So what do you need if you want to have a more environmentally friendly baby (by which I mean that you want to raise and care for your child in a more environmentally friendly way, rather than having a child that is innately eco-minded)? People love handing out lists of what you’ll need when you go to antenatal classes. But what about a green list? This is just a start.
* Cloth nappies. Get at least two dozen. Your choice as to whether you’re going to use the old-fashioned square sort or the newer ready-shaped sort. Folding the square sort isn’t as hard as you think. If you can fold a letter to put in an envelope, wrap a parcel or make a paper plane, you can fold a nappy.
* Safety pins. For fastening the square-style cloth nappies around the baby.
* Lots of flannels – use a damp flannel instead of disposable baby wipes.
* Huge bucket with lid – for soaking dirty nappies and flannels.
* Breast pump – if you want to share the feeding duties.
* Bottles for feeding – also if you want to share the feeding duties. You can sterilize these in boiling water or by washing in the dishwasher. If you don’t want to share feeding duties, you won’t need bottles and all the associated paraphernalia.
* Second-hand clothing or else good quality clothing that you plan on passing on to a friend or family member, the nearest charity store or to a younger child. This cuts down on landfill waste, both in the form of old clothes and in packaging on new clothes.
* A food processor. You weren’t going to buy baby food, were you? Instead of buying oodles of little tins and glass jars (which are recyclable, admittedly, and you can re-use the small jars for spices), you can use ordinary fruit and veg as first food for your baby. Potato, pumpkin, banana and sweet potato are all suitable first foods, and they mash up a treat. Bananas are also portable. If you can get hold of organic fruit and veg, all the better. A farmers’ market may be a good source of locally grown and organic fruit and veg that are suitable, such as potatoes, carrots and apples. Blend one or several in the food processor, either raw (in the case of bananas) or cooked (for everything else) to make a smooth puree. You can freeze home-made baby food in regular ice cube trays.
* Cornstarch. This is safer than talcum powder for your baby’s skin, but still stops chafing.
* Decent-sized pushchair. You are going to walk instead of driving everywhere, aren’t you? This is great exercise for you and gives you more chance to interact with your baby as you get about.
* A potty. The sooner you can get them out of nappies, the better. Less washing for you therefore less work for your house cleaner.
* More thick bathmats. Who needs a plastic-backed changing mat when you can use a thick bathmat that will then be used as a bathmat once the baby is well out of nappies. Change the baby on the bathmat on the floor – they can’t roll off the floor and you won’t need a big changing table.
Cutting down on packaging and waste is an important part of sustainability and living green. Buying second-hand items helps here. However, some items should always be bought new, such as cot mattresses (old ones may give off dubious and harmful gases), car safety seats and soft toys. If you must, you can buy soft toys second hand, but give them a thorough wash first to make sure no germs or residues of steam cleaning fluid remain on them. But potties, baby baths, toilet seats, changing tables (if you must), backpacks and the like can all be obtained second-hand as part of the great recycling chain of society.
neglected. Very little money is being used on improving the health of our planet or promoting green living.
What steps do we need to take so that we are in the habit of being green. Can work together and conserve water, use less power and plant new trees. Are we making an attempt to clean up the environment for later generations? Is everyone on the planet doing their best to reduce pollution? Is the number of men and women who love green enough to protect our succeeding generations? There is not a lot of time that remains so we need to work right away to live green.