With an increased focus on global warming, reducing single use plastic and the effects of human actions on our oceans, many parents are attempting to find ways to live more sustainably, reduce waste and establish more eco-friendly purchasing habits. Like many families across the globe, we have been actively taking steps to reduce our plastic consumption and make more sensible choices of products when raising our family.
Here are my tips for being an eco-friendly Mom from maternity to weaning. Reusing and recycling is key!
Maternity Wear – As our pregnancies progress, many of us rush out to the shops to treat ourselves to a whole new wardrobe of maternity wear, but the reality is, we outgrow it very quickly. Before we know it, our body shape has changed AGAIN and that beautiful maternity dress no longer stretches over your expanding baby bump. With many maternity clothes getting very minimal wear, why not consider buying second hand instead, searching on Facebook buy and sell groups, marketplace or eBay for preloved clothes at a fraction of the price. Shopping at thrift shops and accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family can help you save a fortune and move away from the harmful fast fashion culture.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t actually have to buy maternity clothes at all, as the label maternity quite often demands a higher price tag.
Instead, think about the items you already own or ones you can wear again post pregnancy – items like oversized tank tops, t-shirts and layered clothing work well. A hair band looped around the top button of your jeans can also extend their timeframe during pregnancy.
Infant / Newborn Clothing
When you are expecting your baby; don’t forget to chat to friends who have older children and see if they have clothes they no longer need. Not only can you save a huge amount of money, but they can recoup a small amount of their initial outlay too! Whilst with a first child it is super tempting to buy everything new, you will soon realise just how quickly babies outgrow items; meaning that many preloved items have barely been worn at all!
Re-usable fabric diapers
Consider ditching the traditional diaper! The average baby gets through over 2000 diapers a year, with most taking over 200 years to decompose. Re-useable diapers whilst a substantial initial outlay work our more economical in the long term, and the reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. They also come in a huge range of bold and bright designs, and are far easier to use than you might imagine!
Make your own first tastes
When it comes to weaning your baby, try and make your own baby food, particularly for those first weaning tastes. Many store bought food pouches come wrapped in plastic and feature hard to recycle materials. Blend and freeze your own fruit and vegetable purees at home in ice cube trays and add finger foods for baby led weaning. Try to use pouches only when necessary or out and about.
Alternatively fill your own re-useable food pouches which can be washed and refilled as required.
Less is more
Whilst baby toys and items to stimulate their senses are an important part of their development, less is often more. Overwhelming your baby with too many toys can actually be quite off-putting for them! Instead of plastic toys, choose more sustainable options like wooden toys. We are big fans of Grimm’s!
It’s also important not to underestimate the power of the great outdoors, especially for toddlers – making daisy chains, going on scavenger hunts, playing with water or mud! There is a lot to be said about the Forest School way of life, with fresh air and sunlight being a great source of serotonin production and Vitamin D.
Don’t waste water
As much as babies love splashing around in the tub, they do not necessarily need to be bathed daily. With delicate newborn skin, exposure to too many bathtime products can actually risk causing dry skin, irritation. Avoid wasting water by washing your baby in a smaller bath tub inside the bath, which will also make bathtime far quicker and help them feel less exposed too.
Overall, there are lots of small steps you can take to be a more sustainable parent. Which steps have you taken to be more eco-friendly as a family?