Like your parents, grandparents, and countless generations that have gone before, you are probably wondering if now is a good time to bring a child into the world. Our grandparents had to contend with the effects of WWII and the atomic bomb, while our parents were the first generation to openly question the direction that our government was steering our country thanks to the horrors of the Vietnam War. These days we’ve got internet predators, international terrorist organizations, and global warming to contend with. And each generation thinks they’ve got it worse than the one before. But humanity prevails, one way or another, so eventually you’re probably going to move ahead with your plans to start a family. While there’s little you can do about the societal integration of the internet, since it will no doubt be a major part of your child’s life, and terrorists are beyond your scope of influence, you can assuage at least one concern by adopting greener lifestyle practices that will help to create a brighter future for the planet and your child. Here are a few tips to help you go green on behalf of your baby.
- BPA-free bottles. This toxin is present in many modern plastics, including some bottles. So if you plan to bottle-feed your infant at all, either with formula or expressed breast milk, make sure that you get BPA-free baby bottles. You can stop your child from ingesting this known carcinogen by simply reading labels and choosing products that are made specifically without BPA.
- No-VOC paint. Most people know that it’s bad to breathe in paint fumes, which is why you air out a freshly-painted room until the smell is gone. What you might not know is that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in most paint products can hang around, polluting your interior air, for years to come. And while the levels are low, these toxins have been linked to issues as diverse as headache, nausea, neurological disorders, and cancer. So your best bet is to avoid them completely by selecting paint options that contain low or no VOCs when you paint the nursery and other areas of your home.
- Organic linens. There are dozens of chemicals used in the production of clothing, mattresses, sheets, towels, curtains, and literally any textile you might bring into your home. Since babies are more sensitive to these substances, exposure could lead to rashes, allergies, and even asthma. So consider outfitting your nursery with all-organic textiles to prevent such issues. You can even find organic carpeting for baby to crawl on!
- Green cleaners. Natural cleaning solvents may not pack the same punch as the chemical variety, but with ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, and baking soda you can be fairly certain that they’re not going to harm your curious tot. As a bonus, you can make your own concoctions with items commonly found in the home to save on money and manufacturing. Simply look online for a wide variety of easy recipes.
- Organic food. Many expectant mothers are torn on issues concerning pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing, such as whether or not to exercise during pregnancy or donate cord blood to a New York or California cryobank. And the decision to switch to organic foods is a big one many moms-to-be. But you should know that organic produce lacks the pesticides and fertilizers found in your average fare, while organic animal products come without hormones and antibiotics. Since the foods you consume get passed along to your fetus and later your infant, it’s definitely something you’ll want to consider.