Think green for baby

Photo: istockphoto.com/Joan Kimball

Forget pink or blue. When it comes to preparing for a new addition to the family, think green.

Pregnant with my first child, I'm eating better than ever before, avoiding alcohol and definitely not inhaling - either second-hand smoke or chemical cleaning products. But when it comes to making the healthiest choices for after the baby is born, I'm suffering from option overload. From diapers and detergents to paint and baby food, the choices are endless. Does this mattress contain toxic fire-retardants? Was the cotton in this onesie laden with pesticides when it was grown? Should I go with washable organic diapers that, when laundered, use precious water and energy? Or with only partially compostable disposables? I'm no longer making decisions about my own health; I'm responsible for the well-being of another human being - a helpless, tiny, innocent little being to boot. Talk about pressure. What will be good for my baby and for the environment she or he will inherit? Here's an array of healthy choices.

Diaper care

  • Mother-ease: provides a leak-free diapering system (cotton diapers you wash yourself, reusable diaper covers and reusable or disposable liners). Diapers available in unbleached, organic and white cotton.
  • Kushies: washable cotton diapers, reusable diaper covers and flushable, biodegradable liners.
  • Seventh Generation Diapers: unbleached, disposable diapers that do not contain chlorine, fragrance or latex. Great for the green bin.
  • Seventh Generation Baby Wipes: come in a refillable pack and are made with 100 percent-natural lotion.
  • Druide Bum Balm: a skin-protector made from organic vegetable oils and waxes such as sunflower oil and mango butter. No chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
  • Bath and skin

  • LUSH Assisi Shampoo: a gentle, vegan shampoo for babies. Contains nettle, rosemary, lavender and camomile.
  • Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap & Lotion: both made with real buttermilk. The soap uses mild ingredients such as honey while the lotion soothes with aloe and sunflower oil.
  • Furniture and decor

  • Benjamin Moore paint: these latex paints are EcoLogo certified, so they contain only very low levels of formaldehyde or heavy metals and have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - air-polluting gases that contribute to smog and can cause nausea and headaches.
  • Caramia Diane Crib: made from solid beech hardwood from managed forests.
  • Jupiter Industries crib mattresses: Jupiter makes most Canadian crib mattresses, and the company ensures they are all free of toxic flame-retardants that have been linked to potential neurological and hormone problems.
  • Sage Creek organic cotton fitted crib sheet and organic cotton flannel receiving blanket: organically certified, Sage Creek uses cotton approved by Skal International, one of the most rigorous environmental certifiers in the world.
  • Clothes and wash

  • American Apparel Sustainable Edition onesie and baby hat: no pesticides or herbicides are used on the cotton grown for this line.
  • Sage Creek wiggle new-born playsuit: uses nickel-free snaps and organic cotton that's whitened naturally.
  • Seventh Generation Natural Baby Laundry Detergent: biodegradable, non-toxic, fragrance- and dye-free.
  • Food

  • Earth's Best Apples & Apricots: certified organic and no genetically engineered ingredients.
  • PC Organics Oatmeal & Rice Baby Cereal: baby's first food. Organic, with no added sugar or salt.
  • Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Natural Food by Lizzie Vann (published by Dorling Kindersley). Do-it-yourself made easy, as long as you have a blender.
  • Helen Buttery has written for Maclean's, Chatelaine, Elle Canada and the National Post. She gave birth to a son, Leland, on August 15.