The Friday Question: Why did you go green with baby?

go green with babyWere you worried about environmental toxins lurking in the Lysol, baby’s dirty diapers filing local landfills, or blinking plastic toys threatening to take over your household?  Were you motivated by family and friends or did they challenge your attempts to be an eco-conscious parent?

We’re very interested in what makes expectant families go green because the lure of mainstream baby rearing with its hoards of innovative gadgets and convenient products can be hard to evade when you’re nervous about the transition to parenthood.  When did you decide that you’d like to be a conscientious consumer or even less of a consumer?

When we were both pregnant at the same time, Rebecca and I typed flurries of frantic emails to each other trying to figure out how to use cloth diapers and make our own baby food.  Everyone else thought our cutting edge environmental parenting was a bit kooky, but with the support of each other (a two person green parenting community that has now been joined by all of you!) we took the plunge.  It was far less adventurous and much more fun that we ever expected to be eco-friendly parents.

What is your motivation? Do you face resistance or enjoy support? Please share so that other new parents can be a part of the online green community! (And remember that our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet, is packed with everything we have learned in our journey as green moms!)

Comments

  1. I was green pre-baby but when we knew our son was coming, I took it to a new level! Surprisingly, alot of my friends with little ones or who were pregnant were into BPA free stuff and cloth diapering even though they weren’t necessarily “green” people. I guess BPA really started to get well known and they liked to cloth diaper because of the cost savings. My extended family and in-laws sometimes criticize me and think I’m a freak but I just tell them “you did your thing with your kids now its time to do it my way. Its not wrong, its just different from what you did”.

  2. We went green partly out of our desire to avoid potentially harmful chemicals, partly out of our desire to help the environment, and partly because we’re cheapska…. uh, *frugal*. So before I was even pregnant we had made a lot of small moves like switching to compact flourescent lightbulbs and using green cleaners both of which are greener and save money (a gallon jug of vinegar is a lot cheaper that 10 different specialty cleaners). We’ve also been interested in issues surrounding food politics for several years – we’ve joined CSAs, shop the farmer’s market religiously, and have a large organic garden. Not only are we largely avoiding pesticides and other chemicals in our foods (a WIN for both us and the environment), we’re also getting better nutrition because research suggests that organically-raised foods are higher in nutrients and lower in fat. And since we cook a lot of meals and buy straight from farmers our food spending is equal to (or less) than that of our industrial-food-eating peers.

    Getting pregnant did put our green efforts into overdrive. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a PhD student with a minor in developmental psychology so I know the kind of physical and neurological effects that hormones and chemicals can have on a developing baby. I also know enough history to see how often we have been wrong about the safety of chemicals – the morning sickness medication Thalidomide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide), for example. So we’ve gotten a lot more serious about eating organic food and avoiding chemicals. I’m due in 2 weeks (yay!) and we plan on continuing this as she gets older.

  3. Karla Carnahan says:

    I made the choice to go green many years ago. I can’t remember a defining moment that really sparked my interest though… I guess it was when I started nursing school. I was learning all of the complex and intricate systems that make up our bodies and how a simple shift in equilibrium can cause mayhem! Not to mention, I was learning developmental psychology and how every single chemical/hormone has the potential to alter a fetus forever. I really became physically aware of everything I was taking in and putting out.

    So that was the reason for my desire to change internally, but I think my desire to watch my carbon footprint came from a flight I took about 7 years ago. I distinctly remember flying into JFK from Chicago on a beautiful, clear day. As we got closer to New York City and started to descend, I could see the city starting to come into focus. What I saw was appalling! The city literally looked like a cancer growing on what was once a perfect and pure shoreline! Granted the shoreline hasn’t been perfect for almost a hundred years but that almost makes me feel worse. I felt terrible to be a human in that moment! I think it was then that my view of the way I treat our environment started to turn and I wanted to do my part to go green.

