People who formerly feared “being green” often end up asking me how they can become more green when they start to have kids. Something about having kids makes people want to eliminate chemicals and waste from their lives… go figure!
As you know, I currently have two children under the age of two, so this list was put together quickly and off the top of my head. Ask me again in a year and I might have something more comprehensive!
Cloth diapering – Obviously good for the earth but also cost effective, as are many “green” lifestyle changes. In addition, I have never experienced a late-night moment when we’ve run out of diapers (I actually didn’t realize this happens to people until I heard another blogger talk about it). I am not going to go into details on how to cloth diaper in this post, but I’ve done previous posts on my cloth diapering regime as well as cloth diaper reviews and you can also find me writing for the CottonBabies blog. My #1 recommendation for learning about cloth diapering is Kelly Wells’ book “Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering“.
Make your own baby food – when I bought the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker it was an investment, but it was definitely worth it. I use it to make purees to hide veggies in food now that Little Sir is a toddler, and I’ll use it again when Little Lady starts solids. Making your own babyfood is also cheap, and with an all-in-one appliance like the Babycook, it’s super easy.
Washable towels and cloths for everything – Let’s face it, paper towels and Kleenex are actually pretty flimsy – you can use a roll or box on just one mess. You can upgrade and also be more “green” by replacing them with washable cloth versions. I did a recent post about getting rid of paper towels by using absorbent washcloths from Ikea. I’d also recommend tons of microfiber cloths for cleaning up spilled milk and scrubbing things – you can buy microfiber cloths at the dollar store! When my son was born, I bought a huge amount of old school cloth diapers that I use for burp cloths and cleaning up all kinds of formula, milk, and runny noses. Little Sir recently learned to “blow snot” into these burp cloths and now whenever he sees a cloth diaper, he tries to blow his nose into it!
Consignment sales/preowned clothing – The “reuse” part of “reduce, reuse, recycle”! Twice a year I go to our local huge consignment sales and stock up on gently used clothing for the kids next season. Recently I also discovered Kid to Kid, which is a franchise of kids consignment stores for in-between consignment sale season. At least half of Little Sir’s clothing is pre-owned. As for Little Lady, because we have two nieces who are older than her, and friends who have older girls, I don’t think ANYTHING she has is new – it’s all hand-me-downs! Which is awesome for me since I am not great at picking out girls’ clothing.
Snacks – This is the part where I tell you to do things I am failing at… If you have toddlers, you know that you should NEVER go anywhere without snacks! Instead of using plastic bags and pre-packaged treats, it’s always greener (and cheaper) to buy larger boxes of treats or put fruit into reuseable snack bags. I say this, but I own only 2 of these bags, so currently I do use waaay too many pre-packaged snacks.
Cleaning products – Usually when people ask me the “green” question, they are asking about how they can replace their conventional (toxic) cleaning products with more green (kid-safe) versions. When you see your little darling gnawing the floor or the chair leg, you can’t help but think whether they might be ingesting some of that chlorine bleach/ammonia cleaner/Lysol you just sprayed on it. There are a lot of greenwashed products out there, but I’d recommend using vinegar, baking soda, Bon Ami, and essential oils like tea tree and Thieves Oil to replace conventional cleaners.
Avoid phthalates – If you read my blog much, you might know that this is one of my pet peeves. Phthalates are used in making plastics and also in body care and makeup products. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and can cause hormonal imbalances in young children and infertility in adults. Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to specify if they use phthalates in their products. In plastics, avoiding anything using PVC can help reduce phthalate exposure. In personal care products, most often the ingredients list only “fragrance”. Make sure that the products you buy are either unscented or use only essential oils for scent.
Those are my quick tips for going green for your new baby!
Do you have anything to add?