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Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet Guide to Natural Baby Care: Nontoxic and Environmentally Friendly Ways to Take Care of Your New Child Paperback – March 25, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

For a decade, the nonprofit organization Mothers and Others for a Living Planet has been an advocate for raising children in natural, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly environments. Now, the editors of the Mothers and Others newsletter The Green Guide, Mindy Pennybacker and Aisha Ikramuddin, have compiled hundreds of suggestions into a comprehensive guidebook ideal for all parents concerned with providing their children with safe, "green" surroundings.

Pennybacker and Ikramuddin provide details and suggestions for preparing baby's room, taking care of yourself during pregnancy, diapering the natural way, feeding your child, avoiding PVC in toys, avoiding the dangers of installing new carpets in baby's room (nonnatural carpets "offgas" VOCs--volatile organic compounds--and all carpets can become a trap for allergens and dust mites), and much more. It's not all warnings and cautions, though; the "Raising (and Protecting) Your Naturalist Child" chapter discusses the importance of exposing your child to the natural world, including ways to encourage empathy for animals. A thorough listing of "green" resources, information, and Web sites rounds off this highly useful guide. --Ericka Lutz

From the Back Cover

A friendly, step-by-step parent's resource for safe, practical, and affordable baby care.

No job is more important to you than taking care of your child. Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet understand this, and they want to help. For the last ten years, they've been a leading voice for raising children in natural, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly surroundings. Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet Guide to Natural Baby Care puts all of their pioneering research, advocacy, and support right at your fingertips. This wonderfully practical and accessible resource offers straightforward information and simple advice on how to reduce babies' and children's exposure to environmental toxins and embrace safer practices and "greener" products. Engagingly written and clearly organized for quick and easy reference, the book discusses:

  • caring for yourself during pregnancy
  • eliminating dangerous chemicals from your home
  • breast-feeding and bottle-feeding
  • affordable organic baby food
  • nontoxic rugs, paints, clothing, toys, and furniture
  • avoiding pollutants such as pesticides, dust mites, molds, microbes, chemical fumes, and cigarette smoke
  • safe soaps, shampoos, and lotions
  • environmentally sounder diapers, furniture, and other greener product choices.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471293334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471293330
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,444,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mindy Pennybacker is editor of and the "Ask Mindy" columnist for Body + Soul Magazine. She edited The Green Guide for over a decade and co-founded

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and a lifelong surfer, she graduated from Punahou School and holds a B.A. in English Literature from Stanford University, where she was also a Stegner Fellow in Fiction. She received an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she met her husband, Donald C. Wallace. Their son, Rory Donald Wallace, was born and raised in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood and went on to Stanford. A member of the California Bar, Mindy has a J.D. from the University of California, Davis. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Sierra, Worldwatch, Natural Home, E. Magazine,, The Atlantic Monthly, Fiction Magazine, Honolulu Weekly, Bamboo Ridge, and elsewhere.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mothers and Others has 30,000 members, all of whom receive The Green Guide, a monthly newsletter detailing the latest on environmental toxins and information about safer products and practices. The organization was started in 1989 to stop the use of dangerous pesticides and has been actively campaigning ever since with this goal in mind. This must-have book for environmentally and health-conscious families is a collection of information from the newsletters compiled into one incredibly useful volume. This book is not meant to overwhelm you with ideas and tasks to undertake in the name of acquiring a toxin-free household. In fact, you will find so many useful, easy tips that you will wonder why you didn't get started sooner. The information is applicable to the parents of children of all ages, starting with a chapter on pregnancy and preparing your home for the new arrival. In addition to the valuable facts presented in the book, there is an extensive bibliography listing further titles by subject if you are interested in doing even more research. It also lists hundreds of mail order companies and websites. Bonus: readers of the book can call for a free issue of The Green Guide.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By lindyjulie on April 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
While this book does have many resources for parents trying to incorporate non-toxic and environmentally-friendly practices into their parenting, it assumes a very traditional Western approach to parenting, one in which one of the biggest jobs new parents face is acquiring the right STUFF to parent. Although there is a lot of information on cribs, there are few recommendations for parents who might want to co-sleep or have a family bed, such as three-sided cribs that attach to the parent's bed, or equipment to make the family bed safer. The book presents the pros and cons of cloth diapers vs. disposables but does not mention anything about natural infant hygiene or elimination communication. Even the cloth diaper section is pretty skimpy, about a page and a half. Nor is there much information on baby carrying and wearing products, such as the huge variety of fabric slings now available.
It's not that parents who want to protect the enviroment need to adopt all of these practices, but a book that is supposed to offer 'safe, practical and affordable baby care' for 'a livable planet' should at least mention some of these options in some depth and help make parents aware of them. This seems especially important in that these choices will determine what and how much you need to buy for your baby. If you plan to keep your baby in the same room or bed with you, you won't need worry about stripping lead paint in the baby's room. If you plan to use an infant potty after naps, you may not need to invest in a changing table. If you wear your baby in a sling for most of her first 18 months of life, you may not need a stroller, bassinett, playpen, walker or rocker.
Use this book as a helpful guide to finding good, natural baby products once you've researched the most eco-friendly parenting practices (somewhere else).
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Chad Gambino on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am not to good with words but this book is great for anyone that loves their child as well as the environment. It has websites all through the book if you want to buy some eco-friendly products. I really enjoyed this book and have learned alot from it.
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Format: Paperback
We are exposed to thousands of chemicals in furniture, clothes, cleaning products, air, food, water. For babies' sensitive, developing bodies these chemicals can pose life long developmental problems and introduce illness and disease. There are many choices you can make as a parent to reduce and eliminate your child's exposure to harmful chemicals and this book shares those. Most are simple choices like choosing non-toxic paints and using natural household cleaners. Others, like paying a little more to buy an organic mattress to avoid the harmful fire retardant chemicals (recently banned in California) on conventional mattresses, may seem harder. But what wouldn't you do to protect the health and well-being of the most precious person in your life? I'd do anything with in my ability.

This book has been a constant reference for me since having my baby. It's an invaluable resource. If your pregnant or planning a baby, buy it now.
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