Picture: Pexels

What greater inspiration is there for taking better care of the environment than becoming a parent?

Having children opens your eyes to the reality that your actions have the capacity to reverberate over the generations to come. With the startling effects of pollution and landfills making an appearance in everyday life, parents are looking to go green by having “eco babies” - children raised in a manner that is mindful about making as small an impact on the environment as possible.

Here are simple ways parents can get on board:

Feeding

Breastfeeding, when possible, is the best option for mother, baby and the environment. After all, nourishing a baby this way does not waste scarce resources or generate pollution.

With breastmilk being the equivalent of liquid gold to moms, even a single drop wasted can be heartbreaking. When storing breastmilk, opt for glass containers as they are reusable and won’t be thrown away after each use like many plastic items, this results in less plastic waste going into the the landfills. Use containers that are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe as these are more durable and will last longer compared to silicone or plastic. Watertight and airtight lids are a must for keeping the contents fresh and safe for consumption.

Choose homemade over store bought. Making and storing your own baby food means you’re actively aiding in reducing the demand for processed baby food, along with the excess packaging. Homemade is also the perfect option for parents who want to know exactly what goes into their baby’s mouth. 

The Baby Bullet System allows you to steam and blend fresh vegetables, soft fruits and even make grain cereals using its compact mini blender. Pour your purées into the cups and set the date — this way you'll never have to second guess the freshness of your homemade baby food.

Available on yuppiechef.com for R1599. Code: 690-000006

Clothes

Fast fashion breeds a desire for cheap clothes. However, these items are often the result of low-wage manufacturing in poor countries. Clothes are no longer seen as valuable possessions, but rather disposable items that are thrown out at the end of the season. Fortunately, more and more clothing brands are supporting conservation of natural resources with the aim of making as small an impact on nature as possible. 

Adorable onesie from The Earth Collection (theearthcollection.co.za) .

The Earth Collection sources materials from sustainable and ethical farms, keeping eco-friendly standards high when they manufacture their clothing. Their ranges include top-quality, classic and durable clothing for women, men and children. Their website, states: “We believe that we must take care of not only our country’s beauty but also that of the world.”

Since baby’s grow alarmingly fast, all those adorable onesies from your baby shower might not even get to be worn more than once (if at all). Save baby’s clothes for the next child in your family or swap with friends rather than buying new. 

Toys

Much like clothes, toys can be handed down to future generations. However, the lifespan of cheaply made plastic toys isn’t longer than a few weeks, or minutes in some instances. The options for recycling plastic toys are limited as they are typically composed of various other materials too, often metals. The recyclable components can’t be separated and are therefore banned from recycling centers and bins.

Wooden toys or plush toys made from organic materials are both better options for the environment. Whether it’s because of the durability or the fact that wood doesn’t shatter posing as a potential threat to children, parents are looking to replace plastic toys with wooden one's made from sustainably harvested resources. According to Pinterest, saved pins for "wooden toys" increased by 173 percent, in 2017. Natural toys extend beyond brown building blocks - everything from puzzles, board games, painted trains and colourful figurines are available too.  

Wooden toy house and figurines by Faithful To Nature.

Faithful To Nature is an online store based in South Africa that sells natural and organic products in broad range of categories including beauty, lifestyle, home and kids. Their website states that they have checked every single product to be sure that it really is as green and as safe.

Visit www.faithful-to-nature.co.za to view their website and browse the available products.

Nappies

Taking about 450 years to decompose, disposable nappies add to the  the untreated waste accumulating in landfills that contaminate groundwater. With only 10% of an estimated 59 million tonnes of the general waste produced in South Africa in 2011 getting recycled (National Waste Information Baseline Report published by the Department of Environmental Affairs), the case for reusable nappies being the kinder option for the environment is evident.  

Gone are the days of pinning cloth nappies onto wriggling babies, and anxiously checking for leaks. Reusable nappies, with adorable designs and easy snap on buttons, have been created to suit the needs of a modern mom and the comforts of an eco baby.  

Reusable nappies now come in a range of cool designs and patterns. By Bam+Boo.

Bam+Boo, based in Westville, have a line of reusable nappies available for order online. Believing in quality, convenience and style,  their website, bamboobaby.co.za, shares that they have over seven years knowledge and experience in the South African modern cloth nappy market.