Is It Possible to Have a Child and Be Eco-Friendly?
September 16, 2020
Adjusting to the reality of having a newborn, which is both sweet and unsettling, can be a challenge. This new lifestyle doesn’t mean you must abandon your environmental values and sustainable habits. However, because it’s easy to get sucked into the frenzy of overconsumption surrounding motherhood, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to be a more eco-friendly parent.
If there’s only one tip you should remember, it’s to be patient! Avoid buying everything you think your child will need before he or she is even born. With the plethora of baby products available nowadays (anything from wipe warmers and baby bouncers to massage oils), parents can easily lose their bearings and think every single item is useful and essential. The truth is newborns don’t need much. It’s way smarter to wait until you have real needs and know your child well before going on a shopping spree. Who knows, your baby might never wear newborn clothing, hate pacifiers and, once winter rolls around, wear two sizes bigger than what you’d planned.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
You don’t need ten blankets if you only really like two of them (you know, those extra-soft-adorable muslins). Same goes for toys, clothes… everything really! Opt for quality items that will last a long time and that can be used for baby number two or your best friend’s little one. Many Canadian businesses offer awesome baby products; kill two birds with one stone by buying local and durable items!
Go for Washable Options
New parents quickly become full-time laundry professionals! If you’re going to do laundry every day, you might as well switch to washable articles in place of their disposable equivalents. The best example is probably cloth diapers, which are gaining in popularity and are so adorable. Wipes can also easily be replaced by damp washcloths. As for washable nursing pads, they’re just as convenient and comfortable as disposable ones. You can also be eco-friendly when introducing your little one to solid foods thanks to reusable baby food pouches and snack bags. There are plenty of options!
Have an Unconventional Baby Shower
You can start being an eco-conscious parent as early as your baby shower. It’s a great opportunity to introduce your loved ones to your environmental values. Tell them you prefer they give you second-hand objects or contribute to a registered education savings plan (RESP) with you rather than offer you a gift. If your family and friends can’t resist the temptation of purchasing cute newborn articles, ask them to buy local.
Forget superstores! Shop in thrift stores, on Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and online groups dedicated to selling and buying second-hand objects. You’d be surprised to see all the things you can find in great condition and for way cheaper than regular prices. Also, don’t hesitate to use your contacts: the cradle of your dreams might be stored away in your cousin’s basement, waiting to be used by someone else again.
Use Multipurpose Products
No matter your child’s need, you can be certain that an object has been specifically designed to meet it. This can be convenient in some cases, but it’s also a bit confusing. Is a burp cloth really necessary if you already have washcloths that work perfectly fine? Are bowls specially made for purees truly essential if you have ice cube trays that can serve this purpose? Ask yourself if you already own something that could meet your needs before buying a new object.
Think Long Term
Your baby might be small today, but that will change soon enough! In the blink of an eye, your child will be 6 months old, then 2 years old… Take that into consideration when making purchases. A slightly oversized garment that can be worn as a tunic and then as a shirt, that’s a win-win! More and more grow-with-me clothes are available, like pants, shirts, pajamas, and so on. You can also go for furniture and other objects that will grow with your little one: a 3 in 1 car seat, a low dresser instead of a changing table, a crib that can be converted into a bigger bed, etc.
Finally, remember that the goal isn’t to be a perfectly eco-friendly parent, but simply to make smarter and more considered choices. Every action counts and has an impact!