As a mom and an environmentalist I try to do my best to balance a very busy schedule with being as environmentally-friendly as possible. I recently submitted some tips of how to be a Green Mana to Green Calgary for their resource guide. Hope you new mamas out there find this useful!
Green Mama tips:
• Being a new mom
Being a new mom is a lot of work. I think you have to decide what’s most important to you and not feel guilty if you can’t do it all. I admittedly use the TV a lot to keep my child distracted if I need to prepare a healthy snack or meal but for me providing good quality food is really important.
• Baby Food
Don’t compromise here. Conventional and store-bought meat and produce contain a lot of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. Processed foods often contain genetically-modified and nutritionally deficient filler ingredients. Buy good quality local organic food and prepare your own baby food. Fresh is best but if you’re pressed for time process a larger amount of baby food and freeze them in ice cube trays for re-heating later. Most families can afford small quantities of organic fruit, veggies, meat and milk. Join a CSA to get organic veggies affordably and join buying clubs for meat and grains if you can’t afford to shop at a health food store or the farmer’s market all the time.
(NB. I have links for a veggie and meat CSA and a bulk grain place if anyone would like this information. Or Slow Food Calgary is an awesome resource for finding local producers too)
We did a cloth diaper service for our first son but found it was quite expensive. We’re expecting another baby soon and bought used cloth diapers off kijiji to save money and save the environment! Start elimination communication early and get a bumbo toilet seat. We started toilet training our son starting at 7 months and even though he wasn’t fully trained until 2.5 years old we did save ourselves a lot of diapers while he got used to using his toilet seat. This made me feel a little less guilty about doing disposable diapers for over a year. J
• When to save and when to spend money
For clothes, toys and books I always go to kijiji.ca or a consignment store before I go looking for stuff in a big box store. It is way more environmentally-friendly to buy good conditioned used stuff than to buy brand new. I think of it as recycling and saving stuff from the landfill! For toys I try to avoid the ubiquitous made-in-China plastic toys that you get at Toys R Us as much as possible and buy environmentally-friendly products from companies that produce high quality wooden toys such as Plan Toys or Melissa and Doug. Great places to find green toys and baby products include Livingstone and Cavell, Edamame Kids, Babes in Arms, Community Natural Foods, and Riva’s Ecostore. Don’t forget about your public library for books and reading programs for all ages… all for $12/year.
Spend money on things like safety (car seat), food (local, organic) and body products. Save money on commodities like clothes, toys and books.
• The essentials for baby’s room or needs
- Wash cloths
- Bummis wet bags
- A high quality wrap or carrier such as Didymos, Ergo or Mei-tai is a must and can replace a bulky stroller or jogger when you’re out for a hike
- Baby bath products and diaper creams that are free of harsh chemicals like parabens (use the Cosmetic Database to get the rating of products)
- Sophie the giraffe or some kind of teething toy
- One rubber bib with a scoop on the bottom for catching food – just wash it after every meal and it replaces the need for multiple cloth bibs that then need to be washed
- Enviro-friendly diaper bag – I love the hemp bags made by Maxwell Designs, a Vancouver based mom who does designer diaper bags and other baby products
• Any other Green Mama advice
Go out for a walk with baby every day when the weather is nice to get some fresh air!