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Sustainable Options for your Little One

Posted on September 04 2020

Looking for natural, sustainable options for your little ones? Here are our top picks to suit your lifestyle. Reduce your environmental footprint with these sustainable options. Ranging from wood, bamboo, and recycled plastic choices, these include clothes, toys, cutlery and utensils, as well as durable, long-lasting items such as cots, and high chairs.

 

Wood

For playtime, the Melissa & Doug Natural Play Wooden Puzzle ($17.90) offers problem-solving fun with thick and sturdy wooden pieces for children to match these to the patterns in the wooden puzzle. Additionally, the board and pieces can be stored in a handy, take-along case with woven rope handles, and these puzzles use recycled materials and soy-based inks. This puzzle is also great for toddlers and preschoolers from two to four years old.

One other sustainable alternative is Janod, whose line of toys and puzzles feature mostly cardboard or wood. For example, the Mini Story series comprise solid beech wood pieces, themed around princesses, knights and the circus. Other products like the Stacking Pyramids, Shape Sorter and 12 Blocks Fairtales are made of cardboard, while toys like the Magnet Kits (prices range from $24.90 to $35) are made of Chinese Cherry wood.

Other wooden toys: Melissa & Doug Pretend Play Food Food Group, Moulin Roty Le voyage d'Olga Flute, Wooden Tools Suitcase, and the Double Sided Wood Maracas (prices from $16.90 to $72.90).

Another option is the Childhome Zig Zag Tipi Tent ($209), made of 100 per cent cotton canvas, and birch. Birch trees are abundant and fast-growing, hence it’s a sustainable, long-term choice that does not cause much devastation or destruction of biodiversity. The tent’s neutral colour scheme can fit any interior or nursery, or stowed away when not in use into a storage bag. Other birch options include Essa Grace's kid-sized furniture. These include benches, bookshelves, a table, chairs, a slide and a bed (prices range from $160 up to $3,799).

 

 

Growing with Your Child

Otherwise, choose durable and long-lasting options for your family to reduce waste. For example, typically most cots can be used for three years or less before you’d have to switch to another option. Instead, try the Boori Alice or Classic Cot Beds ($599 to $999) which are suitable for your baby up to five years old. Both beds use sustainable wood and can convert from a cot to a toddler bed when needed. Other alternatives for cots include the Stokke Mini ($939). This can be extended to a child-size bed with extensions ($249 to $590), allowing your children to use it from birth to 10 years old.

 

Yet another durable and long-lasting option is the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair ($369). Similar to the cot, with the accessories, your child can sit in this chair from birth until adulthood. Some accessories include the Newborn Set, Baby Set, the Cushion and the Tray (the latter three are suitable for six months onwards, prices from $69 to $99). As your child grows, you can adjust the seat and footrest to his/her comfort. The chair provides sufficient back and feet support for all ages.

 

Recycled and Recyclable Options

A great option is Green Toys that uses recycled milk jugs to manufacture cool toys for your little ones. The California-based company’s toys are BPA and phthalate-free. Completely US-made, this reduces greenhouse gases, energy and saves on transportation. Their collection ranges from vehicles, to playing with dough, and role playing options  (prices range from $12.90 to $89).

In terms of cutlery, plates and bowls for your children, try Re-Play. Most of their products are made from FDA-approved, sustainable HDPE recycled plastic or polypropylene. One example are the Divided plates ($6.90 for one or $19.90 for three), suitable for baby led weaning, or for portion control for adults.

 

Additionally, they are dishwasher and microwave safe. However, if you put these into the microwave they may stain or you might find hot spots in the food. Naturally, these are also free of BPA, phthalate, PVC, melamine and surface coating, safe for your child and the environment. You can also find flat plates ($6.90), bowls (or get a set of three), utensils for infants and children and sippy cups (or a set of two). Other items include tumblers, teething keys and a snack stack set (prices start from $5.30 to $22.90).

 

 

Recyclable Fashion

The organic sunglasses ($45 to $55) from Ki ET LA are fully recyclable. Additionally, the arches, made of an elastomeric material, are completely Bisphenol and phthalate-free, and stored in an organic cotton bag. These arches are flexible in all directions, cannot be crushed and are comfortable for your children to wear. Next, the anti-scratch lenses can also withstand tough handling, and have maximum UV protection and a blue blocker filter.

