Zero Waste Baby Tips From Actual Moms
Why is it important to have a zero waste baby?
As I’m sure most of you know, children can generate a heck ton of waste. Especially babies.
Babies are unpredictable, so there’s bound to be some generated waste, but that’s okay! You and your little babe are only human and this doesn’t mean that you can’t try your best to reduce that waste as much as possible.
How can I have a zero waste baby?
Having a zero waste baby doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. It’s actually not all too different from reducing your waste in your own life.
Mama spotlight: Jessie from Tiny Yellow Bungalow
Jessie, a mother and owner of Tiny Yellow Bungalow, answered some questions on how she keeps her little one as zero waste as possible.
Jessie’s Zero Waste Baby Tips:
The biggest tip that Jessie shared for reducing waste with a little one is to shop secondhand first. You can look to friends or family for some hand-me-down items, or you can try checking Facebook Marketplace or a local Buy Nothing Group.
“Babies require a lot of ‘stuff” that gets used for such a short amount of time since they grow so quickly,” Jessie states, “We got the majority of Vasco’s baby gear from his cousin, including clothes, toys, bottles, baby monitor, stroller, crib, etc.”
She also encourages mothers to breastfeed if you can. It provides the most nutritious food for your baby, reduces waste, and it’ll save you a lot of money. Formula can be extremely costly, but breastfeeding is free! By breastfeeding, you’ll avoid a ton of wasteful packing that comes with formula, plastic nipples, bottles, bags, sterilization products, etc. Of course, not everyone has the option to breastfeed but if you have the opportunity, it’s definitely worth a shot.
Lastly, Jessie recommends using cloth diapers as a super-efficient zero waste hack. The concept can be pretty intimidating at first, but may be worth it overall considering how environmentally friendly they are. Parents typically spend around $900 a year on disposable diapers so just think about how much money you’ll save! Even better if you can find some cloth diapers secondhand.
“Also,” Jessie noted, “your baby will look super duper cute in fun cloth diaper prints!”
Jessie’s Biggest Challenges:
There are two things Jessie struggled with the most: Breast milk freezer bags and finding the right cloth diaper for a heavy wetter.
Some zero waste mamas freeze their milk in small mason jars, but it’s hard to deny that the plastic milk bags are super handy. They don’t take up much space in the freezer and they defrost incredibly fast. And when you’ve got a screaming baby waiting for their food, quicker is better. However, these silicone milk storage bags are an amazing alternative to plastic milk bags.
For Jessie’s son, Vasco, cloth diapering worked perfectly until he was a bit older and began to pee through his diapers every night.
“I would have to wash the crib sheets daily and figured that wasn’t too eco-friendly, so we started using disposables at night.” Jessie explained.
Jessie’s Favorite Products:
Not all of these products are particularly zero waste, but they were still products they got a lot of use out of! As mentioned earlier, Jessie got most of the baby gear secondhand.
- Hope&Plum Ring Sling – Hand sewn slings using all-natural textiles to keep your little babes nice and close. There’s 3 fabric blends available and they come in 3 sizes- short, mid, and long.
- Dockatot – Perfect for tummy time, play time, and keeping your baby snug. This comes in a variety of different colors and designs. It’s made with OEKO-TEX certified fabrics that doesn’t harbor any heat.
- Alva Baby Cloth Diapers – These reusable, washable and absorbent diapers come in different shades and styles. Typically comes in a set of 6 diapers with 12 inserts.
- Dr. Brown’s Organic Cotton Breast Pads – Contains 6 organic cotton Sherpa pads. They’re, washable, reusable, and absorbent.
Mama spotlight: Tess from Naturally Tess
Tess describes herself as a simple living, holistic-minded mama who provided some wonderful advice on how to raise your baby sustainably. Definitely check out her amazing YouTube channel, Naturally Tess, and give her a follow on Instagram – her daughter is too adorable for words!
Tess’ Zero Waste Baby Tips:
Tess put a heavy emphasis on cloth diapering! They’re a pretty popular item among zero waste mamas.
Using cloth diapers divert some of the 20 billion disposable diapers dumped in landfills each year in the United States alone: That amounts to 3.5 million tons of waste! Cloth diapers may seem intimidating to use at first, but can actually be really fun.
We know that buying baby clothes secondhand is ideal, but Tess recommends thrifting for gender neutral baby clothes. That way it’ll help you consume less overall if you’re planning on having multiple children. You can never have too many white, yellow, and grey onesies!
“Many websites like Kidizen and Poshmark offer ‘bundles’ where people sell their gently used baby clothing in whatever sizes you’re looking for,” Tess advises, “so you may be able to scoop up an entire wardrobe for your baby for around $100!” This is especially a great deal when you learn that on average, parents spend about $60 a month on baby clothes in the first year alone!
One of the things you may get excited for while pregnant are all of the cute items you’ll get to use for your baby. Maybe a beautiful wooden crib and some vintage bassinets. However, you may want to wait before you buy the baby gear. Although it may be difficult, waiting until you have your baby to see what you’ll actually need can be much more sustainable.
