Having a child is a wonderful experience for many new parents which introduces a new way of life for many families. As we become more aware of how our lives are impacting the environment it is a good idea to start your parenting journey off with sustainable choices.
There are many excellent ways you can help protect the environment while caring for your baby through eco-conscious choices. Below we will explore some of the ways you can navigate parenting and raising a baby by making sustainable swaps during your pregnancy and your baby’s first year.
Second-Hand Maternity Clothes
Maternity clothes can be expensive and you only wear them for a short time while you are pregnant. By choosing to buy second-hand maternity wear you will save money and prevent unwanted clothing from being wasted. Second-hand sites such as eBay or Vinted are great places to look for maternity clothing online. There are also many sites dedicated to good quality second-hand maternity wear.
You can avoid sending disposable nappies to landfills by choosing reusable nappies. Reusable nappies are very easy to use and there are many options you can choose from. You can buy bundles of second-hand nappies, or invest in a selection of new nappies from brands such as TotsBots, Bambino Mio, or Little Lamb. The initial cost of reusable nappies may seem high however most reusable nappies can grow with your baby until they are ready to be potty trained.
Recycle Baby Bottles
If you bottle-feed your baby you may wonder what you should do with all the bottles once they are finished with them. Many baby bottles are recyclable or reusable and can be passed on to other families. As baby bottles are cleaned and sterilised they can be used again and again so there is no need to throw them out. If you have chosen to use glass baby bottles you will be able to either pass them on or recycle them with your local recycling centre. You can also check local baby banks to see if they are happy to take your preloved baby bottles to pass on to another family in need.
Homemade baby food
When it comes to weaning your baby around 6 months it can seem like an expensive task. Baby foods in supermarkets are sold in small jars and there are lots of new baby items to buy such as high chairs, bibs, and feeding trays. By making your own food at home you can save money and be more sustainable. You can use up any leftover fruits or vegetables in your fridge. Making your own food will eliminate food packaging waste from shop-bought baby food and make use of any excess food you have at home.
As we all know babies grow fast and outgrow their cute baby outfits in no time. So you may end up with a surplus of baby clothes that are too small for your baby very quickly. Here are some great ideas for those small baby clothes:
- Keep special clothing items in a keepsake box. You may enjoy looking back at their first newborn outfit or you can pass on a special outfit your child wore to your grandchildren one day.
- Donate any good quality baby clothes to your local charity shop, or baby bank. As long as they are in good condition with minimal stains you can donate them. This includes baby socks, bibs, and hats.
For any very stained items of clothing don’t throw them away. There are lots of places that can recycle the fabric. Look for fabric banks where you can donate old clothes to be recycled
Natural Fibres and Materials
Make informed choices when buying items for your baby and their nursery. Natural clothing fibres such as linen and cotton are better for the environment as they do not contribute to microplastic waste like polyester does. Natural fibres are more biodegradable and are kinder to your baby’s sensitive skin. When choosing furniture for your baby’s nursery, pick items made from sustainable materials, such as wood, that are natural and chemical-free.
Switch to Eco-Cleaning Products
With the arrival of your baby, you will likely be conscious of keeping them safe and adapting your home to be more baby-friendly. A great way to do this is by swapping your cleaning products for greener, more eco-friendly options. Eco-cleaning products will eliminate toxic chemicals being used around your home and will be safer for your baby.
You can make many excellent cleaning products using household items. White vinegar is an excellent antibacterial agent and can be diluted with water to wipe down surfaces. Lemon is another great cleaner and can cut through grease on your oven or saucepans. Natural sunlight also kills bacteria, so make the most of a sunny day and leave items in the sun to help remove stubborn stains and odours.
Grow Your Own Food
By growing your own food such as fruits and vegetables you will be able to save money on your groceries and help the planet. Growing your own food is better for the environment because it eliminates food packaging waste, reduces air and water pollution, and growing plants contributes to cleaner air.
If you have a garden or balcony you can grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and even pumpkins. If you don’t have outside space you can apply for an allotment space or even grow herbs and small fruiting plants, such as peppers on your window sill.
There are many things you can do to make the way you live more sustainable and eco-friendly in time for your baby’s arrival. Many of the above suggestions are inexpensive and have a long usage life. Disposable nappies may take a little extra time and effort to clean, yet will greatly help to protect the environment. Buying second-hand clothing for both you and your baby will also help save you money and prevent clothes from being sent to a landfill.
By making small changes to your life you will be able to live in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way whilst looking after your baby.