Other recyclable options: Jack N' Jill Natural Toothpaste, Quut products, certain Mustela products and Talking Tables Dino Plates (prices range from $8.90 to $39)

 

 

Bamboo

For your daily use, try a variety of sustainable options, such as this Jack N’ Jill Rinse Cup ($15.90), which is made from both bamboo and rice husks. This cup works as a regular drinking cup, or for rinsing after brushing your teeth. All these are naturally BPA & PVC free. For adults, you can use a reusable coffee cup, such as this one from Talking Tables ($28.90). Meanwhile, babies and toddlers can use the Moulin Routy Bamboo Dish Set ($34.90), suitable for ages one and up, which encourages self-feeding, and comes with a plate, bowl, cup, fork and spoon.

 

Another alternative is the Penny Scallan Design Bamboo Meal Set with Cutlery ($39.90), as well as the complementary sippy cup ($19.90). Made of eco-friendly and biodegradable bamboo fibre, this plate, bowl, cup, fork, spoon and sippy cup sets are durable and easy to clean as well as food-safe. Even better, avid cooks can use Danielle Peita Graham’s Elite Bamboo Chopping Board ($79), which is made with premium quality bamboo, and is lighter than most wooden boards, yet durable, scratch and bacteria-resistant and easy to clean.

 

 

Wearing and Sleeping-in

The two top brands for bamboo clothes and swaddles for your babies are Raph&Remy and Baa Baa Sheepz. In particular, Raph&Remy offers a complete outfit for your newborn, from mittens, socks, beanie, booties, knotted gowns and onesies. Each of these are made mostly of bamboo, which is thrice more absorbent than cotton and regulates temperature better. The OEKO-TEX® certified material is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypoallergenic. Other essentials also include blankets, a swaddle and a towel and mitt set (prices range from $19.90 to $110).

 

Meanwhile, Baa Baa Sheepz offers cute long and short-sleeved rompers, the super soft Bedtime Buddy in varying sizes and pyjamas ($33). Regarding bedding, choose from a variety of designs for single beds and cots, and keep your little one warm with the blankets (prices range from $19 to $89).

 

 

100% Sustainable Cotton

Seek out organic cotton alternatives, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified textiles. This ensures that the working conditions of those producing the garments are safe and hygienic with no workplace discrimination and fair pay rates.

 

One such brand is Coq En Pate, which uses 100 per cent organic and GOTS-certified cotton in their clothes, backpack and vanity cases. Their range includes long and short-sleeved bodysuits, t-shirts, backpack and vanity cases (prices range from $35.90 to $89.90). Local brand Sea Apple also uses GOTS certified cotton. Their collection includes t-shirts, dresses and cheongsams, bibs, and rompers (prices range from $15 to $69.90).

 

 

Bottles and Jars: Glass and Reusable Alternatives

Instead of the regular milk bottles, try glass ones instead. If taken care of properly, they could potentially last you through multiple children - you can always hand them down to another mum. Some benefits of using glass bottles are that they contain no harmful chemicals, may be easier to clean and you can completely sanitise your bottles without worrying about melting the glass. Brands that currently carry glass milk bottles include Pigeon, Avent, NUK and Dr Brown ($15.90 to $39.90). For older infants who are starting on solids, store their food in glass jars from Béaba.

 

While Hegen’s bottles aren’t glass, they’re a good environmentally-friendly option because of their durability and versatility. For example, each of the milk bottles ($27 to $55) can become snack jars, or store your little one’s purees and semi-solid food as they wean, or can be used for juice and as a water bottle. Additionally, their parent company Fitson, which manufactures all Hegen products has the ISO 14001 certification that ensures they adopt the best environmental practices to reduce their environmental footprint, and sustainably develop their business.

Related Reads: Pregnant and looking for ways to cope with childbirth? Learn more about childbirth classes. Also, support your breastfeeding journey with these manual and electric pumps.

