baby will stay both dry and comfortable.
Take care of stains as soon as possible so you won’t have to replace your reusable diapers as often. When a spill or accident occurs, run the garment under cold water. Next, let the item soak in a sink or large bowl filled with cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the clothing item from the water, wring it out and use a natural and baby-friendly pre-wash stain remover. These are safer for your child than standard products and have less of an impact on the environment. Let the spray soak into the fabric, following the instructions on the container or bottle.
Finally, wash the clothing with a laundry detergent made with natural ingredients. You can also use your own DIY laundry detergent made with ingredients such as washing soda and coconut oil soap. If you’d like, you can dry your cloth prefold diapers on an outdoor clothesline instead of putting them in the dryer. While they’ll smell ultra-fresh, you’ll use less energy in your home and save extra money on your utility bill.
Selecting Organic Laundry & Cleaning Products
Some laundry detergents and stain fighters are made with powerful cleaning agents. These substances may not be safe for newborns since they can contribute to allergies and increase the chance of skin irritation. To help protect your baby from unnecessary chemicals, you can shop for laundry supplies that are made with organic or natural ingredients.
If you’re unsure which products are greenest and safest for your family, look for trusted brands. You may also decide to check the options at a local store that you know stocks natural products. Start by scanning the ingredient label. Is the list full of additives you can’t pronounce? That’s a red flag that you’re not shopping green or natural.
You should also steer clear of common laundry detergent ingredients such as chlorine, phthalates, and formaldehyde. Swap it out for a formula that’s made with plants. Unscented formulas are best. While making the switch to natural laundry products protects your baby, you’ll also help to prevent the chemicals in laundry detergent from impacting the environment. Parents who have sensitive skin may find that they experience less itching and irritation as well.
Just like laundry supplies, there are a variety of natural cleaning products. Some of the brands that make baby laundry detergent also make cleaning sprays and solutions. If you like your detergent or stain fighter, see if the company makes an additional suite of products. Some of the supplies you can buy in organic or natural form include liquid dish soap, multi-surface cleaners, and even pet stain removers. Another option is to use natural cleaning ingredients like white vinegar and baking soda.
Starting Your New, Green Lifestyle with Your Baby
Now that you have a few ideas for making your home a greener place, you are on your way to starting your family’s new environmentally friendly lifestyle. It may help to begin with a few different strategies and then branch out to even more activities once you and your newborn get settled. Since you’ll need plenty of new baby clothes in 0-3 month sizes and up, focus on building your baby’s eco-friendly closet. Whether it’s on your baby registry or in person, ask for styles that are made with organic cotton.
Our Gerber Childrenswear clothing made with organic cotton features everything from baby boy and baby girl essentials to trendy and adorable neutral items. If you’re expecting a baby boy, you’ll find our Onesies® Brand bodysuits, pajamas, and active pants in handsome colors and cute prints. Caps and mittens sets made with organic cotton are perfect for baby registries, especially in the fall and winter.
Baby girl essentials made with organic cotton include sweet Sleep N’ Plays, stylish bodysuits, and pretty take-me-home sets. If you’re shopping for basics in neutral colors, we have both short sleeve and long sleeve bodysuit packs in classic white. You’ll also find clothing made with organic cotton in colors like grey and cream. Soft blue and mint green accents add personality to neutral-colored gowns, shirts, and pants. Fun animal prints and delicate stripes add just a little more softness to the already plush material.
Buying high quality, environmentally conscious outfits is one of the easiest and most helpful ways to keep baby comfortable and kickstart your green parenting adventure. While they’ll always look clean and cute, your eco-friendly routine will be as easy as possible. Baby clothes made with organic cotton will last longer, feel better to the touch, and always have less of an environmental impact. This cornerstone of your green strategy will be a big help to everyone, including Mother Earth.