It's taken me years to get my home (and body) less toxic. One anxiety I've had about the upcoming birth of my first concerns the not-so-eco-friendly (yet extremely thoughtful) gestures of love I might receive from friends and family — aka plastic toys containing lead and cadmium or a onesie coated in flame retardant chemicals (PDBEs).
Think ahead and you can steer well-intentioned loved ones in an earth-friendlier direction. Host a "green" baby shower!
Make my simple baby care recipes
Feeling ambitious? Organize a workshop-style shower where guests make two or three nontoxic DIY baby care recipes. You can whip up enough to share and keep some for yourself! I like to give baby shampoo, powder, and butt balm to friends or family leaping into parenthood.
Ask for baby products free of the Dirty Dozen
Are you tired, nursing swollen ankles, and managing back pain (and not game to host a workshop)? Ask guests for baby products free of the Dirty Dozen.
Petrolatum is a common ingredient in baby products and best avoided. It's used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin but this petrochemical can be contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The European Union considers it a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics.
Reuse and coordinate a useful group gift
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Coordinate a useful group gift or collect used baby clothes and comb online classifieds for necessities. I asked family and friends to pass along hand-me-downs or donate towards our eco-friendly crib and used stroller fund.
Asks guests to walk, take transit, or carpool
Sure, you'll want to avoid plastic or paper disposable baby-themed party decorations but here's another doozie: A University of British Columbia study found a correlation between poor air quality and low birth weights.
Between 2001 and 2006, the number of low weight births increased by 17 per cent in Greater Vancouver. Babies born under 2½ kilograms have higher risks of serious health problems. When the women studied lived within 50 metres of a highway, the incidence of smaller newborns went up by 22 per cent, regardless of the mother's socioeconomic status.
Do your part to improve air quality and think twice about how you get around, all the time!
What's your "greenest" baby gift idea?
Comment on this blog for a chance to win Thera Wise diaper ointment and vaporizing rub. Draw date September 3rd.
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green