All Things Baby...Green

Posted on November 16, 2015

Chances are you know someone who's having a baby, already has one, or is thinking about one.  Our staff is actually celebrating the upcoming birth of 2 little ones and our Board just celebrated the birth of new life as well.  So it seems to us that babies abound in Calgary and we thought it might be time to share some of the great ways to care for babies in a greener way. Not only can thinking green save families money, they can often be healthier options for your little one as well...

1. Natural Bedding: Toxic chemicals can be released from conventional crib mattresses. It’s best to buy an organic wool mattress if you can. Black Sheep Mattress Company has some great options for mattresses made from natural materials at prices comparable to some major brands and they deliver. If you do buy conventional mattresses, try to give them a good airing to help off gas any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or purchase baby safe mattress covers to avoid contact with the fire retardant chemicals used in most conventional mattress production.

2. Diapers: Did you know that more than 4 million disposable diapers are thrown away in Canada every day? For those who might think using cloth diapers is daunting, you might be surprised how far they've come to make them easier to use. There are also great convenient and affordable diaper services in Calgary that will wash and deliver them to you! 

3. Decorating the Nursery: Looking for an interior designer who practices "green"?  Check out Dovecote Design for ideas and help to make your nursery a stylish and healthy environment for your new bundle of joy.  If you're thinking of adding a fresh coat of paint, keep in mind that many chemical compounds emitted from common household paints increase risks of asthma and allergies in children. Find a brand with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Check out this guide to help choose non-toxic paints and finishes.

4. Homemade Baby Food: Making your own baby food can limit your little ones' exposure to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Not only is it a  greener option, it can help save money, too. Check out this site for ways to do it easier than you might think. Better yet, when family/friends come over to visit with the baby, get them to help make a batch for the week!

5. Reusable clothes: If you've had a baby, you know they grow out of clothes before they ever wear them out! Consider shopping at children’s consignment stores, or have a baby-clothing swap with friends and family. There are few options for recycling textiles once they are thrown away so getting as much "wear" out of them as possible is a great way to not only save some money; it can help reduce waste going to the landfill.  If you need to get rid of baby clothes, give them away if you can or donate them to a charity that can use/sell them.

6. Greening the laundry: Because a baby's skin is so sensitive, using non toxic laundry soaps are important.  Our EcoStore carries a non toxic brand we trust, "Claudia's Choice" (and we even have samples to give away for a limited time), but you can also find this brand at Community Natural Foods and Sunnyside Market. Or consider making your own - we have a recipe book with a tried and tested laundry detergent as well.  If you can hang those little clothes to dry and throw them into the dryer for 5-10 minutes to soften them up, you'll save some energy. And receiving blankets and baby towels actually dry quite quickly in our warm dry houses. Hanging some of those wet clothes can actually help humidify the air a bit in a baby's room, too. And remember to wash only full loads to help save both water and energy!

 7. Baby Soft skin: You know how soft baby's skin can be but you want to be careful how many chemicals you expose them to. In Calgary's dry climate, the best moisturizer for baby's skin can be just plain olive oil or coconut oil (inexpensive and easy to find!). Our recipe book also has great tried and tested non toxic personal care items like lotions, soaps, and creams.

8. Avoid the disposable wipes: While convenient, those wipes can contain many chemicals including fragrances and preservatives.  Going cloth and water is ideal and avoiding perfumed and disposable wipes/changing mats are healthier for your baby and greener for the planet.

9. Get 2nd hand when you can: Outfitting your home for a new baby can be expensive so 2nd hand furniture, strollers, and other baby equipment can not only save you money, it can help keep good usable items out of the landfill. Swap with family and friends, check out children's consignment stores, or scroll through free online sites like Kijiji. One caveat: car seats are one of those things you want to be careful getting second hand. The Government of Canada provides a list of things to look for when purchasing 2nd hand car seats.

10. Green Cleaning: The less chemicals you use to clean your home, the better for the indoor air quality for the entire family. And in the winter when we seal up our homes, indoor air quality, especially for a little one's lungs, is important to be aware of. Avoid greenwashed cleaners and check out our blog 4 Ways to Green the Way you Clean to help lessen the toxins in your home.

Bonus Tip: And if you're looking for child care, check out 2000 Days Pre-Kindergarden, a sustainable and holistic childcare center. We recently depaved their playground for a greener space for children to play and interact with nature!

Thinking green when it comes to baby is not just good for the earth, but better for the whole family. Have you got tips to share? We'd love to hear them - please tweet or post on our facebook page.