Babies can put a serious strain on your finances and on the environment as well. Think about all the diapers used in a year! Plus, there is all the baby gear you need, clothes for constantly growing little ones, and even the soap to wash all those things. Good news is that you can eco-fy your baby and I've got some ideas.
Here are some easy changes to make to have your little one leave a smaller footprint on Mother Earth ... and some of these tips are a money-saver as well.
1. Green Your Diapers
Cloth is better for the environment (and uses less water than disposables) and better for your wallet, but for some people it's just not realistic, or even desirable, and that's okay. Diapers like Nature Babycare Eco-Friendly or Seventh Generation are latex-, fragrance-, and chlorine-free, use absorbing pulp from sustainable sources, and eliminate as much petroleum-products and unfriendly waste in their diapers and production as possible.
2. Get Gently Used Clothes
The chemicals used in non-organic cotton clothes, plus the packaging and gas used to transport the items, can be very earth-UNfriendly. Getting used clothes from friends, Craigslist, consignment stores, or even local spring kid clothing swap meets is a great way to get clothes without the environmental impact, while also saving lots of money. If you do buy new, look for earth-friendly companies and organic, unbleached cotton.
3. Skip Jarred Baby Food
Baby food is generally filled with additives, overcooked to the point of lost nutrients and flavor, but often the production isn't very ethical, and lots of chemicals are used on the farms. The many jars and labels end up making those tiny premade foods use lots of resources in production and transportation. Buying whole, local produce, whether you make it into baby food yourself or let your baby learn to eat whole food from the get-go, you not only save money and eat a lot healthier, but cut down on waste, too.
4. Use Healthy Products
Soaps, lotions, ointments, and detergents often are filled with lots of seriously unhealthy chemicals, and often are very expensive as well. Using something like Dr. Bronner's liquid soap (seriously, about pea-sized is enough for a baby) will last you for months even if you use it too. It's pure and environmentally-safe. For diaper rash and as lotion, consider things like olive or coconut oils. For laundry, gentle castile soaps like Charlie's or Rockin' Green work great and are safe for you, your clothes, and the earth.
5. Buy Healthy Toys
While plastic toys are cheap and readily available, they're often flimsy, terrible for the environment, and there's even concern over estrogen and other reactions from constant exposure. With high quality wooden and cloth toys from sustainable, renewable sources, you'll have toys that will last much longer that often encourage more free play, and generally won't end up broken or recalled. Even home or naturally-made play-dough or paints can go a lot towards health, since kids often end up eating or covered in them.
6. Feed Green
Breastfeeding has no waste, no packaging, and it's free. But for those who pump, supplement, or formula-feed, buy glass bottles and natural rubber nipples. Glass can't get bacteria in scratches the way plastic can, and of course, it's much greener in production as well. The Hygeia EnJoye pump is totally recyclable and safe for multiple users (meaning you can hand it down or get a used one). Organic formulas often come from greener sources and lack some of the cheaper chemicals used in other formulas as well.
What other tips do you have for moms to "green" their baby and wallet?
Image via Pure Play Kids