When my eldest son was a week old nearly four years ago– ‘it’ hit me. As a new parent, I suddenly didn’t feel invincible anymore and neither did our beautiful and fragile world. I somehow felt a new sense of responsibility when it came to choices I made which directly affected the environment. I genuinely worry about single use plastic and the effect of our convenient, every-day choices on our climate. I am not perfect at this but we, as a family, are trying hard to use reusable options in our family life and avoid single-use plastic where we can. Of course, my mom-admin is not perfect and sometimes if travelling we switch to disposable options, but it’s with a heavy heart.
For World Earth Day.
For Mom and Baby:
1. Cloth Nappies/Diapers: I hadn’t planned to cloth diaper when pregnant with my eldest William. But after one week of nappies the thought of all that waste going straight to landfill in a plastic tube, it was upsetting Charlie and I. We started with Close Parent Pop-In nappies. A simple and clever nappy solution held together by poppers. We also use them overnight with a soaker pad and have had success. We don’t tumble dry them; we wash at a low temperature (unless around sickness, vaccinations or they are due a strip wash) - and there is no ‘poop scooping’ as I use a biodegradable corn starch liner. We also have a few Bambino Mio nappies - which are good for a shorter period of time. Our laundry turnaround is by no means as efficient after baby James’s arrival, so we have augmented our stores with some Canadian-made Apple Cheeks diapers. I bought a fabulous second-hand bundle and we have been impressed so far. Check out local consignment stores – you don’t have to buy new.
2. Reusable Baby Wipes: I cannot describe how much we LOVE these. We have the @Cheeky Wipes set which comes with a clever hands-free storage system and uses essential oils for both clean and mucky wipes. They work great, they smell great, and we haven’t bought a disposal wipe since. Fabulous. Highly recommend.
3. Reusable Breast Pads: Love them, soft for mama, and a little prettier than the disposable ones.
4. Reusable Make-Up Remover Pads: I use the @Cheeky Wipes system which uses coconut oil.
5. Love my reusable @ecoffeecup. We need our coffee! (Did you know that most cardboard coffee cups are not recyclable as they have a plastic coating?)
6. We switched to beeswax wrap and reusable snack bags a couple of years ago. Lots of options available including locally made. We have been impressed with @abeego. I also have some lovely ones from @handmadebyalicia. I love her baby products (the dandelion balm and sleepy night time wash are some of our faves) and did you know Alicia will take your empty bottles from previous purchases to re-use?
7. Reusable cutlery and straws. This @Bambaw set was a fabulous gift and our straws were a gift from @sequoia.fredericton at a recent postnatal fitness workshop I helped to host.
8. Reusable bags. I have a nice collection in the car and in various handbags – this cute strawberry bag was (again) a gift from @sequoiafredericton. Chose paper- chose re-useable.
Hopefully some of these ideas may work for a new family or provide some items to consider using in future for a mom-to-be- perhaps gift suggestions for an upcoming baby shower. Also in no way is this designed to be a criticism if you have chosen disposable options - sometimes you are dealing with other pressures. Equally it is also no way extensive as we recycle, avoid disposable water bottles, have reduced meat consumption (I was actually vegetarian for about 15 years) , try to buy second-hand children’s items when we can - but this blog instead is just some ideas of alternatives we actually really like using as a family.
Despite a bigger upfront cost - aside from reducing the impact on our children’s planet - we have found a significant cost saving in our switches, some that have we have used for nearly 4 years now. Do look for good second-hand options at local consignment stores (Fredericton is blessed with fabulous options Northside, Crab Apple and Southside, Jumping Jacks - for consignment maternity, baby, children and beyond), from friends, in local facebook cloth-diaper groups and e-bay etc. There are also some great local options from local home businesses/entrepreneurs, which will reduce carbon footprint further - perhaps check out etsy. Our beautiful hand-made breastfeeding pillow from @lunababy is a great example of a fabulous locally-made pillow, supporting a local business and with no lengthy shipping chain to get to me. Instead of a large packing box in the mail, it was delivered with a friendly smile!
Sir David Attenborough’s BBC documentary from April 18th Climate Change - the Facts is a must watch. But for (likely) very busy parent’s - Forbes have provided some helpful take-aways: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jakehayman/2019/04/18/david-attenborough-bbc/#7c50c0ca5971
Also, check out this article on the impact of disposable diapers: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/baby-diapers-ocean-plastic_n_5cb77ea7e4b096f7d2db869b. I have tried expensive eco-disposable nappies; however, although I am pleased they are not full of micro-plastic or harmful chemicals, I do worry that they are still going straight to landfill and are not recyclable.
I read a fabulous tip recently - I wish I could give whomever wrote it credit - if you want to buy something think about if you needed it yesterday or will need it tomorrow. Then wait a week before buying it to be totally sure. Yes to this! I am also struggling with the concept of ‘fast-fashion’ and ethical manufacturing - I have visited countries such as Bangladesh and it’s often these poorer countries (and their people) that feel the brunt of our ‘disposable’ fashion decisions as well as our natural resources. I tried to change my shopping habits about 4 years ago (to be honest leaving my full-time career and having children also helped me make wiser choices as my income also became less disposable). Remember that every time you buy something - your vote counts- you are voting with your money. If they don’t let you use a recyclable cup -then don’t buy the coffee or they will not change their habits…… Check out One Million Women for other ideas. I sometimes feel that what I do is not enough and it can feel hopeless, overwhelming, - but- it is great to think of all the other people out there all making small changes too and…. that can help.
A slight change from my usual blog-topics on pre & postnatal fitness - but climate change is happening and this stuff keeps me awake at night as I worry for my boy’s futures during my sleep-deprived nights. Perhaps if we all make one small conscious change- we can help. My next mission is to fully switch to re-useable menstrual products - which I keep meaning to do but this month I have made the leap!
Hugs, Sarah x
*This is not written in conjunction or with the knowledge of any product/company/supplier/sponsorship and I have tried to use some British and Canadian brands for my current readership.
Thumbnail Photo by Picsea on Unsplash