This is a collaborative post.
As time has gone on, eco-living is no longer reserved for the privileged few. Green lifestyles are now more accessible than ever, and with the environment at the forefront of their minds, many parents are considering big changes. When you bring a child into the world, they become the centre of your universe. It is difficult in fact, to think of anything thing else nearly as important. However, the world your child will grow up in is in a state of crisis. It is up to current generations to pave the way in tackling climate change. By making lifestyle changes ourselves and raising responsible, environmentally conscious children, we will make a huge difference to the planet’s well-being. Read on to find out how you could take on a greener parenting style and contribute to the environmental effort.
A green diet
Your child’s diet is of the utmost importance — both to them and to the planet. Breastfeeding is the best way to begin your eco journey. As this method negates the need for packaging and transportation, it is the most environmentally friendly way to provide your baby with the sustenance they need. Breastfeeding also means that you don’t need to use baby bottles, which are usually plastic and therefore damaging. In addition, baby bottles often contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), an artificial oestrogen that can be found in plastic products, so avoiding them is useful. Of course, breastfeeding isn’t an easy option for many new mums and bottled milk is a necessity. But, for those who have the option of breastfeeding, it is highly recommended.
As your baby gets a bit older, you will start thinking about other food sources. Given the option, try and choose organic baby food or even consider making your own. It may seem like an effort but making your own baby food is actually very straightforward. What’s more, you will know exactly what has gone into it and gain a greater understanding of your baby’s nutritional needs. Most vegetables will work well, including peas, carrots, squash, or avocado for healthy fat. Cook the vegetables well and blend them in a food processor — Bon Appétit! You can then freeze the baby food in ice cube trays so you can de-frost a small amount at a time when your little one needs it.
Reusable nappies and wipes
The UK throws away around eight million disposable nappies every day, an easily avoidable cause of waste. This is a real pressure point when it comes to green parenting. If you are able to switch to reusable nappies, your environmental footprint would decrease drastically, and you have far less waste to account for.
Another key product are reusable baby wipes are along the same theme. Try not to buy disposable baby wipes, or at least choose an eco-friendly, biodegradable range.
Another way to raise an eco-friendly family is to give your child eco-friendly toys. Avoid plastic playthings that will inevitably be thrown away. Choose long-lasting wooden toys instead, or cloth toys that are biodegradable. As well as being beneficial to the environment, these toys will be more hardwearing and could therefore be passed down if you have any more children.
The source of your child’s clothing is another big consideration. Choose brands that offer fair-trade, organic materials and avoid fast fashion outlets. You could even go one step further for the environment and buy your children’s clothes second hand. Many charity shops specialise in products for kids and babies. Charities such as the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) also run ‘nearly new sales’ in which you can buy baby clothes from fellow parents for a fraction of the price while raising money for charity.
As well as avoiding or buying specific products, there are plenty of small changes your family could make for the sake of the environment. If you live near your child’s school or playgroup for example, you could avoid driving and take up a healthy walking routine. Balance bikes are another fun option for your child to get about, or use all terrain push chairs for a nice stroll.
In the evening after your respective school or workdays, share bath times rather than having individual baths and showers. This is a great way to feel close to your little one while also saving water.
Set an example
The most important element of raising an eco-friendly family is setting a shining example. If you raise kids to understand and care about the environment, they will carry on leading an eco-friendly life into adulthood. This can be achieved by leading your best eco-friendly life: recycle, avoid using the car, choose plant-based diets, and buy organic produce. Educate your children and get them involved in environmental programmes such as forest schools. The better educated they are about their environmental impact, the smaller it will be!