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9 Ways to Be a More Eco-Friendly Parent
It’s no secret that having children invites an incredible amount of waste into your life. Not only is there poop to deal with, but you’re also likely to face an influx of single-use items that spend less time on your baby than they did in your shopping cart.
In this post, we’re going to look at 9 easy steps that you can take towards being a more eco-friendly parent. And although the list of sustainable habits that you can adopt is ever-growing, what we’ve shared below is a great place to start.
Take a breath, relax, and get ready to show the world around you a bit of love.
1. Reusable diapers
Disposable diapers are the third-largest single-use item in landfills, with 3.6 million tonnes worth of diapers ending up in landfill every year - and that’s just in the US! With diapers taking around 500 years to fully decompose, reusable diapers are one of the smartest decisions that you can make as a parent.
Though the idea of reusable diapers might feel terrifying, they’re really not! In fact, you don’t have that much more work to do than you would when using disposable diapers. After all, there will be no last-minute dashes to the store to stock up on diapers and no smelly trash cans to empty. Not to mention, reusable diapers are so much cuter.
We recommend buying a starter set to take your first steps into the world of reusable diapers. This will give you enough diapers to rotate throughout your week, and you can purchase any extras that you need as you learn more about your lifestyle as a parent and the kind of washing routine that works for you.
2. Shop at thrift stores
Did you know that your baby grows 2cm every time you blink? Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but it definitely feels that way! Babies will grow out of their clothes faster than you can prepare clothes in the next size up. Because of that, it’s a great idea to get children’s clothes from thrift stores.
Not only will you be doing your part in saving the planet and reducing the waste that comes from the fashion industry, but you’ll save a fortune too!
3. Stick with homemade baby food
Store-bought baby food comes with a huge amount of waste - just think about how much packaging is used per teeny-tiny meal! Preparing food at home doesn’t have to be complicated, and that way you’ll also know exactly what’s going into your little one’s meals. This also makes it much more straightforward to pick up on any allergies that they might have.
If you’re feeding your baby pureed food, simply take a little bit of your meals and mix them in a small blender. And if you’re going with baby-led weaning, all you need to do is set aside a baby-friendly portion for those little fingers to explore.
4. Walk when you can
It could be argued that popping your baby in the stroller is actually much easier than fumbling around with the car seat and trying to squash the stroller into the trunk. Walking instead of driving is also a great way to get some exercise and avoid using your car - which we all know is a much more eco-friendly way to travel!
5. Borrow maternity clothes
During and after your pregnancy you’re going to be more comfortable wearing either maternity or oversized clothes. But don’t worry, you don’t need to buy an entirely new wardrobe to get you through those short months. Ask a friend or family member if you can borrow some of their maternity clothes and simply give them back when you’re done. If you do feel like purchasing your own maternity clothes, make a point of offering them to your pregnant mama friends when it’s their turn to grow a bump.
6. Breastfeed if possible
Though not possible or desirable for all women, breastfeeding is one of the very best ways to reduce your environmental impact after becoming a parent. By not purchasing formula, you’ll be avoiding the waste created from its packaging and process of production.
7. Minimize plastic
There are lots of ways to minimize plastic as a parent, all of which will become more natural the more you practice them! When heading to the shops, don’t forget to bring reusable bags with you that can be hung off of the stroller as you shop.
Another tip is to avoid plastic toys. Not only are they likely to break after a couple of uses, but they often contain harmful chemicals that were used to create the toy during production. The best thing you can do is to buy second-hand toys or high-quality wooden toys that might even last for multiple generations! Not to mention, wooden toys are a lot prettier to look at - something that you’ll want to consider when your house turns into one giant activity room.
8. Spending more time outside
Spending more time outside is a great way to avoid using electricity as well as raising your children to love being in nature. When we spend time in nature, we feel more connected to the world around us and therefore more driven to make eco-friendly choices that will protect its longevity.
Not to mention, being outside and away from screens makes it easier to spend time together and bond as a family.
9. Car sharing
If you live close to another family whose child attends the same school as yours, why not arrange a system to car share? Depending on how many spare seats you have, you could even end up only having to do the school run one day per week - imagine that!
10. The takeaway
Taking a more eco-friendly approach to parenting doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We suggest adopting just one habit at a time until it starts to feel natural to you.
Do you have any more eco-friendly parenting tips that you think could help other parents in their search to become more sustainable? Share them in the comments!