I always wanted to raise my baby in a moderately sustainable way. I keep adding moderately because I want to be honest and admit that my house is NOT plastic-free, however, we do what we can and that is I think wonderful enough given I am currently with zero help and so much to do. In the past year, after Shloka was born, I have learnt that babies need a lot of things and that sometimes we end up buying things we don't need and then that just adds to the waste. A lot of the new moms part of my various whats app groups are open to reusing and recycling that just fills my heart with pure joy. However there are somethings every mother will end up buying from diapers to clothes and toys, the list seems endless.
Unfortunately, if you are wondering where most of this stuff ends up, it ends up in a landfill. Obviously, if you are a conscious consumer and want to do your bit there are a few things you can do to reduce the impact and help raise your baby more sustainably.
Here are a few ways in which new parents can do just that, while still enjoying modern conveniences, something we do in our moderately sustainable parenting approach.
Use Cloth / Reusable / Sustainable Diapers.
This is a big one. Billions of diapers end up in landfills around the world. This is hands down one of the most wasteful baby items on the market. Each one of these diapers takes 500+ years to break down. Can you imagine? Baby poops once, and 500 years later, that diaper is still in the landfill. And to think, there are so many great alternatives!
Like with all things I recommend being practical and keeping the environment and your convenience in mind. If you want to adopt a sustainable lifestyle then it has to be done in a way that is sustainable for you to continue doing it. We started with disposable diapers the first month and then introduced Shloka to cloth diapers at about 6-7 weeks. I used Bamboo diapers, found them too expensive so wanted a cheaper and eco-friendly alternative and so we switched to cloth diapering post her turning 7 weeks. We use them in the day when we are home and if we go out or at night we use that one disposable diaper. While it may not be the most sustainable way of doing things, it's a way that works for us, helps me get some sleep and lets her sleep through the night as well.
There are SO many benefits of using a cloth diaper - reduce waste, save a ton of money, less diaper rash, and some even say cloth diaper-wearing babies potty train earlier (score!!). So here are a few of the diapers we have used and loved, if you’d like to try them out:
We are now a proud ONE and continue to wear our Superbottom Uno that we bought a few months ago, You can buy additional pads and change just those. If you have to step out you can buy and carry a wet bag along to save soiled and wet diapers.
Natural Materials for Toys, Rattles etc
The one rule I have for Shloka is minimal plastic toys. We started with zero plastic toys and gadgets and that is doable but we got gifted a Fisher-Price walker and I have bent this rule a few times so far - we have bought her Magna Tiles, a set Sensory Blocks that are wood and plastic and a Duplo set - all of which are open-ended and will last her a few years. I have passed on the plastic toys gifted to us to friends who are ok using them but we try to keep her nursery as plastic-free as possible. Babies tend to accumulate a lot of toys and there are so many amazing alternatives made from clay, wood and other natural materials that it is totally doable at least the first few years of a child's life.
In fact, my hunt for good wooden toys is what lead me to originally start thinking of adding children's toys and clothes to this website. When shopping for new toys, or registering for baby items, you can make a point to always look for wood or natural materials first. There are some great alternatives out there made of wood or cloth!
You can check them all out here.
Most babies love chewing on the wood teethers, and natural play mats are great for baby’s development and the environment! Natural rubber pacifiers are also a great alternative to their plastic counterparts. We have some great options from Thasvi and Ariro that you can check out.
Conscious decisions when purchasing toys can help reduce baby’s exposure to toxic materials, as well as reduce the use of non-biodegradable products.
SHOP ORGANIC WHEN POSSIBLE
There is a huge selection of organic baby items on the market now ranging from food to sheets, clothing, and toys. These are great alternatives to synthetic, non-organic materials. Not only do these products reduce pollutants entering the environment, but they also reduce exposure to pesticides and chemical residues often found on clothing. A win for the planet, and a win for baby!
We have some great clothing options for baby and you on our website.
Reusing baby items is one of the greatest things you can do in terms of reducing waste and becoming an eco-friendly family. Baby items are used for such a short period of time, they can be reused over and over again. We have bought preloved and sold used items or donated them and are happy to do so. When you buy a good quality product for your baby you can use it for years, across your family or even sell it forward. All the products on our platform are the best of their kind curated keeping the quality, use and price in mind. As a new mom who wants the best for her baby, I can totally understand how and why you need to shop the best and watch your pocket at the same time and we have kept your requirements and constraints to help you shop for your baby and introduce them to the best products out there.
There are also great resources like Sold re Sold on Instagram to help u recycle and resell or buy preloved items for your little one.
HOMEMADE BABY FOOD
I cannot emphasise enough on this because it is healthier for the baby and our planet and your pocket! I am going to do an entire series on this one, I am no expert but will share my two bits from our experience with Shloka.
I will admit that the baby food pouches are super convenient, however, a friend recommended using a reusable squeeze pouch for homemade baby food, and it has been a lifesaver! The great part about this item is that it’s more challenging to squeeze the food out, which makes for less cleanup!
We used those pouches only 2 times though when travelling but the fact that we have been in lockdown since the end of February as an extra precaution has mad feeding her freshly prepared food through baby-led weaning easier. I am grateful to a fellow mommy Aanchal for introducing me to baby-led weaning and holding my hand through the initial tears and stress. It is, however, the best way for a baby to learn to appreciate food and eat everything. As for food wastage, we deal with that in our way and I will be sharing that with you as well!
FINAL THOUGHTS: REDUCE WASTE WHILE RAISING BABY
There are hundreds of little things we can do on a daily basis to reduce waste while raising a baby. Since you have made it to the end of this page, it's obvious you doing your best to make a difference, and every little bit matters! Feel free to tag us on Instagram @acharmedlifein, when you try these out or have suggestions to reduce waste and reuse baby items in an effort to lessen our environmental impact.