The arrival of a new baby is joyful and exhausting in equal measure. With so much to deal with (and so little sleep) chances are that saving the planet isn’t your first thought at this point.
When it comes to caring for a little person it’s very hard not to opt for the quickest and easiest solutions. However, babies are responsible for an awful lot of carbon dioxide and a whole lot of other waste as well.
Happily, there are many ethical baby products – better for them and for the environment – so with forward planning, you can reduce their carbon footprint and start their journey through life in a healthy and eco-friendly way.
This is the obvious number one expense. It’s estimated that babies get through a minimum of 4,000 nappies before they are potty-trained at a cost of roughly £400 per year. This creates around half a tonne of carbon dioxide, and nappies take forever to decompose – not a happy thought.
Reusable cloth nappies have comfy, absorbable padding, can be thoroughly cleaned in the washing machine and are biodegradable. The overall cost is cheaper than constantly buying disposables.
Don’t Forget the Wet Wipes
Babies’ bottoms (and all their other bits) need all sorts of things to keep them clean and healthy. Wet wipes are perfect for little bums, sticky hands and faces. Unfortunately, standard supermarket versions contain plastics that never degrade and often harmful chemicals as well.
Organic wet wipes decompose easily and come in fragrance-free versions or enriched with soothing aloe vera. For nappy rash protection, a natural nappy change balm with anti-inflammatory ingredients will gently moisturise and help to guard against any painful problems.
Clean and Sooth Naturally
Keeping your baby clean and comfy is an ongoing task. Happily, there are loads of natural products in biodegradable packaging to do the job.
There are plenty of lovely safe options from bubble bath and shampoo to cotton wool pads and organic lotions – all perfect for gentle cleansing. And, when teeth start to appear keep them in top condition with organic toothpaste and eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes.
Not surprisingly, your washing machine is going to be really busy, but supermarket detergents are unhealthy in so many ways. They’re full of toxic chemicals, which are harmful to babies and everyone else, not to mention the environment. Fortunately, there are many safe alternatives made from simple, natural ingredients, which are better for the whole family.
Clothes and Toys
It’s tempting to rush out and buy lots of cute clothes and exciting new toys for the baby, but it isn’t always necessary. We’ve all bought that brilliant new toy only to find the little one is more interested in the box!
Babies grow out of things rapidly so why not consider buying second-hand? It’s cheaper and you’re not adding to the massive pile of surplus everything that’s floating around the world.
Charity shops, Facebook groups, friends and relations are all great sources of useful hand-me-downs.
Of course, you’ll still need new things, but look for companies that sell ethically produced clothes made from sustainable materials, such as hemp, bamboo and organic cotton. You can also get wonderful toys made from wood, recycled plastic and natural rubber (plant-based), so there’s plenty to keep an inquisitive little person safely occupied.
Babies need a lot of stuff, so don’t drive yourself mad trying to make everything in their lives eco-friendly. Even a few tweaks here and there contribute to a healthy environment and set your baby on an eco-friendly path.