Tess told me, “We were gifted a crib, rocking chair, and dresser and didn’t end up using any of it except the dresser. We ended up selling everything else we found…I know it’s hard, but just wait.”
The last tip Tess provided was, much like Jessie, to breastfeed if you can. But if you are feeding your baby formula- no matter the reason, try opting for glass bottles that can be converted into sippy cups when your baby is older. Tess’ personal favorite are made by Lifefactory. I’ve also seen some zero waste baby mamas using mason jars with nipples as bottles.
Tess’ Biggest Challenges:
Tess explains that sometimes it can be difficult to tune out the magazine articles, mommy bloggers on Instagram, “experts” and everyone else under the sun trying to tell you how you should raise your kids.
“Sometimes we go for a playdate at a friend’s house and they have the newest toys and gear,” Tess says, “it is difficult to come home and see our minimalist, wooden toys and feel like I’m giving my baby enough.”
Tess’ Favorite Products:
- Thirsties Snap Diaper Cover – Made from 100% polyester with urethane coating. These grow with your baby so you only need two sizes from birth to potty training.
- Sloomb Organic Overnight Diapers – These make great overnight diapers as they’re made from hemp cotton, so they’re leak free. They’re also hypoallergenic so these are ideal for babies with tendency towards diaper rashes.
- BumGenius Baby Pocket Diapers (with inserts) – Comes in packs of either 6, 12, or 24. Comes in a variety of colors and you can adjust the sizing from small, medium, to large.
- Weesprout Double Zipper Reusable Food Pouch – These pouches are completely reusable and made from eco-friendly materials. They’re also dishwasher safe, freezer safe, and recyclable.
- Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottle with 2 transitioning sippy caps – High quality thermal shock-resistant glass that comes with Stage 2 silicone nipples, polypropylene cap, ring and stopper. It comes in 3 different colors and 2 sippy caps for your baby to use as they grow.
- Avanchy Baby Bowls, Plates, and Cutlery – The bamboo bowl comes with a suction bottom that attaches to any flat surface. Suitable for children aged 4 months to 72 months. Perfect for a messy eater!
- Abiie Baby High Chair – Wooden high chair that converts to a normal sitting chair- suitable for babies 6 months old to adults up to 250 pounds. The cushion is waterproof and the tray is extremely easy to clean!
- Sdadi Kids Kitchen Helper Step Stool – Solid wood step stool with safety railing so your kiddies can climb up and reach what they need with ease. Suitable for kids 18 months to 3 years old.
- Naturepedic 2 Stage Classic Seamless Crib Mattress – Made from 100% cotton fabric and filling, non-toxic and no flame retardants. 2-stage dual firmness allows use from infancy to toddler years.
- Ecopiggy Round Natural Pacifier – Sustainably made with 100% natural rubber. It’s BPA, phthalate, PVC, and paraben-free and there’s sizes for ages 0 to 6 months and 6 months plus.
- Munchkin Cool Cat Stainless Steel Cup – This stainless steel kitty cup isn’t only super adorable, but it keeps drinks cool for up to 15 hours, provides a spill proof straw, and provides a leak-proof seal. It’s 8 ounces and comes in 4 fun colors.
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Baby Soap – This soap is completely vegan, all natural, and fragrance free. Perfect for sensitive skin and contains over 90% organic ingredients.
- Burt’s Bees Organic Burp Cloths – These burp cloths come in a pack of either 2, 3 or 5. They’re 100% cotton, organic, and GOTS certified. They’re also 2-ply and thick, so they’re great for burping, drool, spills, and changing!
- Snuggle Me Organic Lounger – This cotton lounger comes in a variety of colors and it’s meant to keep your little love comfy and snug for tummy time, lounging, or changing time.
- Country Save Laundry Detergent – This laundry detergent is all-natural and completely environmentally friendly. Biodegradable dye and hypoallergenic so it’s perfect for your babe’s sensitive skin- oh, and it gets out ALL the tough baby-related stains.
Having a zero waste baby doesn’t have to be hard. It takes some imagination, innovation, and even some willpower. I hope that by reading this article, it’s helped you realize that raising your baby zero waste doesn’t have to be exhausting or costly. There’s alternatives for everything if you just take that extra step to search for them.
- Buy secondhand! Whether it’s clothing, cribs, chair, or toys.
- Breastfeeding is free and generates close to no waste.
- Cloth diapers are iconic and there’s so much variety to choose from.
- Try to take your time and wait before splurging on the latest baby tech and gear.
- Don’t always listen to all the “expert” mommy bloggers out there- you know what’s best for your child.
It may be difficult to do your own thing when you have so many outside influences, but at the end of the day, it’s your baby and you can raise them any way you want. Buy those wooden toys, use those cloth diapers, and wear those secondhand onesies!
What did you think of these mamas’ zero waste baby tips?
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Guest post: Sydney Montagna is an advocate for animals and plastic free living. She is studying English and is an aspiring writer. In her spare time, you can find her watching classic TV shows and researching all things Michael Jackson related.