As even the most successful mothers — and fathers — will testify, raising a child is no cakewalk. As life takes a complete turn, parents often find themselves bang in the midst of a new lifestyle abounding in diapers, vaccinations and all things baby.
One of the biggest challenges of modern parenthood is raising babies in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner.
Image source: Pixabay
Today, parents are spoilt for choice when it comes to baby products. At the same time, chemicals and toxic substances find their way into everything from packaged foods to toys. In the long-run, these can have adverse health effects on children. Besides, who wants a rash on their babies, simply from to a synthetic diaper!
If you are planning to take the sustainable route with your babies, here are some suggestions to make your life simpler.
Say yes to reusable nappies
Reusable cloth diapers by Bumpadum. Source: Facebook
Not only do regular diapers leave babies in rashes, they are also responsible for choking up landfills and adding to global pollution. Opt for eco-friendly diapers that can be reused and disposed responsibly. These eschew synthetic substances in favour of good old cloth or sustainable materials like hemp and bamboo.
For long, reusable diapers were available only from imported brands. Now, a number of startups like offer homegrown options for parents and babies. Bumpadum, founded by former strategy consultant Anuradha Rao, offers reusable cloth diapers, chemical-free absorbers and the cutest colours and prints.
“We help parents leave a better world for their children through our reusable, yet waterproof and easy-to-use cloth diapers, instead of generating 1.5 tons of toxic non-biodegradable waste per child,” Anuradha says. “Our children will no longer have to pay the price for our bad choices, at least as far as diapers go.”
Green clothing is great
Organic kidswear by Mi Dulce An’ya. Source: Facebook
Skin-friendly, conscious clothing is still an emerging segment in India, but a heartening number of brands are now engaging with organic and sustainable resources for kids clothing.
Mi Dulce An’ya is a kidswear brand focusing on certified organic, fair-trade cotton. In addition to clothes, the label also has furnishings on offer. Good Earth, known for its beautiful interior and fashion products also offers eco-friendly kidswear under the label Gumdrops. Forty Red Bangles offers nightwear and casual organic cotton clothes for children; No Nasties will soon launch a kids range too.
Swap packaged foods for healthier options
Organic baby foods by Pristine Organics. Source: Facebook
Packaged foods come with the pitfalls of preservatives and assorted additives. Not only do these dilute the nutritional value of foods, they can also lead to allergies and side-effects. Opt for organic food as much as possible, from vegetables and fruits to grains.
A number of brands today also offer specialised infant foods using natural ingredients. Try Pristine Organics, a conscious foods startup whose 1st Bite range is exclusively for babies. Also switch your regular meals with organic ingredients and grocery staples.
Keep your house toxic-free
Corrugated paper furniture by Jayna Packaging. Source: Youtube
From air fresheners to wall paints, harmful toxins have a sneaky way of entering our homes and lives. Use natural fragrances in the house and, if space permits, a separate room for your baby. Make sure that the walls are topped with non-toxic paints. Opt for natural cleaning detergents and keep chemicals at a comfortable distance from little ones.
Furniture also comes coated in paint and toxins. Opt for natural wood or better yet, choose recycled furniture. Mumbai-based Jayna Packaging creates sturdy furniture from corrugated paper in playful hues and shapes.
Borrow before you buy (or buy seconds)
Image source: Pixabay
You may have heard from parents and grandparents talk about how baby clothes and supplies often passed between relatives and even families. People simply gave away belongings — furnishing, toys, cradles — to the next couple expecting a baby.
While a brand new baby’s corner is appealing, it’s certainly more economical and eco-friendly to reuse things outgrown by older children. Borrow or buy second-hand furniture, give old bedclothes a thorough cleaningand put them to use. Pass them forward when your baby outgrows their use.
What’s in a toy?
Wooden toys by Shumee. Source: Facebook
The answer is, more harmful toxins than you might imagine. As babies tend to put toys in their mouths, they end up ingesting germs and manufacturing waste from mass-produced playthings, which leads to diseases and infections. Not to mention that these toys are usually made from forms of plastics.
Ditch plastic toys for eco-friendly games and introduce your tiny tots to the joys of traditional Indian games. Channapatna, a town in Karnataka is famed for its lacquered wooden toys and we have our own dolls (from all parts of India), rattles and even board games. Brands like Shumee and Desi Toys make such traditional toys accessible via online stores.
Meeta Sharma Gupta, founder of Shumee Toys, says, “We focus on creative and explorative activities to help children discover the natural joys of playing. We primarily work with wood which is eco-friendly and also introduced children to sustainability at an early age.”
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Practice what you preach, resort to recycling and maintain an eco-friendly household. Not only will your babies be raised in a more sustainable way, they will inculcate the same values as well.
Check out Bumpadum on the brand’s official website or get in touch with Anuradha here. For more on Shumee Toys, head to their website or contact Meeta here.
To get in touch with Jayna Packaging email [email protected] Buy Pristine Organics products online and Mi Dulce An’ya via their website.