How to make sustainable choices in parenting

The recent edition of wknd. Conversations spotlighted the importance of starting early when it comes to baby care


Somya Mehta

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Published: Thu 9 Nov 2023, 8:31 PM

Last updated: Fri 10 Nov 2023, 1:19 PM

The term ‘sustainability’ has garnered foremost attention in the mainstream narrative in our modern-day society. As the UAE gears up to deliver COP28 — United Nations Climate Change Conference 2023, people from across industries are coming together to deconstruct what sustainability really entails and how eco-conscious practices can positively impact the environment.

In line with this initiative, the latest edition of wknd. conversations that took place on November 2 spotlighted the importance of making sustainable choices in parenting and why it’s crucial to start early. The event, which took place at Think Smart Hub, Dubai, in collaboration with WaterWipes, aimed to bring together influential voices, to help ensure that sustainability is not reduced to a mere buzzword but is used instead as a genuine commitment to addressing environmental challenges.

The morning kickstarted with a keynote address from David Lawlor, Brand Acceleration Director at WaterWipes, on their new product upgrade to plastic free wipes across the full product range that was recently launched in GCC, and highlighted the continuous and future efforts by the brand to protect sensitive skin and minimise the environmental impact.

Following the keynote, Dubai-based parenting and nutrition blogger Eshanka Wahi took the stage to share her parenting journey and how she makes sustainable choices for her kids. “Whether it’s saving and passing on clothes from generation to generation, to the baby care products I buy, to eating habits, sustainability is an inherent aspect of my parenting approach,” said Wahi.

The expert panels included Amanda Rushforth, who’s a UAE-based sustainability advocate, Kavita Srinivasan, a conscious parenting coach based in Dubai and Dr Minal Patwardhan Andrade, the UAE’s first female dermatologist, joined by David Lawlor. The conversations that followed shed light on a number of topics, from why it’s important to make sustainable choices as parents, to busting common myths when it comes to baby care.

“Making sustainable choices is crucial in our daily lives as consumers, whether you're a parent or not,” said Rushforth. “However, it's particularly significant for new parents because it sets the foundation for a sustainable mindset in their child's life. If you start shopping for second-hand items for your children from a very young age, it can help reduce the environmental impact as they grow up and it will allow your kids to develop this mindset and habit while they're still young,” she added.

Making sustainable choices encompasses selecting eco-friendly and non-toxic baby products, reducing waste through practices like using cloth diapers and opting for second-hand or hand-me-down items. “There are numerous products available both on store shelves and online. What you should focus on is checking whether it has the appropriate accreditations that indicate it's a trustworthy brand. More importantly, ensure it's safe for your baby. Consider examining the product's ingredients closely. This aspect is crucial when it comes to skincare. We should never underestimate the significance of what we apply to our skin,” said Lawlor.

To this, Dr Andrade added, “Babies, as we've learned, have skin that is one-third thinner than that of adults and is also physiologically immature for the first two years of their lives. This means the choices we make regarding how we clean our babies, the wipes we use, the food we feed them, and the clothing we choose are crucial during this critical period. These seemingly small decisions can significantly impact the health of a baby's skin.”

By integrating sustainable practices into baby care routines, parents and caregivers can not only reduce their ecological footprint but also instil environmentally responsible values in their children. “If I were to offer advice to parents, I would suggest taking a moment to consider how they can get close to nature. Often, we don't gravitate towards a more natural way of living because we’re so detached from the natural world,” said Srinivasan.

“How often do we actually spend time breathing fresh air outdoors, or how much respect do we show for our own bodies? Our treatment of the world mirrors how we treat ourselves and when we pause to contemplate what we consume and how we care for our physical and mental well-being, we become more aware of the world around us,” she signed off.

wknd. conversations is an interactive platform where influential voices from different industries come together for informative sessions on a variety of subjects.

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