Green moms, you inspire us. This Mother's Day, we've got cost- and earth-saving tips just for you. For more tips like these, sign up for The Green Life.
Tip #1: Learn how to make organic baby food
Albeit convenient, commercial baby foods are often chock-full of excess salt, sugars, and thickening agents.
Instead of buying the pre-packaged slop, spend a bit more time in the produce section for a cost- and earth-saving solution, which will fill your baby with something better than modified food starch. Here's how:
For additional recipes, Super Baby Food and The Petit Appetit Cookbook are the baby bibles, and if you're still too strapped for time to pull off the puree, there are some companies that are closer to DIY-products than mainstream brands.
Boil water for diced organic vegetables, or bake organic fruit of your choice in a 350 degree oven. (Carrots, frozen or fresh peas, yams, apples, and pears are good and can be combined together or with mashed bananas or avocados for various flavor profiles.)
When the fruit/vegetables are boiled through, strain most of the water out, and allow the fruit/vegetables to cool if you're feeding immediately after.
Use a regular or hand blender to puree them. Strain the puree to remove any seeds or peels.
To store, spoon the puree into ice cube trays, and allow to freeze.
When frozen, move the food cubes into respective labeled and dated ziplock bags. When you're ready, just take your desired cubes and defrost them to the appropriate temperature.
Learn about other ways to involve your kids in environmental activism on The Green Life!
Tip #2: Trade baby gear.
Vintage fashion is in, and there's no reason babies can't take advantage of the trend. Frugalista moms can exchange baby clothing and outgrown gear through online or in-person swap meets. These pocketbook-friendly swaps also help reduce clutter and avoid waste (not to mention the carbon footprint of manufacturing new car seats and baby furniture).
Websites like thredUP and SwapBabyGoods can facilitate the process. If you're feeling gregarious, organize your own champagne- and cupcake-laced night with a few pals and some hand-me-downs.
Bonus: Learn how to dress your baby like an eco-athlete!
Tip #3: Know your diaper options.
One of the most heated discussions in the mommy blogosphere is on the efficacy of cloth diapers -- whether the waste reduction is outweighed by the laundering required and if the clean-up is worth new mothers' already-limited time. To make the debate even more interesting, some moms are ditching diapers altogether.
We asked a few moms to weigh in.
Cloth: Sierra Club employee and green mom Kelly G. opts for cloth diapers, so we asked her to share her story: "Using cloth diapers has been great! We always knew we would go in this direction and it couldn't be easier. Many parents have misconceptions about cloth diapers. I would say if you're thinking about it using them you should at least try it! I highly recommend using a service to help you out for the first few months."
Diaper Free: Actress and green mom Mayim Bialik traded diapers for "elimination communication" with her children. "When I first learned about it I thought I was the craziest thing I’ve ever heard," Bialik told Sierra magazine. "But it’s being talked about a lot more. It’s a diaper-free movement that’s based on the fact that children give signals. It’s a really profound level of communicating with your child. My second son was dry by 11 months." Read the complete interview.
Biodegradable: On-the-go mom Erin B. normally uses Huggies, so we asked her to give compostable diapers a try. Here's what she had to say about the new line of biodegradable diapers from Elements Naturals: "It worked really well. They were very absorbent. I didn't like the material, which felt plastic-y, but the diapers seemed to do the job."
Bonus: Do you remember the Million Baby Crawl?
Tip #4: Ditch the plastic bottle.
Your baby's favorite plastic bottle is harmless, right? Nope. It harbors the nasty compound bisphenol-A (BPA), which is linked to cancer, heart disease, and brain-development problems. When you heat milk in a plastic bottle, it leaches BPA into your child's drink. Plus, it's definitely not green: BPA gets into waterways, stunting fishes' reproduction and development. Protect your baby and our wildlife by opting for a sturdy glass or stainless-steel baby bottle.
Tip #5: Use kid-safe cleaning products.
Expectant mothers should limit their exposure to harmful chemicals, and replacing household cleaning products with DIY or organic, non-toxic options benefits children both before and after birth.
According to Inhabitots, the Environmental Working Group warns that the following toxins should be avoided in baby products: 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-DIOL (or Bronopol), BHA, DMDM Hydantoin, Oxybenzone, Triclosan, Boric Acid and Sodium Borate, Dibutyl Pthalate and Toleune. Those are a lot of ingredients.
A safer list? Make your own cleaners with baking soda, table salt, white vinegar, olive oil, natural soap, lemons, organic essential oils, spray bottles, and natural sponges.
Bring these tips to the car with our guide to DIY windshield wiper fluid!