Plastic bags piss me off.
It doesn’t matter how many times I passively-aggressively leave canvas bags in my friends’ cars or how many times I *politely* remind a cashier to put my groceries in the reusable bag I just handed to him.
It doesn’t matter that there’s a Texas-sized island of trash floating in the ocean, people are still using plastic bags.
To be honest, it took me a few years to realize that riding my bike to work and using canvas bags at the grocery store weren’t the only things I could be doing to reduce my carbon footprint.
When I had my first child, I was shocked to tears by the amount of single-use products I was throwing in the trash. But it was an overwhelming time, and I convinced my sleep-deprived self that it just wasn’t possible to cut down on waste with a newborn.
Turns out, it is possible.
The second time around – with LOTS of help from my husband, I committed to a series of reusable baby products that would *almost* eliminate all the trash we created when we had the first baby.
I used cloth diapers and cloth wipes.
If you don’t want to commit to cloth diapers, choose a product that works with a biodegradable liner. That way, you can throw away the liner while reusing the cover.
Not only will cloth diapers save you a TON of money, but they don’t contain any of the chemicals that can irritate your infant’s delicate skin.
Brands include BumGenius, Bambino Mio, Charlie Banana, and GroVia.
I purchased washable diaper pail liners.
This is something I never would have thought about had I not read about it on a zero-waste blog!
Brands include Planet Wise, GroVia, and Momcozy.
I wore reusable nursing pads.
Nursing pads are soft bra inserts designed to soothe sensitive nipples and absorb leakage. Just like diapers and wipes, I went for a washable option to reduce waste.
Brands include Bamboobies, EcoNursing, and Kindred Bravely.
I bought rubber gloves.
This one might sound obvious, but you’ll want to use rubber gloves when handling all that soiled laundry!
If you don’t have time to keep up with all the laundry, I recommend checking for a local service that will pick up dirty diapers and drop off clean ones.
I made my own baby food.
Making your own baby food is surprisingly fun, not to mention it will save you money and ensure that your baby is eating fresh, high-quality foods.
Choose organic produce whenever possible and avoid common allergens, gas-inducing foods, and honey. Start with thin, single-ingredient purees from sweet veggies and low-acid fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, peaches, bananas, peas, and apples.
To make purees, simply blend your fruits and veggies with a little liquid (this can be water, breast milk, or formula) in a food processor.
When appropriate, begin introducing meats and lentils in thicker purees. Space new ingredients at least four days apart so you can identify any allergies.
By using the methods above, my family was able to significantly reduce waste while caring for a newborn – not to mention save money!
Let me know in the comments below if you have tried any of these methods or if you have other ideas for new moms looking to cut down on waste!