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Being a 'green' mom won't break the bank

Posted April 6, 2009

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— Environmentalists say raising a baby doesn't have to put a strain on the planet or your budget.

"We buy everything second-hand, pretty much. That eliminates a lot of waste, because babies go through clothes and toys so quickly,” Raleigh mother Monica Gaertner said.

baby Being a 'green' mom won't break your bank

Shopping second-hand, breast feeding and using cloth diapers were among the many "green" decisions the Gaertners made when baby Owen was born. They also chose to use organic cleaners and detergents, and turn locally-bought fruits and vegetables into baby food.

"You just puree them in a blender and freeze them,” Gaertner said.

Gaertner says her green choices are good for the environment and her budget.

"Parents have a lot more choices than they had years ago,” said Dr. Tom Flaherty, with Rex Pediatrics of Cary.

Flaherty says it is easy for parents to make environmentally-friendly decisions that can also benefit a child's health. He also says a pediatrician can help you sort facts from green-living hype.

"I think parents have to weigh the science and make informed decisions,” Flaherty said.

The Gaertners say their little changes add up to make a big difference in their life. They hope others will do the same.

"You're making these small changes, but you hope that enough people are making small changes to create a significant change in the environment,” Gaertner said.

One of the big environmental issues worrying parents is Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in hard plastic food containers, including baby bottles.

Some scientists' worry that long-term exposure to BPA can alter cells and lead to health problems, including cancer, obesity and diabetes.

Some states are considering bans on BPA, and at least six companies say they will stop using BPA to manufacture baby bottles.

Flaherty says the science on BPA is incomplete, but he advises parents to play it safe. He suggests using glass baby bottles. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says you can limit your exposure to BPA by following these rules:

  • Don't microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.
  • Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have #7 printed on the bottom.
  • Reduce your use of canned foods.
  • When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
  • Use baby bottles that are BPA free.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • ambidextrous cat Apr 7, 2009

    Actually, despite what this article says having a baby at all will "break the bank". It's irresponsible to keep having children if a person cannot afford them. I'm tired of seeing poor families with litters of children right now.

    Commentator5: Your precious little baby will grow up to mess up our enviroment more than it is already. Cutting costs and treating our planet with respect is never a bad idea for green moms and dads.

  • christineswisher Apr 6, 2009

    I don't think we should be mixing the two theories together, for one. I also know these things might work for stay at home moms, which is good work if you can get it, but in reality, it would take too much time to try and accomplish all the things I saw in this article this morning. There are many things that people can do, working or non-working, to raise their own child and pretty much it's a personal decision, not for the state or government to stick its nose in!

  • amyrn Apr 6, 2009

    Actually, I believe they mentioned breastfeeding also. If the many non-working mothers that receive WIC for their babies to buy formula would breastfeed, it would save quite a bit of money. Look what is being wasted by not nursing children and instead feeding them expensive formulas.

  • anneonymousone Apr 6, 2009

    QT3.14, I am disheartened, too. It's the year 2009, and women are still assumed to be the primary (or only) caregivers of children.


  • Commentor5 Apr 6, 2009

    panthers254 "what??? you mean you dont consult your local environmental expert when it comes to child rearing."

    Oh no......what are we doing to our children????!!!! Shame on us a parents for not consulting with environmental wackos when it comes to raising/caring for a child. LOL LOL LOL LOL

  • panthers254 Apr 6, 2009

    what??? you mean you dont consult your local environmental expert when it comes to child rearing.

  • kcfoxie Apr 6, 2009

    While nothing 'new' is here the breeding population today only knows Nintendo and coke, many have no idea what good food is or how to cook. Sad, and very much fact. That's why such rhetorical common sense articles are published, because there are a lot of people who never figured out how to make something more than ramen while at college.

  • kcfoxie Apr 6, 2009

    scientistjo: Really? Is that what you think? So you do realize that those plastic diapers are made from oil, shipped with oil, and take about 950 years longer to "decompose" compared to the cloth ones, right? When comparing plastic to any form of natural fiber, the plastic will lose on the eco battlefront - always.

    Also, has anyone suggested to the diaper service they use biodiesel powered cars? More MPG and less CO2 = win to them and customers.

  • stonky Apr 6, 2009

    Why are they mixing politics and raising a child???

  • babbleon Apr 6, 2009

    Hey folks - don't get upset by stopthehaters' troll - this person is looking to stir up racial tension, especially resentment against minorities.

    A study in England found that a diaper service is slightly better (ecologically) than disposables and cloth washed at home and dried on a clothesline. Cloth washed at home and tumble dried is actually the least 'green'.