If you’re reading this, chances are you live a life of intentionality, sustainability and it’s a priority for you. Maybe you’ve just found out the incredible news that you’re also going to be a parent. While becoming a parent is exciting and one of the most exciting milestones in anyone’s life, it doesn’t come without stress and worry. And while there are many meaningful ways to teach young children about sustainable living, there are many ways to be a sustainable parent to a newborn. You may think you have it all figured out, but luck favors the prepared. So, either this checklist confirms what you’d already planned to do as a new parent or touches on a couple of things you hadn’t thought of.
While all new parents should understand that even the best laid plans don’t go as planned, you can still wait and prepare for them. With that in mind, if you’re comfortable with a home birth instead of a hospital, it’s worth looking into. If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital, you know the amount of gloves, cups, paper towels and anything else you can think of that get thrown away. Sure, they are necessary for a hospital setting, but you may not feel like a hospital is required for your delivery. Many people opt for home births for reasons beyond sustainability, but it is a motivator for many.
You’ll find, almost as soon as you bring your bundle of joy home, that although you’re happy for the moon, you’re also beyond exhausted. Babies take a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning. Between erratic sleep schedules and breastfeeding, you’re up and down and all over the place. While the convenience of conventional, store-bought diapers is appealing, their environmental impact is intense. Investing in cloth diapers is not only good for the environment, but some studies have shown them to be better for your newborn’s delicate skin.
The textiles you use
Just as we adults should shun fast fashion because of its environmental impact, not to mention the humanitarian impact, so too should you think about this with your baby’s clothing. From their diapers and crib sheets to the onesie they wear on your first nature walk, you’ll want to use the most natural textiles possible. One hundred percent cotton and linen are best for these garments. Not only are they more comfortable for baby’s delicate skin, but they are also more breathable. Babies are prone to heat rash, acne, eczema and more, as their skin is sensitive, so choosing sustainable textiles is beneficial for the environment and health.
speaking of skin
Speaking of all the skin issues their sensitive bodies may be prone to, it’s a good idea to think about what you’ll use on their bodies to bathe, moisturize and treat issues that may arise. While some parents opt to make their own baby lotions or shampoos, there are also many natural products on the market that are eco-friendly and healthy for your baby. Spend some time during pregnancy researching brands and the ingredients they use. Finding brands that share the same values with ingredients you trust is paramount. If you have friends with children who share the same views on sustainable living, reach out to them for recommendations.
Use your village
They say it takes a village, and that’s true! But, use your village to recycle items you are no longer using for your baby. You don’t need to go out and buy a new crib, changing table, anything else you think you may need when friends or family may already have them collecting dust in your attic. While buying a new car seat and stroller is a good idea for safety reasons, reusing other items not only saves you money, but also protects the environment!
Becoming a new parent may seem scary at first, but it is the most rewarding job you will ever have. Investing in your children is just as important as investing in the world you will leave them and future generations. So, use the ways mentioned above to make the world a better place for your precious baby. Congratulations!