Having children and being sustainable often don’t go hand in hand. It’s hard not to be wasteful or make un-sustainable choices with young children or babies and it can be very easy to forget eco-friendly habits that you have spent time building up, as obviously your child’s wellbeing will be at the forefront of your mind, as well as ease and time-saving techniques.
However, there are ways in which you can be more environmentally friendly as a parent and build habits which will stick with you for a long time, and which your child is likely to emulate as they grow up.
Accept and Give Hand Me Downs
When you have a baby, a lot of people tend to buy all new stuff mostly due to excitement and anticipation of their new bundle of joy. However, newborn babies grow out of clothes really fast and often only get a few wears out of things before they are too small. It’s really tempting to buy lots of cute baby clothes when you are expecting, but not only is this bad for the environment, but your wallet too.
If you know anyone who has had a baby recently, then ask if they have any clothes that their baby no longer needs. They’ll probably be more than happy to give you clothes that are no longer needed to free up some space and you get some new clothes for your little one. As your baby grows, you can then do the same for someone in need of some baby clothes, but you can also do it with things such as pushchairs, toys and bottle warming equipment.
Reduce Nappy Waste
Around 3 billion nappies are thrown away every year, so reducing nappy waste is a great way to become more eco-friendly. There are some great ways in which you can reduce your nappy waste and one of these is to ensure that you are buying the right size for your baby or toddler. It’s all too easy to pick up the wrong size in passing at the supermarket, but then try to avoid just getting rid of these with your household waste. Instead, give them away on local Facebook sites or pass them onto friends or family members who may need them.
You could also use reusable nappies, which are becoming increasingly popular with parents. Reusable nappies are made from strong cloth and are well padded with absorbent materials and are then fastened with poppers or velcro. Once used, disposable nappies can then be washed in the washing machine at around 60º, which then cleans and sanitises the material and can then be reused after drying.
Another way in which you can reduce nappy and changing waste is by using reusable baby wipes and wash cloths. When you have a baby, you are likely to get through a pack or two of baby wipes a week from nappy changes and messy faces, so making a switch over to bamboo baby washcloths means you can cut down on waste.
Minimise Food Waste
When your baby starts weaning, then it is likely that you will start producing a lot of food waste as your little one discovers new tastes, textures and flavours. One way that you can cut down on food waste is by making your own purees at home, from fruits and vegetables, and then freezing them into portion sizes that you can just grab from when needed.
When starting out with weaning, you won’t need to give your baby full portion sizes as they will take a while to start getting used to putting food into their mouths and feeding themselves, so you don’t need to give them much. Weaning can be messy, so in order to reduce mess and cut down on your wash loads, look at investing in a weaning bib or two to help with this.