As we become more aware of our impact on the environment it seems even the newest arrival in the family can get in on the act. Alice Wright explores new options out there for parents looking to go green
Babies equal ‘stuff’. We’re all aware of the amount of paraphernalia that just seems to appear when a baby is born. But as we also become more mindful of the importance of using sustainable and ethical products and less single-use plastic items, what parents buy for their new arrivals is being given a lot more thought.
However, because the baby market is overcrowded and overwhelming, some parents just don’t know where to start. According to a survey by popular parenting network Emma’s Diary, 46% of new mums are confused about which products to choose for their baby, which means there is still a need to offer advice to shopping parents. But we do know that 18% are interested in organic or recycled items and a huge 43% are seeking out natural ingredients.
Perhaps the biggest environmental shake-up needs to come from the most basic of baby bits: the humble nappy. Doubts over the sustainability of the industry have even become political, with a Parliamentary Round Table taking place in 2019 to discuss the Nappies (Environmental Standards) Bill.
As parents become more aware of ingredients, plastics and formulations, the demand is increasing not only for more natural alternatives, but more eco-friendly ones too. Guy Schanschieff, MD of reusable nappy brand Bambino Mio, says: “The demand for eco-friendly baby products is rapidly increasing as more consumers and retailers are specifically opting for single-use product alternatives.”
The motivation for considering a reusable option becomes clear when you learn that three billion disposable nappies are thrown away in the UK every year and each one takes 500 years to decompose. Apparently, using just one reusable nappy with one baby over a year saves a staggering 912 nappies from going into landfill.
Bambino Mio, which strives to make reusable nappies a mainstream alternative, celebrated its most successful year in 2019, and Schanschieff can understand why: “The reusable nappy industry has seen an impressive surge in popularity as more consumers become aware of the environmental impact of disposable products, and the product category shows no sign of slowing down as parents are making more eco-friendly choices.”
There has been a huge increase in smaller companies offering viable dermatologically tested alternatives to traditional cleansing options that can safely be used on a baby’s skin and are free from sulphates and parabens. Good Bubble’s products are all suitable for newborns because its free-from formulation contains at least 98% naturally derived ingredients to help maintain the skin’s natural moisture. All products have also been ophthalmologist tested for a skin-friendly and tear-free bath time, which should appeal to parents (and its fun Gruffalo range should keep the little ones happy too).
For something a little more luxe, Baby Kingdom offers parents a safe and effective collection that can also be used on newborns. The up to 99% natural and 100% recyclable range includes a Baby Shampoo, 2-1 Hair & Body Wash, Body Cream, Nappy Cream and Talc-Free Baby Powder, all manufactured in the UK. Parents may find these products useful when treating conditions such as cradle cap, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, nappy rash and dermatitis.
And to help soothe teething tots, UK company Rooba offers a couple of natural options. Boo the Bunny is a 100% natural rubber, non-toxic and completely safe award-winning teething toy that is fully compostable, and its vegan Cheek Oil is a soothing blend that can be massaged into a baby’s sore and tender cheeks.
The brand’s Toby Winn explains the reasoning behind the new products: “The increased awareness of climate change and the plastic pollution issues our planet faces has made people realize that things need to change. Most plastic teething toys will still be on this planet way beyond the end of the teething phase, probably beyond their baby’s life! A natural solution minimizes the negative impact on the planet.”
Greener products are filtering into every area of a baby’s life, with Organii launching a new organic range that includes sweet smelling Fresh Scented Water to massage into young skin, and even a hand-blended laundry detergent from local sustainable brand Norfolk Natural Living, which founder Beth Middleton says she is ‘completely comfortable’ using for her own children’s clothes.
Sage Parmar, from Sage’s Health Store, Surbiton, has noticed an uplift in parents looking for natural products. “More and more are keen to make sure they don’t put chemicals on their children’s skin. So, we have a lot of parents coming in looking for natural and organic toiletries. Sun creams are the most popular item being researched, and we stock a wide variety of ocean- and reef-friendly natural sun creams suitable for babies, such as Badger Baby Broad Spectrum SPF30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream.”
When guiding parents towards natural, organic or eco-friendly brands, Parmar recommends products from Weleda, Green People, Organii and Alba Botanica.
Parents are also increasingly considering a zero waste approach and abandoning single-use items, so Parmar now also stocks washable maternity breast pads and reusable terry cloths in lieu of wipes, and says she will be introducing cloth nappies soon too.
The retailer has also noticed elevated interest from parents in healthier food and snack options for young children, which aren’t loaded with sugar or artificial ingredients. “I have a lot of parents asking for supplements as either their children don’t eat well, have demanding lifestyles or problems sleeping. Some need help with school so are looking for supplements to aid concentration and memory or help with anxiety. Being a parent myself allows me to help with a real perspective from my own experiences, and customers are grateful for my first-hand recommendations.”
