Eco-friendly alternatives to baby essentials tried and tested first-hand (these actually work!).
Lockdown has given many parents more time than ever to spend with their little ones.
Studies show that people with children in their household spent 35% more time on average, providing childcare during the lockdown.
With whispers of a lockdown-induced baby boom floating in the air, many sustainably-minded parents are wondering how to live eco-friendlier.
Now, we’re not suggesting you have to go, full zero-waste baby.
That seems impossible, especially considering that organic and eco-friendly alternatives are often expensive, and not accessible to a large proportion of families.
Here at Eco Shoots, we aim to plant the seeds of change every day.
With these 9 simple changes, you can do your part to create a less polluted and eco-friendly world for your baby and save some money along the way.
1. Reusable Nappies by Bambino Mio
Perhaps the most-popular adjustment that eco-minded mothers swear by is reusable nappies.
Not for the faint of heart (you may have to scoop a poop now and again!) reusable nappies are washable, absorbent alternatives your run-of-the-mill disposables.
Studies show that the UK disposes of around 3 billion disposable nappies each year.
By the time a child is potty trained, they’ll have used 4,000 to 6,000 disposable nappies.
That’s a lot of waste!
Reusable nappies are made using bamboo fibre, cotton, cloth and other soft, absorbent materials to prevent nappy-rash, stains and leakage.
After using, simply pop into a specially-designed wet bag, and throw a load in the washing machine.
Hang to dry, and voila!
There are loads of brands and types to choose from, and an entire online community dedicated to sharing info and making the transition from disposable to reusable as seamless as possible.
Visit www.thenappylady.co.uk for advice, or to order a trial kit.
2. Reusable baby wipes by Cheeky Wipes
How many wipes do you think a parent uses, on average, considering weaning, nappy changes and mopping up sick and dribble?
This study shows that each baby uses an average of 240 baby wipes per month.
That’s 2880 a year!
With Cheeky Wipes’ colourful, reusable wipes, you can gently wet them to wipe all the bums and the spillages, then pop it in the washing machine with your regular wash.
What’s more, they’re made of organic terry cotton, so are super soft for hands and faces.
Babies love bright colours, and you’ll love the money you’ll be saving.
The next tip is admittedly not for everyone.
Although breastfeeding is not always possible, the ‘breast is best’ mentality seems to be slowly dying out.
An investigative article by The Independent revealed that
‘Reduced breastfeeding support, cuts in public health funding, negative attitude towards breastfeeding in public and a lack of knowledge of the health benefits of breast milk all contribute to Britain having some of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world.’.
So why is it important to breastfeed if you can?
Breast milk is naturally perfectly designed for your baby, meaning your body produces what your baby needs to fight off infections and diseases.
What’s more, breastfeeding provides benefits to the mother, such as lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, amongst others.
Read more benefits of breastfeeding on the NHS website, as well as some busted breastfeed myths.
4. Bamboo plates by Bamboo Bamboo
‘Bamboo bamboo’ is here to show you that food can be fun and sustainable!
These bamboo plates and bowls are a colourful plastic-free alternative to cheap plastic plates.
What’s more, each bowl and plate come fitted with a (removable) suction base to stop naughty fingers making a mess.
No weaning is complete without these dishwasher-safe, inventive plates that come in a range of designs.
They even have specially designed plates for picky eaters.
The best part?
They’re great for the environment.
5. Feed your baby vegan
Perhaps, again, an obvious one.
It’s entirely safe for babies to be vegan (after 6 months), despite widespread misinformation.
Vegan infants may need longer breastfeeding, but a balanced diet can provide all the nutrients that your baby needs, without the carbon footprint from animal waste.
It’s essential, as for non-vegan children, to consider vitamins and fortified foods.
Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist for more advice on how to make sure your baby is getting what they need.
6. Reusable breast pads by Little Lamb
A godsend to prevent leakage, reusable breast pads are the perfect alternative to those nasty, scratchy disposable breast pads.
These Little Lamb breast pads are absorbent, soft and slim, perfect for all stages of breastfeeding.
They even come with a convenient mesh laundry bag, so you can pop them in the washing machine, and use again and again.
7. Sustainable clothing by Little Green Radicals
We all know about the horrors of the fashion industry.
Pollution, waste, slave labour and exploitation – the list is never-ending.
But we often don’t consider that the fast fashion industry extends into clothing for our children.
So how do we combat that?
By shopping with organically, sustainable clothing companies such as Little Green Radicals.
Little Green Radicals are 100% organic, Fairtrade certified, and made to last.
Oh, and they’re currently having a sale. Check it out!
For a more in depth look at some sustainable fashion tips check out our post.
8. Reusable baby food pouches by Nom-Nom Kids
With recent studies claiming that store-bought baby food pouches can negatively impact a child’s development, it’s time to start thinking about a sustainable alternative.
Enter: Nom-Nom Kids.
This brand is dedicated to providing easy to use, safe products for weaning.
Dishwasher safe, BPA-free and in a range of cool designs, Nom-Nom Kids are doing everything right.
They also sell reusable snack bags, so say goodbye to clingfilm.
9. Second-hand sustainability
Finally, perhaps the most obvious way to live sustainably, is to shop second-hand.
This includes, toys, clothes, books, furniture and more!
We all know how quickly children grow out of things, developing in leaps and bounds which means that cute pair or designer dungarees someone ordered?
Worn once, and no longer fits.
Online communities have even started free pages in every local area, including yours!
Buying second hand means you’re supporting local businesses and communities, stopping discarded items going to landfill, reducing exploitative work conditions, and saves you a lot of money.
Charity shops never sounded so appealing!
Plant the seed of change
Hopefully, by implementing these 9 simple changes, you can reduce your carbon footprint and negative environmental impact, and create a safer, healthier planet for your baby!
Disclaimer: My knowledge of babies comes from living with my twin baby nieces for 3 months. I am not a mother and understands that some of these changes, such as breastfeeding, and the more expensive sustainable options are not possible for all child-carers. The purpose of this article is not to shame those that cannot make these sustainable choices, but instead to inform and educate those that are able to implement these changes. Stay green!