Credits: emelinedesporte, Beaba Singapore, Raph&Remy, Ki ET LA Singapore, Green Toys. kamile.alex, cottonbro, Childhome

 

Aside from learning your baby’s non-verbal cues, teaching him/her basic sign language can help you understand his/her needs better. This is particularly useful when your baby reaches about nine months to two years old. During this time, his/her vocabulary may be growing but still limited, thus sign language may aid you in understanding what he/she wants.

 

The Potential Benefits

Most importantly, you get to understand your baby’s thoughts and needs a little better, so that you can respond to what he/she needs quickly. Hence, your baby will have lesser tantrums, since you’d understand what he/she needs. You can start as early as four to six months old, but your baby will likely initiate signing back to you only as soon as six to 10 months on-wards.

 

Research conducted with small studies was inconclusive to prove that babies gain any significant cognitive or language advantage over a non-signing baby. However, it may give a developing infant a way to communicate before he/she learns vocal communication. Thus, when your child is between 8 months and two years, this may help to ease frustration for both you and your child. At the very least, because of the time spent trying to teach your child baby sign language, you also pick up on your child’s nonverbal cues and gestures to understand his/her needs.

 

 

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

Start with signs that express his/her needs. Obvious choices include being hungry, thirsty and sleepy. Although you may have chosen a particular sign to represent a need, your baby may invent his/her own sign, so do follow that when possible. Next, speak and sign at the same time to help your baby develop his/her language skills, so your baby co-relates the sign and the word you just said. Of course, repetition is key, so make sure you sign consistently and frequently.

 

Increase the signs’ visibility by signing close to your face. As your baby loves to look at your face and eyes, doing so helps your baby notice them better. Similarly, if you’re signing for an object, ensure you make the sign close to, or on top of the object. When your baby does sign to you, do “reward” him/her by taking immediate action, such as giving your child the milk he/she requested for promptly.

 

Another way to help your little one learn is to hold your baby on your lap, back to your stomach, and use his/her hands to make the signs. Do these while doing various activities, such as bathing, diapering, feeding, or reading to your little one to give them proper context.

 

When teaching your little one, research suggests that iconic signs (signs that represent the word, like “milk”) are more helpful for your babies. However, some non-iconic signs that also include “mummy” and “daddy” may also be fun for your child to learn. The most effective approach to communicating with your child, is to pay attention to him/her and respond to their attempts and gesturing and verbalising. Use speech and transparent gestures like pantomime and pointing to “talk” with your little one.

 

 

Resources for Baby Sign Language

Resources for learning baby sign language in Singapore include Baby Signs Singapore, which is currently offering Zoom classes ($200). Otherwise, there are books or online resources that teach baby sign language. Do note the signs may differ, so choose a language that you’re comfortable with and can remember easily. Sign language for your baby doesn’t have to be just a mother-child bonding activity - rope in your spouse, parents, in-laws or other caretakers so that they’re also familiar with such signs.

 

Next, take it easy and start with just a few signs, and don’t overwhelm your baby. Learning baby sign language is supposed to reduce frustration instead of adding to it. Of course, when your baby does respond and imitate your signing, it may not be perfect, so acknowledge it and respond so your baby is interested and motivated to keep signing.

 

 

12 Basic Signs

All done: Start with your upturned palms close together, then turn them over and move outwards

Daddy: Open your palm, with your fingers facing upward. Next, tap your forehead with your thumb.

Drink: Cup your hand and place it to your mouth

Eat: Tap your fingertips to your mouth with your palm down and your thumb touching your fingers.

Food: With closed fingertips, bring your hand to your mouth.

Hungry: Rub your belly

Milk: Open and close your fist as if you were milking a cow

More: Tap your fingertips together

Mummy: Open your palm, with your fingers facing upward and tap your thumb to your chin.

Potty: Put your hand in a fist and shake it from side to side.

Sleep: Extend your fingers and spread apart. Move your hand from over your face down to below your chin, with your fingers touching your thumb. Additionally, to act this out, you can relax your face and let your eyes get droopy.

Water: Put three fingers up and tap your index finger on your chin.

