I'm not the expert on this as I do not have children, so any new moms out there please comment and add your tips for how you went green with your baby.
I understand that having and raising children is a personal choice and a personal journey, however, we all need to understand that the choices we make today impact the lives of people years from now. From our consumption of oil to our use of plastics to our disregard for the oceans, we all have a say in how the earth continues to thrive years from now. Many times, we are so quick to say it doesn't impact us now so why should I care? We should care because it impacts our children and grand children.
Here are some ways to help the environment and putting your children into a more environmentally conscious path.
Diapers appear to be the number one challenge when it comes to being green while raising a little one. The options are disposable or cloth. Both have their pros and cons. Whichever diapers you use, it's a personal choice. I remember taking care of my younger sister years ago (we are 13 years apart) and can say that I probably will favor diapers.
With that there are so many diaper alternatives out there. Huggies and Pampers are no longer the only choice. Many new, more eco-friendly companies have come out. I know that Honest and Seventh Generation sell diapers that are more friendly to the environment. Made of less plastic, made of bio based products, uses natural odor blockers and is not chemically processed with chlorine or bleach. Some of these can also be composted to reduce it's impact in landfills.
The alternative to disposable diapers are cloth diapers. It is not necessarily as better on the environment as it takes resources to clean and sterilize the cloth diapers. Some options if you are using this method is to select and use biodegradable and phosphate-free detergent to clean them and reduce the impact on your water and sewage systems.
Clothing & Toys
Babies don't necessarily need that much. They outgrow clothing at such a fast rate. Some options to reduce your impact and your costs is to reuse clothing. Sometimes, baby clothes only get used for a few months and remain in good condition.
The same goes for toys. Majority of toys are plastic unfortunately, but you can reduce the production of new toys by donating and circulating unused toys. Don't leave them untouched in a box in your basement. Another child can use them right away. You do have to be careful and ensure you review each toy for loose parts and clean it properly, but it's a good way to keep them out of landfills and get more use out of them.
Craigslist, ThredUp, eBay, Facebook, and your circle of friends are a great way to find minimally used clothing and toys for your little ones.
If you are buying new, look for clothing and toys that are responsibly made. Made with less chemicals, made with organic materials, made with renewable resources.
It might also be a good idea to limit how much toys you allow into your homes. I've heard of parents asking grandparents and family members that instead of buying toys for their children, contribute instead to a 529 College Savings Account. A good way to start your children on the path of less debt.
We all want what is healthy, especially for children, so an option is to make baby food at home. You save yourself money from having to buy packaged food. Note that the costs of food actually goes to the packaging/marketing so by reducing this, you save some green. Making food does take time, but you do have full control over what goes into it. You control the sugar, the salt and any other ingredients to add. Baby food is also just essentially pureed adult food. If you already have a blender and strainer at home, it's an easy start. There are many resources out there to help you make your first batch of baby food.
It's also a little bit crazy to think that for most of us in our adult life, we have been eating food that has been genetically modified. It's now that we are starting to hear claims of food now being "all white meat", "all natural", etc. What were they made out of before? What have we been ingesting as children for the past 30 years that could affect and damage us in the future.
I am sure there are plenty of other ways to raise children as green as possible. Please post any tips you have for others to use or learn more of.