Sustainable Products for You and Your Baby to Enjoy
Not too long ago, having a newborn baby in the house would have conjured up the idea of mountains of disposable nappies and wipes, plastic brightly coloured toys littering the house and jars upon jars of baby food all over the kitchen as your baby enters the exciting world of solid foods. However, modern parents are increasingly aware of the impact on the environment having a baby can have and are taking steps to ensure that the products they use for their bundles of joy are better for the planet and better for the baby.
A simple step that can be taken is to accept or seek out second-hand clothes. In days gone by, it was a common practice that friends and family would give new parents clothes, blankets and toys that older children had grown out of. Gladly, this is now making a comeback, with many parents accepting good clean clothes to cut down on the need to buy all new things for their little ones. And why not? Babies grow out of their clothes so very quickly that before you know it, that tiny baby grow is getting snug, and you're looking to buy the next size up. Community Facebook groups are another great resource, where like-minded parents are looking to pass on baby clothes and other items to local parents. If you do buy brand new clothes for your baby, look out for organic or sustainable materials, recycled cotton or fair-trade materials.
Of course, nappies are one of the most significant issues regarding eco-friendly parenting. In the UK alone, an estimated 3 billion nappies end up in landfills each year – they contain different plastics, take decades to decompose and are almost impossible to recycle. Thankfully, there is now a great range of alternatives to help minimise the impact on the environment. Eco-friendly disposable nappies, which are made from biodegradable materials such as bamboo, contain fewer plastics, and some even claim to be compostable. Another alternative is to invest in a reusable or cloth nappy; these nappies are essentially an outer cover with a removable insert. Instead of throwing away the whole nappy, the insert is removed (and can be washed), and a clean insert is put back in. Reusable nappies are an investment and can take some getting used to (you need to consider how you will soak, sanitise and wash the dirty nappies) but cut down on nappies heading to landfills dramatically. You can also buy reusable swim nappies for when you are heading to the swimming pool, as well as reusable training pants for when potty training begins. A reusable swim nappy is a great way to enjoy your pool time while knowing you aren't contributing to the landfills.
Wooden baby toys are another fabulous way to cut down on single-use plastics. These simple and often beautiful baby toys, from teethers to shape sorters and play gyms, not only look fantastic but are better for your baby too. Soft organic cotton toys are super sustainable, as well as toys made from recycled polyesters and cotton (be sure to check the labelling on the toys first, though). Your baby will enjoy the texture of the toys, and you can rest easy knowing that the natural wooden materials don't contain harsh chemicals or hidden nasties.
When it comes to caring for your babies, skin, gone are the days of talcs and lashings of baby lotions and potions. Nowadays, you can find a great range of baby skincare products made without unnecessary chemicals and super gentle on your baby's delicate skin. Look for products with organic or free-trade ingredients such as shea butter or that contain natural fragrances such as rose water or coconut. Don't forget, Mum and Dad can also treat themselves to planet-friendly toiletries for that much-needed long soak in the bath or Sunday night me time!
Whatever you choose, taking just one or two steps toward being more eco-friendly with your new family is a step in the right direction. And with time, our tiny babies will grow up to learn that living sustainably and producing less waste is a simple thing we can all do to help secure the future of our beautiful planet.
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