 

Credits: Omar Lopez, Nathan Dumlao, Helena Lopes, Baby Sign Language, Speech and Language Kids, Speech and Language Kids, Newborn Care - Deciphering Your Baby’s Needs, Developmental MIlestones - Newborn to 1 Year

 

Looking for natural, sustainable options for your little ones? Here are our top picks to suit your lifestyle. Reduce your environmental footprint with these sustainable options. Ranging from wood, bamboo, and recycled plastic choices, these include clothes, toys, cutlery and utensils, as well as durable, long-lasting items such as cots, and high chairs.

 

Wood

For playtime, the Melissa & Doug Natural Play Wooden Puzzle ($17.90) offers problem-solving fun with thick and sturdy wooden pieces for children to match these to the patterns in the wooden puzzle. Additionally, the board and pieces can be stored in a handy, take-along case with woven rope handles, and these puzzles use recycled materials and soy-based inks. This puzzle is also great for toddlers and preschoolers from two to four years old.

One other sustainable alternative is Janod, whose line of toys and puzzles feature mostly cardboard or wood. For example, the Mini Story series comprise solid beech wood pieces, themed around princesses, knights and the circus. Other products like the Stacking Pyramids, Shape Sorter and 12 Blocks Fairtales are made of cardboard, while toys like the Magnet Kits (prices range from $24.90 to $35) are made of Chinese Cherry wood.

Other wooden toys: Melissa & Doug Pretend Play Food Food Group, Moulin Roty Le voyage d'Olga Flute, Wooden Tools Suitcase, and the Double Sided Wood Maracas (prices from $16.90 to $72.90).

Another option is the Childhome Zig Zag Tipi Tent ($209), made of 100 per cent cotton canvas, and birch. Birch trees are abundant and fast-growing, hence it’s a sustainable, long-term choice that does not cause much devastation or destruction of biodiversity. The tent’s neutral colour scheme can fit any interior or nursery, or stowed away when not in use into a storage bag. Other birch options include Essa Grace's kid-sized furniture. These include benches, bookshelves, a table, chairs, a slide and a bed (prices range from $160 up to $3,799).

 

 

Growing with Your Child

Otherwise, choose durable and long-lasting options for your family to reduce waste. For example, typically most cots can be used for three years or less before you’d have to switch to another option. Instead, try the Boori Alice or Classic Cot Beds ($599 to $999) which are suitable for your baby up to five years old. Both beds use sustainable wood and can convert from a cot to a toddler bed when needed. Other alternatives for cots include the Stokke Mini ($939). This can be extended to a child-size bed with extensions ($249 to $590), allowing your children to use it from birth to 10 years old.

 

Yet another durable and long-lasting option is the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair ($369). Similar to the cot, with the accessories, your child can sit in this chair from birth until adulthood. Some accessories include the Newborn Set, Baby Set, the Cushion and the Tray (the latter three are suitable for six months onwards, prices from $69 to $99). As your child grows, you can adjust the seat and footrest to his/her comfort. The chair provides sufficient back and feet support for all ages.

 

Recycled and Recyclable Options

A great option is Green Toys that uses recycled milk jugs to manufacture cool toys for your little ones. The California-based company’s toys are BPA and phthalate-free. Completely US-made, this reduces greenhouse gases, energy and saves on transportation. Their collection ranges from vehicles, to playing with dough, and role playing options  (prices range from $12.90 to $89).

In terms of cutlery, plates and bowls for your children, try Re-Play. Most of their products are made from FDA-approved, sustainable HDPE recycled plastic or polypropylene. One example are the Divided plates ($6.90 for one or $19.90 for three), suitable for baby led weaning, or for portion control for adults.

 

Additionally, they are dishwasher and microwave safe. However, if you put these into the microwave they may stain or you might find hot spots in the food. Naturally, these are also free of BPA, phthalate, PVC, melamine and surface coating, safe for your child and the environment. You can also find flat plates ($6.90), bowls (or get a set of three), utensils for infants and children and sippy cups (or a set of two). Other items include tumblers, teething keys and a snack stack set (prices start from $5.30 to $22.90).

 

 

Recyclable Fashion

The organic sunglasses ($45 to $55) from Ki ET LA are fully recyclable. Additionally, the arches, made of an elastomeric material, are completely Bisphenol and phthalate-free, and stored in an organic cotton bag. These arches are flexible in all directions, cannot be crushed and are comfortable for your children to wear. Next, the anti-scratch lenses can also withstand tough handling, and have maximum UV protection and a blue blocker filter.

