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10 Tips for Raising Your Baby Green!

12/19/2009 at 05:00 PM ET
Healthy Child, Healthy World

Ever since becoming a mom to Harlow and Sparrow, Nicole Richie has been making an effort to make her home as eco-friendly and baby safe as possible — and she’s using Hollywood-approved Healthy Child, Healthy World as her guide.

Written by eco-expert Christopher Gavigan (and husband of Grey’s Anatomy Jessica Capshaw), the book boasts loads of A-list fans including Kate Hudson, Brooke Shields and Michelle Obama. Plus, it’s chock full of easy-to-follow steps and solutions to create a safe, eco-friendly home. Added bonus: Meryl Streep wrote the forward.

CBB had the opportunity to chat with Gavigan about his book and his non-profit organization, Healthy Child, and he had lots to share. Committed to helping parents raise healthy kids in this increasingly toxic world, the author shared his top ten tips for raising your baby green.

Check them out below!

1. Eat healthy. Opt for organic whenever possible and avoid the most contaminated conventionally grown produce: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears. Children can learn to love fruits and vegetables early but make sure they’re safe choices.

2. Drink plenty of pure water. Plastic bottled water is totally passé. It’s over-priced, over packaged, and not necessarily cleaner than tap. Invest in a water filter and reusable stainless steel water bottles for when you’re out and about with thirsty kids.

3. Take care without chemicals. Personal care products like bubble bath and lotions are filled with questionable chemicals. Eliminate or reduce as many products as you can — especially those with strong fragrances or perfume. You can also reduce your exposure by using natural ingredients: either purchase organic body care products or make your own (plain olive oil makes a great skin moisturizer). Babies skin is particularly sensitve so choose wisely.

4. Keep your nest the greenest clean. Look for natural cleaners (read labels to make sure) or save a few bucks by making your own. Baking soda is great for scouring. Vinegar diluted with water cleans windows and countertops (killing bacteria and odors, as well). These small and inexpensive changes will keep your kids safer at home.

5. Breathe clean air. In the winter children are in the house more so make sure your air is fresh. According to the US EPA, indoor air is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. In addition, to using safer products, open your windows for a few minutes every day to let in some fresh air. Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filtered vacuum. Growing plants can also help clean your air.

6. Take playtime back to the basics. Simplicity is better for your child’s imagination, intellect, and health — and, yes, much better for the planet. Stick to toys made from natural materials like solid wood and organic textiles. Use items you already own as play things — cookware drums, sock puppets, and homemade play dough.

7. Ban bugs and whack weeds using common sense instead of chemicals. Find safer alternatives like keeping your house clean to prevent indoor bug and rodent problems. Too late for prevention? Visit BeyondPesticides.org for safer methods to address almost any pest issue. Floors and lawns are natural habitats for kids so make sure they’re chemical free.

8. Buy less stuff. If you buy less stuff you are reducing your exposure to chemicals that off-gas from most new products. Consider buying the things you need from second hand sources. Give something old a new look with organic textiles or no-VOC paint. Just be sure that you don’t buy things that may have lead paint or may be molding (give it a good whiff). Also, for children’s items, look into the latest safety standards and recalls at CPSC.gov.

9. Don’t eat your dust. Take off your shoes before entering your home. Dust and wet mop regularly. And, wash hands regularly (no need for antibacterials, soap and water work just fine). Think about all the time that toddlers and infants spend on your floors.

10. Be happy. Emotional health is just as important as physical health, so remember to laugh and smile – a lot. Don’t get neurotic because it will only weaken your system and make it less capable of fighting off the toxic assault of modern living. Do your best and at the end of the day (or anytime you feel like it) to cuddle, play, tickle, laugh, love, and breathe with your kids. They’ll be healthier and happier if you are too.

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Showing 15 comments

Karen Gromada on

Number 1 on this list should be “BREASTFEED”! I can’t believe it didn’t even make the top 10! The majority of women can breastfeed, and the natural resources saved plus the decrease in greenhouse gases and emissions from the production, processing, packaging and transportation of infant formula and related feeding products is incalculable! See http://www.babygooroo.com/index.php/2008/07/02/breastfeeding-the-original-“environmentally-safe”-resource/ And many of us also followed the “buy less stuff” when breastfeeding by using manual expression instead of a breast pump, recycled glass jars for expressed milk storage, available pillows (if needed) we already had instead of a fancy nursing pillow, etc.

Yes, I know breast pumps, feeding bottles, etc are needed for certain situations, but the idea is to think about why, how and what we buy. Every item on the shelf or

Breastfeed for the environment and get a better, healthier product (for baby and mom) that is much less expensive, with less waste all the way around!

