I'm passionate about reducing my family's environmental footprint, so when my baby was born, I wanted to know all the ways in which I could continue to do that. Baby products are usually pretty unsustainable for the environment, but there are ways you can reduce your baby's footprint!
Use reusable/cloth nappies
Cloth nappies seem to have had a bit of a resurgence in popularity lately, which is great! It also means there are SO many options. It can feel a bit daunting to make the switch to cloth, but honestly you've just got to jump in!
We initially purchased 6 pocket nappies with microfibre inserts and used them for a couple of nappies a day. By doing this first, it meant we could figure out the washing, what combinations work and of course the FIT! I've since bought more and now we're using exclusively cloth during the day. We still use a disposable at night because we prefer to not have to change during the night as it wakes our daughter up. And we don't want to mess with a 7am - 7pm sleep!
We're using Bear and Moo nappies and LOVE them, but there are a wide range of options available in New Zealand to suit most budgets. The other thing you will need is a washing machine that can do a hot wash. We have an LG washer-dryer that has a baby care setting so we are set! But you might want to check that your washing machine can get to 60 degrees before you invest in cloth nappies. 60 degrees is shown to kill bacteria and fungus that can lurk in wet material that's been in not so clean conditions!
Wipes are one of the major contributors to landfill. We don't ever recommend flushing wipes, even those that state they are 'flushable'. Most cities don't have the infrastructure required to deal with flushed wipes - they just move too fast through the system and end up clogging it up. For flushable wipes to work, they really need to sit in water for a long period of time to break down.
So what's a mama to do? Why not give cloth wipes a go. If you're already using cloth nappies, this won't feel like too much of a jump for you, but it can be a bit of an adjustment if you're using disposable wipes.
You can buy specially-made reusable wipes, but if you're not wanting to spend the money you can also make your own. Head to your local fabric store and buy some flannel, cut into squares and sew down the sides with an overlock stitch. Don't have a sewing machine? You could buy a pack of cheap face washers from Kmart and use those. Just make sure you wash them on your washing machine's hygiene setting (60 degrees plus). If you're using cloth nappies, just throw them in with those.
Use bathing products that are sustainable
Babies bath products almost always come in a plastic container. Baby bath, shampoo, oil, moisturiser, and nappy cream are most commonly packaged this way. It can be really hard to find baby products that are sustainably packaged and kind to the earth.
A few brands sold in New Zealand have sustainable products and packaging:
There are so many others, so get your research on and find something that works for your family!
Make your own baby food
I know, I know, making purees can be a real pain! BUT think of all the packaging you're preventing going to landfill! You could even give baby-led weaning a go, which means your baby is eating whatever you're eating.
If you want to make your own purees, storing them for easy use can be a pain. Enter the brilliant invention, the Kai Carrier pouch. I got a couple of these for free at a baby show last year, and have since purchased more in preparation for solids! In the meantime I've used them to freeze breastmilk. They've got choke-proof lids and store beautifully in the freezer.
Supporting local is a win for everybody, but even more so when you're trying to reduce your footprint. Any products that come to New Zealand from overseas have to get here somehow, and more often than not it's by airmail. We all know that planes are about as unsustainable as they come, so buying products that haven't had to travel as far from manufacture to your door means less airmail.
Most of the options I've mentioned above are New Zealand based companies, but there are so many more! Support your local baby boutique where the clothes are made by the owner, do your research on where a company's products are manufactured and buy local wherever you can.
So there you have it! A few ideas on how to reduce your family's environmental footprint. What other ways are you reducing your footprint?
Note: Some links in the post are affiliate links, which means The Mum Tribe may make commission on any purchases made through those links.