Other recyclable options: Jack N' Jill Natural Toothpaste, Quut products, certain Mustela products and Talking Tables Dino Plates (prices range from $8.90 to $39)

 

 

Bamboo

For your daily use, try a variety of sustainable options, such as this Jack N’ Jill Rinse Cup ($15.90), which is made from both bamboo and rice husks. This cup works as a regular drinking cup, or for rinsing after brushing your teeth. All these are naturally BPA & PVC free. For adults, you can use a reusable coffee cup, such as this one from Talking Tables ($28.90). Meanwhile, babies and toddlers can use the Moulin Routy Bamboo Dish Set ($34.90), suitable for ages one and up, which encourages self-feeding, and comes with a plate, bowl, cup, fork and spoon.

 

Another alternative is the Penny Scallan Design Bamboo Meal Set with Cutlery ($39.90), as well as the complementary sippy cup ($19.90). Made of eco-friendly and biodegradable bamboo fibre, this plate, bowl, cup, fork, spoon and sippy cup sets are durable and easy to clean as well as food-safe. Even better, avid cooks can use Danielle Peita Graham’s Elite Bamboo Chopping Board ($79), which is made with premium quality bamboo, and is lighter than most wooden boards, yet durable, scratch and bacteria-resistant and easy to clean.

 

 

Wearing and Sleeping-in

The two top brands for bamboo clothes and swaddles for your babies are Raph&Remy and Baa Baa Sheepz. In particular, Raph&Remy offers a complete outfit for your newborn, from mittens, socks, beanie, booties, knotted gowns and onesies. Each of these are made mostly of bamboo, which is thrice more absorbent than cotton and regulates temperature better. The OEKO-TEX® certified material is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypoallergenic. Other essentials also include blankets, a swaddle and a towel and mitt set (prices range from $19.90 to $110).

 

Meanwhile, Baa Baa Sheepz offers cute long and short-sleeved rompers, the super soft Bedtime Buddy in varying sizes and pyjamas ($33). Regarding bedding, choose from a variety of designs for single beds and cots, and keep your little one warm with the blankets (prices range from $19 to $89).

 

 

100% Sustainable Cotton

Seek out organic cotton alternatives, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified textiles. This ensures that the working conditions of those producing the garments are safe and hygienic with no workplace discrimination and fair pay rates.

 

One such brand is Coq En Pate, which uses 100 per cent organic and GOTS-certified cotton in their clothes, backpack and vanity cases. Their range includes long and short-sleeved bodysuits, t-shirts, backpack and vanity cases (prices range from $35.90 to $89.90). Local brand Sea Apple also uses GOTS certified cotton. Their collection includes t-shirts, dresses and cheongsams, bibs, and rompers (prices range from $15 to $69.90).

 

 

Bottles and Jars: Glass and Reusable Alternatives

Instead of the regular milk bottles, try glass ones instead. If taken care of properly, they could potentially last you through multiple children - you can always hand them down to another mum. Some benefits of using glass bottles are that they contain no harmful chemicals, may be easier to clean and you can completely sanitise your bottles without worrying about melting the glass. Brands that currently carry glass milk bottles include Pigeon, Avent, NUK and Dr Brown ($15.90 to $39.90). For older infants who are starting on solids, store their food in glass jars from Béaba.

 

While Hegen’s bottles aren’t glass, they’re a good environmentally-friendly option because of their durability and versatility. For example, each of the milk bottles ($27 to $55) can become snack jars, or store your little one’s purees and semi-solid food as they wean, or can be used for juice and as a water bottle. Additionally, their parent company Fitson, which manufactures all Hegen products has the ISO 14001 certification that ensures they adopt the best environmental practices to reduce their environmental footprint, and sustainably develop their business.

Related Reads: Pregnant and looking for ways to cope with childbirth? Learn more about childbirth classes. Also, support your breastfeeding journey with these manual and electric pumps.

Credits: emelinedesporte, Beaba Singapore, Raph&Remy, Ki ET LA Singapore, Green Toys. kamile.alex, cottonbro, Childhome