Eco-Friendly Daycare Exists!

The memory of dropping my five-month-old son off at daycare for the first time on that winter morning still takes my breath away.  As I walked the long gray hallway, I wasn’t sure my arms would be able to surrender him to anyone else.   It felt as if handing this soft-cheeked child off to a stranger would be like cleaving off a part of my body.

When I was eight months pregnant and everything was hypothetical (including the love I’d feel for my newborn), it seemed like a perfectly logical arrangement.  The daycare facility was close to my work, recommended by other families, and certified at all the right levels.  I hadn’t even thought to ask whether they would be willing to use organic food or work with cloth diapers. (To find out why I later decided to use organic food, watch for my upcoming blog “Organic Baby Food on The Cheap”)

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A Green Resolution: Switching to Eco-friendly Toilet Paper

This year, I solemnly resolve to switch from planet-killing conventional toilet paper to eco-friendly recycled toilet paper.  Most of my green practices end up saving me money: buying secondhand, eating lower on the food chain, and conserving electricity.  However, every once in a while my frugality and eco-consciousness conflict.  I just couldn’t fathom spending extra money on something like toilet paper. 

I already avoided buying almost all other paper products, so I figured I was doing enough.  I had this nagging feeling, though, that my T.P. preferences needed to change.  But why?  Would buying recycled toilet paper make much of a difference?  I learned that we wipe out virgin forests by supporting conventional brands.  Read more about it here.
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Fattening Baby, Naturally

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice—just my own experience! 

At my daughter’s one-year appointment, my pediatrician recommended that we increase her weight gain by giving her Pediasure instead of milk.  Considering this same doctor had once suggested feeding our baby Bugles, Pringles, and Lorna Doone cookies just to help her pack on the pounds, my first reaction was very resistant.  After all, I wouldn’t eat those foods—did I really want to start a junk food addiction in my young child? 

I went to the store to check it out, and found that the first three ingredients of Pediasure are water, sugar, and maltodextrin.  So what is maltodextrin, anyway?  It’s a common food additive that can be produced from starch—Pediasure derives theirs from corn.  I’d been careful to feed my baby nothing but organic fruits, grains, and vegetables during her entire first year—it felt like all that care about avoiding unnatural foods would go out the window as soon as she chugged her first bottle of sugary, chocolaty, maltodextriny Pediasure. 
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Baby Rules I Violate in order to Save the Planet

There are some mothers who are up-to-date on all the latest recommendations in pregnancy and child development. These women avoid caffeine and soft cheeses during pregnancy and compliment their child in five different languages when he reaches a new milestone (five months ahead of his peers, no doubt). On the opposite end of the spectrum, we find the parents who, through lack of education and resources, remain ignorant of all the expert opinions in child-minding.

And then there are the parents like me. Parents who know all about the baby rules and regulations touted by medical and safety authorities and blatantly disregard them! Why do I do it? I guess I’m just a renegade, a rebel, a rule-breaker in general. Or . . . maybe I am just lazy. Or . . . I am doing it to save the world! Here are just some of the rules I break out of eco-consciousness:
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Greener Gifts

 

Ever since I was brainwashed by Woodsy Owl and the “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” campaign of the ‘70s, I’ve always been a bit of an environmentalist.  Most of the time my green values have dovetailed rather nicely with my tightwad spirit. But for some reason gift shopping has remained beyond my environmental considerations.

 

Although I get a weird adrenaline rush mining for thrift store treasures, we don’t always have the time to shop secondhand. Plus, I sometimes worry that the gift recipient won’t share my zeal for used goods. In the past, I’ve waited for sales, bought off-season, and just generally bided my time until the right deal came up.

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The Gift Wrap that Keeps on Wrapping

What would Christmas morning be without festive wrapping paper and fancy bows? (“It’s about peace and love and the birth of our Savior!” you answer.) Okay, but stick with me here. I’m talking about every kid’s much-awaited vision of Christmas morning. Will my daughter grow up deprived if I deny her the tearing-up-the-gift-wrap experience that is every American child’s birthright? Oh, she’ll have Christmas gifts aplenty—but this year, I’ve devised some eco-friendly alternatives to disposable gift wrap. If I start this practice before she’s speaking in full sentences, it should be easy, and she’ll never know what she’s missing.
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Preg-Tastic Radio Interview on The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

It was a thrill and an honor to get to share our eco-friendly, budget-friendly message with listeners of Preg-tastic, an online radio show that’s packed with pregnancy resources for expectant parents.  You can listen to it as well!

Also, we wanted to be sure to remind all our readers that the Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with organic cotton giveaway will be going through December 6th.  Make sure to check out our post for all the multiple ways you can enter!