Eva is a mother of two and the founder of Born, the UK’s longest running ethical and green nursery store and online business. She became acutely aware of the environmental issues surrounding having a child. It did not seem right, let alone healthy, to wrap her baby in a nappy containing chemicals. Natural parenting is not only about being mindful of the products you buy but also being conscious of the long-term implications your parenting choices will have on your child. Eva is a strong believer that making natural parenting choices can be fun and doesn’t have to be stressful if you have the right advice which she is here to offer. For individual advice you can contact Eva direct at:
Speak to me on 0905 620 1262, £1.00/min from a BT landline; calls from mobiles and other networks may vary
Natural, Ethical and Green Parenting
The term ‘Green Parenting’ doesn’t mean you have to make life harder for yourself. In fact, implementing a few green steps can save you both money and time. Here are the answers to three big green issues that parents are faced with.
I have heard about alternatives to disposable nappies but there are so many on the market that I feel overwhelmed. Please can you advise me what the best nappies are?
First of all washable nappies are a greener option than single use disposable nappies.
1) The cost saving compared to disposables is around £600. This sum assumes you spend around £300 on a set of nappies, and includes washing and ongoing costs such as flushable liners. It’s easy not to notice how much you will spend on disposable nappies because they get lumped in with your supermarket shop, but that £6-12 you spend each week adds up to a considerable amount when you realise that the average British baby potty trains at around 2½ years old.
2) A disposable nappy is made up of a whole host of chemicals and plastics that in my opinion should not be next to a baby’s skin. Everyone knows that natural fabrics like cotton are more pleasant to wear because they feel nice, the same applies to nappies.
3) Every baby in disposables produces about a tonne of nappy waste. That’s a lot of waste that isn’t going anywhere for a long time because disposables contain plastics and gels that do not readily degrade. Experts estimate that it will take around 500 years for the nappies we are burying now to decompose. Some councils are so keen to reduce nappy waste going to landfill that they encourage families to use washable nappies by giving them a financial contribution towards the cost of buying their nappies. This can range from £30 to £60, depending on where you live. See your council’s web site to check if they offer a scheme.
Choosing the right washable nappy can seem daunting. It’s always a good idea to buy a few to try out before you commit to a whole set. A small period of experimenting in the beginning is worth it to make sure you get the right ones.
What are the best ways to keep my home green? Babies need so much stuff!
Babies do not in fact need a lot of gear. Prams, cots and a nursery are not essential when having a baby. Your baby can share your bed, and it’s possible to do without a pram if you have a good sling. It’s really easy to get carried away and think you need lots of gadgets but you really don’t. The biggest wastes of money have to be wipe warmers, bottle warmers and nappy squashers. What’s wrong with boiling a kettle, and just putting the nappy in the bin? So much ‘stuff’ gets thrown away because you really don’t need it and that’s not just a waste of money it’s also just more rubbish on the planet that we don’t need.
When you do need to buy furniture ‘buy once and buy well’ so choose highchairs that grow into adult chairs, cots that expand to cot beds, changing tables that become desks.
The bathroom is the other place that being green can be a challenge. Choosing what toiletries to use on your baby is simple if you follow the rule ‘If you wouldn’t let your baby eat it, don’t put it on their skin!’. Your skin is the body’s largest organ and it is estimated that up to 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, where the liver has to then deal with it. Fine if it’s a natural edible ingredient but not so great if it’s something like mineral oil or another chemical, such as propylene glycol whose only function is to make a product ‘feel slippery’ but is actually not very safe.
I’d like to be more green but won’t it cost more? Organic foods are more expensive, aren’t they?
Eating organic food is not the only way to eat green. The most eco friendly food of all is mothers’ breast milk. It doesn’t produce any air miles, is totally unprocessed and is the most natural way to feed your baby. It is also the cheapest food as it’s free. The biggest reason why most women do not start or give up breastfeeding is due to lack of support. There is plenty of support out there if you know who to ask and where to look. Online sites such as Greatvine are a great resource, as are meetings in your local area. When your baby wants solid foods at around 6 months, the easiest way to do that is to allow them to lead the way. Baby led weaning involves giving them the same food that you would eat but in bite sized, unsalted and un-spiced portions. Steamed vegetables, cut up fruits, rice, potatoes are ideal. Make sure you use BpA and PVC free utensils to prepare and store food and to feed your baby with.