Mother Daughter Outdoor Fun
Eco-Mamas-to-be can do a lot to green their baby’s world. Here’s how:
Your clothes and your baby’s clothes are like a second skin. They go where you go. Dyes transfer from fabric into your skin, and from your skin to baby during breastfeeding. And when baby touches your clothes and hers, it matters all the more that fabrics are safe.
Look closely at clothing labels, ask shop assistants or do some research online to find maternity wear stores that adhere to a high safety standard with their fabrics and dyes. For example, Mamaway eco-friendly fabrics are pH-balanced to be in harmony with your skin. Their dyes are not fixed with formaldehyde, carry no fluorescent particles and come pre-washed to rinse out excess dye, without detergents or artificial softeners. That leaves the fabric’s natural softness to you.
In an age of plastic, a desire for natural toys is starting to emerge. An old-fashioned answer to this new-fashioned quest is natural rubber. Remember rubber balls? Rubber is becoming a star again as a 100% safe and biodegradable alternative to synthetic PVC. Rubber is a product of the Hevea tree, which makes it a renewable resource. Kimbee.com.au sells a range of soft but sturdy sensory rubber toys, free of potentially harmful BPA and phthalates and nitrosamine. And they’re coloured with non-toxic vegetable dyes!
If you are not convinced that fire-retardants in sleepwear are non-toxic, minimise fire risk with snug-fitting organic cotton clothes. PJs that fit at wrists, ankles and around the waist, with no trailing trim, are less likely to catch fire. Less oxygen between clothing and skin inhibits flame, too.
It’s not just sleepwear that may be unsafe. Rachel Sarnoff, founder of EcoStiletto and Executive Director/CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, said that flame-retardant cot mattresses have been linked to ADD and autism. To be on the safe side, opt for wool, rubber and soybean foam mattresses. If an organic mattress is outside your budget, an organic cotton overlay and sheets can be the answer. Over the sheets, lay a woven bamboo blanket. They are surprisingly soft, safe and sustainable! Even better, bamboo’s in-built qualities protect baby against bacteria, mould and smells.
It’s not just with their children’s sleepwear and bedlinen that eco-parents can make earth-friendly choices. Bedroom furniture and accessories manufacturers are responding to a desire for natural living with a great array of organic or non-toxic products. Look for change tables and high-chairs from sustainable forests. You can cheat landfill with baby baths and potties in bio-degradable BPA-free plastic. Did you know that even bassinets and cots come in recyclable cardboard?
You can still go green on the go. Accessories like change-table pads feature organic cotton non-toxic liners over a safe, BPA-free polyethylene padding. A nappy bag of hemp, organic cotton, or even recycled plastic bottles cares for you and the environment at the same time. Some nappy bags can contain PVC or lead in their plastic lining so look for bags without these toxins. And as for that bugbear of eco-conscious mothers, disposable nappies, solutions are on the way. Try a re-usable breathable water-proof outer layer pant with a biodegradable liner. It’s a great blend of eco-sense and convenience.
Don’t forget your furniture! Six to eight breastfeeding sessions a day adds up to a lot of time in the breastfeeding chair. Breast-feeding armchairs now come specially made in non-toxic, organic cotton covers over a sustainable hardwood frame and foams that are formaldehyde-free and BPA-free. If baby is going to lie on a nursing pillow to feed, opt for an organic cotton variety.
Drink and Eat Natural
Plastic baby bottles containing Bisphenol-A, or BPA, are carcinogenic to children, and can be estrogenic – meaning they could disrupt a baby’s developing reproductive system. Reassuringly, there are alternatives. Bottles containing polypropylene or polyethylene do not appear to leach endocrine system disruptors or carcinogens. Glass is a time-tested material too, as is stainless steel. Glass baby bottles are readily available, just remember to stand them in hot water to heat them gently, as microwaves can cause glass to splinter. Sippy cups come in steel, too, in bright and fun colours.
If you can’t afford organic food, buy fruit and vegetables you can peel, like bananas and potatoes. Many chemicals sit on the food’s skin, so peeling is a cost-free way to lose a lot of chemicals, fast.
Cook and Clean Natural
Cookware of pure elements like iron, copper and steel is the best choice. Man-made ‘brand’ compounds can break apart during cooking into potential carcinogens. Heating food in plastic dishes speeds up the transfer of carcinogenic molecules, so always use glass or ceramics instead.
Eco-conscious parents know the value of a clean environment. Yet, ironically, an American study found the air inside houses was dirtier than fresh air due to household cleaning chemicals. That’s a good reason to stick to the baking-soda-and-vinegar variety of household cleansers. A high-tech route to clean air in your home is to install an air filter in your air-conditioning system, or to take a portable air filter from kitchen to living room to baby’s bedroom. However, research suggests one of the most effective methods to clean air is low-tech – just fling open those windows!
One last tip. Go bare. A simple step like taking off your shoes will stop dirt, insecticides and pollutants tracking over the floors baby crawls on.
Bio: Mamaway was created by Deborah Liu, a Mum just like you. During her first pregnancy and when trying to breastfeed, Deborah struggled to find clothes that were comfortable, looked good and made breastfeeding easy. Deborah decided to take on the challenge and created what you see now as Mamaway. After opening 40 stores in Taiwan – and having 2 more children – she brought her passion for maternity and breastfeeding clothes to Australia. Deborah continues her passion for Motherhood, by sharing advice to expectant and new parents.
Thank you Laura Evans for this guest post Mamaway.