The addition of a new baby to your family comes with lots of changes. You get less sleep, have to spend money on lots of new things, and spend a lot of time cleaning the little one. But these inconveniences pale in comparison to the joys of raising a child.
One thing that many parents forget when it comes to taking care of baby is the need to protect the environment too. All those disposable diapers and wipes pile up fast, and they don’t automatically disappear when they reach the landfill. And then there are all the soaps, lotions, creams and other potions we use on our bundles of joy. They contain chemicals that aren’t necessarily good for young children or the environment.
Here are some ways you can green up your baby care routine.
• Use cloth diapers. They’re not quite as easy to deal with as disposables, but once you get accustomed to them they won’t take up much more of your time. Plus they are a lot less expensive since you can use them over and over again. Add reusable cloth wipes to the equation, and it will make a huge difference in the amount of waste generated.
• Breastfeed if possible. There will be no bottles to wash and dry, which means less plastic and less water are used. If you have to pump, there are environmentally friendly breast pumps and bottles on the market. And if you end up with no choice but to bottle feed, seek out a fair-trade organic formula.
• Dress the baby in hand-me-downs. Most baby clothes are still in good condition when the baby they were bought for outgrows them. They can often be passed on several times before they wear out. Solicit outgrown clothing from friends, siblings or cousins who have young children, or visit your local thrift shop. You could also sign up for your local Freecycle group, where you may find baby clothes, furniture and more for free.
• Use natural skin care and laundry products. Olive oil makes a wonderful lotion for babies, as it is all natural and unlikely to cause a reaction. You can find organic soaps, creams, and laundry products at specialty shops, and even at some mainstream retailers. You can also find recipes for making your own out of household ingredients online.
• Buy secondhand nursery furniture and high chairs if possible. The only things that should always be purchased new are crib mattresses and car seats. Used crib mattresses have been linked to SIDS, and used car seats may be damaged even if they look fine.
• Stick with natural toys. Since babies frequently put toys in their mouths, plastic toys that often contain BPAs and other chemicals are not a good choice. Wooden toys like those enjoyed by generations past are much safer. Stuffed toys should be durably constructed and made of organic cotton.
All it takes is some minor adjustments to make your baby care more eco-friendly. In the process, you’ll probably find yourself saving a lot of money. And as every new parent knows, saving money is always a good thing!