My number one answer is always, "breastfeed".
Not only are giving your baby the healthiest possible start in life but by breastfeeding but you are saving thousands of dollars on formula, bottles and the likes.
The manufacturing of baby formula is energy intensive. The industrial processes release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Formula is packaged in tin cans - the majority of which are never recycled. Formula requires plastic bottles and nipples - which take anywhere between 200 to 450 years to breakdown.
Additionally Since many cows in the U.S. are now routinely ingesting synthetic growth hormones to artificially increase their milk production, it stands to reason that these hormones are also getting into the U.S. formulas.
Click here for more information.
Make Organic Baby Food
This is actually quite simple. You don't need all the trays and fancy baby grinders unless you want them. All you need for little babies is a blender and for older babies - a fork.
To make organic brown rice cereal:
1. Cook your organic brown rice according to instructions.
2. Put it in a blender with a little breast milk.
3. When it's the right consistency - feed it to your baby. Easy Cheesy.
To make fruit and veggies
1. Boil the fruit and veggies
2. Blend or smash with a fork.
*Some fruits like bananas don't need to be boiled - just mash the heck out of them.
In my house we feed the babies whatever we are eating - just mashed up. No need to spend money on store bought brands that might have sneaky ingredients in them.
This is a good link for more information.
Use Healthy Sunscreen
Brands of sunscreen that you find in conventional stores typically are full of chemicals. There is no need to lather your baby in a chemical cocktail - here are several brands that are cleaner and safer:
*Badger All Natural Sunscreen
*Soleo Organics Sunscreen
*Kid Kare Biodegradable Sunscreen
And my personal favorite
*Alba Botanica Sunscreen - this is sunscreen made from green tea and my kids can wear it all day long in the pool without burning or needing re-application. Be forewarned - this is a THICK sunscreen.
Click here for a comprehensive guide to sunscreen.
Pay special attention to this "Hall of Shame" list of sunscreens.
Cloth Diaper Your Baby
You knew I was going to say that, right? Since I talk about cloth diapers almost exclusively on this blog I'll be short and sweet. Protect your baby's tenderest parts, keep raw sewage out of our landfills and save literally thousands of dollars with cloth diapers. Of course I recommend LolliDoo Diapers :)
Last but not least - stay away from plastic toys, seats and the likes
You really don't need even a fraction of all the baby stuff in stores nowadays. Especially those plastic toys and bouncers. If you do buy them please pay attention to where they are made - things coming over from other countries are sometimes full of chemicals.
This is what I believe you need for a baby:
A sling and/or backpack (check out Sweet Pea Ring Slings)
That's it folks - all the other stuff is just gravy. Even cribs - how many babies do you know that actually sleep in a crib? I can count three - the rest sleep with their parents; where I believe they should be.
I am of the opinion that these five steps are easy, practical and safer for babies.