K

Karen Gromada on

Number 1 on this list should be “BREASTFEED”! I can’t believe it didn’t even make the top 10! The majority of women can breastfeed, and the natural resources saved plus the decrease in greenhouse gases and emissions from the production, processing, packaging and transportation of infant formula and related feeding products is incalculable! See http://www.babygooroo.com/index.php/2008/07/02/breastfeeding-the-original-“environmentally-safe”-resource/ And many of us also followed the “buy less stuff” when breastfeeding by using manual expression instead of a breast pump, recycled glass jars for expressed milk storage, available pillows (if needed) we already had instead of a fancy nursing pillow, etc.

Yes, I know breast pumps, feeding bottles, etc are needed for certain situations, but the idea is to think about why, how and what we buy. Every item on the shelf or

Breastfeed for the environment and get a better, healthier product (for baby and mom) that is much less expensive, with less waste all the way around!

K

415mama on

I am sorry but I have to laugh at the “Hollywood-approved” line. I think that these suggestions are great and I agree that Breastfeeding should have been included on the list! That being said when it comes to making decisions on how to raise my child I most definitely would avoid anything claiming to be “Hollywood-approved”!

415mama on

I am sorry but I have to laugh at the “Hollywood-approved” line. I think that these suggestions are great and I agree that Breastfeeding should have been included on the list! That being said when it comes to making decisions on how to raise my child I most definitely would avoid anything claiming to be “Hollywood-approved”!

Moore on

Breastfeeding probably didn’t make the list cause its not something everyone can and will do as easily as find organic foods or buy less junk. It could turn this simple list into a big to do that focuses on the pros/cons of breastfeeding rather than focusing on its environmental impact. I’ve seen it so many times and it’s not helpful. I’m glad they left it out opting instead to say eat healthy. That’s most important(cool link included as well). Even though I’m all for breastfeeding, I would hate for an argument on the subject to cause any unneeded anguish to a mother who has decided not to or wants to but can’t and thus feels like she’s not as “green” or even worse that she’s not a good mother.

Moore on

Breastfeeding probably didn’t make the list cause its not something everyone can and will do as easily as find organic foods or buy less junk. It could turn this simple list into a big to do that focuses on the pros/cons of breastfeeding rather than focusing on its environmental impact. I’ve seen it so many times and it’s not helpful. I’m glad they left it out opting instead to say eat healthy. That’s most important(cool link included as well). Even though I’m all for breastfeeding, I would hate for an argument on the subject to cause any unneeded anguish to a mother who has decided not to or wants to but can’t and thus feels like she’s not as “green” or even worse that she’s not a good mother.

Colleen on

Which is it? One day CBB is hawking chemical-laced cleaning products in an article with Alyson Hannigan, and the next they’re promoting “Hollywood-approved” green things. Like someone else said, I don’t care if Hollywood approves how I raise my child.

Colleen on

Which is it? One day CBB is hawking chemical-laced cleaning products in an article with Alyson Hannigan, and the next they’re promoting “Hollywood-approved” green things. Like someone else said, I don’t care if Hollywood approves how I raise my child.

Lisa on

Wow, cloth diapering didn’t even make the list. Sure hope there’s a lot more info inside than those ten tips, which are pretty basic and comon sense, otherwise it would be a waste of paper to even print that book :)

Karen on

Thought this was about green – not about guilt or regret. Whether one can or can’t, chooses to or not to breastfeed is not the point. Breastfeeding as the original natural and ecological food that’s loaded with immunity factors and has the least detrimental impact on the environment is the point. I respect that a small number of women or their babies can’t breastfeed. I also know that many were unsuccessful due to lack of support for breastfeeding in our culture. That doesn’t minimize the “greenness” of breastfeeding – it belonged at the head of the list.

baby green on

I agree fresh air, sunshine, organic foods and laughter all contribute to your families health.

Lucy

baby green on

I agree fresh air, sunshine, organic foods and laughter all contribute to your families health.

Lucy

safecosmetics.org on

Re: Tip #3: Please see http://www.safecosmetics.org for more information about the national non-profit coalition working to eliminate the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems in all personal care products- from baby shampoo to makeup to aftershave.

safecosmetics.org on

Re: Tip #3: Please see http://www.safecosmetics.org for more information about the national non-profit coalition working to eliminate the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems in all personal care products- from baby shampoo to makeup to aftershave.

Brose on

Aside from using eco-friendly products, it’s also important to use organic products to minimize chemical exposure. When we use organic products, we are supporting sustainable farming which is vital to a greener and healthier future.

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