First things first, Congratulations! Because if you’re here, you are either a new mom or are about to be one! Either way, we wish you all the very best.
The journey of parenting begins from the early days of your pregnancy. Motherhood brings joy and excitement but it also brings a familiar sense of uncertainty.
Am I doing the right thing?’
‘Am I making responsible choices for my baby?’
‘Is this safe for my kid?’
These thoughts play on every parent’s mind, and the last thing you need on top of these worries in your busy lives is the added eco-anxiety. And that’s what we’re here to help you with here!
If you plan on being a planet-friendly parent and prioritising eco-friendly values while raising your next-gen, it’s a good idea to start as early as your pregnancy. Don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it sounds and you don’t have to make complicated lifestyle swaps to get it right. With a few simple changes and mindful moves, you can build a healthy and low-impact lifestyle for your children with ease!
Today, we’ll talk about some sustainable practices that you can adopt in your lifestyle before and post-childbirth.
Healthy Moms Raise Healthy Kids
Let’s begin with the most important point, the diet. The food that mothers eat doesn’t just affect their health, it also has implications for the baby’s health. Hence, it is vital to watch our food intake.
Preservative-free, organic food is a healthy choice for all – adults, children, and the planet. Studies have recommended organic food for expectant and breastfeeding mothers as certain chemicals, synthetics, and additives are known to be endocrine disruptors and may hurt the behavioural development of kids. While studies on this are ongoing, it makes sense to incorporate fresh, preferably organic, and, as much as possible, additives-free food in the diet.
Studies have recommended organic food for expectant and breastfeeding mothers as certain chemicals, synthetics, and additives are known to be endocrine disruptors and may hurt the behavioural development of kids.
Fortunately, this is not difficult anymore. Organic, preservatives-free, and chemical-free food has become easy to source now. Try brands like Organic Tattva and Conscious Foods for your regular stock of flours, pulses, and more. These brands are available across India and can be shopped online. You can also visit your local stores that offer a range of organic food brands, like Adhrish Zero-Waste, Vnya Organics, and Nature’s Basket. For fresh veggies, consider exploring the local farmer’s markets in your city.
You can also turn to the age-old wisdom of the elders in the family. Our traditional ‘pregnancy’ food recipes include organic millets, jaggery, ghee, dry fruits, and other superfoods that offer nourishment as well as satiate those food cravings!
Choose Earth-Friendly Clothing
Several fast-fashion brands offer attractive maternity wear collections. But maternity wear has limited use and, once discarded, will add to the waste as it outlives its purpose.
There are many ways you can avoid this, the first being thrift shopping. The second option is even easier- Sharing! Ask your friends and family who have been recent mothers for their gently used maternity clothes, they would only be too happy to give these away.
But if you must buy new maternity wear, opt for clothes that can be worn even post-pregnancy. Loose cotton kaftans, for example, are usually free-size and can be worn even after you lose that baby tummy!
If you’re making some early preparations for your baby, choose gender-neutral toddler clothes made in soft, organic fabrics. Organic cotton babywear, which often uses plant-based dyes, is free of harsh, nasty chemicals, making it ideal for babies’ tender, sensitive skin. Try homegrown brands like Aagghhoo, Amala Earth, Go Native, Nino Bambino, and Tiny Twig.
Build A Sustainable Selfcare Routine
Small changes in your skincare routine make a huge difference in leading a sustainable lifestyle, before, during, and post-pregnancy. Read the labels on your skin & hair care products, and throw out formulations that are a toxic cocktail of harsh chemicals. Opt for safe, organic, and fragrance-free products that are safe for your and your baby’s health, and are better for the planet.
A lot of new parents also prefer to make their shampoos and soaps using home ingredients. But if you don’t have time for that in the crazy schedule that is a part of bringing up a baby, buy baby-safe products from brands like Bare Necessities, Purecult, Juicy Chemistry, and the like.
More on a safe and clean beauty regimen here.
You may also like to read about your options for sustainable period products and brands here.
Choose Reusable And Biodegradable Diapers
Here are some eye-popping facts. A baby uses around 3000-5000 diapers till the age of 3 and each of these diapers takes around 500 years to completely decompose due to the plastic components and polymers that are used to make them absorbent. Research also suggests that disposable diapers add up to 145 tons of plastic waste by the time your child turns one. This adds up to a staggering amount of non-biodegradable waste!
And it isn’t just baby diapers – Baby wipes alone account for up to 35% of plastic pollution. These wipes contain plastics, alcohol, and chemicals that besides being non-bio-degradable, are harsh for babies’ sensitive skin.
Choose reusable cloth diapers and diapers in organic cotton and bamboo that are soft and gentle on your newborn’s delicate tooshie, as well as easy on your pocket. We love the diapers and baby wipes in organic bamboo by Allter that claim to keep those nasty rashes away and the reusable organic cotton cloth diapers by Super Bottoms. Some other brands you can look up are Bumpadum and Beelittle.
Choosing Plastic-Free Toys
The toys industry is one of the most plastic-intensive industries with an astonishing 90% of toys sold made from plastic.
These plastic toys have heavy metals and chemicals such as Phthalates, Cadmium, Lead, and BPA which can leach out and prove hazardous for kids, especially since babies tend to put them in their mouths. Even teething rings, squeeze toys & bath toys often have toxic chemicals. Besides, most forms of plastics are non-biodegradable, and, as toys get discarded and find their way to landfills, they contaminate the land.
Choosing sustainable toys made in wood, cotton, and crochet is a good idea as these are safe and can be used for years. Several brands offer well-designed, safe, and green toys in India now. Learn more about them here and check out brands like Curious Club, Bloon toys, Wufiy, and Butterfly Fields.
And when your kids outgrow their toys, hand these down to your friends and family or, better still, donate them to the lesser privileged, enhancing their lifecycle and the joy that these toys give.
A Few More Ideas
Here are some more ideas for you to consider as you start adopting sustainable parenting in your lifestyle:
- If you are planning a baby shower, keep it simple with reusable and plastic-free gifts and décor.
- Let your family and friends know what you require so that their gifts are useful and don’t end up as waste.
- Ask around for hand-me-down baby cots, strollers and car seats as these are sturdy, long-lasting items that can also save you a mini fortune. And if they come from a favourite sibling, cousin, or friend, they are priceless!
- If you are setting up the baby’s nursery, make sure the paints on the walls and furniture are free of lead and heavy metals and don’t emit toxic fumes.
- Lastly, if you find the time, look up tips from earth-friendly parents (and of course, right here on The Good Loop!).
We hope that with this sustainability handbook, you feel equipped to welcome your precious bundle of joy into this world with less eco-anxiety. A sustainable parenting style will not only help you stay healthy, and keep your baby healthy, but it will also help in raising aware, sensitive, and eco-conscious children.
Happy Sustainable Parenting!