Have you ever thought about just how much waste a baby creates? If you have ever changed a diaper, the answer may be yes- and I’m not talking about #2, either! The modern way of raising a baby is full of “throw-aways”, from disposable diapers to toys used for just a few months to clothing that never fits and beyond. Babies can create a lot of waste!
When I found out I was pregnant with Halle, I decided to make it my mission to have a “waste free baby”. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been all that hard! Here’s some choices that we made to cut down on our waste and make raising our girl as sustainable as possible:
Get hand-me-downs whenever possible.
This one is HUGE. It’s so easy to want to buy all of the cuteness for your incoming bundle of joy, but in reality, they are just going to poop and spit up on it. And not just clothing, either- big baby items like bouncers, swings, even strollers. Check with friends to see what they can lend you before filling out a registry so that you can only ask for what you need.
If you have to buy it, don’t buy it until you need it.
Keep receipts for everything you get at your shower! then, if you don’t need it, take it back. Resist the temptation to go out and buy things that you think you might need at some point. Instead, wait until you know you need them, then decide if it’s worth the cost. This cuts down on tons of extra purchases.
This is a touchy one, but if we are talking sustainability, you can’t beat breastfeeding. Breastfeeding exclusively for as long as possible is one of the greenest, most healthy decisions you can make for your child. It takes some babies and mamas up to six weeks or more to get it all figured out, so find help and don’t give up if you’re having trouble- it’s worth it. Here’s some things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding.
Practice Baby-Led Weaning.
When it does come time to introduce real food to complement your breastmilk feedings, skip the purees and head straight for the real food. Baby-Led Weaning is essentially allowing baby to introduce themselves to different foods at their own pace- so, you simply give the baby what you’re eating, and let them have at it. While some may get on the floor, and technically be “wasted”, you aren’t wasting time, resources, or half a jar of baby food at each meal.
Use cloth diapers…
This is another huge one! The average baby can go through up to $3,000 worth of disposable diapers before they are potty trained. A very nice cloth diaper stash will run between $4-500 and will diaper multiple children over the years. Yes, you will use water to wash the diapers (which you can then line-dry) but this is nothing compared to filling landfills with poopy plastic chemical diaper bombs. Here’s some more reasons to choose cloth, plus some easy steps to get started!
…and cloth wipes!
Once you’re using cloth diapers, you ought to just make the leap to cloth wipes as well. It’s easy to make your own, or buy them cheaply. You can even make your own wipes solution! Simply use a wipe and throw it in with the dirty diapers. Wash them all together. Easy peasy.
Invest in toys that will stand the test of time (and development).
This is something that I feel very strongly about- not surrounding my child with mindless plastic toys that are meant to entertain her, not help her grow and develop. Instead, we use toys made from sustainable materials and that are (for the most part) battery-free. These are toys that are made from wood, recycled BPE-free plastics (very few), and natural rubbers. They are “imagination builders”- stacking cups, rings, blocks, etc- that can grow with Halle, as they serve as tethers now, they can later become castle blocks or rings for stuffed animals to jump through. They are investment pieces, but they will last. Here’s some more great reasons to choose wooden toys, as well as some of my favorite brands.
Lead by example.
It’s an incredible value to instill in your children- that people and experiences have lasting value, compared to the waning value of toys. This starts with us, as parents, focusing on being waste-free in our own lives, and leading by example!