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Health & Baby

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Parenting: What Does It Mean to Raise a Child in a Green World?

Food Choices for Baby continued...

Infant formula. If you choose not to breastfeed your baby, infant formulas are available that display the USDA Organic Seal, which certifies that the ingredients are grown without the use of certain pesticides, and that milk-based formulas come from cows that aren't given hormones, antibiotics, or other chemicals. Don't use bottled water to mix with your formula, you're only adding to the local landfill -- tap water is fine. Try using glass baby bottles or try BPA-free plastic baby bottles.

Solid foods. Once your baby is on solids, if you want to try making your own baby food, you can peel and boil, bake, or steam the food and blend it with some extra water, breast milk, or formula until it reaches a texture suitable for your baby's age -- the younger the baby, the smoother the texture. Make individual portions that are easy to remove by pouring it into silicone ice cube trays, cover with freezer bags, label them, and store in the freezer, Kelley says.

Fresh fruits and veggies. If you can't see the extra cost to buy all organic fruits and vegetables, you can lower your child's pesticide consumption by nearly 80% by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce, according to the Environmental Working Group. The EWG recommends the organic versions of the following produce items:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

Non-organic produce items that are lowest in pesticides include:

  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mangos
  • Sweet peas
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet potato
  • Honeydew

You can also go organic on only the foods your child eats most, like milk and apple juice.

Diaper Duty

When it comes to diapers for your baby, is cloth always greener? Since cloth diapers have to be washed, the way you clean them is important, says Kelley. Her tips for earth-friendly washing and diaper care:

  • Always wash full loads for maximum efficiency.
  • Wash diapers in cold water.
  • Use a high-efficiency machine.
  • Don't soak diapers, use a dry pail instead.
  • Hang your diapers instead of using a dryer.
  • Don't iron diapers.
  • Save diapers for your next baby.
  • If you use a diaper service, ask them about their washing methods. Do they use chlorine bleach? Eco-friendly detergents? How much water do they use?

If you don't want to use cloth, check out earth-friendly disposables, which are nontoxic, hypoallergenic, and chlorine-free.

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