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Going green with baby

If things look a little greener around here this April, there's a good reason. Our editorial staff is busy expanding the ideals of Earth Day into a month-long celebration of energy conservation, alternative transportation, recycling tips and about a million ways you can be a better friend to the planet. Welcome to Green Month, Milwaukee.

Parents of infants and toddlers arguably have the most difficult time staying green and healthy.

That's because we live in houses filled with disposable wipes, disposable diapers and, try as we might to avoid them, chemical-laden plastic bottles and toys slathered in lead paint.

According to Kristin Vailliencourt of Sprout! in the Historic Third Ward, parents are more and more concerned with buying greener and this has led her to continue to boost the presence of environmentally-friendlier options in the shop.

"With my first child six years ago, I wasn't as worried or aware of chemicals / dangers and I didn't purposefully seek out organic or green options," says Vailliencourt. "All that is changed with my second child, and I am not alone. When it comes to our littlest customers (under age two), parents are seeking out organic and green choices and I see this only increasing.

"We have always carried German-made (brands like Haba, Selecta, Kathy Kruse) baby toys which are both made of wood or organic cloth. Recently we added an organic clothing line, Under the Nile, which has sold very well."

Here are a few ways you can get greener with baby:

1) Assuming you don't have the kind of lifestyle to support elimination communication (holding your newborn on the toilet, thus avoiding the need for diapers), you'll have to choose between washable cloth diapers and disposables. While the latter are clogging landfills, the former require multiple washings in super hot, sudsy water and you've got to consider the fuel used by vehicles run by cloth diaper services. There are arguments for and against each. But you can use greener disposables, like the ones made by Seventh Generation. They are made of chlorine-free wood pulp fluff and are fragrance- and latex-free. Seventh Generation also makes chlorine-free wipes that are unscented and alcohol-free. Under the Nile is one manufacturer that makes organic reusable diapers and wipes.

2) Organic clothing is made from organically grown, renewable crops like bamboo, hemp, soy and cotton and are free of chlorine. These are available at a number of outlets locally, including Whole Foods, Beans and Barley and Olive in Mequon.

3) Organic food. This is a no-brainer for the same reasons organic food makes sense for adults. And in growing bodies and minds, the absence of pesticides can be even more important. And now that everyone, including Wal-Mart, is getting in on the act, it's easier than ever. Better yet, why not make your own baby food and then you'll know exactly what your baby is eating.

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ech | April 24, 2008 at 8:53 a.m. (report)

I haven't tried them, but these seem like a great new "green" product... Flushable diapers, sold online and at places like Whole Foods.

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