Choosing gifts that reflect your values—whether you are ‘green’, only buy ‘natural and organic’, or just want to live lightly on the earth, is important. If you talk to experienced parents, they likely have a list of stuff they were given as a gift that they really didn’t need. These things aren’t just unnecessary and hard on the planet, they come to be annoying when you trip over them on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. There are also a few items that experienced parents will say they loved and never want to be without. Remember, having a baby is an exciting time, and people will want to gift you. You just want to be very careful to direct your loving, well-intentioned family and friends away from the plastic baby-wipe warmer towards that thing you really need.
If you want to compile a registry of a variety of specific, green things, including a cloth diaper service, an organic mattress, and maybe even a home-made baby bed from Etsy, you can do this at Babylist. Another great registry is www.sokindregistry.org. This amazing registry allows you to register (while donating to a cause like supporting midwives in remote locations for example), for a group gift like the organic mattress you want, while also being able to accommodate gifts of time (having someone come Mondays to do laundry, etc.).
Here are a few things that will make life so much easier and you will love having in your life.
Services such as a postpartum doula, food delivery, or just someone to wash the clothes and fold the laundry (always a good thing!)
Healthy Sleep Set Up. Any one of: a formaldehdye-free crib with a natural mattress (no polyurethane foam full of chemical flame retardants); or an all-wood co-sleeper or bassinet with similar mattress but smaller; or an organic wool pad to put under the baby if she sleeps in your bed.
Cloth diapers. Saves thousands of dollars and it’s good for the planet too! Today’s designs make using cloth just as easy as disposable. If you prefer, have your family give you the gift of a diaper service for the first three months when you will be changing the baby all the time. The service washes the diapers for you and takes them back when you are ready for bigger or different diapers.
Baby slings and carriers. A basic sling or a soft-shell carrier such as an Ergo, Beco, Chimparoo or Mei-tei style, is an extremely useful tool for new parents. Getting one made from organic materials is best, however, if you choose a regular fabric, organic teething pads are a great addition!
Sleep sack/swaddle. 100% cotton or bamboo organic swaddles with or without velcro are the best thing ever for swaddling…and swaddling is the best thing ever to get your new baby to sleep.
Healthy and organic teas, salves, and sitz baths for postpartum help the new mama to recover and the baby get the most natural start in life. Visit Matraea’s birth and baby store for a great Green Mama Approved selection, or shop online @www.matraea.com
Adapted from thegreenmama.com; by Amanda Aufochs-Gillespie
Amanda Aufochs-Gillespie is a Vancouver-based environmentalist and author.