AQUA Carpatica Kids Still Natural Mineral Water
AQUA CARPATICA KIDS- Low Sodium Award Winning Water for Kids – Each day is a big adventure for little ones; from powering through playtimes to creating the perfect secret den, there’s a lot to pack in! With AQUA Carpatica Kids you know that wherever the day takes them they’ll be hydrated and energised throughout.
Virtually nitrate free, AQUA Carpatica Kids has already got the thumbs up from grown-ups and children. In 250ml bottles, BPA-free and 100 % spill proof, with eight playful designs, it is an absolute lunchbox essential and the perfect, all-natural hydration choice. #ItsWaterlove. Discover more: www.aquacarpatica.co.uk
BetterYou Folic Acid Oral Spray
Utilising a vegan-friendly, biologically active form of folate (known as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5-MTHF), BetterYou’s Folic Acid Oral Spray is a pill-free supplement which allows 5-MTHF to be immediately bioavailable for its biological action without being metabolised in the body. Essential for during pregnancy, folic acid works alongside vitamins B12 and C to help the body break down, use and create new proteins as well as help tissue growth, support red blood cell formation and assist in DNA production. The great-tasting, natural blueberry flavoured spray, which delivers folate directly to the bloodstream via the inner cheek, is housed in ocean waste plastic which is 100% recyclable.
Garden of Life Microbiome Formula Kids+ 5 Billion CFU
Garden of Life Microbiome Formula Kids+ offers a guaranteed 5 billion probiotics across 14 different strains plus vitamin C from organic amla berries, 400iu vitamin D and prebiotic fibre to help promote immune system and digestive health. USDA certified organic, gluten, dairy and soy free, no added sugar and a tasty organic berry cherry flavour in a chewable tablet. Formulated by Dr David Perlmutter, America’s brain health expert, a board-certified neurologist, #1 New York Times bestselling author and expert in the human microbiome. Contains no carriers, fillers, artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.
Hope’s Relief – Clinically Proven Natural Eczema Cream
Babies and children can be prone to dry skin and eczema, so help your customers find a gentle and effective range that they can trust. Hope’s Relief therapeutic skincare is a multi-award winning range to help relieve itchy, dry skin and is specially formulated for skin prone to eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. As an effective, natural alternative to cortisone and other medicated treatments, Hope’s Relief is suitable for long term to soothe the itch and offers 24hr hydration. No.1 in Australia, the steroid free range includes haircare and cleansers and is safe for babies, children and adults and trusted by mums worldwide.
ORGANii Everyday Organics Parent and Child Range
The ORGANii Parent and Child range has been designed to be soft and gentle on the most sensitive skin that may react to conventional products containing synthetic perfumes, chemicals, mineral oils and parabens. Created with ICEA certified natural and organic ingredients the full range has been dermatologically tested to ensure it is suitable for all skin types from new-borns to toddlers. All products are registered with The Vegan Society. The full range includes a Fresh Foam Bath & Shampoo, Protective Nappy Cream, Fresh Scented Water and a Nourishing Baby Cream to care for and protect babies’ skin against environmental stresses.
Pregnancy Complex from Viridian Nutrition is carefully formulated to support the nutritional needs of the mother and developing infant during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Features 20+ vitamins and minerals including key ingredients folic acid, vitamins C and D, B complex and iron. This formula is free from vitamin E. Recommend daily use alongside Viridian’s Pregnancy Omega Oil for optimum mum and baby nutrition. Part of the 200+ range from the ethical vitamin company, Viridian Nutrition, founded on the principles of Purity, the Environment and Charity. Dedicated to the continued success of the specialist health food store.
Ultimate Beauty Organic Skin Repair Topical Oil
An organic topical oil blend formulated with jojoba, wheatgerm, rosehip, sunflower, borage, calendula and lavender oils. It is a delicate, nourishing, quickly-absorbed skin therapy oil to help with the appearance of blemished skin. Rosehip seed oil contains a derivative of vitamin A. Wheatgerm oil is a natural source of vitamin E. Formulated without synthetic fragrances or colourings. Certified Organic by the Soil Association. Part of the 200+ range from the ethical vitamin company, Viridian Nutrition, founded on the principles of Purity, the Environment and Charity. Dedicated to the continued success of the specialist health food store.
Weleda Calendula Baby Range
Weleda has been making organic babycare for over 60 years. This NATRUE-certified range is especially formulated with delicate newborn skin in mind, made with soothing extracts of biodynamic calendula. Formulated with nourishing organic plant oils and without mineral oils, GMO ingredients, artificial preservatives or synthetic fragrances. The gentle dermatologically-tested range includes products to cleanse, refresh, protect and replenish – from everyday essentials such as nappy cream and baby wash to an organic fragrance-free baby oil for gentle baby massage. The range comes in 100% recycled and recyclable plastic bottles for safe use in the nursery or bathroom, and recyclable aluminium tubes.