Written by: Sarah Paiji Yoo CEO + Co Founder at Blueland
September 15, 2020
Whether you’re first time parents, just starting your low waste journey, or both, parenting and staying low waste might seem daunting! But with some planning, some research and some creativity, you can keep waste low even with babies and toddlers running around! As a mom of a 3-year-old and an expectant mother, I know how hectic things can get. Sometimes staying low waste is the last thing on my mind. Luckily I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that help me stay low waste even with kids!
Low Waste Tips For New Parents
When I had my son Noah I chose to breastfeed. It was the right decision for me, but I had no idea how many nursing pads and oil and balm I’d go through! Choosing washable, reusable nursing pads was a swap that worked for me, but might not work for everyone. Bamboobies and EcoNursing Pads make nursing pads that are easy to reuse and are easy to throw in the wash!
For creams, balms and oils, I tried my best to find products that are packaged in glass or metal, not single-use plastic. Though plastic is sometimes unavoidable, I look for products that are more easily recyclable or that I upcycle the packaging! Companies like Hatch sell belly oil that comes in glass packaging, and companies like Badger Balm sell nipple balm that comes in reusable tin packaging. There are also tons of Etsy shops that sell everything from nursing pads to postnatal products in sustainable packaging.
Something they don’t tell you before you have a baby? Sometimes moms and babies need diapers. Some women will have to wear diapers for a few days after giving birth. So if you don’t want to have disposable diapers, don’t forget to prepare for yourself and baby. Some women might not need to wear a diaper but still may experience some leaking after giving birth. Rather than wearing a disposable pad, opt for reusable pads or leak-proof underwear from Thinx or Ruby Love.
Low Waste Parenting Tips For New Babies
Just like planning for pregnancy, planning for parenting low waste is a very important step. Plastic isn’t going to be completely avoidable, but you can avoid or limit most single-use items for babies and toddlers by planning ahead. Here are some of my favorite tips
1. Cloth Diapers And Wipes:
Babies and toddlers go through a lot of diapers and wipes. And most diapers come in plastic packaging! Cloth diapers and cotton or flannel wipes are a great alternative to single-use diapers and can help you save plastic and money in the long run! While cloth diapers are our go-to, we do typically keep single-use diapers on hand. Unfortunately, we don’t always find ourselves in a situation where we can change diapers and keep the dirty diaper with us all day. So we make a plan for when we can use reusable cloth diapers, and when we might need to grab a few disposable diapers. If you do choose to opt for cloth, BumGenius are some of our favorites. If you do choose to go with disposable diapers or supplement your reusables with disposable diapers, look for diapers that come in paper packaging like Dyper.
2. Low Waste Baby Bottles
Baby bottles are essential regardless of how you plan to feed your baby. Typical baby bottles are made from plastic, and now are all required to be made from BPA-free plastic. However, if you don’t want to choose a plastic bottle, there are some other options. Klean Kanteen makes stainless steel baby bottles with silicone nipples. They’re durable, reusable and almost plastic-free. There are also glass ( bottle options. Both glass and stainless steel tend to be more expensive than plastic bottles, so if you do choose plastic bottles, try to get silicone nipples which are long lasting.
3. Sustainable Baby Blankets
When choosing a baby blanket, we looked for sustainably sourced fabrics like organic cotton. Since there is so much waste in the textile industry, we wanted to make sure we were choosing high quality fabric for our baby blankets that were made as sustainably as possible. Some brands to check out are Coyuchi and Mushie.
4.Keeping Kids In Sustainable Style
Clothes for babies and toddlers are always tough to source sustainably. Kids grow so fast, that it can seem like you’re buying them new clothes and shoes every week. If you’re a new parent and you’re thinking about having another baby, be sure to save onesies and toddler clothing so you can reuse later on. We saved clothes from when Noah was a baby and plan to reuse them for baby number two! However, if this is your first baby, buying new clothes will be unavoidable, but before you buy, reach out to friends and family to see if they have any baby clothes lying around that you can use. There are tons of brands making sustainable baby clothes if you can’t borrow, check out Boody, Mori and Monica + Andy
5. Wait to buy
Finally, even though having a new baby is exciting, one of the best ways to stay sustainable is to wait to buy a lot of items to see what you need. Things like diapers, blankets and onesies, you know you’ll need, so definitely get those in advance. But when it comes to accessories, toys, books, extra clothes, you can save a lot of waste by waiting to see what you’ll actually need!