The average baby goes through 6000 diapers before potty training and everyday around 49 million diapers are used in the United States. It takes each of those diaper 200 to 500 years to decompose. This is hardly environmentally friendly and creates quite the ecological footprint for babies. Here are some ways to reduce their environmental impact from the get-go and help them start off green:

 

  1. Use either cloth or biodegradable diapers. Cloth diapers these days are much more fashionable than they used to be with fun colors or cute designs. Plus, they’re very easy to use. Reusable cloth diapers have about half the environmental footprint that disposable diapers do. And if you use some of the tips from last week’s post about greening your laundry routine, the footprint will be even lower. If you don’t have the time to commit to cloth diapers, go for biodegradable diapers. They are made out of plant-based plastics and can be composted. There are also hybrid diapers that have removable inserts that can be safely flushed since they biodegrade.
  2. Breastfeed. Breastfeeding is free and has zero environmental impact. It will also save money since you won’t be spending money on formula or a large amount of bottles. Of course, there are situations that require bottle feeding. In those instances, pumping or using fair-trade infant formula is the best way to go.
  3. Make your own baby food. Between 6 and 9 months, most babies can start eating solid food. They are able to eat and digest most of the foods that we eat as adults, like fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, etc, so why not give them the same food that you’re eating? To save yourself some time, blend up a lot of food at once and freeze single servings in small containers or ice cube trays.
  4. Use secondhand clothing and toys. Babies grow so quickly that is seems silly to keep buying new clothes that they’ll only be able to wear a few times. Share clothing with your friends or family to help cut down on costs. Buying gender neutral outfits will make it even easier to use to share. There are also consignment sales and events, like Just Between Friends, that will allow you to buy and sell clothing, toys, and other supplies you need for your baby.
  5. Ditch the harsh chemicals. A number of options for green cleaning was posted here a couple of weeks ago. Bringing a baby into your home makes it even more important to ditch all of those chemicals and start using natural cleaners. It’ll improve the quality of the air in your home and keep your family healthy.
  6. Lather up with natural skin care products. There are a number of options for all natural baby lotion that will cost less and work just as well, if not better. Olive oil or coconut oil work great for keeping your baby’s skin nice and soft. Plus they’re gentle on their skin. If you plan to take your baby outside, you can mix shea butter, coconut oil, and carrot seeds for a natural sunscreen with an SPF factor of 40-50. It’s great for their skin and will protect them from the sun.
  7. Avoid electronics. Especially, in the first years of their life, kids don’t need all kinds of electronic toys. Instead get them some old fashioned wooden toys, books, and secondhand toys. These toys don’t require any electricity and they last longer, which makes it easier to share or sell to a consignment store. 
  8. Take them outside. Nothing beats playing in a sandbox, running in the grass, and getting dirty. Being outside will help kids stay active and use up their energy in a constructive way. It helps them learn more about the natural world, how to handle minor injuries, and how to interact with other kids.