Parenting: What Does It Mean to Raise a Child in a Green World?
Making Green Decisions
So now that you're armed with some basic knowledge, you might be thinking, "Does it all really matter?" As with most parenting questions, there's no right or wrong answer for raising children in an earth-friendly manner. The USDA says that science has not yet provided conclusive answers. For some parents, the choice rests on individual health issues such as their baby's sensitivity to specific pesticide residues or food additives. Parent choices can also come from an overall concern for using baby and child products and methods they feel will have less impact on the environment.
However, according to studies done so far, some general trends have emerged. On average, organic foods contain slightly higher levels of trace minerals, vitamin C, and antioxidant phytonutrients than conventionally grown crops. However, the studies point out, measuring the nutrient content of food is only partly indicative of how healthy a food is. It's also worthy to note that children may be more sensitive to pesticides because they are still growing. And by comparison, children eat more food for their weight than adults do.
When it comes to deciding what food products to buy for your baby, Horowitz says it depends. He recommends organic milk products. Horowitz also says he's a big fan of eating seasonal fruits and vegetables purchased locally, which are generally fresher, not to mention better for the environment because they haven't traveled half way across the world to get to you.
No matter who you speak to, going green does not have to be an all-or-nothing prospect. Organic products often cost more, and there are plenty of ways you can reduce your baby's exposure to toxins and do your part for the environment without breaking the bank.
Food Choices for Baby
Breast or bottle? Right from the start, you can begin with the most organic activity there is – breastfeeding. You don't need to clog landfills with formula containers and use countless gallons of water to wash hundreds of baby bottles. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeedingfor your baby's first six months.