    As far as having a green pregnancy goes, I have a sister-in-law in Arizona and a best friend in Southern Ohio that both had babies in early 2008. My sister-in-law was born and raised in Ickleton, England and everyone in her family is very eco-friendly (I have found that the UK as a whole are far more eco-friendly than Americans). My best friend is what most people would call a modern day hippie but I just call her beautiful and she also is very eco-friendly. When I found out I was pregnant in March of 2009 I knew straight away that I was going to have a natural pregnancy and an eco-friendly baby! I already live my life as naturally as possible. I shop at the natural foods store, reduce, reuse, recycle, I have a compost and a garden, we buy as many recycled products as possible… this list could go on forever, so why not cloth diaper as well? So as I started my research into home birth and water birth, I also started my journey to find as much info as possible about cloth diapering. I contacted my two eco-friendly best friends and got as much advice as I could from them. One of them used prefolds and the other used and assortment of AIO, AI2, Fitteds, and Perfect fits. I gave birth to our son at the end of December and besides using one package of disposables that we received from a friend I have been all in on cloth diapers and LOVING IT!

  4. Karla Carnahan says:

    As a side note, most of my family and friends thought I had gone off the plot when I said I wanted a drug-free delivery and that we would be using cloth diapers only. Believe it or not, I even caught some sideways looks from people when I said I’d be breast-feeding! And here I was under the impression that breast-feeding was finally a socially acceptable norm.

  5. We’ve been green for a while, for health, environmental, and frugal reasons. (its a win-win-WIN) and now that little Josh is coming, it just feels like we are adding new green strategies to our toolbox: cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural childbirth, and lots of hand-me-downs and second hand stuff for the baby. Yup, we get looks. The grandparents keep telling me that I won’t last with cloth diapering, and my friends (who haven’t had kids yet, I’m the first) are aghast that I would have a natural birth. But their idea of birth is ‘rush to the hospital, pant and scream a lot, and have a baby’ ala any Hollywood film, so I don’t blame them too much.

    I did think that most of my choices would be well received, so its been surprising to see that my family and friends think I’m a little weird. But its cool – I tell them why I’ve made the choices I’ve made, and that little bit of education seems to be enough for them. Hopefully it’ll stay that way once the baby comes.

  6. Easy, I was green pre-baby. My academic field is working on behalf of the environment, I was raised green when green wasn’t chic – it was a lifestyle my parents believed in without knowing (e.g. homemade household cleaners, living minimally), and when I graduated undergrad I took a “green pledge” before I accepted my diploma. It is a lifestyle.

  7. Jennifer Lovitt says:

    I started out wanting to use cloth diapers and make baby food and all those things not really to be green but just out of a gut instinct that these things would be better for my son. I did a lot of research while I was pregnant that confirmed my instincts and in the course of that research, I learned more about chemicals in cleaners and dioxin exposure and BPA, etc. The little things I wanted for him led to bigger ones and now I’m doing all I can!

  8. #1 Health concerns
    #2 Environmental concerns

    I am very wary of all the untested chemicals in everything these days. But I didn’t think about it much until I had a baby and started wondering about the safety of everyday products.

  9. The main reasons I do anything “green” (breastfeeding, making babyfood, nautral cleaning products, borrowing or buying used baby clothes and gear, etc) is mostly for health and cost reasons, but I am really glad for the environmental benefits.

  10. I went green with my babies beacuse after having them I couldnt stop thinking about what we would be leaving them. The earth and water and all that pollution. I just didnt feel as though I could ignore the problem.

  11. I’ve always been eco-conscious, but not very strict with myself until moving to a third-world country and seeing how everything gets re-used because people can’t afford to buy anything. It changed our perspective on consumerism and the amount of garbage we generate. We don’t want to be adding any more garbage than we have to. I can’t even imagine what would happen to dirty disposable diapers here, because most of the trash is burned.

    I’m pregnant now with our first child and dreading the amount of stuff people will give us. We loathe plastic toys. Plus we move around a lot and it’s a hassle to drag stuff around with us.

  12. I’m going green with my first (in the oven!) because I simply cannot afford otherwise. I looked into the cloth versus disposable debate and simply the finances are what hooked my husband and I. Personally, I like the greener lifestyle in general due to my own allergies, but for both of us the big issue is finances. We are getting as much as possible second hand or making it ourselves. I will put in the time to make all of the baby food and I will teach him how to use a snappi and a cloth diaper. I don’t care. If it saves us money that we can put towards keeping our house and keeping us fed then that is what does it.

  13. ilovehavarti says:

    Mostly, I did it for my health and the health of my baby. Why would I jeopardize the health of my child, and myself for that matter. I’m a new mom and need to start taking care of myself, my child and the world she grows up in. Pregnancy was a great spot to start being green. Here’s some good reasons too,

    http://www.fourgreensteps.com/infozone/featured-zone/nine-green-months-your-healthiest-eco-friendly-pregnancy

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