Photo: How to have a green baby shower

Avoid plastic baby shower decorations. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

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

Subscribe to the Queen of Green digest

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

August 5, 2012

Read more

Post a comment


Oct 09, 2015
4:35 AM

Baby shower is a great event for the new mother and of course for the newborn. Family tries arranging the best they can to make the event successful. Here your tips are quite useful! Thanks for sharing it. Just four simple steps for a memorable event! Baby shower gifts:

Jul 30, 2013
5:48 AM

If you want to multiply the fun and happiness of celebrating a charming mary poppins baby shower, you should not forget to include several games, along with diverse food items.

Sep 07, 2012
2:28 AM

my favourite baby gift is a reusable swim diaper.

Aug 20, 2012
11:46 AM

I've had 2/3 baby showers for our little one due in October, and everyone has been very good at sticking to the no-plastic, low-impact, toxin-free guidelines we set out! It was easy with our friends (there was a garden theme for the shower, with gluten-free, organic, vegan, chocolate, sugar-free cupcakes with little shovels in them and a "growing" mint sprig), but even our families are pretty understanding. We got lots of second-hand onesies and books, knitted and quilted sweaters, toys and blankets, plus new clothing items were usually organic, and I'm most excited about the second-hand bike trailer we'll be getting at the last shower along with a load of cloth diapers!

It helped to send out a note about our green lifestyle with the invitations, and also my registry was at a store that focuses on eco-friendly products, so people knew what I was looking for!

Aug 17, 2012
5:58 PM

I wish more people would think this way …. So much of what is given at showers is just extra stuff and not really used or needed ….. Let's go back to simple and safe ….. Help the world around us

Aug 17, 2012
2:22 PM

The greenest gift I ever got was a bundle of plain flannel squares that someone had serger stitched the outside edges of.

They were diapers for nearly two years, and they're still hard at work as towels in my linen closet.

Aug 13, 2012
8:36 PM

I often wonder how we got to this point as a society — where so many of the things surrounding our little ones are potentially dangerous. Thanks for the helpful warnings and tips.

Aug 11, 2012
11:19 PM

Well, with that you gave me a good idea as I've so many things in mind as a gift for baby shower. This time I want something unique but worthy enough to give as a present.

Feather Baby

Aug 09, 2012
2:01 PM

Hello Floribeth, Here's my answer about borax Note: there is no borax in my baby care recipes.

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

Aug 08, 2012
10:24 AM

I read about borax safety earth group comments I wonder if safe for the cleaning recepies the queen has made and also in some soap granules like VIP has borax in ,I am doing my on laundry soap and I want some advice to how to use

Aug 07, 2012
6:15 PM

My new favourite baby gift is a reusable swim diaper. Most people don't even know they exist, but one swim diaper can be used over and over again for the same price as a package of disposables.

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »