Raising a green baby
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009 | 11:29 AM AT
Image courtesy of The Daily Green.
For too many families, the patter of little feet can mean an oversize eco-footprint. For many families, the patter of little feet can mean an oversize eco-footprint. But in this climate of economic recession, more and more parents are rethinking the way they bring up their kids. Especially babies--who can be rather expensive to feed and entertain! Not so at the Ayalon-McGuire residence. Rotem Ayalon, a long time CBC Radio One listener (and mum to 8-month-old Dahlia) shares her favourite tips and suggestions for raising an eco-friendly munchkin.
And don't worry, this isn't a piece about washable diapers (although they are unequivocally the greenest option in this province). But if you already know about washable diapers (or have decided they're not for you), here are some other ways to push the green envelope (while saving cash for the kid's college fund)
Image courtesy E-how
Rotem's "Made with Love" Hand and Baby lotion
Makes 15 1ounce jars of lotion (plenty to share with friends!)
2/3 cup grapeseed oil or almond oil
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp cocoa butter or shea butter
1 tbsp beeswax
To make the oil base:
Heat the ingredients until warm and melted using a double boiler. If you don't own a double boiler, you can fashion one using a pyrex measuring cup or mason jar and a regular cooking pot. Fill the cooking pot about 1/3 full of water and put all your ingredients in the pyrex cup or mason jar. Then place the jar in the pot of water (making sure the water doesn't overflow into the jar). Then heat until all your ingredients have melted.
1/3 cup of distilled water or rose water
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
20 drops vitamin E oil (if you can't find drops, use capsules from the pharmacy)
5 drops essential oil of your choice (lavendar, rose, and sweet orange are favourites)
Mixing the lotion:
Mix the water base ingredients in a blender. Slowly add the oil base while the blender is still working. Whip till the mix is white and creamy.
For other fun handmade lotion recipes, try this link. Remember to always do a patch test. Just because something's natural and brilliant for someone else's skin or hair doesn't mean it'll work for you.
Also, while on the subject of making your own organic cosmetics, can I please share my ABSOLUTE favourite?
It's hands down Stephanie Tourles "Organic Body Care Recipes"
It's chock full of easy to make, divine recipes for all the family. They also make fabulous gifts for birthdays, showers and to cheer up sick loved ones while they heal.
The following recipe comes from wholesomebabyfood.com
5-10 large apples (try Macintosh, Gala or Braeburn!)
1. Peel, core and cut apple into slices/chunks
2. Place slices or chunks into a pan with just enough water to slightly cover apples
3. Boil/steam until tender; be sure to check on the water level and stir. That's it!
4. Apples may be mashed with a potato masher to achieve a smooth applesauce consistency. If your masher will not achieve a puree type of consistency, then follow steps 5 - 7
5. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the apples
6. Place into your choice of appliance for pureeing and begin pureeing.
7. Add the reserved water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin puree
8. Add cereal (if desired) to thicken up the sauce
9. Ask your pediatrician about adding some cinnamon for new tastes!
HINT! You may also buy an "Adult" jar of "natural organic" applesauce from your local grocers! Make sure you buy the right kind however! Read the labels if you are unsure. The only ingredients should be apples and water or just apples! A few companies may add ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or citric acid to their Natural Applesauce; this is fine!
Moving along, here are some other great ways to help baby be green:
Image courtesy nicki3 on etsy.com
Washable Baby wipes
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we didn't have to buy so many disposable wipes? Not only would the planet benefit from less waste (and plastic wrapping), but we wouldn't need to spend nearly as much money every week. Rotem has a friend who made her a set of washable wipes as a shower present (great idea! I'm SO co-opting it!). They're really easy to make. Simple buy a couple of sheets from a thrift store (or use old cotton T-shirts you may have in the house) and hem the sides with a sewing machine. Your friendly neighbourhood tailor should be able to do this for you for a nominal fee, if you're not the crafty type. Bamboo, with its natural anti-bacterial properties is a great choice for this use.
Rotem's tip: Keep a thermos of water by your change table to wet the wipes. And then simply toss in the diaper pail (or create one for wipes if you haven't yet committed to washable diapers). Wash with regular laundry--or make enough that you only have to do the laundry a couple of times a week and have enough to keep in circulation!
For outdoor changes: You can wet a set of wipes and store them in a mason jar or baggie for trips to the park or mall.
And finally, toys!
You see those cupcakes? They all made from recycled felt! And they're handmade by Palm Tree Princess on Etsy.com
Now PT Princess lives in Hawaii, but it's this sort of toy that I wanted to illustrate: handmade, recycled... ideally local.
Rotem and Dahlia's tips for toys:
1. Don't buy: Most of the best toys are previously loved ones. Most mums have access to other mums with older kids who are more than happy to pass on outgrown toys. Dahlia loves these!
2. If buying, buy local: Grandparents and other family members may greatly desire to spoil your little one. Don't be a party pooper. Instead, insist that they AVOID PLASTIC and instead buy local, handmade toys made from organic cotton, wood and recycled materials. By doing this, you're not only suporting your local economy (important during a recession), but you're often helping a small artist (usually a mum herself) do something she loves while staying home with her children.
3. Everything's a toy! Obviously you have to be careful what you give an infant or toddler, but many household items (spoons, cardboard boxes, stuffed single socks) are endlessly fascinating for kids. Be creative. Brightly coloured plastic ISN'T the only or best way to stimulate little minds. Help baby play pattycake with pillows or teethe on an organic apple. She'll be thrilled and you'll save precious dollars (and landfill space)... not to mention the planet for her future use.
4. Make your own: This tip is only for the crafty among us who actually dig this sort of thing. But if you're a knitter or like sewing, check out this link from Canadian Living Magazine. Plus, there's tons of great knitted and crocheted toy pattern books up for sale online. And there's this fabulous blog that I highly recommend.
Okay, so your turn. If you're a parent (or are thinking about becoming one), what tips do you have for saving money and the planet?
Leave me a comment or call the Talkback Line: (514) 597-5626
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