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The following is a guest post from Shelly of The Conscious Abode.
Becoming a mom is an indescribable experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. With the excitement of welcoming a new bundle of joy, comes the need to prepare your home for any and every possible scenario.
As humans, it’s in our nature to prepare when entering into the unknown. It helps us feel more confident and comfortable. This however can be to our own demise when preparing for a newborn in the 21st century.
New moms are one of the most heavily marketed-to populations as companies play into this need to nest. This overbuying behavior can take a serious toll on our environment, both in the resources used to create the products, and the waste associated with single-use items.
Wondering how to reduce environmental impact as a new mom? Here are a few things we can do as new moms to minimize our impact, and help make the world a better place for our new baby.
How to Reduce Environmental Impact as a New Mom
Resist the Urge to Prepare
The first and most important thing you can do to reduce your impact as a new mom is to resist the urge to prepare. I know this may seem impossible when you get into that nesting phase of pregnancy, but hear me out.
When I was pregnant with my son, I over-prepared. I googled every possible scenario, and bought accordingly. This was a huge mistake!
Not only did I waste money on things I didn’t need, I also wasted resources, and created extra trash. Things like bottle warmers, baby bath robes, and stoller inserts- you simply don’t need them!
In addition to avoiding things you don’t need, resist the urge to buy excessive amounts of the things that you may actually need. Do you really need 18 different types of swaddles? Probably not.
Try buying one or two types, see what works, and go from there. Check out this great resource to learn more on how to reduce waste with a baby.
Select Baby Products with the Environment in Mind
Buy Second Hand Baby Products
When you have narrowed down your list of must-haves, do some research before making the purchase. First you’ll want to see if you can find any items secondhand.
My favorite place to look is Facebook Marketplace- it’s super easy to use, and people are generally very responsive and friendly. Try to find all your major items on here- crib, dresser, changing table, etc.. Buying second hand supports the circular economy, and will have a huge impact on lowering your waste.
Opt for Reusable vs. Single Use Products
With new “must-have” products coming out just about every day, selecting the items you’ll use for your new baby can get a little overwhelming. My best advice for beating overwhelm- stick with the basics. Choose reusable products over single-use items which can reduce waste and your family’s impact.
The most important single-use item to avoid with your little one is the disposable diaper. Opting for cloth can prevent over 7,000 diapers from entering the landfill!
The world of cloth diapering comes with many options, so to get started on your journey I’d created a cloth diaper series of all the basics.
Other ways to avoid disposable products include using cloth diaper wipes, making your own baby food, and breastfeeding rather than formula feeding when possible. Adopting these habits will reduce waste associated with single use items for your little one.
Support Sustainable Brands When You Do Buy New
Once you check-off most of your items from your second-hand shopping spree, start researching sustainable companies. For clothing, this post on sustainable baby clothes brands can get you started in the right direction.
For other products, ask yourself these questions about the company before purchasing:
- Do they have a sustainability initiative?
- Are they making an effort to reduce waste?
- Do they use non-toxic materials?
- Will this product last for multiple children?
Vetting companies before you buy from them is very important when it comes to reducing your environmental impact as a new mom. These questions will allow you to find and support businesses with similar values.
Buying quality over quantity will ensure the product lasts a long time, thus eliminating the need for single use products.
Try DIY Baby Products
Many items you’ll use as a new mom can be made at home. These things range from skincare products to laundry detergent, and can all help you cut back on waste.
Knowing you may not have the time (or energy) to make these while caring for a newborn, try to prepare some before the baby arrives.
Making products such as these will not only reduce your waste, but they are also free of toxic chemicals found in store-bought versions, and will typically save you some money as well.
Finding ways to reduce your waste, even in small ways will help reduce your footprint as you enter into motherhood, and beyond!
Becoming a mom comes with so many decisions. How you will feed, clothe, and diaper your child are all important decisions that will impact your baby and our planet.
With all these decisions to be made, sustainability may be the last thing on your mind. Although it may seem overwhelming, I urge you to consider these simple changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact as you begin your journey into motherhood. You will make the world a better place for yourself and your new baby.
Shelly is a boy mom and dog lover raised in San Diego, California. Her passion for natural living and sustainability began while in college completing her degree in biology. Since then, Shelly has continued on her eco-friendly journey, sharing tips she’s learned along the way at her website The Conscious Abode. When she’s not writing you can find her at the beach in Hawaii, where she currently lives with her family.