Busy moms can lose their “green” focus. Green Prophet’s EcoMum goes over 7 focal point tips to keep over-stretched moms on their “eco” pointe.
It’s been a while since this EcoMum reported her tips on Green Prophet. I’ve been in my “mummy bubble” and from here I take it for granted that most people these days have a much greener outlook to life and are slowly but surely making positive changes to their environment.
But I seem to think my bubble maybe bursting as I find myself answering more and more questions about the basics of green parenting. This made me think of getting back to my core beliefs of eco-parenting. Read on about my thoughts on green food, education, toys, diapers, cleaning chemicals and transport. Of course you can start off with your child from birth by using organic baby clothes.
But in this short guide I’ve provided 7 focal tips to keep any green parent, or want-to-be green parent on track.
1. Food Glorious Food (breastfeeding and organic food)
No matter which way you look at it, breastfeeding is the best way to first feed your baby. I understand there are mothers who simply cannot and formula is a savior for them but do not let us be fooled by profit driven companies: formula is not the healthiest option for your child or yourself.
Going organic: Next, even if you cannot afford organic food all the time at least make sure that the first food you introduce to your babies is organic. You will be buying small amounts, so cook bulk and freeze.
Avoid plastic bottles and containers that do not specify that they are BPA free as there is a danger that it will leach and the news just gets worse and worse about BPA.
Ditch the canned food, especially tomatoes as the cans are lined with plastic which contains BPA. Steer clear of processed foods, apart from all the additives, because the salt content is very high and this can be far more damaging to your child than sugar. So get cooking. Green Prophet has a wonderful series of recipes. Look through our archives.
2. Toy Town
I have to admit on a tight budget this can be a very frustrating and at the same time a satisfying task, that of keeping the toys green. News reports are being constantly updated with toxic toys from the Far East, lead paint in toys is appearing even in the most reputable company’s toys, so choosing and buying toys has become somewhat of a mine field.
So how do I do it? First of all I really don’t think that you can beat good old pots and pans and wooden spoons. My kids love them and do not seem to bore from them; another useful fact is to have a few quality toys and swap and change from day to day, quality not quantity, is a constant truth. Try buying wooden toys and steer clear of soft plastics too as they may contain PVC, another nasty.
3. Teach your child to be an environmentalist
When I am out and about on holiday with my children it makes my heart sing to watch my daughter, age 4, picking up rubbish and putting it in the bin while muttering about naughty people. She’s my star!
At home we wash all plastic containers and reuse for storing all her bits and pieces, stones, odd shells and pretty ribbons.
If anything gets broken it goes to Dad first for a fixing treatment not the garbage bin or it may not reincarnate as something new.
We have taught her to love and appreciate nature, not to waste water and most importantly to make the most of what we have and not to crave new things. She knows about recycling, from home and nursery. Children are incredibly curious and listen with bated breath and absorb all these crazy little facts we bombard them with, so make them worthwhile and the next thing you know your children will be teaching you how to look after the planet for their future.
4. Stuff and Nonsense
This is the long list of all the things that companies tell us we need to have happy children, starting from day one of all the must haves, enough to make your head spin and your overdraft at the bank grow.
Please start to ignore them or at least take with a pinch of salt. This is consumerism gone mad.
Nursery furniture has been in the news recently with some worrying facts about chemical fumes from glues, stains and fire repellents, so if you are buying a cot or bed try to find the most natural option, in this case second hand is not always the best case.
Mattresses should always be new and preferably made from a natural foam or wool with organic cotton liners. Co-sleeping is another option.
Clothing lists can be covered by good second shops which are increasing in their numbers around the world,thankfully. If you really must have new, try to go down the organic cotton road. Paint your nursery with natural or low VOC paints and don’t do it the day before baby of child moves in, air the room well.
In general keep your home well ventilated and remove shoes at the door, they are the biggest carrier of pollutants into the home.
5. Green Clean
This is really very important, ditch those chemical cleaners, laundry soaps and personal toiletries. All they do is feed your body a chemical cocktail. I have not used a chemical, non-eco friendly product in my house for years, my health and the health of my family has never been better, our home is full of natural smells and our laundry is now whiter than white. Our shopping bill is also smaller.
Vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and hot water, that’s all I use for cleaning. Steer clear of health and beauty products that contain parabens, the choice of natural products now available is great, or olive oil works just fine for me.
6. Walk and Go Slow
Yes I know it is hot outside in the Middle East, even cold and wet sometimes (if we are lucky) but seeing people drive 500 meters to the shops or the school is ridiculous. Please walk or carpool, get together with your friends and go together shopping or fill the car with kids for the school run, even organize a “walking bus.”
And if it is a question of time, dare I say it, maybe reexamine your timetable, slow life down a bit or it’ll be over before you realize. The kids will have grown and left and your memories will be of racing around in the car. Try staying in one place, find entertainment at home and in each others company, and enjoy your local environment.
7. Nappies (diapers for Americans)
I will end my 7 focus tips with my favorite subject and one that I know still causes heated debates. Disposables are user friendly and yes, do save time and effort for parents but and this is a very big but, they are very, very unfriendly to the environment. They demand a lot of resources to be made, including water, and they are not biodegradable.
Today there are better environmentally friendly disposables available in the Middle East and they do not demand a second mortgage. And cloth nappies today really are not as scary as nappy deniers like to contend, if my husband (half Moroccan, half Iraqi) can change a cloth nappy, then anyone can.
My final tip, please stop using conventional baby wipes, either make your own or buy the eco-friendly option. They are packed full of nasty chemicals that apart from not being an healthy idea to leave them on your child’s skin should most definitely not be used to clean faces or hands.
Signing out. – Sophie, your EcoMum
Top image via pinksherbert