Baby Carbon Footprints: Eco Products, Information, and Ideas
Many new mothers and fathers should be aware of the array of alternative baby supplies that are out there today. A majority of mommies (and daddies) out there just simply do not know that cleaner, safer, and healthier options exist. The popularity of the cloth diaper has made an impression on many in the past. I would almost consider it a modern fad in the parenting world. It made me think of all the other wasteful and harmful products that are purchased when a little one arrives. So I started to look a little deeper into it. I found that, first of all, babies use A LOT of stuff. I’m talking shampoos, powders, creams, gels, baby wipes, diapers, pacifiers, swaddlers, and the list goes on. I just got to thinking…what do people do with all those pacifiers when the baby no longer uses them? Is the rubber even safe for them to constantly suck and bite on? Are they recyclable? What about baby wipes? What kind of ingredients are in them and what is their environmental impact?
The Environmental Impact of a Baby
Babies in general seem to be a huge environmental impact. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people that thinks we should voluntarily cease to breed for the better sake of the planets health. We can leave that to the followers of The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. They have good intentions of wanting to reduce their environmental impact but sacrificing a natural, beautiful part of life is not exactly the way most people would go about it. Heck, with that kind of logic I’m surprised they aren’t offing themselves. Anyways, I am definitely all for procreation (maybe not in excess) but instead of going the “radical movement route” you can just try some low environmental impact baby product options.
I have to admit, not being a parent myself made it hard for me (while reading baby forums) to relate with all the baby terminology and woes that come about with diapering a little one. I wanted to get a better idea of what real mothers were saying about a few of the products. Becoming a new parent brings on a ton of stress and anxiety (from what I have heard and seen from friends, TV, etc.) If you are feeling overwhelmed with how you will handle a new addition to your life, the last thing you should have to worry about is if the products you plan to use for your new baby are safe, cost effective, and eco friendly. As I researched around I tried to gather a bit of information for the common concerns you may have had.
Harmful for Baby and Mother Earth
You may have heard of the environmental impact that disposable diapers have on the earth but what about all those other baby products? Let’s start with the baby wipes first. After scouring baby message boards, I found that many moms complained of traditional baby wipes giving their babies allergic reactions. And we’re not talking just a few moms but A LOT of comments were made pertaining to this subject. Most baby wipes have some type of chemicals and alcohol in them and so I could see why they would be harmful to the sensitive skin of a baby’s bottom.
Here is a list of a few scary ingredients found in baby wipes today-
- Sodium diamphoacetate
- coco phosphatidyl PG-dimonium chloride
- propylene glycol
- hydroxymethyl cellulose
- methyl and propyl paraben
Many moms claimed to go for the cheapest in price, which were bought at walmart (like huggies) or Costco (Kirkland brand.) I could understand why they purchase these brands because newborns poop so much that baby wipes are needed almost on an hourly basis. Think of the diaper pail being practically filled by the end of the day and then sent off to the landfills. That’s a lot of wipes and diapers, in fact nearly 18 billion in this country alone end up in the landfills each year. There happens to be cheaper and healthier options out there.
Convenience VS Health and Impact
I know if I had a little one I could not imagine opting for convenience over my baby’s health. This is why the majority of parents go with the bulk option. Bulk equals cheap which also equals convenient but with cheap and convenient also come harmful ingredients, high impact packaging, non renewable materials and sources, as well as landfill waste.
But not to fear, there are many DIY tutorials for homemade reusable baby wipes. By reusing you are saving a ton of money and giving landfills a little break. Baby wipes have been known to cause hazards after being disposed; they take forever to break down and when disposed, chemicals from the wipes leak into the environment making it unhealthy for plant and marine life. There are a plenty of tutorials on the net for homemade reusable wipes. Some are made from things like old cotton t shirts and pieces of flannel.
If you must have some disposables for emergency or traveling situations here is a great recipe for make-your own organic disposable baby wipes. The options don’t just stop there. What I truly would recommend if you must have the disposables is buying commercial brands made from naturally obtained materials. They are biodegradable and would not contain all those harsh chemicals and oils. According to moms and dads, they have proven to work well and cost only slightly more than conventional ones.
Pacifiers, Bottles, and Binky’s Oh My!
When it comes to those pacifiers and baby bottle tops, unfortunately they can leach BPA much like a water bottle would when it is left in a hot car. It can be harmful to your baby and the environment. There are all natural BPA-free pacifiers available on the market. Here is a great source by naturally trendy explaining in depth about pacifiers (and teethers) and the harmful effects as well as some options to buy some organic ones.
If you are wondering which baby items are recyclable, this is a great source that explains on how to recycle and reuse items like bottles, little baby food glass jars, etc. You can be creative in reusing some of the packaging that comes along with almost everything you buy when it comes to your baby.
Baby Powders Ugly Distant Cousin: Asbestos
Ok so the next “baby no no” is baby powder. An ugly little fact I learned about baby powder is that it contains talc which is sort of a distant cousin of asbestos. Well, maybe they aren’t related but they share similar properties. For 30 years scientists have scrutinized talcum powder because of it’s similarities with asbestos. Many people are not even aware of the dangers of conventional baby powder. So if you’re reading this, please consider making a natural change with your baby’s health in mind as well as the environment. Here is a simple recipe that I think is completely doable for even the busiest moms.
Armed with Knowledge
In years past, ideas like this were somewhat on the down low. Not as many people were as eco or health conscious as they are today. A safer alternative is almost always accessible for everyday household products. All baby necessities should be safe and chemical free without exception. I would suggest taking a closer look into all the products used on your children and babies and doing your research on their environmental impact. Now that I know of all the eco-friendly and safe options out there, I will be well equipped with information for when I have a little bun in the oven. When your day comes (or if it already has) I hope I was able to shed a little light on this baby business. If you have any important tips or facts about baby products and want share some of your personal experiences we hope you share it with us in the comments below.
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