Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's not easy being green

A friend recently gave me a copy of the book "The Eco-Nomical Baby Guide" by Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley. According to the cover it has "down-to-earth ways for parents to save money and the planet." So, the "eco" refers to both ecological and economical. I haven't read the entire book yet, but I have found some pretty good information in it.

For instance, I have been debating with myself whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. On the one hand, disposables will live forever in our landfills. On the other hand, they are so dang convenient. However, the following tidbit has me leaning more and more toward the idea of cloth (or reusable) diapers:

"Many parents are concerned the presence of SAP [sodium polyacrylate, a.k.a. absorbent gel] in disposables causes the scrotal temperature of baby boys to get too high, interfering with normal sperm production. Research by the Archives of Disease in Childhood showed that the scrotal temperature is higher in boys who wear disposable diapers than in those who wear cloth, possibly explaining the increase in male infertility over the last twenty-five years."

If I'm planning to breastfeed my baby because it's better for his health and may make him smarter and I plan to not circumcise him because it seems traumatic and unnecessary, doesn't it stand to reason I should try to protect his future fertility? As someone who was told she couldn't have babies without specialized help, I wouldn't want to put my son through that. I'll admit the whole idea of washing dirty diapers is icky, but I may have to do it -- to protect my son's future. And, you know, protecting the environment and all that junk.

I have to admit, though, I'm just not green enough to follow some of the advice in the book. Purchase used clothes diapers? Gross. I don't care how clean they supposedly are, I wouldn't wear used underpants and I wouldn't want my baby to.

And, I kind of feel like the authors fumble the ball a bit in telling me not to bother with nursing bras. In one chapter, they extol the benefits (economic, environmental and health-wise) of breastfeeding as long as possible. Later they tell me not to buy nursing bras because my breast size will probably change. Which means I would have to buy new bras anyway and if I'm nursing for 12 months or more, that's a long time to be yanking up a regular bra. Meaning that bra (or bras) will need replacing anyway. Do you see my logic? Bras wear out. They just do.

Still, there is a lot of good, useful information in the book for saving money and being more green while raising a baby. And the most important message I got from the book was this: "Green parenting is about progress, not perfection!"

And now, because I probably put it in your head with the title, I give you Kermit the Frog:


  1. Heather KingJanuary 25, 2011

    I never got the hang of nursing bras either, and I just wore sports bras, nursing pajamas, camisoles, or regular bras. And yes, I did find I had to buy new ones every once in a while.

    I wonder if their point was just that bras specifically for nursing can be very expensive, and are only for that one task.

    Oh, and I did cloth diapers too - they're really not that bad, especially for the first little while when they're just breastfeeding. It's all water-soluble, so you just throw the entire bucket into the washing machine. And then once they're eating food, you're used to the "ick-factor", and then it's not so bad either!

    (de-lurking to add in my $0.02 ... I'm loving reading your blog because I was a first-time mom at 37, so it's like reminiscing about what I went through!)

  2. @Heather, thanks for de-lurking. It's great to hear from you. And thank you for your 2 cents. I plan to post some more reviews here soon. And once my baby is born, the blog will be loaded with photos.