A positive test, scans and antenatal appointments and suddenly you’re not just thinking about yourself, you’re eating for two and thinking about your new life with a baby. The question that often comes up is “have you started buying for the baby yet?”
There’s a huge amount of ‘stuff’ to navigate, but what if you scrapped the so-called list of mother and baby must haves and went green instead?
What is eco-parenting?
Well, it might be about not spending unnecessarily, it might be about raising little people who care about people and planet, it might be about being ‘green’ and not being wasteful. It’s not an all or nothing way of family life, but it is usually about making choices which benefit and do not harm our environment.
What does it mean to me?
For my family it means making environmental choices, like cloth nappies and washable wipes, reducing waste, avoiding over packaged products and trying to buy sustainable, natural and eco friendly products. It’s about showing an interest in where things come from and how they’re made, avoiding over use of chemicals and exposure to toxins, and for us a big interest is in encouraging outdoor play and learning in nature.
So what would be on my eco or green baby essentials list? This is not exhaustive but is intended to offer some food for thought:
1) Cloth nappies
I am going to be writing a full review of these very soon, but gNappies offer a great way to make the move into cloth nappies. I’ve posted frequently about their eco, thrifty and gentle to babies skin benefits. These bright and soft cloth pants act as a reusable cover to house either cloth inserts, or biodegradable disposable inserts can be home composted (wet ones only) or binned. Often one of the questions I get asked about cloth nappies is about managing out and about, on holiday, and with childcare. Now I use cloth full time, but I find it handy to have something disposable on hand for poorly tum times or holidays, having this option of a biodegradable insert would solve these issues, could smooth the transition to cloth and give new parents the confidence to take cloth nappies out and about knowing that they won’t have to carry a poo around with them (genuinely this is a concern I hear a lot!)
2) Washable wipes
We are firm fans of Cheeky Wipes and so I was delighted to review their new toilet paper alternative, Joss is not yet ready for potty training, but when we start I would like to continue to use washable wipes throughout the transition and have been considering a family transition to a toilet paper alternative too. These are made from super soft flannel and are roughly the size of an average flannel so a great size for grown ups and babies alike. They are thin like toilet paper and wash and dry easily. I also highly recommend their cloth wipes for babies in bamboo, my set are two years old now and still going strong, I have saved well over £800 in the cost of wipes and nappies and avoided chemicals too, I estimate that a switch to TPA would save us £200 a year and the planet too!
3) Eco toiletries for baby
I’ve tried to avoid chemicals like parabens and phthalates where possible for Joss, this means that I generally use water alone for her baths and I recommend this approach for newborn sensitive skin, but every so often I like to use something natural to help her skin stay soft. Natural bath salts are great for the treatment of skin disorders like child eczema, rich in health-giving minerals such as sulphur, iodine, magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium these Dead Sea mineral salt products are a good choice for those seeking a natural option. We’ve been trying out these products for two weeks and I’ve noticed an improvement in Joss’ skin
4) and Eco toiletries for mum
For myself, I like to live by the same ethos I choose for Joss, going for natural beauty products where possible and again avoiding preservatives and other chemicals. The Organic Surge range is a great option for offering the amazing scents essential oils offer whilst using only Eco-Cert approved natural ingredients. Lavender is a great addition to any products for new mums, the sleep inducing properties soothe the body and mind and offer a skin pampering treat too, it’s vital you take care of yourself and so this range would make a great affordable gift for a new mum!
5) Organic cotton clothing
Organic cotton fibres are grown without chemicals, are softer and don’t contain allergens as ordinary cotton does and organic farmers get a better price for their crop so fairness factors in too. I know folk say organic is expensive but it really does mean quality and long lasting too. Organic cotton retains its resell value or will keep for future additions to your family! OrganicZOO is a design led organic baby wear company focused on creating lovely, soft and seriously cool collections for baby and parent, we reviewed their supersoft Tuscany Happy Heart Sweatshirt and it was super soft and snuggly, I love the simplicity of the design and the weave is lovely making the fabric a great quality, this is definitely one that’s made to last and stay snuggly
6) Wooden toys
If you can avoid plastic and buy sustainable toys you’re likely to be buying something long lasting and much more environmentally friendly too, check out Babipur who stock a great range, including this lovely Hape musical set which Joss adores
7) Handmade gifts
Joss is lucky to have two crafty grandmothers and handmade gifts make a great eco-gift, first up a vintage patchwork made by her maternal grandmother and probably about thirty years old now, this is a very precious addition to Joss’ nursery. It’s used alongside another beauty, when I was pregnant I’d natter with my Mam and watch her crochet all these pink and green squares, a blanket for a new baby made with love makes a great gift and heartfelt too, if you’re getting ready for your own new bundle it can be a great time to wind down and learn a new skill making blankets and little pram suits instead of buying them.
(Disclaimer: All of the products reviewed here were received as samples, all views are my own)