Monday, September 01, 2008

Pediatric Book Review: Raising Baby Green

Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care by Alan Greene (Author), Jeanette Pavini (Contributor), Theresa Foy DiGeronimo (Contributor)
ISBN 10: 078799622X

I'm reviewing this book first because I very much didn't like the book. Now, Sunny and I try to live as eco-friendly as possible, with new adaptations when we think of them. We're planning on breastfeeding, using cloth diapers, and plenty of hand-me-downs with the baby. So I considered this book as a possible repository of new ideas.

What I found was that a) this book did not give good, thoroughly researched information on the topics I expected like breastfeeding and cloth diapers and b) the author generically just states over and over to use "organic" products. Regarding the first, in order to be persuasive, the book should have a plethora of facts and some well-chosen hard data. Many of the sites advocating cloth diapers have clearly outlined how much cloth diapers cost, including estimates for power, water, detergent, and labor vs 3 years of disposable diapers. It is very persuasive to tell a new mom that she will save at least $1000 on cloth diapers, and more if she choses to wash the diapers at home instead of using a diaper service, and detail out why instead of magically presenting the final numbers. But such accounting was not in evidence in this book.

Secondly, I have a big problem with the indiscriminate use of the word "organic". The author is apparently fine with the use of organic formula as an alternative to breastfeeding. The primary problem with formula is not how it's grown, it's that it is artificial and inadequate nutritionally and immunologically. In other areas he recommends organic baby wipes, organic this and that. The problem with the word "organic" is that it doesn't always mean what a consumer might think it means. Organic farms don't necessarily use zero pesticides, they just have to use approved ones from a list. Nor are organically produced disposable products the best for the environment. I'm planning on using cloth baby wipes and water for my baby's rear end. What do "organic" disposable baby wipes contain?

So, I rate this book a 2/5 for "nice try. Good idea and poor execution". There's better information out on the internet, don't just take this book's word for it.