Following the birth of our first child, we wanted to make more sustainable choices for our family. After all, our children and their children will exist in this world long after we’re gone. Here are some ways to make small, Eco-friendly changes in your home following the birth of your first cub or subsequent ones. It is never too late to start.
Re-usable nappies, breast pads, changing pad liners and wipes
Make your own or buy them. Cloth nappies have come a long way since the terry towelling version. They come in all sizes and absorbency and the best part, they can grow with your child from newborn straight through to toilet training. Whilst the initial outlay can be pricey (unless you buy second hand), they will save you money in the long run. The average child uses approximately 6,000 disposable nappies until toilet training.
Other cloth products like breast pads, change pad liners and facecloths are washable and replace the disposable versions which end up as land-fill in vast amounts, taking tens of years to decompose.
Eco-friendly/organic/natural baby and laundry products
Again, you can make your own or buy them. Think body wash, shampoo, wipes, creams and powders. Choose products with naturally derived ingredients sourced from sustainable resources. Most are hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin, an added bonus!
Vinegar is a great cleaning product and is food safe. It has a multitude of uses. Also, a touch of eucalyptus or tea tree oil goes a long way and can be used as an antiseptic and as a disinfectant for kids toys.
Buy pre-loved clothes, toys and furniture or buy new from sustainable sources
Ask any parent how many clothes and toys they have that were not used or used very little. Pick up these beauties online (Gumtree, Facebook etc) or at a baby/kids market, such as the Rock-a-Buy baby market, in North Brisbane, which offers new and pre-loved items. However, please note that many nursery items such as cots, prams, car seats and mattresses are subject to compliance with Australian safety standards. Make sure you do your research first before purchasing these items second hand.
There are so many wonderful businesses now that sell clothes and bed linen made from organic fibres and furniture made from renewable sources. Going green is now more affordable than ever!
Glass/stainless steel bottles/food containers
Durability = longevity and the avoidance of hidden nasties in some plastic products. Some products are also insulated, which means you can have warm bottles and food when you’re out and about.
Minimise power usage
Consider what appliances can be switched off when not in use. Avoid running the air conditioner/heater all the time. It can dry out baby’s skin and hamper recovery from a cold. Replace old light globes with the LED version. Whilst they can be more pricey initially, they draw less power and you won’t need to replace them as often. You will get value for money in the long run.
Consider products that evolve with your child. Many products such as cots, high chairs, prams and toys can be adapted so that are suitable for more than one stage of life. For example, there are cots that convert to toddler beds or sofas and high chairs that convert to toddler chairs.
What changes have you made to make your nursery more sustainable? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.