Thursday, November 11, 2010

Great green, learning gifts for new parents and babies

August is the month with the highest number of births in the U.S., according to the CDC, and it has held the top spot for ten of the last 16 years.

Doing a bit of gestation subtraction, its easy to see that there are going to be a lot of folks who are newly pregnant between now and Christmas.

If you're looking for a gift for an expectant parent or a brand new bundle of joy, why not make it a great, green one? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Baby Bee Getting Started Kit - made by Burt's Bees, this $13 set includes Apricot Baby Oil, Buttermilk Lotion, Shampoo & Wash, Buttermilk Soap, Diaper Ointment, Buttermilk Bath, Dusting Powder, and a cute Baby Bee Comb. The scents are natural and soft, not overwhelming, and the products are free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, and phthalates, which are bad for everyone, but especially bad for babies! Most moms who have received this kit end up buying it for all of their pregnant friends! The only downside is that the products are so good, your friends will blame you when they can never go back to anything else for their sweet babies. . .and themselves! Available online at Burt's Beesand at many major retailers.
  • Kiddopotamus & Co. Organic Cotton SwaddleMe - this baby "burrito" wrap is excellent and easy to use; a lifesaver especially for new parents who are stymied by swaddling protocol and flustered by a crying infant who just wants to be wrapped up in a little chemical-free warmth and love. Additionally, a little extra love goes to the planet because standard cotton is an extremely chemical intensive crop; organic cotton has all of the softness, but none of the chemicals! The organic cotton SwaddleMe is available in a variety of colors and patterns and two sizes, with prices ranging from $10-25 at retailers including Amazon,Target, and WalMart.
  • Dandelion Classic Organic Toys - at just $10 each, you may choose to gift the new baby with more than one of these adorable little creatures - the frog rattle, the crinkle bear, the squeaker duck, or the baby doll. Each features a handy hanging loop and stimulates babies' hand eye coordination and brain development. Available at Amazon.
  • Eco-Friendly Disposable Diapers & Wipes - new parents can never, ever have too many diapers! Unfortunately, the planet can. While many parents opt for cloth diapers, they have their own environmental impact through the need for washing. And, to be perfectly blunt, disposables are just easier. The gift of ease is a big one for new parents or, really, all parents. So, the disposables that are best for the planet? Earth's Best and Seventh Generationoffer chlorine-free diapers and wipes that perform as well as their traditional disposable diaper brand counterparts. They will set you back a good deal more than the traditional disposable diapers, but its the planet that profits through less nasty, toxic chlorinated hydrocarbon pollution.
  • Made With Love Organic Cotton Infant Set - one of many super-cute and planet-friendly options available at UncommonGoods, these organic cotton onesie and cap sets are available for $35 in three colors: vanilla, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip. (If you think those are sweet, just wait till you see the baby in these adorable onesies!) If the parents have a good sense of humor, you should also consider the organic onesies available with sayings on the front, such as "Ask me about my compost pile," "All natural," "Produced Locally," and "Thanks! for all the global warming," ($28 each) or the Nerdy Baby "I love, love, LOVE my microsope," and dinosaur babysuits ($25 each).
  • Recycled Plastic Tugboat Toy - also available from UncommonGoods, this $13 toy is made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs and contains no BPA, PVC or phthalates that could go into baby's mouth when the tugboat inevitably does. (Because everything,everything, will eventually go into baby's mouth.)
  • the little seed for Target Organic Bodysuits & Pants - tagless for extra baby comfort (and, therefore, less baby fussiness), these organic clothes are available in a variety of colors and sizes up to nine months - mix and match for just $8 each at

And, if you're not into clothes or diapers, there's just about nothing better for baby humans than when their local, loving grown-ups read them books! Wrap up one of the classics listed below, write an inscription in the front, and tuck in a coupon for babysitting and/or book reading - mom, dad, and baby will love you for it!

Excellent Books for Greenie Babies

Try to get the board books when you can - they'll stand up better to baby's gnawing and so will make it to the used bookstore instead of the landfill.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle - a wonderful introduction to caterpillars and butterflies

Green Start book series, by Innovative Kids - each of these board books features a different "green" topic, including endangered animals, trees, green gardening, and the rainforest.

On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier - a beautiful tribute to the earth and a warm welcome for the newest member of the human family, babies will enjoy the bold illustrations and parents will be truly touched by the message. This is an heirloom book.

Baby Einstein book series, by Julie Aigner-Clark - an outstanding primer on things in nature for babies under one. The simple shapes and iconic images along with easy to understand sentences will entertain and inform baby, and the books come in board book or bath book format!

Stay tuned - next up are great, green and educational gifts for kids ages 7-10. If you have a great, green gift idea, please share it with others by adding it as a comment on this article!

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