18 November 2011

Baby Steps Towards Raising a Greenish Baby :)

A bit worse for wear but I HAVE
been using it since 1996!
It's so easy to get whipped up into the "Green" movement and feel overwhelmed by all that could be done to take better care of our environment and lives.  I started out in high school by knocking on folks doors when I saw their hoses were left on.  I continued in college when I bought the large blue Duke Mug so that I would never have to use a cup at the on campus soda machines.  I still have an use that mug but have graduated onto tea and coffee instead of soda.  In grad school, I reduced-reused-recycled to my heart's content (mostly as a budgetary necessity but hey it worked).  In my career, I help clean contaminated sites for reuse as parks or residential, commercial, and industrial sites needed to help local economies.  In my marriage I found the one guy that inspires me to do more because what he does is so innate in him that he's not even trying to be green.

In the midst of all of this enters Maxwell.  Even before he made his appearance at Casa Birenbaum, Steve and I decided that we were going to raise the Wee Wiggler green.  But what does that mean exactly?  Just as in life, there are literally thousands of things you can do to live "green" and by extension raise a child "green".  So as always, I decided to pick my battles.  We would not buy all organic materials, clothes, etc for our child but would reduce our carbon footprint by grabbing a strong hold of the often forgotten "other Rs" - reduce and reuse.  We would breastfeed our child as much as we could but understand that formula is not the enemy but instead a good supplement to the breastmilk diet.  And so on.  So I decided to list out the top things I am going to try to do to raise a green baby (who may someday inherit the beloved Duke cup) so that I can see how I do and continue to challenge myself to do more.

Goals for my "Greenie" Max (in no particular order):

  • Reduce/Reuse: Instead of buying a ton of new baby clothes. loving accept all offered clothing from friends and family for Baby Max.  
    • He seriously scored off of Tia Cathy (ala Cousin Coby) and Auntie Anna (ala Cousin Evan) for the next year.
    • The most awesome part is seeing clothing I had bought for my sister's wee ones in the stash we recently received from her. 
  • Reduce/Reuse: Instead of using depending on disposable diapers, use cloth diapers.
    • The disposables do come in handy when I haven't quite times the laundry well or when we are out and about with Baby Max, not realizing he would NEED more than 3 changes :) . They come in handy but I think we've used about 20 in the first 8 weeks of his life (not counting the ones in the hospital before we got him home).  
    • Rental vs. Purchase.  Since cloth diapers come in two stages, newborn and then ~3mo to potty training, we decided to rent the first 3 months of the baby's diapers.  This way we get exposed to a bunch of different types of cloth diapers for a great price and then can make a better decision when we buy his diapers that will last him through his potty training days.  
  • Feed the wee one as much breastmilk for at least one month and up to a year (maybe longer?) but supplement with formula to make sure he's healthy. 
    • When I was still pregnant, we took a breastfeeding class through the hospital.  The instructor was very passionate about breastfeeding to the point that there were few things more horrible than formula in the world.  Formula is not a bad thing.  It's a good supplement especially when the milk is coming in late, or slow, or the physical act of b-feeding is just not working out.
    • We breastfeed because it's good for the baby; it's free-ish (not counting the herbal supplements I'm taking); it has a seriously low carbon footprint; and most importantly, my body makes it anyway so I'll give it to him :). 
  • I "wear" Max at least once a day.
    • It helps get the housework done to have two hands. SCORE!
    • Having the baby in physical contact promotes breast milk production.  
    • He falls asleep super fast if he's up against me. 
    • I have instant access to his head for the thousand kisses I give him every day. 
    • The carriers we have were either won in a contest (mine- at the Granola Baby Pregnancy and Beyond Event) or passed down (Steve's - thanks again Tia Cathy and Cousins Joey/Rory/Coby).  
  • Reduce/Reuse: All battery operated stuff for Max is powered by rechargeable batteries, some which we've had for over five years.  
  • We bring Max with us to the farmer's market every Saturday. 
    • We're starting the habit of going as a family to pick up our fruits and veggies for the week.
    • The farmers have started to recognize him and us as new little family.
    • We see how other parents teach their kids about food at the market and are starting to brainstorm for ourselves.
Six things to start us off.  I keep looking for more things to add.  I'm sure I will as he gets older but we have to start somewhere, right? It's a start. A lot of little things we can do for our Greenie Max.


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