Gardening

How to have a green baby

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Gardening

How to have a green baby

Tips for a low-toxin pregnancy
Avoid any renovation in your home that disturbs old lead-containing paint (generally painted before 1970).

Reduce your exposure to aluminum by not using aluminum pots or cookware, and don't use deodorant or antiperspirant containing aluminum.

Have any dental work done well in advance of pregnancy and look into the possibility of replacing any amalgam fillings you may have with non-amalgam alternatives.

If you're decorating the new nursery, use plant-based paints with low fumes. Avoid using solvents and fume-emitting adhesives. Better still, talk someone else into doing the hard smelly work. Milk your "delicate" situation for all it's worth!

Avoid hair-colouring products during pregnancy. Most have health warnings on them advising against use by pregnant women.

Eat organic food wherever possible. At the very least buy organic broccoli and grapes in place of non-organic broccoli and grapes. Broccoli and grape crops tend to make high use of pesticides. They also have a large edible surface area, which increases the amount of pesticide residue you finally eat.

Limit your consumption of tuna, fish that dwell on the sea floor and shellfish.

Eat free-range, organic chicken and eggs. Non-organic chickens are often fed synthetic hormones and antibiotics to improve their growth and avoid diseases. Exposure to synthetic hormones can confuse the development of the reproductive organs, while the antibiotics in the chicken and eggs can depress both the mother's and child's immune systems.

Use green cleaners.

Quit smoking (if you are a smoker) and avoid smoky environments. Cigarette smoke is a cocktail of toxic, unhealthy chemicals that are particularly dangerous to both children and pregnant women. Smoking is linked with low-birth-weight babies and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Page 1 of 3 -- Discover why breastfeeding is not only better for baby, but better for the environment too on page 2

 


Excerpted from Greeniology: How to Live Well, Be Green and Make a Difference by Tanya Ha. Copyright 2005 by Tanya Ha. Excerpted with permission by Penguin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Green food preparation
Breastfeeding
For newborns, the best food environmentally, and the healthiest, is breast milk. It has all the nutrients the newborn needs and is easy to make -- you can do it in your sleep! It must also be said that not all women can breastfeed and they shouldn't feel guilty or inadequate. Problems with milk supply, inverted or cracked nipples, having to return to work and many other factors can make a mother unable to breastfeed.

Breast milk is particularly important in the development of a baby's immune system. Children who were breastfed as babies for at least their first six months tend to have lower incidences of allergies and asthma. They also tend to be healthier, as breast milk carries immunity from the mother to the infant.

A common misconception is that women's nipples are not sterile and are therefore dirty, making breastfeeding unhealthy for the child. Breasts do not have to be sterilized. A simple wash with soap in your normal shower is all they need.

Sterilizing bottles and bottle nipples
Sterilization of bottles and bottle nipples, however, is an issue. Even breastfeeding mothers will generally start introducing solid foods into a baby's diet at around four to six months and may want to sterilize plates, bowls and utensils.

There are two basic methods of sterilization. Heat, whether by dry heat, boiling or steam, uses a physical method to kill bacteria. Chemical sterilization uses a chlorine solution (usually sodium hypochlorite) that is toxic to the bacteria to kill them. Sodium hypochlorite for sterilizing infant feeding equipment is sold as water-soluble tablets or as bottles of concentrated solution. This method can't be used with metal objects, as they tend to corrode in the chlorine solution.

It is always better to avoid using chemicals. Chemical sterilization leaves chlorine and dioxin residues, even when rinsed with water. Any concern over the energy used in heat sterilization is far outweighed by the greater concern with dioxins and the health problems they are suspected of contributing to.

To sterilize using heat, the items should be subjected to 95 C heat for around two minutes. Immersing the items in boiling water, or using a steam-sterilizing machine or a microwave sterilization kit, can do this. However, take care with boiling and microwave sterilizing: both can melt some plastic objects. (Learn how to make your own baby food here.)

Page 2 of 3 -- Learn how to raise an earth-conscious toddler with more green living tips on page 3

 


Excerpted from Greeniology: How to Live Well, Be Green and Make a Difference by Tanya Ha. Copyright 2005 by Tanya Ha. Excerpted with permission by Penguin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Feeding older babies and toddlers
As your child gets older, feed him or her healthy food and drink. Use filtered tap water or bottled water for drinking. Try to prepare fresh, organic foods. There is a growing number of brands of prepared organic baby food. Heinz also makes a range of organic baby-food products in addition to its conventional range.

Fresh organic is also becoming more readily available. Many of the large supermarket chains now stock a range of organic produce, pasta and other wheat products.

Recycling rules apply to those tiny jars, bottles and food tins. Rinse them in old washing water and put them in your recycling bin. As with all food preparation, fruit and vegetable scraps can also be composted.

Baby-food jars are great for reusing around the home. They're particularly good for storing small bits and pieces, like spare buttons, paper clips and hairpins. If you're stewing food for a baby, why not use a double boiler and use the steam to sterilize the containers in the top half while the food is cooking?

Doing the laundry
It's amazing how one tiny little person can produce the same amount of dirty laundry as four adults. This then escalates when solid food is introduced -- the adult usually ends up wearing more food than the infant actually eats.

Wash with pure soap flakes or a laundry powder that has a low environmental impact and is phosphate-free. Low-environmental-impact products with no phosphates, optical brighteners or petrochemicals tend to be kinder to the sensitive skin of babies and provoke fewer allergic reactions.

If you're worried about the sanitation of clothing, washing in water heated to 65-95 C will kill most of the bugs. Also, sunlight has a sanitizing and bleaching effect, so if the water is warm, sun-dry your laundry. If you really feel that you must use a diaper soak, again use one without phosphates, and use non-chlorine bleach.

Page 3 of 3

 


Excerpted from Greeniology: How to Live Well, Be Green and Make a Difference by Tanya Ha. Copyright 2005 by Tanya Ha. Excerpted with permission by Penguin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

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How to have a green baby

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