I have been working within the childcare industry for over twenty years and it’s been interesting seeing the changes that have come about over the years, on how we can live a little more “greenly” as a parent. I can remember being a nanny for a family back in the early 2000’s and coming across the new style of washable nappies (velcro sides instead of nappy pins like we were once taught) when disposable nappies were still the popular choice. Parents were starting to do their homework and were looking into ways in which they could be kind to the planet. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on all things eco, but there are definitely some things that can be put into practice . I have put together a small list of things that aren’t that difficult to achieve when you have a newborn enter your life…
(These are also questions I get from mums).
These are all over the press. Wipes to clean off your make-up, clean babies bottoms, clean your own bottoms! I can remember years ago having a pack in my car so I could wipe off oil on my hands. Wow. Think of the chemicals in there and then you’re using it on a baby. There are now some better wipes, ones that are mainly water based, but they are still wipes when you don’t need to use them. Muslin cloths or old fashioned flannels work just as well you can clean your babies’ bottom with a cloth soaked in water and chamomile tea and honey solution (very gentle and soothing).
Breast feeding mums need to drink a lot of fluid, which can be found in both food and drink. This brings us to bottled water. We have the cleanest water; we don’t need to be buying water from Fiji. Just pour it out of the tap and use it in reusable containers. When I worked in France, all parents used bottled water for use with formula. Boil the kettle and let it cool. Much better.
There are lots of products out there for babies, but nearly all MN’s recommend not using anything on a babys’ skin for the first 6 weeks or so. Some even suggest not to bathe them at all in the first few weeks, which is fine, but babies do eventually get a bit sicky around the neck. I like to start introducing a bath by week two but just with water. No products. And then a massage after the bath with coconut oil. Nice and natural.
Babies are either breast fed or bottle fed. Great if you can breast feed, but a lot of women either choose not to or have difficulty. Not a problem. There’s powdered formula and there are companies that sell glass baby bottles. If you’re worried about potential breaks then some come with shock-absorbing silicone sleeves. Some formula making companies now sell ready made formula and I am seeing this being used more and more within families. These are usually the size of a single feed (depending on the size of the baby) so that you can pour the ready made formula into your babies bottle. And then throw it away. I know that it takes that little bit longer to use the powder version, especially with all the guidelines in place. Parents get stressed with a crying baby who has to wait a few minutes whilst the milk is heating/cooling, but believe me, it won’t do them any harm in just waiting.
The debate on nappies. Is it better to buy eco nappies or washable? If you choose to go down the eco nappies route, then there are now quite a few variety of nappies that consist of 60% renewable raw materials, but sadly not 100% bio-degradable at this time. The other choice is washable. Now a lot of parents balk at the thought of this, but I have worked with families over the last twenty years that have used washable nappies and there is nothing to it. They now come “ready made” as opposed to fashioning one from a square of toweling and use velcro on the sides instead of big nappy pins. Once used, tip the waste into the toilet and then place the nappy in a bucket which has water and some drops of tea tree oil in it. Once full wash in the washing machine as normal.
So there you go. Just a few small ideas on how to be a bit more aware. There are many, many more tips, but these, to me, are the easiest ways to start. If someone pulls me up on the facts on nappies, I apologise in advance 😉